Tidbits on April 3, 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/.

Internet News (The News Show) --- http://www.thenewsshow.tv/daily/

Informercial Scams
(even those carried on the main TV networks)--- http://www.infomercialscams.com/

Security threats and hoaxes --- http://www.trinity.edu/its/virus/

25 Hottest Urban Legends (hoaxes) --- http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp 
Hoax Busters --- http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/ 
Stay up on the latest and the oldest hoaxes --- http://www.snopes.com/

Most Popular eBusiness Sites 2006 - 2007 --- http://www.webtrafficstation.com/directory/
WebbieWorld Picks --- http://www.webbieworld.com/default.asp

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

Virtual Vaudeville (from the University of Georgia and the NSF) --- http://www.virtualvaudeville.com/

Gladiator American Style

I'm My Own Grandpa (Ray Stephens) --- http://www.metacafe.com/watch/54702/im_my_own_grandpa/
I Am My Own Grandpa (video) --- http://www.ziplo.com/grandpa.htm

Metacafe Humor Videos --- http://www.metacafe.com/

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

Accounting Rap: Bruce Lubich sent the following message on April 3, 2006

Next time a student tells you accounting is not cool, share this link with them.

Rod Digital Library Connection --- http://cdm.lib.uni.edu/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/jbo
First click on a selection then click on "Access This Item"

From NPR
Cristina Branco: Musical Journey to Portugal, Beyond --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5312568

From NPR
Anne Watts and Boister: Music from Madness --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5309798

From NPR
Roberta Flack, In Full Voice on America's Soundtrack --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5300822

Photographs and Art

Funpic Archives (many humor photographs and cartoons) --- http://go.to/funpic
Includes Gary Larson Cartoons

Immigration Dragnet:  Time Magazine Photographs --- Click Here

Forwarded by Dick Haar
Beautiful Homes --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/BeautifulHomes.pps

Photos of French rioters turning on each other --- http://en.france-echos.com/

Nick Kosciuk Paintings and Photographs --- http://www.nickkosciuk.com/

Photos of 30 Years of Apple Computers --- http://blog.wired.com/apple_os/

The Entire Microsoft Company in 1977 (now I better understand why Windows is such a mess)
We made some of these folks multimillionaires and billionaires.


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

Paul Laurence Dunbar Digital Collection of Poetry ---  http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/

Elizabeth Bishop’s uncollected poems, drafts, and fragments (a slide show from The New Yorker) --- http://www.newyorker.com/online/covers/articles/060403onco_covers_gallery

Poetry Magazines --- http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/

Love and Friendship and Other Early Works by Jane Austen (1775-1817) --- Click Here

The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain (1835-1910) --- Click Here

My Favorite Murder by Ambrose Bierce (1842 1914) --- Click Here

The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids by Herman Melville (1819-1891) --- Click Here

As the divisive national debate on immigration heats up--security, identity and wealth all at issue--every side can agree on just one thing: the system is broken

Karen Tumulty, "Should They Stay Or Should They Go?" Time Magazine Cover Story, April 18, 2006 --- Click Here
For Photographs Click Here

It's ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits, vegetables, and other foods that fill your tables with abundance have nothing left for themselves.
Cesar Chavez .(who opposed illegal immigration)

Our very lives are dependent, for sustenance, on the sweat and sacrifice of the campesinos. Children of farm workers should be as proud of their parents' professions as other children are of theirs.
Cesar Chavez --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesar_Chavez

Innovation and Its Discontents:  Our patent system is the enemy of enterprise.
Adam Jaffe and Josh Lerner, "Innovation and Its Discontents," The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2006; Page A14
Also see "The Software Patent Mess" --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BizTech/wtr_16611,311,p1.html
And take a look at http://www.technologyreview.com/TR/wtr_16619,323,p1.html

A Muslim couple in India have been told by local Islamic leaders that they must separate after the husband "divorced" his wife in his sleep.
"The husband who woke up divorced," Al Jazeera, March 27, 2006 --- Click Here
Jensen Question
What if he dreamt that she was is boss?

When the need is strong, there are those who will believe anything?
Arnold Lobel (1933-1987) --- Click Here

Which clones more, genetics or TV?
Author Unknown

A politician thinks about the coming elections, the statesman about the next generations.
Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_von_Bismarck

We're going to have the best educated American people in the world.
George W. Bush

I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.
George W. Bush

We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe We are a part of Europe.
George W. Bush

Public speaking is very easy.
George W. Bush

"Steve Jobs' Best Quotes Ever," by Owen Linzmayer, Wired News, March 25, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/mac/0,70512-0.html?tw=wn_index_4

Innovation and Design:

"It's rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing."
-- At age 29, in Playboy, February 1985

"I've always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do."
BusinessWeek Online, Oct. 12, 2004

"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it."
-- Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998

"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
-- BusinessWeek, May 25 1998

"It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don't get on the wrong track or try to do too much."
BusinessWeek Online, Oct. 12, 2004

"(Miele) really thought the process through. They did such a great job designing these washers and dryers. I got more thrill out of them than I have out of any piece of high tech in years."
Wired magazine, February 1996

On Fixing Apple:

"The products suck! There's no sex in them anymore!"
-- On Gil Amelio's lackluster rein, in BusinessWeek, July 1997

"The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament."
-- Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company, by Owen W. Linzmayer

"If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."
-- Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996

"You know, I've got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can't say any more than that it's the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me."
-- Fortune, Sept. 18, 1995

"Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could -- I'm searching for the right word -- could, could die."
-- On his return as interim CEO, in Time, Aug. 18, 1997

How iPods Work --- http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/ipod.htm

iPod Basics
iPod Features
iPod Hardware
The Click Wheel
iPod Software
iPod World
Lots More Information (Lots of neat links)
Compare Prices for iPods

A Pill to Prevent the Doomsday Plague of AIDS
Why is the developer so worried about this possible miracle drug?

"An AIDS "Miracle" Drug? Gilead Sciences is reluctant to tout its AIDS treatment pill as a possible preventive," MIT's Technology Review, March 30, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/TR/wtr_16654,323,p1.html

You'd think Gilead Sciences Inc. would be celebrating.

Enthusiastic scientists are hopeful its drugs now used to treat people with the AIDS virus might actually protect healthy people from catching it.

In recent days, researchers heartened by a study in monkeys said they would expand tests of the pill Truvada as a possible preventive for use in healthy people who may be at high-risk for HIV.

But instead of touting its drug, Gilead is trying to turn down the excitement. The attitude is partly based on fears that Truvada will be seen as a ''biomedical condom'' that might promote unsafe sex and lead to a backlash against a company that has become a Wall Street darling.

''It is tricky for the company,'' said Mitchell Warren of the nonprofit AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition in New York. ''It is a real political and business dilemma for Gilead.''

Health officials are mindful of the concerns, too, and say the drugs should only be given along with counseling, condoms and regular testing.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
To its credit Gilead Sciences is working on an AIDS prevention pill. Hopefully the will to end death and suffering will prevail over conservative morality dogma.

A (formerly?) respected scientist at the University of Texas applauds doomsday plagues

A University of Texas professor says the Earth would be better off with 90 percent of the human population dead.
"DOOMSDAY: UT professor says death is imminent," by Jamie Mobley, Sagin Gazette-Enterprise, April 2, 2006 --- 

So what’s at the heart of Pianka’s claim?

6.5 billion humans is too many.

In his estimation, “We’ve grown fat, apathetic and miserable,” all the while leaving the planet parched.

The solution?

A 90 percent reduction.

That’s 5.8 billion lives — lives he says are turning the planet into “fat, human biomass.” He points to an 85 percent swell in the population during the last 25 years and insists civilization is on the brink of its downfall — likely at the hand of widespread disease.

“[Disease] will control the scourge of humanity,” Pianka said. “We’re looking forward to a huge collapse.”

But don’t tell local “citizen scientist” Forrest Mims to quietly swallow Pianka’s call to awareness. Mims says it’s an “abhorrent death wish” and contends he has “no choice but to take a stand.”

Mims attended the educator’s doomsday presentation at the Texas Academy of Science’s annual meeting March 2-4. There, the organization honored Pianka as its 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist — another issue Mims vocally opposes.

“This guy is a loose cannon to believe that worldwide genocide is the only answer,” said Mims, who filed two formal petitions with the academy following the meeting.

Joining the crusade, UT physics professor James Pitts became the second to publicly chastise Pianka when he filed a complaint Saturday with the UT board of regents. He insists a state university is no place to disseminate such views.

He writes:

Continued in article


Smell of fear helps in cognition
The chemical warning signals produced by fear improve cognitive performance, a study at Rice University in Houston indicates. Women who were exposed to chemicals from fear-induced sweat performed more accurately on word-association tasks than did women exposed to chemicals from other types of sweat or no sweat at all.
"Smell of fear helps in cognition," PhysOrg, April 1, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news63121408.html

How easy it was to get radioactive material past a border crossing: 
This does not make me feel safe at all
While Congress was engaged in the hysterical debate over foreign ownership of U.S. ports, something much more dangerous was taking place in America's vulnerable ports of entry. As disclosed yesterday at a congressional hearing, federal investigators were able to smuggle enough radioactive material into the United States last year to make two dirty bombs.... The Government Accountability Office is the investigative arm of Congress. In a test in December, undercover GAO teams managed to sneak small amounts of cesium-137 across U.S. border crossing points in Washington State and Texas. Radiation alarms went off, but security inspectors were fooled by phony documents and allowed the material through" -- editorial in yesterday's Miami Herald.
From Opinion Journal on March 30, 2006
Jensen Comment
The question is why investigators bothered to use a border crossing when other parts of the borders north and south are wide open territory. And our illegal immigrants and drug traders on the southern border are most certainly avoiding border crossings. If we can't stop the drug flow along our borders we most certainly cannot stop WMDs. And 20,000 miles of new fence around all four sides of the U.S. would be a joke.

Liberal press reveals who has only half a brain on the CBS TV show "TWO AND A HALF MEN"
Charlie Sheen alleges that the World Trade Center was wired to implode in his dubious conspiracy theory that President Bush killed over 3,000 of his own constituency and deliberately targeted his own Pentagon workers

Sheen said that most people's gut instinct, that the buildings had been deliberately imploded, was washed away by the incessant flood of the official version of events from day one. Sheen questioned the plausibility of a fireballs traveling 1100 feet down an elevator shaft and causing damage to the lobbies of the towers as seen in video footage, especially when contrasted with eyewitness accounts of bombs and explosions in the basement levels of the buildings . . . Sheen then questioned President Bush's actions on 9/11 and his location at the Booker Elementary School in Florida. Once Andy Card had whispered to Bush that America was under attack why didn't the secret service immediately whisk Bush away to a secret location? By remaining at a location where it was publicly known the President would be before 9/11, he was not only putting his own life in danger, but the lives of hundreds of schoolchildren. That is unless the government knew for sure what the targets were beforehand and that President Bush wasn't one of them.
"Actor Charlie Sheen Questions Official 9/11 Story," Prison Planet, March 20, 2006 --- http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2006/200306charliesheen.htm

Jensen Comment
It follows that the plane intended to bomb the White House was deliberately crashed by Bush cronies before it succeeded in reaching its target. Doesn't Charlie realize that lending celebrity support to such bull helps the Republican Party win elections. I can hardly wait for Michael Moore's documentary on "The Day Bush Bombed the Pentagon." Also Charlie, you should investigate whether President Bush is wiring liberal San Francisco to implode on the anticipated next big earthquake --- See "Lessons from the Earthquake That Shook the World," by Madelein Nash, Time Magazine, April 18, 2006 --- Click Here

Even if Bush was not a co-conspirator in the 9/11 tragedy, it is possible that the FBI could have prevented it according to Jeff Taylor,  Reason Magazine, March 30, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/links/links033006.shtml
But there's a big difference between bungling of information and wiring the twin towers to implode.

