Tidbits on March 21, 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/.

It took me less than ten seconds
I recommend that you download a patched Adobe Macromedia Flash Player now ---  Click Here

"Adobe Warns Of Critical Flash Flaw, Drive-By Downloads:  Users are urged to update immediately to the patched 8.0.24.0 edition of the Flash player," by Gregg Keizer, Information Week, March 17, 2006 ---

Adobe on Tuesday warned that multiple critical vulnerabilities in its Flash media player put users at risk, possibly from drive-by downloads, and urged all to update immediately to the patched 8.0.24.0 edition.

Microsoft also issued a security advisory Tuesday to tell customers of its Windows XP, Windows 98, and Windows Millennium operating systems -- all of which are bundled with a flawed edition of Flash -- to also update their players.

Security vendors quickly chimed in Wednesday. Danish vulnerability tracker Secunia, for example, labeled the threat as "highly critical," its second-highest warning rating.

Jensen Comment
Remember that Adobe bought out Macromedia, the company that developed Flash. To download a patched Flash Media Player (free), go to
http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash 
or just Click Here

Bob Jensen’s home page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/


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

Bob Jensen's commentary on psychiatrist Wafa Sultan and the original MEMRI-translated video can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2006/tidbits060306.htm#video
March 10, 2006 message from a friend

Bob,

A friend sent me the Wafa Sultan video, MEMRI translated (link below). It read well as a transcript when you posted it, but the video is 4x more powerful. An impressive and courageous woman--worth spending 4 minutes watching.

http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=1050wmv&ak=null 

From NPR
A St. Patrick's Day Tale: Storyteller Eddie Lenihan ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5286174

ZIMBABWE'S ECONOMIC TRACK --- (Al Jazeera on March 16, 2006) --- http://english.aljazeera.net/homepage

From ABC News:  Moose Trapped in Car Seat --- http://abcnews.go.com/

Get Easter Egged --- http://members.aol.com/brogo13/test/egg.swf

Rap:  Treat Your Mother Right --- http://www.ebaumsworld.com/2006/03/treatyourmotherright.html


Rental/Purchase Video Downloads from Amazon.com
People familiar with the situation say the online retailer is talking with movie studios including General Electric Co.'s Universal Pictures, Viacom Inc.'s Paramount and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. about making their content available on its site,
both for Internet rental and purchase. Negotiations are continuing, but a service could begin this summer. Amazon declined to comment.
"Coming Attraction: Downloadable Movies From Amazon," by Sarah McBride and Mylene Mangalindan, The Wall Street Journal,  March 10, 2006; Page B1 --- Click Here


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

Forwarded by Auntie Bev
Lost in the Fifties' Harbor Lights --- http://home.hiwaay.net/~singer/Fifties.htm

From NPR
A Musical Trip to 'Grey Gardens'  --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5245651

From NPR
Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb are the heart and soul of some of the most recognizable songs of stage and screen: "Cabaret," "All That Jazz" and of course, "New York, New York." --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5288642

From NPR
Isobel Campbell: After Belle Comes 'Ballad' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5288601

From NPR
The Chieftains, Ambassadors of Celtic Folk --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5244695

Rock From NPR
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5240374

From NPR:  Film:  Music from the Inside Out
Film Explores Orchestra Players' Calling --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5256792

From NPR
Miles Davis, Beyond Jazz: Rock Hall Honors Davis --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5258932

 


Photographs and Art

Bob Jensen's Navy Days ("luxury cruises" aboard a battleship to Cuba, Panama, and Chile) --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/PictureHistory/NavyDays/

I often wondered what would be best about being a frog!
Winners from NATIONAL WILDLIFE photo contest ---
http://www.nwf.org/nationalwildlife/article.cfm?issueID=79&articleID=1158 

Web exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Hirshhorn Museum --- http://www.hirshhorn.si.edu/sugimoto/

Photos of the Latest Tech Toys --- http://blog.wired.com/cebit/

Beautiful Rainbow --- http://www.missouriskies.org/rainbow/february_rainbow_2006.html

Geneva Motor Show 2006 --- http://blog.wired.com/motorshow/

Historic Cities --- http://historic-cities.huji.ac.il/

Photo Blink --- http://www.photoblink.com/

Photos from NPR
U.S. Baby Boomers Retiring in Panama, Part 2 ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5253095

Photographs of Google Headquarters --- http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/2006/inside_google/index.html

Yerka Paintings --- http://www.yerka.pl/

 


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

History of St. Patrick's Day --- http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/stpatricksday/

Many free classic poems by famous poets --- http://www.well.com/user/eob/poetry.html

Free eBooks for your PDA (or iPod) --- http://manybooks.net/

Free PDF eBooks Archive --- http://www.planetpdf.com/free_pdf_ebooks.asp?CurrentPage=1

Internet Library of Early Journals --- http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/ilej/

Watch And Ward by Henry James (1843-1916) --- Click Here

The Altar of the Dead by Henry James (1843-1916) --- Click Here 

Daisy Miller by Henry James (1843-1916) --- Click Here

From Cornell University
Alice Fulton Poems --- http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/af89/

3,000 Years of World History --- http://www.hyperhistory.com/

Historic Cities --- http://historic-cities.huji.ac.il/

Historical Text Archive --- http://historicaltextarchive.com/

Yahoo Groups Economics Collections --- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/conflictransition/messages/

American Library Association --- http://www.ala.org/ala/booklist/mysteryshowcase/mysteryshowcase.htm

Online History Books --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#history





B stands for bull's-eye.
President Bush noted that the vice president's full name is Richard B. Cheney, Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 13, 2006 --- Click Here

Baseball doesn't owe me a thing. I owe my whole life to baseball.
Kirby Puckett, Minnesota Twins

When I came up, you couldn't play if you couldn't bunt, but home runs have pretty much taken over the game today. You have to hit at least 25 homers to be a hero today. The game has changed so much. People want to see homers. Look around the league. Bunting has become a lost art. The baseball purists appreciate and respect Tony Gwynn and "Boggsie", but your batting average doesn't matter as much anymore. They want people who can put the ball over the fence.
Kirby Puckett, Minnesota Twins

I took care of him in many ways, but he took care of me in so many ways. I demanded almost as much of our relationship after his disability as before—basically telling him: ‘You need to be my husband. I am there to support you; you need to support me.’ I think it kept our relationship alive. Because if I had given up and said, ‘Oh, you’re sick. I’m not going to ever ask anything of you,’ it would’ve belittled him. He was a willing and loving participant in our relationship, and he was an incredible husband because of that.”
Dana Reeve --- http://marriage.about.com/od/entertainmen1/a/reevequotes.htm

We have become accustomed to living our life with joy amidst pain and challenges.
Dana Reeve --- http://en.thinkexist.com/quotes/dana_reeve/

There is one way to find out if a man is honest; ask him! If he says yes you know he's crooked.
Groucho Marx (1890-1977) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groucho_Marx

In a house of gold, the hours are lead.
Polish proverb as quoted in a recent email message from Patricia Doherty

True power is in the hands of whoever controls the mass media.
Licio Gelli (1919) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licio_Gelli

It was like trying to think about the square root of minus zero.
Harry Stephen Keeler --- http://home.williampoundstone.net/Keeler/

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King (1929-1968) ---http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King%2C_Jr .

Overheard During the 78th Annual Oscars (Yawn) ---
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/03/05/D8G5S1S00.html

Is sex dirty? Only if it's done right.
Woody Allen

Why We Have Sex: It's Cleansing
Kerr Than, LiveScience, March 2, 2006 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment: I guess abstainers are left somewhere in limbo between dirty (Allen) and clean (Than).

Anyone wishing to communicate with Americans should do so by email, which has been specially invented for the purpose, involving neither physical proximity nor speech.
Auberon Waugh as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-03-01-06.htm

"I'm also tired of the camera moving all over the place, with car chases so cut and edited you don't know what's happening. "It's condescending. Audiences aren't so mindless as movie-makers think." He added: "If you look at The Shining or Fargo, they photograph it and let actors tell a story. That's the old-fashioned way. I hope it comes back."
This is London interview with Anthony Hopkins on March 7 ---
http://www.thisislondon.com/showbiz/articles/21912127?source=PA

The man was lost and then he was found and now he's more lost than ever -- and he's taking us into the darkness with him. It's time to remove him.
Garrison Keillor calling from Lake Woebegon for the impeachment of President Bush, Salon --- http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/03/01/keillor/index_np.html
If a Norwegian yells out in a forest will anybody listen?

After what I experienced with The Passion, I frankly don't give a flying fuck about much of what those critics think.
Mel Gibson, "Apocalypto Now, WorldNetDaily, March 19, 2006 --- Click Here

In reaction, the Sunni tribal leaders formed their own anti-al Qaeda militia, the Anbar Revolutionaries. The group has a core membership of about 100 people, all of whom had relatives killed by al Qaeda. It is led by Ahmed Ftaikhan, a former Saddam-era military intelligence officer, the Telegraph reported. The group claims to have killed 20 foreign fighters and 33 Iraqi sympathizers. The United States has confirmed that six of Zarqawi's deputies were killed in the city of Ramadi in the province. The Associated Press reported yesterday that an Anbar-based group has claimed it killed five top members of al Qaeda and associated groups in Ramadi. The claim was posted on an Islamist Web site and attributed to the Anbar Revenge Brigade, the AP reported. It listed the names of four suspected al Qaeda leaders. The fifth man, it said, was from Ansar al-Sunnah, a terrorist group affiliated with al Qaeda. Iraq, which has suffered under a brutal insurgency for nearly three years, more recently has been racked by sectarian violence after the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine Feb. 22 in Samarra.
"Insurgents claim al Qaeda backers purged from Anbar," The Washington Times, March 14, 2006 --- http://washingtontimes.com/world/20060313-102837-7319r.htm





The aim of the university is not to make ideas safe for students, but to make students safe for ideas.
Clark Kerr as quoted by David Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-03-15-06.htm

Why did a world-renowned liberal atheist professor join the Presbyterian Church?
Hint:  It's not because evangelists Falwell and Hagge declare it's the only way through the Pearly Gates

My friend Bill Walker at Trinity forwarded the following link to an article by Robert W. Jensen from the Journalism Department at the University of Texas (no relation to Robert E. Jensen from Trinity University). Professor W  is on the controversial "101 Most Dangerous Professors" list compiled by David Horowitz. Professor W (Robert W. Jensen)  is indeed one of the leading liberalism writers and peace activists of the world.  My main complaint about him is that he wants to deconstruct global business without out any practical reconstruction suggestions about how the world order conducts its economies. He's a journalist and most certainly is not an economist.

Professor W writes and speaks extensively about the United States being an "Evil Empire." One of his papers is entitled "The United States Has Lost the Iraq War, and That's a Good Thing" --- http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/%7Erjensen/index.html
My comments about his "Evil Empire" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyEvilEmpire.htm

Bill Walker forwarded the following link:

I don't believe in God. I don't believe Jesus Christ was the son of a God that I don't believe in, nor do I believe Jesus rose from the dead to ascend to a heaven that I don't believe exists. Given these positions, this year I did the only thing that seemed sensible: I formally joined a Christian church. Standing before the congregation of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, I affirmed that I (1) endorsed the core principles in Christ's teaching; (2) intended to work to deepen my understanding and practice of the universal love at the heart of those principles; and (3) pledged to be a responsible member of the church and the larger community.
"Why I Am a Christian (Sort Of)," by Robert W. Jensen, AlterNet. March 10, 2006 --- http://www.alternet.org/story/33236/

Jensen Comment
Since Professor W is both an atheist and a liberal activist, William F. Buckley would probably find Professor W more suited for Yale than the University of Texas --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_and_Man_at_Yale
But I don't think Buckley anticipated an atheist who's becoming an intellectual pillar of the Presbyterian Church. That makes Professor W more suited to Princeton University.


The liberal media speaks out on liberalism's pressing problems

1.  Why the disconnect on religion is one of liberalism's most serious problems.
The right-wing hijacking of the role of religion in our political discourse is as undeniable as it is (constitutionally) inappropriate. Eric Alterman explains the liberal media's willful ignorance on the subject and why the disconnect on religion is one of liberalism's most serious problems.

The moronic level of cable discourse notwithstanding, missing from almost all discussions of the role of religion in public life is what William James famously termed the "varieties of religious experience." The right-wing hijacking of religion's public role in our political discourse is as undeniable as it is inappropriate, and represents one of liberalism's most serious problems.
Eric Alterman, "With God on Our Side?" The Nation, March 2, 2006 ---
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060320/alterman

The film's potential is lost, however, at the point when the question is broached of why we are so uncomfortable about homosexuality in America. In a totally unsophisticated manner, Taylor presents a several-minute montage of laypeople lambasting Christianity, culminating with Dan Savage calling the religion "bullshit" that was made up by "some guy in a desert a few thousand years ago." Granted, many Christians aren't exactly gay-friendly, and there's a history of some Christians doing extremely hateful things to homosexuals, but referring to someone's cherished beliefs with expletives isn't the greatest way to make friends. The Michael Moores of the world already have made enough self-congratulatory films for progressives. If any movement is to be made in increasing tolerance of homosexuality, we as liberals need to stop attacking Christianity outright and instead focus on the values of compassion and love which are common to us both. Many progressive brands of Christianity exist that do not demonize gays, and there are movements within fundamentalist denominations to become more tolerant. Taylor would do well to include a bit of this balance rather than paint such a crude picture of a nuanced and varied religion.
Jason Ketola, "Liberals, think WWJD! Progressives need to stop thinking of Christianity as something against to battle against." The Minnesota Daily, February 13, 2006 --- http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2006/02/13/67109
 

2.  From The Nation: Is patriotism a positive political force?
Todd Gitlin uses patriotism to wallop the radical left

"Pledging Allegiance," by Daniel Lazare, The Nation, March 2, 2006 ---
http://www.thenation.com/docprem.mhtml?i=20060320&s=lazare  

In much of the world, the answer is no or a highly qualified maybe. In Britain, English patriotism verges on the comical (see the collected works of Rowan Atkinson for more details), while the United Kingdom, an array of feudal fiefdoms stretching from the Channel to the North Sea, is far too antiquated a structure to stir up much patriotic passion in anyone other than a far-rightist. Does the average cockney's heart beat faster when contemplating the offshore bankers of Jersey or the noble fishermen of Shetland pressuring Brussels for more favorable cod quotas? Don't make us larf!

In France, la patrie is a political concept, meaning that one's view of it is a direct function of one's place on the left-right spectrum. If you're a Gaullist you may have some lingering attachment to la France profonde; if you're a liberal, you want to see it subsumed under the EU, while if you're among the 10 percent of the electorate that voted Trotskyist in the 2002 presidential elections, the very word smacks of Pétainism and the reactionary "integral" nationalism of Charles Maurras. In Germany, patriotism is controversial due to certain nationalist excesses of the mid-twentieth century, while in Italy it exists only on a local level. In Canada, no one quite knows what it means, for the simple reason that no one quite knows what Canada means other than that part of North America that looks like the United States but doesn't believe in capital punishment, mass incarceration or the virtues of maintaining military bases in more than a hundred foreign countries.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Obviously the patriotism card is an important trump card in American politics --- possibly because we're always in hot wars or cliff-hanging cold wars. Our wars never seem to take a recess like they do in Europe and Asia. Patriotism is allegedly less important (see the above quotation) in nations like Canada that are rarely threatened from the outside. Nations do become more patriotic when they are under siege as in the case of the recent bombings in London where even the "average Cockney" did not "larf" much.

Many liberals will sigh or even "larf" out loud when they listen to the following patriotism music. But these songs that are repeatedly broadcast on hundreds of  radio stations from coast to coast bring tears to the eyes of millions of Americans who elected George W. Bush on two occasions to be their President. The best way to get an American voter to vote Republican is to dishonor the flag --- which is most likely why presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton conditionally supported a bill to make flag burning illegal (but not unconstitutional). Republican candidates in 2008 will probably voice support to make it unconstitutional.

The Old Ragged Flag (Johnny Cash) --- http://www.goodolddogs.com/oldragged.html

Songs that have a great deal of influence on millions of America's voters --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm#Inspirational
 


"So here's your challenge, lefty bloggers"
"Why do conservatives like Bush? Conservatives love Bush because the left hates him," by David Boaz, The Guardian, March 16, 2006 --- http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/david_boaz/2006/03/why_do_conservatives_like_bush.html

Why do conservatives like Bush? After all, even his defenders call him a "big-government conservative," which was once an oxymoron. He's increased federal spending 48 percent in six years, further centralized education (which on this side of the pond we consider both un-conservative and un-[classical] liberal), inaugurated the biggest expansion of entitlements since the profligate President Lyndon B. Johnson, lured 17 percent more people onto the welfare rolls during five years of economic growth, and declared that "When somebody hurts, government has got to move."

