President Bush’s approval rating is pretty low. He is behind car salesmen, but still ahead of journalists and Congress.
Don Surber, "The majority is wrong about Bush, The Charleston Gazette, April 16, 2006 --- http://sundaygazettemail.com/section/Columns/2006041413?pt=20
All progress has resulted from people who took
Adlai E. Stevenson
Those who don't build must burn. It's as old as
history and juvenile delinquence.
Ray Bradbury, FAHRENHEIT 451
Barry Bonds is embarrassing
himself and major league baseball not by a dearth of talent, of which he has
plenty, but by an absence of character. If a baseball game is to be more
than entertainment -- although supremely entertaining it is -- and remain
one of the ways of demonstrating to us all character in action (as with such
splendid examples as Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Henry Aaron, Jackie Robinson
and Cal Ripken), then only disdain, from fans and players alike, for those
who spoil the story needs to be heard and heard resoundingly. Players who
support Barry Bonds and agree with his lawyers or union officials that what
he did was "not illegal at the time" forget -- presuming they ever knew --
what brings those who love the game to cheer their teams and remain loyal to
them. If you don't see at a glance what's wrong with Mr. Bonds, you're not a
fan: You're a spectator.
"Pharmacology at Bat," The Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2006; Page A16 --- Click Here
Dr. McHugh is University Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins. Mr. Vincent was commissioner of baseball from 1989 to 1992.
The human race has one really effective weapon,
and that is laughter.
Mark Twain (1835-1910) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain
When humor goes, there goes civilization.
If I were given the opportunity to present a
gift to the next generation, it would be the ability for each individual to
learn to laugh at himself.
To live is so startling it leaves little time
for anything else.
Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the
test before presenting the lesson.
Vernon Law as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-04-05-06.htm
Jensen Comment: But experience helps you remember it better --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/265wp.htm
The American public must remember that the ROTC
has produced some of the finest officers in the military. One, General
Russell Honore, recently gained notoriety for his command of Task Force
Katrina – and demonstrated that he was one of the few people who was able to
effectively conduct relief operations of those affected by Hurricane
Katrina. He graduated from Southern University’s ROTC program. Assisting the
flood victims of Hurricane Katrina was something a lot of people with
degrees in the Humanities and Social Sciences were unable to do.
Michael Tremoglie, "Curricula Rivalries, FrontPageMagazine, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21942
Upbringing is a way of passing on the
shortcomings of parents to their children.
Armand Carrel --- Click Here
Ben Affleck as Holden McNeil, describing the Internet, in Kevin Smith's "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"
You see, that's the
difference between us. I assume the best about people, while you assume
the worst. So I get hurt, but you get nothing.
Given a choice, the American people would
prefer the policeman's truncheon to the anarchist's bomb.
Don't worry about people stealing your
ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's
Sir George Bidell Airy, KCB, MA, LLD, DCL, FRS, FRAS (Astronomer Royal of Great Britain), estimating for the Chancellor of the Exchequer the potential value of the "analytical engine" invented by Charles Babbage, September 15, 1842
It didn't matter that this seemed a toy
compared with the IBM 360, 370 and all the other systems we had used.
Dan Bricklin, "The IBM PC: 1981 to ...," Memories and Thoughts --- http://www.frankston.com/?name=ThePCFrom1981To
A man sometimes devotes his life to a desire
which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this
folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life.
If we could sell our experiences for what
they cost us, we'd all be millionaires.
Abigail Van Buren
You must have been warned against letting
the golden hours slip by; but some of them are golden only because we
let them slip by.
James M. Barrie
To find something you can enjoy is far
better than finding something you can possess.
You can't depend on your eyes when your
imagination is out of focus.
I'm not smart, but I like to observe.
Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.
The important thing in science is not so
much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.
Sir William Bragg
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you
will land among the stars.
Great Minds in Management: The Process of Theory Development --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm
In April 2006 I commenced reading a heavy book entitled Great Minds in Management: The Process of Theory Development, Edited by Ken G. Smith and Michael A. Hitt (Oxford Press, 2006).
The essays are somewhat personalized in terms of how theory development is perceived by each author and how these perceptions changed over time.
In Tidbits I will share some of the key quotations as I proceed through this book. The book is somewhat heavy going, so it will take some time to add selected quotations to the list of quotations at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm
The Evolution of Social Cognitive Theory
Controlled field studies that systematically vary psychosocial factors under real-life conditions provide greater ecological validity, but they too are limited in scope. Finite resources, limits imposed by social systems on what types of interventions they permit, hard to control fluctuations in quality of implementation, and ethical considerations place constraints on controlled field interventions. Controlled experimentation must, therefore, be supplemented with investigation of naturally produced variations in psychosocial functioning linked to identifiable determinants (Nagel, 1961). The latter approach is indispensable in the social sciences.
Verification of functional relations requires converging evidence from different research strategies. Therefore, in the development of social cognitive theory, we have employed controlled laboratory studies, controlled field studies, longitudinal studies, behavior modification of human dysfunctions not producible on ethical grounds, and analyses of functional relations in naturally occurring phenomena. These studies have included populations of diverse sociodemographic characteristics, multiple analytic methodologies, applied across diverse spheres of functioning in diverse cultural milieus.
It is one thing to generate innovative ideas that hold promise for advancing knowledge, but another to get them published. The publication process, therefore, warrants brief comment from the trenches. Researchers have a lot of psychic scar tissue from inevitable skirmishes with journal reviewers. This presents special problems when there is conceptual inbreeding in editorial boards. The path to innovative accomplishments is strewn with publication hassles and rejections.
It is not uncommon for authors of scientific classics to experience repeated initial rejection of their work, often with hostile embellishments if it is too discordant with what is in vogue (Companario, 1995). The intellectual contributions later become the mainstays of the field of study. For example, John Garcia, who eventually was honored for his fundamental psychological discoveries, was once told by a reviewer of his often-rejected manuscripts that one is no more likely to find the phenomenon he discovered than bird droppings in a cuckoo clock.
Gans and Shepherd (1994) asked leading economists, including Nobel Prize winners, to describe their experiences with the publication process. Their request brought a cathartic outpouring of accounts of publication troubles, even with seminal contributions. The publication hassles are an unavoidable but frustrating part of a research enterprise. The next time you have one of your ideas, prized projects, or manuscripts rejected, do not despair too much. Take comfort in the fact that those who have gone on to fame have had a rough time. In his delightful book Rejection, John White (1982) vividly documents that the prominent characteristic of people who achieve success in challenging pursuits in an unshakable sense of efficacy and a firm belief in the worth of what they are doing. This belief system provides the staying power in the fact of failures, setbacks, and unmerciful rejections.
PG.# 31 BANDURA
There is much talk about the validity of theories, but surprisingly little attention is devoted to their social utility. For example, if aeronautical scientists developed principles of aerodynamics in wind tunnel tests but were unable to build an aircraft that could fly the value of their theorizing would be called into question. Theories are predictive and operative tools. In the final analysis, the evaluation of a scientific enterprise in the social sciences will rest heavily on its social utility.
Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm
"Academic Live: Microsoft Launches Competitor to Google Scholar," Scholarly Communications blog (from the University of Illinois Library), April 13, 2006 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/
Microsoft has launched Academic Live, which searches the full text from thousands of scholarly journals.
Academic Live (beta release version) currently has deep content in the fields of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Physics, but is expanding rapidly. A search today for articles containing Apis mellifera (the honeybee) yielding nearly 800 references; a search for Human Genome yielded over 11,500 articles. So though Microsoft is saying this beta is primarily for the computer techies, it's certainly got a lot of biological content already, too!
Content comes from a wide array of publishers including Wiley, Blackwell, Elsevier, and more. Microsoft has been working with publishers who are members of CrossRef (as well as others), so the list of publishers will be considerable! Take a look at the current list of titles and publishers searchable via Academic Live.
We expect UIUC's "Discover" links to appear in Academic Live, soon (when you're on campus); this will enable our users to easily discover articles for which we hold viewing right for.
Academic Live is still in beta, so be sure to send the folks at Microsoft your suggestions for improving this tool! And, if you've not yet tried out Google Scholar, please do so! It also searches through the full text of thousands of journals and institutional repositories for quality, scholarly information.
Another Hasty Death Knell for the Book
The Deseret Morning News has yet another story about library renovation—in this case at the University of Utah, Utah State University, and Utah Valley State College. The renovations will feature some typical additions: computer banks, coffee shops, and robot-retrieval systems. A caption in the story celebrates the demise of paper items: "Rows and rows of shelves of books are still there at the U. library, but they are becoming a thing of the past." It seems a little hasty to announce the death of the book, particularly since students have shown that they like to handle and read lengthy texts in books, not on screen. Yet these obituaries for books keep rolling in.
Chronicle Wired Campus Blog 4/12/06
"Another Hasty Death Knell for the Book," Scholarly Communications blog (from the University of Illinois Library), April 13, 2006 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/
If you're not already confused enough:
Could Reducing Global Dimming Mean a Hotter, Dryer World?
Despite concerns over global warming, scientists have discovered something that may have actually limited the impact of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in recent years by reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth. So-called "global dimming," will be the focus of a NOVA special scheduled to air on April 18 and featuring Lamont-Doherty researcher Beate Liepert.
"Could Reducing Global Dimming Mean a Hotter, Dryer World?" PhysOrg, April 16, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news64244336.html
"Ten Emerging Technologies," MIT's Technology Review, April 2006 Special Report --- http://www.technologyreview.com/special/emerging/index.aspx
Alexander Olek has developed tests to detect cancer early by measuring its subtle DNA changes.
To avoid future wireless traffic jams, Heather “Haitao” Zheng is finding ways to exploit unused radio spectrum.
Hoping to resolve the embryonic-stem-cell debate, Markus Grompe envisions a more ethical way to derive the cells.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging
Kelvin Lim is using a new brain-imaging method to understand schizophrenia.
Leading the development of a privacy-protecting online ID system, Scott Cantor is hoping for a safer Internet.
Measuring the tiny forces acting on cells, Subra Suresh believes, could produce fresh understanding of diseases.
Stem Cell Update: Transgenic Cows
"Is This Cow a Human-Animal Hybrid? A Dutch company looks to bring
a protein created from transgenic cows to the American public," Seed
Magazine, April 16, 2006 ---
In his 2006 State of the Union address—between thanking outgoing Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor for her service and heralding his wife's Helping America's Youth Initiative—President Bush slipped in a call for a ban on "human-animal hybrids." It's probably a phrase that brings thoughts of centaurs, fauns and harpies to some minds. But, despite the President's stern disapproval of mixed-species clones, we may soon find food products derived from them not just in our research labs, but on our kitchen tables within the next year.
A Dutch biotechnology company called Pharming has genetically engineered cows, outfitting females with a human gene that causes them to express high levels of the protein human lactoferrin in their milk. According to Pharming's website, the protein—which is naturally present in human tears, lung secretions, milk and other bodily fluids—fights against the bacteria that causes eye and lung infections, plays a key role in the immune system of infants and adults and improves intestinal microbial balance, promoting the health of the gastro-intestinal tract.
"Since the protein has the ability to bind iron, is a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral, is an antioxidant and also has immunomodulatory properties, large groups of people might benefit from orally administered lactoferrin," the company literature reads.
Scientists have tested the toxicity of the protein—isolated from the cows' milk—on rats. They found that—even at the high level of 2,000 mg recombinant human lactoferrin per kg body weight—orally consumed human lactoferrin has no adverse effects to complement all the supposed benefits already mentioned. Pharming has, therefore, filed a notification with the FDA asking that their lactoferrin be labeled "Generally Recognized As Safe" (GRAS). If the FDA approves this product, human lactoferrin derived from these cloned cows could be in America's yogurt, popsicles, sports drinks and snack bars within months.
"We believe that now we're at the right stage...to initiate discussions with nutritional companies and other food companies who might be interested in this kind of a product," said Samir Singh, Pharming's Chief Business Officer. "There has been some interest from these companies already; we should be in a strong position to commercialize the product later this year or next year."
To create human lactoferrin-lactating cows, Pharming's scientists introduce human DNA coding for the protein's production into the nuclei of fertilized bovine eggs. The cells that successfully incorporate the foreign DNA or "transgene" are then selected, and each is fused with a second egg cell that has had its nucleus removed. The fused cells are then implanted in a surrogate cow's uterus. If all goes well, the cow becomes pregnant with a transgenic calf that, upon maturity two years later, will produce milk containing human lactoferrin. Despite that one component of its milk, the calf is all bovine—but technically remains an example of the dastardly human-animal hybrid.
Continued in article
"Doctor Database: New search technology from IBM could help patients and doctors locate life-saving treatments," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, April 14, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_16674,308,p1.html
Sometimes the best hope for a person with a serious illness is to become a subject in a clinical drug trial. Such trials are often hard to find, though, as they're rarely well publicized. Additionally, doctors may not know about the best trial for a patient, because at any one time thousands of studies are being conducted around the world. As a result, finding a useful trial has usually required hours of intensive searching or having a doctor who's conducting an appropriate trial or knows other doctors who are -- or just plain luck.
Now an initiative is making information from more than 88,000 completed and ongoing clinical trials searchable through a single website. In late March, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and IBM announced the IFPMA Clinical Trials Portal that they hope will enable doctors and patients to find potentially useful trials and to make more informed medical decisions based on past trials. To facilitate this, the portal is designed to cut through medical jargon, correct misspelled search terms, and search for results in five different languages.
"Clinical trials information is scattered all over the place," says Marc Andrews, director of strategy and business development for content discovery at IBM. "These trials have been conducted by multiple companies, and it's been difficult to find information needed to participate in trials relevant to a life-threatening diseases," he says. "There was no one place you could go."
The new, free portal is powered by IBM search software called OmniFind, which pulls together disparate information to make it searchable, Andrews says. OmniFind is based on the Unstructured Information Management Architecture, a set of processing engines that sift through different types of data (PDF, text, and HTML files) from many different sources (for instance, databases and websites), to pick out the information buried within documents that best match the search terms.
Continued in article
"Dr. Phony Ph.D.: Special ed director had fake degrees," by Kati Phillips, Daily Southtown, April 16, 2006 --- http://www.dailysouthtown.com/southtown/dsindex/16-ds1.htm
The director of one of the state's worst elementary school special education programs purchased her Ph.D. for about $250 from an Internet diploma mill specializing in metaphysical theology. This is one of three apparently fake credentials on Judith Blakely's resume, the Daily Southtown has learned.
Blakely, who earns $75,000 a year as director of student services at Calumet Park School District 132, claims to be a 2000 graduate of the business ethics doctorate program at the American College of Metaphysical Theology, according to a copy of her resume obtained by the Southtown.
The suburban Minneapolis, Minn., outfit advertises a Ph.D. for a fee of $249 on its Web site, up from the $199 deal it offered when Blakely purchased hers.
The school has no campus, awards credit for "life experiences," and boasts most students graduate in 60 days.
Getting a Ph.D., according to the school's Web site, could mean increased salary, enhanced prestige and heightened credibility for recipients.
"Psychologically, the title 'Doctor' and the word 'healing' have a natural affinity in one's mind," it reads.
The Daily Southtown performed a background check on Blakely — turning up this fake degree and other false information — after reviewing state reports that outlined compliance problems within the Calumet Park School District 132 special education program, many of which predated her hire in 2003.
The Illinois State Board of Education is threatening to "nonrecognize" the district and withhold as much as $6.7 million this year and next if the issues are not corrected.
Blakely oversees $500,000 in grant money and the 1,300-student district's special education, bilingual and tutoring programs.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mill frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#DiplomaMill
"What I Learned at Hacker Camp: It's easy to create
malicious code, penetrate firewalls, and steal personal and financial
information. "Ethical hacker" Andrew Whitaker can show you how," by Sarah
Lacy, Business Week, April 4, 2006 ---
Advances in communicating directly from the brain without movement or
For a person with advanced Lou Gehrig's disease, communicating can be an enormous challenge. Patients with this progressive neuromuscular disorder, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), can think just fine, but they gradually lose their ability to move, speak, and breathe. Now, a noninvasive device that detects brain waves is helping these patients interact with the world.
Emily Singer, "EEG Cap Helps Paralyzed Patients," MIT's Technology Review, April 3, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16656,304,p1.html
From IAS Plus (Deloitte and Paul Pacter)
Accounting Roundup –first quarter 2006 review --- http://www.iasplus.com/usa/06q1.pdf
How well do security analysts predict?
April 3, 2006 message from Dennis Beresford [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I assume you and your student got the article I sent you on Saturday night as requested.
On a different point, last week I attended a meeting at Legg Mason during which we met for a few minutes with mutual fund manager Bill Miller. Bill is pretty famous for having beaten the market averages for 15 years in a row - an almost unheard of streak. When Bill talked about the training of investment analysts in his group he mentioned that every two months he assigns a book that helps "open their minds to new ideas" and may or may not have anything to do with finance or investments. The current book is "Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know," by Phillip E. Tetlock. After the analysts read the book, they gather for a couple of hours to discuss what they thought about it.
Bill said that as part of the material for the book, Tetlock had a number of "opinion leaders" keep track of their predictions for 20 years and then he went back to see how accurate they were. Apparently it turned out that they were just about as accurate as you and I could have been by tossing a coin.
I just looked at the reviews in Amazon.com and the book received mainly very favorable comments.
Obviously, I haven't had a chance to read the book yet but I probably will in the near future.
Executives' biased delays of bad news versus good news
From Jim Mahar's blog on April 13, 2006
Good news today, bad news later.
My guess is that this surprises NO ONE, ;), but it is interesting to see it in writing.
Short version: managers don't like to tell bad news.
SSRN-Do Managers Withhold Bad News? by S.P. Kothari, Susan Shu, Peter Wysocki: Abstract: "In this study, we examine whether managers delay disclosure of bad news relative to good news. If managers accumulate and withhold bad news up to a certain threshold, but leak and immediately reveal good news to investors, then we expect the magnitude of the negative stock price reaction to bad news disclosures to be greater than the magnitude of the positive stock price reaction to good news disclosures. We present evidence consistent with this prediction. Our analysis suggests that management, on average, delays the release of bad news to investors."
While several potential explanations are given to the larger price drop (including agency cost stories), it is possible that the more pronounced stock price declines might be caused by non-symmetry in investor utility curves.
Kothari, S.P., Shu, Susan and Wysocki, Peter D., "Do Managers Withhold Bad News?" (September 2005). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4556-05 Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=803865
Was the TWA Flight 800 really shot down with a missile?
"This has resulted in an extraordinary match up between his recollection and where the events took place according to the Islip radar," Donaldson said. The pictures show the CIA's explanation is "complete bunk," he said. Flight 800 already was at 13,700 feet, well above the rooflines of the building Wire was looking at and high in the sky. A climb of 3,000 additional feet would be imperceptible, Donaldson argued, only 20 percent higher than its original position. It also would not look like a zigzagging streak with a smoke trail that originated behind one of the beachfront houses.
"THE DOWNING OF TWA FLIGHT 800: Google map used to bolster missile claim Researcher verifies testimony of key FBI witness," WorldNetDaily, April 5, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49593
Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/
Type 2 Diabetes: Things are no better Down Under
NSW has recorded a 300 per cent increase in the number of people with diabetes over the past 10 years, and experts have warned both the health system and the economy will soon be crippled by its impact. Already 1.4 million Australians have diabetes, and if trends continue, 2 million will develop the disease - mostly caused by diet and lifestyle factors - by 2010.
Ruth Pollard, "Time to act on diabetes scourge, say experts," Sydney Morning Herald, April 11, 2006 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2006/04/10/1144521269845.html
Secondhand smoke linked to diabetes
The 15-year study of 4,572 people supported earlier claims that smokers were more prone to developing glucose intolerance -- a forewarning of diabetes, the BBC reported Thursday. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests smoke toxins could affect the pancreas, which manufactures insulin, the hormone that regulates glucose in the blood.
"Secondhand smoke linked to diabetes," PhysOrg, April 7, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news63610151.html
Assessing the Threat: To predict the effects of bioweapons, we need more data
Could terrorists, intent on causing as much harm and societal disruption as possible, use new biotechnology processes to engineer a virulent pathogen that, when unleashed, would result in massive numbers of dead? Mark Williams, in his article "The Knowledge," suggests we should be contemplating this doomsday scenario in the 21st century. Williams's article might make you sleep less soundly, but are the threats real? The truth is that we do not really know.
"Assessing the Threat: To predict the effects of bioweapons, we need more data," by Allison Macfarlane, MIT's Technology Review, April 11, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/BioTech/wtr_16459,306,p1.html
Accountants Looking for Jobs Can Afford to be Choosy
The confidence of Fieler and Tecson is not misplaced. Both are likely to get what they're looking for. Accountants are a hot commodity. Demand for professionals with solid skills, education and experience, is way up since passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform legislation in 2002. Jerry Love, chairman elect of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants, said firms everywhere are struggling to find accountants with three to five years of experience. "The common theme is, 'I need more people, and I need more experienced people,'" he told the Austin Business Journal.
"Accountants Looking for Jobs Can Afford to be Choosy," AccountingWeb, March 30, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101966
A stridently anti-Catholic resolution passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has prompted a federal lawsuit. In the March 21 measure, the city's board condemned Catholic moral teaching on homosexuality and urged the archbishop of San Francisco and Catholic Charities of San Francisco to defy church directives prohibiting homosexual adoptions.
"San Fran Catholic attack results in lawsuit Church's morals called 'insulting,' 'hateful,' 'defamatory,' 'insensitive,' 'ignorant'," WorldNetDaily, April 7, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49631
The resolution alludes to the Vatican as a foreign country meddling in the affairs of the city and describes the church's moral teaching and beliefs as "insulting to all San Franciscans," "hateful," "insulting and callous," "defamatory," "absolutely unacceptable," "insensitive and ignorant."
The resolution calls on the local archbishop to "defy" the church's teachings and describes Cardinal William Joseph Levada, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is responsible for safeguarding the doctrine on the faith and morals of the church throughout the Catholic world, as "unqualified" to lead.
Continued in article
California's "gender-neutralizing bill that could nix mention of
A bill requiring students to learn about the contributions homosexuals have made to society and that could remove gender-specific terms including "mom" and "dad" from textbooks is making progress in California. The state's Senate Judiciary Committee has approved SB 1437, which would mandate grades 1-12 buy books "accurately'' portraying "the sexual diversity of our society.'' It also requires 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.''
"'Gays' history in the making Progress for gender-neutralizing bill that could nix mention of 'mom,' 'dad' (in textbooks and class), WorldNetDaily, April 7, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49638
A bill requiring students to learn about the contributions homosexuals have made to society and that could remove gender-specific terms including "mom" and "dad" from textbooks is making progress in California.
The state's Senate Judiciary Committee has approved SB 1437, which would mandate grades 1-12 buy books "accurately'' portraying "the sexual diversity of our society.'' It also requires 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.''
It also precludes textbooks, teaching materials, instruction, and "school-sponsored activities" from reflecting adversely upon persons based on their sexual orientation, or actual or perceived gender.
"School-sponsored activities include everything from cheerleading and sports activities to the prom," said Karen England of Capitol Resource Institute, a traditional-values organization. "Under SB 1437 school districts would likely be prohibited from having a 'prom king and queen' because that would show bias based on gender and sexual orientation.
"Under SB 1437 school districts would also likely have to do away with dress codes and would have to accommodate transsexuals on girl-specific or boy-specific sports teams."
Continued in article
This was an April 7, 2006 Tidbit
The state Senate will consider a bill that would require California schools to teach students about the contributions gay people have made to society -- an effort that supporters say is an attempt to battle discrimination and opponents say is designed to use the classroom to get children to embrace homosexuality. The bill, which was passed by a Senate committee Tuesday, would require schools to buy textbooks ``accurately'' portraying ``the sexual diversity of our society.'' More controversially, it could require that students hear history lessons on ``the contributions of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States of America.''
Aaron C. Davis, "Bill requires gays' history to be taught," Mercury News, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/14276578.htm
If the curriculum is to be dictated by state law, I would like to add some other modules such as personal finance and accounting (including tax law basics) and fraud prevention. These modules cover serious societal problems faced by virtually all young persons passing into adulthood. For example, most high school graduates are unaware of how credit card companies are exploiting their ignorance when allowing them to pay the "minimum due." Most do not understand the basics of finance, borrowing, and interest rate calculations.
"U.S. teenagers lack financial literacy," USA Today,
April 5, 2006 ---
"Financial literacy is still a very significant problem. It doesn't seem to be getting any better," says Lewis Mandell, a professor at SUNY Buffalo School of Management who oversaw the survey, which was conducted in December and January. It includes topics such as investing and managing personal finances.
He said the lack of knowledge was troubling given that today's high school seniors likely will be more responsible for their own financial well-being when they retire given trends away from company pension plans and an uncertain future for Social Security benefits.
Continued in article
He shot himself in the foot while demonstrating gun safety: Was his name Barney?
A DEA agent who accidentally shot himself in the
foot while demonstrating gun safety to school children is suing the agency,
saying video of the incident has made him the joke of the Internet," the
Associated Press reports from Orlando, Fla.
"Agent Who Shot Himself in Foot Sues DEA," EarthLink.net, April 14, 2006 --- Click Here
Courts Cannot Force State Legislatures to Appropriate Money
"Courts Flunk the Civics Test," by Ross Sandler and David Schoenbrod,
The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2006 ---
On March 23, a New York appellate court ordered the state legislature to provide an additional $4.7 billion for operating the New York City schools, plus another $9.2 billion for construction. These are immense sums, even in the Empire State. The advocacy group that brought the suit, Campaign for Fiscal Equity, declared the court's decision would "get real action" because the legislature must "come up with a solution now, right now." This was good spin, but it's not true.
Contrary to a widespread misconception, courts have no power to force a state legislature to appropriate money; nevertheless the ersatz order, coming as it did in the final days of the state's budget process, could tilt the legislators towards more spending. This is apparently what is happening in Albany, where, in a partial tip of their hats to the court, legislators authorized $11.2 billion in new debt to pay for school construction in New York City.
. . .
When courts claim that they have power to make legislatures spend more to vindicate a constitutional right to basic education, they tamper with a basic tenet of our democracy -- no taxation without representation. Voters are entitled to hold political officials accountable for the taxes they levy, the money they spend, and the education they produce. When judges pretend that legislators are their marionettes, the legislators can escape accountability, but only if the voters are fooled. They shouldn't be.
Messrs. Sandler and Schoenbrod are professors at New York Law School and authors of "Democracy by Decree: What Happens When Courts Run Government" (Yale University Press, 2003).
Kosovo: A Mafia Nation
KOSOVO, the former Yugoslav province, is falling into the grip of Albanian organised crime gangs, casting a shadow over attempts by the international community to turn it into a fully fledged independent state by the end of this year. Participants in talks in Vienna, sponsored by the United Nations, on the “final status” of Kosovo, are concerned that the mafia networks that smuggled guns into the disputed province from Albania in 1997 and 1998 are using the same channels for a burgeoning trade in illicit petrol, cigarettes and cement. Prostitution and drugs are also popular staples of the black economy. The profits are ploughed into shopping centres and hotels, which are going up as part of a building boom in the province. Petrol stations are especially popular — there are more than 2,000 of them catering for a population of 2m in a territory the size of Devon. Many are believed to be part of a money laundering racket, controlled by a few of the largest clan families, involving oil smuggled in from Montenegro.
Tom Walker, "Rampage of the mafia may delay Kosovo independence," London Times, April 9, 2006 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2125155,00.html
Even if Hamas wants to suspend suicide bombings, as recently claimed,
it is probably powerless to do so
A Palestinian homicide bomber blew himself up outside a sandwich shop in a busy commercial area near the central bus station in Tel Aviv on Monday, killing eight other people and wounding at least 49. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to FOX News. Israeli media identified the bomber as Sami Salim Hamada from Jenin.
"Homicide Bomber Kills 8 in Tel Aviv," Fox News, April 17, 2006 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,191967,00.html
The NPR version is here --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5345631
But it appears Hamas is not standing by its announced plan to suspend
Today's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed at least nine Israelis and wounded more than 60 others is Israel's fault and a "legitimate act of resistance," declared the Hamas terror group, which now heads the Palestinian government.
Aaron Klein, "Hamas: Tel Aviv bombing 'Israel's fault' Leaders of new Palestinian government call suicide attacks 'legitimate'," WorldNetDaily, April 17, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49777
The Worst Enemy in the History of the World Because It Targets
Innocent Civilians and Hides Behind Children
AT LEAST 400 Al-Qaeda terrorist suspects — double the previous estimates — are at large in Britain, according to police and MI5. Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, director-general of MI5, has said the figure could be as high as 600 if all those thought to have returned from combat training in camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere are included. The new assessment — effectively a “terror audit” of Britain — was confirmed this weekend by one of Britain’s most senior police officers, who warned that shortages of trained surveillance teams were undermining attempts to monitor all the suspects.
David Leppard, "400 terror suspects on loose in UK," London Times, April 9, 2006 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2125413,00.html
But Wait: Deliberately Targeting Innocent People is
Not Terror According to Professor
The London bombings were not acts of terrorism but "a demonstration", according to a senior academic. Prof Ron Geaves has sparked controversy by claiming that the attacks on Tube trains and a bus that killed 52 innocent people in July were part of a long history of protests by British Muslims.
Andrew Alderson and Chris Hastings, "July 7 bombs were a 'demo' not terrorism, claims professor," Telegraph, April 9, 2006 --- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/04/09/nterr09.xml
He also said that to refer to the attacks as terrorism risked "demonising" those involved.
His comments were made as he prepared to give a lecture at the University of Chester to dignitaries and members of the Muslim community in the North West.
As part of his research, Prof Geaves has looked at the history of demonstrations by British Muslims. His work charts the changing nature of Muslim communities from the demonstrations against the author Salman Rushdie to the anti-war protests after the invasion of Iraq.
"I have included, rather controversially, the events in London as primarily an extreme form of demonstration and assess what these events actually mean in terms of their significance in the Muslim community," Prof Geaves said last week.
"Terrorism is a political word which always seems to be used to demonise people."
Prof Geaves, whose lecture was entitled Twenty years of fieldwork: reflections on 'reflexivity' in the study of British Muslims, said: "The title refers to the personal transformation that has taken place over the last two decades in which I have moved from a position of academic neutrality to one of active engagement with the Muslim community."
Prof Geaves, who has written at least four books on religion and has been at the university's department of theology and religious studies for five years, claims to be pioneering what he calls Britain's first Muslim youth work degree programme.
Chester became a university only last year after previously having college status.
Last night Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP for Hendon, described Prof Geaves's claims as "absolutely barking". He said: "What happened on July 7, 2005, fits with every international definition of terrorism. If any of the men behind the attacks had survived the incident they would have quite rightly been tried under the anti-terror laws. I don't think it's helpful that we have a mealy-mouthed academic trying to justify deaths of innocent people. It is ludicrous."
Four suicide bombers killed themselves and 52 others on July 7, while more than 700 people were injured in the attacks. Two weeks later, on July 21, devices on four Underground trains in the capital failed to explode.
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, also insisted that the attacks were acts of "criminality" and "terrorism".
He said Prof Geaves's comments were unhelpful because they could actually be seized upon by people seeking reasons to target Muslims.
"For me, the definition of terrorism is when an innocent human life is lost. These bombings were an act of criminality and terrorism because that loss occurred.
"No motive can justify an act of terrorism. I think this kind of speculation is unhelpful because it is taken seriously by some sections of the community who want to demonise Muslims."
Loyita Worley, 50, a legal librarian who was injured in the Aldgate Station blast on July 7, said: "I would totally disagree with his point of views. There are other ways of protesting. The circumstances in which these people died were particularly nasty."
In February, an ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph revealed that 40 per cent of British Muslims wanted Sharia law in parts of the country.
It also indicated that 20 per cent had sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers, although 99 per cent thought it wrong to carry out the atrocity.
Last night Prof Geaves, 56, said: "What I was trying to say was that the word terrorism, like the word evil, does not take us very far.
"During the lecture I spoke about the changing nature of Muslim protest. I concentrated on the Salman Rushdie controversy and the demonstrations against the two Gulf wars."
He added that it was possible to draw parallels between the July 7 attacks and atrocities in Northern Ireland, which claimed the lives of 3,500 people.
"If you look at the Troubles there were various different types of protest going on at the same time.
"The terrorism which occurred during the Troubles could also be seen as an extreme form of protest or demonstration."
According to Time Magazine, who are the ten best versus the five worst in the current U.S. Senate?
Hint: Time tends to like top Democrats
"America's 10 Best Senators Those who make a difference in the U.S. Senate — and five Senators who are falling short," by Massimo Calabresi and Perry Bacon, Time Magazine, April 17, 2006 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1184028,00.html
The Best Senators:
Thad Cochran, Kent Conrad, Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, Jon Kyl, Carl Levin, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Olympia J. Snowe, and Arlen Specter
The Worst Senators
Daniel Akaka, Wayne Allard, Jim Bunning, Conrad Burns, and Mark Dayton
Afghan Admissions: Harvard Beats Yale
"Meet Masood Farivar: The Afghan Yale refused to admit," by John Fund, The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110008250
Yale now doesn't even attempt to claim that Mr. Hashemi has changed. In conversations with donors, president Richard Levin has fallen back on two arguments: that Mr. Hashemi currently is a nondegree student, and that the State Department issued him a visa. But Mr. Hashemi's application to become a sophomore in Yale's full degree program, the same type of program that Mr. Farivar graduated from at Harvard, is pending before Mr. Levin. That makes his continued presence at Yale especially relevant as Yale's Board of Governors, the body that supposedly runs the university, prepares to meet this week. Many in the Yale community are appalled at the damage university officials have caused by their failure to address the Hashemi issue after seven weeks of controversy. "That silence has provoked bewilderment and anger among many," David Cameron, a Yale political science professor wrote The Wall Street Journal last week. "Yale appears to have no convincing response to those who ask why, given the nature of the Taliban regime, his role in it, its complicity in the 9/11 attacks, and his apparent failure or refusal to disavow the regime, Mr. Hashemi has been allowed to study at the university."
Even some who defend the right of Yale to make its own admissions decisions now say it went too far with its Taliban Man. Mark Oppenheimer, a Yale grad who edits the New Haven Advocate, an alternative weekly, says he has "finally come to the conclusion" that "Yale should not have enrolled someone who helped lead a regime that destroyed religious icons, executed adulterers and didn't let women learn to read. Surely, the spot could have better gone to, say, Afghani women, who have such difficulty getting schooling in their own country."
Mr. Oppenheimer attributes his prior reluctance to realize Yale had erred to "basic human stubbornness" and says he finds it "awfully upsetting to agree with jokers like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly," both of whom have discussed the Yale story on Fox News Channel. "The harder they flogged this issue, the more I became convinced that they had to be wrong. I just feel better across the fence from them. . . . I think it's utterly fair to blame the right wing for making me so desperate to dissemble."
James Kirchick, a Yale senior, wrote last month in the Yale Daily News that he was disturbed by the refusal of liberals to be outraged over the religious fascism the Taliban represent. Echoing Mr. Oppenheimer, he noted that "a friend of mine recently remarked that part of his and his peers' nonchalance (and in some cases, support for) Hashemi has to do with the fact that the right has seized upon the issue. Our politics have become so polarized that many are willing to take positions based on the inverse of their opponents'. This abandonment of classical liberal values at the expense of political gamesmanship has consequences that reach far beyond Yale; it hurts our national discourse."
Yale's Board of Governors isn't likely to address those broader issues at its meeting this week. But it will no doubt take some action in response to the Taliban Man scandal. Charley Ellis, one of the university's governors, has written to some alumni noting that "a careful review" of the school's "special student" admissions "is likely to lead to significant change: fewer folks allowed and stricter requirements and really close supervision." Mr. Ellis concludes that "if a mistake was made--either by the U.S. government or by Yale--it will not be repeated--not even close."
His response is revealing. Top people at Yale still won't admit the Taliban Man's admission was a mistake and continue to shift responsibility for his presence to the State Department. Several U.S. senators are indeed demanding answers from State and are preparing hearings on its procedures for granting student visas.
But Yale also owes itself a more searching examination of its own admission policies. Donald Kagan, a history professor and former dean of Yale College, told me there is growing anecdotal evidence that the supersecret world of university admissions often operates in such a capricious or unpredictable way that "people are justified in questioning the fairness of the process." He suggests that both public and private universities voluntarily disclose more of their admissions procedures to satisfy concerns that abuses are common. "If we have policies that we are proud of, then we should let people know how they operate," he told me.
More openness would be especially appropriate now. This spring, the nation's top schools received record numbers of applications and accepted a smaller percentage of them than ever before. Since many students have perfect SAT scores and grades, some parents are spending thousands to hire private admissions advisers. Anne Marie Chaker reported in last Thursday's Wall Street Journal that more and more admissions offices are looking for "a passion or commitment communicated in a clear voice" that goes beyond intellect or athletic ability. She quoted Swarthmore admissions dean Jim Bock noting that one successful applicant took a year off to work with AIDS-infected drug addicts. As an admissions dean, he says, "you don't forget it."
Given the ultracompetitive desire of applicants to stand out, admissions officers now have more discretion than ever. "This is the zone of discretion within which the admissions officials do their work," says one former top Ivy League official. "Much mischief is done within this zone--especially by the application of the academic elite's rather selective notions of authenticity and 'commitment.' For example, rest assured that religious commitment, or a fascination with one or another kind of entrepreneurial business, would be unlikely to attract the attention of admissions officials."
The real story of Taliban Man at Yale is the mindset it exposes among Ivy League admissions offices. After the New York Times broke the story of Mr. Hashemi's admission, Haym Benaroya, a professor at Rutgers, wrote to Mr. Shaw expressing disbelief that Mr. Hashemi, who has a fourth-grade education and a high school equivalency certificate, could be at Yale. Mr. Shaw replied that his Taliban applicant had "personal accomplishments that had significant impact" and insisted those accomplishments had been "positive." "There you have the moral blind spot," Mr. Benaroya told me. "On the margin, admissions officials go for the 'exotic' over the well-grounded, and we aren't well served by that. They love to brag among themselves about the 'special' students one or the other has landed. The Taliban student shows some are special in ways we wouldn't want."
Indeed, I was told a chilling story of another Ivy League University that had two applicants from the same inner-city high school. Both were Hispanic. One applicant was a very good student who had participated in school and community affairs. The other was a mediocre student who had frequently clashed with authorities and even had a scrape with the law. A leading graduate of the school was trying to help the former student get admitted. The deciding factor might have come during his senior year when his parents managed to save enough money to move a few miles away to a suburb. "When I heard of their move I told the mother her son was doomed, because I knew how the admissions office thought," the graduate told me. "Sure enough the more marginal kid got in, because he was viewed as a more 'authentic' representative of the Hispanic community."
Benno Schmidt, Mr. Levin's predecessor as Yale president, supports diversity programs, but says that cases such as that of the Taliban Man demonstrate that "diversity simply cannot be allowed to trump all moral considerations." It also should not be allowed to trump common sense, as it apparently did in the case of the two Hispanic applicants. It's no wonder that Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, thinks admission preferences should be made more public. "Let's let the sun shine in," he says. There appear to be a whole lot of dark corners in university admission offices that deserve illumination.
Punishment may not be all that bad when it comes to making profits, says a German study.
"Punishment linked to profits, says study," PhysOrg, April 7, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news63628129.html
Using an investment game they created, economists at the University of Erfurt found that groups that permitted punishment were more profitable than those that did not, reports The New York Times.
The participants in the game first chose a group that did not penalize its members but later joined a community that punished members, but gave them a chance to profit personally. The findings were published Friday in the journal Science.
The study suggested groups with few rules attracted exploitative people who undermined cooperation, whereas the punitive groups attracted those who were willing to challenge the exploiters, the report said.
"The bottom line of the paper is that when you have people with shared standards, and some who have the moral courage to sanction others, informally, then this kind of society manages very successfully," said the study's senior author, Bettina Rockenbach, The Times
A hidden cost of the Medicare Plan D drug plan that you probably never
thought of ---
wasted and uncompensated nursing time in a doctor's office
"Medicare Drug Plans Create More Work," Benjamin Brewer, M.D., The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/the_doctors_office.html
The Medicare drug benefit is bogging down my office. The issue isn't getting approval. I know I'm going to win most attempts at getting a drug that is on the formulary at a lower cost. (More difficult is getting coverage for a drug that's not on the formulary at all.) If I can get through to an actual person, I know what phrases to say to succeed in the bureaucracy of the formulary systems.
The problem is the sheer volume of these requests. We're substituting medicines or seeking prior approval for a medicine an average of four times per day for each of the four providers in our group -- three doctors and one family nurse practitioner. It's eating up 100 hours of nursing time per month that we don't receive compensation for.
My nurse needs to find out which of many Medicare Part D plans the patient is on, access the Web site or the 800 number, find out which form we need to obtain approval or make an appeal or identify the most logical substitute for what the patient had been using.
In the 10-15 minutes of nurse and physician time it can take to rework a patient's medications, other, more-important things may be delayed or set aside, from drawing lab work to changing a dressing to checking up on a sick patient we saw the day before.
My nurse conferences with me between patients about what drug to pick to avoid further hassles or which cases to appeal. Next she fills out a preauthorization or appeal form, has me sign it, and we fax it off. Then we wait for an answer.
Continued in article
Boycotts of Particular Companies Are Wrong and Ineffective in Most Instances
I received three of these messages today to stop or reduce buying fuel from Exxon-Mobile in an effort to reduce fuel prices. I don’t buy into this for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the smaller oil companies buy much of their fuel wholesale from Exxon-Mobil such that buying more from them still is revenue to Exxon-Mobil.
Secondly, even if all other companies had fuel sources outside Exxon-Mobil, the added demand relative to supply on a short term basis would drive prices through the ceiling or result in long lines and empty tanks due to shortages. This is because Exxon-Mobil is such a huge provider of fuel in most parts of the U.S.
The best way to drive down gas prices is to temporarily change life styles. Cease all leisure travel by land, sea, and air. Stay home for an entire year. And don’t buy a new car or truck of any kind until gas prices come down. The combined hit on the economies of the world will be so great that oil companies will be forced to lower prices, and it will be easier for them to do so since OPEC will be forced to lower crude prices. And think of the pressure governments will bring to bear when fuel tax revenues crash.
Actually, high fuel prices contribute greatly to the above solution. People are forced to cut back on discretionary travel and vehicle purchases due to fuel prices and the accompanying higher prices for most commodities and home heating/cooling energy. Reduced discretionary spending clobbers the oil industry and other sectors in the economy. In many ways, high prices solve the problem.
Also remember that boycotts hurt a lot of innocent people like the independent owners of fuel stations that aren’t making a whole lot on gasoline sales as it is (at the retail level). The mark-up is extremely low. And there are many low-paid hourly workers who might lose their jobs even though they are entirely innocent. Executives of Exxon-Mobil will always be zillionaires no matter what boycott you impose.
April 14, 2006 reply from Aaron Delwiche [ Aaron.Delwiche@Trinity.edu ]
It sounds like you received the most recent flare-up of a chain letter that has been floating around on the Internet for the past five years. More details are posted at:
In my opinion, the best way to reduce fuel prices is to significantly cut back on the amount of gasoline that we consume. This doesn't mean ceasing leisure travel altogether, but it means carpooling, walking, biking and using public transportation.
Buying a new car might be a good thing if it gets decent gas mileage. Hummers get 10 miles per gallon, and F150s get 14 mpg. The Toyota Corolla gets 35 mpg and the Honda Civic Hybrid gets a whopping 50 mpg.
Contrary to Popular Opinion: San Diego Fence Provides (Successful) Lessons in Border Control
"San Diego Fence Provides Lessons in Border Control," by Ted Robbins, NPR, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5323928
As Congress looks to revamp immigration policy, some lawmakers are pushing to extend fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico. Proposals range from beefing up existing fences in Arizona to constructing new fences that would span 700 miles. Those advocating expanded fencing already have a model they can look to: a fence the federal government built more than a decade ago along a 14-mile-stretch in San Diego, Calif., that borders Tijuana, Mexico.
Before the fence was built, all that separated that stretch of Mexico from California was a single strand of cable that demarcated the international border.
Back then, Border Patrol agent Jim Henry says he was overwhelmed by the stream of immigrants who crossed into the United States illegally just in that sector.
"It was an area that was out of control," Henry says. "There were over 100,000 aliens crossing through this area a year."
Today, Henry is assistant chief of the Border Patrol's San Diego sector. He says apprehensions here are down 95 percent, from 100,000 a year to 5,000 a year, largely because the single strand of cable marking the border was replaced by double -- and in some places, triple -- fencing.
The first fence, 10 feet high, is made of welded metal panels. The second fence, 15 feet high, consists of steel mesh, and the top is angled inward to make it harder to climb over. Finally, in high-traffic areas, there's also a smaller chain-link fence. In between the two main fences is 150 feet of "no man's land," an area that the Border Patrol sweeps with flood lights and trucks, and soon, surveillance cameras.
"Here in San Diego, we have proven that the border infrastructure system does indeed work," Henry says. "It is highly effective."
Continued in article
Islamic Bunnies (read that Playboy bunnies)
"Playboy's Indonesia edition enrages - and disappoints," by Sam Knight, The London Times, April 7, 2006 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25689-2123556,00.html
An edition of Playboy magazine has gone on sale
in Indonesia despite threats of protests by Islamic hardliners who call the
publication a form of moral terrorism in the world's most populous Muslim
"Indonesian Playboy goes on sale," Al Jazeera, April 7, 2006 --- Click Here
New Zealand's Pension Problem
Helen Clark's Labour government thinks it has a solution to the aging population, low savings conundrum that's been troubling most of the developed world: Automatically enroll everyone in savings plans, whether they like it or not. While the program is imaginative, it's misguided. Like other illiberal pension schemes, it doesn't impart the right economic incentives to savers.
"New Zealand's Pension Problem," by Shamubeel Eaqub, The Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114418524382616904.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
"Associated Press: Smear and Run Tactics?" The Morning Paper, April 7, 2006 ---
Much of what you read in your daily newspaper,or see on TV,comes from the Associated Press.
Once upon a time, the “AP” symbol at the beginning of a news story meant the story you were about to read was reasonably accurate,and reasonably free of political bias. Today, quite the opposite seems true !
Let’s look at a story that appeared in newspapers all over America this morning. “Fair Use” rules permit the quoting of one or two sentences, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON - President Bush and Vice – President Dick Cheney authorized Cheney’s to aide to launch a counterattack of leaks against administration critics on Iraq by feeding intelligence information to reporters,according to court papers citing the aide’s testimony in the CIA leak case.
The article adds : “…the prosecutor,detailing the evidence he has gathered, raised the possibility that the vice-president was trying to use Plame’s CIA employment to discredit her husband,administration critic Joseph Wilson. “
The Prosecutor raised no such possibility ! Unlike the AP reporter,he has been extremely careful to avoid making such irresponsible statements ; careful to avoid this sort of partisan speculation.
The AP did not see fit to disclose the fact that much of the information given to the NY Times reporter was already in the public domain , or that the full text of the National Intelligence Estimate (minus a few redactions) was made public a few days later.
The AP reporter,in a word, was speculating – but refrained from making that clear : thus insuring that millions of Americans would read an editorial – masquerading as news.
This is hardly an isolated occurrence. The AP website showed the following headline and lede this morning:
Immigration Deal Held Up Over Amendments By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - A Senate breakthrough on an immigration bill praised by leaders in both parties appeared endangered by partisan bickering over amendments from opponents.
Please note the use of the term “partisan bickering”- which apparently means “Republican resistance” to the AP writer. When the story appeared earlier this morning, it was accompanied by a photo of Senate Majority Leader Frist –gesturing with an upraised arm – next to the words “partisan bickering”.
A few days ago, the AP ran a big story about a Department of Homeland Security employee who had been arrested as the result of an Internet sting, after soliciting sex from someone he thought was a 14 year old girl.
AP “suggested ” the suspect was a political appointee,and that his arrest was yet one more embarrassment for a “troubled administration”.
Assorted left wing posters were having a field day with the story, until it was learned the man was not a political appointee, that he was a recent civil service hire, that he had previously worked as a staffer for Time,that he was a loyal Democrat ,and a Kerry / Move On supporter.
The AP did not bother to report any of that. They had already pulled what looked very much like a “ smear and run” attack.
Maybe it’s just me, but when I see similar incidents on an almost daily basis – (example: If a Bush administration member introduces a program, it is usually headlined as So-and-So defends new program-even when the accompanying story shows no one actually attacking the proposal ) – it’s clear to me the Associated Press has definitely moved away from the notion of impartial news-gathering.
I can’t help but wonder if AP stands for “Alarmingly Partisan.”
This correction was obscurely placed in the April 7, 2006 edition of The New York Times:
An article on Feb. 9 about the military's recruitment of Hispanics referred incompletely to the belief of some critics that Hispanics in the Iraq war and blacks in the Vietnam War accounted for a disproportionate number of casualties. Statistics do not support the belief. Hispanics, who are about 14 percent of the population, accounted for about 11 percent of the military deaths in Iraq through Dec. 3, 2005. About 12.5 percent of the military dead in Vietnam were African-Americans, who made up about 13. 5 percent of the general population during the war years. The error was pointed out in an e-mail in February; the correction was delayed for research after a lapse at The Times.
This chiropractor reaches back in time to cure your pain
A chiropractor who claims he can treat anyone by reaching back in time to when an injury occurred has attracted the attention of state regulators. The Ohio State Chiropractic Board, in a notice of hearing, has accused James Burda of Athens of being "unable to practice chiropractic according to acceptable and prevailing standards of care due to mental illness, specifically, Delusional Disorder, Grandiose Type." Burda denied that he is mentally ill. He said he possesses a skill he discovered by accident while driving six years ago. me to cure your pain.
Opinion Journal, April 7, 2006
"Academic Lies About Killing Apostates," by Robert Spencer, FrontPageMagazine, April 6, 2006 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21943
The Abdul Rahman case in Afghanistan has given rise to a spate of articles in the Western press, assuring Westerners that Muslims do not actually kill or want to kill apostates. While these may be reassuring to non-Muslims, many of them have been downright misleading about the real status of the death penalty for apostasy in the Islamic world. One of the most egregious of these came this week from M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor of Law at DePaul University and President of the International Human Rights Law Institute. He has served at the UN in various capacities, including as Chairman of the Security Council’s Commission to Investigate War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia; Vice-Chairman of the General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court; and as Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan.
Yet all these credentials don’t amount to accuracy. In "Leaving Islam is not a capital crime" in the Chicago Tribune, Bassiouni purveys a series of half-truths and distortions about apostasy in Islam that are -- at best -- misleading. He begins by asserting: “A Muslim's conversion to Christianity is not a crime punishable by death under Islamic law, contrary to the claims in the case of Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan.”
This is a sweeping characterization that goes much farther than most statements that have been made by Islamic moderates in the last week or so. While others have asserted that apostasy should not be a capital crime in Islamic law, they have at least acknowledged that many Islamic authorities believe that it should. Bassiouni, on the other hand, states flatly -- in defiance of the clear teaching of every school of Islamic jurisprudence -- that apostasy is not a capital crime under Islamic law.
It is hard even to take seriously an analysis that begins with such an obvious falsehood. It gets even worse when Bassiouni continues: “While there is long-established doctrine that apostasy is punishable by death, that has also long been questioned by Islamic criminal justice scholars, including this writer.” Now we are already entangled in a contradiction. I'm glad that Islamic criminal justice scholars are questioning this doctrine. But that does not mean that the doctrine doesn't exist, as Bassiouni asserted in his first sentence.
Continued in article
"Debunking the Newest – and Oldest – Jewish Conspiracy: A Reply to the Mearsheimer-Walt 'Working Paper'," by Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School, April 2006 --- http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/research/working_papers/dershowitzreply.pdf
The professors make the most basic of all logical fallacies – they confuse correlation with causation. Listen to the following passage: By February 2003, a Washington Post headline summarized the situation: “Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mideast Policy.” The main reason for this switch is the Lobby.147 The upshot of their naked conclusory assertion is that Ariel Sharon duped President Bush into overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Mearsheimer and Walt never consider the more likely explanation: that Bush and Sharon shared the same worldview and vision for the Middle East. This is not academic writing. There is no weighing of evidence. Mearsheimer and Walt simply chose the most insidious explanation – which also happened to be the least plausible explanation – and dismissed all other possibilities without even an acknowledgement that other interpretations are possible. No wonder Mearsheimer’s colleague critiqued the research as poor “monocausal social science.”
. . .
It is not only the words – false and unbalanced as they are – that invoke old stereotypes and canards. It is the "music" as well – the tone, pitch, and feel of the article – that has caused such outrage from academics and concerned citizens from all across the political and religious spectrum (with the exception of the hard right and hard left). What would motivate two recognized academics to issue a compilation of previously made assertions that they must know will be used by overt anti-Semites to argue that Jews have too much influence, that will give an academic imprimatur to crass bigotry, and that will place all Jews in government and the media under suspicion of disloyalty to America? Imagine if two professors compiled as many negative statements, based on shoddy research and questionable sources, about African-Americans causing all the problems in America, and presented that compilation as evidence that African-Americans behave in a manner contrary to the best interest of the United States. No matter how many footnotes there were, who would fail to recognize such a project as destructive?
I wonder what the authors believed they would accomplish by recycling such misinformation about Jewish "blood kinship," by raising discredited and false connections between Jonathan Pollard and the Soviet Union,154 by saying that the “Zionist” army was larger and better equipped than the Arab armies that tried to destroy it in 1948, and by repeating so many other easily refutable distortions? Why pay so much attention to Jewish congressional staffers? Is it so that Congresspeople will stop hiring Jews or demand loyalty tests of them? I simply do not understand, what is the motive?
And so I repeat my challenges to Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. I challenge them to tell us which arguments are new and have not previously been made on hate sites and in anti-Israel screeds.155 What new evidence has been gathered? Why are there so many factual errors, all cutting against Israel? Why didn’t they present important counterfacts or address any counterarguments?
Walt and Mearsheimer repeatedly claim that they have written their paper, at least in part, in order to stimulate dialogue concerning the influence of the Lobby. They claim that it is the pro-Israel side that seeks to suppress public discussion: “[The Lobby] does not want an open debate on issues involving Israel, because an open debate might cause Americans to question the level of support they currently provide.”156 Yet the pro-Israel side has risen to the Walt-Mearsheimer challenge and has participated in the marketplace of ideas, only to be greeted by silence from the authors, who have generally refused to defend their views. I have personally offered Walt and Mearsheimer an opportunity to debate the issues raised in their paper, but to date they have not done so.157 My invitation to debate remains open. I challenge Mearsheimer and Walt to look me in the eye and tell me that because I am a proud Jew and a critical supporter of Israel, I am disloyal to my country.
Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard. His latest book is Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways (Norton, 2006).
Poems showing the absurdities of English spelling --- http://www.spellingsociety.org/news/media/poems.php
April 12, 2006 reply from Eric Press [email@example.com]
Though you're well informed, it's impossible, of course, to know everything. I see you've stumbled upon a quaint movement that mostly trades on ignorance--spelling reform. Apparently, the popularity of such stuff indicates it's not to easy to learn why spelling is apparently so arcane. Actually, it is fun and enlightening to learn why. Listen to this guy:
In his history of the English language CD, Professor Lerer explains how phenomena such as vowel shifting, word encounters at different periods, conflict between North and South England, and the impact of Normans, Germans, and Vikings, give us our crazy-quilt spelling. He also teaches a bit on pronouncing words as originally spoken, so that their spelling makes sense.
Thus, e.g., there is no poem about "knight" if you understand that once, the word was pronounced "ken-ich-te." The above CD has dozens of entertaining hours of instruction about where English comes from. Perhaps in your retirement you'd have time to listen and learn.
Dynamic synchronous spreadsheet programming
April 17, 2006 message from Apicw@aol.com
I am a french teacher in electrical engineering, and I worked in computer science for a long time. I developed a new subject called Dynamic synchronous spreadsheet programming : shortly, I first build a two phase clock (just like on a processor board), then simple objects called generators actuated by the clock (a shift register, a timer, a generator of integers), and then more complex objects (a generator of prime numbers, a digital filter IIR or FIR, the carwash station or queuing network, a systolic algorithm) by interconnecting simple objects. I wrote a tutorial (english language) at the URL : http://members.aol.com/apicw/mw2/sprdsh.htm
In case you are not interested, please forward this message to someone interested in spreadsheet programming and/or parallel or distributed programs.
Sincerely, André Pic firstname.lastname@example.org
"Recommended Reading (on Internet Governance)," by Keith Huang, The Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2006; Page R2 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114297256826704402.html?mod=todays_us_the_journal_report
Internet governance has become an increasingly contentious issue, not only in regards to who should manage it, but also the limitations that some countries have placed on access.
For example, the Chinese government actively restricts access to forbidden sites and content -- a barrier that has been dubbed "The Great Firewall of China."
In contrast, the U.S. State Department has created a new "Global Internet Freedom Task Force" designed to help technology companies handle problems with censorship in countries that restrict Internet use.
Hans Klein, an associate professor of public policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has studied and written extensively on Internet governance and is an active member in various organizations that aim to foster the growth of the Internet and determine who should legally govern activity on the Web.Here, Mr. Klein comments on a selection of what he considers among the best books and online resources about Internet governance.
"This is the site of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). I sometimes call ICANN 'the WTO of the Internet' because it coordinates world Internet resources the way the World Trade Organization coordinates trade. The site is packed with information, but it can be dry."
• The Internet Governance Forum, www.intgovforum.org
"The Internet Governance Forum will host international discussions of public policies for the Internet. This is its official site, and it will undoubtedly grow in importance as we approach the first IGF meeting in October 2006."
• ICANNwatch.org, icannwatch.org
"A lively site for news and sometimes biting commentary on ICANN. It also contains lots of archival documents and articles."
• Internet Governance Project, www.intgovforum.org
"A joint project of researchers from Syracuse University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Wissenschaftzentrum Berlin [Social Science Research Center Berlin], this site offers expert policy analysis on current issues. Full disclosure: I am one of the partners of this project."
• UN Working Group on Internet Governance, wgig.org
"This official site is for a U.N. working group that did important work last summer, but it remains a treasure trove of materials."
• World Summit on the Information Society, www.itu.int/wsis
"The World Summit on the Information Society was the site of last fall's showdown between the U.S. and the rest of the world over ICANN, wherein the U.S. won the right to approve new domain-name extensions and agreed to create an international forum on various Internet issues. The site hosts the 'Tunis Commitment' document that preserved ICANN's operation under U.S. authority."
• Heinrich Boell Foundation WSIS Site, www.worldsummit2005.de/en/nav/14.htm
"This was the main European site for tracking issues of Internet governance. It offers abundant material, in both English and German."
• The Register, theregister.co.uk
"This online trade journal, whose slogan is 'Biting the hand that feeds IT,' regularly offers thoughtful analysis of governance issues."
Books• "Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace," By Milton L. Mueller
"This is a detailed history of the Internet governance debate by a professor of information studies at Syracuse University one of the leading intellectual-activists in the field."
• "Borders in Cyberspace: Information Policy and the Global Information Infrastructure," Edited by Brian Kahin and Charles Nesson
"Although it is a bit dated, the essays in this volume offer a good legal overview of the issues of internationalization and cyberspace. Especially interesting is the lead article by David Johnson and David Post, 'The Rise of Law on the Global Network.'"
• "Global Public Policy: Governing Without Government," By Wolfgang H. Reinicke
"Reinicke's book is not about the Internet per se, but it explains a great deal about global governance in general. It offers a powerful perspective for thinking about Internet governance."
• "Global Media Governance: A Beginner's Guide," By Sean O'Siochru and Bruce Girard With Amy Mahan
"This elegantly brief volume surveys the major global governance institutions: WTO, WIPO [World Intellectual Property Organization], UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization], ITU [International Telecommunications Union], and ICANN."
Bob Jensen's Technology Glossary is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245gloss.htm
Forwarded by Aaron Konstam
Enclosed is my '97 Tax Return and payment. Please take note of the attached USA Today article describing the Pentagon's paying $171.50 for hammers and NASA paying $600.00 for a toilet seat It also states HUD paid $22.00 for a 1.5 inch Phillips Head Screw.
Please find enclosed four (4) toilet seats (value $2400) and six (6) hammers (value $1029)
This brings my total payment to $3429.00. Please note the over_payment of $22.00 and apply it to the Presidential Election Fund option. Might I suggest you send the above fund a 1.5 inch screw!
It's been a pleasure paying my taxes this year in this way, and I look forward to paying again next year. I just saw an article on the cost of Pentagon screwdrivers.
I Getscrewed Everyear
Not so bright things found on resumes --- http://www.rinkworks.com/said/resume.shtml
"I am very detail-oreinted."
"I have a bachelorette degree in computers."
"Graduated in the top 66% of my class."
"I worked as a Corporate Lesion."
"Served as assistant sore manager."
"Married, eight children. Prefer frequent travel."
"Objective: To have my skills and ethics challenged on a daily basis."
"Special skills: Thyping."
"Special skills: Experienced with numerous office machines and can make great lattes."
"I can play well with others."
"I have exhaustive experience in manufacturing."
"Special skills: I've got a Ph.D. in human feelings."
"My contributions on product launches were based on dreams that I had."
"I eat computers for lunch."
"I have used lots of software appilcations."
"Objection: To utilize my skills in sales."
"Experience: Watered, groomed, and fed the family dog for years."
"Reason for leaving last job: Pushed aside so the vice president's girlfriend could steal my job."
"Previous experience: Self-employed -- a fiasco."
"I am a pit bull when it comes to analysis."
"I am the king of accounts payable reconciliation."
"Work history: Bum. Abandoned belongings and led nomadic lifestyle."
"I like slipping and sliding around behind the counter and controlling the temperature of the food."
"Reason for leaving last job: The owner gave new meaning to the word 'paranoia.' I prefer to elaborate privately."
"Reason for leaving last job: Bounty hunting was outlaw in my state."
"My ruthlessness terrorized the competition and can sometimes offend."
"I love dancing and throwing parties."
"I am quick at typing, about 25 words per minute."
"I am a rabid typist."
"Skills: Operated Pitney Bones machine."
"Special Skills: Speak English."
"Strengths: Ability to meet deadlines while maintaining composer."
"Education: B.A. in Loberal Arts."
"Work Experience: Dealing with customers' conflicts that arouse."
"Education: College, August 1880 - May 1984."
"Experience with: LBM-compatible computers."
"Fortunately because of stress, worked in the cardiac intensive-care ward."
"Typing Speed: 756 wpm."
"Objectives: 10-year goal: Total obliteration of sales and federal income taxes and tax laws."