I recently sent out an "Appeal" for accounting educators, researchers, and practitioners to actively support what I call The Accounting Review (TAR) Diversity Initiative as initiated by American Accounting Association President Judy Rayburn --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/395wpTAR/Web/TAR.htm




Tidbits on June 1, 2006
Bob Jensen
at Trinity University 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

From NPR
Video Captures Underwater 'Brimstone and Fire' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5428421 
Book TV (CSPAN interviews with authors) ---  http://www.booktv.org 
From Jim Mahar's Blog on May 24, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/ 

Thomas Friedman on Google Video

Long time followers of FinanceProfessor.com know I am a big fan of Thomas Friedman. From his early books to The World is Flat and most of his NY Times articles, I think I have read everything he has written. I may not agree with everything, but at least I have read it (or more aptly ristened to it) and agreed with MOST of it.

Thus, I was excited when I found the following from
Google Video (one of my new favorite sites).

From Charlie Rose (actually with guest host John Doerr):
On energy and much more. He also talks about entrepreneurship, a gas tax, geo-green, globalization (a little), and even a bit on social responsibility and incentives. And much more. (BTW the link says 99 cents, but I think that is to buy, I watched it for free) (from May 22, 2006):

For all Google Video on Thomas Friedman check out
this search.
 

 


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

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

From NPR
Galileo's Letters Inspire a Musical Tribute --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5420134

From NPR
A Musical Conversation with T Bone Burnett --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5418424

From 'New False Identity' :  * 'Palestine, Texas' * 'Hollywood Mecca of the Movies'
From 'Twenty Twenty':  * 'Fatally Beautiful' * 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' * 'Driving Wheel'

From NPR
The Wiggles Rock! (Just Ask Your Kids) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5414895

From NPR
Enrico Rava, Italy's Gift to Jazz (featuring the trumpet) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5403156

From NPR
Arias, Updated: The East Village Opera Company --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5405416

From NPR
Dixie Chicks Return, 'Taking the Long Way' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5424238

From NPR
A Chance Encounter with the Blues (Joe Holmes) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5425762

 


Photographs and Art

Annie Oakley --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/oakley/index.html

Higgins Armory Museum --- http://www.higgins.org/

African Crisis --- http://www.africancrisis.org/default2.asp

From the Scout Report on May 12, 2006

Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale --- http://ctd.bates.edu/~mwilliams/crypto/main.html 

The Bates College Museum of Art has put together a Web exhibition that explores the "fertile margins of the history of science and museums, taxonomy, myth, creativity and discovery." Cryptozoology, the search for proof of mythical creatures such as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, is itself a marginalized science. The featured show has entries for the 15 artists, which are in various stages of development - there is at least one work by each of them, and additional biographical and contextual information for most. Works submitted include installations, such as Mark Dion's Museum of Cryptozoology Director's Office, as well as sculpture, paintings, and prints. There is also a film series associated with the exhibition, that will screen a 1972 film, "The Legend of Boggy Creek", a docu-drama that looks for proof of the existence of a monster in an Arkansas swamp, and the 2002 Discovery Channel production, "The End of Extinction: Cloning the Tasmanian Tiger".

 


 


Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm


From NPR
Revisiting Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl' at 50 (with audio) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5419033

Round the Red Lamp by  Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here

Across the Plains by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) --- Click Here

Billy Budd by  Herman Melville (1819-1891) --- Click Here

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain (1835-1910) --- Click Here

Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here




Education is not to reform students or amuse them or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight, if possible.
Robert M. Hutchins as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-05-30-06.htm

Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college.
Lillian Smith as quoted by Mark Shapiro at http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-05-18-06.htm 

Time Warner is charging more to folks who can least afford to pay. Geneva Hurst, 82, is upset because she had to pay a dollar extra when she paid her cable bill in person at a Texas City service center. She doesn't have a checking account or credit card and cashes her Social Security check to buy food and pay bills. Geneva said, "I goes there. I don't have a checking account but I pays it in cash. And I walk in there one day and I paid it in cash and she says when I paid--'Oh, you know, we have to charge a dollar extra.' . . . It's a sad thing. It's so sad, 'cause poor people, we just barely getting by with what we're already paying."
"Customers who pay their bill in person charged extra fee," ABC13.com, May 22, 2006 ---
http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=action13&id=4195646

That sound you just heard might have been the first piece of the sky hitting the roof.
Doug Lederman, "Ever-Expanding False Claims Act,"  Inside Higher Ed, May 27, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/26/false 

So to appease them (environmentalists), the pipeline was put on stilts where it crossed the caribou graze lands. What happened? The caribou decided to gather at the spot where the pipeline came down to the ground. Seems the caribou liked to lie against the pipeline because the pipe was warm from the oil passing through it.
Roger Hedgecock, May 28, 2006 --- http://rogerhedgecock.com/content/view/177/77/

Louisiana will have nearly its full force of Guard personnel at home preparing for the 2006 hurricane season. “They’re sorting all that out [at the federal level],” Major Ed Bush of the Louisiana National Guard said, according to the Independent News. “There’s no planned rotation for any Louisiana guard brigade at this time.”
AccountingWeb, May 26, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102195




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 

Managing Organizational Knowledge: Theoretical and Methodological Foundations

IKUJIRO NONAKA

PG. #376 & 377 NONAKA 18.1 KNOWLEDGE/TRUTH
Knowledge has been traditionally defined as "justified true belief."  A fundamental issue in various streams of epistemology is how one can justify one's subjective belief as objective "truth."  In other words, the issue is whether human beings can ever achieve any form of knowledge that is independent of their own subjective construction since they are the agents through which knowledge is perceived or experienced (Morgan and Smircich, 1980).  While the ontological position of positivism as the world as concrete structures supports objective knowledge, the phenomenological philosophers see part of the world inherently subjective.

The Cartesian split and power of reasoning supports the view of objective knowledge and truth in positivism.  John Locke, among the others, maintained that human knowledge is an inner mental presentation (or mirror image) of the outside world that can be explained in linguistic signs and mathematics through reasoning.  All things beyond the thought/senses consequently do not exist and/or are irrelevant.  Loosely following this conceptualization, traditional economic and psychological theories are limited to objective knowledge, which can be processed through formal logic and tested empirically.  The advantage of this mono-dimensional notion of knowledge is that it allows scholars further to claim that all genuine human knowledge is contained within the boundaries of science.

In contrast, for phenomenological philosophers knowledge is subjective, context-specific, bodily, relative, and interpretational (Heidegger, 1962; Husserl, 1970, 1977; Merleau-Ponty, 1962).  They rather uniformly claim that the mental and the physical worlds evolve in a dialectic joint advent.  As meanings emerge through experiences, the primacy is paid on subjective tacit knowledge over objective prepositional knowledge.  Practical knowledge is often prioritized over theoretical knowledge (Hayek, 1945; Polanyi, 1952, 1966).  Tacit knowledge, accumulated in dialectic individual-environment interaction, is very difficult to articulate (Polanyi, 1952, 1966).  Husserl (1977) believed in attaining true knowledge through "epoche" or "bracketing," that is, seeing things as they are and grasping them through a kind of direct insight.  Pure phenomenological experience is even claimed to precede cognition (Nishida, 1970).

The identified wide and fundamental ontological and epistemological differences in positivism and phenomenology create methodological challenges.  It can be claimed that the positivist dominance has limited comprehensive context-specific discussions on knowledge in management science.  This problem was already noticed by Edith Penrose (1959) who argued that the relative negligence was the result of the difficulties involved in taking knowledge into account.  This is because positivist epistemology is based on the assumption that lived experiences can be linguistically carved up and conventionally portioned into preexistent conceptual categories for the purposes of systematic analysis and casual attribution.  In effect, positivism-based social science tries to freeze-frame the dynamic and living social world into a preexisting static structure.

In contrast to the context-free positivist mirror image of human mind and the environment, the knowledge-creating theory is rooted on the belief that knowledge inherently includes human values and ideals.  The knowledge creation process cannot be captured solely as a normative causal model because human values and ideals are subjective and the concept of truth depends on values, ideals, and contexts.

However, the knowledge-creating theory does not view knowledge as solely subjective.  It treats knowledge creation as a continuous process in which subjective tacit knowledge and objective explicit knowledge are converted into each other (Nonaka, 1991, 1994; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995).  The boundaries between explicit and tacit knowledge are porous as all knowledge and action is rooted in the tacit component (Tsoukas, 1996).  Tacit knowledge, in turn, is built partly on the existing explicit knowledge since tacit knowledge is acquired through experiences and observations in the physical world.

Viewing the knowledge-creating process as the conversion process between tacit and explicit knowledge means that it is viewed as the social process of validating truth (Nonaka, 1994; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995).  Contemporary philosophers claim that group validation produces knowledge that is not private and subjective (Rorty, 1979).  As long as the knowledge stays tacit and subjective, it can be acquired only through direct sensory experience, and cannot go beyond one's own values, ideals, and contexts.  In such a case, it is hard to create new knowledge or achieve universality of knowledge.  Through the knowledge conversion process, called SECI process, a personal subjective knowledge is validated socially and synthesized with others' knowledge so that knowledge keeps expanding (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995).

Unlike positivism, the knowledge-creating theory does not treat knowledge as something absolute and infallible.  The truth can be claimed to be incomplete as any current state of knowledge is fallible and influenced by historical factors such as ideologies, values, and interests of collectives.  The knowledge-creating theory views knowledge and truth as the result of a permanent and unfinished questioning of the present.  While absolute truth may not be achieved, the knowledge validation leads to ever more true and fewer false consequences, increasing plausibility.  The pragmatic solution is to accept collectively "objectified" knowledge as the "truth" because it works in a certain time and context.  Hence, knowledge-creating theory defines knowledge as a dynamic process of justifying personal belief towards the "truth."