So why do conservatives who grew up on Reagan like Bush? I can think of several reasons:

1. Tax cuts. Defying the establishment media and the class warfare of the Democrats, he has persisted in the Reaganite mission of cutting taxes, especially income tax rates.

2. The war. He stands up to the Islamo-fascists, as Reagan stood up to the evil empire. And as long as conservatives believe that the war in Iraq is part of the war on terrorism, they will support Bush there.

3. Religion. Conservatives like his willingness to talk about his born-again faith and to bring conservative Christian values (as he defines them) to political issues such as abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, and government funding for religious charities.
And finally,

4. As a nominating speech for President Grover Cleveland once put it, "They love him most for the enemies he has made." Conservatives love Bush because the left hates him. If the New York Times would run a front-page story headlined "Bush Delivers the Big Government Clinton Never Did," and the lefty bloggers would pick it up and run with it, maybe conservatives would catch on.

So here's your challenge, lefty bloggers: If you don't like the tree-chopping, Falwell-loving, cowboy president - if you want his presidency fatally wounded for the next three years - then start praising him. One good Paul Krugman column taking off from that USA Today story on the surge in entitlements recipients under Bush, one Daily Kos lead on how Clinton flopped on national health care but Bush twisted every arm in the GOP to get a multi-trillion-dollar prescription drug benefit for the elderly, one cover story in the Nation on how Bush has acknowledged federal responsibility for everything from floods in New Orleans to troubled teenagers, and maybe, just maybe, National Review and the Powerline blog and Fox News would come to their senses. Bush is a Rockefeller Republican in cowboy boots, and it's time conservatives stopped looking at the boots instead of the policies.

March 17, 2006 reply in the Opinion Journal

We suspect, though, that it'd take a lot more than a few contrarian pro-Bush columns or blog entries to overwhelm the widespread Bush-hatred on the left. Sen. Russ Feingold--whether acting out of that compulsion or pandering to it--is proposing a resolution to "censure" the president for trying to prevent another terrorist attack on America. Feingold apparently has all of two supporters thus far for his initiative, Barbara Boxer of California and Tom Harkin of Iowa, and, as the New York Times (Click Here) reports, the GOP is delighted:

*** QUOTE ***

Republicans, worried that their conservative base lacks motivation to turn out for the fall elections, have found a new rallying cry in the dreams of liberals about censuring or impeaching President Bush. . . .

With the Republican base demoralized by continued growth in government spending, undiminished violence in Iraq and intramural disputes over immigration, some conservative leaders had already begun rallying their supporters with speculation about a Democratic rebuke to the president even before Mr. Feingold made his proposal.

*** END QUOTE ***

The Angry Left is all too eager to cooperate with Feingold's effort at boosting Republican turnout. Markos "Kos" Moulitsas http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/3/15/9466/19457  yesterday posted a list of 21 "Democratic senators [who] have come out for censuring the president," then crankily observed, "Unfortunately, the president being censured was Bill Clinton, not George W. Bush. Because, you know, these senators had their priorities straight."


Save USA: Dick, take George hunting.
Sign at a Code Pink protest march --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1593197/posts

The Other Side of the Coin

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Dictionary of Republicanisms http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051212/kvh

 

Alternative energy sources n. New locations to drill for gas and oil.

 

Bankruptcy n. A punishable crime when committed by poor people but not corporations.

 

Class warfare n. Any attempt to raise the minimum wage.

 

Climate change n. The day when the blue states are swallowed by the oceans.

 

Compassionate conservatism n. Poignant concern for the very wealthy.

 

Creationism n. Pseudoscience that claims George W. Bush's resemblance to a chimpanzee is totally coincidental.

 

DeLay, Tom n. 1. Past tense of De Lie; 2. Patronage saint.

 

Democracy n. So extensively exported that the domestic supply is depleted.

 

Fox News fict. Faux news.

 

Free markets n. Halliburton no-bid contracts at taxpayer expense.

 

Girly men n. Males who do not grope women inappropriately.

 

God n. Senior presidential adviser.

 

Growth n. 1. The justification for tax cuts for the rich. 2. What happens to the national debt when Republicans cut taxes on the rich.

 

Habeas corpus n. Archaic. (Lat.) Legal term no longer in use (See Patriot Act).

 

Healthy forest n. No tree left behind.

 

Honesty n. Lies told in simple declarative sentences--e.g., "Freedom is on the march."

 

House of Representatives n. Exclusive club; entry fee $1 million to $5 million.

 

Laziness n. When the poor are not working.

 

Leisure time n. When the wealthy are not working.

 

Liberal(S) n. Followers of the Anti-Christ.

 

Neoconservatives n. Nerds with Napoleonic complexes.

 

9/11 n. Tragedy used to justify any administrative policy.

 

No Child Left Behind riff. 1. V. There are always jobs in the military.

 

Ownership society n. A civilization where 1 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth.

 

Patriot Act n. The pre-emptive strike on American freedoms to prevent the terrorists from destroying them first.

 

Pro-life adj. Valuing human life until birth.

 

Senate n. Exclusive club; entry fee $10 million to $30 million.

 

Simplify v. To cut the taxes of Republican donors.

 

Staying the course interj. Slang. Saying and doing the same stupid thing over and over, regardless of the result.

 

Shit happens interj. Slang. Donald Rumsfeld as master historian.

 

Voter fraud n. A significant minority turnout.

 

Wal-Mart n. The nation-state, future tense.

 

Water n. Arsenic storage device.

 

Woman n. 1. Person who can be trusted to bear a child but can't be trusted to decide whether or not she wishes to have the child. 2. Person who must have all decisions regarding her reproductive functions made by men with whom she wouldn't want to have sex in the first place.

 


"GOP Struggles To Define Its Message for 2006 Elections," by Dan Balz and Jonathan Weisman, The Washington Post, March 20, 2006; A01 --- Click Here

Every effort so far to produce such a platform has stumbled.

In January, Bush laid out a modest menu of ideas on health care and energy independence, but Congress has made little movement on them. Senior White House officials consulted with lawmakers earlier this year about jointly crafting an agenda that would allow Bush and Republicans in Congress -- both suffering from depressed public approval ratings -- to get off the defensive. A Republican familiar with the process said these discussions did not result in a consensus.

New House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has been wrestling with the same problem, so far without success.

The struggles reflect philosophical differences among competing factions within the party, but they also underscore the political consequences of holding power. Republicans insist they remain united around core principles of smaller government, lower taxes and a strong national defense, but can no longer agree on how to implement that philosophy and are squabbling over their delivery on those commitments.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said the root of the problem is a failure of Washington Republicans to stick to principles, saying that his party risks losing power because it has done "a pretty poor job" of executing its small-government philosophy. "Republicans just need to take stock, go back and realize that the American people elected them because of their principles, and when you do not adhere to those principles, the American people are just as likely to turn you out and choose someone else."

Continued in article


Jensen Comment
The Republican Contract With America is serious political reform that makes sense to me. It's too bad more Republican politicians will not support it where and when it counts --- 
http://www.house.gov/house/Contract/CONTRACT.html

 

 




The Accoona Super Target search engine is at http://www.accoona.com/
That being said, Accoona looks, at first glance, not much different than other search engines — including Google itself. Its bare-bones initial interface follows the same design: A central search field with buttons that let you search the entire Web or confine your search to news or business sources. Searching On Scott I started with a general Web search on "Scott Joplin" on Accoona and Google, and found quite a bit of disparity in the results (112,393 for Accoona and 4,130,000 for Google). When I did a search on the phrase "mp3 players," I got similar results: Accoona came up with 6,031,343 results, while Google boasted 187,000,000. Quite frankly, while I appreciated Google's higher numbers, that alone wouldn't have made Google my preferred search engine — how many people go past the fifth page of results, anyway? There was also some variation in which sites came up in what order, but again, there were no really important differences. Interestingly, I found Accoona's results page easier to read; Google has added so much advertising — plus news links — on top of its listing that it's gotten a bit difficult to find where my actual results begin. Accoona's results page was much cleaner; the results were headed only by a "Tell me about Mp3 players" link that led to a definitions page. Of course, when/if Accoona succeeds in attracting advertising, that could change radically.
Barbara Krasnoff, "Accoona: A New Google Alternative? The latest search engine to hit the Web, Accoona offers additional business info and a nice filtering ability. But is that enough? InternetWeek, March 20, 2006 ---  http://internetweek.cmp.com/handson/183700172

A good place to start if you're looking for something http://www.melissadata.com/Lookups/
(Addresses, People, Zip Codes, Maps, etc.)

Google (Shopping) Catalogs --- http://catalogs.google.com/cathp

Yahoo (Shopping) Catalogs --- http://snipurl.com/YahooCatalogs

O'Keefe Accounting Library Searches http://library.sau.edu/bestinfo/Majors/Accnt/accindex.htm

Fee Based Google Specialized Services (including an enterprise-level search appliance)
Google Inc. added two beefier Minis to its line of business search appliances.
The Mountain View, Calif.company said Minis are now available with capacities of 200,000 documents and 300,000 documents for $5,995 and $8,995, respectively. The new versions were in addition to the current 100,000-document appliance that sells for $2,995. Google also sells an enterprise-level appliance that can search up to 15 million documents. The device starts at $30,000 for searching up to 500,000 documents.
Antone Gonsalves, "Google Unveils Two Search Appliances," InternetWeek, January 12, 2006 --- http://www.internetweek.cmp.com/showArticle.jhtml?sssdmh=dm4.163237&articleId=175804113

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

Academics should remember that Google Scholar greatly narrows down the search hits --- http://scholar.google.com/


Holland launches the immigrant quiz
The U.S. just admitted 3,000 Muslims in one block from Russia
What do you think would happen if we applied a topless-woman test to each immigrant in the U.S.?

TWO MEN kissing in a park and a topless woman bather are featured in a film that will be shown to would-be immigrants to the Netherlands. The reactions of applicants — including Muslims — will be examined to see whether they are able to accept the country’s liberal attitudes. From this Wednesday, the DVD — which also shows the often crime-ridden ghettos where poorer immigrants might end up living — will form part of an entrance test, in Dutch, covering the language and culture of Holland.
Nicola Smith, "Holland launches the immigrant quiz," London Times, March 12, 2006 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0%2C%2C2089-2081496%2C00.html
Jensen Comment: 
Seems like this test will increase the number of male immigration applicants from outside the Muslim world. Where are Holland's feminists in all this?


Typical Diversity in Academe:  Preaching to the Choir
Members of Amnesty International and Students for Social Justice gathered in the Welles-Brown Room on Wednesday night to listen to three UR professors chair a panel on the current war in Iraq. If they need three profs to chair a panel, it must be because they want a variety of viewpoints--left, middle and right--right? No, of course not. It's left, left and left. But the funniest participant was the philosopher.

Opinion Journal, March 9, 2006

"Professors speak against war," by: Matt Majarian, Campus Times, March 3, 3006 --- Click Here

After introductions and applause for each member of the panel, Holmes took the microphone to address the assembled audience and chastise the U.S. Government.

"We are in violation of international law in the actions that we are taking," Holmes said. "In having attacked Iraq and overthrown its government, we have committed the same violations of the U.N. Charter for which we killed many Nazis."

Too bad there wasn't a historian on the panel to point out that Nazi Germany had fallen by the time the U.N. Charter came in to existence.
Opinion Journal, March 9, 2006

Jensen Comment
Is it bad we "killed so many Nazis?" And if it had been in violation of a U.N. Charter, should we have waited for the an insane mass murderer to control all of Europe and to exterminate millions more Jews, homosexuals, and others deemed genetically undesirable among the master Aryan race? To this we might add that Hitler was also working on WMDs that may well have given him the early-on power to rule the entire planet and to exterminate all people of color, including the despised Jessie Owens. Following the World War I fiasco, going off to another one of Europe's wars was not a popular idea in the United States in the late 1930s and early 1940s. President Roosevelt secretly got the U.S. deeply involved without legislative approval. I doubt that he would have paid the least bit of attention to U.N. objections.


Seeing is not believing, at least not after visiting the following site

Computational Visual Cognition Laboratory at MIT --- http://cvcl.mit.edu/gallery.htm

The Computational Visual Cognition Laboratory is part of the Perceptual Science Group, in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. CVCL is a new research laboratory at MIT and is currently located in the 4th floor of the NE-20 Building, above the MIT COOP, in the Kendall Square area of Cambridge, MA.

Our research program concerns the investigation of high-level human cognition and more particularly real world scene understanding. Scenes are 3-dimensional complex structures composed of a variety of objects, textures, colors, materials and spatial layouts. Yet, we understand novel scenes quickly and effortlessly. In the laboratory, we approach the scene understanding problem from a computational stance (e.g., what are the statistics in natural images that are relevant for perception and categorization? How can we model scene categorization?); a brain imaging approach (e.g., what are the neural correlates of scene and space recognition?); and a behavioral viewpoint (e.g., how well do humans recognize scenes under various perceptual conditions and task constraints?).

Our current activities investigate the psychological, formal and neural substrates of the representation of visual complexity and visual simplicity in the context of real world scenes; the representation of spatial envelope and spatial layout; the relations between image statistic descriptors and the conceptual representation of scenes and objects; the perception and modeling of higher-level scene attributes; the mechanisms of scene recognition in brief glances (gist) as well as mechanisms of attentional deployment in complex scene. These research topics bring together disciplines such as perceptual science, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, photography, architecture and interior design, image processing and computer graphics.

Students and visitors in the lab have the opportunity to be trained in computational, brain imaging and perceptual/cognitive aspects of a visual science topic, as well as collaborating with researchers in the Boston area (BCS department, CSAIL, Psychology Department at Harvard, Boston University, the Visual Attention Lab at Harvard Medical School).

Facilities in the lab includes Dell and Macintosh workstations, 3-D stereo equipments, eyetracker, panoramic screen. Behavioral experiments, data analysis and modeling are all based in Matlab.


US navy, 'pirates' clash off Somalia
On March 15, the UN Security Council encouraged naval forces operating off Somalia to take action against suspected piracy. Pirate attacks against aid ships have hindered UN efforts to provide relief to the victims of a severe drought in the area. The pirate raids are part of the anarchy wracking Somalia, which has had no effective government since 1991, when warlords ousted a dictatorship and then turned on each other.
"US navy, 'pirates' clash off Somalia," Al Jazeera, March 19, 2006 --- Click Here

Twelve suspects, including the wounded, were taken into custody after the early morning gun battle , said Lt Cmdr. Charlie Brown, spokesman for the US navy's 5th Fleet, on Sunday.

The nationalities and identifications of the suspected pirates were unknown.

The shootout early on Saturday ensued after the navy ships, patrolling the area as part of a Dutch-led coalition task force, spotted the suspect 30-foot-long fishing boat towing smaller skiffs and prepared to board and inspect the vessels, Brown told The Associated Press.

A statement from the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said the suspected pirates were holding what appeared to be rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

When the suspects began shooting, naval gunners on the US ships returned fire with mounted machine guns, killing one man and igniting a fire on the vessel.

Field treatment

Three suspects were seriously wounded and being treated on one of the navy ships, Brown said. A Dutch navy medical team was en route aboard the HNLMS Amsterdam. No US sailors were injured in the gun battle.

Pirate attacks surged to 35 last year from two in 2004 (File pic)

The navy boarding teams confiscated an RPG launcher and automatic weapons, the statement said.

The navy said the incident involving the Norfolk, Virgina-based USS Cape St. George and USS Gonzalez occurred at about 5:40 am local time, approximately 25 nautical miles off the Somali coast in international waters.

The International Maritime Organisation has warned ships to stay away from the Somali coast because of pirate attacks, which surged to 35 last year from two in 2004.

Continued in article

Also see http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49338


Harvard Study Critical of Pro-Israel Lobby in the U.S.
A new study, claiming that the pro-Israel lobby in America caused the United States to skew its Middle East policy in favor of Israel, is stirring controversy in the pro and anti-Israel communities in the US. The 81-page report, written by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt for the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, argues that the pro-Israel lobby in the US managed to convince American lawmakers, officials and US public opinion to support Israel, even though this support runs counter to America's own national interests.
Nathan Guttman, "Study: AIPAC works against US interests," Jerusalem Post, March 19, 2006 --- Click Here

For a highly critical review see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HarvardDavidDuke.htm

The American Association of University Professors in February postponed an international conference on academic boycotts that was scheduled to take place that month in Italy. Both the participant list for the invitation-only session and the materials distributed for the session had come under fire. AAUP officials defended the invite list (which was criticized as anti-Israel by some) and apologized for including in conference packets an anti-Semitic article published in a magazine affiliated with Holocaust deniers . . .
Scott Jaschik, "AAUP Calls Off Boycott Conference," Inside Higher Ed, March 21, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/03/21/aaup

But in a letter sent last week to conference participants, association leaders said that they could not go ahead with the conference. The organizers wanted to hold the conference with the original invitees, but realized, the letter said, that such a course of action would “reactivate opposition that has proved too severe to enable us to go forward.” So instead, no conference will be held, but written comments prepared by the invitees for the meeting will be published by the AAUP in Academe, its magazine.

