Tidbits on April 7, 2006
Bob Jensen
at Trinity University 

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

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

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

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

Gladiator American Style

Videos for K-12 Teachers --- http://www.teachnet.org/

His name is Yevgeny Plushenko-- an Olympic skater from Russia.
No, he didn't do this strip tease performance at the Olympics.
This was done after he won the gold.

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

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

From NPR
New Orleans Social Club: 'Sing Me Back Home' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5313087

From NPR
Varttina: Music from Another World --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5318114

From NPR (Guitar)
Six-String Creation: The Derek Trucks Band --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5300263

From NPR (Full Rock Concert)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Play DC --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5313569

From NPR (Hip-Hop)
Modill: Chicago Hip-Hop with a Touch of Soul --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5313575

Pipe Cleaner Dance --- http://www.davidbessler.com/pulldown/pipecleaner_dance.html

Photographs and Art

From NPR
Key Dead Sea Scroll Makes U.S. Debut --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5316703

Photos of The Most Expensive PCs --- http://blog.wired.com/expensivepcs/

Photos of NASA Microsatellites --- http://blog.wired.com/microsatellites/

Goya’s Last Works http://www.frick.org/exhibitions/goya/index.htm

Bellini: Creating & Re-creating --- http://www.ima-art.org/bellini/index.html

The Mongols in World History --- http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/

From NPR
David Seymour's 'Reflections from the Heart' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5295557

Philip Straub's Digital Paintings --- http://www.philipstraub.com/Digital_Paintings.htm

Photography and Art of Julie Hill --- http://www.80percent.com/

Demonstrations:  The Art of William Whitaker --- http://www.williamwhitaker.com/B_HTML_files/07_demo/INDEX.HTM

Gallery:  Apple Corporation's Most Rabid Fans --- http://blog.wired.com/apple_fans/

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

From the Chronicle of Higher Education
Arts & Letters Daily --- http://www.aldaily.com/

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

Podcast Central from TechWeb --- http://www.techweb.com/podcasts/

Digital Humanities Journal ---  http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/index.html

Giving Alms No Charity by Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) --- Click Here

Proposal For Correcting, Improving And Ascertaining The English Tongue; In A Letter To The Most Honourable Robert Earl Of Oxford And Mortimer, Lord High Treasurer Of Great Britain by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) ---
Click Here

Animal Farm by George Orwell --- http://www.newspeakdictionary.com/books/animal.html

The Heathen by Jack London (1876-1916 --- Click here

The Adventures of Gerard by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here

From NPR
Librarian's Picks (Not Online) : Saving the Best for First --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5297601

There is enough evidence to suggest that the al-Qaeda terrorist network is preparing to engage in biological warfare, according to the International Criminal Police Organisation or Interpol. At an Asian Bioterrorism Workshop in Singapore, Interpol said that bioterrorism cannot be ignored and that countries need to develop the laws to deal with such a crime. "It can't be that we as a world community have to wait for a September 11 type of attack in bioterrorism before we prepare," Interpol's secretary general, Ronald Noble was quoted as saying on Singapore's Channel NewsAsia website.
Adniki.com, March 27, 2006 ---  Click Here

Urban teens are increasingly losing their virginity before they can legally drive. A new survey shows four out of 10 city kids say they have had intercourse before age 14, and have engaged in oral and even anal sex by 17.
Bill Hutchinson, Daily News, April 5, 2006 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1609524/posts

I’m not enthusiastic about it. I think everybody likes Katie Couric, I mean how can you not like Katie Couric. But, I don’t know anybody at CBS News who is pleased that she’s coming here.
Andy Rooney, CBS Television

It would be a better world if everyone in it knew all the truth about everything.
Andy Rooney

Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.
Andy Rooney

If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one.
Andy Rooney

If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.
Andy Rooney

You don't go to people with your problems. You come to your friends.
MacGyver --- http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/MacGyver

A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.
George W. Bush

We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.
George W. Bush

For NASA, space is still a high priority.
George W. Bush

Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.
George W. Bush

It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.
George W. Bush

It's time for the human race to enter the solar system.
George W. Bush

Great Minds in Management:  The Process of Theory Development --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm

In April 2006 I commenced reading a heavy book entitled Great Minds in Management:  The Process of Theory Development, Edited by Ken G. Smith and Michael A. Hitt (Oxford Press, 2006).

The essays are somewhat personalized in terms of how theory development is perceived by each author and how these perceptions changed over time.

In Tidbits I will share some of the key quotations as I proceed through this book. The book is somewhat heavy going, so it will take some time to add selected quotations to the list of quotations at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm 

Fortuitous events got me into psychology and my marital partnership.  I initially planned to study the biological sciences.  I was in a car pool with pre-meds and engineers who enrolled in classes at an unmercifully early hour.  While waiting for my English class I flipped through a course catalogue that happened to be left on a table in the library.  I noticed an introductory psychology course that would serve as an early time filler.  I enrolled in the course and found my future profession.  It was during my graduate school years at the University of Iowa that I met my wife through a fortuitous encounter.  My friend and I were quite late getting to the golf course one Sunday.  We were bumped to an afternoon starting time.  There were two women ahead of us.  They were slowing down.  We were speeding up.  Before long we became a genial foursome.  I met my wife in a sand trap.  Our lives would have taken entirely different courses had I showed up at the early scheduled time.

Some years ago I delivered a presidential address at the Western Psychological Convention on the psychology of chance encounters and life paths (Bandura, 1982).  At the convention the following year, an editor of one of the publishing houses explained that he had entered the lecture hall as it was rapidly filling up and seized an empty chair near the entrance.  In the coming week, he will be marrying the woman who happened to be seated next to him.  With only a momentary change in time of entry, seating constellations would have altered and this intersect would not have occurred.  A marital partnership was, thus, fortuitously formed at a talk devoted to fortuitous determinants of life paths!

Fortuitous influences are ignored in the casual structure of the social sciences even though they play an important role in life courses.  Most fortuitous events leave people untouched, others have some lasting effects, and still others branch people into new trajectories of life.  A science of psychology does not have much to say about the occurrence of fortuitous intersects, except that personal proclivities, the nature of the settings in which one moves, and the types of people who populate those settings make some types of intersects more probable than others.  Fortuitous influences may be unforeseeable, but having occurred, they enter as contributing factors in casual chains in the same way as prearranged ones do.  Psychology can gain the knowledge for predicting the nature, scope, and strength of the impact these encounters will have on human lives.  I took the fortuitous character of life seriously, provided a preliminary conceptual scheme for predicting the psychosocial impact of such events, and specified ways in which people can capitalize agentically on fortuitous opportunities (Bandura, 1982, 1998).

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm

Savings Fees Are Almost Fraudulent for College Savings Plans

"Not Doing Homework Costs Parents Too," AccountingWeb, March 31, 2006 ---

Parents who forget to do their homework before choosing a state-sponsored college savings plan are being sold funds with the highest fees, according to a survey of state-sponsored 529 college savings plans just published in the Journal of American Taxation Association. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating the sales practices of 529 plans and has reportedly requested a copy of the article. “Our results are consistent with the fact that it’s so difficult to choose the right plan that people ask investment brokers for advice, and brokers are selling investors the high-fee funds,” University of Kansas (KU) professor and co-author of the survey, Raquel Alexander said in a prepared statement announcing the results.

Taxpayers have currently invested more than $65 billion in 529 college Savings Plans, which allow investors to make after-tax contributions to the plans and withdraw funds, tax-free, to use for qualified college expenses. That amount is expected to climb to $300 billion by 2010, according to Investment News.

Continued in article

As college tuitions rise — and levels of student debt, not coincidentally, mount along with them — one of the ill effects public policy experts fear is that graduates will avoid low-paying public service jobs because they fear being unable to pay off their loans.
Doug Lederman, "Debt, Deterring Public Service," Inside Higher Ed, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/06/debt

"Women Go 'Missing' by the Millions," by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, International Herald Tribune, March 25, 2006 --- http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/24/opinion/edali.php

As I was preparing for this article, I asked a friend who is Jewish if it was appropriate to use the term "holocaust" to portray the worldwide violence against women. He was startled. But when I read him the figures in a 2004 policy paper published by the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, he said yes, without hesitation.

One United Nations estimate says from 113 million to 200 million women around the world are demographically "missing." Every year, from 1.5 million to 3 million women and girls lose their lives as a result of gender-based violence or neglect.

How could this possibly be true? Here are some of the factors:

In countries where the birth of a boy is considered a gift and the birth of a girl a curse from the gods, selective abortion and infanticide eliminate female babies.

Young girls die disproportionately from neglect because food and medical attention is given first to brothers, fathers, husbands and sons.

In countries where women are considered the property of men, their fathers and brothers can murder them for choosing their own sexual partners. These are called "honor" killings, though honor has nothing to do with it.

Continued in article

Bill requires gays' history to be taught in California
The state Senate will consider a bill that would require California schools to teach students about the contributions gay people have made to society -- an effort that supporters say is an attempt to battle discrimination and opponents say is designed to use the classroom to get children to embrace homosexuality. The bill, which was passed by a Senate committee Tuesday, would require schools to buy textbooks ``accurately'' portraying ``the sexual diversity of our society.'' More controversially, it could require that students hear history lessons on ``the contributions of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States of America.''
Aaron C. Davis, "Bill requires gays' history to be taught," Mercury News, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/14276578.htm

Jensen Comment
If the curriculum is to be dictated by state law, I would like to add some other modules such as personal finance and accounting (including tax law basics) and fraud prevention.  These modules cover serious societal problems faced by virtually all young persons passing into adulthood. For example, most high school graduates are unaware of how credit card companies are exploiting their ignorance when allowing them to pay the "minimum due."  Most do not understand the basics of finance, borrowing, and interest rate calculations.

"U.S. teenagers lack financial literacy," USA Today, April 5, 2006 ---

"Financial literacy is still a very significant problem. It doesn't seem to be getting any better," says Lewis Mandell, a professor at SUNY Buffalo School of Management who oversaw the survey, which was conducted in December and January. It includes topics such as investing and managing personal finances.

He said the lack of knowledge was troubling given that today's high school seniors likely will be more responsible for their own financial well-being when they retire given trends away from company pension plans and an uncertain future for Social Security benefits.