"Bush Presidency Dies at Border:  How the administration lost control of the immigration debate," by Tim Cavanaugh, Reason Magazine, March 28, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/links/links032806.shtml

Measuring poverty in the United States

"RELATIVELY DEPRIVED:  How poor is poor?" by John Cassidy, The New Yorker, April 3, 2006 --- http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060403fa_fact

March 30, 2006 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

Here is software that can spy on mobile phones. It is essentially a keylogger for mobile phones!


Richard J. Campbell

New Advances for Sharing Lots of Photos Efficiently on the Web

"The Photo-Sharing Bubble:  Publishing and sharing digital photos online can be a slog. Now BubbleShare and other startups are automating the process," by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, March 30, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16645,294,p1.html 

Heavy users of digital cameras can end up with tens of thousands of photographs on their hard drives. And -- given the difficulty of searching, organizing, captioning, and sharing large numbers of digital pictures -- many of these images will never be seen again.

In 2004, Canadian startup Ludicorp started to fix that problem with its Flickr photoblogging website. Unlike commercial photo album services, like Snapfish and Kodak's EasyShare Gallery, which are designed mainly to help people buy prints, Flickr (which is now owned by Yahoo) gave digital photographers simple Web tools for annotating specific areas of images, such as friends' faces, and for labeling photos with searchable "tags" that make them easier for others to find (see "Tagging Is It").

But Flickr's features are still largely "manual." Sharing photos on the site means sending friends new links every time you upload new images. Furthermore, tags must be typed in for each photo, and identifying Aunt Martha in photos from last year's pool party still means drawing a box around her face in every shot and adding notes.

Now two new startups, BubbleShare and Riya, are providing Flickr-like photo-sharing services -- but with impressive new features: audio-enhanced slide shows that can be embedded into any Web page, automatic downloading of new photos to friends' PCs, and computerized face recognition and tagging.

BubbleShare made a splash several weeks ago with its initial product: an online system for building slide shows that can be viewed at its site or inserted into other sites, such as blogs (see "Building a Narrated Slide Show on the Web"). And within days BubbleShare will introduce a beta version of the Bubblebar, which goes a step further, putting images directly on your -- or your friends' -- desktop.

The Bubblebar pulls images from your online BubbleShare albums and sends a parade of thumbnails down the side of your computer's desktop, like a filmstrip; placing your mouse over one of the thumbnails pulls up a larger version, along with captions and comments. But that's not all. The Bubblebar also watches for new albums published on BubbleShare by your acquaintances and downloads them automatically. So, if your photographer friends are sufficiently prolific, you can wake up to a new set of images every day, without lifting a finger.

BubbleShare's idea of automatically retrieving shared photos was inspired by Ceiva, whose digital photo frame has been on the market since 2000. Every night, the Ceiva frame connects via telephone to an online collection of photos uploaded by the owner or his friends and family. "We love what Ceiva does," says BubbleShare CEO Albert Lai. "We wanted to bring that experience onto the desktop."

Photo annotation and tagging is another tedious process that software is beginning to take over. Like Flickr or BubbleShare, Riya allows users to upload an unlimited number of photographs; the difference is that its software (released in beta on March 21) uses techniques derived from computer-vision studies to examine the images as they're uploaded and pick out faces it has been trained to recognize. When these particular images appear on Riya's site, the faces that the software identified are marked by a Flickr-like box and label.

Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm

The Most Criminal Class Writes the Laws

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.

Congress is our only native criminal class.
Mark Twain --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain

Why should members of Congress be allowed to profit from insider trading?
Amid broad congressional concern about ethics scandals, some lawmakers are poised to expand the battle for reform: They want to enact legislation that would prohibit members of Congress and their aides from trading stocks based on nonpublic information gathered on Capitol Hill. Two Democrat lawmakers plan to introduce today a bill that would block trading on such inside information. Current securities law and congressional ethics rules don't prohibit lawmakers or their staff members from buying and selling securities based on information learned in the halls of Congress.
Brody Mullins, "Bill Seeks to Ban Insider Trading By Lawmakers and Their Aides," The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2006; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114351554851509761.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

The Culture of Corruption Runs Deep and Wide in Both U.S. Political Parties:  Few if any are uncorrupted
Committee members have shown no appetite for taking up all those cases and are considering an amnesty for reporting violations, although not for serious matters such as accepting a trip from a lobbyist, which House rules forbid. The data firm PoliticalMoneyLine calculates that members of Congress have received more than $18 million in travel from private organizations in the past five years, with Democrats taking 3,458 trips and Republicans taking 2,666. . . But of course, there are those who deem the American People dumb as stones and will approach this bi-partisan scandal accordingly. Enter Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi, complete with talking points for her minion, that are sure to come back and bite her .... “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) filed delinquent reports Friday for three trips she accepted from outside sponsors that were worth $8,580 and occurred as long as seven years ago, according to copies of the documents.
Bob Parks, "Will Nancy Pelosi's Words Come Back to Bite Her?" The National Ledger, January 6, 2006 --- http://www.nationalledger.com/artman/publish/article_27262498.shtml 

And when they aren't stealing directly, lawmakers are caving in to lobbying crooks
Drivers can send their thank-you notes to Capitol Hill, which created the conditions for this mess last summer with its latest energy bill. That legislation contained a sop to Midwest corn farmers in the form of a huge new ethanol mandate that began this year and requires drivers to consume 7.5 billion gallons a year by 2012. At the same time, Congress refused to include liability protection for producers of MTBE, a rival oxygen fuel-additive that has become a tort lawyer target. So MTBE makers are pulling out, ethanol makers can't make up the difference quickly enough, and gas supplies are getting squeezed.
"The Gasoline Follies," The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2006; Page A20  --- Click Here

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

Bob Jensen's Rotten to the Core threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

How Russian Tycoons Got Wealthy
The relationship between Lukoil and a network of companies and trusts in Europe offers a rare window into how Russian tycoons got rich in the early 1990s, at a time of growing foreign involvement with energy companies in Russia, the world's No. 1 producer of natural gas and No. 2 in oil after Saudi Arabia. U.S. company ConocoPhillips owns some 16% of Lukoil and is expected to increase its stake to 20% this year.
Glenn R. Simpson, "How Russian Tycoons Got Wealthy: Set of Offshore Trusts From The 1990s Made Lukoil Leaders Rich," The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2006; Page A8 ---

At last something reconstructive (as opposed to mere deconstruction) from the left
Liberals advocate government takeover of industry: Trust Big Government to run it better
The trouble with this article is that it appeared on April Fools' Day

"The Left Needs More Socialism," by Ronald Aronson, The Nation, April 1, 2006 --- http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060417/aronson

It's time to break a taboo and place the word "socialism" across the top of the page in a major American progressive magazine. Time for the left to stop repressing the side of ourselves that the right finds most objectionable. Until we thumb our noses at the Democratic pols who have been calling the shots and reassert the very ideas they say are unthinkable, we will keep stumbling around in the dark corners of American politics, wondering how we lost our souls--and how to find them again.

I can hear tongues clucking the conventional wisdom that the "S" word is the kiss of death for any American political initiative. Since the collapse of Communism, hasn't "socialism"--even the democratic kind--reeked of everything obsolete and discredited? Isn't it sheer absurdity to ask today's mainstream to pay attention to this nineteenth-century idea? Didn't Tony Blair reshape "New Labour" into a force capable of winning an unprecedented string of victories in Britain only by first defeating socialism and socialists in his party? And for a generation haven't we on the American left declared socialist ideology irrelevant time and again in the process of shaping our feminist, antiwar, progay, antiracist, multicultural, ecological and community-oriented identities?

People who espouse these and a dozen other arguments against the relevance of socialism today may regard it as quaint that Bolivia's new president, Evo Morales, leads the Movement Toward Socialism Party, or that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez intends to create a "new socialism of the twenty-first century." After all, socialist parties elsewhere, such as in France, Spain and Germany, or indeed Brazil's Workers Party and Chile's Socialist Party, have no intention of introducing anything like socialism in their countries. Still, the newest significant formation, indeed, today's equivalent of the nineteenth-century International Workingmen's Association, calls itself the World Social Forum. The name reminds those who believe "another world is possible" that it can come about only if it is global, only if it is guided by a loosely organized "forum" rather than a top-down party--and only if its character is social.

Continued in article

Let me put it in this way: If socialism is dead, why won't it lie down?
"Reinventing Socialism," by Rupert Murdoch, Enter Stage Right, April 1998 --- http://enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0498revsoc.htm

The new conventional wisdom has pronounced socialism dead. Economists of the Austrian and Chicago schools (von Mises, Hayek, Friedman) long ago announced that it would and should die. In the 1970s a number of influential neoconservatives embraced capitalism with the enthusiasm of new converts. Now even committed socialists like Robert Heilbroner have conceded defeat. In a celebrated New Yorker article, Heilbroner put it dramatically: "Less than seventy-five years after it officially began, the contest between capitalism and socialism is over; capitalism has won" (January 23, 1989). The experience of the socialist countries, he acknowledged, makes clear that the marketplace distributes goods better than "the queues of a planned economy." While Heilbroner issued somber warnings about the possible effects of the apparent victory of capitalism, his remarks helped symbolize the intellectual disarray of the socialist movement.
"Socialism’s Obituary Is Premature," by Philip Wogaman, Religion Online, May 1990 --- http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=207 

It was his illegal fraud for a good political cause says the Meathead
The question is what good might have been done with the $23 million he stole?

"When Rob Met Tobacco," The Wall Street Journal,  March 30, 2006; Page A14 --- Click Here 

Hollywood political activist Rob Reiner resigned yesterday as head of a California state commission that's been accused of misappropriating public funds. So perhaps now debate can shift back to the economic damage that would be caused by Mr. Reiner's universal preschool scheme.

Back in 1998, the director ("When Harry Met Sally") backed a successful ballot initiative that raised the state's tobacco tax by 50 cents a pack to pay for early childhood programs. Mr. Reiner was later appointed head of the commission that handles the proceeds, which have totaled some $3.4 billion. Hundreds of millions have gone to PR firms and others who helped him pass the 1998 initiative. That might be unabashed cronyism, but it's not necessarily illegal. However, it's also alleged that Mr. Reiner used $23 million of the tobacco loot to fund a new initiative on universal preschool that's qualified for the June 6 ballot. If Mr. Reiner was using taxpayer money to garner support for his new referendum, that violates state law.