The idea behind the conference grew out of debates over a movement last year by Britain’s main faculty union to boycott two Israeli universities. The AAUP and many other academic groups criticized the boycott as antithetical to academic freedom and the boycott was eventually rescinded. In the wake of that controversy, the AAUP started drafting a statement about academic boycotts (strongly opposing them) and organizing the conference, which was to have been held at Bellagio, in Italy, where 22 scholars from around the world were to have gathered to discuss academic boycotts.

Criticism of the conference initially focused on those 22 scholars, a number of whom were active in the movement in Britain to boycott the Israeli universities. The critics said it didn’t make sense for a conference trying to outline an intellectual viewpoint against boycotts to include prominent supporters of just the kinds of boycotts it was trying to discourage. AAUP officials, however, defended the invitations, saying it was appropriate to talk to all parties.

Privately, some backers of the conference characterized the controversy as primarily the result of pro-Israel activists working to discredit the meeting. While some pro-Israeli scholars spoke out against the conference, others who questioned the way the conference was organized are in fact critical of the government there and are not involved in pro-Israel activism.

The letter announcing that the conference would not be held at all defended the original invitation list and said it would be wrong to alter the list now.

“Opposition to the conference as originally planned, from those who claimed it focused unduly and unfairly on the Middle East, was intense even prior to our inadvertent and careless inclusion of a paper from an anti-Semitic Web site. Our error, though quickly discovered and corrected by us, was then effectively cited by those, within and without the association, who urged postponement and reorganization,” last week’s letter from the AAUP said. “This view persists. But to hold the conference with a significantly revised set of participants, as critics suggest, would unfairly exclude some previously scheduled participants. Moreover, altering the list of participants in order to pacify our critics would imply that we had come to accept their arguments about the direction and composition of the conference. We have not.”

By publishing the thoughts of conference invitees in Academe, the letter said, along with an explanation of why the conference was designed as it was, organizers hope to fulfill some of their original goals. “Our goal then and now is a full and frank exchange of views,” the letter said.


House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has never been known as the brightest bulb in Congressional chandelier, but with her seniority she often is a difficult obstacle for Republicans. She faces a difficult challenge of representing the most liberal anti-business and anti-war district in the United States.

Why then has Nancy suddenly become the darling of the Editorial Page of The Wall Street Journal?

"Two Cheers for Nancy Pelosi," by Mallory Factor, The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2006, Page A9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114264532108001981.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Have America's entrepreneurs and corporate leaders found a new voice of regulatory sanity in, of all people, Nancy Pelosi? Apparently so, and that should be a wake-up call to Republicans -- because like everything else in the free market, the free enterprise agenda is up for grabs. In the recent "Innovation Agenda" that the House Democratic leader and her party unveiled, Ms. Pelosi acknowledges specifically the need to "ensure Sarbanes-Oxley requirements are not overly burdensome," and endorses reform. Meanwhile, the scourge of Wall Street, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, is criticizing Sarbanes-Oxley's "unbelievable burden on small companies" and its possible role in "preventing some initial public offerings."

Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats have been quicker to recognize what many traditional champions of free enterprise have been slow to see: the law's disastrous consequences for our nation's ability to compete. Congress passed this law hastily in 2002 after the egregious accounting frauds at Enron and WorldCom. The intent was to hold publicly held companies and their executives more accountable and weed out bad actors; but that's not been the effect. Four years after passage, it is now evident that the costs of Sarbox clearly outweigh the benefits.

Consider first the costs. Recent estimates from the American Electronic Association, for example, show that U.S. companies are spending $35 billion annually simply to comply with the law as opposed to original federal estimates of $1.2 billion. A University of Nebraska study found that audit fees for Fortune 1000 companies, on average, increased a staggering 103% from 2003 to 2004. The costs of being a U.S. public company are now more than triple what they were before the law passed, according to a study conducted by the Milwaukee-based law firm of Foley & Lardner. Some smaller firms report that they are spending 300% more on Sarbox compliance than on health care for their employees.

Based on a growing body of theoretical and empirical research, the SEC's Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies concluded that Sarbox places a disproportionate compliance burden on small public companies, making it more difficult for them to compete with foreign companies and to a lesser extent with larger U.S. companies. Consider the survey by the American Electronics Association, which found that companies with sales of $100 million and under are spending 2.6% of their revenues on Sarbox compliance -- enough to tip many of them from profitability into unprofitability. This makes it something of a challenge for these companies to innovate, compete or grow -- or even survive.

As a result of these burdensome costs, enterprises are deciding not to go public, or else are opting to back out of our capital markets. Explaining his company's absorption into privately held Koch Industries, Peter Correll, the CEO of Georgia-Pacific, said, "There is a lot of time spent by top management on things that are not value-adding, but are simply bureaucratic and are required by a raft of regulation." In fact, the Foley & Lardner study found that 20% of public companies are considering going private just to avoid Sarbox compliance. It's no wonder, then, that the London Stock Exchange -- eager to exploit a competitive advantage -- now promotes itself by reminding companies that by listing on the LSE they are not subject to Sarbox.

Beyond the direct cost of compliance to individual companies, a recent University of Rochester study concluded that the total effect of the law has reduced the stock value of American companies by $1.4 trillion. That is $1.4 trillion that could be invested in infrastructure improvements, jobs, innovative technologies or research and development. As Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy says, Sarbanes-Oxley throws "buckets of sand into the gears of the market economy."

The true beneficiaries of Sarbox are the nation's large auditing firms, which now maintain a regulatory oligarchy composed of a handful of entrenched services corporations. They will continue to champion Sarbox, since it provides a guaranteed market for their services. Surely this law was not intended by its authors to become a full employment act for the same auditing industry which was implicated in the original malfeasance of four or five years ago.

Continued in editorial

Bob Jensen's threads on auditing reforms are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm


Question
Can you really run Windows XP on a Mac that runs on an Intel processor?

The answer is yes, but you must be a geek to do it.

"Apparent Proof of XP on Intel Mac," Wired News, March 15, 2006 --- http://blog.wired.com/cultofmac/


Apparent Proof of XP on Intel Mac Mac on Intel has provided a link to a video that appears to show the full procedure for installing, booting and using Windows XP on an Intel Mac by narf2006. The contest sponsors are still testing the procedure now.

You can see the video here or here. It's fairly convincing stuff. The only possible way I can think to fake this would be if they got into the iMac's internals and connected its screen to an outside computer. I haven't messed with a current-generation iMac, but it was certainly possible back when it came in colors. If real, this is a pretty astounding accomplishment, given that Microsoft won't be supporting EFI for years.

This comes on the same day that two readers of MacWindows reported about their experiences with Q, the cocoa-based port of QEMU, on their Intel Macs. Apparently, Win XP SP1 and 98 run pretty darn well. Yes, you read that right.

"Mac Runs Both Windows XP, Mac OS X:  A pair of Californians figured out a way to dual-boot an Intel Mac with both Mac OS X and Windows XP, winning a $14,000 prize. But the technique isn't for beginners," by Gregg Keizer, Information Week, March 16, 2006 --- http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=183700267 

 

After I retire I intend to shift to a Mac largely because of the enormous protections it has against viruses, spyware, etc. relative to infection-prone Windows operating systems.  However, in recommending this for everybody, there are some special considerations.

Walt Mossberg provides some help in this regard.  Especially note his last paragraph!!!
From The Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2005; Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112795300004055314,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Q:
I am considering switching to a Mac. However, I have hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of software for my PC. Are the new G5 Macs capable of running PC software?

A:
When you contemplate a switch to the Mac, you have to separate the concept of your data, or files, from the concept of the programs, or software, you currently use to display, edit or play that data on your Windows PC. The Macintosh, out of the box and unmodified, won't run your current Windows programs. But it will almost certainly handle all of your data using different software or programs designed for the Macintosh. And most of that Macintosh software is free.

For instance, if you have photos on your Windows PC in the common "JPG" format, which almost all digital cameras produce, you may be viewing them in the "My Pictures" folder in Windows, or by using a program like Adobe Photoshop Album. This folder and this program don't work on the Mac. But, if you copy those pictures to a new Mac, you can view and edit them in iPhoto, an excellent -- and free -- photo program that comes on every Mac, and which I regard as better than the Windows photo programs in its category.

The Mac doesn't run the Windows version of Microsoft Office. But all of your Office documents can be viewed and edited, and new ones created, if you buy the Mac version of Microsoft Office. Even if you don't, the Mac can read and edit Microsoft Word files out of the box. It can also open and create PDF files without downloading or purchasing any software from Adobe.

In fact, for all of the types of files commonly used by mainstream Windows users, the Mac is able to handle them through its own programs that are generally better than their Windows counterparts. And most of these programs, except for Microsoft Office for the Mac, are free on every new Mac.

Still, if you insist on running Windows programs on a Mac, because you strongly prefer them, or there isn't a Mac equivalent, you can modify a Mac to do so. You do this by buying and installing a $250 program made by Microsoft called Virtual PC for the Mac. It creates a virtual Windows PC inside your Mac that runs alongside the Mac operating system.

However, I don't recommend relying heavily on Virtual PC for daily use, because it is slower than a regular Windows PC, even on a very fast Mac; and it can also open you up to Windows viruses and spyware that normally have no effect on a Mac.

Walt Mossberg's answer to transferring PC files to a Mac computer, The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2005; Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/mossberg_mailbox.html

Q: I know the Macintosh can handle most common types of files used on Windows computers. But my question is more basic: if I switch to a Mac from Windows, how do I physically transfer my files?

A: If you buy your new Mac at an Apple store, Apple will do this job, or part of it, free. According to the Apple Web site, you can just bring the two computers to the store, and a "Genius" -- Apple's name for a tech support person in its stores -- will move all the files in any folder you choose on your Windows machine onto your new Mac. Presumably, this would include the My Documents folder, which contains most of the data files on most Windows PCs. The "Genius" will also do this for $50 for people who bought their Macs elsewhere. There is some fine print to this deal. For details, see: www.apple.com/switch/howto/genius.html.

Jensen Comment
Maybe you should just keep your old PC computers for your PC files.  Mac is a a safer computer for Web surfing since it is highly spyware and virus resistant, but when you want to work in Excel or some other MS Office product, turn to your old PC.

If you switch to a Mac, a must book is Mac OS X: The Missing Manual by David Pogue http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0596000820/002-3743809-1628824?v=glance 

This book explains how to translate what you liked to do in Windows into how to do the same things on a Mac. Watch for any updated versions by David Pogue.  He's a great tech analyst.


Newspapers discover creative destruction
There's no question the industry has been subjected to a great deal of competitive pressure over the past decade or so, with promises of more to come as the Internet and wireless technology transform the way Americans receive news and information. And newspaper companies have struggled with how to handle these changes to their readers' habits and their revenue models. Those of us who preach the benefits of creative destruction for everyone else are now getting to live the experience, and it isn't always fun.
"The Future in Black and White:  Newspapers discover creative destruction," The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008087
Jensen Comment
Because newspapers hire thousands upon thousands of reporters around the world, they are the main source of the news that gets re-reported in radio, television, and blogs. A huge number of those reporters are now being laid off. The extent of coverage can only go down hill as our primary discovery system goes down the tubes with the "black and whites."


From the Arab Press:  Muslim reactions far exceeds the crime
But what followed was a PR disaster. Some sympathy for the Muslim world was lost, because what followed (violent demonstrations) was a classic example of the punishment far exceeding the crime, and that is true for both sides of the equation. What followed involved the Muslim version of the man-on-the-street participating in excess. Many were hurt. Many were killed. Many were arrested in the violent riots. During the first week of February, two people were killed as protesters assailed the US airbase at Bagram, although the US was not involved with the images of Muhammad.
Sandy Shanks, "February was a bleak month for moderates," Al Jazeera, March 12, 2006 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E09D421F-5B8D-4100-A5B6-CD83ABC3D2A5.htm
 

Was Picasso a plagiarist and a thief?
He was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century and also one of the most controversial. And now, 33 years after his death, the first significant exhibition of Pablo Picasso's work in South Africa has provoked a furious row after a senior government official accused him of stealing the work of African artists to boost his "flagging talent" . . . In a letter to a local newspaper, Sandile Memela, the department's head of communications, wrote: "Today the truth is on display that Picasso would not have been the renowned creative genius he was if he did not steal and re-adapt the work of 'anonymous [African] artists'."
Stephen Bevan, "Picasso 'stole the work of African artists'," London Telegraph, March 3, 2006 --- http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/03/12/wpablo12.xml


Microsoft's new gadget:  All hype and no hope
The most interesting thing about Origami is how Microsoft manipulated bloggers and journalists into hyping it. Far from the Transformer gadget hinted at (Eight toys in one! Changes from iPod to camcorder to computer and back!), the device is just a small Tablet PC. And Microsoft's only actual new product is a software suite intended to further dumb down Windows XP's user interface.Unveiled at CeBIT, the week-long festival of consumer tech and all-day drinking that has more booths than most shows have attendees, Origami is a category of devices officially called the "Ultra-Mobile PC." Like other Tablets, these are full PCs that have hard drives and run Windows XP, so they can run the same applications as any desktop or laptop. The only difference is that they're a bit smaller, with those at CeBIT measuring only 7 inches across.
Andy Dornan, InformationWeek Newsletter, March 13, 2006


The unfolding debit card scam that rocked Citibank this week is far from over, an analyst said Thursday as she called this first-time-ever mass theft of PINs "the worst consumer scam to date."
The scam has hit national banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Washington Mutual, as well as smaller banks, all of which have reissued debit cards in recent weeks, says a Gartner research vice president.
Gregg Keizer, "PIN Scandal 'Worst Hack Ever'; Citibank Only The Start,"
Information Week, March 9, 2006 --- http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=181502474

Bob Jensen's threads on ID theft are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#IdentityTheft



Red Faced H&R Block Admits to Errors on Its Own Tax Return: The Company Should've Gone to a CPA Firm
H&R Block Inc., which provides tax advice to millions of Americans, made an embarrassing confession on Thursday. It goofed on its own taxes. The company, which is in the middle of its make-or-break season preparing other people's tax returns, said it had underestimated its own "state effective income tax rate" in previous quarters -- meaning it owes another $32 million in back taxes. As a result, H&R Block said it would restate previously reported earnings going all the way back to 2004.
James Kelleher, "H&R Block Reports Tax Miscue, Lower Net, Cuts View," Reuters, February 24, 2006 --- http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticleSearch.aspx?storyID=109911+24-Feb-2006+RTRS&srch=block

The Unfolding Tax Frauds at H&R Block
"It's Taxing Times for H&R Block:  New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is suing the tax preparer, alleging it fraudulently steered some customers toward a dubious IRA product. It's the latest travail to hit the company," by Adrienne Carter, Business Week, March 16, 2006 --- Click Here

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has set his sights on a new corporate target: H&R Block (HRB ). On Mar. 15, Spitzer, who has previously taken on the mutual-fund and insurance industries, filed a $250 million suit against the nation's No. 1 tax preparer over what he says are money-losing IRA accounts.

The complaint alleges that the Kansas City (Mo.)-based company fraudulently pushed hundreds of thousands of largely low-income clients into its Express IRA product. These tax-deferred individual retirement accounts are typically used by investors to help save for retirement (see BW Online, 2/16/06, "Life Without a 401(k)"). But Spitzer charges that the H&R Block accounts were "virtually guaranteed" to lose money for most contributors.

H&R Block refuted the allegation, saying the Express IRA helped more than a half-million Americans save.

SHRINKING ACCOUNTS?  "The conduct described in today's complaint is particularly appalling because many of those hardest hit were working families who struggle to save," Spitzer said in a news release. "Instead of providing these families with accurate information that would have allowed them to make informed choices, H&R Block steered them into retirement accounts that actually shrank over time."

In many cases, the suit claims, the fees charged by H&R Block exceeded the interest that clients were earning on their money. On top of a $15 setup fee, many investors were also charged a $15 recontribution fee for additional investments and a $10 annual maintenance fee. At the same time, the money was invested in an interest-earning money-market account.

According to the company, such accounts earned between 0.8% and 1% from January, 2003 through early 2005. H&R Block says it upped the interest rate to 3% in January, 2006, following three rate hikes in the previous year. It says it has also eliminated the recontribution fee.

"PROUD OF THE OPPORTUNITIES."  One client highlighted in Spitzer's complaint opened an Express IRA account in 2002 with $300 -- the minimum contribution. Over that period, the investor reports paying $45 in fees and earning $10.29 in interest. "The investment lost 12% of its value and will continue to decline," the suit charges.