Continued in article

Teenagers may be ignorant about finance, but so are their parents
Everyone uses commodities such as wheat, cocoa, crude oil, butter, coal and electricity. But most investors know that speculating on commodities in the futures markets is only for the pros, and no sensible amateur would bet his retirement or college funds on sugar, silver, orange juice or feeder cattle. But are commodities really that risky? Using the most comprehensive data on commodities futures returns ever assembled, Wharton finance professor Gary Gorton and K. Geert Rouwenhorst, finance professor at the Yale School of Management, have reached a surprising conclusion -- that commodities offer the same returns as investors are accustomed to receiving with stocks. Gorton and Rouwenhorst present their findings in a paper titled, "Facts and Fantasies about Commodity Futures."
"Are Commodities Futures Too Risky for Your Portfolio? Hogwash!" Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Knowledge@Wharton, April 2006 ---

The Vagina Monologues at Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame will allow productions of The Vagina Monologues to take place on campus, but will insist on other measures to promote Roman Catholic teachings on sexuality, the university announced Wednesday.
Inside Higher Ed, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/04/06/qt

"Top Colleges Reject Record Numbers:  Schools Say Surging Applications Produce Unusually Competitive Year," by Anne Marie Chaker, The Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2006; Page D1 --- Click Here 

Not Politically Correct
2006 Campus Outrage Awards
, Campus Magazine Online, April 2006 ---

Mugabe (the man who sits on a gold thrown) refuses to seek food aid
(sometimes there are leaders I really hope burn in hell)

"Desperate mothers throw away 20 babies a week as Zimbabwe starves," by Christina Lamb, London Times, April 2, 2006 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0%2C%2C2089-2114280%2C00.html

THE first time Knowledge Mbanda found a dead baby in the drains of Harare, he was horrified. “It is completely against our culture to abandon children,” he said. “I thought it must be of a woman who had been raped or a prostitute.” But now he and fellow council workers find at least 20 corpses of newborn babies each week, thrown away or even flushed down the lavatories of Zimbabwe’s capital.

The dumping of babies, along with what doctors describe as a “dramatic” increase in malnourished children in city hospitals, is the most shocking illustration of the economic collapse of a country that was once the breadbasket of southern Africa.

Some of the corpses are the result of unwanted pregnancies in a country experiencing a rise in sexual abuse and prostitution. But others are newborns dumped by desperate mothers unable to support another child. Inflation has reached 1,000% and the government’s seizure of 95% of commercial farms has seen food production plummet.

Continued in article

"Amina's story: escaping death in a world tired of giving," Sydney Morning Herald, April 3, 2006 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2006/04/02/1143916409341.html

More than 200,000 people died in the tsunami but that toll will be dwarfed by the disaster that is about to engulf Africa.

However, unlike the tsunami it will not be a single, photogenic disaster to lure the world's media. The arid lands will wreak a slower carnage.

So far, its victims are attracting a tiny fraction of the charity. And yet, unlike the tsunami, this disaster came with plenty of warning.

The World Food Program emergency operation began in August 2004. Despite a $US6 million ($8.4 million) donation from the European Commission last month, the program is urgently appealing to donors to meet a $US150 million shortfall required to keep 3.5 million people in Kenya alive. A further 8 million face starvation in neighbouring countries, including Ethiopia and Somalia.

Continued in article

Perhaps historians should record the moments of reflection of some people with dementia
It is 1941. The Nazis are about to lay siege to Leningrad, and the city's residents take refuge in the Hermitage museum. There we meet Marina, a young museum worker whose story moves between Russia in World War II and the present, where she is about to attend her granddaughter's wedding in Seattle. The modern-day Marina has Alzheimer's disease and is lost in the memories of her past.
"The Force of Memory: 'Madonnas of Leningrad'," NPR, April 2, 2006 ---

Cyber-sex, war, and erection-inducing drugs are a recipe for a more socially inept, violent culture, according to a panel of top US sex experts. The concern was raised as researchers discussed "The Future of Sex" at an unprecedented summit near Santa Fe, New Mexico, late last week.

"Technology, terror and Viagra could warp sex and relationships: researchers," PhysOrg, April 2, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news63190329.html

"The de-interaction of sex is something I worry about," said Julia Heiman, director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.

"If we go too much in the direction of virtual sex, what's left out? How you get along in a personal sphere is getting short shrift," Heiman said in a conference call with reporters.

While cyber-sex fueled by drugs such as Viagra might be tempting, it is "built for disappointment" because real life can seldom compete with fantasies, panelists said.

"The breakneck speed of technology development allows one to create one's own erotic ideal and a multi-sensory experience of virtual sex," said Heiman.

"If young people are learning in this fashion, what about the very personal aspect of sex in which you have to interact with the other person?"

A compounding factor will likely be pharmaceutical companies eagerly expanding the array of drugs that enhance sexual activity, Heiman said.

Erection-stimulating drugs such as Viagra could exacerbate the "individualization" of sex, said professor John Gagnon of the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

"The other part of the couple may not be consenting to the erection," Gagnon said. "The assumption is the woman will be happy if the fellow arrives with one."

Technology and Viagra-type medicine combine to push people out of social relationships and reduce their capacity to relate to each other, according to Gagnon.

"Like one simulates a bombing run," Gagnon said. "It distances you from the person being hit by the bomb."

Continued in article

Massachusetts: Give me your tired, poor, sick, and uninsured
If all goes as planned, poor people will be offered free or heavily subsidized coverage; those who can afford insurance but refuse to get it will face increasing tax penalties until they obtain coverage; and those already insured will see a modest drop in their premiums ... The state's poorest — single adults making $9,500 or less a year — will have access to health coverage with no premiums or deductibles . . . The only other state to come close to the Massachusetts plan is Maine, which passed a law in 2003 to dramatically expand health care. That (Maine) plan relies largely on voluntary compliance (and resulted in a huge tax increase to fund unexpected cost overages).
"Romney to Sign Mandatory Health Bill," Newsmax, April 5, 2006 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
These plans would work better if they applied to all 50 states since free medical care, like generous welfare benefits, encourages migration of the most needy to a state offering the most free benefits. Another complication is that this will increase unemployment since many small business employers such as day care centers, beauty parlors, painters, carpet layers, and home repair contractors will close down or outsource to "independent contractors" for the services, including the firing of legal state residents and the hiring of illegal immigrants.  Those "poorest single adults making $9,500 or less a year" are often young people who did not finish high school and desperately need any type of work. Many of them will have free heath care but no job and training opportunities in Massachusetts unless the state eventually gives more relief to pay for medical care from the state treasury rather than employer contributions.

If states bordering Mexico adopt insurance benefits like those in Massachusetts, thousands upon thousands of U.S. citizens will become unemployed. The real test case for Massachusetts-styled legislation might be the financially strapped state of California where illegal immigrants cluster in enormous numbers awaiting job opportunities.

High worker compensation insurance (which covers medical care for job-related injuries) and unemployment compensation mandatory insurance has already raised havoc with employment and motivated fraud in most states. For example, the firm that put on a new roof and new siding for me in New Hampshire fired all its hourly workers and then forced most of the the former workers to become uninsured independent contractors. Frauds explode when workers scheme to get lifetime benefits for faked injuries or injuries that truly did not happen on the job.

When Bill Clinton first took office as President of the U.S., his wife headed a commission proposing national health coverage funded by employers. Her plan flew over Washington DC like a lead balloon in the face of the small business lobby. It seems to me that this nation must first solve the problem of illegal immigration before national health care coverage can be adopted. It will be interesting, however, to see how this plays out in Massachusetts.

There is no doubt that if elected President, she will work tirelessly for a national health plan.
"Romney's health care plan draws praise from Hillary Clinton" --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1610125/posts

The Neanderthal Chorus is Scheduled for Sunday Night at Sunset
In Steven Mithen's imagination, the small band of Neanderthals gathered 50,000 years ago around the caves of Le Moustier, in what is now the Dordogne region of France, were butchering carcasses, scraping skins, shaping ax heads -- and singing. One of the fur-clad men started it, a rhythmic sound with rising and falling pitch, and others picked it up, indicating their willingness to cooperate both in the moment and in the future, when the group would have to hunt or fend off predators. The music promoted "a sense of we-ness, of being together in the same situation facing the same problems," suggests Prof. Mithen, an archaeologist at England's Reading University. Music, he says, creates "a social rather than a merely individual identity." And that may solve a longstanding mystery.
Sharon Begley, "Caveman Crooners May Have Helped Early Humans Survive," The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2006; Page A11 ---  http://online.wsj.com/article/science_journal.html

From WBEZ Chicago --- http://www.thislife.org/
If you've never heard This American Life Audio Modules, go to http://www.thislife.org/

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

Venezuela has the highest crude reserves in the world
A report published by The Wall Street Journal on its front page raised eyebrows on Wednesday for its claim that new technology has allowed multinational energy companies to reassess the amount of recoverable reserves in oil-rich countries. According to staff reporter Russell Gold, deposits once dismissed as “unconventional” oil that could not be recovered economically are now, thanks to rising global oil prices and improved technology, being counted as recoverable reserves. “That recalculation”, writes Gold, “has vaulted Venezuela and Canada to first and third in global reserves rankings, respectively, although Venezuela’s holdings in extra-heavy crude are a rough guess”. The report asserts that Vene-zuela’s reserves in heavy and extra-heavy crude – 235 billion barrels approximately – are easier to be developed from a technical point of view than in other countries, due to their physical location.
"Venezuela has the highest crude reserves in the world," The Daily Journal, March 30, 2006 --- http://www.thedailyjournalonline.com/article.asp?ArticleId=233309&CategoryId=10718

The enemy we face may be the most brutal in our history

John Fund wrote the following in the Opinion Journal, March 30, 2006

Donald Rumsfeld has always been known for speaking in blunt terms. This week, the Defense Secretary lived up to his reputation when he told the Army War College that the U.S. deserves a "D" or "D-plus" for its efforts in communicating in the "battle of ideas" that is part of the war on terrorism.

He added: "We have not found the formula as a country" to counter the message of the extremists in the Muslim world. "The strategy must do a great deal more to reduce the lure of the extremist ideology by standing with those moderate Muslims advocating peaceful change, freedom and tolerance."

"The enemy we face may be the most brutal in our history. They currently lack only the means -- not the desire -- to kill, murder millions of innocent people with weapons vastly more powerful than boarding passes and box cutters," Mr. Rumsfeld told the assembled military officers, referring to the terrorists who struck on 9/11.

Maybe it's time to dust off some of the folks who made Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty such a success in combating the ideology of Communism during the Cold War. They could form a "Team B" to reevaluate and suggest experiments in how to conduct U.S. public diplomacy.