Continued in article

Also see http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008097

When Scientists Disagree in Public:  Britannica vs. Wikipedia Accuracy Debate
Encyclopaedia Britannica has completed an exhaustive research article on an unlikely new topic -- questions about its accuracy. The publisher's verdict: It was wronged. Firing back at an article in the science journal Nature that likened its accuracy to that of Wikipedia, the Internet site that lets anyone contribute, Britannica said in a 20-page statement this week that ''almost everything about the journal's investigation ... was wrong and misleading.'' It demanded a retraction.
"The Britannica vs. Wikipedia Accuracy Debate Encyclopaedia Britannica has assailed an article in the journal Nature that questioned its accuracy," MIT's Technology Review, March 24, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/TR/wtr_16633,323,p1.html

"NATURE stands by it's Wikipedia / Encyclopaedia Britannica Analysis (from Knowledgespeak)," The University of Illinois blog called Issues in Scholarly Communications, March 31, 2006 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

The scientific journal Nature has rejected Encyclopaedia Britannica’s call to retract a paper comparing the web-based offerings of Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia on scientific topics, published in the journal’s December 2005 issue. Encyclopaedia Britannica had accused the journal of misrepresentation, sloppiness and indifference to scholarly standards.

According to Nature, the original article consisted of asking independent scholars to review 50 pairs of articles from the Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica web sites. The source of the articles were not revealed to the reviewers and the subjects were chosen in advance to represent a wide range of scientific disciplines. Lists of factual errors, omissions and misleading statements pointed out by reviewers were compiled and tallied for each encyclopaedia. Nature further says that turning the reviewers’ comments into numerical scores did require a modicum of judgement, which was applied diligently and fairly.

Nature says Britannica had raised objections to the article in private a few months ago. The journal had, at that point, sent to Britannica every comment by a reviewer that served as the basis for assessing something as an inaccuracy. Though the journal was willing to discuss the issues, Britannica failed to provide specific details of its complaints, says Nature. No further correspondence was received by the journal from Britannica until the publication of its open letter recently.
Read more --- http://www.nature.com/press_releases/Britannica_response.pdf

"Did NATURE Cook Wikipedia Story?" The University of Illinois blog called Issues in Scholarly Communications, March 23, 2006 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/ 

Nature magazine has some tough questions to answer after it let its Wikipedia fetish get the better of its responsibilities to reporting science. The Encyclopedia Britannica has published a devastating response to Nature's December comparison of Wikipedia and Britannica, and accuses the journal of misrepresenting its own evidence. BookTradeInfo 3/23/06 More in The Register.

See also Brittanica's response --- http://corporate.britannica.com/britannica_nature_response.pdf

Man-to-man conversations are allegedly easier on the brain
Bottom line: Men have to work harder deciphering what women are saying because they use the auditory part of the brain that processes music, not human voices. Men's brains are not designed to listen to women's voices. It's not the pitch of the woman's voice, but rather the vibration and number of sound waves that cause the problem, notes Discovery News. But guys have no trouble at all hearing each other because men use a much simpler brain mechanism at the back of the brain to decipher another man's voice and recognize it as speech.
"Why Men Don't Listen to Women," Netscape, March 28, 2006 --- Click Here

"Sex in the Syllabus Colleges are getting serious about porn studies, but should professors show or just tell?" by Lisa Takfuchi Cullen, Time Magazine, March 26, 2006 --- Click Here 

With classwork like this, who needs to play? Undergraduates taking Cyberporn and Society at the State University of New York at Buffalo survey Internet porn sites. At New York University, assignments for Anthropology of the Unconscious include discussing X-rated Japanese comic books. And in Cinema and the Sex Act at the University of California, Berkeley, undergrads are required to view clips from Hollywood NC-17 releases like Showgirls and underground stag reels.

It's called the porn curriculum, and it's quietly taking root in the ivory tower. A small but growing number of scholars are probing the aesthetic, societal and philosophical properties of smut in academic departments ranging from literature to film, law to technology, anthropology to women's studies. Those specialists argue that graphic sexual imagery has become ubiquitous in society, so it's almost irresponsible not to teach young people how to deal with it. "I was amazed by how much the students knew about pornography but how little they knew how to think about it," says Jay Clarkson, a graduate student in communications who introduced the University of Iowa's Pornography in Popular Culture class last fall. But although Clarkson and his peers may agree that porn studies have a place in the curriculum, they are divided over how far professors should go in teaching them. Do students really need to watch a couple copulating onscreen to understand why pornography turns people on? Or does a stimulating essay on the nature of desire provide just as much if not more insight?

Linda Williams, a film professor at Berkeley, lines up on the side of showing rather than simply telling. While researching feminist reactions to porn in the early '90s, she grew fascinated by the choreography of dirty movies and began teaching a trailblazing course about porno films. "I'm quite critical of pornography," she says. "I'm not trying to teach people to accept the existence of it. As with any tradition of moving-image culture, we need to take it seriously. We need to try and come at it with some theoretical tools." Like many porn scholars, Williams includes readings from Sigmund Freud and Michel Foucault, the French philosopher who wrote about sexual identity, to explore how porno movies interpret desire and what that says about the human psyche. Similarly, Alex Halavais, an assistant professor of communication at SUNY Buffalo, tracks pornography's pivotal role in the development of communications systems from the telephone to the Internet, with a reading list that ranges from student blogs to the Congressional Record. And in her graduate-level class on obscenity, media-studies professor Laura Kipnis of Northwestern University examines how publications like Hustler can define class stratification in the U.S.--by discussing the work of the 16th century satirist François Rabelais as well as skin magazines.

Continued in article

What are some comparative advantages of U.S. business in world markets?

Other measures tell a similar story. Up until the 1990s, management books were crammed with Japanese buzzwords, and the early Clinton administration was in awe of Germany's apprenticeship system. But today the United States provides most of the business role models, from Starbucks to Procter & Gamble, from Apple to Cisco. Whence this American superiority? The first answer is that competition is fiercer. The United States has relatively few trade and regulatory barriers for firms to hide behind, so bad companies either shape up quickly or go bust. The next explanation for American superiority is a healthy indifference to first sons. Bloom and Van Reenen report that the practice of handing a family firm down from father to oldest son is five times more common in France and Britain than in the United States. Not surprisingly, this anti-meritocratic practice does not always produce good managers. So even though the best European companies are managed roughly as well as the best American ones, there's a fat tail of second-rate firms in Europe that's absent in the United States.
"America's Heyday," by Sebastian Mallaby, The Washington Post via The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2006 ---
Click Here

America's business culture is peculiarly well-suited to contemporary challenges. American business is not especially good at coaxing productivity out of factory workers: The era when this was all-important was the heyday of Germany and Japan. But American business excels at managing service workers and knowledge workers: at equipping these people with technology, empowering them with the right level of independence and paying for performance. So the era of decentralized "network" businesses is the American era.

Moreover, America's business culture is perfectly matched to globalization. American executive suites and MBA courses are full of talented immigrants, so American managers think nothing of working in multicultural firms. The immigrants have links to their home countries, so Americans have an advantage in establishing global supply chains. The elites of Asia and Latin America compete to attend U.S. universities; when they return to their countries, they are keener to join the local operation of a U.S. company than of a German or Japanese one.

So the shift from manufacturing to services; the gallop of globalization; and the rise of information technology that flattens corporate hierarchies: All these forces come together to create an American moment.

Yale Admitted a Taliban Male But Declined to Help Afgan Women
A statement from Yale University, defending its decision to admit former Taliban spokesman Ramatullah Hashemi, explained that he had "escaped the wreckage of Afghanistan." To anyone who is aware of the Taliban's barbaric treatment of the Afghan people, such words are offensive--as if Mr. Hashemi were not himself part of the wrecking crew. It is even more disturbing to learn that, while Mr. Hashemi sailed through Yale's admissions process, the school turned down the opportunity to enroll women who really did escape the wreckage of Afghanistan . . . In 2002, Yale received a letter from Paula Nirschel, the founder of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women. The purpose of the organization, begun in that year, was to match young women in post-Taliban Afghanistan to U.S. colleges, where they could pursue a degree. Ms. Nirschel asked Yale if it wanted to award a spot in its next entering class to an Afghan woman. Yale declined.
"Foreign Exchange Why did Yale slam the door on Afghan women?" The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2006 --- http://opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110008135

These women require no remedial classes, by the way. They come prepared, many having huddled in basements secretly imbibing what information they could from male relatives or having lived in Pakistani refugee camps to gain access to schools. Not one of them has a GPA below 3.5.

Arezo Kohistani, now attending Roger Williams, tells us that she had planned to major in journalism. But she changed her focus when several reporters were assassinated in Afghanistan during her first semester. Stories like this remind us that her country has a long road ahead. The graduates of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women will surely help to speed it along the way.

Not Yale:  Schools participating in the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women
Duke University, N.C. Juniata College, Pa. Kennesaw State University, Ga. Middlebury College, Vt. Montclair State University, N.J. Mount Holyoke College, Mass. Roger Williams University, R.I. Simmons College, Mass. University of Montana, Missoula University of Richmond, Va.

"Israel Lobby," by Ruth R. Wisse, The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2006; Page A16 --- Click Here

In Boston in the early 1980s, I was asked by an Irish cab driver what language I had been speaking with a fellow passenger we had just dropped off. When I told him, Hebrew, the language of Israel, the man exclaimed: "Israel! That's America's fighting front line! Israel fights our battles better than we could fight them ourselves."

Now Professors Stephen Walt of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago would have us believe that the Boston cabbie was a dupe of the "unmatched power of the Israel Lobby." Their essay in the latest London Review of Books -- based on a longer working paper on the Kennedy Center Web site -- contends that the U.S. government and most of its citizens are fatally in thrall to a "coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction." Though not all members of said "coalition" are Jews, and though not all Jews are members, the major schemers are such key organizations as the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, joined by neoconservatives, think tanks, and a large network of accomplices including (they will learn to their surprise) The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

The thesis of Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer is remarkably broad and singleminded: A loose association of special-interest groups has persuaded the country to sacrifice its interests to a foreign power, thereby jeopardizing "not only U.S. security but that of much of the rest of the world." Israel, it is claimed, hurts every facet of American life: U.S. emergency aid to Israel during the War of 1973 triggered a damaging OPEC oil embargo. Israel is a liability in the war on terror: It goaded the U.S. into the war in Iraq, betrays America through espionage, and destroys American democracy by quashing all criticism. Recently the Israel Lobby -- a term the authors render with a sinister capital "L" -- has begun to intimidate the universities by trying to create a field of Israel Studies and monitoring anti-Israel bias.