H&R Block CEO and Chairman Mark Ernst said in a statement that the company will "fight vigorously to defend" the product. Its Express IRA accounts, he says, have helped clients save more than $360 million and realize tax benefits north of $50 million. H&R Block also asserts that its interest rates are in line with competitors and offer advantages over similar products, like low minimum deposit requirements.


"Make no mistake -- we believe in the Express IRA product and are proud of the opportunities it presents for our clients," Ernst said. "At a time when the country's savings rate has declined to minus 0.7%, we've helped 596,000 of our clients begin saving for their future, and more than 40% of them had never saved before" (see BW Online, 3/10/06,
"More Feathers for Your Nest").

March 18, 2006 reply from Ronald Todd [rltodd@IX.NETCOM.COM]

From what I read it looked like the issue was an audit failure by  Price Waterhouse Coopers. It was not clear if the accounting error was uncovered by the company's employees or the successor auditor,  KPMG.

March 18, 2006 reply from Denny Beresford [DBeresfo@TERRY.UGA.EDU]

Professor Todd's comment raises an interesting issue. For most (if not all) of the restatements and often resulting reported material weakness in internal controls by public companies in recent years, the auditing firm failed to catch the problem the first time around. While I'm not privy to the H&R Block details, I am personally familiar with a couple of other situations. I've asked the accounting firms in question whether they would admit to a material weakness in internal control themselves because of not catching the problem in the first place. They looked at me like I was crazy because they obviously don't have to report under Section 404 themselves. But maybe they should!

Denny Beresford
University of Georgia

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

Bob Jensen's taxation helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation


Red Faced GM delays annual report because of accounting "errors"
Note mention of GM's argument with its auditors (Deloitte)
Also note the historical reference to fraud fighter Abe Briloff

"Now G.M. Has Woes on Audits ," by Floyd Norris, The New York Times, March 18, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/18/business/18place.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

There was a time when General Motors was seen as the paragon of financial quality. Its bonds were rated triple A, and it was known for the most conservative accounting. Let other companies use liberal accounting rules to make results look better; G.M. did not need such things.

The announcement late Thursday that General Motors would revise profit figures for every year of this decade, and would have to restate the 2005 earnings it had already reported, shows how far the icon has fallen. Less than a year after it lost its investment-grade bond rating, its bonds are viewed as middling even among junk bonds.

"You have to question what controls are in place," said Charles W. Mulford, an accounting professor at Georgia Tech. "When companies like G.M. are profitable, there is not a need to engage in aggressive accounting. What we are seeing now is a pattern of very aggressive accounting that took them well beyond the limits of generally accepted accounting principles."

. . .

At one hearing, G.M. told the accounting rule makers that it should not be required to follow revised pension accounting rules because they conflicted with its union contract. The rule makers were unimpressed. Today, G.M.'s generous pension policies are one reason it is in trouble.

In 1984 and 1986, when it made two major acquisitions, buying Electronic Data Systems and Hughes Aircraft, it used tracking stock, which it invented. Those shares were supposed to trade based on profits of the acquired subsidiaries. Abraham Briloff, an accounting professor at Baruch College, complained that G.M. was overstating those profits because they ignored good will charges, but G.M. made no changes.

Then in 1987, G.M. decided that it had been too conservative in evaluating the useful lives of many of its assets. By stretching out the depreciation of the assets, it increased pretax profits that year by more than $1 billion. But a few years later, it had to write down the value of many assets.

The latest announcement, coming just when G.M. had planned to file its annual report, seemed to indicate that the company may have been in an argument with its auditors from Deloitte & Touche. It cited consultations with Deloitte as a reason for one change. A Deloitte spokeswoman declined to comment.

Some of the changes may also have reflected changes at the top of the company. In December, G.M. announced that John M. Devine, who had been chief financial officer since 2001, would step aside and be succeeded in January by Frederick Henderson, who had been running the company's European operations. That move came weeks after the company said it had uncovered accounting errors that would be detailed in the annual report.

While the changes will raise its stated loss for 2005 by $2 billion, those additional losses do not affect cash flow and attracted less attention than the issue that was new, and that the company said had delayed the filing of its annual report.

"GM Board Seeks Probe of Mistakes In Bookkeeping:  Last-Minute Error at GMAC Caught Directors by Surprise; Share Price Drops Nearly 5%," by Monica Langley and Lee Hawkins Jr., The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2006; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114261055772101341.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

The board of General Motors Corp. called for an investigation into the cause of newly uncovered accounting errors that forced the troubled auto maker to delay filing its annual report and could postpone a critical sale of part or all of its financing arm, said people familiar with the matter.

During a hastily scheduled conference call Friday morning, directors expressed displeasure over the last-minute filing delay to Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, who was calling in from Asia, and to Chief Financial Officer Frederick "Fritz" Henderson, these people said.

Philip Laskawy, the director in charge of the audit committee, asked for an analysis of the last-minute problem. Jerome B. York, the newly elected board member who represents billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, GM's largest shareholder, followed up by pushing for an in-depth review of what GM would do to fix its accounting problems.

Mr. Wagoner said little during the meeting and did not offer an explanation for the accounting issue or the delay, these people said. The directors' questions were answered by Mr. Henderson. Mr. Henderson, who just took over as CFO this year, told the board he hoped to have preliminary answers next week.

The unusual meeting came just hours after the late Thursday announcement in which GM said it had to delay filing its 10-K report to the Securities and Exchange Commission after discovering the accounting errors by a residential mortgage business owned by its finance arm, General Motors Acceptance Corp.

GM, which already faces an SEC probe into its accounting practices, also disclosed that its 10-K report, when filed, will outline a series of accounting mistakes that will force the car maker to restate its earnings from 2000 to the first quarter of 2005. GM also said it was widening by $2 billion the loss it reported for 2005.

GM shares sank 4.9% to $21.13 in 4 p.m. composite trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange on news of its latest setback. In recent months the company has been struggling amid poor demand for its vehicles in North America and high labor and other costs.

Continued in article


Jury Rigged -- Scam: Don't fall for it!

Forwarded by Paula

Checked with Snopes to verify authenticity....it is true.

Most of us take those summonses for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of scam has surfaced. Fall for it and your identity could be stolen, reports CBS News.

In this con, someone calls pretending to be a court official who threateningly says a warrant has been issued for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Sometimes they even ask for credit card numbers. Give out any of this information and bingo! Your identity just got stolen. The scam has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois, and Colorado. This (scam) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try and bully people into giving information by pretending they're with the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their websites, warning consumers about the fraud.

Check it out here: http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/juryduty.asp 

Bob Jensen's scam alerts are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudreporting.htm#Fraud%20Alerts


Ford's Credit Rating:  From the top of the junk pile to deeper into the junk
Fitch Ratings cut the credit ratings of Ford Motor Co. deeper into junk territory, saying Ford's financial woes could soon be exacerbated by the troubles of companies in its supplier base.
Lee Hawkins, Jr., and Simona Covel, "Ford's Credit Rating Is Cut Further:  Financial Woes of Suppliers Spur Fitch Into Deepening Auto Maker's 'Junk' Status," The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2006; Page C4 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114227153408296752.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing


Possible answers to your questions about back pain

"Your Questions on Back Pain," NPR, March 8, 2006 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5252993


Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/


Indoor Tanning Warning Video from PhysOrg --- http://video.physorg.com/?channel=Your+Health&clipid=71675


"Cancer Breathalyzer:  SUNY researchers are working on a small, easy-to-use disease detector," by Prachi Patel-Predd, MIT's Technology Review, March 20, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16612,306,p1.html


"A Fast and Simple Cocaine Detector:  New biosensors could provide an inexpensive and portable way to detect everything from drugs to signs of cancer," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, March 10, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16580,306,p1.html


From NPR
Barbara Kafka, Lending Veggies a Little 'Love' (new recipes),
NPR, March 18, 2006  ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5287273

Also see "Cheers to Cooking with Beer" --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5259877

The Great Family Cookbook Project ---  http://www.familycookbookproject.com/
 


Wires connect the brain directly to the computer

"'Mental typewriter' that can read minds, at high-tech fair," PhysOrg, March 10, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news11619.html

A computerized typewriter that can read minds was on display at the giant CeBIT high-tech fair Friday, touted as a potential tool to help patients incapacitated by injury or disease to communicate again.

Prototypes of the "mental typewriter", developed by computer scientists from Germany's renowned Fraunhofer Institute and neurology specialists from Berlin's Charite Hospital, made their public debut at the event.

Two subjects wearing a sort of leather swimming cap covered with a web of wires that were linked to a computer in front of them tested out the invention before CeBIT crowds.

While their bodies remained perfectly still, both men imagined movements that were then played out on the screen, one of the developers behind the project, Klaus-Robert Mueller of the Fraunhofer Institute, told AFP.

Without either of the men moving a muscle, the cursor on the screen began to float, letters eventually appeared and sentences formed.

"They imagined they were putting a ball in their left hand or the right, or that they were moving a door with one of their feet or shooting a goal," Mueller explained.

Each mental movement triggered an adjustment of the cursor on the screen, and prompted the selection of letters by process of elimination.

The experience is time-consuming at several minutes per sentence. But it works.

The swimming cap is equipped with sensors -- 64 or 128 according to the model -- that like an EEG machine permit the measurement of brain activity.

The brain's electrical signals are transmitted by wire to the computer which can read them and transform them into commands.

The doctors on the team applied their "physiological knowledge of which movement provokes which reaction in which part of the brain," while the computer scientists converted that information into algorithms, neurology professor Gabriel Curio of the Charite Hospital explained.

Continued in article


Sex at the World Cup matches
During the month-long tournament more than one million spectators, mostly men, as well as thousands of prostitutes are expected to descend upon Germany. Some Cup host cities have built "sex huts" or "sex garages" to keep brothels centrally located, policed and out of the main public thoroughfares. Mr. Frattini's suggestion was met with praise from some women's groups but criticism from a trio of female MEPs. "We need action against the smugglers behind the forced prostitution of women -- not even more discrimination against women," Germany's Lissy Gröner, Italy's Pia Locatelli and Austria's Christa Prets told Agence France-Presse in a joint statement.
"Frattini's Offside," The Wall Street Journal,  March 10, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114193941824793996.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


Question
Who should be blamed for the EU's slow economic growth?

"The ECB's Wasted Youth," by Robert M. Dunn, Jr., The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114193989198694004.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

Is it fair to blame the bankers in Frankfurt? Economic growth in the economic and monetary union (EMU) countries has averaged 1.3% in the seven years of the bloc's operation; particularly disappointing have been Germany, France and Italy. Unemployment has averaged 8.7% across the bloc during this period; again the largest three economies are among the poorest performers. Inflation has been a success, averaging only 2.1% since 1998.

Although the ECB is mandated to care only about inflation, the bloc's record as a whole reflects in part its management of the economy. One way to judge the bank is to compare the performance of EMU countries with Sweden, the United Kingdom and Denmark, the three EU members (before the 2004 enlargement) that are not members of the monetary bloc.

Sweden had average economic growth of 2.7% during the seven years of EMU, more than double the rate of the euro-zone countries. Unemployment averaged 5.7%, less than two-thirds of the EMU average. Inflation was 1.4%, also considerably better. Denmark's 1.5% yearly growth and unemployment at 5%, with inflation at 2.2%, compare favorably. The U.K., too, is a standout: 2.5% growth and a 5% jobless rate. As a group, these three countries expanded by 2.2% in any given year and kept unemployment at 5.3%, which is about the level in the U.S. Inflation for the three averaged 2%, on par with the monetary union. So, on this comparison, the EMU's record isn't all that good.

Many people argue that "blaming" the ECB for this state of economic affairs in its member countries is unfair. The euro zone is dominated by Germany, France and Italy, whose very high taxes and a repressive regulatory climate, particularly in regard to labor markets, retard growth. But the problem is that Denmark and Sweden are hardly low-tax or soft regulatory jurisdictions, and the United Kingdom is only modestly more favorable. So the taxation and regulatory climate is an unlikely source of the differences in economic performance data.

Continued in article


"Dangerous Stalemate in Iraq," by Donald L. Horowitz, The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2006; Page A18 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114230051555097275.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
(Not to be confused with David Horowitz)

The early part of this article is not quoted here

On the Kurdish-Sunni-secular side, it needs to be recognized that denying the Shiites plurality of a first-among-equals position in government is a very bad idea. It is not only of dubious democratic legitimacy: More importantly, an anti-UIA coalition risks explosive violence that will put Iraq on the road to disaster -- to years of strife, or secession and territorial partition, or even to internationalized Sunni-Shiite warfare that can embroil the whole region. Responsible people on both sides of this new divide have to step back from their maximum demands, lest pursuing them place every party and group in dire jeopardy. Likewise, if the U.S. entertains any notion that supporting an anti-UIA coalition provides a convenient way to exclude Iranian influence from Iraq, attractive though that notion may be, the costs of indulging such an idea will be far too high to contemplate.

Finally, thought should be given to the proportional representation (PR) electoral system that, in combination with the Kurdish defection, produced the impasse. List-system PR is the preferred electoral system of many international advisers helping in the creation of transitional institutions. In Iraq's first elections, it might have been hard, though not impossible, to choose another system; and other systems might also have produced inconclusive results in the recent elections. But some systems would have offered a chance of a more definitive electoral outcome, and might have been preferred. A protracted interregnum in which armed gangs go about their gory business while statesmanship is in hiding should not be anyone's idea of a reasonable transition to democracy.

Mr. Horowitz, professor of law and political science at Duke, is author of "The Deadly Ethnic Riot" (University of California, 2001).


Certified Bookkeepers
In previous years I've had tidbits about the credential "Certified Bookkeepers" and tried to restrain the urge to make green eyeshade jokes, because this is a serious organization. It turns out that the American Institute of Certified Bookkeepers is having high growth and success --- http://www.aipb.org/

Survey of Certified Bookkeepers (CBs) released. A 2005 survey of Certified Bookkeepers (CBs) found that
 
  • 97% of CBs recommend certification:
  • 41% of CBs have been promoted and/or gotten a new job as a result of becoming certified; and
  • 56% of freelance CBs say certification brought new clients and 33% used certification to raise their rates.

For details, see the 2005 Survey of CBs.

 

From Accounting Education News on March 8, 2006 ---
http://accountingeducation.com/index.cfm?page=newsdetails&id=142451
SMALL BUSINESS FINANCE: CERTIFIED BOOKKEEPERS REPLACING MBAS
Source: American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers
Country: United States
Date: 08/03/2006
Contributor: Andrew Priest W
eb: http://www.aipb.org/ 

The transformation of bookkeeping into a certified profession has given small business virtual CFOs that are less costly than MBAs -- and better trained for what today's small company needs according to the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers.

More importantly, Certified Bookkeepers (CBs) have passed a national examination on two key subjects not taught in any business school: First, payroll, which was originally ignored by business schools because it consisted of handing out checks, but has become the single most complex financial task for every company of every size and is still ignored out of academic snobbery; and second, internal controls and fraud prevention, another subject given short shrift in academia, according to Steve Sahlein, Co-President of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), the national association and certifying body for bookkeepers.

To become certified, a bookkeeper must pass a national exam in six subjects, including preparation of the books for the financial statements and tax return, payroll, error correction (includes bank reconciliation), depreciation for financial and tax purposes, recording and costing out inventory, internal controls, and fraud prevention. Certification also requires two years' experience in bookkeeping, signing a code of ethics, and ongoing continuing professional education. Over 150 colleges and universities now offer courses to prepare bookkeepers for the national exam, which includes two exams at Prometric Test Centers nationwide.

"A key responsibility of the company CFO is financial recordkeeping, an area in which CBs are truly experts," says Sahlein.

Kelly Ritts, CB, says certification brought her major responsibilities and ended up making her a virtual CFO with a $10,000 increase in her salary. "I'm now the chief financial person for a 54-employee organization, responsible for all financials," she says.

The distributorship at which Ms. D. Janssen, CB works, encouraged her to become certified and now, says Janssen, "if they're unsure about how to book a transaction, they ask me instead of calling our accountant."

Anita J. Green, CB, in the four-person accounting department of Mid-City Supply Co., Elkhart, IN, reports that "the owners now regularly seek my input on important decisions involving capital improvements, lease-purchase decisions, the timing of new asset purchases, and how to treat various expenditures."

The U.S. Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms this trend, predicting that demand for these super-charged bookkeepers is expected to increase "as they are called upon to do much of the work of accountants. Those with several years of accounting or bookkeeper certification will have the best job prospects." (Occupational Outlook Handbook)

This prediction has already come true, according to a survey of Certified Bookkeepers by Lewis & Clark Research, Raleigh, NC, which found that upon certification, 41% of CBs got a new job or a promotion and another 32% got a raise.