"The Wrong Time to Lose Our Nerve A response to Messrs. Buckley, Will and Fukuyama," by Peter Wehner, The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008182

A small group of current and former conservatives--including George Will, William F. Buckley Jr. and Francis Fukuyama--have become harsh critics of the Iraq war. They have declared, or clearly implied, that it is a failure and the president's effort to promote liberty in the Middle East is dead--and dead for a perfectly predictable reason: Iraq, like the Arab Middle East more broadly, lacks the democratic culture that is necessary for freedom to take root. And so for cultural reasons, this effort was flawed from the outset. Or so the argument goes.

Let me address each of these charges in turn.

The war is lost.
"Our mission has failed," Mr. Buckley wrote earlier this year. "It seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention itself or the ideas animating it kindly," saith the man (Mr. Fukuyama) who once declared "the end of history" and in 1998 signed a letter to congressional leaders stating, "U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein's regime from power and establishing a peaceful and democratic Iraq in its place."

These critics of the war are demonstrating a peculiar eagerness to declare certain matters settled. We certainly face difficulties in Iraq--but we have seen significant progress as well. In 2005, Iraq's economy continued to recover and grow. Access to clean water and sewage-treatment facilities has increased. The Sunnis are now invested in the political process, which was not previously the case. The Iraqi security forces are far stronger than they were. Our counterinsurgency strategy is more effective than in the past. Cities like Tal Afar, which insurgents once controlled, are now back in the hands of free Iraqis. Al Qaeda's grip has been broken in Mosul and disrupted in Baghdad. We now see fissures between Iraqis and foreign terrorists. And in the aftermath of the mosque bombing in Samarra, we saw the political and religious leadership in Iraq call for an end to violence instead of stoking civil war--and on the whole, the Iraqi security forces performed well. These achievements are authentic grounds for encouragement. And to ignore or dismiss all signs of progress in Iraq, to portray things in what Norman Podhoretz has called "the blackest possible light," disfigures reality.

One might hope our own democratic development--which included the Articles of Confederation and a "fiery trial" that cost more than 600,000 American lives--would remind critics that we must sometimes be patient with others. We are engaged in an enterprise of enormous importance: helping a traumatized Arab nation become stable, free and self-governing. Success isn't foreordained--and neither is failure. Justice Holmes said the mode in which the inevitable comes to pass is through effort.

The freedom agenda is dead.
The president's freedom agenda is now "a casualty of the war that began three years ago," according to Mr. Will. The Bush Doctrine is in "shambles," Mr. Fukuyama insists. We cannot "impose" democracy on "a country that doesn't want it," he says.

Why is Mr. Fukuyama so sure people in Iraq and elsewhere don't long for democracy? Just last year, on three separate occasions, Iraqis braved bombs and bullets to turn out and vote in greater numbers (percentage-wise) than do American voters, who merely have to brave lines. Does Mr. Fukuyama believe Iraqis prefer subjugation to freedom? Does he think they, unlike he, relish life in a gulag, or the lash of the whip, or the midnight knock of the secret police? Who among us wants a jackboot forever stomping on his face? It is a mistake of a large order to argue that democracy is unwanted in Iraq simply because (a) violence exists three years after the country's liberation--and after more than three decades of almost unimaginable cruelty and terror; and (b) Iraq is not Switzerland.

Beyond that, the critics of the Iraq war have chosen an odd time to criticize the appeal and power of democracy. After all, we are witnessing the swiftest advance of freedom in history. According to Freedom House's director of research, Arch Puddington, "The global picture . . . suggests that 2005 was one of the most successful years for freedom since Freedom House began measuring world freedom in 1972. . . . The 'Freedom in the World 2006' ratings for the Middle East represent the region's best performance in the history of the survey."

Mr. Will says it is time to "de-emphasize talk about Iraq's becoming a democracy that ignites emulative transformation in the Middle East." Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a democracy activist from Egypt, says different. Mr. Ibrahim, who originally opposed the war to liberate Iraq, said it "has unfrozen the Middle East, just as Napoleon's 1798 expedition did. Elections in Iraq force the theocrats and autocrats to put democracy on the agenda, even if only to fight against us."

Cultural determinism.
The problem with Iraq, Mr. Will said in a Manhattan Institute lecture, is that it "lacks a Washington, a Madison, a [John] Marshall--and it lacks the astonishingly rich social and cultural soil from which such people sprout." There is no "existing democratic culture" that will allow liberty to succeed, he argues. And he scoffs at the assertion by President Bush that it is "cultural condescension" to claim that some peoples, cultures or religions are destined to despotism and unsuited for self-government. The most obvious rebuttal to Mr. Will's first point is that only one nation in history had at its creation a Washington, Madison and Marshall--yet there are 122 democracies in the world right now. So clearly founders of the quality of Washington and Madison are not the necessary condition for freedom to succeed.

A mark of serious conservatism is a regard for the concreteness of human experience. If cultures are as intractable as Mr. Will asserts, and if an existing democratic culture was as indispensable as he insists, we would not have seen democracy take root in Japan after World War II, Southern Europe in the 1970s, Latin America and East Asia in the '80s, and South Africa in the '90s. It was believed by many that these nations' and regions' traditions and cultures--including by turns Confucianism, Catholicism, dictatorships, authoritarianism, apartheid, military juntas and oligarchies--made them incompatible with self-government.

This is not to say that culture is unimportant. It matters a great deal. But so do incentives and creeds and the power of ideas, which can profoundly shape culture. Culture is not mechanically deterministic--and to believe that what is will always be is a mistake of both history and philosophy.

Americans have debated matters of creed and culture before. John C. Calhoun believed slavery was a cultural given that could not be undone in the South. Lincoln knew slavery had deep roots--but he believed that could, and must, change. He set about to do just that. Lincoln believed slavery could be overcome because he believed human beings were constituted in a particular way. In the "enlightened belief" of the Founders, he said, "nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows." Lincoln believed as well that the self-evident truths in the Declaration were the Founders' "majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man."

What has plagued the Arab Middle East is not simply, or even primarily, culture; it is antidemocratic ideologies and oppressive institutions. And the way to counteract pernicious ideologies and oppressive institutions is with better ones. Liberty, and the institutions that support liberty, is a pathway to human flourishing.

Critics of the Iraq war have offered no serious strategic alternative to the president's freedom agenda, which is anchored in the belief that democracy and liberal institutions are the best antidote to the pathologies plaguing the Middle East. The region has generated deep resentments and lethal anti-Americanism. In the past, Western nations tolerated oppression for the sake of "stability." But this policy created its own unintended consequences, including attacks that hit America with deadly fury on Sept. 11. President Bush struck back, both militarily and by promoting liberty. In Iraq, we are witnessing advancements and some heartening achievements. We are also experiencing the hardships and setbacks that accompany epic transitions. There will be others. But there is no other way to fundamentally change the Arab Middle East. Democracy and the accompanying rise of political and civic institutions are the only route to a better world--and because the work is difficult doesn't mean it can be ignored. The cycle has to be broken. The process of democratic reform has begun, and now would be precisely the wrong time to lose our nerve and turn our back on the freedom agenda. It would be a geopolitical disaster and a moral calamity--and President Bush, like President Reagan before him, will persist in his efforts to shape a more hopeful world.

Mr. Wehner is deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives.

Online Conversion Formulas (a helpful site) --- http://convertplus.com/en/

Fraud Updates

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

The 10 Most Faked Artists  --- http://www.artnewsonline.com/currentarticle.cfm?type=feature&art_id=1853

"How Corrupt Is the United Nations?" by Claudia Rosett, Commentary, April 1, 2006 --- http://www.commentary.org/article.asp?aid=12104031_1 

Recent years have brought a cascade of scandals at the United Nations, of which the wholesale corruption of the Oil-for-Food relief program in Iraq has been only the most visible. We still do not know the full extent of these debacles—the more sensational ones include the disappearance of UN funds earmarked for tsunami relief in Indonesia and the exposure of a transnational network of pedophiliac rape by UN peacekeepers in Africa—and we may never know. What we do know is that an assortment of noble-sounding efforts has devolved into enterprises marked chiefly by abuse, self-dealing, and worse.

Seen by many, including many Americans, as the chief arbiter of legitimacy in global politics, the UN is understood by others to be the only institution standing between us and global anarchy. If that is so, the portents are not promising. The free world is grappling with threats from the spread of radical Islam to North Korea’s nuclear blackmail and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear bombs. The UN, despite its trophy case of Nobel prizes, has failed so far to curb any of these, just as it failed abysmally to run an honest or effective sanctions program in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Currently it is gridlocked over matters as seemingly straightforward as cleaning up its own management department.

In the effort to address the UN’s manifold problems, there have been audits, investigations, committees, reports, congressional hearings, action plans, and even a handful of arrests by U.S. federal prosecutors. There have been calls for Secretary-General Kofi Annan to step down before his second term expires at the end of this year. Solutions have been sought by way of better monitoring, whistleblower protection, the accretion of new oversight bodies, and another round of conditions attached to the payment of U.S. dues. On top of the broad reforms of the early 1990’s, the sweeping reforms of 1997, the further reforms of 2002, and the world summit for reform in 2005, still more plans for reform are in the works.1 To its external auditors, internal auditors, joint inspections unit, eminent-persons panels, executive boards, and many special consultants, the UN has recently added an Office of Ethics—now expected to introduce in May what will presumably become an annual event: “UN Ethics Day.”

Is any of this likely to help? Behind the specific scandals lies what one of the UN’s own internal auditors has termed a “culture of impunity.” A grand committee that reports to itself alone, the UN operates with great secrecy and is shielded by diplomatic immunity. One of its prime defenses, indeed, is the sheer impenetrability of its operations: after more than 60 years as a global collective, it has become a welter of so many overlapping programs, far-flung projects, quietly vested interests, nepotistic shenanigans, and interlocking directorates as to defy accurate or easy comprehension, let alone responsible supervision.

But let us try.

One clear sign of how badly things have gone with the UN is the difficulty of tallying even so basic a sum as the system’s real budget. Nowhere does the UN present a full and clear set of accounts, and statistics vary even within individual agencies and programs.

The UN’s current “core” annual budget is $1.9 billion—but the “core” is itself but a fraction of the actual budget. Around it are wrapped billions more in funding provided by “voluntary contributions” from private and corporate donors, foundations, and member states, including, to a large extent, the United States. These sums are shuffled around in various ways, with UN agencies in some instances paying or donating to each other. For instance, the UN Development Program (UNDP) operates with its own “core” budget of about $900 million a year but handles about $3 billion per year—or, depending on whom you ask and what you count, $4.5 billion per year.