Were it not for the Lobby, the U.S. would have nothing to fear in the world, not even a nuclear threat from Iran: "If Washington could live with a nuclear Soviet Union, a nuclear China or even a nuclear North Korea, it can live with a nuclear Iran. And that is why the Lobby must keep up constant pressure on politicians to confront Tehran." Not Iran but the Lobby is the true threat to America's security by trying to compel the U.S. to oppose Iran against its interests. Most dangerously, Jews control the man at the top: In the spring of 2002 "[Ariel] Sharon and the Lobby took on the president of the United States and triumphed." Given the creative scope of these charges, one is surprised to find no hint of Israel's role in the spread of avian flu.

Organized as a prosecutorial indictment rather than an inquiry, the essay does not tell us why the "Israel Lobby" should have formed in the first place. The 21 countries of the Arab League with ties to 1.2 billion Muslims world-wide are nowhere present as active political agents. There is no mention of the Arab rejection of the United Nations's partition of Palestine in 1948; no 58-year Arab League boycott of Israel and companies trading with Israel; no Arab attacks of 1948, 1967 and 1973; no Arab-Soviet resolution at the U.N. defining Zionism as racism; no monetary and strategic support for Arab terrorism against Jews and Israel; and no Hamas dedication to destroying the Jewish state. The authors do not ask why Arab aggression and Muslim "rage against Israel" should have morphed into a war against the U.S. and the West. Israel's existence elicits Arab and Muslim hostility, hence in their view Israel is to blame for Arab and Muslim carnage.

Judging from the initial reaction to their article (one of my students called it "wacko quacko"), the two professors may be subjected to more ridicule than rejoinder. Several Web sites are in the process of listing all their bloopers, distortions and omissions. Their tone resembles nothing so much as Wilhelm Marr's 1879 pamphlet, "The Victory of Judaism over Germandom," which declared of the Jews that "There is no stopping them . . . German culture has proved itself ineffective and powerless against this foreign power. This is a fact; a brute inexorable fact." A parallel edition of these two texts might highlight some American refinements on the European model, such as the anti-Semitic lie that "Israeli citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship." In fact, unlike neighboring Arab countries, Israeli citizenship is not conditional on religion or race.

Yet it would be a mistake to treat this article on the "Israel Lobby" as an attack on Israel alone, or on its Jewish defenders, or on the organizations and individuals it singles out for condemnation. Its true target is the American public, which now supports Israel with higher levels of confidence than ever before. When the authors imply that the bipartisan support of Israel in Congress is a result of Jewish influence, they function as classic conspiracy theorists who attribute decisions to nefarious alliances rather than to the choices of a democratic electorate. Their contempt for fellow citizens dictates their claims of a gullible and stupid America. Their insistence that American support for Israel is bought and paid for by the Lobby heaps scorn on American judgment and values.

No wonder David Duke, white supremacist and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, claimed that this article "validated every major point I have been making since even before the [Iraq] war started." But he and Walt-Mearsheimer have it backwards: Americans don't support Israel because of the strength of any lobby; Israel earns American support the hard way, for the very reasons the Boston cabbie cited several decades ago.

Ms. Wisse is the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and professor of comparative literature at Harvard.

Harvard Distances Itself From the Infamous Anti-Israel Document
"Walt? Mearsheimer? Never Heard of 'Em!" New York Sun via Opinion Journal, March 27, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110008131

"War of Words Over Paper on Israel," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, March 27, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/03/27/israel

Harvard is holding its nose in an effort to escape the stench emanating from the infamous paper in which Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer argue that U.S. support for Israel lacks a strategic or moral basis and is therefore the product of the machinations of the "Israel Lobby." Reports the New York Sun:

Harvard's Kennedy School of Government is removing its logo from a paper about the "Israel lobby" that was co-authored by its academic dean.

The new version of the paper also has a more prominent disclaimer warning that the paper's views belong only to its authors.

The changes appear to be a sign that the university is distancing itself from the document in the face of a furor from faculty members, Jewish leaders, and a congressman who say it fails to meet academic standards and promotes anti-Semitic myths.

Criticism has been multiplying online — some of it quite detailed in going through statements in the article and raising questions about its fairness.

As all of this has been going on, the scholars who wrote the piece have been largely quiet — giving a few early interviews in which they defended their work, but declining to get into a point-by-point discussion and also criticizing their critics for implying that their piece is anti-Semitic. (Most of the critics do stay a bit away from that explicit charge, and while “bigoted” is used frequently, “anti-Semitic” is generally not, at least by the professors discussing the article.)

Mearsheimer did not respond to messages seeking comment for this article.

In a phone interview, Walt said that the authors stood behind their work and looked forward to scholarly discussion of it, but he also declined to respond to specific criticisms being raised.

He said he wasn’t surprised by the strong reaction the article is receiving. “Anybody who writes on a controversial topic is bound to face criticism and may also face personal attacks of various kinds,” he said. “Our purposes in writing the piece was to open up a broader discussion of American policy in the Middle East. We hope people will read what we wrote and engage in a serious discussion of the arguments.”

Variations of that response have further angered some of the authors’ critics.

“So let me get this straight: the authors have written and published a paper because they want to provoke an open debate — and then decide not to respond to any of the critiques made of the paper,” wrote Daniel W. Drezner, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago.

While the paper was written by professors at two universities — Chicago and Harvard — the full article was published on a Harvard Web site and many of the critical articles about it that appeared early on called the work a “Harvard paper” or “Harvard study” or some variation, so much of the criticism has been directed toward Cambridge, not Hyde Park.

The Kennedy School issued a statement indicating that the institution “stands firmly behind the academic freedom of its faculty, including Professor Stephen Walt.”

The statement noted that papers published on the school’s Web site always include a disclaimer reflecting Harvard’s policy of not interfering with or dictating professors’ views. The routine statement says: “The views expressed in the KSG Faculty Working Paper Series are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the John F. Kennedy School of Government or Harvard University.”

The Kennedy School said that — with Walt’s approval — the school’s logo had been removed from the paper “in an effort to minimize the confusion” created by press accounts about the paper being a Harvard study. Also citing “apparent confusion in the media” about the paper, the authors added “clarifying language” to the cover page of the study. The clarification said that the authors were “solely responsible” for the views expressed and that the article should not be taken to reflect the views of either Harvard or Chicago.

Roger W. Bowen, general secretary of the American Association of University Professors, said on Friday that in the previous 24 hours he had received e-mail or calls from a dozen people, around the world, concerned about the way the article’s authors were being treated, and that the AAUP was monitoring the situation.

Bowen said that the irony over the furor is that the argument in the paper is “not particularly new.” The reaction is largely because of the association of the argument with Harvard, he said.

Harvard’s policy of having professors indicate that their papers reflect their views, and not those of the institution, is not only appropriate, but helps academic freedom, Bowen said. “No institution can take responsibility for what one of its faculty members writes. If they were to take responsibility that also implies that they have the right to make changes,” he said.

What is of concern in this case, he said, is if Harvard is going beyond its normal policies to disassociate itself from these arguments more than it would from any argument put forward by a faculty member. At this time, he said, he doesn’t feel he has enough information to know if that’s the case.

Some critics of Walt have noted that because he holds an administrative position at the Kennedy School, he is more closely associated with the institution than other faculty members would be. Bowen said that was true, but had no relevance on his academic freedom. “You don’t give up your scholarly credentials” when you take on an administrative role, Bowen said.

The AAUP recently found itself spending a lot of time on Middle Eastern politics — when it planned, postponed, and eventually abandoned a planned conference on academic boycotts. The conference imploded amid reports that the association had accidentally sent anti-Semitic materials from Holocaust deniers to conference participants. But the invitation-only conference was already being criticized for a guest list that many said gave too many slots to professors who want to endorse boycotts of Israeli universities. Critics of the conference say that it fell apart because it was poorly organized with an unbalanced attendee list, but supporters of the conference say that the association was punished for opening the meeting to critics of Israel.

“I think there is something called the Israel lobby,” Bowen said. “I don’t think anyone doubts that, and I think Walt and Mearsheimer — just like any other scholar — have every reason in the world to comment, and academic freedom guidelines protect their right to do research in this area in the same way scholars who disagree have every right in the world to take them to task and to do critical research on their study.”

While academics comment on a range of controversial issues all the time, Bowen said that dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian issues posed particular difficulties. Bowen said that one of his “real shocks” at the AAUP was when “a very close friend and colleague” who is Jewish, a “strong civil libertarian,” and has “wonderful values on academic freedom” approached him about trying to urge Duke University to block a group there from organizing a national conference for student supporters of the Palestinian cause. “On that issue, there are blinders,” Bowen said.

“Any time you deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even indirectly, you need to be prepared,” he said.

Continued in article

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

Where does an auditing firm report bad news about a client?
Primus Telecommunications Group Inc., once a marquee name among local telecom firms, may not be able to stay in business due to its continued losses and mounting debt, the company's auditor said in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The McLean company's financial condition, including a lack of working capital, raises "substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern," Deloitte & Touche LLP wrote in a note included in Primus's year-end filings with the SEC.
"Primus's Auditor Voices Doubts on Firm's Viability Debt Mounts for McLean Telecom," by Ellen McCarthy, The Washington Post, March 29, 2006 --- Click Here

Jensen Question
At what point does the auditing firm insist on a shift from historical cost accruals to exit value accounting?
One problem is that a distressed firm may not be able to higher costly appraisals.

San Francisco is Not a Friendly Place for a Christian Youth Rally: Official City Condemnation
More than 25,000 evangelical Christian youth landed Friday in San Francisco for a two-day rally at AT&T Park against "the virtue terrorism" of popular culture, and they were greeted by an official city condemnation and a clutch of protesters who said their event amounted to a "fascist mega-pep rally."
Joe Garofoli, "Evangelical teens rally in S.F., San Francisco Chronicle, March 25, 2006 ---

We may disagree with certain aspects of the Battle Cry agenda -- on issues such as abortion rights, religion in schools or acceptance of an individual's sexual orientation -- but the attempt by counterprotesters and some of the city's elected officials to call them "fascist" and "hateful" was totally at odds with the tone of the ballpark event and the approach of the Web site. The gathering was not an "act of provocation," as the supervisors claimed. It was a get-together of young evangelicals whose lifestyles and religious views just happen to be in the minority here -- apparently making them open season for politicians to chastise. The young people who came to San Francisco to affirm their faith and enjoy a day of rock music deserved better. They deserved to be welcomed by a city that was as tolerant and progressive as its sanctimonious supervisors like to profess.
"Intolerant City," Editorial in The San Francisco Chronicle, March 28, 2006 --- Click Here

Africa is Sending Christian Missionaries to Help Save Americans
At the core of the shift are pastors from Nigeria. Over the last century, Christians there have swelled from a tiny minority to nearly half the population, and its pastors have shown an exceptional talent for winning believers abroad.
Rachel Zoll, "Boom in African Christianity spills over to America," SanDiego.com, March 26, 2006 ---
Jensen Comment
It would appear that Nigeria is exporting more than oil and fraud.