Bob Jensen's threads on accountancy careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers


Wired News Compares High Definition TV and Other Products ---
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.03/play.html?pg=11

About Hybrid Vehicles --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70346-0.html?tw=wn_index_23


Facebook profiles and online discussions of the three students charged with Alabama church fires
The Birmingham News examined the Facebook profiles and online discussions of the three students who were charged last week with a series of arson attacks on Alabama churches. The article portrays a world in which the students boasted of their drinking and other partying exploits.
Inside Higher Ed, March 14, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/03/14/qt

The controversial, albeit popular, Facebook site is at http://www.facebook.com/


Free pass to the "most comprehensive online research storehouse"
It's a lofty ambition -- the Internet equivalent of nonprofit public television: a user-supported resource that pays top academics to create authoritative maps, articles, and links to third-party content related to virtually any scholarly topic. But the vast scope of the project hasn't stopped former high-flying Silicon Valley entrepreneur Joe Firmage from building Digital Universe, a commercial-free storehouse of information four years in the making.
"A Free Online Encyclopedia:  Digital Universe, a nonprofit website, aims to be the most comprehensive online research storehouse," MIT's Technology Review, March 6, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/TR/wtr_16512,323,p1.html

Bob Jensen's previous links to the Digital Universe are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm

The Digital Universe site is at http://www.digitaluniverse.net/

Of course never forget the open sharing encyclopedia blockbuster at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

And then if you want to know who stuff really works, go to http://www.howstuffworks.com/


Question
What is Boxxet (box set) and why might it be the next big thing when searching on the Web in your discipline?

At the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego this week, a new software application was introduced, called Boxxet (pronounced "box set"), which allows online interest groups to form by aggregating content from users, instead of the more traditional way of networking around a person or event.The software is meant to build communities by allowing users to gather and rate search information. It operates on the assumption that in a group of 100 people, at least three will rate items for relevance. Boxxet won't be available to the public for another couple of months, but free invitations to try it out are available on their website.The software is meant to build communities by allowing users to gather and rate search information. It operates on the assumption that in a group of 100 people, at least three will rate items for relevance. Boxxet won't be available to the public for another couple of months, but free invitations to try it out are available on their website.Conference organizer Tim O'Reilly, who cited Boxxet in his keynote address, says he's big on the company because it solves a fundamental issue with social software. "The problem with social networks is they're artificial -- they aren't 'your' network," he says. "Boxxet is an infrastructure to let you develop your own social network."
Michael Fitzgerald, "Beyond Google: Collective Searching A new kind of search engine could make the act of Web searching more sociable," MIT's Technology Review, March 9, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16526,258,p1.html

Beyond Google with Specialized Search Engines
Instead of trawling through billions of Web pages to find results, the way the big engines do, vertical engines limit their searches to industry-specific sites. And they usually serve up lists of actual things -- such as houses for sale or open jobs -- instead of links to pages where you might find them. So you spend less time skimming through irrelevant links to find what you want. On top of that, the sites let you filter the results by factors such as salary, price or location. "Often, a specialized database can take you directly" to the most useful information and save you time, says Gary Price, news editor of the Search Engine Watch site. "Every useful result can't be in the first few results from a major Web engine, and that's where most people look."
Kevin J. Delaney, "Beyond Google:  Yes, there are other search engines. And some may even work better for you," The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2005; Page R1 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113459260842822579.html?mod=todays_us_the_journal_report

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


Cut 10 years off your retirement
Headline of an advertisement in WorldNetDaily on March 8, 2006
Jensen Comment
On the face of it, this headline can be taken in a number of ways. One way is early death at your desk. This alternative doesn't exactly appeal to me. Another way is to keep on working beyond retirement age. --- in other words just don't leave when people when your colleagues wish you would leave.

Questions
What can happen without a means of retiring old professors who've become dysfunctional to the system?
What's the meaning of "nice-to-see-you" dance?

But he isn’t. He is just going as far as his office, down the corridor. He opens the door, but not before looking around to see if any student is roaming the corridor. If there is no student, he just gets in and leaves the door open. If a student is in sight, my colleague, Dr. X, will drop his suitcase to the floor in front of his office, and walk straight to the student and establish what I have come to call “the ‘nice-to-see-you’ dance.”
M. Douglas, "The Un-Retiring," Inside Higher Ed, March 7, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/03/07/douglas


In terms of desertion rates, the Iraq War is not at all like Viet Nam

"8,000 desert during Iraq war,"  by Bill Nichols, USA Today, March 8, 2006 --- http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-03-07-deserters_x.htm

"The last thing they want is for people to think ... that this is like Vietnam," says Tod Ensign, head of Citizen Soldier, an anti-war group that offers legal aid to deserters.

Desertion numbers have dropped since 9/11. The Army, Navy and Air Force reported 7,978 desertions in 2001, compared with 3,456 in 2005. The Marine Corps showed 1,603 Marines in desertion status in 2001. That had declined by 148 in 2005.

The desertion rate was much higher during the Vietnam era. The Army saw a high of 33,094 deserters in 1971 — 3.4% of the Army force. But there was a draft and the active-duty force was 2.7 million.

Desertions in 2005 represent 0.24% of the 1.4 million U.S. forces.

Continued in article


"A German Scandal," The Wall Street Journal,  March 8, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114176714588191780.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Here are some recent headlines from Germany: "Berlin sponsors Sudan trade show" and "German firms involved in Iran's nuclear program."

Naturally these stories about Germany doing business with an African regime busy carrying out a genocide in Darfur or helping the mullahs get the bomb should illicit attention or outrage even? Please.

The only "scandal" these days is the story that German spies allegedly helped the U.S. in the run-up to the Iraq war. The New York Times reported last week that a German liaison officer based at U.S. Central Command in Qatar passed on Saddam Hussein's defense plans to the U.S. The information was gathered by two other German agents in Iraq. Germany's foreign intelligence service confirmed that one of its agents worked -- with government approval -- with the U.S. military but said the information that he provided "had no relevant military value."

No matter. The media is "shocked" and so is the opposition, ranging from some Liberals to the far left and the Greens. The Green rage isn't even tempered by the likelihood that Übergreenie Joschka Fischer, foreign minister at the time, would have approved the German-American cooperation. If true, that's the real news.

German commentators who today accuse the previous anti-war government of hypocrisy would seem to deserve even stronger censure. Their argument, in essence, is that Germany should have sat on information that may have shortened the war and saved allied soldiers as well as Iraqi troops and civilians. The real scandal would be if the inquiry that the German parliament is bound to open soon were to reveal that Germans withheld intelligence from their most important NATO ally.

Sensible Germans should hope that Berlin had a slightly more active role than previously thought. That will look far better on the historical record than the previous supposition that Germany played a role in shielding the butcher of Baghdad from the fate he so clearly deserved. And it might help ameliorate revulsion at those headlines proclaiming that Germans today are still conducting business as usual with other odious regimes.

Continued in article


Question
In round numbers, how much money does TIAA/CREF currently Manage?

In his new role, Mr. Evans will be responsible for developing TIAA-CREF's investment products and for oversight of the company's more than $370 billion in combined assets under management. TIAA-CREF Asset Management combines the company's investment-management capabilities with sales, product-development and support-service resources. "Working more efficiently as a single business unit to produce TIAA-CREF brand asset-management products that meet the needs of our clients is the goal of creating this distinct business area with TIAA-CREF," Mr. Evans said in a prepared statement. "By integrating investments with the business side of asset management, we can be more flexible and responsive to our customers' long-term investing needs."
Arden Dale, "TIAA-CREF Realigns Asset Group: Investment Team Is Merged With Business Operations; Evans Tapped to Lead Unit," The Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2006; Page C15 ---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114178777130192205.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing


Question
Why is the U.S. is the world's most successful economy?
Your TIAA/CREF retirement fund depends upon its continued (albeit fragile) success)!

"The Business of History," by Louis P. Galambos, The Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2006; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114170261911791150.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

What did you learn about business in the history courses you took in your college or university? Not much, I suspect. Not if you're thinking about the kind of business you do every day, the company you work for, and the people with whom you work. You may have learned a bit about the Robber Barons of the late 19th century. Or the antitrust cases of the 20th century, the business frauds uncovered by the Great Depression of the 1930s, or, if you were really lucky, the insider trading of the 1980s.

What you wouldn't have learned is how the U.S. became the world's leading industrial power in the late 19th century, and why the nation has been able, through the following decades, to keep its position as the world's most successful economy. Ever! Through scandals, depressions, wars and great waves of international competition -- through the first, second and third industrial revolutions -- the American business system has remained flexible, efficient and, above all, innovative.

That story -- one that weaves together bankruptcies, frauds, booms and busts with stunning breakthroughs and ultimate success -- should have a central role in American history, and that's the challenge that makes it exciting to write the history of American business. That's what I decided almost 50 years ago. I'm still excited about it today.

It's not always an easy field for serious scholarship. You can't just truck off to the National Archives or the Library of Congress and find the documents you need to write a reliable account of business strategies, structures, decisions and operations, or their impact on the American or the world economy. The National Archives and the Library of Congress have wonderful resources. But very often the business historian needs to work with a company or an individual executive to get access to essential records and opportunities for interviews.

When you do move inside business, you can get tangled in some very sticky problems. You may run into a vice president who is convinced that business is all about the present and the future, not the past. The skeptical VP will probably roll out an appropriate cliché -- perhaps quoting Henry Ford, "History is bunk." Or, the skeptic may tell you that "Hindsight is 20-20," an empty idea that ignores the simple fact that all evaluations of performance, whether of a CEO or a foreman on the shop floor, are based on past performance. That is, on the history of the individual and the organization. If Henry Ford had really thought about the history of his organization and similar businesses, he might have avoided pushing his great enterprise to the edge of bankruptcy in the late 1920s. He could have learned a great deal about the Ford Motor Company's distinctive culture and strategy from its history, and maybe even understood why General Motors was driving Ford to the wall. Much later, Henry Ford II learned those lessons and pulled the company off the path to failure.

So it's not an easy task to write business history from the inside out. You can, for instance, get stuck in corporate infighting that doesn't really interest you. You can run into a legal department that senses risk in every sentence and wants to cross out every word that isn't one of the corporate platitudes that abound in annual reports. If you're not successful in negotiating these hazards, you may find your finished work tucked in a drawer. Forever. That can be a fatal blow to an assistant professor striving to get tenure (and they all strive for tenure).

There are other, more subtle problems in writing business history. For one thing, you probably won't have anyone to talk to in your history department. The academy -- unlike the country -- is overwhelmingly liberal or left/radical and most faculty members don't really want to understand any aspect of business. That's why the history course you took may have mounted a critique of the "consumer culture," attacking capitalism because it's so productive of the goods and services that people want. Does that now seem absurd? Of course! But this clever line of reasoning enabled the professoriate to be just as negative about a business system that was successful as they were about one that was mired in depression. This was the academic version of Catch-22.

My personal response to being ignored was to organize an Institute for Applied Economics and the Study of Business Enterprise so that the two or three of us at Johns Hopkins who are really interested in the world of business can invite speakers and generate a regional dialogue that involves General Electric as well as Enron, that pays as much attention to IBM when it floated to the top of the industry as when it was sinking. The institute explores the unending American effort to balance the need for innovation and efficiency with the powerful desire of all societies for equity and economic security. The best sign that our political economy has done a good job of achieving this balance is that very few of us are completely happy with the outcome. Democratic capitalism works because it generates compromises and facilitates change.

How much change? Well, 50 years ago, the world was swinging sharply toward state-owned enterprise and centrally controlled economies. President Eisenhower was worried that the U.S. might soon have no trading partners, no allies dedicated to democracy or capitalism. Today, the world has swung just as decisively toward democracy and the sort of market-oriented enterprises that are the big muscles in all of the developed economies, including the U.S. The performance of business -- from giant multinational corporations to tiny start-ups -- has had a great deal to do with that transformation and business historians have, I'm convinced, helped us understand that essential aspect of our history. I'm pleased by what we have learned about business. I'm looking forward to what the next generation of business historians will tell us about the new global economy of the information age.

Mr. Galambos, a professor at Johns Hopkins and the Maguire Professor at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, is the author, with Roy Vagelos, of "Medicine, Science, and Merck" (Cambridge, 2004).

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of fraud in America are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm

 


"Berkeley Prof Who Teaches Appreciation of Business," by Ian Lebby, The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2006, Page A17 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114282636515402769.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

While I do not dispute the message of the opening paragraphs of Louis P. Galambos's "The Business of History" (see above) that business history -- as taught at elite universities -- is heavily left-wing and does not appreciate what went into making our economy the most successful in the history of the world, I would like to present evidence to the contrary from a seemingly unlikely place.

As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, I took two classes with Prof. Richard Abrams, one discussing the rise of the modern industrial state and another on post-1940 U.S. history. In these classes, I was introduced to Alfred Chandler's notions of the "captains of industry" and "managerial capitalism" as well as Mr. Galambos's own writings on the corporate commonwealth and the disastrous macroeconomic policy decisions of the 1970s. Far from being the left-wing ideologue that many would assume a Berkeley history professor to be, Prof. Abrams teaches his students to appreciate, not denegrate, the contributions of businessmen and corporations in the storied history of the United States. It is that appreciation of economic and business history that built the foundation upon which I developed as a thinker, as a voter, and as an avid reader of The Wall Street Journal, to which Prof. Abrams inspired me to subscribe.


New Treatments Show Promise for Type I Diabetics
For the first time, researchers are closing in on ways to prevent or at least limit the devastating effects of type 1 diabetes. By using new treatments, including drugs normally given to organ-transplant patients, doctors hope to stem the progress of the disease -- in which the body's own immune system destroys its ability to produce insulin, leading to serious and potentially fatal complications. If proven effective, the new therapies could offer one of the first major advances in treatment since injectable insulin was first made available in 1922, researchers say.
Betsy McKay, "New Treatments Show Promise for Some Diabetics:  Researchers Focus on Drugs That Affect Immune System To Slow Type 1 Diabetes," The Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2006; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114166940848490570.html?mod=todays_europe_marketplace


From IAS Plus on March 10, 2006 --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm

World Congress of Accounting Educators 2006
The 10th World Congress of Accounting Educators will be held on 9-11 November 2006 in Istanbul, Turkey, immediately preceding the 17th World Congress of Accountants in the same city. The theme of the educators' Congress is Challenges and Developments in International Accounting Education and Research. Congress organisers have invited submissions of papers in the following areas:
 
  • Financial Accounting
  • Information Systems and Computer Auditing
  • Auditing and Internal Auditing
  • Ethics in Accounting Education
  • Financial Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Taxation
  • Accounting History
  • Performance Measurement
  • Public Sector and Nonprofit Accounting
  • Accounting Education and Training
  • Social and Environmental Accounting
  • International Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Click to download the Call for Papers (PDF 171k). Submission deadline is 30 April 2006. Go: Website.

     


    Why isn't their more liberal media protesting of Muslim rapes of unveiled women?
    A Muslim rape epidemic in sweeping over Europe -- and over many other nations host to immigrants from the Islamic world. The direct connection between the rapes and Islam is irrefutable, as Muslims are significantly overrepresented among convicted rapists and rape suspects. The Muslim perpetrators themselves boast that there crime is justified since their victims were, among other things, not properly veiled. What is the psychology here? What is the significance of this epidemic? And how do we face it when our own feminists, with a few exceptions, are deafingly silent about it?
    Jamie Glazov, "Symposium: To Rape an Unveiled Woman," FrontPageMagazine, March 7, 2006 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21502

    The Koran and the Kafir
    The chapter on the Koran and Moslem women gives us some idea on Islam's injunctions on Moslem women. They should cover their bodies from head to foot. Khomeini's Iran forces the women to go under the 'chador'. They must not go outside to work where other men might see them. They may not be rulers or judges in an Islamic state. Women lawyers are frowned upon in today's Pakistan which is an Islamic state. But such regulations are valid for Moslem women only. The non-Moslem or kafir women are to be handled differently, as the Islamic codes are not birding on them. The kafir women are considered to be the property of Moslems; they are their 'slaves'' and the wife or daughter of a 'zimmi' can be molested by a Moslem with impunity in a Moslem state ruled by the 'Sharia' or Islamic jurisprudence. The idea comes from the treatment meted out to kafir women who were captured in the battlefield. The first fifth of all booty went to the prophet or the caliph or whoever happened to hold the position of the amir-ul-mominin. It could be the Moslem king of the land or even a petty chieftain. This so called leader 'examined' all booty, inspected and sometimes 'felt' by touching it. The women, all of them were paraded in front of the leader, naked or scantily clad, so that the leader could make his choice. These women were NOT brought in front of the 'amir-ulmominin' dressed in 'chadors'. It was thus that the prophet himself used to inspect his captives and chose Rehana and Juwairiya' both Jewish women whose male relatives were all killed by the Moslems. Juwairiya eventually gave up her religion and married the prophet and became one of the ten or eleven wives of his harem. Rehana was a courageous lady and she did not give up her Jewish faith and so was turned into a concubine of the prophet. She thus took her place on the side of Mary, another slave woman, and a Christian, who after Khadija gave birth to a male child fathered by the prophet.