According to Mark Malloch Brown, the UN chief of staff who has just been promoted to the post of Deputy Secretary-General, the total budget for all operations under direct control of the Secretariat comes to roughly $8-9 billion per year. Adding in just a few of the larger agencies like UNDP (at, let us say, $4 billion), UNICEF ($2 billion or so), and the World Food Program ($2-3 billion) already brings the grand total to somewhere between $16 and $18 billion, again depending on whom you listen to and what you count. On UN websites devoted to procurement, where the idea is not to minimize the official amount of UN spending but on the contrary to attract suppliers to a large and thriving operation, the estimate of money spent yearly on goods and services by the entire UN system comes to $30 billion, or more than 15 times the core budget of $1.9 billion on which reformers have focused.

Staff numbers are likewise a matter of mystery. The new ethics office proposes to offer its services to 29,000 UN employees worldwide. That number is well short of the total staff of the Secretariat plus the specialized agencies alone, which, according to Malloch Brown, consists of some 40,000 people. And that figure itself does not include local staffs—such as the 20,000 Palestinians who work for the UN Works and Relief Agency (UNWRA) or the many employees, some long-term, others transient, at hundreds of assorted UN offices, projects, and operations worldwide, or the more than 85,000 peacekeepers sent by member states but carrying out UN orders and eating UN-supplied rations bought via UN purchasing departments. Whereas the number of UN member states has almost quadrupled since 1945 (from 51 to 191), the number of personnel has swollen many times over, from a few thousand into somewhere in the six figures.

Little of this system is open to any real scrutiny even within the UN, and no single authority outside the UN has proved able to compel any genuine accounting. Moreover, even though there can no longer be any doubt that the scale of the rot is large, the UN’s top management continues to insist to the contrary. Take the central scandal of recent UN history—namely, Oil-for-Food. Last October, Paul Volcker’s UN-authorized probe into Oil-for-Food submitted its fifth and final report on that relief program, which in its seven years of operation had become a vehicle for billions in kickbacks, payoffs, and sanctions-busting arms traffic. By January of this year, after first having declared that he was taking responsibility for the debacle, Kofi Annan was spinning a different story, telling a London audience that “only one staff member was found to maybe have taken some $150,000 out of a $64-billion program.”

This was an artful lie. The staff member in question was Benon Sevan, whom Annan had appointed to run Oil-for-Food for six of its seven years. If indeed Sevan took no more than this relative pittance, then Saddam Hussein scored the biggest bargain in the history of kickbacks. According to Senator Norm Coleman’s independent investigation into Oil-for-Food, the real figure for Sevan’s take was $1.2 million. Clearing up this discrepancy is difficult, however, because Sevan, who was allowed by Annan to retire to his native Cyprus on full UN pension, is outside the reach of U.S. law and has denied taking anything.

In any case, the corruption hardly ended with Sevan. Instances that appear to have slipped the Secretary-General’s mind include another member of his inner circle, the French diplomat Jean-Bernard Merimée, who by his own admission took a payoff from Saddam while serving as Annan’s handpicked envoy to the European Union. Within the UN agencies working with Annan’s Secretariat on Oil-for-Food, Volcker confirmed “numerous [further] allegations of corrupt behavior and practices,” embracing “bid-rigging, conflicts of interest, bribery, theft, nepotism, and sexual harassment.” He also noted that the UN lacked controls on graft, failed to investigate many cases, and failed to act upon some of those it did explore. Finally, Volcker calculated that UN agencies had kept for themselves at least $50 million earmarked to buy relief for the people of Iraq.2

Nor do the sheer monetary amounts even begin to convey the extent of the damage done by UN labors in Iraq. Annan’s office had the mandate of the Security Council, plus a $1.4-billion budget, to check oil and relief contracts for price fiddles, to monitor oil exports in order to prevent smuggling, and to audit UN operations. In the event, Oil-for-Food spent far more money renovating its offices in New York than checking the terms of Saddam’s contracts, and ignored the smuggling even when Saddam in 2000 opened a pipeline to Syria. The result of what Annan now placidly describes as “instances of mismanagement”—as if someone forgot to reload the office printer—was that Saddam skimmed and smuggled anywhere from $12 billion (according to the incomplete numbers supplied by Volcker) to $17 billion or more (according to the more comprehensive totals provided by Senator Coleman’s staff).

And what did Saddam do with those profits?

Continued in this commentary.

Did the GAO cover up fraud?

"Accountability Office Finds Itself Accused," by William J. Broad, The New York Times, April 2, 2006 --- Click Here

A senior Congressional investigator has accused his agency of covering up a scientific fraud among builders of a $26 billion system meant to shield the nation from nuclear attack. The disputed weapon is the centerpiece of the Bush administration's antimissile plan, which is expected to cost more than $250 billion over the next two decades.

The investigator, Subrata Ghoshroy of the Government Accountability Office, led technical analyses of a prototype warhead for the antimissile weapon in an 18-month study, winning awards for his "great care" and "tremendous skill and patience."

Mr. Ghoshroy now says his agency ignored evidence that the two main contractors had doctored data, skewed test results and made false statements in a 2002 report that credited the contractors with revealing the warhead's failings to the government.

The agency strongly denied his accusations, insisting that its antimissile report was impartial and that it was right to exonerate the contractors of a coverup.

The dispute is unusual. Rarely in the 85-year history of the G.A.O., an investigative arm of Congress with a reputation for nonpartisan accuracy, has a dissenter emerged publicly from its ranks.

Continued in article

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

"Set Your Movies to Music:  Looking for legal music to enhance your videos? Here's where you can find all sorts of cool tunes that won't get you in trouble," by Richard Baguley,  PC World via The Washington Post, April 1, 2006 --- Click Here

The general term for this is "podsafe"--meaning that it's safe to use in a podcast. Web sites such as PodShow and Podsafe Audio contain thousands of tracks that can be used, though you should check the license on each track before you use it.

The music on these sites is often released under a Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial license , which means that you can copy and use it for any noncommercial purpose, as long as you include a credit for the musician. However, some people release their music under different types of licenses, some of which may prevent their use in a video. In particular, the Creative Commons Music Sharing license doesn't allow you to use the music in a video. Always check the license, which should be available on the same Web page from which you can download the music.

While some major record labels won't even consider distributing their music online, other smaller labels realize that downloading music from the Internet can be a great promotional tool. Record companies like Magnatune and Opsound offer high-quality, Creative Commons licensed versions of their music that can be used for noncommercial videos, as long as you give the artists credit and add a plug for the Web site where you can buy the songs.

"If the video project is noncommercial and/or educational, there is no charge for use of the music for one album of choice," says Theresa Malango of Magnatune. "However, the project would be required to give attribution in the form of credit to the artist and Magnatune as well. Specifically, we suggest using the form of 'You heard the 'Song Name' by 'Artist Name,' which is available at magnatune.com' in the video credits."

Magnatune offers a wide selection of music, ranging from Trance to Russian Orthodox Church chants .

Archive.org's Netlabels section is another great source for music. It contains thousands of songs in a huge range of genres from artists all over the world. I'm particularly fond of the folk music that it features from groups like the Chinkapin Hunters , which makes great background music for videos (such as one of my recent projects , which shows my dogs looking after orphaned kittens).

There are also unusual audio files on Archive.org, like the Conet Project , which holds recordings of numbers stations, mysterious shortwave stations where robotic voices reel off long lists of numbers. These could be ideal if you're creating a spy film. However, not all of the recordings on archive.org can be used in videos, so check the terms of the license before you use any of them.

There are also lots of older pieces of music available that can be used because they are out of copyright: the 78 RPMs section of Archive.org is worth browsing through if you're looking for something quirky. It contains hundreds of songs and musical pieces that were released in the early 1900s on 78-rpm records that have been sampled. Because they are so old, they are out of copyright and you can use them however you want. It's a great source for classic songs: How cool would it be to have Enrico Caruso singing "O Sole Mio" in the background on that video of your Italian vacation?

"Many of America’s Best CFOs Started in Accounting or Auditing," AccountingWeb, March 29, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101935

Institutional Investor magazine has completed their third annual “America’s best CFOs” ranking. They asked brokerage firm research analysts and portfolio managers to name the Best American CFOs across 62 industries. The voting criteria started at keeping clean books and communicating effectively with the market and ascended to going beyond traditional number-crunching, cost-controlling roles, improving operations, driving revenue growth, and executing big acquisitions.

Vinay Couto, a vice president at consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, told Institutional Investor, “CFOs have spent the past decade or so moving from being bookkeepers to being business partners. In the past year or two, we’ve seen that trend accelerate to the point where a growing number of CEOs are asking CFOs to step even further outside the traditional bounds of their positions and be responsible for pushing the business forward in an active way.”

“There are a lot of CFOs out there that are controllers with fancy titles. They know how to say no, and they’re good at cost cutting. But what CEOs want now are people who can think beyond cost controls and help grow the business. We’re entering a phase of the business cycle where things are growing again, and CFOs have to change their stripes,” Laurence Stybel, co-founder and founder of Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire in Boston, told Institutional Investor.

Several of the CFOS on this year’s list started in the accounting or auditing world. Jeffrey M. Boromisa is Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller of the Kellogg Company. He joined Kellogg in 1981 as a senior auditor. Boromisa is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Mike Van Handel is the Executive Vice President and CFO for Manpower. In 1989, he joined the company as Director of Internal Audit and was named Vice President of International Accounting in 1993, but his career track didn’t stop there. He was named Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer in 1995 and became Senior Vice President and CFO in 1998. Van Handel became Executive Vice President in 2002. He came to Manpower after serving as Audit Manager at Arthur Andersen & Company.

Christopher Kubasik is the Executive Vice President and CFO of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lockheed Martin Investment Management Company that manages the company’s pension assets. He handles all corporate aspects of financial strategies, processes, and operations. Kubasik was at Ernst & Young before coming to Lockheed Martin, becoming a partner in 1996, specializing in government contracting and high technology companies.

What do CFOs think accounting undergraduate and masters programs are doing better than ever before?