"Poor America," by Douglas Besharov, The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2006, Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114317126958807187.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

Each year the Census Bureau calculates the nation's poverty rate, based on the number of people with incomes below the official poverty line, about $20,000 for a family of four in 2004. Since last year's poverty rate of 12.7% was essentially equal to the 1968 rate of 12.8%, it seems that little progress has been made. But many analysts -- on the right and the left -- have pointed out that, by many other measures, poor people's physical and material well-being is considerably better now than in the late '60s. How else to explain why so many poor now have color TV (93%) and air conditioning (50%), and own their own homes (46%)?

While many have proposed revising the official poverty measure, getting agreement is about as likely as Bush carrying Manhattan. The poverty line or its multiple is the basis of eligibility for dozens of government antipoverty programs, involving the distributions of hundreds of billions of dollars. Change it -- up or down -- and hundreds of thousands of people gain or lose benefits.

That's what makes a new data series by the Census Bureau, "The Effects of Government Taxes and Transfers on Income and Poverty: 2004," so significant. Developed after nine months of meetings between outside experts and senior government officials from the Census Bureau and other federal agencies, it allows us to get a better view of the resources available to low-income Americans.

First, the series gets a better fix on "market income" poverty -- poverty before taxes and means-tested transfers like cash welfare. (Although the Census Bureau counts it separately, Social Security, like pensions, is included as market income since it is "earned" during one's working years.) Now we can use the correct inflation adjustment, count the income of cohabitors and coresidents, and include the implicit income of home ownership. (The last mostly affects the elderly.) Finally, adding in government estimates of unreported income results in a market income poverty rate of about 7.9%, not the official rate of 12.7%. Second, as suggested by the name of the new data series, government transfer programs also reduce financial need. Taking into account welfare payments, food stamps and housing assistance (noncash benefits are presently not counted) results in a poverty rate of about 5.1% -- and even this excludes the value of Medicaid for the poor, roughly $2,000 per person.

Even with these calculations, about 15 million people are below the poverty line and millions more just above it. But the broader point must not be lost: Millions of low-income Americans are living better lives than they did before. Period.

Mr. Besharov is the Jacobs scholar in social welfare studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

You can read more about Ron Coase at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coase

Ronald Harry Coase (born December 29, 1910) is a British economist and the Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1991.

Born in Willesden, England, he got his PhD from the London School of Economics. Coase is best known for two articles in particular: The Nature of the Firm (1937), which introduces the concept of transaction costs to explain the size of firms, and The Problem of Social Cost (1960), which suggests that well defined property rights could overcome the problems of externalities (see Coase Theorem).

Coase's transaction costs approach is currently influential in modern organizational theory, where it was reintroduced by Oliver E. Williamson.

Coase is also often referred to as the 'father' of reform in the policy for allocation of the electromagnetic spectrum, based on his article The Federal Communications Commission (1959) where he criticizes spectrum licensing, suggesting property rights as a more efficient method of allocating spectrum to users.

Another important contribution of Coase is the "Coase Conjecture": an informal argument that durable-goods monopolists do not have market power because they are unable to commit to not lowering their prices in future periods.

"Small Is Powerful:  Will Glenn Reynolds and his army take down Big Media?" by Adrian Wooldridge, The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110008129 

Fifteen years ago Glenn Reynolds started brewing his own beer ("sometimes terrific . . . sometimes not so great"). A few years later he began recording his own music. Then, in the summer of 2001, he turned to writing a Web log, and the rest is history. A hitherto obscure law professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, became Instapundit, an insta-star in the firmament of the blogosphere.

More than a few rival bloggers, at the time, were old-media writers who had decided to try their hand at something new. Instapundit, by contrast, was born along with the form. Indeed, he embodied it ("sometimes terrific . . . sometimes not so great"), providing instant reactions to current events. Insights appeared alongside thin, one-sentence musings--always supported by links to news stories, columns and, not least, other bloggers. Reading Mr. Reynolds's blog could become addictive, even if you often felt that you'd be better off spending your time talking to real people--or even reading an old-fashioned newspaper--than clicking your life away.

Which adds to the pleasure of "An Army of Davids." Mr. Reynolds shows himself to be as accomplished in the medium-distance race--the book's text fills 268 undersized pages--as he is at the short dash. He shows as well that he has a coherent, and very American, philosophy of the world. Mr. Reynolds argues that we are undergoing a sea change. The balance of advantage--in nearly every aspect of society--is shifting from big organizations to small ones. Economies of scale and scope matter much less in the information age than in the industrial one. And thanks to advances in technology, more and more people are transforming themselves from salary men into entrepreneurs and independent contractors. "The secret of success in both business and politics in the twenty-first century," Mr. Reynolds writes, "will involve figuring out a way to capitalize on the phenomenon of a lot of people doing what they want to do, rather than--as in previous centuries--figuring out ways to make lots of people do what you want them to."

This attractive thesis is hardly original--Ronald Coase explained the economics of it back in 1937. It has been chronicled many times since, especially in recent years. And Mr. Reynolds doesn't take time from his breakneck exposition to consider complications. Don't some big organizations develop core competencies that it is very hard for competitors to imitate? Isn't the do-what-I-want cohort, even if growing, still a rather small one, confined mostly to an educated, versatile, technologically literate elite? Even Instapundit himself presumably relies, for paying at least some of his monthly bills, on the steady salary from a big organization (a university). The Internet, for all its technological dazzle and ambitious individual voices, is still weak on producing revenue.

Yet Mr. Reynolds presents his case with verve and wit. Had you realized that "the comfy chair revolution" (the appearances of comfortable chairs in bookshops and even clothes shops) is a sign of the army of Davids on the march? Starbucks and Barnes & Noble provide loiterers with temporary offices as well as lattes and muffins. Did you know that the Nigerian film industry is flourishing, thanks to hand-held cameras and digital processing (and, incidentally, that it produces works that make the "Left Behind" films look downright secular)?

Mr. Reynolds pushes his case to provocative lengths. Two of his biggest passions--as readers of Instapundit know only too well--are space colonization and "transhumanism." Both, he believes, are better served by Davids--private citizens acting individually or as a collection of individuals--than by government bureaucrats. He says that we need to adopt a Wild West model for outer space: If we privatize space travel and give land grants to people who colonize the moon or Mars, we will soon see a space rush, even a Mars rush. As for technology improving the human condition, he is a relentless optimist. Why not allow people to put memory chips in their brains to improve their mental performance? Why not celebrate, instead of worrying over, the idea that people might be able to live for centuries, with the help of some cellular tinkering?

Mr. Reynolds is at his most impressive when he is commenting on his natural habitat, the blogosphere. It is extraordinary to think that when he went into blogging a mere five years ago the activity didn't even have a name for what was produced ("mezines" was the best anyone could do). There are now more than 22 million blogs, according to Technorati.com; Mr. Reynolds alone sometimes gets more than a half-million page views a day. And indeed, as he notes, bloggers have changed the landscape of journalism. They have helped to bring down both Trent Lott and Dan Rather; they have produced great reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan; and they have demonstrated, beyond doubt, that journalism is an activity, not a profession.

But here Mr. Reynolds is not quite the mainstream-media basher that the book's long subtitle suggests. (It claims, in part, that "An Army of Davids" will show "how markets and technology empower ordinary people to beat big media.") He recognizes that bloggers and the mainstream media (MSM) are supplements to one another as much as competitors. If bloggers can challenge and criticize the MSM, they depend on it for most of their information. The result should be a self-correcting system. Mainstream editors get faster off the mark (one hopes) because they realize that any dithering will be exposed by the blogosphere; and mainstream journalists get more self-critical because they realize that ignorance and bias will be immediately exposed. The David army envisioned by Mr. Reynolds may well, in the long run, end up beating the Goliaths of big media and big government into submission. In the meantime, let's hope for a more modest goal: that it can make them a little better at doing their jobs.

Mr. Wooldridge is Washington bureau chief of The Economist and the author, with John Micklethwait, of "The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America." You can buy "An Army of Davids" from the OpinionJournal Bookstore.

Organized Crime May Be Stealing From Your Children (With the Help of Top School Officials)
The last thing people want to hear in a high-tax state notorious for political corruption is that their tax dollars are being mismanaged. But according to a two-year probe of school superintendents by New Jersey's State Commission of Investigation, that's exactly what's going on in Tony Soprano country. No wonder there's a property-tax rebellion brewing there as in many places around the country.
"Jersey School Scam," The Wall Street Journal,  March 21, 2006; Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114290632601803676.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Bob Jensen's threads on scams are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudreporting.htm

Reaping the Fruits of Tax Cuts
The next time some Washington potentate moans about the budget deficit, tell him not to blame the taxpayers. They're already doing their part to reduce it, as the latest Treasury figures on booming federal tax revenue show. In the first five months of Fiscal 2006, through February, overall revenue continued to surge, growing at an overall rate of 10.3%, or an $81 billion increase from the year ago period, to $871 billion. That builds on the astonishing 15%, or $274 billion, revenue increase for all of 2005, which various fiscal wise men assured us would fall off dramatically. Apparently not.
"Beltway Windfall," The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2006; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114308110030405957.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Big Tax Return Preparer is Watching You:  Yet another incentive to do your own tax returns
The person who prepares your tax return may sell your private information
(Repeated from March 31 edition of New Bookmarks)

This link was forwarded by Scott Bonacker [cpa@BONACKERS.COM]
"IRS plans to allow preparers to sell data:  Critics said the proposed regulation could lead to a loss of privacy for clients," by Jeff Gelles, Philadelphia Inquirer, March 21, 2006 --- Click Here

The IRS is quietly moving to loosen the once-inviolable privacy of federal income-tax returns. If it succeeds, accountants and other tax-return preparers will be able to sell information from individual returns - or even entire returns - to marketers and data brokers.

The change is raising alarm among consumer and privacy-rights advocates. It was included in a set of proposed rules that the Treasury Department and the IRS published in the Dec. 8 Federal Register, where the official notice labeled them "not a significant regulatory action."

IRS officials portray the changes as housecleaning to update outmoded regulations adopted before it began accepting returns electronically. The proposed rules, which would become effective 30 days after a final version is published, would require a tax preparer to obtain written consent before selling tax information.

Critics call the changes a dangerous breach in personal and financial privacy. They say the requirement for signed consent would prove meaningless for many taxpayers, especially those hurriedly reviewing stacks of documents before a filing deadline.

"The normal interaction is that the taxpayer just signs what the tax preparer puts in front of them," said Jean Ann Fox of the Consumer Federation of America, one of several groups fighting the changes. "They think, 'This person is a tax professional, and I'm going to rely on them.' "

Criticism also came from U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.). In a letter last Tuesday to IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, Obama warned that once in the hands of third parties, tax information could be resold and handled under even looser rules than the IRS sets, increasing consumers' vulnerability to identity theft and other risks.

"There is no more sensitive information than a taxpayer's return, and the IRS's proposal to allow these returns to be sold to third-party marketers and database brokers is deeply troubling," Obama wrote.

The IRS first announced the proposal in a news release the day before the official notice was published, headlined: "IRS Issues Proposed Regulations to Safeguard Taxpayer Information."

The announcement did not mention potential sales of tax information. It said the proposed rules were guided by the principle "that tax return preparers may not disclose or use tax return information for purposes other than tax return preparation without the knowing, informed and voluntary consent of the taxpayer."