    "The Koran and the Kafir," by A. Ghosh --- http://islamreview.org/KoranKafir/chapter11.html

    Controversial video initially aired in the Arab media by Al Jazeera ---
    http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2006/tidbits060306.htm#Video
     


    Can Islamic Law pre-empt local law?

    Not in Australia
    "Three Cheers for Australia!" Australian Email, March 7, 2006 ---
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1591687/posts

    Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

    A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown.

    Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament.

    "If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," he said on national television.

    "I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said.

    Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country.

    Continued in article


    Progress for women often takes small steps at a time
    Women from across the Middle East have gathered in Dubai to mark International Women's Day and recognise women's achievements in the region. On Tuesday, in the first of a two-day event, the Middle East Businesswomen & Leaders Achievement Awards will promote regional women's leadership and honour outstanding leaders. The event, now in its eighth year, is held annually on 8 March to commemorate International Women's Day.
    Indlieb Farazi, "Dubai event to honour Arab women," Al Jazeera, March 7, 2006 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D8855688-11C1-495C-BA9D-B9C4E01D6D00.htm



    Hackers Can't Hack Into a Mac
    Another chapter has unfolded in the never-ending debate over the security of the Mac. Apple Computer's stylish Mac mini has survived a hack-my-Mac challenge launched by a senior systems engineer at the University of Wisconsin. With little more than boasting rights for a prize would be hackers over 38 hours made 4,000 log-in attempts and two denial-of-service attacks. But despite all that hard work, they failed miserably at piercing the armor of the fully patched computer.
    Antone Gonsalves, "Mac Passes The Test," InternetWeek Newsletter, March 9, 2006

    Also see http://www.internetweek.cmp.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=181502125


    In a First, Iraq Executes 13 Insurgents
    BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq hanged 13 insurgents Thursday, marking the first time militants have been executed in the country since the U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein nearly three years ago, the government said. The Cabinet announcement listed the name of only one of those hanged, Shukair Farid, a former policeman in the northern city of Mosul, who allegedly confessed that he had worked with Syrian foreign fighters to enlist fellow Iraqis to carry out assassinations against police and civilians.
    "In a First, Iraq Executes 13 Insurgents," Yahoo News, March 9, 2006 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/iraq_execution
     


    The MacBook Pro is better than the PowerBook and better than the H-P

    "MacBook Pro Offers Promising Start to Era Of Intel-Powered Apple," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal,  March 2, 2006; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/personal_technology.html

    I am writing these words on a sleek, fast laptop computer powered by an Intel processor. But unlike the vast majority of Intel-powered laptops, this machine isn't running Microsoft Windows. It's the latest Macintosh laptop from Apple Computer, and the first Apple portable to run on Intel processors. Like all Apple computers, it uses the company's excellent Mac OS X operating system instead of Windows.

    The new laptop, called a MacBook Pro, is the successor to Apple's PowerBook models, and at first glance, it looks just like a PowerBook. But the MacBook Pro is quite different, and not merely because it uses a modern, dual-core Intel chip instead of the aging G4 processor its predecessor used.

    I've been testing the MacBook Pro and comparing it to both a late-model PowerBook and a roughly similar Windows laptop, the new H-P Pavilion dv5000t. All three machines have 15-inch-wide screen displays.

    My verdict: The MacBook Pro is better than the PowerBook and better than the H-P, though it has some drawbacks. It is faster than previous Apple laptops, but the speedup isn't as great as Apple's claims suggest. At a starting price of $1,999, the same as the PowerBook it replaces, the MacBook Pro costs more than the H-P. But in my opinion, the price premium is more than justified by its superior design and features.

    Apple is switching to Intel chips in hopes of getting greater speed at lower temperatures. It has rewritten its operating system and built-in software to run on the new Intel processors.

    But some important Mac software published by other companies, like the Mac version of Microsoft Office, won't be rewritten for awhile, so Apple has built in invisible translation software, which can slow things down. Despite this, the MacBook Pro seemed generally crisper than the PowerBook, with fewer spinning beach balls -- the icon Apple uses to indicate a delay.

    In my speed tests, the MacBook Pro beat the PowerBook at such tasks as importing photos and music, burning CDs, opening multiple Web sites and launching some programs. But most of the speed gains were slight, and even the biggest gains were nowhere near the 400% speed increases Apple claims. In a few tests, the MacBook Pro was actually slightly slower than the PowerBook.

    Continued in article

    "Review: Apple's First Intel-Based Notebook This senior AP writer found the MacBook to be an impressive machine all round," MIT's Technology Review, March 10, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/TR/wtr_16576,323,p1.html

    The Washington Post review of the MacBook is at --- Click Here


    ID Thefts in the Land of Porn (well maybe yes and maybe no)
    Stolen data on 17 million consumers who've made payments through the online billing service iBill is circulating among spammers and fraud artists, security experts say. Most victims were purchasers of online porn.

    "Porn Billing Leak Exposes Buyers," by Quinn Norton, "Porn Billing Leak Exposes Buyers," Wired News, March 9, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70356-0.html?tw=wn_index_2

    Seventeen million customers of the online payment service iBill have had their personal information released onto the internet, where it's been bought and sold in a black market made up of fraud artists and spammers, security experts say.

    The stolen data, examined by Wired News, includes names, phone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses and internet IP addresses. Other fields in the compromised databases appear to be logins and passwords, credit-card types and purchase amounts, but credit-card numbers are not included.

    The breach has broad privacy implications for the victims. Until it was brought low by legal and financial difficulties, iBill was a top credit-card processor for adult entertainment websites -- providing billing services for such outlets as DominaBDSM and Top-Nude.com.

    Continued in article

    Online payment company iBill on Thursday said a massive cache of stolen consumer data uncovered by security experts did not come from its database. "I'm the first person that would have taken this to the FBI and the first person to have gone on 60 Minutes to say 'we screwed up,' if that were the case," said iBill President Gary Spaniak Jr.
    Quinn Norton, "Porn Biller Says It Was Framed," Wired News, March 10, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70380-0.html?tw=wn_index_6

    The iBill home page is at http://www.ibill.com/


    Serious Belt Tightening at The New York Times: But the CEO Gets a Million Dollar Bonus
    Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr. apparently was given quite a chilly reception in his annual state-of-the-Times address yesterday. Newspaper Guild members have already had to give up their raises for the year to rescue their embattled healthcare coverage, and 500 employees are losing their jobs. Floyd Norris, a business columnist, was said by media blogs such as Gawker to be particularly intense in grilling Sulzberger on why he would not give back his hefty million-dollar bonus this year to save jobs. "He kept ducking [the question]," one Times insider told Ink. "It was lame, lame, lame." Sulzberger did not return a call for comment.
    Keith J. Kelly, "PINCH GRILLED BY TIMES STAFFERS," New York Post, March 8, 2006 --- http://www.nypost.com/business/64845.htm 
     


    Major breakthrough for producing cheaper hydrogen for fuel cells
    Among the many daunting challenges to replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen is how to make hydrogen cheaply in ways that don't pollute the environment. Splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity from energy sources such as wind turbines is one possibility -- but it's still far too expensive to be widely practical. Now researchers at GE say they've come up with a less expensive, easy-to-manufacture apparatus that can directly produce hydrogen via electrolysis for about $3 per kilogram -- a quantity roughly comparable to a gallon of gasoline -- down from today's $8 per kilogram. That could make it economically practical for future fuel-cell vehicles that run on hydrogen.
    David Talbot, "Cheap Hydrogen Fuel GE says its new machine could make the hydrogen economy affordable, by slashing the cost of water-splitting technology," MIT's Technology Review, March 9, 2006 ---
    http://www.technologyreview.com/BizTech/wtr_16523,295,p1.html

     


    You can order back issues or relevant links management and accounting books and journals from MAAW --- http://maaw.info/

    Free Access to Back Issues of The Accounting Review --- http://maaw.info/TheAccountingReview.htm 


    "Converting Quicken Files to a Mac," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal,  March 9, 2006; Page B3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114185773296892994.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

    Q: I am thinking of converting to an Apple machine, to replace my ancient Dell. However, all my financial records are in the Windows version of Quicken, and I need to keep using Quicken to have access to many years of records. I recall you writing earlier that Quicken was one of the products that didn't convert well to a Macintosh environment. Do you still feel that would be the case?

    A: There is a Macintosh version of Quicken. However, unlike most other software publishers, Intuit, the maker of Quicken, chose to create a Macintosh edition that is very different from its Windows product and uses a different file format. It is possible to convert Windows Quicken files to work on the Mac version, and some readers have reported it went well. But many more have reported problems with the process, which is very time-consuming and can be error-prone. Therefore, I regard Quicken on the Mac as best for somebody who is starting fresh with financial software, and can't recommend it for somebody like you, who is converting from the Windows version.

    As an alternative, you could keep around your old Windows PC for using Quicken. Or, you could try a program called Moneydance (www.moneydance.com), which has compatible versions for both Windows and Mac, claims to be completely portable between platforms and claims to import Quicken data with ease. I haven't tested Moneydance and can't verify these claims, or say how it compares with Quicken. But there's a free trial available.

    Q: You suggested running anti-spyware and anti-virus scans nightly. Is there some way to arrange these to run automatically?

    A: Yes. Most such programs have a built-in scheduler where you can specify a frequency and a time of day -- say, every day at 4 a.m.

    Q: I transfer my home videos from a camcorder and burn them into CDs in the VCD format. My problem is that the video quality deteriorates significantly. The movie looks like an old home video. How do I improve the quality?

    A: It's difficult because of the format you are using. The VCD format was designed to squeeze large video files, which would normally require the capacity of a DVD disk, into the much smaller space available on a CD. To accomplish this, the format encodes the video at much lower quality than DVDs typically use. As a result, home videos on VCDs can look much worse than they do on camcorder tapes, or than they would if you burned them to DVD, in the format common on DVDs. So, if video quality is important to you, the best suggestion I have is to buy a DVD burner.


    Where have all the teachers gone?
    "Here's why," he said. "The public schools continue to be staffed by tens of thousands of very good people. Many, many of them are devoted, knowledgeable, and sincere Christians—and their influence is profound. Some of them are not so focused that way, but are rooted in a general Judeo-Christian tradition that offers cohesion to their society. "But little by little, and soon at an accelerating pace, those good people disappear from the scene. Some of them, just because of the passing of the years, retire. Others, wearied by the battle, step aside. The battles of discipline, of political correctness, of knowing just how far they can go in their Christian witness—those battles take their toll. "Such people," Mr. Lowrie concluded, "are like the mortar between the bricks in a big building. They hold it together. But take that mortar away, and first a wall collapses, then the roof, and then the whole building. It hasn't happened yet, but already you can see the cracks and the signs of future crumbling."
    Joel Belz, "Prophecy fulfilled Public education is crumbling because its mortar is disappearing," World Magazine, March 25, 2006 --- http://www.worldmag.com/articles/11649


    "Think solar not nuclear for the energy of the future, say UK scientists," PhysOrg, March 2, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news11367.html

    Challenging advocates of the nuclear option, researchers from Imperial College London argue in their Commentary article that photovoltaics, the direct conversion of sunlight to electricity, could match and exceed the nuclear industry's current output before any new reactor could begin operating.

    The UK currently generates 12 gigawatts of electricity from nuclear power stations, around one sixth of the country's total electricity output. This is the same amount of electricity that it is predicted Germany will generate through photovoltaics by 2012 if it continues to expand its solar energy programme at its present rate.

    The researchers write that the UK, which has a similar sunshine profile to Germany, could produce 12 gigawatts of solar electricity by 2023 if production is expanded by 40% per year, less than the world increase of 57% in 2004.

    However, in contrast to other developed countries, the UK has recently halted its programme of solar panel installation on 3,500 rooftops halfway through. This compares to the completed installation of 70,000 installations in Japan and 100,000 in Germany. Lead author Professor Keith Barnham of Imperial College London says:

    "The UK is clearly taking a very different decision to its industrial competitors and, I believe, a less sensible one. The sun is our largest sustainable energy source and the technology needed to tap into it is very simple. As research continues, this will become an increasingly cheap and efficient way of meeting our energy needs."

     


    Open the Iraq Files American spooks don't want to release Saddam's secret
    For example, if it hadn't been for the initiative of one Bill Tierney, we wouldn't know that Saddam Hussein had a habit of tape-recording meetings with top aides. The former U.N. weapons inspector and experienced Arabic translator recently went public with 12 hours (out of a reported total of 3,000) of recordings in which we hear Saddam discuss with the likes of Tariq Aziz the process of deceiving U.N. weapons inspectors and his view that Iraq's conflict with the U.S. didn't end with the first Gulf War.
    "Open the Iraq Files American spooks don't want to release Saddam's secrets.," The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008043

    But these tantalizing tidbits represent only a fraction of what's in U.S. possession. We hear still other documents expand significantly on our knowledge of Saddam's WMD ambitions (including more on the Niger-uranium connection) and his support for terrorism, right down to lists of potential targets in the U.S. and Europe. Former Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Perle accuses the DNI of "foolish restraint" on releasing information that could broaden understanding and bolster support for a war that is far from won. Representative Pete Hoekstra (R., Mich.) echoes that criticism. And after chatting with the Congressman and with someone we agreed to describe as a "senior intelligence official familiar with the program," we largely agree.

    The intelligence community has a point that some caution must be exercised. For example, the senior intelligence official pointed out, some documents describe in detail rapes and other abuses committed by Saddam's regime--details that could still haunt living victims in such an honor-bound society as Iraq. But while it would seem to make sense to screen the documents for such items--and perhaps terrorist recipes such as ricin--we still can't understand how that justifies the current pace and method of making information public.

    And our alarm bells really rang when the intelligence official added another category of information that's never slated to see the light of day: "We cannot release wholesale material that we can reasonably foresee will damage the national interest." Well, what exactly does that mean and who makes the call? The answer, apparently, is unaccountable analysts following State Department guidelines.

    But consider just one hypothetical: Is it in the "national interest" to reveal documents if they show that Jacques Chirac played a more substantial role in encouraging Saddam's intransigence than is already known? No doubt some Foggy Bottom types would say no. But we'd strongly disagree. The "national interest" exception is so broad and vague that it would end up being used to justify keeping secret the merely embarrassing.

    What's more, according to Mr. Hoekstra, the DNI release plans don't call for making any documents publicly available per se, but only through scholars in the manner of the West Point study. As he puts it, the decision to move everything through analysts and carefully chosen outsiders is an "analog" method in a "digital" age, when we could be calling on the interpretive wisdom of so many by putting much of it on the Internet.
     


    Italian Panel: Soviets Behind Pope Attack
    An Italian parliamentary commission concluded "beyond any reasonable doubt" that the Soviet Union was behind the 1981 attempt to kill Pope John Paul II — a theory long alleged but never proved, according to a draft report made available Thursday. The commission held that the pope was a danger to the Soviet bloc because of his support for the Solidarity labor movement in his native Poland. Solidarity was the first free trade union in communist eastern Europe. "This commission believes, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the leaders of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate the pope Karol Wojtyla," said a draft of the commission's report obtained by The Associated Press.
    Victor L. Simpson, "Italian Panel: Soviets Behind Pope Attack," Yahoo News, March 2, 2006 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060302/ap_on_re_eu/italy_john_paul_shooting
     


    The Hidden Army Of Radical Islam
    The Hidden Army Of Radical IslamSky News has obtained evidence of hundreds of radical Islamic Holy warriors hiding in Bosnia, a decade after the end of the war. Tim Marshall went to Zenica in search of answers. He found a growing radicalisation, and a new base for Al Qaeda.
    "The Hidden Army Of Radical Islam (with video)," SKY, March 6, 2006 --- http://www.sky.com/skynews/video/videoplayer/0,,91134-bosnia_p3705,00.html
     



    What Makes You Think Legislators Actually Read the Bills?
    As this book's foreword by PBS's political comic Mark Russell attests, its legislative political tales are not only instructive, they are hilarious. Retired California Sen. H.L. Richardson gives the down-and-dirty details of how most state -- and our national -- legislatures actually function. For most readers -- beyond the book's sheer entertainment -- it will be a real eye-opener and the beginning of political wisdom, regardless of one's political faith ... liberal, moderate, or conservative.
    H.L. Richardson, "What Makes You Think We Read the Bills?" ShopNetDaily, March 2, 2006 --- http://shop.wnd.com/store/item.asp?ITEM_ID=1426
     

    Just goes to show that there should've been more Texas Aggie consultants on Brokeback Mountain
    Aggies know how to treat their sheep with tender loving care
    "The excessively rough handling of the sheep and horses leaves viewers questioning whether anyone was looking out for the safety of those animals," wrote Marie Belew Wheatley, president of the group's film and television unit. "And many also wonder how the filmmakers got the elk to lose its footing and crumple to the ground 'on cue' after being shot. They ask if our safety protocols were in place to protect the animals during filming. The answer is: They were not."
    "'Brokeback' blasted by animal activists," WorldNetDaily, March 1, 2006 ---
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49066


    From The Washington Post on March 9, 2006

    What does Nielsen BuzzMetrics analyze to determine what consumers are most interested in?