"Colleges and universities are responding to a changing accounting landscape," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. "More courses are being offered in areas such as internal audit, enterprise risk management, forensic accounting, information technology and business ethics." The appeal of an accounting career is growing, perhaps as a result of increased emphasis on the profession. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, enrollment in accounting programs climbed 19 percent from 2000 to 2004, following declines during the late 1990s. There also was a 17 percent increase in the number of new accounting graduates hired by organizations between 2003 and 2004.
"Accounting Grads Better Prepared, Survey Says," AccountingWeb, January 31, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x51625.xml

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

"High court to hear landmark eBay patent case," by Peter Kaplan, The Washington Post, March 28, 2006 ---
Click Here

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear arguments in a patent case involving online auctioneer eBay Inc. that is part of a wider struggle between the software and pharmaceutical industries over the future of the U.S. patent system.

Lawyers for eBay and small e-commerce company MercExchange will square off over whether eBay should be barred from using its popular "Buy it Now" feature, which infringes on two MercExchange patents.

The case is being closely watched to see if the high court will scale back the right of patent holders to get an injunction barring infringers from using their technologies.

Software companies complain they can be held to ransom by owners of questionable patents while drugmakers oppose any weakening of patent rights, which they say would chill their investment in new medicines.

Patent experts said that, depending on how the high court rules, the case could have a profound impact on the way the courts treat intellectual property in the United States.

"Any time we talk about altering injunctions we really are talking about altering the fundamental balance of power," said Steve Maebius, a patent lawyer with the firm Foley & Lardner.

Bob Jensen's threads about the disastrous DMCA are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm#Copyright

"Less Can Be More When It Comes to Overseas Stocks," by Paul J. Lim, The New York Times, April 2, 2006 ---
Click Here


From Jim Mahar's Blog on April 2, 2006

Less Can Be More When It Comes to Overseas Stocks - New York Times

The "Home Country Bias" is the finding that investors invest more in their home country than would be justified on a risk-return basis. Today's NY Times suggests that this bias may be growing less powerful.

Less Can Be More When It Comes to Overseas Stocks - New York Times ---

"So far this year, about 70 cents of every new dollar invested in equity funds has been directed to internationally oriented portfolios, according to the mutual fund tracker AMG Data Services. And emerging-market stock funds — by far the hottest foreign category — have pulled in more new money in the first three months of 2006 than they did in all of 2003, 2004 and 2005 combined."

"Having some foreign exposure clearly helps diversify a portfolio. From 1970 to 2005, a portfolio invested entirely in domestic stocks had a standard deviation — a popular measure of volatility — of 16.8 percent, according to S.& P. By comparison, a portfolio that was 75 percent invested in domestic stocks and 25 percent in foreign shares had a standard deviation of 16.4 percent, implying a slightly less bumpy ride."

Negatively Biased and Overly Stressed Media in Iraq
It started as arguably the best-covered war in history: Hundreds of reporters traveled with the military as it invaded Iraq, and then hundreds more moved freely around the country as troops secured Baghdad. Today, it has become for some journalists the least-covered war . . . Meanwhile, high-profile critics are stepping up their complaints about the media's work. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, long critical of what he sees as overly negative reporting, told reporters this month: "From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation." President Bush said Tuesday, "For every act of violence there is encouraging progress in Iraq that's hard to capture on the evening news."
Mark Memmott, "Reporters in Iraq under fire there, and from critics," USA Today, March 22, 2006 --- http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2006-03-22-media-criticism_x.htm

"ABC News Listens to Viewers' Concerns About Iraq Coverage: Majority of Viewers Feel Iraq Coverage is Flawed," ABC News, March 23, 2006 --- http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=1758483

Institute for Global Ethics --- http://www.globalethics.org/index.htm

The Never-Ending Saga of Merrill Lynch Fraud
The appeal has unsealed a trove of documents offering a rare glimpse of a Wall Street firm pursuing a tempting profit opportunity over the objections of internal watchdogs. On repeated occasions some Merrill employees voiced concern that the three brokers were doing something wrong and took steps to stop them. Yet their immediate bosses often pushed back, allowing the trading to continue.
"How Merrill, Defying Warnings, Let 3 Brokers Ignite a Scandal:  Bosses Back Lucrative Trades By Stars, Then Fire Them; Big Defamation Judgment 'Rewards Outweigh the Risks'," by Susanne Craig and Tom Lauricella, The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2006; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114342880710008788.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

For more tidbits on Merrill Lynch fraud search for "Merrill" at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

Specialized Searches

Bethuman Database --- http://gethuman.com/us/
credit finance government hardware insurance internet mobile pharmacy products shipping software stores telco travel tv/satellite utilities

Bob Jensen's links to specialized search engines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#SpecializedSearchEngines

March 24, 2006 message from Donald Ramsey [dramsey@UDC.EDU]

Just struck me during a process cost class:

The insufficiency of course grades for assessment purposes is roughly analogous to the insufficiency of total unit cost for monitoring cost elements.

Another analogy is the insufficiency of the “bottom line” alone, for evaluating performance. This is particularly intriguing because that expression has entered the general language. There are in fact institutions in many countries that do not make grades or grade-point averages known to the public or to employers; just the degree, period.



Donald D. Ramsey, CPA,
Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics,
School of Business and Public Administration,
University of the District of Columbia,
Room 404A, Building 52 (Connecticut and Yuma St.),
4200 Connecticut Ave., N. W., Washington, D. C. 20008

March 24, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

I have some threads on that period of time when the Harvard Business School had a ban on making grades available even when students requested that the grades be given out to a prospective employer or university. Grades were not given out period except by court order.

Note in particular why Harvard abandoned this policy in 2005 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#NoGrades 

Bob Jensen

"Methanol: The New Hydrogen Advances in methanol synthesis, coupled with improved fuel cell technology, could make it a viable alternative to gasoline," by Chandra Shekhar, MIT's Technology Review, March 27, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BizTech/wtr_16629,296,p1.html

Holograms Break Storage Record
Holographic storage company InPhase Technologies announced this week that it has broken a storage density record by writing 64.3 gigabytes of data onto a single square inch of disc space. This advance could eventually lead to a holographic disc that can hold more than 100 DVD-quality movies, according to the company. By comparison, magnetic disks, such as those in the hard drives of computers, can manage a storage density of about 37.5 gigabytes per square inch of disk.
"Holograms Break Storage Record:  New technology has almost twice the storage density of a magnetic hard drive," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, March 29, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16639,294,p1.html

"The Loss of Biological Innocence: Advances in biotech present dark possibilities and an editor's dilemma," by Jason Pontin, MIT's Technology Review, March/April 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16437,306,p1.html

"The Knowledge -- Part 1:  Soviet scientists were developing plague-like bioweapons in the 1980s:  Why aren't we listening more to a key defector?" by Mark Williams, MIT's Technology Review, March 13, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16582,312,p1.html

"The Knowledge -- Part 2:   Terrorists could buy reagents on the Web, build a DNA synthesizer, and create a deadly virus. But it would be no easy feat," by Mark Williams, MIT's Technology Review, March 14, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16583,312,p1.html

"There are now more than 300 U.S. institutions with access to live bioweapons agents and 16,500 individuals approved to handle them," Ebright told me. While all of those people have undergone some form of background check -- to verify, for instance, that they aren't named on a terrorist watch list and aren't illegal aliens -- it's also true, Ebright noted, that "Mohammed Atta would have passed those tests without difficulty."
"The Knowledge -- Part 3:  The current revolution in biotechnology is more likely to be exploited by national militaries than by terrorists," by Mark Williams, MIT's Technology Review, March 15, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16584,312,p1.html

"The Knowledge -- Part 5: Nuclear Reprogramming:  Hoping to resolve the embryonic-stem-cell debate, Markus Grompe envisions a more ethical way to derive the cells," by Erika Jonietz, MIT's Technology Review, March/April 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=emergingtech&id=16472

"The Knowledge -- Part 6:  Diffusion Tensor Imaging Kelvin Lim is using a new brain-imaging method to understand schizophrenia," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, March/April 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=emergingtech&id=16473

"The Knowledge --- Part 7:  Universal Authentication:  Leading the development of a privacy-protecting online ID system, Scott Cantor is hoping for a safer Internet," by David Talbot, MIT's Technology Review, March/April 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=emergingtech&id=16474

"The Knowledge --- Part 8:  Pervasive Wireless:  Can't all our wireless gadgets just get along? It's a question that Dipankar Raychaudhuri is trying to answer," by Neil Savage, MIT's Technology Review, March/April 2006 ---

"The Knowledge --- Part 9:  Nanobiomechanics:  Measuring the tiny forces acting on cells, Subra Suresh believes, could produce fresh understanding of diseases," by Michael Fitzgerald, MIT's Technology Review, March/April 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=emergingtech&id=16475

"The Knowledge --- Part 10:  Stretchable Silicon By teaching silicon new tricks, John Rogers is reinventing the way we use electronics, by Kate Greene,MIT's Technology Review, March/April 2006 ---

Do pilots have to shovel faster on takeoffs?
(I had an old friend, Charlie Gleason, who years ago told me how he hated long upward grades when he shoveled coal on a steam engine in Nebraska.)

"Coal-Powered Jets:  A new process using jet fuel made from coal could reduce oil dependence, and improve fuel performance in advanced aircraft," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, March 31, 2--6 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BizTech/wtr_16650,296,p1.html

Researchers have powered a turboshaft jet engine, the type used to drive helicopter rotors, with a coal-based fuel that could eventually replace military and commercial jet fuels, says Harold Schobert, director of the Energy Institute at Pennsylvania State University. The successful development of the coal-based fuel, which was described this week at the American Chemical Society meeting in Atlanta, could also have uses in diesel engines and fuel cells, Schobert says.

Coal-powered aircraft are not new -- Germany used fuels derived from coal to power planes in World War II. But the high cost of building production plants to turn coal into liquid fuel has prevented the technology's widespread use. Now Schobert and colleagues have developed a way to make jet fuel containing as much as 75 percent coal products using existing oil refineries, eliminating the need to build costly new plants -- and potentially making coal-derived fuel an economically viable alternative to oil.

"In the current formulation this would displace half the petroleum, which is very close to the fraction of petroleum that we import. We've actually tested, at a smaller scale, 75 percent replacement," with success, says Schobert.

Coal, the cheapest of fossil fuels, which also has the steadiest prices, is abundant in the United States. John Grasser, a U.S. Department of Energy spokesperson, cites estimates that the amount of recoverable coal in the country is enough for 250-300 years. "You hear a lot about renewables, and certainly renewables have a part to play in making us self sufficient," says Grasser. "But they're not going to have an impact on petroleum coming in. You're going to have to take something like coal, which we have in huge quantities here, and turn it into a petroleum component."

In addition to reducing dependence on oil, the new fuel might, in fact, also have benefits for advanced aircraft. Today's high-performance military aircraft generate a lot of heat, which can damage hydraulics and electronics, Schobert says. As a result, engineers design these planes to use the onboard fuel as a heat sink. As fuels absorb heat, however, they can begin to break down, which can lead to carbon deposits that clog fuel lines and nozzles. Future advanced aircraft could generate even more heat -- too much for today's fuels to handle. Schobert and colleagues methodically tested about 50 compounds to discover thermally stable ones -- and the best, they found, could readily be made from coal. Their fuel can handle temperatures around 600 degrees Fahrenheit (315 degrees Celsius), higher that today's fuels.

Continued in article

"U.S. Immigration Trends," by Alan Tonelson, AmericanEconomicAlert, March 25, 2006 --- http://www.americaneconomicalert.org/View_art.asp?Prod_ID=2390 

See No Illegality, Hear No Illegality...

Number of illegal immigrants employed in the United States: 7.2 million

Number of notices of intent to fine employers for knowingly hiring illegals sent by federal government, fiscal 1999: 417

Number of notices of intent to fine employers for knowingly hiring illegals sent by federal government, fiscal 2004: 3

Share of agent investigative work-years devoted by U.S. immigration authorities to worksite enforcement, fiscal 1999: 9%

Share of agent investigative work-years devoted by U.S. immigration authorities to worksite enforcement, fiscal 2004: 4%

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania analyzes the future of newspaper publishing in the U.S.
With Audio

"All the News That's Fit to ... Aggregate, Download, Blog: Are Newspapers Yesterday's News?" Knowledge@wharton, March 27, 2006 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1425

The recent sale of Knight Ridder to McClatchy was one of those events that speak volumes about an entire industry. The newspaper business's long-term, seemingly inexorable decline is an old story that is hardly fodder for stop-the-presses, page-one play anymore. But in the same way that every misstep made by Ford or General Motors prompts a rash of stories and hand-wringing about the U.S. auto industry's disintegration, so does the Knight Ridder-McClatchy deal remind everyone of the wrenching changes that are transforming how people get their news.

In itself, the sale on March 12 of San Jose, Calif.-based Knight Ridder for $4.5 billion in cash and stock and $2 billion in assumed debt fell into the inherently newsworthy category. As the second largest newspaper concern in the United States prior to the sale, the fate of Knight Ridder's 32 properties was important to millions of readers and thousands of employees across the country. Equally newsworthy, and perhaps more stunning, was the immediate announcement by McClatchy, a newspaper chain based in Sacramento, Calif., that it would sell 12 of the papers it had just acquired, notably those located in regions of slow population growth. Among them are The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News, The San Jose Mercury News, and papers in Minnesota, Ohio and Indiana.

Faculty members at Wharton and at journalism schools across the country say the Knight Ridder sale, which followed one of the most difficult years the industry has had -- declining circulation, job losses and falling stock prices -- markedly underscores the transformation sweeping the industry. Newspapers have two big strikes against them: They are in a mature industry (the first regularly published newspaper came out some 400 years ago in Europe) and they are a textbook example (stockbrokers are another) of an intermediary between sources of information and customers -- a role that is being increasingly challenged by the Internet.

To remain competitive in the coming years, these scholars say, daily newspapers will have to strengthen their efforts to attract younger readers, make more imaginative use of the Internet, and develop stories, mostly local in nature, that better meet the needs of readers who have thousands of news and information sources at their fingertips.

Wharton marketing professor Peter S. Fader holds out little hope that people will continue to buy physical newspapers in large numbers in years to come. He likens the Internet's assault on newspapers to the impact that digital downloading of music has had on compact discs: CD's still have appeal but they are no longer the sole, dominant medium they once were. "I still believe that there's a vital role for non-digital content in music," Fader suggests. "There's a lot to be said for owning a CD and putting it on the shelf and holding it in your hand. Some people say that same thing about newspapers. I'm not sure I agree with that. It may be true, but newspapers are transient. They have no archive value. I'm not going to add a newspaper to my collection. They are a nuisance to deal with, especially since we don't wrap fish anymore. When the Chicken Littles say, 'The sky is falling,' I think they're right."

Wharton management professor Lawrence Hrebiniak says newspapers have adapted and thrived during decades of competition from emerging media but are now being left reeling by a more intense level of competition from the Internet and cable television news. Newspapers themselves are to blame for a large part of the problem, having been flush with cash for years and thriving in large markets where they have often enjoyed monopoly status.

"If you look at the history of newspapers, they have been harassed for a long time [by emerging competitors]," Hrebiniak says. "Ever since the telegraph, radio and TV, everyone's been predicting the demise of newspapers. What have they done? They have adapted by being proactive. When TV and radio came along, newspapers bought them out. But I think the industry has matured to the point to where it has been a little lazy."

Continued in article

Not only are chains (e.g., H&R Block) allowed to sell some of your private information, they are also allowed to charge you hidden fees and pressure you to buy products you don't need.

They might even sell your entire return.

My advice is to either obtain tax preparation software to do your own taxes or go to a reputable CPA.

"Beware of hidden fees for tax preparation:  Federal report finds major chains charge for unnecessary extra services," by Lea Thompson, MSNBC News, April 4, 2006 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12156097/
(This link was forwarded by Robert Bowers)

More than 60 percent of Americans pay for tax preparation. Paid tax preparers do 78 million returns. Monday, NBC News showed you how some tax preparers at the nation's biggest chains have been cheating the government in order to get their clients bigger refunds. But NBC’s hidden camera investigation also found some of those same preparers are quick to sell clients questionable financial products they may not need.

The problems government investigators found with the nation's largest tax preparers were widespread, including high rates for instant refunds and fees you might not expect to pay.

“Frankly, I was amazed at the degree of incompetence and unprofessionalism,” says Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

"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."  

Is it wise to advise older widows, widowers, and divorcees to live in sin?

Answer: Probably Yes!

"Senior Marriage Penalty," AccountingWeb, February 8, 2006 ---

“It’s galling that they have a marriage penalty for seniors, when they’ve addressed it for everyone else,” Lonell Spencer, a 77-year-old retiree from Arcadia, Connecticut, told the Hartford Courant. The penalty he’s referring to is the tax on Social Security income, which applies to every dollar of income over $32,000 for married couples, compared to $25,000 for a single taxpayer. Recent efforts to eliminate marriage penalties for most married taxpayers have not significantly affected married seniors because the taxable income threshold is only slightly higher for couples than it is for singles. Further, the median family income for those over 50 is $35,200, according to AARP’s annual report, The State of 50+ America, indicating that more than half the families would be subject to the Social security income tax if one or more family members are receiving Social Security benefits.

For nearly 50 years, Social Security benefits were tax-free; then in 1983 the rules were changed because the Social Security system was underfunded. Since then, while inflation adjustments have more than doubled the standard deduction and personal exemption write-offs, the tax on income from Social Security benefits has not been adjusted for inflation. If it had been, the Hartford Courant reports, then the threshold would be $50,000. Instead, the tax actually begins accelerating at $44,000 for married couples. According to The State of 50+ America,the real income of those over 50 has not increased since 1999. In fact, real income for 2004, the last period for which The State of 50+ America collected data, is actually lower than the real income levels of 1999.

The issue is not just about taxing Social Security benefits. The law was intended to tax “high income” taxpayers but increasingly affects middle-income seniors, the Fresno Bee reports. The State of 50+ America found that more than half the income of 50.1 percent of Americans over 62 comes from sources other than Social Security. In addition, the financial assets of those over 65, adjusted for inflation, increased by 94 percent between 1992 and 2004, and more Americans over 50 are employed, The State of 50+ America reports.

Unlike other “marriage penalties,” the senior marriage penalty has not received much attention. That is likely to change as baby boomers reach retirement age and get caught by the tax, Mark Luscombe, principal tax analyst for CCH, a Wolters Kluwer company, told the Fresno Bee. A search of the AARP web site however, indicates that either the issue has not yet become a significant issue to boomers or that it has not been incorporated into the organization’s lobbying efforts to date.

Bob Jensen's taxation helpers (including links to tax preparation software) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation

What Happens When the Press Blasts Your CEO for Excess Compensation?

Wharton accounting professors Wayne Guay and John Core, and Stanford accounting professor David Larcker, also study executive compensation. What they conclude from their most recent research is that the most relevant information does not necessarily make headlines. They also find that in general, the media's focus on excessive compensation does not substantively change corporate behavior with regards to pay packages.

"What Happens When the Press Blasts Your CEO for Excess Compensation? Apparently Not Much,"  Knowledge@wharton, March 27, 2006 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&id=1431

The Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE) --- http://brie.berkeley.edu/~briewww/about/who_we_are.html

The Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE) is an interdisciplinary research project that focuses on international economic competition and the development and application of advanced technologies. Founded by a group of faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in 1982, BRIE research concentrates on the different ways industrialized economies create competitive advantage and how these differences affect international economic and political relations.

For nearly twenty years, BRIE has worked with academic, policy, and business leaders from around the world to consider the real-world interactions of technology, markets and economies. The framework of BRIE¹s ties to the academic and scientific community at UC Berkeley, to the business community in San Francisco, to the high-tech community in Silicon Valley, and to European researchers and policy leaders allows BRIE to reach a broad range of academic, public, and industry audiences. Above all, BRIE is a collaborative effort. Ongoing intellectual relationships that cross departmental boundaries anchors BRIE¹s vision and guarantees that separate research efforts inform and reinforce one another at every stage. This collaborative atmosphere permits the integration of distinct research approaches and diverse research concerns. These combination of knowledge and skills provides an entry point and leverage for an array of unconventional arguments and ideas in the policy debate.

Through articles, editorials, and books—including the landmark Manufaturing Matters, The Highest Stakes, and Who's Bashing Whom?—BRIE has earned the respect of academic, business, and policymakers. In 1984, BRIE drafted for President Reagan¹s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness what is now the commonly accepted definition of competitiveness. In 1993, President Clinton appointed one of BRIE¹s directors, Laura D¹Andrea Tyson, to chair the President¹s Council of Economic Advisers and later to head the National Economic Council. Bringing together UC faculty, policymakers, business leaders, and scholars from around the world, BRIE continues to pioneer the effort to understand our rapidly changing global economy.

Forwarded by Don VanEynde

"Cary Clack: He's real, not reel, and a true Champion," San Antonio Express-News, March 24, 2006

BOERNE — Movies are made about people like this. The film would open as a humorous, feel-good drama about a popular small-town boy who grows up to be the popular principal of that town's one high school.

A principal who would amaze students with his gymnastic ability and make them laugh when he turned the school parking lot into a beach but who pushed them to excel.

A larger-than-life figure who embodies the spirit of his community and is revered partly because he's a character but, mostly, because of his character.

The story would take a tragic, yet inspiring, turn when its hero becomes critically ill and the community rallies around him and his family.

Even the name of the hero, Sam Champion, would be pure Hollywood with the first name being so Everyman and the last name a moniker of myth and metaphor.

But last Thursday night, there were no cameras, scripts or directors in this Hill Country town when a few hundred of Sam Champion's friends gathered in Boerne High School gym for a community prayer service for him and to celebrate a life that the 51-year-old Champion is fighting for.

Champion graduated from Boerne High School in 1972. In 1982 he was hired by Boerne Middle School to be its life-science teacher and football, basketball and track coach. In 1987, he was named principal of the high school.

"I've never met an educator in my life that cared more about the kids. He had more energy than anyone I've ever met," said Wayne Crocker, an attorney with a practice in San Antonio who sent four children through the Boerne school system, largely because of Champion.

During pep rallies, the 5-foot-5-inch Champion would do backward handsprings on the gym floor. At the halftime of basketball games, Champion would have little children run races on the basketball court. One of them was Crocker's granddaughter, Brittney Griffin, now a junior and cheerleader at Boerne.

On Fridays before Spring Break, Champion would put on shorts, pour sand on the parking lot and put up an umbrella and a lawn chair — in which he'd sit while warning his students to be careful.

In the spring of 2000, Champion learned he had a brain tumor. That April, hundreds of people, most of them students, stood on the side of the road and cheered him as he rode by in the car carrying him to Methodist Hospital in San Antonio for his surgery.

Champion returned to work and in 2001 carried the torch of the Winter Olympics in San Antonio. But in 2002, he gave up the principal's job to become the chief administrator for student services at the Boerne School District's central administration office.

Late last year, the tumor returned. It's inoperable.

Champion wasn't at the prayer service Thursday night but his wife, Caroline, and his daughter, Kelsey, a senior, were.

Russell Moldenhauer, a star athlete who is also a senior, noted the outpouring of love for Champion and the baskets that filled with cash and checks.

"It shows he's done a great deal in a short amount of time to touch many lives," he said.

Only the silver screen is large enough to tell of the golden life of Sam Champion.

The largeness of his life and the breadth of people it's touched are summed up neatly by Stan Leach, the Boerne High School athletic director.

"Sam is blessed with the ability of being thoughtful to people."

Major War Battles of the 20th Century

"Fighting Words:  The definitive books on the battles of the 20th century," by Victor Davis Hanson, The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110008143


1. "The Price of Glory" by Alistair Horne (St. Martin's, 1963).

Over the course of 10 months in 1916, the French and Germans killed or wounded about 1.25 million of their best soldiers in a few wooded acres around a fortress complex near the French town of Verdun on the Western Front. Alistair Horne graphically describes the sheer physics of the human carnage, yet the battle was not entirely madness: The Germans had a diabolical plan to bleed the French white, and both sides saw that a German breakthrough at Verdun might prove catastrophic for the Allies. Thanks to Horne's brilliance, Verdun is now seared in the popular memory as a slaughterhouse where well-meaning but often clueless 19th-century generals, usually from a safe distance, threw the youth of the 20th century into an inferno.

2. "With the Old Breed" by E.B. Sledge (Presidio, 1981).

There are some brilliant memoirs of the savage battle for Okinawa, but E.B. Sledge's is by far the most haunting. Sledge, who landed with the Marines on both Okinawa and Peleliu islands, describes in matter-of-fact prose how the superior discipline and bonds between fellow Marines overcame the often brilliant fighting of the desperate Japanese, who hugely outnumbered the Americans and fought from impenetrable subterranean concrete and coral-covered gun emplacements. "With the Old Breed" might serve as an antiwar ode, but the book ends by reminding the reader how well the U.S. was served in its hour of need by rare men such as his own--men that Sledge thinks it may well need again.

3. "The Face of Battle" by John Keegan (Viking, 1976).

This exploration of the soldiers' experience at Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme--all within a few miles of each other in the cockpit of Europe--introduced the young military historian John Keegan to the wider American public. Readers were fascinated with Keegan's excursus on human qualities such as fear and honor, the effect of steel and shot on flesh, and the way men ate, kept warm and armed before battle. "The Face of Battle" ushered in a new genre of military history known as the "experience of battle." Yet other efforts to convey ground-eye views of battle from antiquity to the present have never matched the level of detail and anguish, or the literary artistry, of Keegan's acknowledged masterpiece.

4. "Stalingrad" by Antony Beevor (Penguin, 1998).

We in the West cannot quite comprehend what really went on in this distant battle of Armageddon that began in late 1942, but Antony Beevor provides an extraordinary account of a terrible conflict in which the Nazis' tanks met the Soviets' T-34s, the Luftwaffe's best encountered skies full of rockets, and a million Russians fought the last crack troops that an exhausted Germany and Eastern Europe could throw at them. Soldiers on both sides accepted that capture meant either an immediate death or one far more grotesque from disease and starvation in frigid detention camps. At Stalingrad the Russians proved the better tacticians and even had the superior generals, ending for good any crazy notions that the Germans would go farther east.

5. "The Fall of Fortresses" by Elmer Bendiner (Putnam, 1980).

This too often overlooked memoir is the best personal account of American daylight bombing over Germany. The calm and reflective Elmer Bendiner, a navigator on a B-17 "Flying Fortress," describes how the Army Air Corps in Western Europe asked bomber crews to do the impossible: fly in daylight without escort into the face of thousands of German fighters and experienced flak batteries. More than 25,000 airmen did not come home. This book, framed around the nightmarish second Schweinfurt sortie, shows how the crews' high élan and skill fostered persistence despite perceived hopelessness. Bendiner reminds us in stark prose that, especially in the war's early years, the enemy enjoyed advantages of equipment, command and terrain; we simply had superior morale--and more flexible and innovative soldiers, who deeply believed that things would finally get better.

Mr. Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His most recent book is "A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War" (Random House, 2005).

Recommended Reading in Accounting, Finance, and Business

"Recommended Reading," by Beckey Bright, The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2006 9:21 p.m.; Page R2 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114305346764805424.html?mod=todays_us_the_journal_report

Bookkeeping and Accounting

 "Streetwise Finance and Accounting ... How to keep your books and manage your finances without an MBA a CPA or a PhD," By Suzanne Caplan
"While sales and marketing are the driving forces to get the cash register ringing, it's the dull task of crunching numbers that determines what the business owner gets to keep! The problem is that most small business owners hate dealing with numbers. This book is an easy to understand primer for the business owner who wants … and needs … a basic understanding of accounting and finance."
 "Small Business Accounting Simplified," By Daniel Sitarz
"Every year tens of thousands of small businesses fail because the owners have been unable to manage their financial affairs properly. Simplified for use by nonaccountants, this book explains the fundamentals of small-business bookkeeping in plain language and provides a comprehensive set of clear and understandable forms for tracking a small business's finances."

Finances and Investing

 "Savvy Investing for Women," By Marlene Jupiter
"This book takes a basic approach to help readers understand the world of money and investments, how to evaluate your risk tolerance, and how to create and manage a wealth-building strategy that works. Whether you are just starting out in the work force, recently inherited a family fortune, or have arrived at the peak of your career, it presents a very good base of information on strategic investing and protecting your assets as your life changes."
 "Wake Up and Smell the Money," By Ginger Applegarth
"For those of you who have come to realize that if your stock broker was so smart he (or she) would be retired by now, it's time to take a hard look at your financial habits and get some good old fashion money smarts. This book offers readers an excellent guide to build wealth on real street savvy time tested methods. While this book doesn't promise you a windfall or that you will become a multi-millionaire … it does offer valuable advice and guidance and just might be the best investment you'll make this year."
 "Values Based Financial Planning," By Bill Bachrach
"While there is a never ending stream of books on investing, most of the books were written by people who presume the reader already has bushel baskets of money lying around to invest. So what about the people who are not at the point where they have substantial money to plant and grow? This book takes a solid business approach to financial planning and a program similar to a business plan. In other words, one philosophy doesn't fit every person. Before you can achieve better financial success you have to determine what your priorities are and what will motivate you."


 "Schedule C from A to Z - The Sole Proprietor's Guide to Tax Savings," By Robert Hughes, CPA
"With more and more sole proprietors taking on the task of doing their own bookkeeping and tax returns, not having a solid understanding of what makes up the Schedule C return means that many, if not most, sole proprietors overpay taxes by hundreds or thousands of dollars. This guide de-mystifies taxes that apply to the self-employed with the aim of helping business owners increase cash available to help their businesses prosper and grow. It takes the reader step-by-step through each line of the Schedule C and includes information to help them understand and comply with IRS rules. The updated full version for the 2005 tax year is available at
 "Tax Savvy for Small Business," By Frederick W. Daily
"Most people don't go into business to be tax experts, but not having a basic understanding of business taxes is an expensive error to make. One of the most common mistakes small business owners make is thinking that they can just turn all their financial matters over to a bookkeeper or accountant. However, the first rule of business finances is that nobody, absolutely nobody, is going to have as much concern for your money as you will! This book is one of the best plain language books on small business taxes. Unless you have an army of accountants working for your business this book is a must read.

Raising Money

 "Where's the Money?" By Art Beroff and Dwayne Moyers
"Raising capital can be frustrating for any business. While there is no book that can guarantee you will find the money you need to start or grow a business, this guide slashes through much of the red tape and confusing jargon to put financing solutions at your fingertips. Unlike many other books on small-business financing, this book offers up expert tips, advice and secrets for writing financial statements that appeal to different audiences, filling out loan applications that get results, anticipating investor questions, and how to present your business, and yourself in a professional manner.
 "Investors in Your Backyard: How to Raise Business Capital from the People You Know," By Asheesh Advani
This is an excellent resource to find the information, documents and calculators you need to put a deal together and negotiate all the particulars to convince people to invest in your business. You'll find step-by-step instructions on how to raise business capital from non-traditional sources such as bank – capital in forms such as gifts, loans or equity investments – from people you already know or who know people you know. Once you have the investment team together Investors in Your Backyard will help you create the paperwork to formalize the deal and protect both sides' interests.


 "Money-Tree Marketing," By Patrick Bishop and Jennifer A. Bishop
Written for business owners who want to achieve higher than normal yields from their marketing efforts, this book helps entrepreneurs generate customers, regardless of the business owner's budget or marketing experience, by keeping to the basics and capitalizing on what the competition "might not be doing". This book helps a small business owner increase their profits by using some unique techniques that entice potential customers into their business. More importantly, it identifies ways to make a business more customer friendly, use a customer profile to get in-depth knowledge about customers and to keep those customers coming back for more.


 "The Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business," By Fred S. Steingold
Legal questions come up everyday that make business owners scratch their head and wonder what to do. Will incorporating your business give you more liability protection? Do you have all the proper permits and licenses? These are just a couple of the hundreds of questions that are routine in everyday business. Having a resource to get a basic understanding of small business legal issues is not any further away than reaching for this excellent resource of street savvy small business legal information.
 "Small Business Legal Smarts," By Deborah L. Jacobs
"This simple to understand book will offer readers enough information about legal issues in business to raise those little red flags in your head when something needs closer attention. Actually, it is more like a big Q&A book and a reference tool with a twist. It's organized completely around the needs of micro and small businesses. This book filters out the legalese and untangles some of the most frequent questions an entrepreneur might encounter."
 "The Employer's Legal Handbook," By Fred S. Steingold
For any employer, with 1 or 50 employees, having access to a well laid out reference book of "answers" is important to staying out of trouble and getting the most out of their employees. In this case this book offers a sensible, real life, approach to dealing with employees and all in easy to understand language from the initial hiring process - and asking or saying the right things - to firing an employee without getting your pants sued off.


Bob Jensen's Helpers for Accounting Educators are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/default3.htm

I asked you previously this semester to refrain from interrupting our review sessions by badgering me with questions about what will or will not be on the test. I can’t tell you what’s going to be on the test any more than I can issue you a copy of the exam beforehand.
"Your mother was wrong," by Mike S. Adams, Townhall, April 3, 2006 --- http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/mikeadams/2006/04/03/192209.html

Good morning students! It’s good to see you this morning - although you are probably perplexed that I’ve called together only a dozen of you for this special study session. Please be patient, I only have a few things to say before I give you a special assignment that should make your semester much easier. As most of you can tell, I love teaching. About 85% of my students are wonderful. They keep me energized and eager to teach even the classes I have taught dozens of times. But then there are the 15% of students that make my job unnecessarily difficult. Unfortunately, these students are a real pain in the backside. But, fortunately, I have gathered all of them together today. Look around the room. You are all part of that 15% of annoying students.

First of all, sir, - yes, you in the green shirt with the marijuana leaf - I would like to tell you how you made it into this elite congregation. Earlier in the semester, I asked you to stop bringing an MP3 player into my class during test periods. But, last week during another exam you did it again. And I’ve finally figured out why.

It seems that when you were a little boy your mother told you that you were special. Although you believed her, your mother was wrong. You’re not special. You’re just the same as everyone else. That’s why you have to play by the same rules as everyone else. And that’s why you’re here today.

Don’t laugh ma’am. I want to tell you why you’re here this morning. I asked you previously this semester to refrain from interrupting our review sessions by badgering me with questions about what will or will not be on the test. I can’t tell you what’s going to be on the test any more than I can issue you a copy of the exam beforehand. I’ve finally figured out why you are wholly unconcerned with my assertion that you are wasting valuable class time with your inane remarks.

It appears that when you were a little girl your mother told you that you were special. Although you believed her, your mother was wrong. You’re not special. In fact, you’re just the same as everyone else. That’s why you have to play by the rules I establish. And that’s why you’re here today.

And you, sir, have been instructed previously to bring something to write with (pencil or pen) to the examinations. But the fact that you came to the realization that your pencil has never been sharpened several minutes into the test period poses problems. Whether you actually get up to sharpen the pencil during the exam or shout “hey, dude, do you have a pencil?” you are bound to annoy the hell out of others. But your recidivism indicates that you inadequately assess the degree to which you annoy others, including me. And I think I know why you do that.

Like so many others, it appears that when you were a little boy your mother told you that you were special. Like these other people you believed what mommy said, although she was wrong. You’re not special, either. In fact, you’re just the same as everyone else. That’s why you have to play by the rules of what we call civilization. And that’s why you’re here today.

Rather than belabor the obvious point that all of you must surely be grasping by now, I would like to propose this solution: I want you to stop acting like you’re special. I want you to start acting more like me. Specifically, I want you to take up my new hobby of letting others know that they are not special. And I want you to start doing it immediately for extra credit in this class.

It may seem like a daunting task but once you get started you’ll probably change your mind. In fact, unless you’ve given it some thought, you probably don’t realize how many opportunities you’ll have in a single day to let someone know how truly un-special they really are. Just yesterday, on my way back from Birmingham, I had numerous opportunities in only a few short hours. For example:

*A man sitting next to me on the plane to Charlotte refused to turn off his cell phone after the airline attendant told him to do so. Sure, it was annoying. But it gave me an excellent opportunity to remind him that he wasn’t special.

*A kid sitting next to me in the café in Charlotte beat his plate with a fork and yelled at the top of his lungs for about half an hour. It sure was annoying until I realized it was a good chance to remind him that he wasn’t as special as his mother had told him. Sure, his mother was sitting right next to him. But she was too drunk to raise an objection. And who could blame her for drinking after giving birth to a monster like that?

*A guy nearly knocked me down in a mad rush to get his bag off the conveyer belt. I told him to be careful because he might knock the safety off of my concealed 45 Auto. He didn’t get the joke, largely because he didn’t speak English. That gave me an excellent opportunity to remind him that he wasn’t mucho especial.

I hope that you will all trust that this assignment is for your own good. For starters, you will earn back a point on your average for every time you disabuse a person of the notion that they are special. Furthermore, by changing your behavior (of tolerance) towards others who think they are special, I think we can also help you develop a healthier attitude (of intolerance) towards those who are a drain upon the society.

If there is any aspect of this assignment that you find objectionable or that makes you feel uncomfortable, please feel free to let me know. In fact, just have your mother give me a call. I’d like to have a talk with her soon.

Burma Shave Signs forwarded by Bob [b_calder@bellsouth.net]

He lit a match
Near the gasoline tank
That's why they call him
Skinless Frank
Burma Shave

Ole and Lena --- http://www.oldlutheran.com/humor/oleandlena1.html

Lena called the airlines information desk and inquired, "How long does it take to fly from Minneapolis to Fargo? "Just a minute," said the busy clerk. "Vell, said Lena, "if it has to go dat fast, I tink Ill just take da bus." The judge had just awarded a divorce to Lena, who had charged non-support. He said to Ole, "I have decided to give your wife $400 a month for support." "Vell, dat's fine, Judge," said Ole. "And vunce in a while I'll try to chip in a few bucks myself."

Ole's neighbor Sven had a boy, Sven Junior, who came home one day and asked, "Papa, I have da biggest feet in da third grade. Is dat becoss I'm Norvegian?" "No," said Sven, "It's because you're NINETEEN."

Lars asked Ole, "Do ya know da difference between a Norvegian and a canoe?" "No, I don't," said Ole. "A canoe will sometimes tip," explained Lars.

Ole is so cheap that after his airplane landed safely, he grumbled: "Vell, dere gose five dollars down da drain for dat flight insurance!

Ole wore both of his winter jackets when he painted his house last July. The directions on the can said "put on two coats".

Lars: "Ole, stant in front of my car and tell me if da turn signals are vorking". Ole: "Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No...."

LARS: Have you heard dat dey elected a Pole to be Pope? SVEN: Ya, it's about time, dose Catlicks have had it long enough.

Lena was being interviewed for a job as maid for the very wealthy Mrs. Diamond, who asked her: "Do you have any religious views?" "No," said Lena, "but I've got some nice pictures of Norway."

Lars was staggering home after a night in the tavern. A Lutheran minister saw him and offered to help him get home safely. As they approached the house, Lars asked the minister to step inside for a moment. He explained, "I vant Lena to see who I have been out vith."

Ole and Lena got married. On their honeymoon trip they were nearing Minneapolis when Ole put his hand on Lena's knee. Giggling, Lena said, "Ole, you can go a little farther now if ya vant to"... so Ole drove to Duluth.

When Ole went to play cards with da boys his friend Lars asked him, " Why is it when we play cards you bring your wife, when we go fishing you bring your wife, and when we go bowling you bring your wife." Ole replied, "Have you noticed that Lena is kind of ugly? Dis way I don't never have to kiss her goodbye."

Ole and Sven grabbed their poles and headed out to do some ice fishing. As they were augering a hole in the ice they heard a loud voice from above say, "There are no fish under the ice." Ole an Sven moved about 25 feet over and started to make another hole. The voice said a little stronger, " There are no fish under the ice." They both looked around and then looked up. Ole said in a humble voice, "Are you God?" The voice spoke back, "No ya idiots! I'm the ice rink attendant."

Ole died. So Lena went to the local paper to put a notice in the obituaries. The gentleman at the counter, after offering his condolences, asked Lena what she would like to say about Ole. Lena replied, "You yust put 'Ole died'." The gentleman, somewhat perplexed, said, "That's it? Just 'Ole died?' Surely, there must be something more you'd like to say about Ole. If its money you're concerned about, the first five words are free. We must say something more." So Lena pondered for a few minutes and finally said, "O.K. You put 'Ole died. Boat for sale.' "

Ole and Sven were taking a vacation in Sven's new camper. As usual, they'd become lost and were wandering around a strange town trying to find the highway. Sven was just starting down a grade to go under a bridge when he slams on the brakes. Ole: Vat da heck you do dat for, Sven? Sven: Dat sign dere says "Low Bridge. No Vehicles Over Twelve Feet High." Dis here camper is t'irteen feet! Ole: Cripes almighty Sven, dere ain't no cops around. Yust hit da gas pedal and go for it!

One fine spring day, Ole decided to take Lena for a drive in his new car. As they were driving through town, a policeman pulled them over and told Ole that he was doing 50 miles an hour in a 30 zone. "Oh, no", Ole protested, "I vas only doing thirty, Officer." "No, you were doing fifty", replied the cop. "Really, Officer, I vas only doing thirty", Ole replied stubbornly. "Well", sniffed the cop, "I clocked you doing fifty!" At that point, Lena, sitting in the back seat and trying to be helpful, spoke up. "Officer...you really shouldn't argue vit Ole ven he's been drinking."

More Tidbits from the Chronicle of Higher Education --- http://www.aldaily.com/

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