IRS spokesman William M. Cressman defended the proposal in similar terms.

"The heart of this proposed regulation is about the right of taxpayers to control their tax return information. The idea is to emphasize taxpayer consent and set clear boundaries on how tax return preparers can use or disclose tax return information," Cressman said in an e-mail response to questions.

Cressman said he was unable to explain "why this issue has come up at this time other than our effort to update regulations that date back to the 1970s and predate the electronic era."

Not all the changes have drawn opposition.

Beth A. McConnell, director of the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PennPIRG), said she welcomed a requirement that a taxpayer would need to consent to overseas processing of any portion of a tax return.

"That's a positive development, but I don't think it's worth giving up our tax returns' privacy for," said McConnell, who plans to testify on behalf of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group at an April 4 IRS hearing in Washington on the rule changes.

McConnell accused the IRS of using the new limit on overseas processing to dress up changes that would chiefly benefit tax preparers, marketers and data brokers.

"That's a disturbing trend among Washington officials lately," McConnell said. "They'll offer a modest consumer protection in one area in exchange for dramatic weakening of consumer protections in another area, and then try to convince the public that it's all in our interests."

Critics of the proposal said it could do more than open up sales of tax information to data brokers and marketers, because it could undermine taxpayer confidence in the entire tax system.

"Privacy protections for tax information are especially critical given the largely voluntary nature of the U.S. tax system," said Chi Chi Wu, a tax-law specialist at Boston's National Consumer Law Center.

Wu and other critics said they were uncertain who or what was behind the proposed changes in IRS privacy rules, which currently prohibit tax preparers from selling returns to third parties for marketing purposes, and require written consent if they want to use it for marketing by companies under their own corporate umbrella.

Officials at H&R Block and Jackson-Hewitt, two of the nation's largest tax-preparation firms, did not respond to requests for comment. Cressman said the IRS had so far received only about a dozen comments on the proposal.

"I think this just flew under the radar screen for so many people," McConnell said.

Continued in article

"IRS Plans to Allow Preparers to Sell Data," SmartPros, March 22, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x52297.xml

The IRS is quietly moving to loosen the once-inviolable privacy of federal income-tax returns. If it succeeds, accountants and other tax-return preparers will be able to sell information from individual returns - or even entire returns - to marketers and data brokers.

The change is raising alarm among consumer and privacy-rights advocates. It was included in a set of proposed rules that the Treasury Department and the IRS published in the Dec. 8 Federal Register, where the official notice labeled them "not a significant regulatory action."

IRS officials portray the changes as housecleaning to update outmoded regulations adopted before it began accepting returns electronically. The proposed rules, which would become effective 30 days after a final version is published, would require a tax preparer to obtain written consent before selling tax information.

Critics call the changes a dangerous breach in personal and financial privacy. They say the requirement for signed consent would prove meaningless for many taxpayers, especially those hurriedly reviewing stacks of documents before a filing deadline.

"The normal interaction is that the taxpayer just signs what the tax preparer puts in front of them," said Jean Ann Fox of the Consumer Federation of America, one of several groups fighting the changes. "They think, 'This person is a tax professional, and I'm going to rely on them.' "

Criticism also came from U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.). In a letter last Tuesday to IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, Obama warned that once in the hands of third parties, tax information could be resold and handled under even looser rules than the IRS sets, increasing consumers' vulnerability to identity theft and other risks.

"There is no more sensitive information than a taxpayer's return, and the IRS's proposal to allow these returns to be sold to third-party marketers and database brokers is deeply troubling," Obama wrote.

The IRS first announced the proposal in a news release the day before the official notice was published, headlined: "IRS Issues Proposed Regulations to Safeguard Taxpayer Information."

The announcement did not mention potential sales of tax information. It said the proposed rules were guided by the principle "that tax return preparers may not disclose or use tax return information for purposes other than tax return preparation without the knowing, informed and voluntary consent of the taxpayer."  

"The real threat to the Internet," by Bob Sullivan, MSNBC, March 23, 2006 ---   http://redtape.msnbc.com/2006/03/the_real_threat.html

Last week came yet another story predicting doomsday for the Internet.  Except this time, it wasn't a Digital Pearl Harbor that was coming.  It was a "Katrina of the Internet."

Ordinarily, I would just shrug off such a story--there are always two or three of these each year--and recommend that readers do the same.  After all, the Internet sky has been said to be falling many times, and yet, it never seems to happen.  But this story was written by Ted Bridis at the Associated Press, whose work is beyond reproach.  So I dug in, and sure enough, there is something to be worried about.

The fundamental problem, one that should ring true to many consumers, is this: On the Internet, it's far too easy for data to lie about what it is, and where it's come from.  Until the problem of such data impersonation is solved, no one can promise you that your e-mail won't one day disappear, your Internet phone calls will stop working, or your electronic commerce business might one day be brought to its knees.  Just imagine if your water, electricity, heat, or gasoline were that unreliable.

"It's as if our electric grid didn't even have fences around it," said Paul Vixie, president of Internet Systems Consortium Inc., a non-profit that helps run the computers at the heart of the Internet.  "This is disgraceful what we do, and what we don't do, to protect the Internet."

All this means, at a minimum, consumers should have Internet disaster plans ready, a virtual fire escape and digital smoke detector.  Have backup copies of your baby pictures somewhere, and not just online; keep paper copies of banking statements for the day you can't bank online, that kind of thing.  We've come to depend on the network, but we should remember that it has an Achilles heel.

The Internet is a bit of a paradox, being both incredibly fragile and incredibly resilient.  Recall that we all lost a day's work seven years ago when a frustrated Philippine graduate student named Onel de Guzman released the LoveBug virus on the world.

On the other hand, despite the best efforts of every ill-meaning hacker to ever sprout pimples, the Internet has not "gone down."  Sites have gone down.  E-mail has been overwhelmed by spam.  Web traffic has even been slowed a smidge by computer worms.  But basically, the Internet has survived everything that's been thrown at it.  That's a credit to its redundant, distributed design--files are copied and backed up all over the world, and there are almost always multiple ways for data to travel.  If one Internet road is cut off, there are always detours.  The system has survived everything, even 9/11 and Katrina.

This resiliency is a good news/bad news story.  And here's the bad news: At this point, every alarm bell that's sounded has the air of the boy who cried wolf.

But as I called around to security experts last week, the people who really watch the 1s and 0s as they fly around the globe, I could sense exasperation.  Just because the big one hasn't come yet doesn't mean it won't come, I heard.

Turning the Internet against itself
Now, for the new attack.  VeriSign Inc. says someone took an army of 30,000 hijacked computers and trained them on 1,500 targets earlier this year, overwhelming them with traffic.  The attacked computers were helpless.  And then, after a few weeks, the attacks stopped.  The attacking packets were not defeated by countermeasures; the attackers simply moved on.

Suck denial of service attacks are not new.  But VeriSign's Ken Silva said that this new attack was much more intense than anything seen before.

"We're trying to fire a flare here," he said.  "This is a problem that is bigger than anyone is currently thinking."

Here's why: Hackers aren't using simple hijacked home computers to attack.  They are turning the Internet's Domain Name Server system against itself.  The domain name server system is the Internet's addressing system.  It maps ugly numeric IP addresses like to simple names like MSNBC.com  There are 13 root nameservers, which are essential to the proper functioning of the Internet.  Verisign runs two of them.

Continued in article

From The Washington Post on March 23, 2006

In 2005, how many PCs were snared into illegal hacker networks called "botnets"?

A. about 6 million
B. about 13 milion
C. about 24 million
D. about 39 million

Ten Years of Testing Palms
eWEEK Labs recounts what Palm did right—and wrong—as the PDA platform celebrates its 10th anniversary

"Ten Years of Testing Palms," by Michael Caton, eWeek, March 24, 2006 --- http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1942465,00.asp 

A stealthy bot Trojan has been infecting machines via drive-by-downloads for months, and may have infected a million PCs. It aims to pillage personal bank accounts.

"Massive Botnet Pillaging Bank Accounts," by Gregg Keizer, Information Week, March 23, 2006 --- http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=183701982

One of the most sophisticated bot Trojans ever has been infecting machines for months, a security company revealed Wednesday, and has compromised an estimated one million PCs in an ongoing effort to pillage personal bank accounts.

According to Reston, Va.-based iDefense, multiple variants of a Trojan dubbed "MetaFisher," a.k.a. "Spy-Agent," has been spreading for months under the proverbial radar.

"MetaFisher has compromised hundreds of thousands if not millions of accounts for financial fraud," said Ken Dunham, the director of iDefense's rapid response team.

The Trojan's pitched the usual way -- via spammed e-mail that includes a link -- and uses the long-patched Windows Metafile (WMF) vulnerability to silently install via a drive-by download on machines whose users simply surf to these malicious sites.

Once on a machine, the malware turns the PC into yet another "bot," or remotely-controlled computer. But Dunham, who called MetaFisher "the most sophisticated bot to date," said it has several unique technical tricks up its sleeves.

MetaFisher uses HTML injection techniques to phish information from victims after they've logged into a targeted bank account, said Dunham, which lets attackers steal legitimate TAN numbers (one-time PINs used by some banks overseas) and passwords without having to draw them onto phony sites.

Currently, MetaFisher is targeting Spanish, British, and German banks, and their customers.

iDefense, said Dunham, broke the encryption used to disguise the traffic between bots and their controllers, and has monitored that back-and-forth for several weeks. It's passed along the information to its parent company VeriSign, which has been working on taking down the sites used to drive-by-download the Trojan.

Increasingly, bots are being used by criminals to steal personal financial information using covert code and keyloggers. Last week, FaceTime, a Foster City, Calif. security company, disclosed details of a bot network, or botnet, that was exploiting vulnerabilities in back-end e-commerce shopping cart software to rip off consumers.

Also see http://www.internetweek.cmp.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=183702013

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

The Sorry State of ID Theft, Denial of Service, and Other Attacks
One of the most popular stories on our site over the last two weeks was PIN Scandal 'Worst Hack Ever'; Citibank Only The Start, followed closely by International Citibank Customers Shaken By Data Breach. Day after day, one or both made our list of the five most popular headlines.I'm guessing another story, about two large botnets hacking into users' online shopping carts to steal credit card numbers, bank account details, and log-on passwords, will grab similar reader interest.Little wonder. The banks involved in the first story were huge, with huge IT budgets and even bigger data stores. We all bank and use ATMs, and many use debit cards. And regards the second story, most of us shop, to varying degrees, online. It just isn't hard to imagine yourself as one of the current--or future--victims of these scams or dubious security policies.
Patricia Keefe, "Securing A Solution To Data Theft," InformationWeek Daily, March 21, 2006

The High Cost Of Data Loss
Sensitive personal data has been misplaced, lost, printed on mailing labels, posted online, and just left around for anyone to see. The situation has become untenable. Here's the ugly truth about how it keeps happening, who's been affected, and what's being done about it.
Elena Malykhina et al., InformationWeek, March 20, 2006

How many ways are there to expose sensitive personal data? One company misplaces a backup tape; another puts customers' Social Security numbers onto mailing labels for anyone to see. Others lose laptops, inadvertently post private information online, or leave documents exposed to prying eyes. The possibilities are endless-- as we're learning with every new revelation of a data breach or hack or inexcusable lapse in secure business practices. By one estimate, 53 million people--including consumers, employees, students, and patients--have had data about themselves exposed over the past 13 months.