PG. #390 NONAKA
The chapter argues that building the theory of knowledge creation needs to an epistemological and ontological discussion, instead of just relying on a positivist approach, which has been the implicit paradigm of social science.  The positivist rationality has become identified with analytical thinking that focuses on generating and testing hypotheses through formal logic.  While providing a clear guideline for theory building and empirical examinations, it poses problems for the investigation of complex and dynamic social phenomena, such as knowledge creation.  In positivist-based research, knowledge is still often treated as an exogenous variable or distraction against linear economic rationale.  The relative lack of alternative conceptualization has meant that management science has slowly been detached from the surrounding societal reality.  The understanding of social systems cannot be based entirely on natural scientific facts.




Martha Launches an Old Biscuits Mixer

Last week, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. -- which already has magazines, a radio show, a television show and a line of furnishings featuring the eponymous founder and domestic expert -- said it would enter the social network space by launching a site in late 2007. It will be similar to MySpace.com, the social network site hugely popular with teens and young adults, but aimed at adult women, the company said.
"Martha's New Invitation: Your Space, Or Hers? by Frank Ahrens, The Washington Post, May 28, 2006; Page F06 --- Click Here

The company said . . . okay, that's it. I can't hold a straight face any longer in this story. The mind reels with the comic possibilities:

· It'll be just like MySpace. That is, if your space happens to be an 8-by-10 jail cell in a federal pen.

· Why do I have a feeling it will be a lot more like Martha's Space than MySpace?

· Further, how will she stand all of those people in her space, clicking on things, looking at things, getting things out of place? You people ever hear of viruses? Stop touching everything!

· And then there is this: 2007? I bet a couple smart guys in a garage could set up a decent-looking social network site in about a month. By the time Stewart hangs her site, social networks could be so 2006. We may be into anti-social networks by then, which is what I'm looking forward to, as in, KeepOutOfMySpace.com. (Note to self: Register that, quick.)

MySpace, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. last year, has some 70 million users and is growing. The idea is a proven one. Talking to investors last week, Susan Lyne -- the chief executive of Stewart's company (and one of the ABC executives who got fired after green-lighting "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost") -- said Stewart's social network site will be aimed at the 25-to-45-year-old female set, and will let them swap such things as pictures, recipes and scrapbook-making tips.

Continued in article


And now, the Latino Jihad
Four years ago, The Economist ran a cover story on the winner of the Brazilian election, the socialist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. It was an event of great hemispherical significance. Hence the headline: "The Meaning Of Lula." The following week, a Canadian reader, Asif Niazi, wrote to the magazine: "Sir, The meaning of Lula‚ in Urdu, is penis."  . . . Frank Gaffney's new book War Footing is sub-titled Ten Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World and includes, as one might expect, suggestions for the home front, the Middle East, the transnational agencies. But it's some of the other chapters that give you pause when it comes to the bigger picture - for example, he urges Washington to "Counteract the reemergence of totalitarianism in Latin America." That doesn't sound like the fellows Condi and Colin were cooing over in Quebec. Yet, as Gaffney writes, "Many Latin American countries are imploding rather than developing. The region's most influential leaders are thugs. It is a magnet for Islamist terrorists and a breeding ground for hostile political movements. The key leader is Chavez, the billionaire dictator of Venezuela, who has declared a Latino jihad against the United States."
Mark Steyn, "And now, the Latino Jihad," Jerusalem Post, May 28, 2006 --- Click Here


Professor Churchill found guilty of "misconduct and plagiarism"

Last week the University of Colorado panel investigating Ward Churchill found that the controversial professor of Native American studies committed serious acts of research misconduct and plagiarism. It’s now up to the university to decide on an appropriate punishment for the tenured professor, who could be fired or suspended without pay. I don’t know enough about the situation to support or challenge the panel’s unanimous findings, or to suggest what the university should do about them, but one aspect of the committee’s 125-page report signals a chilling warning to academics: If you want to stay below the radar, keep your politics and your scholarship to yourself.
Dennis Barron, "Churchill Fallout: It’s About Academic Freedom," Inside Higher Ed, May 26, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/05/26/baron

"Churchill Fallout: There Are More Like Him," by Anne D. Neal, Inside Higher Ed, May 26, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/05/26/neal

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni’s report “How Many Ward Churchills?” has caused an uproar in some corners of the Internet. Criticism has centered on two issues: method and message. The report’s principal critics, Swarthmore history professor Timothy Burke and The Myth of Political Correctness author John K. Wilson, have attacked it, respectively, as a “casual, lazy, cherrypicking survey of whatever materials the author(s) were able to access on the Web,” and as part of “a vast new right-wing witch hunt on college campuses.” Both critiques share confused and erroneous assumptions about the report’s message and about ACTA’s right to criticize academic culture.

rke complains that the report’s criticisms are ill-founded: They “see what they want to see,” they “ignore context or specificity,” and they “avoid REAL argument of the kind that scholars routinely engage in,” he grumbles. “The report talks about the need to guarantee that students have unrestrained rights to the free exchange of ideas in the classroom. Seriously, unless you bother to get off your ass and stop reading catalogues online, you have no idea what happens in classrooms.”

Setting aside Burke’s contemptuous tone, let’s examine the gaps in his reasoning. Burke’s initial objections are throw-away examples of faulty logic. The first, in which he accuses ACTA of post ergo propter hoc thinking, is itself an example of that logical fallacy: Burke sees ACTA seeing what ACTA wants to see because Burke wants to see ACTA that way. But the course descriptions ACTA cites are hardly unique or isolated. There are hundreds of similarly tendentious descriptions published by institutions across the country. They were chosen for their utter typicality, not their uniqueness.

Burke’s second objection is remarkably solipsistic — context and specificity are whatever he defines them to be. ACTA quotes course descriptions verbatim, working from exactly what students (and interested parents) read to select a class. The reason? Course descriptions are designed to stand alone — if they are all a prospective student needs to know about a class, then they are also all tuition-paying parents, taxpayers, and concerned citizens need in order to form a preliminary judgment.

This objection is part of Burke’s larger criticism of the report’s reliance on course descriptions. But his claim that these documents — the main resource students use to decide whether or not to register for a class — do not tell us anything about what happens in the classes in question is illogical at best, disingenuous at worst. If true, this charge would mean either that professors routinely engage in false advertising or that the process by which students choose courses is a charade that fools no one but students themselves.

In so arguing, Burke has chosen to stretch a point ACTA freely concedes — that course descriptions are neither courses nor perfect windows into the curriculum — in order to avoid ACTA’s more fundamental argument about why course descriptions matter. They matter because they are professors’ own public representations of what happens in their classrooms. That so many professors describe their pedagogical aims in ideologically loaded ways raises entirely legitimate questions about accountability and balance.

Of course, ACTA has never claimed to know exactly what is happening in classrooms, and does not assume authority to determine whether a class is pedagogically sound. All ACTA’s report does is to urge college and university presidents, deans, and faculty to examine the issue themselves. ACTA has already outlined ways campus leaders can review departments and programs while still being fair, respectful, and sensitive to academic freedom and academic autonomy. Our 2005 report, “Intellectual Diversity: Time for Action,” was praised for its sensitivity to academic freedom and self-governance. Burke’s hasty and intemperate critique studiously evades these points.

Burke’s other criticism, that ACTA avoids “REAL” argument because it does not argue in the same manner as scholars do, is self-servingly dismissive: ACTA’s argument need not be considered, Burke implies, because ACTA has not made its argument as Burke thinks arguments should be made. But the truth is that ACTA’s report is expressly not an academic paper. It is a report designed to initiate dialogue about the college curriculum by outlining some of the dominant terms and patterns displayed in course offerings across the country. To condemn it, as Burke has, for failing to maintain scholarly standards of data analysis is like damning an apple for not being an orange.

Burke thus badly misunderstands ACTA’s report. He both thinks ACTA isn’t qualified to judge the academic curriculum and complains that ACTA has not framed a satisfactory program of reform. But ACTA stresses that academics should address the problem of self-regulation, and that they should do so now — in the face of mounting legislative interest in controlling the curriculum. ACTA’s report is as friendly to institutional self-governance and academic freedom as it is possible for a watchdog organization to be.

Now for Mr. Wilson.

Writing at Inside Higher Ed, John K. Wilson treats ACTA’s report as Exhibit A in “a vast new right-wing witch hunt on college campuses”: “The far right is already pursuing leftist academics for expressing their views in the classroom,” Wilson writes. “ACTA threatens that academic freedom will be revoked from colleges unless they start censoring their professors and ban [courses that mention social justice, sex, or race].” But Wilson’s scaremongering misrepresents the report to an audience who, he seems to expect, will not check his sources.

Nowhere does ACTA advocate censoring professors or banning courses. The report urges academic officials to address — voluntarily, and in institutionally appropriate ways — professors’ obligation to respect students’ academic freedom to learn about controversial issues. The report recommends institutional self-study, hiring administrators committed to intellectual diversity, careful vetting of job candidates’ work, review of personnel practices, post-tenure review, and — most importantly — fostering robust debate on campus.

Here are the study’s concluding paragraphs, which follow directly from the sentence Wilson quoted to argue that ACTA is endorsing censorship:

Ultimately, greater accountability means more responsible decision-making on the part of academic administrators, more judicious hiring on the part of departments, and more balanced, genuinely tolerant teaching on the part of faculties. It also means acknowledging—openly and unapologetically—that education and advocacy are not one and the same, that the invaluable work of opening minds and honing critical thinking skills cannot be done when professors are more interested in seeing their own beliefs put into political practice.Finally, it means defending the academic freedom of even the most militantly radical academics. Our aim should not be to fire the Ward Churchills for their views, but to insist that they do their job—regardless of their ideological commitments. We must insist that, in their classrooms, they teach fairly, fostering an open and robust exchange of ideas and refusing to succumb to a proselytizing or otherwise biased pedagogy. Only then will their ideas be subject to debate; only then will they and their students learn to defend their positions in the marketplace of ideas. Only then will other views challenge, complicate, and even displace theirs. Only then can we hope to create a truly diverse academy.

Far from calling for censorship or the banning of classes, ACTA urges transparency about what professors teach; far from trying to silence politically engaged professors, ACTA defends academic freedom while at the same time noting that 1) academic freedom does not mean freedom from criticism or freedom from accountability; and 2) students have academic freedom too. Also worth noting: When the Ward Churchill scandal broke in 2005, ACTA defended Churchill from those who sought to fire him for his speech.

Wilson mistrusts definitions of research misconduct that include egregiously misleading citations — and no wonder. His own argument about ACTA depends on the willful manipulation of sources.

Neither Burke nor Wilson reads ACTA’s report objectively, choosing instead to see it as proof of that worn professorial complaint, that no one outside the ivory tower understands academics. But what neither grasps is that it is not the public’s job to intuit the special worth of professors. Insofar as Burke and Wilson represent an academic consensus that outsiders are not qualified to judge — or scrutinize, or question — higher education, they signal the depth of the complacent insularity ACTA’s report takes to task.

If ACTA’s report has a take-home message for academics, it is that they urgently need to justify to a skeptical public why their work deserves special protections. Only then, ironically, will they have a chance of preserving the independence they cherish. With transparency comes respect; with accountability comes autonomy. That’s the paradoxical point of “How Many Ward Churchills?” — that the more open one is about one’s practices, the more willing one is to allow one’s work to be scrutinized, the more responsive one is to legitimate criticisms, the more likely one is to be allowed to carry on without undue interference. What a pity that Burke and Wilson could not take off their ideological blinders long enough to see that.

Anne D. Neal is president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

Many comments accompany the above article --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/05/26/neal

 

Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HypocrisyChurchill.htm

Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisy.htm


"The Mathematical Structure of Terrorism," PhysOrg, May 22, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news67524254.html


Software for faculty and departmental performance evaluation and management

May 30, 2006 message from Ed Scribner [escribne@NMSU.EDU]

A couple of months ago I asked for any experiences with systems that collect faculty activity and productivity data for multiple reporting needs (AACSB, local performance evaluation, etc.). I said I'd get back to the list with a summary of private responses.

No one reported any significant direct experience, but many AECMers provided names and e-mail addresses of [primarily] associate deans who had researched products from Sedona and Digital Measures. Since my associate dean was leading the charge, I just passed those addresses on to her.

We ended up selecting Digital Measures mainly because of our local faculty input, the gist of which was that it had a more professional "feel." My recollection is that the risk of data loss with either system is acceptable and that the university "owns" the data. I understand that a grad student is entering our data from the past five years to get us started.

Ed Scribner
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM, USA

Jensen Comment
The Digital Measures homepage is at http://www.digitalmeasures.com/

Over 100 universities use Digital Measures' customized solutions to connect administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Take a look at a few of the schools and learn more about Digital Measures.

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


Article by an unhappy former academic

"The Apparently Bearable Unhappiness of Academe," by Rebecca Steinitz, Inside Higher Ed, March 28, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/workplace/2006/03/28/steinitz

And here we reach the heart of the matter. We academics are deeply invested in our own significance. We were the smartest ones in the class. We believe the life of the mind is sacred and we are living it. Our ideas are our selves. When we come up against biased tenure committees or uncongenial locations or grinding teaching loads, we convince ourselves that this is the price we must pay for the greatness we are meant to achieve, and we suck it up, complaining all the way.

I do know happy academics of my generation. Some are wildly successful, living out the myth. Others have found niches in which they can happily do work that satisfies them, giving up the myth. But too many of us hang onto the myth and let go of satisfaction.

When people say I’m a brave role model, I have to laugh. I don’t feel very brave. Mainly I feel shell-shocked. Giving up the security of tenure and remaking one’s life at 41 is hard, so hard that sometimes I ask myself why I’m doing it. Is it an act of hubris, based on the continuing belief that I am great and only need to find the arena in which my greatness will be appreciated, or is it an act of submission, acquiescing to my own ordinariness? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that no longer an academic, I’m a lot happier.

Continued in article


The entire 2006 current ethics flap about climbers not rendering aid to a supposedly dying climber on Mt. Everest was preceded by a great 1983 real world case called the Parable of the Sadhu from the Harvard Business School --- Click Here

The Parable of the Sadhu was and still is widely used in ethics courses, especially regarding issues of situational ethics and group versus individual ethics. The author Bowen H. McCoy was the managing director of the investment banking firm Morgan Stanley & Co. After returning to New York, McCoy was conscious stricken about leaving a dying religious man during an Everest climb. The climbers at that time shed some clothes to keep the dying man warm. But climbers from various nations (U.S., Switzerland, and Japan) actually moved on and did not help the man down to shelter because they all felt that he was going to die in any case. Also, the weather was such that the climbers could not complete their climbing goal if they delayed to carry the dying man to shelter.

McCoy wrote the following after returning to New York:

We do not know if the sadhu lived or died. For many of the following days and evenings Stephen and I discussed and debated our behavior toward the sadhu. Stephen is a committed Quaker with deep moral vision. He said, "I feel that what happened with the Sadhu is a good example of the breakdown between the individual ethic and the corporate ethic. No one person was willing to assume ultimate responsibility for the sadhu. Each was willing to do his bit just so long as it was not too inconvenient. When it got to be a bother everyone just passed the buck to someone else and took off . . . "

. . .

Despite my arguments, I feel and continue to feel guilt about the sadhu. I had literally walked through a classic moral dilemma without fully thinking through the consequences. My excuses for my actions include a high adrenaline flow, super-ordinate goal, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity --- factors in the usual corporate situation, especially when one is under stress.

Real moral dilemmas are ambiguous and many of us hike right through them, unaware that they exist. When, usually after the fact, someone makes an issue of them, we tend to resent his or her bringing it up. Often, when the full import of what we have done (or not done) falls on us, we dig into a defensive position from which it is very difficult to emerge. In rare circumstances we may contemplate what we have done from inside a prison.

Had we mountaineers have been free of physical and mental stress caused by the effort and the high altitude, we might have treated the sadhu differently. Yet isn't stress the real test of personal and corporate values? The instant decisions executives make under pressure reveal the most about personal and corporate character.

Among the many questions that occur to me when pondering my experience are:  What are the practical limits of moral imagination and vision? Is there a collective or institutional ethic beyond the ethics of the individual? At what level of effor or commitment can one discharge one's ethical responsibilities?

Continued in this 1983 Harvard Business School Case.

Jensen Comment
I might add that this 1983 case was written before the breakdown in ethics during the 1990s high tech bubble in which investment banking, executive compensation, corporate governance, and corporate ethics in general sometimes become rotten to the core --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

********************

You can read more about the 2006 repeat of the dilemma at
"Everest pioneer appalled that climber was left to die," by Steve McMorran, Seattle Times, May 25, 2006 --- http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003017177_everest25.html

May 28, 2006 reply from Andrew Priest [a.priest@ECU.EDU.AU]

Hi Bob

And you can contrast this action and the 2006 with the help given to Lincoln Hall again this year (events still going on). Lincoln was left on the mountain, assumed dead. He was not and is lower down the mountain and doing okay. Details at < http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=3315and more details at
< http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=3311> .

Compassion and caring wins out every time in my view over selfishness.

Andrew


Flashback from The Wall Street Journal, May 30, 1997
When "MWD" opens Monday on the Big Board, investors will get their first chance to buy shares of the newly combined Wall Street firm of Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co. The new firm's stock symbol will represent each of the brands of the combined firm.


Jim Mahar's Picks for Finance Book Summer Reading
(I prefer the last three listings)

From Jim Mahar's blog on May 17, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

Finance Reading List

I was asked for a "summer reading list" for finance classes so here you go: ten (non technical) finance/economics books I would recommend.

1. The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. It has been talked about everywhere (even the SBU graduation speaker mentioned it by name) but it is definitely worth the read! Probably my favorite of the bunch. Read what I wrote about it previously.

2. The Wisdom of Crowds by Jame Surowiecki. Great. Tells you more about market efficiency (and the lack thereof) than several classes could.

3. Random Walk Down Wall Street-by Burton Malkiel. A must read classic!

4. Against the Gods--Peter Bernstein. I remember my first reaction to this book was--Wow! It makes risk management not only interesting but fun!

5. The End of Poverty by Jeff Sachs. It is about ending extreme poverty. I really liked it! An important read that covers strategies to fight poverty from China to India to Africa. Also has an interesting economic history of the world. Introduction is by Bono.

6. Heard on the Street: Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Job Interviews--even if you are not interviewing, this one is interesting and somewhat fun! EVERY business school should have this one!

7. Barbarians at the Gate--Yeah, it's outdated. Yeah, it reads like a novel. Yeah, I like it and still use some of the examples.

8. Freakonomics--by Steven Levitt and Stepham Dubner. It is an interesting and fast read. Levitt is always a worthwhile read.

9. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I hate to admit it but I think about this book during almost every sporting event I watch. It may not be the best written book on the list (and I have to agree with the Amazon review, he does come across as arrogant) but it is still definitely a VERY worthwhile read.

10. Worry Free Investing by Zvi Bodie. Basic idea: invest in bonds and options. Might be a tad text-bookish, but such a great idea. I hope more people do it!

Well there you have it. Ten Finance books to read this summer ;) No doubt I have forgotten many others as well, but here are a few to whet your appetite.

Miss Chechnya Beauty Contest (for real) --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1639633/posts
(Something you will not see in Iran)


Ancient Finance from Harvard Business School

From Jim Mahar's blog on May 17, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

 
The HBS Working Knowledge site has an interesting article by William Goetzmann on financial instruments back in the time of the Romans and Greeks. For instance on checks:

...bankers' checks written in Greek on papyri appeared in ancient Egypt as far back as 250 B.C. Papyri preserved well in Egypt thanks to its arid climate, but Goetzmann thinks it's safe to say such checks changed hands throughout the Mediterranean world . . . So the whole tradition of bank checks predates the current era and has its roots at least in Hellenistic Greek times," he says.

Bob Jensen's threads on ancient history of accounting --- Click Here


Birthright:  The easiest way to make your whole family U.S. citizens
In 1970, six percent of all births in the United States were to illegal aliens. In 2002, that figure was 23 percent. In 1994, 36 percent of the births paid for by Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid, were to illegals. That figure has doubtless increased in the intervening 12 years as the rate of illegal immigration has risen. Any child born in the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. He or she is instantly eligible for panoply of social services, food stamps and other forms of aid. When the child reaches the age of 21, he can petition to have his parents and siblings declared permanent residents.
Mona Charin, ""Anchors" away," Townhall, May 19, 2006 --- http://townhall.com/opinion/columns/monacharen/2006/05/19/197982.html


"SOME COMPANIES ARE SMARTER," by Jay Hammond, AccountingWeb Newsletter, May 18, 2006

Some companies, like some people, are smarter than others. Really. Don't believe me? A business professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, has developed a method for measuring an organization's IQ based on the effectiveness at innovation.

"In essence, firms fall into one of two camps," says Anne Marie Knott, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and management at the Olin School of Business. "Smart firms" or "high IQ firms" produce more bang for their R&D buck and therefore spend money to do their own research and development. Less smart firms rely on other firms rather than spending their own money on R&D.

"Interestingly, firms that aren't smart with their own R&D seem to be better able to use the innovations of rivals," Knott says. "This result stands in contrast to a very popular theory in the management literature known as absorptive capacity. That theory holds that a firm's ability to absorb what other firms are doing is a function of how much R&D the acquiring firms actually does itself. The notion is that you can't understand cutting edge research unless you actually do some yourself.

"But in practice, that's not what appears to be happening," Knott continues. "Instead, high IQ firms, those that are most productive with their own R&D spending, actually have a lower ability to absorb the work of others. In other words, while they are 'high IQ' with respect to innovating, they are 'low IQ' with respect to imitating. Conversely, firms that are 'low IQ' with respect to innovating tend to be 'high IQ' in respect to imitating."

The practical application of this finding is that we now know why firms choose particular strategies, either innovative or imitative. This knowledge can in turn help firms and investors make wiser decisions regarding R&D investment.

Written by Jay Hammond, Managing Editor, AccountingWEB.com editor@accountingweb.com 


Larry Summers' Harvard Presidency: "It isn't Pretty"
Boston Magazine’s June issue offers an in-depth, behind the scenes look at the last days of Larry Summers’s presidency at Harvard University. It isn’t pretty.
Inside Higher Ed, May 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/31/qt


Harvard announces plan to create engineering school as
Stanford and others join push toward interdisciplinary work.

In a significant sign of the growth of interdisciplinary engineering approaches — and of the profile of the discipline of engineering itself — Harvard University is no longer content to allow that other Cambridge institution be the only one with engineering in lights. Harvard this week announced plans for the creation of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Harvard expects to approve the new school by the end of fall. Harvard will add 30 faculty members to the 70 already in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Perhaps most importantly, as Lawrence H. Summers, president of Harvard said in a statement: “It marks our recognition of the profound importance of technology and applied sciences for every aspect of our society.”
David Epstein, "The Technology Mosaic," Inside Higher Ed, May 25, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/25/engineering


National Academy of Engineering --- http://www.nae.edu/


"Ever-Expanding False Claims Act," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, May 27, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/26/false

That sound you just heard might have been the first piece of the sky hitting the roof.

A federal judge in California on Tuesday cleared the way for three former adjunct professors at Chapman University to sue the institution under the False Claims Act, which permits lawsuits by an individual who believes he or she has identified fraud committed against the federal government, and who sues hoping to be joined by the U.S. Justice Department. (The plaintiff then shares in any financial penalties, which can include trebled damages.) In siding with those who sued Chapman, Judge James V. Selna not only cited the Seventh Circuit’s decision in United States of America ex. rel. Jeffrey E. Main v. Oakland City University as a key precedent, but expanded on it in significant ways. Most notably, the judge concludes that a college can run afoul of the False Claims Act by violating a requirement imposed not directly by the federal government but by an accrediting group — a position the Justice Department endorsed.

“This is exactly what we were worried about with the Main case, and in fact it broadens it and takes it a step further,” said Mark L. Pelesh, executive vice president at Corinthian Colleges and a longtime higher education lawyer. “Now making false claims to an accreditor somehow translates, through this conflationary approach, into making false claims for money to the federal government.”

This is complicated legal terrain, so let’s back up. First, last October’s decision by the Seventh Circuit was perceived as breaking new ground because it concluded that a college or other recipient of federal funds could be held accountable under the False Claims Act for breaking a promise or commitment it makes to the government at one point in time or at one stage of a federal application process, even if it does not make a similar promise at the point at which it formally requests or receives the funds. Specifically, the court ruled that a former admissions director could sue Oakland City for allegedly paying recruiters based on enrollment because the initial, “phase one” application that it and other colleges make to the Education Department for certification to eventually award federal financial aid funds bars it from doing that, even though no money passes hands at that point.

. . .

But lawyers who tend to sue colleges in cases like this say that the lawyers’ “sky is falling rhetoric” overstates the threat to the institutions. Daniel Bartley, who represents the three instructors in the Chapman case as well as those in the pending Phoenix case, says college lawyers are wrong to say that the new line of False Claims cases allow colleges to be sued if they have violated any of the hundreds of regulations that the government — or, under the Chapman ruling, an accreditor — imposes on them. “This applies only where there is a material breach of a condition of payment, and it’s flagrant,” Bartley said. “The only colleges that face trouble are those that are not obeying the law and the material accreditation standards that underlie their getting loans and grants.”

Exactly what laws, regulations and standards are considered “material,” of course, will be one of the many issues that could keep the courts (and colleges’ lawyers) busy for months and years to come, if this line of False Claims Act cases continues to gather steam.

Continued in article


Why the U.S. Wins Wars and Will Win the War on Terror
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Larry Schweikart, the co-author of A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror. He is a professor of history at the University of Dayton and has written more than 20 books on national defense, business, and financial history. He is the author of the new book, America's Victories: Why the U.S. Wins Wars and Will Win the War on Terror.

Jamie Glazov, "America's Victories," FrontPage Magazine, May 25, 2006 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=22620


In his new book, The Great Deluge, Douglas Brinkley describes a New Orleans ripe for disaster as Hurricane Katrina approached. The city was crippled by poverty, corruption and the lack of a workable disaster plan.
"'The Great Deluge': A Katrina Post-Mortem:  Listen to this story...,"  by Farai Chideya, NPR, May 22, 2006 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5421017 


Chinese-language version of Wikipedia
China's biggest Internet search site, Baidu.com, has launched a Chinese-language encyclopedia inspired by the cooperative reference site Wikipedia, which the communist government bars China's Web surfers from seeing. The Chinese service, which debuted in April, carries entries written by users, but warns that it will delete content about sex, terrorism and attacks on the communist government. Government censors blocked access last year to Wikipedia, whose registered users have posted more than 1.1 million entries, apparently due to concern about its references to Tibet, Taiwan and other topics. The emergence of Baidu's encyclopedia reflects efforts by Chinese entrepreneurs to take advantage of conditions created by the government's efforts to simultaneously promote and control Internet use.
"Baidu, the most popular search engine in China, has launched a Chinese-language version of Wikipedia," MIT's Technology Review, May 18, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16896


Euston.... We Have a Problem
Tomorrow night at a church in London, there will be a gathering of several hundred people to celebrate the launch of “The Euston Manifesto” — a short document in which one sector of the British and American left declares itself to be in favor of pluralist and secular democracy, and against blowing people up for the glory of Allah . . . As I was musing over all of this, a friend pointed out a conspicuous absence from the list of signatories to the manifesto: Todd Gitlin, a professor of sociology and journalism at Columbia University. His book The Intellectuals and the Flag, published earlier this year by Columbia University Press, defends the idea of left-wing American patriotism with a frank interest “in the necessary task of defeating the jihadist enemy.” This would seem to put him in the Eustonian camp, yet he did not endorse the manifesto. Why not? I contacted him by e-mail to ask. “I recognize a shoddy piece of intellectual patchwork when I see one,” Gitlin responded.
Scott McLemee, "Euston.... We Have a Problem," Inside Higher Ed, May 24, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/05/24/mclemee


Florida State Funds May Not Reimburse travel expenses to terrorist and communist states, including
include Cuba, Syria, Iran, North Korea and the Sudan (nothing is said about China)

State Rep. David Rivera, a Republican who hails from a district composed largely of Cuban Americans, has spent the past several months garnering legislative support for a bill that he believed would do all those things. He not only ushered the bill through passage in the House, but he also persuaded Sen. Mike Haridopolos, also a Republican, to take similar actions in the Senate. Ultimately, the bill passed both chambers and made its way to Governor Jeb Bush’s desk on Tuesday. The governor — against the advice of academic groups — has said that he has every intention of signing the legislation. The new legislation would, in part, prohibit “the use of state or nonstate funds made available to state universities to implement, organize, direct, coordinate, or administer activities related to or involving travel to a terrorist state.” Countries deemed terrorist states by the U.S. include Cuba, Syria, Iran, North Korea and the Sudan. The law will go into effect on July 1.Rivera said Tuesday that many Cuban Americans he’s spoken with are pleased, especially after recently seeing a professor and a counselor affiliated with Florida International University indicted on charges of spying for the Cuban government.
Rob Capriccioso, "Florida Isolationism," Inside Higher Ed, May 25, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/25/florida


Ten Emerging Technologies
MIT's Technology Review --- http://www.technologyreview.com/special/emerging/index.aspx

Comparative Interactomics
By creating maps of the body’s complex molecular interactions, Trey Ideker is providing new ways to find drugs.

Nanomedicine
James Baker designs nanoparticles to guide drugs directly into cancer cells, which could lead to far safer treatments.

Epigenetics
Alexander Olek has developed tests to detect cancer early by measuring its subtle DNA changes.

Cognitive Radio
To avoid future wireless traffic jams, Heather “Haitao” Zheng is finding ways to exploit unused radio spectrum.

Nuclear Reprogramming
Hoping to resolve the embryonic-stem-cell debate, Markus Grompe envisions a more ethical way to derive the cells.

Tensor Imaging
Kelvin Lim is using a new brain-imaging method to understand schizophrenia.

Universal Authentication
Leading the development of a privacy-protecting online ID system, Scott Cantor is hoping for a safer Internet.

Nanobiomechanics
Measuring the tiny forces acting on cells, Subra Suresh believes, could produce fresh understanding of diseases.


WebPhoto:  Microsoft introduces a new picture file compression technology

According to BetaNews, a Microsoft spokesperson claims that WMPhoto will offer the same or better image quality as JPEG at half the file size. That's twice the compression (12:1 versus the standard 6:1 of JPEG) with the same or better quality.
Monkey Bites, May 26, 2006 --- http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/

Click here for more information
http://www.betanews.com/article/Microsoft_Unveils_JPEG_Alternative/1148594312


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

Latest Headlines on May 25, 2006

Latest Headlines on May 28, 2006


"Researchers produce images of AIDS virus that may shape vaccine," PhysOrg, May 29, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news68085377.html


"Vaccine to Cut Risk of Shingles in Older People Is Approved," by Garniner Harris, The New York Times, May 27, 2006 --- Click Here
The vaccine, called Zostavax, is roughly equivalent to 14 doses of the pediatric chickenpox vaccine.

Also see http://www.webmd.com/content/article/122/114846


Scientists back autism link to measles vaccine

"US scientists back autism link to MMR," by Beezy Marsh and Sally Beck, London Telegraph, May 28, 2006 --- Click Here


Lesbian teens five times more likely to attempt suicide
Lesbian teens are nearly five times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual girls, according to a survey presented at a national conference of public health experts in Vancouver Monday. The survey found 38 per cent of lesbian girls and 30.4 per cent of bisexual girls said they had attempted suicide in the previous year, compared with 8.2 per cent of heterosexual girls. The results were from a 2003 survey of 30,000 students between grades 7 and 12 done by the B.C.-based McCreary Centre Society, which asked students if they had attempted suicide in the previous year.
Glenn Bohn, "Survey bares lesbian teens-suicide link:  Numbers suggest lesbian teens five times more likely to attempt killing themselves," Canada.com, May 30, 2006 --- Click Here


Heroin doesn't hook people; rather, people hook heroin
"Poppycock," by Theodore DAlrymple, The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2006; Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114852365443262675.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

In 1822, Thomas De Quincey published a short book, "The Confessions of an English Opium Eater." The nature of addiction to opiates has been misunderstood ever since.

De Quincey took opiates in the form of laudanum, which was tincture of opium in alcohol. He claimed that special philosophical insights and emotional states were available to opium-eaters, as they were then called, that were not available to abstainers; but he also claimed that the effort to stop taking opium involved a titanic struggle of almost superhuman misery. Thus, those who wanted to know the heights had also to plumb the depths.

This romantic nonsense has been accepted wholesale by doctors and litterateurs for nearly two centuries. It has given rise to an orthodoxy about opiate addiction, including heroin addiction, that the general public likewise takes for granted: To wit, a person takes a little of a drug, and is hooked; the drug renders him incapable of work, but since withdrawal from the drug is such a terrible experience, and since the drug is expensive, the addict is virtually forced into criminal activity to fund his habit. He cannot abandon the habit except under medical supervision, often by means of a substitute drug.

In each and every particular, this picture is not only mistaken, but obviously mistaken. It actually takes some considerable effort to addict oneself to opiates: The average heroin addict has been taking it for a year before he develops an addiction. Like many people who are able to take opiates intermittently, De Quincey took opium every week for several years before becoming habituated to it. William Burroughs, who lied about many things, admitted truthfully that you may take heroin many times, and for quite a long period, before becoming addicted.

Heroin doesn't hook people; rather, people hook heroin. It is quite untrue that withdrawal from heroin or other opiates is a serious business, so serious that it would justify or at least mitigate the commission of crimes such as mugging. Withdrawal effects from opiates are trivial, medically speaking (unlike those from alcohol, barbiturates or even, on occasion, benzodiazepines such as valium), and experiment demonstrates that they are largely, though not entirely, psychological in origin. Lurid descriptions in books and depictions in films exaggerate them à la De Quincey (and also Coleridge, who was a chronic self-dramatizer).

Continued in article


Congratulations Karen

"Karen Pincus Earns Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award," AccountingWeb, May 24, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102187

“The future of our profession is built on the quality and the number of the young people who join us,” Leslie Murphy, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Chair explained while presenting the Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award to Karen V. Pincus, Chair of the Department of Accounting at the University of Arkansas. “That, in turn, depends on whether quality people decide to study accounting and how well they are trained in their collegiate and post-collegiate education. The Institute annually selects a member of the academic community who best serves these truths to receive the award.”

Pincus has received numerous recognitions for teaching excellence, curriculum development and service to the accounting academic and practicing professions. Most notably, she received the American Accounting Association Innovation in Accounting Education Award for designing and implementing a totally new curriculum approach to accounting education. In Arkansas, she is also the S. Robson Walton Professor of Accounting, as well as President of Beta Alpha Psi, the student professional association.

Pincus is currently a member of the AICPA’s Nominations Committee. From 2002 to 2005 she was an elected member-at-large of the AICPA governing committee. She is also past Chair of the Pre-Certification Education Executive Committee and a past member of the virtual Grassroots Panel and Accounting Careers Subcommittee.

She has also served as President of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy, the association of accredited graduate accounting programs, and Vice President of the American Accounting Association, in addition to serving on many committees for both organizations. She is the author of numerous professional articles and research papers.

Also see http://accounting.smartpros.com/x53101.xml

Jensen Comment
Karen was instrumental in developing the Walton School core curriculum that has no traditional core courses such as traditional principle of accounting courses --- http://waltoncollege.uark.edu/


Fast Food Not Only Hooks People; It Hooks Their Incomes
They found that for the initial 67-cent average cost of upsizing a fast-food meal — and the subsequent 36-gram weight gain — the total cost for increased energy needs, gasoline and medical care would be between $4.06 and $7.72 for men and $3.10 and $4.53 for women, depending on their body type. The bottom line: Although upsizing a meal brings you 73 percent more calories for only an additional 17 percent in price, the hidden financial costs drive the price of that meal up between 191 and 123 percent.
"Super-sizing your food takes hidden toll on pocketbook," PhysOrg, May 24, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news67704755.html


National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education --- http://science-education.nih.gov/ 


At last many credit card users are listening to us
The credit-card industry has a problem: Although Americans are deeper in debt than ever, they are paying off bigger portions of their monthly credit-card bills. For card issuers, which profit by collecting interest on unpaid balances, that's bad news. In the past, when interest rates crept up, as they are doing now, fewer cardholders could afford to pay down balances. "Normally at this point in the economic cycle, you start to see payment rates decline. But that's not happening," says Richard Srednicki, who runs the credit-card business at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., the nation's second-largest card issuer. "It is a tougher business if payment rates continue to stay up and consumers continue to pay off more. It's something we've got to understand and work at."
Robin Sidel, "As Users Juggle Their Debts, Revenues to Banks Fall; The Home-Equity Effect Ms. Bode Seeks a Fresh Start," The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2006; Page A1---
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114852256641562637.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Bob Jensen's threads on the dirty secrets of credit card companies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#CreditCounseling


"Gas Rewards: The New Frequent Flier Mile?" AccountingWeb, May 21, 2006 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102160

For years, credit card issuers have tried to lure consumers into using their card by offering frequent flier miles. The recent dramatic rise in gas prices, however, has led some of these companies to promote gas rewards and rebates instead. The question is, how does anyone decide which card, including rewards, is best for them?

Credit cards offering gas rebates should not be confused with the gas credit cards issued by the gas companies and that can be used only to purchase gas at their stations. Cards offering gas rebates are regular credit cards from MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express or whomever, that offer rebates and rewards for the purchases made on the card each month.

“Gas, like other rewards, can just be a gimmick to get you to sign up for the card,” Scott Bilker, founder of Debtsmart.com, told SmartMoney. The News Journal (Wilmington, Del.) reports that some cards offer initial “teaser” rates as high as 10 percent to attract new customers, however most rebates range from 3 to 5 percent once the “honeymoon” is over.

It’s not just the rates that vary, either. Gas rebates come in two types, those that are tied to specific stations, like Mobil, Chevron, etc. and those that can be earned by purchasing gas at any station. When it comes to reducing the amount spent each month on fuel, the non-station specific card is probably the wiser choice, as it allows the buyer to shop around and purchase gas at the lowest available price. Paying the full amount off every month will also help reduce the overall amount spent on gas because the refund won’t be eaten up in interest.

“Make the credit card companies pay you,” Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com, told the News Journal. “If you use these cards in a savvy manner, they can be a great way to get a break on gas prices.”

CNNMoney.com goes even further, stating that gas rebates are a good value only if the credit score of the cardholder is 720 or higher and the gas tank needs filling at least twice a month. Even if you fall into this category, there are a few things to know about gas rewards cards before rushing out and signing up. Besides knowing whether a card is tied to a specific station, consumers will want to find out:

 

“Typically, to get the full rebate, which is generally 5 percent, you have to go to a standalone stations,” Arnold explained to Kiplingers, further describing a standalone station as “a place whose primary function is selling gas.”

Consumers can gather information to help them make a wise decision about which, if any, gas reward card they should apply for. Several sites compare credit card details including:
 

If the cardholder carries a balance on their card, it is unlikely they will see significant savings from rebates on a credit card. Most debt advisors agree such consumers are better off choosing a credit card with the lowest possible rate and working to pay down the debt owed as swiftly as possible. However, it doesn’t make sense to acquire more debt in an effort to save a few dollars at the pump. Using a credit card or gas station card can help consumers track purchases for tax purposes.

“The big question behind any reward is what’s the cost?” Howard Dvorkin, founder of Consolidated Credit Services Inc. and author of Credit Hell: How to Dig Out of Debt, told Florida’s Sun-Sentinel. “Everything has a limitation. Understand what you are getting into and don’t take it by face value.”

Bob Jensen's threads on dirty secrets of credit card companies are at
 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO


Credit Counseling Frauds

"IRS Cracks Down on Credit Counsel Services," SmartPros, May 16, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x53013.xml

The Internal Revenue Service has canceled the tax-exempt status for some of the nation's largest educational credit counseling services after audits revealed they exist mainly to prey on debt-ridden customers, Commissioner Mark Everson said Monday.

"These organizations have not been operating for the public good and don't deserve tax-exempt status," Everson said. "They have poisoned an entire sector of the charitable community."

A two-year investigation of 41 credit counseling agencies resulted in the revocation, proposed revocation or other termination of their tax-exempt status, he announced.

Everson said that many of those groups, representing more than 40 percent of the revenue in a $1 billion industry, offered little, if any, counseling or education as required of groups with tax-exempt status.

Other such agencies will be required to report on their activities. The IRS is sending compliance inquiries to each of the other 740 known tax-exempt credit counseling agencies not already under audit.

"Depending on the responses received, additional audits may be undertaken," the agency said.

Everson said groups looking to make a profit would secure tax exempt status and make cold phone calls to people in desperate financial straights. They would use scare tactics to sell the people "cookie-cutter" debt management plans that often were not geared toward reducing the consumers' debt and often were too costly to pay. Administrative fees, he said were sometimes collected by third parties handling the paperwork for a profit.

Everson recommended that consumers pick one of the 150 consumer counseling organizations approved by groups like the Better Business Bureau. But bad actors may exist even among those, because guidelines for approval differs between agencies, he said.

Everson added that the agency is following up the revocations with some criminal investigations, but would not detail them.

The IRS also is issuing new guidance on how to comply with federal law to legitimate organizations which educate people on how to maintain good credit.

The agency in recent years has tightened up its review of new applications by credit counseling firms for tax-exempt status. Since 2003, the IRS has reviewed 100 such applications and approved only three.

The actions come consumers and the counseling industry are having to learn to live under a new and more restrictive federal bankruptcy law.

Congress last year gave the financial counseling sector a new role in the nation's bankruptcy system by making it harder for people to wipe out debt and requiring consumers to consult with an approved credit counselor before they seek the protection of a bankruptcy court.

 Bob Jensen's threads on consumer frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm



Flashback:  The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1960
The nation's petroleum producers, badly shaken by sliding prices and disappointing demand, are taking drastic measures to pull out of a deepening industry slump. They're cutting payrolls and turning increasingly to automation to pare costs.
 

May 22, 2006 message from lucy@booksprice.com

Dear Bob,

My name is Lucy. I would like to inform you regarding a new web site that I hope you will find interesting for you and for the 'Bob Jensen's Links to Electronic Literature' page, and to ask you to add our link to the other book related links on the 'Online Book and Table of Contents Finders' section.

http://www.booksprice.com  is a free innovative service of finding the best price on a purchase of several books together. This service is more useful than the standard services which perform one book comparison at a time: acquiring several books together may reduce the total price of shipping the books, as usually the shipping rate for the second book is lower than the cost for the first book.

I will really appreciate adding a link to our site. You can use this html to create the link to our site:

I hope that you find the service interesting. If you have any queries or you'd like more information, kindly contact me.

Sincerely,

Lucy Orbach Webmaster lucy@booksprice.com 
www.booksprice.com 

Jensen Comment
A better place to add Lucy's message is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#Books


"'Black' features can sway in favor of death penalty, according to study," by Lisa Trei, Stanford Report, May 3, 2006 --- http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2006/may3/deathworthy-050306.html 

Male murderers with stereotypically "black-looking" features are more than twice as likely to get the death sentence than lighter-skinned African American defendants found guilty of killing a white person, Stanford researchers have found. The relationship between physical appearance and the death sentence disappears, however, when both murderers and their victims are black.

"Race clearly matters in criminal justice in ways in which people may or may not be consciously aware," said Jennifer Eberhardt, associate professor of psychology. "When black defendants are accused of killing whites, perhaps jurors use the degree to which these defendants appear stereotypically black as a proxy for criminality, and then punish accordingly."

Eberhardt's findings are published in the May issue of the journal Psychological Science. "Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes" is co-authored with Paul G. Davies, a former Stanford postdoctoral scholar who is now an assistant professor at the University of California-Los Angeles; former Stanford graduate student Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns, now an assistant professor at Yale University; and Cornell University law Professor Sheri Lynn Johnson, an expert on the death penalty.

Continued in article


Forwarded on May 22, 2006 by Carl Hubbard

Accounting in the Peninsular War


MESSAGE FROM THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON TO THE BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE IN LONDON -- written from Central Spain, August 1812

Gentlemen,

Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by H.M. ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's Government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as the the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty's Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both:

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London or perchance.

2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant

Wellington


Question
What types of diversity just is not accepted by many liberal college faculty?

"Faculty's Chilly Welcome for Ex-Pentagon Official," by Jason DeParle, The New York Times, May 25, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/25/education/25georgetown.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Douglas J. Feith's table at the Georgetown University faculty club is shaping up as a lonely one.

The move to a teaching position at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown by Mr. Feith, a former Pentagon official, set off a faculty kerfuffle, with 72 professors, administrators and graduate students signing a letter of protest, some going as far as to accuse him of war crimes.

Some critics complain about the process. (He was hired without a faculty vote.)

Some complain about the war in Iraq. (Mr. Feith has been accused of promoting it with skewed intelligence.)

All say the open protest is unusual at a place that embraces former officials as part of its panache. A former secretary of state, Madeleine K. Albright; a former national security adviser, Anthony Lake; and a former director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, have joined the faculty without event.

But Mr. Feith, a former under secretary of defense for policy planning and analysis, is another story.

"I'm not going to shake hands with the guy if he's introduced to me," said Mark N. Lance, a philosophy professor who teaches nonviolence in the program on Justice and Peace and who organized the protest. "And if he asks why, I'll say because in my view you're a war criminal and you have no place on this campus."

The dispute can be read as — take your pick — an explosion of fury at a disastrous war, an illustration of the pettiness of academic politics or evidence of Mr. Feith's talent for attracting invective.

Gen. Tommy R. Franks of the Army, the top commander of the Iraq invasion, once referred to him as "the stupidest guy on the face of the earth."

In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Feith said he welcomed debate "in a proper, civil and rigorous way." But he called the accusations that he had politicized intelligence, advocated torture and attacked the Geneva Conventions as "false," "flatly false" and "outrageous."

A graduate of Harvard and the Georgetown Law School, Mr. Feith served in the Reagan administration and joined other neoconservatives in 1998 in calling on President Bill Clinton to overthrow President Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

Joining the Bush administration in 2001, he set up two Defense Department units that have drawn scrutiny. One was the Office of Special Plans, which took the lead in the Pentagon's preparation for a postwar Iraq, planning that has been widely faulted.

Continued in article


Running Out of Russians
In his state of the union address recently, Vladimir Putin divided his attention between his country's strategic forces and its alarming demographics. The former is a familiar matter of Western commentary and concern, but the latter is not; and this was the first time a Russian president had raised the topic on such an occasion. While Mr. Putin confronted this critical issue, however, he failed to provide a compelling set of solutions. The key problem he addressed was the decline in the Russian population, which has dropped from 148.7 million in 1992 to 143.5 million in 2003. The U.N. estimates that it could fall to 101.5 million by 2050. Earlier contractions of Russia's population were brought about by the massive losses associated with World War I, the civil war, famine, the repression and purges of the 1930s, and World War II. The current demographic decline is the result of a declining birth rate and a high mortality rate.
Padma Desai, "Running Out of Russians," The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2006; Page A13 --- Click Here

"Russia becoming a Muslim state!" by Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, Asian Tribune, May 22, 2006 --- http://www.asiantribune.com/index.php?q=node/211

Imagine Russia in 2050! According to Paul Goble, a specialist on ethnic minorities in the Russian Federation has predicted that within the next several decades, Russia will become a Muslim majority state. There is another bad news with fast decline in country’s population. This has already become a headache for Russian politicians and policy makers. President Vladimir Putin has called already for Russian women to have more children, because demographers predict that Russia’s population will fall from 143 million to 100 million by 2050. This situation has alarmed Russians as well Western leaders, more so because analysts estimate that Muslims will comprise the majority group in Russia’s population in few decades.

The Muslim population growth rate since 1989 is between 40 and 50 percent, depending on ethnic groups. Today Russia has about 8,000 mosques while 15 years there were only 300 mosques. According to statistics, by the end of 2015, number of mosques in Russia will cross 25,000. These statistics are frightening for many ethnic Russians who associate Islam with the Kremlin’s war against insurgents in Chechnya. Russia is shrinking. Alarmed by the situation, Putin has offered incentives to women who will have more children.

He said that the government would offer 1,500 roubles for the first child, and 3,000 roubles for the second child. He further said that the government will offer financial incentives to those couples who will adopt Russian orphans. But, response to Vladimir Putin’s call is almost zero. Main reason behind fast decline in non-Muslim population in Russia is, particularly larger section of young females in the country is not in favor of having even any child. If someone has, that is also limited within one only. On the other hand, almost all the Muslim couples have at least three children. The number generally ranges between 3-5.

Talking to Blitz, a leader of Moscow’s most populated area said, if the growth of Muslim population continues in the present trend, with the serious decline in population of other religious communities, Russian might ultimately end up as a Muslim state in next two decades. He suggested massive propaganda in favor of having more children in country’s mass media as well increase in the amount of incentives. He also pointed to the fact that, in most cases, such incentives might again go to the Muslim mothers, who generally have more than one child. This is not the question of incentives; it is a matter of realization for the entire non-Muslim Russian population. They should understand that by limited number of children, they are gradually pushing the fate of the country towards an Islamic federation.

Commenting on the issue, a former diplomat said, after the fall of Soviet Union, unfortunately, the entire Russian nation has lost their nationalist spirit, because of poverty and other socio-political adversities. Now they fear in having more than a single child in the family as the cost of living has become extremely expensive, while in most cases, female members of the families are rather forced to work in various fields to bring extra money for their families.

Continued in article


"Cannes sex films question role of porn, Internet," Rueters, May 24, 2006 --- Click Here

Directors at the Cannes film festival this year say they are using radical images of sex to challenge mainstream pornography and its widespread availability on the Internet.

A series of filmmakers say Internet porn alone now shapes many young people's perception of sex and, in many cases, replaces the experience of real physical relationships.

"There are kids who have seen pornography from a very early age, before they are ever gonna have sex," said Larry Clark, one of the directors of the eccentric "Destricted" -- a compilation of explicit sex-centered stories.

In his own short film, Clark interviews young men about their sexual preferences and then allows one candidate to appear with his favorite porn-star.

"When I was a kid noone told me nothing. Now you can go onto the Internet and find out anything ... (Young people) are looking at pornography and they are thinking that this is the way to have sex," Clark said, noting his film was educational.

U.S. director John Cameron Mitchell, who has brought "Shortbus" to Cannes, agrees that young people are increasingly using the Internet to replace real sex.

In Shortbus, he has collected an ensemble of non-professional actors who engage in real on-screen sex and masturbation in an attempt to de-mystify the subject. He does not consider his film to be pornography.

He said that the United States had a puritanical view of sex which turned it into an issue in young people's minds. In one particularly provocative scene in his film, three gay men engage in a sex session while singing "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Continued in article


You will probably be getting a phone tax refund

May 26, 2006 message from Scott Bonacker [aecm@BONACKER.US]

'Antique' Phone Tax Dropped Treasury to Refund $13 Billion Collected on Long-Distance By Albert B. Crenshaw Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, May 26, 2006; D02

The Treasury Department, conceding that it has no right to continue collecting a 108-year-old tax on long-distance telephone calls, announced yesterday that it will drop its legal battle for the tax and instead refund some $13 billion to callers who have paid the tax in the past three years.

The 3 percent tax, enacted in 1898 to help pay for the Spanish-American War and revised in 1965, has been declared illegal by five federal courts of appeal during the past year as the result of challenges brought by companies forced to pay it.

Long-distance carriers have been required to bill customers for the tax and remit it to the government.

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow yesterday called it "an outdated, antiquated tax that has survived a century beyond its original purpose, and by now should have been ancient history."

The tax, which was originally considered a luxury tax because only wealthy people had telephones at the time, will go out of existence on July 31.

Read the rest at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052500 

 


"My Last Senior Year," by Felice Prager, The Irascible Professor, May 189, 2006 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-05-18-06.htm

With two sons, each attending public school for 13 years, added to my own 13 years as a public school student and a decade plus as a public school teacher, I proudly announce that I am finally done! The light at the end of the tunnel is so near that I need sunglasses. As my younger son joins the rest of his graduating senior class next month, tossing his cap high into the air, I may bring a cap of my own so I can toss mine as well. "No more pencils. No more books. No more teachers' dirty looks!" "School's out for summer! School's out forever!"

It has been a long sentence. I tried to serve it diligently, holding up my end of the bargain at each intersection where students, teachers, and parents collide. At times, I played the role of student; at other times, I played the role of teacher; and on this final leg of my journey, I have uncomfortably played the role of parent. Each role was different and difficult, especially this last stretch since I have been watching from the wings while having a very difficult time keeping my trap shut. I am exhausted. I have so much to say and so many people to say it to, but it does not matter anymore. I am ready to head off into the Pacific to retire with my husband on a desert island where I never have to see another school cafeteria, another auditorium, another classroom, or another front office again. I no longer have to be politically correct in fear that someone will take it out on my kid. True, we cannot actually head off into the sunset until our younger son completes his studies at one of our state universities. He still needs us here in order to qualify for in-state tuition. However, that is just temporary. The island is out there, and the sails on our sailboat are hoisted and ready for a good strong wind.

. . .

When I was a senior in high school, I could not wait until I was finished. Senior year seemed endless, and I discovered many creative ways to do my work and get good grades by making as few personal appearances in the school building as possible. I was a rebel, but more importantly, I was already mentally in college. I had shopped for college clothes, had a new 8-track player that would be small enough for the dorm, and my boyfriend-of-the-month was a college student. High school was boring. High school guys were immature. In high school, they said they treated us like adults, but they did not. All I wanted was the diploma so I could get on with my life. I did not want to go to my own high school graduation ceremony, but I made a deal with my parents that involved use of my mother's car for the summer if I would wear a cap and gown and take part in what I thought at the time was a silly, meaningless ceremony. At 18 years old, I had an answer for everything, just like the two young men who have lived in my house and have had their own share of answers. I do not remember any of my high school graduation ceremony except I gave my dad a hard time over taking pictures of me, and I was annoyed that I had to get out of my jeans to wear something nice beneath my cap and gown that no one would ever see. I did not go to my prom. I was not into that, and even if I were, I would have been embarrassed asking my college boyfriend-of-the-month to go with me. I do not remember if there were any parties after graduation. If there had been, I did not go because I was already driving my mom's new Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme from New Jersey to my summer job in New Hampshire where I was going to be a counselor at a sleep-away camp for a whopping $800. The whopping $800 was for the entire summer, not per week.

Continued in article


May 18, 2006 message about middle school technology from John L. Hubisz [hubisz@mindspring.com]

I have not looked at this site thoroughly enough to strongly recommend it yet, but what I have seen is very good.

http://www.learningscience.org/index.htm 

I would like to have your thoughts on a part of the site that you have visited (It is huge and free!) Use hubisz@unity.ncsu.edu  rather than sending to everyone on the list.

I will collect your thoughts and report to the listserv or add it to my recommended sites.

Happy hunting!

John Hubisz


Moral of the Story:  In Australia Short Criminals Get Lighter Sentences
There has to be moral hazard here:  Is the Roo Mafia already training short hit men?

"Judge: Man is too short for prison," Yahoo News, May 25, 2006 --- Click Here

A judge said a 5-foot-1 man convicted of sexually assaulting a child was too small to survive in prison, and gave him 10 years of probation instead.

His crimes deserved a long sentence, District Judge Kristine Cecava said, but she worried that Richard W. Thompson, 50, would be especially imperiled by prison dangers.

"You are a sex offender, and you did it to a child," she said.

But, she said, "That doesn't make you a hunter. You do not fit in that category."

Thompson will be electronically monitored the first four months of his probation, and he was told to never be alone with someone under age 18 or date or live with a woman whose children were under 18. Cecava also ordered Thompson to get rid of his pornography.

He faces 30 days of jail each year of his probation unless he follows its conditions closely.

Continued in article


Moral of the Story:  In Massachusetts it pays to live in luxury at taxpayer expense and steal underwear

"Panty raider slips out of prison time: Thief took welfare for $117G," by Laura Crimaldi, Boston Herald, May 25, 2006 --- http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=140730

A brazen lingerie hustler who lived luxuriously for years in an Andover gated community while bilking $117,500 in welfare from taxpayers is still tooling around in a sleek $40,000 Mercedes SUV despite pleading guilty this week to defrauding the government.

“It just ticks me off because we work and we’re still struggling,” said Joyce Sheehan, whose neighbor, Jennifer Stevanovich, 32, escaped jail time Tuesday after admitting to swindling state and federal authorities out of $117,555.11 in housing vouchers, health care, food stamps and cash aid.

 The state Department of Transitional Assistance, who gave Stevanovich $57,790 in cash, food stamps and health care from January 2000 to January 2005, refused yesterday to explain how the mother of three deceived them except to say its investigators closed 6,400 welfare accounts and referred another 2,400 accounts to fraud investigators last year.

    “I think the six perjury convictions speak volumes about her MO,” DTA spokesman Dick Powers said.
    Stevanovich has taken a hard fall, going from a comfortable Andover apartment complex with a pool, tennis courts and clubhouse to living with her mother in a Lawrence duplex where the white paint is chipping, the gate is rusting and the screen door is busted.
    Stevanovich, a hairdresser at Super Cuts in Burlington, was nabbed for welfare fraud after Andover police snagged her performing a panty raid on a Victoria’s Secret shop that cost the business some $14,000 in slinky lingerie.
    She secreted the scants from the shops by using a sack lined with foil that foiled the metal detectors.

    “It’s kind of weird that she’s on Section 8 and on welfare and driving a Mercedes,” said Andover police Detective David Carriere, who brought down Stevanovich in the undies scam with Detective Mike Lane. The silver 2005 Mercedes ML 350 parked in Stevanovich’s driveway yesterday was valued at $39,350, state investigators said.
    Investigators for State Auditor Joe DeNucci found Stevanovich was paying just $113 monthy rent in 2004 while her bank account ballooned to $76,468 that year from cash made selling the stolen lingerie and goods pilfered from other swanks shops on eBay.

Continued in article


From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on May 19, 2006

TITLE: With Special Effects the Star, Hollywood Faces New Reality
REPORTER: Merissa Marr and Kate Kelly
DATE: May 12, 2006
PAGE: A1
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114739949943750995.html 
TOPICS: Accounting, Budgeting, Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis, Managerial Accounting

SUMMARY: Special effects are driving a lot of movies to become box office hits. However, "in the area of special effects, technology can't deliver the kind of efficiencies to Hollywood that it generally provides to other industries...Amid the excitement, studios are beginning to realize that relying on special effects is financially risky. Such big budget films tend to be bonanzas or busts."

QUESTIONS:
1.) The author notes that studios are beginning to realize that films utilizing a lot of special effects might tend to be "bonanzas or busts." In terms of costs, why is this the case? In your answer, refer to the high level of costs associated with special effects work.

2.) Why do special effects teams tend to amass significant costs? In your answer, define the terms "cost management" and "costs of quality" and explain how these cost concepts, that are typically associated with product manufacturing, can be applied to movie production.

3.) Define the term "fixed cost." How does this concept relate to the financial riskiness of movies with significant special effects and resultant high cost? Also include in your answer a discussion of the formula for breaking even under cost-volume-profit analysis.

4.) Define the term "variable cost." Cite some examples of variable costs you expect are incurred by studios such as Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, and others.

5.) Now consider firms such as Industrial Light & Magic, "a company set up by director George Lucas in 1975 to handle the special effects for his 'Star Wars' movies." Based on the discussion in the article, describe what you think are these firms' fixed and variable costs.

6.) What manager do you think is responsible for costs of quality and cost control in producing movies? Suppose you are filling that role. What steps would you undertake to ensure that your hoped-for blockbuster film will have the greatest possible chance of financial success?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

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


The Center of Juvenile and Criminal Justice --- http://www.cjcj.org




"This Course May Make You Uncomfortable," by David E. Harrington, Inside Higher Ed, May 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/05/30/harrington

She says, “He continued to [quiz international students about their understanding of English] in other classes, singling out the international students and making them look inferior to the rest of the class.”

If the student had listened to the quality of her international classmates’ answers to my questions, she would have realized that they were academically superior to the vast majority of their classmates. Indeed, their median grade was 4.0; they all spoke English fluently; and, their essays had fewer grammatical errors than most of their classmates. It seems implausible to me that any rational observer would infer that they were inferior based on my questions about their knowledge of a few English words.

But even Nora looked embarrassed when she “confessed” that she didn’t know what gutters were. She had no reason to be embarrassed, yet she was. Why?

Perhaps, it has to do with the power of gut feelings, which allow people to quickly categorize experiences without having to think too deeply about them. Following them can even save your life in situations where you need to make quick decisions, implying that gut feelings are probably hard-wired into us via evolution. Hence, gut feelings probably can’t easily be turned off, implying that Nora could have been embarrassed by the gutters episode regardless of whether it was justified. And this is a shame — because good class interactions should be full of professors and students going in any number of directions, some of them uncomfortable, without worrying about appearances or comfort levels (or whether some comment is going to make you a poster child for the Academic Bill of Rights).

I was in a gray area with Nora, one that I did not perceive as being gray until I thought about the comments of this student. I feel badly that I might have embarrassed Nora — it was certainly not my intention. Nevertheless, asking Nora whether she knew the word for gutter in Bulgarian was the highlight of the course for me. My intuition screamed at me to ask it and her answer rewarded the impulse — not because I was happy to discover that she didn’t know the word, but because it made me think more deeply about the way in which languages compete with one another for survival. Indeed, many languages face extinction because they are cluttered with words that people no longer find useful. For example, some languages have dozens and dozens of different words for ice, which may not be a selling point in the coming age of global warming.

Nobel laureate Robert Solow argues that the most difficult thing to teach students is how to be creative in economics, followed closely by critical judgment. It is much easier to teach tools, such as demand and supply, than how to use them creatively, or critically. The first step in using economics creatively is to ask interesting questions, ones that naturally arise during genuine conversations sparked by observing differences like those concerning the acquisition of language. While these conversations are crucial in teaching students to be creative, they are also likely to tumble into gray areas and sometimes produce dry holes, two things that make some students uncomfortable.

Another way to be creative in economics is to apply economic reasoning to topics commonly thought to lie outside the realm of economics. Hence, I want my students to learn that there are no boundaries to the usefulness of economic reasoning. I mean NO boundaries, absolutely none. Boundaries smother creativity because they encourage students to turn off their economic reasoning skills whenever they cross them.

Last semester, I described how a San Diego abortion cartel in the late 1940s charged women different prices depending on the quality of their clothing and the characteristics of the person accompanying them, a practice that economists call price discrimination. For example, a young woman who was brought to the clinic by an unrelated, well-dressed Sacramento businessman was charged $2,600 for an abortion. If the woman had come alone, she would have paid something closer to $200. Four students have come to my office or e-mailed me with concerns over the use of examples like this one. For example, one student argued that abortion is too morally charged to be used as fodder for examples, especially ones that are so narrowly drawn.

Crossing the border into conversations about race is especially dangerous, because the border is patrolled by guards searching for insensitive comments. It takes courage and tolerance on the part of both students and professors to have genuine conversations about race. However, no topic is more important to discuss in economics courses given the glaring disparities in economic outcomes between African-Americans and whites. For another course I teach, students are required to read an article about the controversy that erupted when members of one middle-class community proposed naming a “nice street” after Martin Luther King Jr. The proponents wanted to weaken the correlation of his name with poverty and crime, while the opponents feared that naming a street after him would cause their neighborhood to decay. I admire the proposal yet empathize with the opponents. Since streets bearing his name are more commonly found in poor neighborhoods, (even unprejudiced) people might rationally “steer clear” of the area if they name a street after Martin Luther King Jr., a phenomenon economists call statistical discrimination.

Teaching students to use economics creatively requires having conversations that are not smothered by fears of saying something wrong or of stepping over some boundary beyond which economic reasoning is prohibited. But genuine conversations require that students have done enough of the reading to participate with intelligence — and checking on that may also make students uncomfortable.

A student last fall accused me in his or her course evaluation of picking on students, saying that “if it was obvious a student was unprepared or had not done the assigned reading [Professor Harrington] would call them out on it.” It’s true. I admit it. Failing to read the assigned articles imposes spillover costs on other students that can be corrected by imposing penalties on unprepared students. For example, one student could not answer straightforward questions about the readings in two consecutive classes, prompting me to ask him whether he had ever heard of the expression, “three strikes and you’re out.” At the beginning of the third class, he joined the conversation, easily answering my initial questions and making a few comments of his own.


Smart blonde joke forwarded by Paula

A Blonde walks into a bank in New York City and ask for the loan officer. She says she's going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan, so the blonde hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce. The car is parked on the street in front of the bank, she has the title and everything checks out. The bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan.

The bank's president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the blonde for using a $250,000 Rolls as collateral against a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then proceeds to drive the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parks it there.

Two weeks later, the blonde returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, "Miss, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"

The blond replies, "Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?"

 

 




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

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

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

International Accounting News (including the U.S.)

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

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

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

I highly recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free newsletter from a very smart finance professor, Jim Mahar from St. Bonaventure University) --- http://www.financeprofessor.com/ 
Jim's great blog is at http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

 

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