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 ---
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
Adniki.com, March 27, 2006 ---
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 ---
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
Andy Rooney, CBS Television
It would be a better world if everyone in it
knew all the truth about everything.
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.
If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the
fun out of owning one.
If you smile when no one else is around, you
really mean it.
You don't go to
people with your problems. You come to your friends.
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
George W. Bush
Great Minds in Management: The Process of
Theory Development ---
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
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
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
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
Savings Fees Are Almost Fraudulent for College Savings Plans
"Not Doing Homework Costs Parents Too," AccountingWeb, March 31,
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
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 ---
"Women Go 'Missing' by the Millions," by Ayaan Hirsi Ali,
International Herald Tribune, March 25, 2006 ---
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 ---
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
"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
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
"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
Inside Higher Ed, April 6, 2006 ---
"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 ---
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 ---
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
Continued in article
"Amina's story: escaping death in a world tired of giving," Sydney
Morning Herald, April 3, 2006 ---
More than 200,000 people died in the tsunami
but that toll will be dwarfed by the disaster that is about to engulf
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,
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 ---
"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
"Romney to Sign Mandatory Health Bill," Newsmax, April 5, 2006 ---
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
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" ---
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
Sharon Begley, "Caveman Crooners May Have Helped Early Humans Survive,"
The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2006; Page A11 ---
From WBEZ Chicago ---
If you've never heard This American Life Audio Modules, go to
From WebMD ---
Latest Headlines on April 5, 2006
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 ---
The enemy we face may be the most brutal in our history
John Fund wrote the following in the Opinion Journal, March 30,
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
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
"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
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."
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) ---
Informercial Scams (even those
carried on the main TV networks)---
The 10 Most Faked Artists ---
"How Corrupt Is the United Nations?" by Claudia Rosett,
Commentary, April 1, 2006 ---
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
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
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
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
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
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 ---
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
"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 ---
The general term for this is "podsafe"--meaning that
it's safe to use in a podcast. Web sites such as
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
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,
Russian Orthodox Church chants .
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,
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
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 ---
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
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
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
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 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on accountancy careers are at
"High court to hear landmark eBay patent case," by Peter Kaplan,
The Washington Post, March 28, 2006 ---
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
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
"Less Can Be More When It Comes to Overseas Stocks," by Paul J. Lim, The
New York Times, April 2, 2006 ---
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
Mark Memmott, "Reporters in Iraq under fire there, and from critics," USA
Today, March 22, 2006 ---
"ABC News Listens to Viewers' Concerns About
Iraq Coverage: Majority of Viewers Feel Iraq Coverage is Flawed,"
ABC News, March 23, 2006 ---
Institute for Global Ethics ---
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 ---
For more tidbits on Merrill Lynch fraud search for "Merrill" at
Bethuman Database ---
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 ---
March 24, 2006 message from Donald Ramsey
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
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 ---
"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 ---
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 ---
"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 ---
"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
"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 ---
"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
"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 ---
"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 ---
"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 ---
"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 ---
"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 ---
"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
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 ---
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:
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.
"All the News That's Fit to ... Aggregate, Download, Blog: Are
Newspapers Yesterday's News?" Knowledge@wharton, March 27, 2006 ---
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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
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 ---
(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 ---
or even entire
returns - to marketers and data brokers.
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 -
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
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
"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
"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
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
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 ---
The Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE) ---
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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 ---
Bookkeeping and Accounting
Finance and Accounting ... How to keep your books and manage
your finances without an MBA a CPA or a PhD," By
"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."
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
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."
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."
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."
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
• "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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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
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
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
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
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
He lit a match
Near the gasoline tank
That's why they call him
Ole and Lena ---
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
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
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."