This sorry state of affairs is taking its toll: fines, lawsuits, firings, damaged reputations, spooked customers, credit card fraud, a regulatory crackdown, and the expense of fixing what's broken. The situation has become untenable. Here's the ugly truth about how it keeps happening, who's been affected, and what's being done about

Continued in a long article

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

Storing customer credit card information

March 25, 2006 message from Scott Bonacker [cpas-l@BONACKER.US]


When I export/import I select all available options, yet when I open the new company, none of the customer payment info made it over. (Customer terms/type etc DOES make it over) Just nothing under the payment info tab. What am I doing wrong. This means I have a lot of credit card #'s to manually move . Any help appreciated.


The built in IIF transfer process doesn't transfer credit card info. Software developed with Intuits XML based Software Development Kit (SDK) can transfer the credit card info but you need QB 2004 or later and the Pro version or higher. -/snip/- Instead of writing you own progam, you can use some of the third party transfer tools listed on the Intuit Marketplace site at ....


This is from a recent exchange on a QuickBooks discussion forum. Aside from wanting to ask the questioner whether they have sufficient security on their computer to be storing customer credit card numbers, I'm also curious what regulations there might be for this. The GLB act doesn't apply unless it is a financial services business. The questioner is in Texas so that state's laws would apply, but what are the Federal rules?

Scott Bonacker, CPA
Springfield, MO

March 25, 2006  from Linda C Pfingst CPA [lcpfingst@EARTHLINK.NET]

For starters this was interesting:


and this one was also:


you can also see http://usa.visa.com/business/accepting_visa/ops_risk_management/cisp.html?it
 for their CISP mandate. Better the industry regulate itself than congress.......

Linda Pfingst, CPA
Managing Member Linda C. Pfingst, CPA, LLC
57 Muddy Run Road Frenchtown, NJ 08825 908-996-3339

March 21, 2006 message from Scott Bonacker [aecm@BONACKER.US]

"But Googling people is also becoming a way for bosses and headhunters to do continuous and stealthy background checks on employees, no disclosure required. Google is an end run around discrimination laws, inasmuch as employers can find out all manner of information -- some of it for a nominal fee -- that is legally off limits in interviews: your age, your marital status, the value of your house (along with an aerial photograph of it), the average net worth of your neighbors, fraternity pranks, stuff you wrote in college, liens, bankruptcies, political affiliations, and the names and ages of your children."

Read the rest at http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_13/b3977071.htm

A headhunter I heard speak recently said that around 38% of resumes have false education credentials. The easiest thing to check on, and the most often faked. They also typically do not use the contact phone numbers provided in resumes. Those numbers can actually ring through to a confederate, so they use the phone book to look up a company's number.

Scott Bonacker
Springfield, MO

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

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

The Golden Age of Gossip (back when a scandal was really a scandal) --- http://www.comcast.net/entertainment/coolclicks/

The Current Age of Gossip: What movie star had affairs with the following celebrities?
Prince Charles and Princess Diana's doomed lover, Dodi Fayed, Anderson writes that her conquests include Warren Beatty, Ryan O'Neal, Steve McQueen, Kris Kristofferson, Don Johnson (whom friends dismissed as her "Goy Toy"), Jon Voight, Elliott Gould, Andre Agassi, Richard Gere, Omar Sharif, ice cream heir Richard Baskin, hairdresser-turned-studio chief Jon Peters, Liam Neeson, Peter Jennings, Tommy Smothers and "Robocop" Peter Weller.

Hillary Clinton banned her from the White House

"TALES OF MAN-EATER ... ," New York Post, May 27, 2006 --- http://www.nypost.com/gossip/pagesix/pagesix.htm

Will spelling and grammar standards disappear in the 21st Century like penmanship standards disappeared in the 20th Century?

AUTHORS and academics have criticised Western Australia's new English exam for making spelling and grammar optional extras in written expression.
Alana Buckley-Carr, "Experts tick-off English exams," The Australian, March 21, 2006 --- Click Here

Advanced Yes, Placement No," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, February 20, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/02/20/ap

This month, College Board officials released the latest data on the Advanced Placement program, noting record increases in the numbers of students taking AP courses and scoring well enough on the exams to get college credit. The AP program saves students “time and tuition,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. The Bush administration is climbing on the AP bandwagon as well, calling for more students to take the courses in high school.

There’s just one problem, according to research presented Friday in St. Louis at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: AP courses — whatever their merits — may be poor substitutes for college courses in the sciences.

The study looked at 18,000 students in introductory biology, chemistry and physics courses in college. The students were at 63 randomly selected four-year colleges and universities and their performance in the courses was correlated to various factors. The researchers found that students who had taken AP courses — even those who had done well on the AP exams — did only marginally better than students who had not taken AP courses. Other factors, such as the rigor of mathematics taken in high school, were found to have a strong impact on whether students did well in college-level work in the sciences

Continued in article

"Advanced Placement: A detour for college fast track?" by Mary Beth Marklein, USA Today, March 20, 2006 --- Click Here

Admissions officials at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, like those at most colleges nationwide, like to see Advanced Placement courses on high school transcripts. And like many colleges, they typically exempt students who have passed AP exams from taking certain introductory courses.

But in recent years, a troubling pattern has emerged. Increasingly, admitted students who boast AP credits "really weren't in many ways ready for the rigor of our college curriculum," says Edith Waldstein, vice president for enrollment management.

A committee is looking into whether to readjust the way Wartburg awards AP credit. "It just doesn't mean as much as it used to," she says.

Advanced Placement, a program that allows high school students to take college-level courses, has been on a roll. Last year, more than 1.2 million students took more than 2.1 million exams, double the number 11 years ago.

The percentage of students who took and passed AP courses increased in every state and the District of Columbia since 2000. Nearly every state has an incentive program to encourage more schools to offer the courses.

President Bush further boosted the program's visibility during his State of the Union address when he announced a plan to train more teachers to teach Advanced Placement and similarly rigorous math and science courses.

One reason for AP's explosive growth is an expansion of mission. Created 51 years ago to give the brightest high school students a head start on college coursework, AP increasingly is being promoted, as Bush's proposal suggests, as a tool for high school reform.

"Our hope (is that AP) can serve as an anchor for increasing rigor in our schools and reducing the achievement gap," says Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, the non-profit group that runs the AP program.

But as AP grows in popularity, it seems to be experiencing growing pains. More doubts are being raised about whether AP can accomplish all that it is being asked to do.

Like Wartburg, a number of colleges are re-evaluating whether to exempt students with AP credit from certain classes. Already, several highly selective schools, including Harvard, Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, require many students to take introductory courses in certain subjects, even if they passed an AP exam in the same subject.

Beginning this fall, entering students at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia no longer will be able to use AP credits alone to satisfy general education requirements.

And the University of Georgia in Athens is reviewing AP policies after a task force report raised concerns that too many entering students are placing out of core classes "without either undergoing the rigorous assessment of or acquiring the skills taught at a research university."

Uncertain predictor of success

In terms of admissions, research on whether AP involvement can predict a student's success in college appear inconclusive at best. State-based studies by the National Center for Educational Accountability in Texas and the University of California-Berkeley, to name two, show that students who pass AP exams are more likely to earn a bachelor's degree than those who don't pass.

Even so, the California study also found that taking AP (and honors) courses bore "little or no relationship to students' later performance in college" and suggested that institutions reconsider the use of AP as an admissions criterion.

Meanwhile, in a just-released update of a 1999 Education Department study showing that the "academic intensity of the curriculum" is a predictor of bachelor's degree completion, researcher Clifford Adelman found that, by itself, AP coursework did not "reach the threshold of significance."

And in a not-yet-published study of 465 college students nationwide who had taken both an AP science exam and the corresponding introductory science course, researchers at Harvard and the University of Virginia found that even an AP exam score of 5, the highest possible, was no guarantee of a college grade of A in the same course.

Needed: Greater consistency

Earlier warnings also have been sounded about course quality. A 2002 review by the National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences, found that AP science courses lacked depth. A year earlier, a panel of experts created by the College Board urged it to take steps to control quality as the AP program expands.

In response, the College Board is now revising courses, beginning with biology and history, and is undertaking a massive audit of high school courses "to ensure a greater degree of consistency," says Trevor Packer, executive director of the program. Without some control, "the claims we can make for those students are limited."

The European International Baccalaureate, a more comprehensive college-level program that served 35,366 students in 423 U.S. high schools last year, also is held up as a model for rigor.But AP, which served 15,380 schools last year, is far more established.

And even critics agree there's a lot to like about the AP program, which to date offers a curriculum and exam for 35 (and counting) college-level courses in 20 subjects, including math, science, English and social sciences. Each course is developed by a committee of college and high school faculty and is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college course.

The College Board offers training to AP teachers, many of whom also teach other courses and otherwise might have few professional development opportunities. And like SAT scores, AP grades offer colleges a national yardstick with which to compare students.

No longer the cream of the crop

The hallmark of the program is its exams, one for each course, offered worldwide each May. The exams typically comprise multiple-choice and free-response questions. Scores range from 1 to 5 with 3 or higher considered a passing grade. In some cases, students who pass an AP exam are exempted from taking the equivalent course in college and may be permitted to take higher-level courses.

But with AP increasingly being viewed as a standard to which all students should aspire, some researchers question whether the AP's embrace of a wider swath of students is creating fault lines.

"The traditional role of AP is still on very firm footing," says Kristin Klopfenstein, an economist at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, whose research suggests that average students don't necessarily benefit. "The AP fervor has been so quick in coming over the last decade that we haven't slowed down enough to really look to see that AP accomplishes what we want."

At Fairfax (Va.) High School, which opened AP enrollment to all students in the early 1990s, the answer seems to be that it does.

In the six years since the district began paying for all AP students to take AP exams, the school's average exam score has edged upward even as the number of test takers has more than doubled, from 316 to 647. Average exam scores increased from 2.65 to 2.68.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Status of Technology and Digitization in the Nation’s Museums and Libraries ---http://www.imls.gov/publications/TechDig05/index.htm

In 2001, the Institute conducted the first-ever study of the status of new technology adoption and digitization in the nation’s museums and libraries. The baseline study identified pockets of digitization activity and planning that were making library and museum collections widely available. While gaps existed between large and small institutions, basic technologies had found their way into a majority of libraries and museums.

This second study seeks to dig deeper and find out more about how and why our cultural institutions use technology and digitize their collections. It explores barriers as well as capacity and planning issues.