    A. Audio from coffee shops
    B. Comments on Web logs
    C. Magazine-subscriptions renewals
    D. News channel talk-show topics


    Question
    Who are the highest paid undergraduates in their starting jobs?
     


    ACCOUNTING RATES SIXTH IN MAJORS WITH HIGHEST AVERAGE STARTING SALARY OFFERS
    Accounting Education News --- http://accountingeducation.com/index.cfm?page=newsdetails&id=142419

    Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers
    Country: United States
    Date: 27/02/2006
    Contributor: Andrew Priest
    Web: http://www.naceweb.org

     

    The following majors have the highest salaries paid to 2005-06 graduates (average salary offers are in parentheses): Chemical engineering ($55,900)

    • Computer engineering ($54,877)
    • Electrical/electronics and communications engineering, ($52,899)
    • Mechanical engineering ($50,672)
    • Computer science ($50,046)
    • Accounting ($45,723)
    • Economics/finance, including banking ($45,191)
    • Civil engineering ($44,999)
    • Business administration/management ($39,850)
    • Marketing/marketing management, including marketing research ($36,260)

    Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers
     


    Hurricane Digital Memory Bank: Preserving the Stories of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma --- http://hurricanearchive.org/ 
     


    NCAA began punishing colleges for their athletes’ academic failure
    For the first time in its history, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has begun punishing colleges for their athletes’ academic failure. The association announced Wednesday that 99 teams at 65 Division I colleges would forfeit at least part of an athletic scholarship in the next year because of academic underperformance by athletes. (The total could rise slightly because eight universities are still appealing proposed penalties.) Ninety of the affected teams are squads for men, and 61 of them are in the sports of football, men’s basketball or baseball. Several universities, including Florida A&M and New Mexico State Universities, and the Universities of Hawaii at Manoa and Toledo, had multiple teams punished.
    Doug Lederman, "Punished for Poor Progress," Inside Higher Ed, March 2, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/03/02/ncaa

    Bob Jensen's threads on controversies of athletics in universities are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Athletics
     


    "Sex: Why bother? Scientists probe evolutionary mysteries," PhysOrg, March 2, 2006 ---
    http://physorg.com/news11317.html

    What advantage did sex offer when it first appeared and why does sex persist in modern organisms, stopping them from becoming asexual again? One University of Houston professor thinks he may have uncovered some new clues in answering these questions.

    . . .

    These findings suggest a good news/bad news scenario when it comes to the evolutionary implications of sex. Sexual populations adapt better to their environments and become more resistant to harmful mutations, but these advantages are more likely to benefit our natural enemies.

    According to Azevedo, the issue is that there are many costs associated with sexual reproduction. First, sexually transmitted diseases are widespread in sexually reproducing populations, making sex risky. Second, there's the so-called "twofold cost of sex," such that if females carry most of the burden in mammalian sex, this appears to be true in evolutionary terms, as well. A mutant human female able to reproduce asexually and give birth to more females like her would give rise to a population with twice the reproductive rate per capita of the normal human population and would become dominant within a few centuries.

    While a switch to asexual reproduction is extremely unlikely to happen in humans due to a genetic quirk of mammals called genomic imprinting, asexuality can and has re-evolved many times in animals such as reptiles, fish and insects. However, despite its many costs, sexual reproduction is widespread and asexual populations tend to be relatively short lived in an evolutionary time scale.

    "Asexuality seems to be an evolutionary dead end," Azevedo said. "So sex must have its benefits."


    The U.S, Senate is Dancing Around Constraints to Lobbying That Might Really Work
    Tough new lobbying-disclosure requirements advanced in the Senate, but without a cornerstone provision for an independent public-integrity office to strengthen enforcement. In a blow to its bipartisan leadership, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 11-5 to reject the proposed office, which is aimed at adding investigative muscle and independence to Congress's ethics-committee structure.
    David Rogers, "Senators Strip Lobbying Bill Of Some Muscle," The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2006; Page A6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114132208594887767.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

     


    From The Washington Post on March 7, 2006

    Philadelphia is teaming up with what Internet provider to offer citywide high-speed wireless service?

    A. AOL
    B. EarthLink
    C. Juno
    D. Microsoft


    "Impeachment Proves Risky Political Issue: Some Democratic Activists Push Removing Bush From Office, But Mainstream Steers Clear," by Jeanne Cummings, The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2006; Page A4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114159845480489827.html?mod=politics_first_element_hs

    If Democratic candidate Tony Trupiano wins a Michigan House seat this fall, he pledges that one of his first acts will be to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush.

    That has earned Mr. Trupiano the endorsement of ImpeachPAC, a group of Democratic activists seeking to remove Mr. Bush from office. ImpeachPAC's Web site lists 14 candidates offering similar commitments, which are reminiscent of the Republican drive to oust former President Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

    But Mr. Trupiano's pledge hasn't much impressed Democratic Party leaders, who are keeping their distance from impeachment talk. They remember how the effort boomeranged on Republicans in the 1998 midterm elections, when Mr. Clinton's adversaries expected to gain House seats but lost ground instead.

    Continued in article


    Question
    What does ODF mean?

    "Software Hardball," by Scott McNealy, The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2006; Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114135713113288409.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

    In the larger scheme of things, barriers to exit are bad for the consumer. It means that in the long term we often end up paying more than we should and getting less innovation than we would on a level playing field. Companies should compete on the value their products provide, not on their ability to lock customers into a proprietary "standard." At this point, some people throw up their hands and say that's just the way of the world. Nothing we can do about it.

    Not so. There is now an open, international standard for common personal productivity applications -- spreadsheet, presentation and word-processing programs -- called the OpenDocument Format (ODF). Approved by an independent standards body, ODF has the backing of a broad community of supporters including consumer groups, academic institutions, a collection of library associations including the American Library Association, and many leading high-tech companies, but no single company owns it or controls it. (A "standard" created and controlled by a single company is not a true standard.) Any company can incorporate the OpenDocument Format into its products, free of charge, and tear down the barriers to exit.

    Imagine being able to open any email attachment, read it and make changes, even if you don't have the exact program it was created in. That's the kind of interoperability the OpenDocument Format is designed to foster.

    If this standard is to become a reality, we must insist on it. In the U.S., Massachusetts has been leading the way with a mandate that all software purchased by the commonwealth comply with ODF. Globally, 13 nations are considering adopting it. The reason is simple. The data belongs to the people, not to the software vendor that created the file format.

    Bob Jensen's technology glossary is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245gloss.htm
     


    Will telephone and cable companies be able to charge big servers on the Web like Google?
    Sen. Ron Wyden has fired the first legislative shot at telephone and cable companies battling Internet businesses over Net neutrality. The Democrat from Oregon has unveiled a bill that would prohibit network operators from charging companies for faster delivery of content to consumers. In addition, the proposal would prevent cable and telephone companies from favoring their own or partners' online video or other Internet content . . . But no matter how they phrase their reaction to Wyden's bill, both companies are facing an uphill battle in this debate. It's unlikely they're going to get away with charging content providers to use their networks, and discriminating against those who don't pay. However, I still believe cable and telephone companies are eventually going to charge more for the use of their networks that link the Internet to the home. AT&T says it's exploring "different product models to address the challenges" of Internet
    services requiring an increasing amount of bandwidth. My translation: the consumer is going to pay.
    Antone Gonsalves, "Net Neutrality Debate Heats Up," IntermetWeek Newsletter, March 3, 2006

    Also see http://www.internetweek.cmp.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=181500500
     


    Pew Institute for Ocean Science --- http://www.pewoceanscience.org


    Wisconsin resident assistants may once again have Bible study groups in dorms
    The University of Wisconsin announced a plan Wednesday that would allow resident assistants to hold Bible study meetings in their dormitory rooms. The plan was immediately praised by critics of the old policies in place on some Wisconsin campuses, which barred such meetings as an infringement on the separation of church and state, since the R.A.’s are state employees. But advocates for such separation accused the university of caving in to politicians who were portraying the university as having a “Bible ban.” (In fact, no one was ever banned from having Bibles or reading them, and only those who were employed in the dorms had any limits on group religious activities.)

    Scott Jaschik, "Wisconsin’s Battle of the Bible," InsideHigherEd, March 2, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/03/02/bible

    Zlxo see http://www.weau.com/home/headlines/2389596.html
     


    Question
    What happens when a union official actually becomes mayor?

    "Mugged by reality:  Progressive L.A. mayor bedeviled by unions," San Diego Union-Tribune, March 6, 2006 --- http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060306/news_mz1ed6bottom.html

    A fascinating and instructive saga is now playing out at Los Angeles City Hall. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa – a progressive Democrat who once worked as a teachers union organizer – is being forced to confront some unpleasant truths about the public employee unions that are his party's most loyal and influential supporters.

    Truth No. 1 is the implacable hostility of teachers unions to doing anything that would upset the discredited education status quo.

    Villaraigosa thinks many schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District are doing a disgraceful job, especially with minority students, and wants to become the latest big-city mayor to take control of schools and force through reforms. He is far from alone in thinking such a change is essential. After Villaraigosa took office in July, Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, introduced a bill to facilitate a mayoral takeover. Assembly Speaker Fabian NÚñez, D-Los Angeles, said in a phone interview last month that he would support Villaraigosa's push.

    But will the mayor get anywhere? Not if United Teachers Los Angeles and their toadies on the school board have anything to say about it. This servile relationship explains the stunning fact that 32,000 LAUSD retirees and 18,000 of their relatives have been guaranteed comprehensive lifetime health benefits, creating a $5 billion unfunded liability that puts the district – on top of all its other problems – on a collision course with bankruptcy.

    Now, as Villaraigosa tries to wrestle with a huge city budget deficit, he is confronted with Truth No. 2: In Los Angeles, as in much of California, the power of public employee unions is so pervasive that the preservation and enhancement of union members' pay and benefits appears to be the main goal of government.

    Last week, citing a “structural deficit” of at least $270 million in a $4 billion annual budget, Villaraigosa said profound changes had to be made. Translation: He will take a hard line in contract talks with firefighters, police and engineers.

    In response, various union officials lied (saying there was no budget crisis), advocated breaking the law (calling for the city to illegally divert money from its airport and harbor divisions) and threw hissy fits.

    Their arrogance is understandable. They know the City Council, which recently went along with five-year raises of up to 34 percent for Department of Water and Power employees, will protect them from Villaraigosa. And they simply don't care if their demands drive the city steadily toward fiscal ruin.

    Talk about a liberal being mugged by reality. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sacramento, Villaraigosa is realizing that in many ways he is the boss in name only.

    We wish him well. The Nixon-goes-to-China angle – that only a Democratic lawmaker can tame the public employee unions – makes sense. But the establishment of friendly relations between the United States and its communist enemy seems an easier task than overcoming unions' hammerlock on California politics.


    "A Lady's Lament:  Where have all the Hollywood hunks gone?" by Kimberly A. Strassel, The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2006 ---  http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110008039

    Where have all the tough guys gone? Really, it's enough to make you cry--that is, if all our leading men weren't already doing it for me. From its earliest days Hollywood has had a glorious tradition of punch-throwing, gun-toting, testosterone-oozing leading men, and the world has loved every one of them. James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, Sly Stallone, Mel Gibson, these were men. Some were strong and silent, some artisans of broken noses and busted rib cages, some villains, some heroes. But there was no doubt that they had a reason to walk with bowed legs.

    And today? These marvelous males have given way to a new generation of Hollywood consumptives, metrosexuals if you will, the most solid thing about whom are their perky cheekbones. Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Leo DiCaprio, Adrien Brody, Ashton (Ashton!) Kutcher. I make it a general rule to withhold my regard from any man I could bench-press on a feeble day, much less those who've never had need of a razor. If producers are wondering why box-office sales keep falling, they might consider that America wants something more from its men than pouty lips and foot-long eyelashes.

    Early cinema specialized in the supermasculine sort, providers and achievers and gangsters who were always in control. They were cool ("Here's looking at you, kid"), daring ("Made it, Ma! Top of the world!") and cocky ("Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"). Some were tough through their moral rectitude; think Jimmy Stewart. Others, like Cary Grant, made up for a lack of outright macho with wit, class and unbelievable suits. The 1950s brought about yet a new type of tough guy, heroes who specialized in fighting wars, protecting the innocent and getting the job done. They weren't "hunks" in today's sense of that word, but they didn't need to be. They had such presence that they didn't even need to speak. James Coburn had precisely 11 lines in "The Magnificent Seven," including such masterpieces as "You lost" and "Three." But if ever a Western has produced a tougher, more deadly gun-slinger and knife-hucker than "Britt," I'd like to know. By the 1960s and '70s, these tough guys had also discovered the value of props. Clint had his .44 Magnum. Steve had his Mustang GT 390. Sean had his martini.

    Starting about 1980, tough guys changed again. This was the beefcake era, and the guys were maniacs. Arnold Schwarzenegger terminated everything in sight. As near as I can figure, Mel Gibson, via "Braveheart" and "The Patriot," single-handedly killed off the entire English population. Sylvester Stallone sealed his career with characters named "Rocky," "Rambo" and "Cobra," for goodness' sake. None of this was highbrow film, but there was something wonderful about the brute strength. Even women came to appreciate the, ahem, upside to testosterone-flicks. I know girls who will admit that they own "Top Gun" for the sole purpose of watching the volleyball scene over and over.

    Sadly, reruns are about all we babe-loving women have these days. The new Hollywood man isn't noble or daring or silent or even beefy. He emotes. He is fragile and flawed. He is a 40-year-old virgin. He is a hobbit. Take a look at the guys who are up for Oscar nominations, and let's go immediately to the elephant in the room. Three--count 'em, three--are there for playing men who bat for the other team. Yes, yes, I loved both "Brokeback Mountain" and "Capote," but that's not the point.

    Continued in article


    "New Nukes in Europe:  Europeans are rethinking the merits of nuclear energy and whether to build new plants, says energy executive Lars Josefsson," by Peter Fairley, MIT's Technology Review, March 6, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BizTech/wtr_16510,296,p1.html


    A ray of hope for the new Internet Explorer
    Firefox may still be better at repelling spyware

    "Internet Explorer 7.0 makes waves," PhysOrg, March 1, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news11306.html

    After winning the browser wars and vanquishing its chief competitor, Netscape, the folks at Microsoft decided it was time to take a break from improving its industry standard browser. Without competition the company felt that there was no need to release any new updates. But an upstart open-source group funded in part by Mozilla (the same folks who originally created Netscape) created a new browser called "Firefox" that sparked the brand-new browser wars. While the folks at MS won't admit that Firefox spurred them into action, it's hard to deny that the new beta release of Internet Explorer 7.0 doesn't have more than a passing resemblance to the Firefox browser.

    "Microsoft welcomes competition because it drives innovation which benefits customers. That's a good thing," said a spokesperson for Microsoft. "Ultimately, customers will choose the browser that best meets their needs, and we are confident that most will continue to use Internet Explorer when they evaluate factors such as end-user functionality, site and application compatibility, developer extensibility, enterprise manageability, and security backed by the processes and engineering discipline employed by Microsoft."

    Maybe it's the new interface, or the fact that it's been over three years since the last major release of I.E., but the new version just "feels" different and fresh. It could be the idea that MS has finally added tabbed browsing to Explorer -- one of the key features that made me go with and stick with Firefox -- I always felt Explorer was the better browser, but I became addicted to my precious tabs. Another nice addition to I.E. 7.0 is it now handles bookmarks (or as I.E. calls it "favorites") the same way as Firefox does. Instead of exporting all of your bookmarks as individual folders, I.E. now places everything into a single html index file. Which can be imported into Firefox, and you can now import Firefox bookmarks into I.E., which makes moving between both browsers painfully simple.

    "I.E. 7.0 is the right product, though late in the market. This demonstrates Microsoft's approach to the Internet browser market as being more laid back and reactionary rather than leading the development of new features," said Razvan Neagu, president and chief executive officer of KOMOTION Inc., developer of Web Gallery Wizard.

    One of the major complaints about I.E. has been its lack of compliance with Web standards, part of the problem is, as stated before, it's been three or four years since there was a major release of I.E. And in that time Web development standards have progressed exponentially. While playing around with I.E., I noticed that some Web sites didn't display properly in the new release, while they displayed perfectly fine in the current version. I'm hoping against hope that these are isolated incidents and not a sign of the future, and an indication that 7.0 still has a way to go to be completely standards based.

    A spokesperson for Microsoft said "The IE7 beta 2 preview for Windows XP, which was released to Windows XP testers on 1/31, is considered feature complete. We do however expect to continue development work based on tester feedback and expect to do additional design work and enhancements to application compatibility and fit and finish. At this point we are targeting to release the final product in the second half of 2006."

    Another main draw of the new version of I.E. is all of the new built in security features, starting with its new anti "phishing" filter. The new trend in e-mail spam is for scam artists to create fake websites that resemble popular sites like eBay, PayPal, etc. in attempt to get users to submit their personal account information. I.E. 7.0 anti-phishing filter successfully warned and blocked these sites from showing up. While this is a fantastic new feature, it has a major drawback, the validity of Web sites appears based on whether or not a site has a valid SSL Certificate or not, and you would be surprised at the number of websites that don't have these certifications. Eventually, I had to deactivate the filter, although you can change the settings in the tools menu.

    "IE's top priority is security. While we made great progress with support for CSS 2.0, we knew that we would have to trade off full compatibility with CSS 2.0 for additional work on security," added the Microsoft spokesperson. "We will not pass CSS 2.0, but certainly will evaluate doing that in the future."

    Other new security features include ActiveX Opt-In. This is a malware protection feature that disables nearly all pre-installed ActiveX Controls, and helps prevent potentially vulnerable controls from being exposed to attack. Users can easily enable or disable ActiveX Controls as needed through the Information Bar and the Add-on Manager. Cross-domain script barriers. This feature limits the ability of Web page script to interact with content from other domains or windows to help users keep their personal information out of potentially malicious hands. This new safeguard further protects users against malware by limiting the potential for malicious Web sites to manipulate flaws in other Web sites, or cause users to download undesired content or software onto their PCs.

    International Domain Name Anti-Spoofing. In addition to adding support for International Domain Names in URLs, Internet Explorer 7.0 also notifies the user when similar characters in the URL are not expressed in the same language -- even when the characters look similar across several languages -- thus helping protect the user against sites that would otherwise appear as a known trustworthy site.

    When a new version of I.E. is released everyone has to take notice, it's impact on Web development and business owners can't be underestimated.

    "Business strategy always needs to take into account market forces and competitive threats; so, the direction that Microsoft takes is very important," said Neagu. "Unless you're a 100-pound gorilla yourself, you don't want to compete directly with Microsoft. So, there are really two strategies. You can either add value to the marketplace by working with their products, or you must make sure you're in a space that is either small enough or removed enough from Microsoft's strategic interests so that you minimize the possibility of conflict.

    "With our product, Web Gallery Wizard, we maximized both of these strategies. We took advantage of Microsoft's solid .Net framework for rapid development, and we targeted digital photo enthusiasts offering functionality which is underserved by the big players in the market."

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


    Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/

    Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://snipurl.com/9wu3 

    This link was forwarded by my friend Eric Press

    "The Geopolitics of Sexual Frustration," by Martin Walker, Foreign Policy, March/April 2006 --- http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3377

    Asia has too many boys. They can’t find wives, but they just might find extreme nationalism instead. It’s a dangerous imbalance for a region already on edge.

    The lost boys of Prof. Albert Macovski are upon us. Twenty years ago, the ultrasound scanning machine came into widespread use in Asia. The invention of Macovski, a Stanford University researcher, the device quickly gave pregnant women a cheap and readily available means to determine the sex of their unborn children. The results, by the million, are now coming to maturity in Bangladesh, China, India, and Taiwan. By choosing to give birth to males—and to abort females—millions of Asian parents have propelled the region into an extraordinary experiment in the social effects of gender imbalance.

    Back in 1990, Nobel Prize-winning Indian economist Amartya Sen was one of the first to call attention to the phenomenon of an estimated 100 million “missing women” in Asia. Nearly everywhere else, women outnumber men, in Europe by 7 percent, and in North America by 3.4 percent. Concern now is shifting to the boys for whom these missing females might have provided mates as they reach the age that Shakespeare described as nothing but stealing and fighting and “getting of wenches with child.”

    Now there are too few wenches. Thanks in large part to the introduction of the ultrasound machine, Mother Nature’s usual preference for about 105 males to 100 females has grown to around 120 male births for every 100 female births in China. The imbalance is even higher in some locales—136 males to 100 females on the island of Hainan, an increasingly prosperous tourist resort, and 135 males to 100 females in central China’s Hubei Province. Similar patterns can be found in Taiwan, with 119 boys to 100 girls; Singapore, 118 boys to 100 girls; South Korea, 112 boys to 100 girls; and parts of India, 120 boys to 100 girls.

    China, India, and other nations have outlawed the use of prenatal diagnostic techniques to select the sex of an unborn child. But bribery and human ingenuity have made it easy for prospective parents to skirt the law; a suitably compensated ultrasound technician need only smile or frown at the expectant mother.

    Many of the excess boys will be poor and rootless, a lumpenproletariat without the consolations of sexual partners and family. Prostitution, sex tourism, and homosexuality may ease their immediate urges, but Asian societies are witnessing far more dramatic solutions. Women now risk being kidnapped and forced not only into prostitution but wedlock. Chinese police statistics recorded 65,236 arrests for female trafficking in 1990–91 alone. Updated numbers are hard to come by, but it’s apparent that the problem remains severe. In September 2002, a Guangxi farmer was executed for abducting and selling more than 100 women for $120 to $360 each. Mass sexual frustration is thus adding a potent ingredient to an increasingly volatile regional cocktail of problems that include surging economic growth, urbanization, drug abuse, and environmental degradation.

    Understanding the effect of the testosterone overload may be most important in China, the rising Asian superpower. Prompted by expert warnings, the Chinese authorities are already groping for answers. In 2004, President Hu Jintao asked 250 of the country’s senior demographers to study whether the country’s one-child policy—which sharply accentuates the preference for males—should be revised. Beijing expects that it may have as many as 40 million frustrated bachelors by 2020. The regime, always nervous about social control, fears that they might generate social and political instability.

    Brigham Young University political scientist Valerie Hudson—the leading scholar on the phenomenon of male overpopulation in Asia—sees historical evidence for these concerns. In 19th-century northern China, drought, famine, and locust invasions apparently provoked a rash of female infanticide. According to Hudson, the region reached a ratio of 129 men to every 100 women. Roving young men organized themselves into bandit gangs, built forts, and eventually came to rule an area of some 6 million people in what was known as the Nien Rebellion. No modern-day rebellion appears to be on the horizon, but China watchers are already seeing signs of growing criminality.

    The state’s response to crime and social unrest could prove to be a defining factor for China’s political future. The CIA asked Hudson to discuss her dramatic suggestion that “in 2020 it may seem to China that it would be worth it to have a very bloody battle in which a lot of their young men could die in some glorious cause.” Other experts aren’t so alarmed. Military observers point out that China is moving from a conscription army to a leaner, professional military. And other scholars contend that China’s population is now aging so fast that the elderly may well balance the surge of frustrated young males to form a calmer and more peaceful nation.

    It would be reassuring to assume that China’s economic growth will itself solve the problem, as prosperity removes the traditional economic incentives for poor peasants to have sons who can work the land rather than daughters who might require costly dowries. But the numbers don’t support that theory. Indeed, the steepest imbalance between male and female infants is found in more prosperous regions, such as Hainan Island. And census data from India suggest that slum-dwellers and the very poor tend to raise a higher proportion of female children than more prosperous families.

    The long-term implications of the gender imbalance are largely guesswork because there is no real precedent for imbalances on such a scale. Some Chinese experts speculate, off the record, that there might be a connection between the shortage of women and the spread of open gay life since 2001, when homosexuality was deleted from the official Classification of Mental Disorders. It is possible to dream up all kinds of scenarios: Mumbai and Shanghai may soon rival San Francisco as gay capitals. A Beijing power struggle between cautious old technocrats and aggressive young nationalists may be decided by mobs of rootless young men, demanding uniforms, rifles, and a chance to liberate Taiwan. More likely, the organized crime networks that traffic in women will shift their deliveries toward Asia and build a brothel culture large enough to satisfy millions of sexually frustrated young men.

    Whatever the outcome, the consequences of Albert Macovski’s useful invention will be with us for some time. When they called him “the most inventive person at Stanford,” they didn’t know the half of it.

     




    Forwarded by Rosie Salinas [Rosie.Salinas@Trinity.edu]

    LIFE WITHOUT BLACK PEOPLE

    A very humorous and revealing story is told about a group of w *** people who were fed up with African Americans, so they joined together and wished themselves away. They passed through a deep dark tunnel and emerged in sort of a twilight zone where there is an America without black people. At first these w **** people breathed a sigh of relief. At last, they said, "No more crime, drugs, violence and welfare. All of the blacks have gone!" Then suddenly, reality set in. The "NEW AMERICA" is not America at all? Only a barren land. . .

    1. There are very few crops that have flourished because the nation was built on a slave-supported system.

    2. There are no cities with tall skyscrapers because Alexander Mils, a black man, invented the elevator, and without it, one finds great difficulty reaching higher floors.

    3. There are few if any cars because Richard Spikes, a black man, invented the automatic gearshift, Joseph Gambol, also black, invented the Super Charge System for Internal Combustion Engines, and Garrett A. Morgan, a black man, invented the traffic signals.

    4. Furthermore, one could not use the rapid transit system because its precursor was the electric trolley, which was invented by another black man, Albert R. Robinson.

    5. Even if there were streets on which cars and a rapid transit system could operate, they were cluttered with paper because an African American, Charles Brooks, invented the street sweeper.

    6. There were few if any newspapers, magazines and books because John Love invented the pencil sharpener, William Purveys invented the fountain pen, and Lee Barrage invented the Type Writing Machine and W. A. Love invented the Advanced Printing Press. They were all, you guessed it, Black.

    7. Even if Americans could write their letters, articles and books, they would not have been transported by mail because William Barry invented the Postmarking and Canceling Machine, William Purveys invented the Hand Stamp and Philip Downing invented the Letter Drop.

    8. The lawns were brown and wilted because Joseph Smith invented the Lawn Sprinkler and John Burr the Lawn Mower.

    9. When they entered their homes, they found them to be poorly ventilated and poorly heated. You see, Frederick Jones invented the Air Conditioner and Alice Parker the Heating Furnace. Their homes were also dim. But of course, Lewis Latimer invented the Electric Lamp, Michael Harvey invented the lantern and Granville T. Woods invented the Automatic Cut off Switch. Their homes were also filthy because Thomas W. Steward invented the Mop and Lloyd P. Ray the Dust Pan.

    10. Their children met them at the door-barefooted, shabby, motley and unkempt. But what could one expect? Jan E. Matzelinger invented the Shoe Lasting Machine, Walter Sammons invented the Comb, Sarah Boone invented the Ironing Board and George T. Samon invented the Clothes Dryer.

    11. Finally, they were resigned to at least have dinner amidst all of this turmoil. But here again, the food had spoiled because another Black Man, John Standard invented the refrigerator.

    Now, isn't that something? What would this country be like without the contributions of Black Americans?

    Black history includes more than just slavery, Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Dubois.

     




    "Tougher toilets planned for fatter Australians," Breitbart, March 6, 2006 --- http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/03/06/060306235329.fxssldni.html


    Fruitcake Lady Video (didn't she appear on the Johnnie Carson show?) ---
    https://home.comcast.net/~jfmelnick/fruitcakelady.wmv


    Forwarded by Auntie Bev on St. Patrick's Day

    IRISH SMILES
    Only the Irish have jokes like these:

    Into a Belfast pub comes Paddy Murphy, looking like he'd just been run over by a train. His arm is in a sling, his nose is broken, his face is cut and bruised and he's walking with a limp.
    "What happened to you?" asks Sean, the bartender.
    "Jamie O'Conner and me had a fight," says Paddy.
    "That little rat, O'Conner," says Sean, "He couldn't do that to you, he must have had something in his hand."
    "That he did," says Paddy, "a shovel is what he had, and a terrible lickin' he gave me with it."
    "Well," says Sean, "you should have defended yourself, didn't you have something in your hand?"
    "That I did," said Paddy... "Mrs. O'Conner's breast, and a thing of beauty it was, but useless in a fight."
    ======================================
    An Irishman who had a little too much to drink is driving home from the city one night and, of course, his car is weaving violently all over the road. A cop pulls him over. "So," says the cop to the driver, where have ya been?"
    "Why, I've been to the pub of course," slurs the drunk.
    "Well," says the cop, "it looks like you've had quite a few to drink this evening."
    "I did all right," the drunk says with a smile.
    "Did you know," says the cop, standing straight and folding his arms across his chest, "that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"
    "Oh, thank heavens," sighs the drunk. "For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."
    =====================================================
    Brenda O'Malley is home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan arrives at her door. "Brenda, may I come in?" he asks. "I've somethin' to tell ya".
    "Of course you can come in, you're always welcome, Tim, But where's my husband?"
    "That's what I'm here to be telling ya, Brenda. There was an accident at the Guinness brewery.."
    "Oh, God no!" cries Brenda. "Please don't tell me."
    "I must, Brenda. You husband Shamus is dead and gone. I'm sorry."
    Finally, she looked up at Tim. "How did it happen, Tim?"
    "It was terrible, Brenda. He fell into a vat of Guinness Stout and drowned."
    "Oh my dear Jesus! But you must tell me true, Tim. Did he at least go quickly?"
    "Well, Brenda... no. In fact, he got out three times to pee"
    ==================================================
    Mary Clancy goes up to Father McGuire after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears. He says, "So what's bothering you, Mary my dear?"
    She says, "Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night."
    The priest says, "Oh, Mary, that's terrible. Tell me, Mary, did he have any last requests?"
    She says, "That he did, Father."
    The priest says, "What did he ask, Mary?" She says, "He said, 'Please Mary, put down that  gun.'
    ====================================================
    AND THE BEST FOR LAST

    A drunk staggers into a Catholic church. enters a confessional booth, sits down but says nothing. The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention but the drunk continues to sit there. Finally the Priest pounds three times on the wall. The drunk mumbles,
    "Ain't no use knockin'; there's no paper on this side either."


    Forwarded by Paula for St. Patrick's Day

    Definition of an Irish husband: He hasn't kissed his wife for 20 years, but he will kill any man who does.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Murphy told Quinn that his wife was driving him to drink. Quinn thinks he's very lucky because his own wife makes him walk. ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    The late Bishop Sheen stated that the reason the Irish fight so often among themselves is that they're always assured of having a worthy opponent.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    An American lawyer asked, "Paddy, why is it that whenever you ask an Irishman a question, he answers with another question?"

    "Who told you that?" asked Paddy.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Question - Why are Irish jokes so simple?

    Answer - So the English can understand them.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Reilly went to trial for armed robbery. The jury foreman came out and announced, "Not guilty."

    "That's grand!" shouted Reilly. "Does that mean I can keep the money?"
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Irish lass customer: "Could I be trying on that dress in the window?"

    Shopkeeper: "I'd prefer that you use the dressing room."
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mrs. Feeney shouted from the kitchen, "Is that you I hear spittin' in the vase on the mantle piece?"

    "No," said himself, "but I'm gettin' closer all the time."
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q. What do you call an Irishman who knows how to control a wife?

    A. A bachelor.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Finnegin: My wife has a terrible habit of staying up 'til 2 o'clock in the morning. I can't break her of it.

    Keenan: What on earth is she doin' at that time?

    Finnegin: Waitin' for me to come home.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Slaney phoned the maternity ward at the hospital. "Quick!" He said. "Send an ambulance, my wife is goin' to have a baby!"

    "Tell me, is this her first baby?" the intern asked.

    "No, this is her husband, Kevin, speakin'."
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    "O'Ryan,"asked the druggist, "did that mudpack I gave you improve your wife's appearance?"

    "It did surely," replied O'Ryan, "but it keeps fallin'off!"
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Did you hear about the Irish newlyweds who sat up all night on their honeymoon waiting for their sexual relations to arrive?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    My mother wanted me to be a priest. Can you imagine giving up your sex life and then once a week people come in to tell you the details and highlights of theirs?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    ather Guffy roared from the pulpit to his parishioners: "The drink has killed millions-- it rots their stomachs and they die in agony. Smoking has killed millions--it coats your lungs! and you die in agony. Overeating and consorting with loose women have also killed millions..."

    "'Scuse me, Father," hollered Reagan from the back, "but what is it that kills the people who live right?

    Related jokes --- http://www.bobandtom.com/gen3/jokes1.htm
     




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    Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
    Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
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