Education Technology:  Play-Doh™ Economics
The Play Dough curriculum strives to provide financial and economic literacy for students and teachers, helping them develop the real life skills needed to be successful savers, investors, consumers, and workers in a global economy. “Play Dough Economics is the best single economic education curriculum I have used during my career,” states Dr. John Hall, an Associate Professor at Missouri State University. “It is comprehensive, teacher friendly, activity-oriented, highly motivating, and fun! The explanations of economic concepts are excellent and it is cost effective. Even though it was written for K-8 students, I have found Play Dough Economics to be very valuable beyond the 8th grade. I have used it in my college classes and worked with many high school teachers who use it with their students. Whenever and wherever I use Play dough Economics it is a hit.”
"Play-Doh™ Economics," AccountingWeb, May 16, 2006 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

The European Union is facing a crisis of historic proportions.
Its infamous social model is failing as new trends in the industrialized world

"The Third Way to Lisbon," by Patrick Diamond and Anthony Giddens, The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114289285539103336.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

The European Union is facing a crisis of historic proportions. Its infamous social model is failing as new trends in the industrialized world -- globalization, ageing, and rapid technological change -- threaten to permanently destroy the European way of life.

At the heart of the EU's feeble and inadequate economy is the slow pace of change. This week's European Spring Council offers the Continent's leaders a chance to add urgent impetus to the reform effort. Even the most ardent proponents of the "Lisbon Agenda" -- a strategy for transforming Europe into the most dynamic knowledge economy in the world by 2010 -- admit the formula of regular, top-level peer review has been a blunt instrument. The EU is obsessed with process and susceptible to bureaucratic stagnation, and often fails to achieve tangible outcomes.

Meanwhile, national leaders have failed to formulate a coherent program for structural reform. Some on the Continent even yearn for their own Margaret Thatcher.

It is naïve to imagine that EU institutions could substitute for strong political leadership at home. To the contrary, under-performance within the member states fuels the legitimacy crisis of the European project as a whole. Liberalization, enlargement and immigration are blamed for destroying jobs and living standards. Brussels cannot cut itself off from rising ethnic tensions in Europe's cities, or widespread anxiety about the competitive threat of India and China.

Only reforms rooted in social justice can be sold to the public. But social justice must be understood as providing equal opportunities for all rather than just simply generous transfer payments. Then it will compliment rather than stifle competitiveness in a globalizing world. Yet none of Europe's models of welfare capitalism even remotely lives up to this concept. That's why Europe's traditional ideas of welfare have to change. Full employment no longer exists in most member states, and hasn't for decades. Even high employment countries like Sweden and the U.K. face rising claims for sickness, invalidity benefits, and an increasing proportion of households without breadwinners.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the pending economic collapse of Western economies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm

Today's most significant (and just plain cool) emerging technologies
This article is the second in a series of 10 stories we're running over two weeks, covering today's most significant (and just plain cool) emerging technologies. It's part of our annual "10 Emerging Technologies" report, which appears in the March/April print issue of Technology Review.
"Nanomedicine:  James Baker designs nanoparticles to guide drugs directly into cancer cells, which could lead to far safer treatments," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, March 21, 2006 --- Click Here 

"Epigenetics:  Alexander Olek has developed tests to detect cancer early by measuring its subtle DNA changes," by Peter Fairley, MIT's Technology Review, March 22, 2006 --- Click Here

The New Google Finance Site (more than just a search site)

See http://accounting.smartpros.com/x52299.xml

"Google Finance hits Web New services to compete with Yahoo, other sites," Verne Kopytoff, San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2006 --- Click Here

Google Inc. is introducing a finance area on its Web site where users can get stock quotes, chart their mutual funds and get company news, issuing a major challenge to category leader Yahoo Inc.

The area, Google Finance, adds to the Mountain View company's growing list of new products that has transformed it from the leading search engine into a junior Web portal.

Google's finance area, at  , was to be up running sometime overnight. It will offer many of the same features as its established competitors, such as stock information, the ability to create a personal portfolio and access to a discussion board. But it also has some new twists, including stock charts that note when major news events take place and a sample of blog postings by amateurs about individual companies.

"We feel like we can offer considerable value," said Katie Jacobs Stanton, a senior product manager for Google.

In introducing a finance area, Google is facing off against several proven competitors. . Yahoo Finance is the top in the financial news and information category, with 12 million unique visitors in February, followed by MSN Money with 10.9 million and CNN Money with 8.5 million, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

Google has offered a smattering of financial information for some time. Users of its search engine who entered ticker symbols often got stock quotes and other basic company information at the top of the results page. But Monday's premiere adds an entirely new dimension to Google's finance offerings.

For now, the finance area, which Google is calling a test, is devoid of advertising, the company's primary source of revenue.

Indeed, Google Finance lacks some of what is available on competing Web sites, such as the ability to plot two stocks on the same chart. Stanton said that new functions will be added soon.

She said that the company has no plans to hire its own business writers. Several of Google's rivals have their own writers, including Dow Jones Inc.'s MarketWatch, which has a team of reporters, and Yahoo, which has several columnists.

For its stock discussion board, Google created thousands of message boards within its existing Google Groups area. Google said that unlike other groups, it will patrol user postings for profanity and violations of Securities and Exchange Commission rules.

David Schatsky, senior vice president for JupiterResearch, said in an e-mail that the Google finance area is "pretty hot and pretty slick and should erase any doubts, if any are left, that Google intends to compete as a portal, and not just as a search engine."

Recently, Google has added a number of things that take it further from its search-engine roots, including video downloads, maps and instant messaging.

Schatsky praised the stock charts that include notations of major news events, calling it "the kind of tool that investors will appreciate."

Advertisement Free Personal Finance Blogs --- http://pfblogs.org/blog/29

The Google Finance site is at http://finance.google.com/finance

Bob Jensen's finance and investment bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm

One opinion on the top 10 11 investment resource sites.
InvestMove.com --- www.investmove.com 

Top Ten Financial Portals

New to list The Google Finance site is at http://finance.google.com/finance
     1. Yahoo Finance
     2. MSN MoneyCentral
     3. Quicken.com
     4Wall Street City
     5Inter@ctive Investor
     6Motley Fool
     7Wall Street Research Net
   10Silicon Investor

BigCharts --- http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/ 

You've got to love Jenny
What's heart warming is how Jenny behaved with dignity and love throughout this mess.

"Donkey hurt in septic tank fall,"  by Marisa Navarro, Venura County Star, March 18, 2006 --- http://www.venturacountystar.com/vcs/co_valley/article/0,1375,VCS_166_4552387,00.html

A pet donkey was struggling to recover from injuries she suffered when she was stuck in a septic tank and nearly submerged in some 8 feet of putrid water on Friday.

The donkey's owner said by telephone that he fears his pet may die from the accident because she has been unable to stand since.

Jenny has been a beloved pet since her owner adopted her from the federal Bureau of Land Management several years ago, said the man, who refused to give his name. He cried when he talked about the possibility of her dying.

"Once you get them gentle, they're like your best friend," he said of his 12-year-old pet.

A firefighter at the scene said Jenny had a cut on one of her legs and that waste material might have infected it.

At 3 a.m. Friday, the owner walked the donkey near his Newbury Park home on the 200 block of Rosa Lane, the Ventura County Fire Department said. The man reported that the lid of a septic tank collapsed when the 600-pound donkey walked on top of it, the Fire Department said.

The septic tank serves as a wastewater receptacle for the home; eventually, the contents decompose and create a thick sludge.

When rescue workers arrived they could see only her head and part of her neck in a tank with a diameter similar to that of a manhole cover, said Ventura County Fire Capt. Mel Lovo. The owner tried without success to hoist the donkey above the water with a bridle. Lovo said Jenny probably stood on her hind legs throughout the incident.

Lovo, a member of the department's Urban Search and Rescue unit in Camarillo, said he could smell the contents of the septic water and several members of the crew had sludge on them.

Jenny remained still while she was in the tank.

Rescue workers were able to hoist Jenny with a winch.

Some 16 emergency personnel worked to get Jenny back to safety. By 6 a.m. she was out of the tank. She lay still as rescue workers rinsed the wastewater off her, said Harry Fekkes, a firefighter on the scene.

A veterinarian arrived later and tended to Jenny, Fekkes said.

And then there's the video about the moose in the car
From ABC News:  Moose Trapped in Car Seat --- http://abcnews.go.com/

Since most numbers in accounting reports are meaningless, accounting professors can hang on longer than many other professors facing cognitive decline. The problem with finance professors is they tend to believe our numbers.

 Should we allow older professors to teach investments and portfolio management?
The economic costs of aging are considerable - older investors earn roughly 2% lower annual returns on a risk-adjusted basis. Collectively, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that older investors' portfolio choices reflect greater knowledge about investing but their investment skill deteriorates with age....
George Korniotis and Alok Kumar, "Does Investment Skill Decline Due to Cognitive Aging or Improve with Experience?" (January 2006). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=767125

Jensen Comment
I think the reason is that older folks follow George Carlin's advice about "throwing away nonessential numbers." Perhaps some of those numbers are more essential than they can remember.

George Carlin's Views on Aging

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six and a
half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next
number, or even a few ahead.

"How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day
thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you
TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you
start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!" May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay "them "

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And! the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is
with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9 Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.


Forwarded by Aaron Konstam


With Viagra such a hit, Pfizer is bringing forth a whole line of drugs oriented towards improving the performance of men in today's society...

DIRECTRA _a dose of this drug given to men before leaving on car trips caused 72 percent of them to stop and ask directions when they got lost, compared to a control group of 0.2 percent.

PROJECTRA _Men given this experimental new drug were far more likely to actually finish a household repair project before starting a new one.

CHILDAGRA _Men taking this drug reported a sudden, overwhelming urge to perform more childcare tasks _ especially cleaning up spills and "little accidents."

COMPLIMENTRA _In clinical trials, 82 percent of middle aged men administered this drug noticed that their wives had a new hairstyle. Currently being tested to see if its effects extend to noticing new clothing.

BUYAGRA _Married and otherwise attached men reported a sudden urge to buy their sweeties expensive jewelry and gifts after taking this drug for only two days. Still to be seen: whether the drug can be continued for a period longer than your favorite store's return limit.

NEGA_VIAGRA _Has the exact opposite effect of Viagra. Currently undergoing clinical trials on sitting U.S. presidents.

NAGA_SPORTAGRA _This drug had the strange effect of making men want to turn off televised sports and actually converse with other family members.

PRYAGRA _About to fail its clinical trial, this drug gave men in the test group an irresistible urge to dig into the personal affairs of other people. Note: Apparent overdose turned three test subjects into "special prosecutors."

LIAGRA _This drug causes men to be truthful when being asked about their sexual affairs. Will be available in Regular, Grand Jury and Presidential Strength versions.


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

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.

International Accounting News (including the U.S.)

AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
        Upcoming international accounting conferences --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/events/index.cfm
        Thousands of journal abstracts --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/journals/index.cfm
Deloitte's International Accounting News --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
Association of International Accountants --- http://www.aia.org.uk/ 
WebCPA --- http://www.webcpa.com/
FASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
IASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
Others --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm

Gerald Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm 

Richard Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/ 


Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu