Great Minds in Management: The Process of Theory Development --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm
In April 2006 I commenced reading a heavy book entitled Great Minds in Management: The Process of Theory Development, Edited by Ken G. Smith and Michael A. Hitt (Oxford Press, 2006).
The essays are somewhat personalized in terms of how theory development is perceived by each author and how these perceptions changed over time.
In Tidbits I will share some of the key quotations as I proceed through this book. The book is somewhat heavy going, so it will take some time to add selected quotations to the list of quotations at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/GreatMinds.htm
The Development of Stakeholder Theory: An Idiosyncratic Approach
R. EDWARD FREEMAN
PG. #422 FREEMAN
During this time, I began to work with Professor William Evan, a distinguished sociologist at Penn. I was very flattered when Evan called me one day and asked to meet to discuss the stakeholder idea. Evan saw this project as a way to democratize the large corporation. Even though he was an impeccable empirical researcher, he immediately saw the normative implications of coming to see business as "serving stakeholders." We began to meet weekly and talk about how to do the "next project" after Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach, even though that project wasn't yet finished. We began an empirical study aimed at seeing how Chief Executive Officers made trade-offs among stakeholders and we began to plan a book that would deal with the normative implications of reconceptualizing the corporate governance debate in stakeholder terms. While we never finished the book, we did complete a number of essays, one of which is reprinted countless times in business ethics textbooks. What I learned from Bill Evan was invaluable: to be the philosopher that I was, rather than some positivist version of a social scientist. Evan gave me the courage to tackle the normative dimension, in an intellectual atmosphere, the modern twentieth-century Business School that had disdain for such analysis.
In summary, I spent most of my time from 1978 until 1982 teaching executives and working with them to develop very practical ways of understanding how they could be more effective in the relationships with key stakeholders. In the summer of 1982, I sat down at my home in Princeton Junction, New Jersey and drafted the initial manuscript of Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach. I tried to set forth a method or set of methods/techniques for executives to use to better understand how to manage key stakeholder relationships. In addition, I wanted to track down the origins of the stakeholder idea, and give credit to its originators and the people whose work I had found so useful.
PG. #432 & 433 FREEMAN
Open questions remain. For instance:
Is there a useful typology of enterprise strategy or answers to questions of purpose?
How can we understand the relationship between fine-grained narratives of how firms create value for stakeholders, and the idea of stakeholder theory as a genre or set of loosely connected narratives?
If we understand business, broadly, as "creating value for stakeholders' what are the appropriate background disciplines? And, in particular what are the connections between the traditional "social sciences" and "humanities"?
How can the traditional disciplines of business such as marketing and finance develop conceptual schemes that do not separate "business" from "ethics" and can the stakeholder concept be useful in developing these schemes?
If we understand "business," broadly, as "creating value for stakeholders," under what conditions is value creation stable over time?
Can we take as the foundational question of political philosophy, "how is value creation and trade sustainable over time" rather than "how is the state justified"?
I am certain that there are many additional research questions, and many more people working on these questions than I have mentioned here. I hope this paper has clarified some of my own writing in the stakeholder area, and provoked others to respond.
If I try to summarize the lessons for management theorists of the development of stakeholder theory they would be four. First, don't underestimate the role of serendipity and context. My role would have been very different, indeed probably nonexistent, if a few key life events had unfolded differently. Second, don't underestimate the contributions of others. Really, my own contribution has been to try and synthesize the contributions of many others. I am always amused and somewhat horrified when I'm at a conference and am introduced as the "father of stakeholder theory." Many others did far more work, and more important work than I did, and that continues today as stakeholder theory unfolds in a number of fields. Third, pay attention to the real world of what managers, executives, and stakeholders are doing and saying. Our role as intellectuals is to interpret what is going on, and to give better, more coherent accounts of management practice, so that ultimately we can improve how we create value for each other, and how we live. That, I believe is a kind of pragmatist's credo. Finally, surely the author has a role in management theory. Overemphasis on reviews, reviewers, revisions, and the socialization of the paper-writing process can lead to a kind of collective group think. I believe that I could not have published the work in Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach as a set of A-journal articles. By publishing a book, I managed to create a voice, building heavily on the voices of others that could express a point of view. I believe that in today's business school world, that is much more difficult, and that we need to return to a more ancient idea of the author in management theory.
"Management needs fewer fads, more reflection," Stanford Magazine, May/June 2006 --- http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2006/mayjun/dept/management.html
Jeffrey Pfeffer, PhD ’72, and Robert I. Sutton would like to foment a little revolution—one in which leaders in business and the world at large base their decisions on facts and logic, not ideology, hunches, management fads or poorly understood experience. Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior, and Sutton, a professor of management science and engineering and, by courtesy, of organizational behavior in the Graduate School of Business, are the authors of Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management (Harvard Business School Press, 2006). STANFORD asked them about bringing more reason to organizational life.
What’s some of the total nonsense that occurs in companies?
Sutton: Probably the biggest single problem for human decision making is that when people have ingrained beliefs, they will put a much higher bar for evidence for things they don’t believe than for things they do believe. Confirmation-seeking bias, I think, is what social psychologists call it. Organizations can have amazingly good evidence, but it has no effect on the decisions they make if it conflicts with their ideology.
Do you have a favorite unsupported belief?
Pfeffer: One would be stock options. There are more than 200 studies that show no evidence that there is a relationship between the amount of equity senior executives have and a company’s financial performance. . . . Just as you would never bet on a point spread on a football game because it encourages bad behavior, you should not reward people for increasing the spread in an expectations market.
Overreliance on financial incentives of all sorts drives all kinds of counterproductive behavior.
Evidence-based management derives from evidence-based medicine. Explain what kind of decision making we’re talking about.
Continued in interview
Distance Learning Today will be a quarterly supplement to USA
Dr. John G. Flores, CEO of The United States Distance Learning Association, today announced his organization's sponsorship of "Distance Learning Today," a quarterly supplement in USA TODAY. "Distance learning is transforming the American educational landscape, through on-line technology, video conferencing systems, satellite delivery and other media," Flores said. "We expect this supplement to be an invaluable guide for millions of present and potential distance learners as well as a means for our member institutions and corporate sponsors to reach them." The first supplement will appear in September and is expected to exceed twenty pages. Editorial will include features on the distance learning revolution, financing a distance education, increasing acceptance of distance learning degrees among employers, technology requirements and, importantly, how to evaluate the quality of a distance learning offering. "Today, there are thousands of institutions offering degrees and certifications for distance learners," Flores said. "It's timely to provide the public with a reliable information resource concerning this dynamic educational alternative." Formed in 1987, the United States Distance Learning Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of the distance learning community by promoting the development and application of distance learning for education and training and by providing advocacy, information, networking and distance learning opportunities.
PRWeb, June 9, 2006 --- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/6/prweb396750.htm
PRWeb is a tremendous (overwhelming?) source of news in a huge set of categories --- http://www.prweb.com/newsbycategory/index.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on distance learning alternatives are at
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Portal to Asian Internet Resources --- http://webcat.library.wisc.edu:3200/PAIR/index.html
U.S. Department of Education --- http://www.ed.gov/index.jhtml
Department of Education: Office of Vocational and Adult Education ---
European Centre for Higher Education --- http://www.cepes.ro/
"Was Earning That Harvard M.B.A. Worth It?" by Abby Ellin, The New York Times, June 11, 2006 --- Click Here
THE popularity of the (MBA) degrees has surged. In 1970, for example, business schools handed out 26,490 M.B.A.'s, according to the Department of Education. By 2004, after a period marked by an economic boom and heightened competition for top-flight business careers, that figure had jumped to 139,347. But opinion and data appear divided on the tangible benefits of an M.B.A.
. . .
In 2003, Professor Mintzberg tracked the performance of 19 students who graduated from the Harvard Business School in 1990 and were at the top of their class academically. Ten of the 19 were "utter failures," he said. "Another four were very questionable, at least," he added. "So five out of 19 did well."
Research varies on the value of an M.B.A. A 2006 study by the Lubin School of Business at Pace University, looking at 482 companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange, found that only 162 of them had chief executives with graduate degrees in business. The companies with chief executives who went to more prestigious schools did no better than those who went to less prestigious schools, according to the study. Why this was so is unclear.
"One possibility is that if you don't have a graduate degree from a top school then you have to work that much harder to succeed," said Aron A. Gottesman, an associate professor at Pace and a co-author of the study.
On the other hand, Professor Gottesman and a colleague found in a separate study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Empirical Finance, that mutual fund managers with M.B.A.'s from BusinessWeek's 30 top-ranked business schools — including Harvard — generally outperformed other mutual fund managers. Professor Gottesman is not sure why this was so, either. "One possibility is that at higher-quality schools they simply teach better technical skills," he speculated. "Or students at top-tier schools have a higher I.Q."
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
And now there's a helper site for Harvard's "utter failures" (as quoted above)
"Help Site for the Poor," Wired News, June 9, 2006 ---
The site would provide information about such basics as public safety, emergency services, education, health care and jobs. U.S. Senators John McCain, an Arizona Republican, and Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat, serve as honorary co-chairmen of the group.
Continued in article
The One Economy homepage is at http://www.one-economy.com/
Warning Video for Mutual Fund Investors:
"The more mangers take, the less investors make"
From Jim Mahar's blog on June 9, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
Video of Bogle's speech on the Mutual Fund IndustryI finally got around to watching Bogle's speech to Independent Mutual Fund Directors. It is available on the Bogle eblog.
My favorite quotes:
"...the more mangers take, the less investors make."Well worth a listen!
"If you do not believe we are we are in teh marketing business, consider rate of fund failure....there have been 30,000 funds in history, 11,000 of them are gone....Even in the last 5 years, 25%, actually 27% of all equity funds have vanished....I am afraid to say, it is largely a marketing business."
Bob Jensen's threads on mutual fund frauds are at
How are professors like priests?
Should confidential knowledge about a serial rapist go unreported?
"Keeping a Secret, Paying a Price," by David Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, June 9, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/09/indict
It was either betray her students’ confidence or perhaps let rape go unpunished.
Patricia O’Toole, former dean of students at Notre Dame College, in Ohio, may have thought she was bound to stay tight-lipped about students who confided in her, but the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office didn’t agree.
On Tuesday, a grand jury indicted O’Toole on three counts of failure to report a felony.
According to officials in the prosecutor’s office, two Notre Dame students told O’Toole last October that they had been sexually assaulted by Daniel Carl Wolfe, a 19-year-old student. The officials said the dean then received an internal complaint in which a third woman said Wolfe had assaulted her. That report indicated that Wolfe had a 17-year-old woman in his room who was so drunk she had to be taken to the hospital, according to court filings.
Jamie Dalton, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said that, in December, police were investigating a separate incident involving Wolfe, and came to ask O’Toole a question. O’Toole then told campus police officers that she had knew of two other incidents that the college should include in its filings under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, a federal law that requires colleges to make an annual report of campus crime.
O’Toole had not come forward with the information earlier, however, and declined to give officers the names of the accusers, because she apparently had told the students that she would keep their identities secret. Police had to find the students on their own.
“If she would have reported this immediately, we might not have any other Jane Doe’s,” Dalton said, referring to other unnamed women who were allegedly assaulted by Wolfe.
“She was concerned about their identities,” Dalton said, “but what about the whole rest of the campus? What about other people that could have been victimized?”
According to Ohio law, failure to report a felony is a fourth degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in a jail and a $250 fine.
The law grants exemptions from the reporting requirement in specific circumstances, for members of the clergy, for example, and for counseling services “provided in an informal setting by a person who, by education or experience, is competent to provide those services.”
Peter D. Brown, associate executive director of the American College Personnel Association, said that “every student affairs professional has to balance the confidence of students and helping students, with, of course, legal obligations,” he said. “It’s often a tight line to follow.”
Brown added that staff members who deal with student conduct are often faced with students saying “Hey this happened to me, I’m just telling you but don’t want you to do anything about it.”
Mary Ann Kovach, a spokeswoman for Notre Dame, said that, when the allegations came to light in December, O’Toole was placed on administrative leave “while we were trying to figure out what was going on,” Kovach said. O’Toole then resigned. Kovach said Notre Dame could not comment further on the matter, because of the pending legal action.
Wolfe was suspended, and, before he could be expelled, transferred to Defiance College in Ohio. Defiance has learned of the allegations, and is currently preparing to expel Wolfe. He is being charged with 22 counts of crimes, ranging from rape and assault, to kidnapping, against six different women. Wolfe could not be reached for comment.
O’Toole could not be reached, either, and officials at the prosecutor’s office said that she may not have a lawyer yet.
Carnegie-Mellon University joins the open sharing initiative
A collection of "cognitively informed," openly
available and free online courses and course materials that enact
instruction for an entire course in an online format.
Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University --- http://www.cmu.edu/oli/index.html
Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing of course materials at various major universities (MIT, Stanford, Rice, etc.) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI
"Video goggles turn iPod into virtual full-size TV," PhysOrg, June 7, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news68916885.html
Maybe the anti-immigrant slogan should be: "Keep America stupid--seal the borders!"
From Opinion Journal on June 7, 2006
The Boston Globe website published the pictures of each valedictorian http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/gallery/valedictorians?pg=25 in Boston's high schools and other high school programs. As you thumb through the pictures, it is striking how many of these students are immigrants. So many, that I decided to take some statistics. The Globe listed the country of birth for each student. For some US-born students I guessed that they were 2nd generation immigrants (for instance if they were Vietnamese). Almost 2/3 of the Boston valedictorians are either immigrants or children of immigrants. From my analysis: here is the breakdown of the 38 valedictorians:
1st or 2nd generation US 63.2%
Later than 2nd generation US 32.8%
Born in the US 52.6%
Born overseas 47.4%
*** END QUOTE ***
Maybe the anti-immigrant slogan should be: "Keep America stupid--seal the borders!"
The valedictorian in Princeton's Class of 2006 is an illegal immigrant who from age four raised himself out of a NYC slum. His inspiration as a child was a single book on the ancient world. Now he's an expert on classical studies. His current problem is now how to remain in the U.S.
Political Correctness of the Worst Kind in a Prestigious University
There are Afrocentric historians who make factual claims that contradict existing historical evidence, such as the claim that Aristotle stole his philosophy from the library at Alexandria when, as Mary Lefkowitz points out, that library was not built until after Aristotle’s death. Lefkowitz was shocked to get no support from her colleagues when she pointed out factual errors of this kind, and even more shocked when the dean of her college (Wellesley) told her that “each of us had a different but equally valid view of history.” And so on (there’s a lot of the “so on” in the book)
Scott McLemee, "The Truth? You Can’t Handle the Truth!" Inside Higher Ed, June 7, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/06/07/mclemee
Fortunately, Why Truth Matters
by Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom, is something different. As polemics
go, it is short and adequately pugnacious. Yet the authors do not paint
their target with too broad a brush. At heart, they are old-fashioned
logical empiricists -– or, perhaps, followers of Samuel Johnson, who, upon
hearing of Bishop Berkeley’s contention that the objective world does not
exist, refuted the argument by kicking a rock. Still, Benson and Stangroom
do recognize that there are numerous varieties of contemporary suspicion
regarding the concept of truth.They bend over backwards in search of every
plausible good intention behind postmodern epistemic skepticism. And then
they kick the rock.The authors run a Web site of news and commentary,
Butterflies and Wheels.
And both are editors of The Philosophers’ Magazine,
journal. In the spirit of full disclosure, it
bears mentioning that I write a column for the latter publication.
Scott McLemee, "The Truth? You Can’t Handle the Truth!" Inside Higher Ed, June 7, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/06/07/mclemee
Weapons of Ass Destruction
Security forces thwarted a bombing in a southern Afghan town by capturing a donkey laden with explosives and a man who was plotting to blow up the animal in a rebel attack, a government spokesman said Thursday. The donkey had 30 kilograms of explosives and several land mines strapped to its back hidden in old sacks, said Ali Khail, a local government spokesman in Qalat town. The charge was linked to a remote-controlled detonator. Acting on a tip-off, the man and animal were captured as they walked into the city from the surrounding countryside in Zabul province, where Taliban rebels are believed to hide.
"Afghan donkey attack thwarted," Globe and Mail as linked in the Opinion Journal, June 9, 2006 --- Click Here
If top scientists can do it, why can't the American Accounting Association (especially its new electronic publication platform) offer an opportunity for "a peer-reviewed publication that publishes all rigorously performed science, a vibrant online forum that encourages scientific dialogue and debate, and will offer a hassle-free process that gets your work online within weeks"?
From the University of Illinois Library's Issues in Scholarly Communications blog on June 9, 2006 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/
As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education's Blog, and Peter Suber's Open Access Blog, the Public Library of Science appears poised to start the publication of PLoS OPEN. It will be "a peer-reviewed publication that publishes all rigorously performed science, a vibrant online forum that encourages scientific dialogue and debate, and will offer a hassle-free process that gets your work online within weeks." It will "offer multidisciplinary scope, rapid turn-around, open review, and powerful personalization and discussion tools." Additional characteristics (from the PLoS site):
- Inclusive scope. The boundaries between different scientific fields are becoming increasingly blurred. At the same time, the bulk of the scientific literature is divided into journals covering ever more restrictive disciplines and subdisciplines. In contrast, PLoS ONE will be a venue for all rigorously performed science, making it easier to uncover connections and synergies across the research literature.
- Objective peer review. Peer reviewers are routinely asked to comment on whether papers are sufficiently novel or immediate to justify publication. Such subjective judgements can seriously delay the publication of good science. PLoS ONE will concentrate on identifying those papers that are rigorously and technically sound. Such work will be rapidly published and presented for open and continuous review so that the whole community can be involved in judging impact....
- Interactive papers. A paper in a traditional journal is a static marker in an ongoing process. Authors looking back on papers written 6 months or a year ago will see things that they might now have written differently. New data may have arisen to strengthen or alter some of the conclusions. We will provide authors with ways to make those changes and so acknowledge the evolution of their ideas. This doesn't alter the scientific record—the original paper is still the original paper—but authors and readers can build upon it.
- PLoS ONE will offer a new approach to the way that scientific research is communicated. Like all revolutions, this will take time, and the launch of PLoS ONE will only be the first step. New features and functionalities will be continually added to PLoS ONE while existing ones will be applied to an ever-increasing body of literature. We cannot do this alone and want to invite all members of the scientific community to help us shape the development of PLoS ONE and the future direction of scholarly publishing.
Take a look at the prototype and learn more about this new journal at: http://www.plosone.org/
Support AAA President Judy Rayburn's TAR Diversity Initiative ---
Business Week's Special Report on Computer Security, June 7, 2006 --- Click Here
Phisher Kings Court Your Trust
Computer-based fraudsters are finding new ways to trick people -- not technology -- to get the information they seek
What I Learned at Hacker Camp
It's easy to create malicious code, penetrate firewalls, and steal personal and financial information. "Ethical hacker" Andrew Whitaker can show you how
A Guide to PC Security Products
Slide show: Concerned about your computer, but confused about how to keep it safe? Here's a look at some helpful hardware and software
This Bug Is Nasty, Brutish, And Sneaky
Cyberthieves have raised the stakes with a clever new program almost immune to detection
Stopping a Scam from Spreading
Thwarted by bigger banks, ID thieves are taking aim at smaller financial institutions. One credit union provides a model for fighting back
Dazed and Confused: Data Law Disarray
A profusion of legislation regarding privacy and data breaches puts businesses in a bind and consumers at risk
Gator is Dead. Long Live Claria
The company that annoyed countless Net surfers with its adware is reinventing itself with a new custom portal service
Bob Jensen's threads on computer and network security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection
Forwarded by Helen Terry
At a flea market I just bought the hard drive you sent to Best Buy for
One year ago, Hank Gerbus had his hard drive replaced at a Best Buy store in Cincinnati. Six months ago, he received one of the most disturbing phone calls of his life. "Mr. Gerbus," Gerbus recalls a stranger named Ed telling him. "I just bought your hard drive in Chicago." Gerbus, a 77-year-old retiree, was alarmed. He knew the old hard drive was loaded with his personal information -- his Social Security number, account numbers and details of his retirement investments. But that's not all. The computer also included data on his wife, Roma, and their children and grandchildren, including some of their Social Security numbers.
Bob Sullivan, The Red Tape Chronicles, MSNBC, June 5, 2006 ---
Years ago I had a hard drive replaced and discovered that it had scads of Cisco data. Evidently the vendor reconditioned a Cisco hard drive without erasing the Cisco data when the hard drive was sent to me as a replacement drive.
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
A Mystery in Academe: Who Really Did It?
"Plagiarism Mystery," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/05/wesley
“An unknown individual” with “an ax to grind” against the college’s president creates plagiarized documents and affixes the president’s name to them. Later, the “ax grinder” posts the articles on the president’s Web page without his knowledge and then waits, patiently, for years to “spring his/her trap.” Only years later — when critics attacking the president in ways that are “unworthy of a Christian, church-centered institution” find the plagiarized documents in an archive of decommissioned Web pages — do they come to light.
In language that could have been drawn from an academic cloak and dagger novel (and a not very good one at that), an external panel appointed by trustees at Wesley College confirmed Friday that President Scott D. Miller’s name appeared on at least three documents in the late 1990s that were clearly plagiarized from the work of others. But the committee but said it was impossible to know without “a skilled forensic scientist” whether Miller or someone “out to get” the president had been responsible for creating and posting the fraudulent articles. Based on the committee’s report and recommendations (courtesy of the Wilmington, Del. News Journal), Miller apologized to the victims of the plagiarism and to Wesley’s students, staff and alumni Friday (while insisting he did no wrong), and trustees said the president would keep his job.
“The board is confident that this is a very self-contained set of events,” said David Wilks, a lawyer who represents the Dover, Del., liberal arts college, and to whom Miller referred all questions. “Nothing like this has repeated itself in the last six years, and given the undeniable success and achievement the president has had in every area of his performance, the board is satisfied that this matter is closed.”
. . .
Mask, the faculty member who brought forward several of the charges against Miller, said he found aspects of the panel’s report troubling. “If you had a faculty member who was outrageously popular with students, unquestionably an excellent teacher, and it was found that she or he had committed plagiarism, their career would be over, and I don’t know why it should be different for a college president,” he said. “What was called for here was an investigation into plagiarism, and what we have is that close associates of Dr. Miller’s have found there were three serious new instances of plagiarism for which there has been no explanation.”
Continued in article
Review of plagiarism charges against Wesley president was orchestrated
by consultant who’s a mentor to the accused
So when Wesley’s president, Scott D. Miller, faced plagiarism charges this spring, for the second time in his career, the trustees — after rallying to Miller’s defense — agreed to conduct an independent review of the accusations and of the college’s overall status. They asked Fisher, their trusted adviser, to put together a review panel, and he recruited three current or former college presidents, all of whom have worked with or for Fisher on other university consulting jobs. In its report last month, the review panel concluded that plagiarism had occurred, but said it could not figure out whether Miller or someone else had committed it. Over all, the report praised Miller for essentially saving the college, saying he was “in the midst of one of the most successful college presidencies in the nation.” Fisher’s involvement, even at some distance, in the review of Miller troubles some observers on the campus and elsewhere, given what they say are the very close ties between Fisher and the president.
Doug Lederman, "A Question of Independence," Inside Higher Ed, June 7, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/07/wesley
Plunging proportions of African American first-year students at UCLA
This fall 4,852 freshmen are expected to enroll at UCLA, but only 96, or 2%, are African American — the lowest figure in decades and a growing concern at the Westwood campus. For several years, students, professors and administrators at UCLA have watched with discouragement as the numbers of black students declined. But the new figures, released this week, have shocked many on campus and prompted school leaders to declare the situation a crisis.
Rebecca Trounson, "A Startling Statistic at UCLA,"The Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2006 --- http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-me-ucla3jun03,1,5599672.story?coll=la-headlines-frontpage
In a telephone interview before the meeting, Carnesale described the preliminary numbers for black freshmen as "a great disappointment" and said that UCLA has been trying for years to boost those levels, within the limits allowed by law.
He and other officials at UCLA and elsewhere said the problem of attracting, admitting and enrolling qualified black students is found at competitive universities across the country and that its causes are complex. In California, the problem is rooted partly in the restrictions placed on the state's public colleges and institutions by Proposition 209, the 1996 voter initiative that banned consideration of race and gender in admissions and hiring.
Other factors include the socioeconomic inequities that undermine elementary and high school education in California and elsewhere, with minority students disproportionately affected because they often attend schools with fewer resources, including less-qualified teachers and fewer counselors.
Many students and professors also say the declining presence of blacks on campus discourages some prospective students from attending, thus exacerbating the problem. Some of those interviewed, including UCLA sociologist Darnell Hunt, said the campus could be doing more than it is.
Hunt, who heads UCLA's Bunche Center for African American Studies, and several colleagues have been studying the issue as part of a multiyear research project on the challenges facing black students in California universities.
In a draft of a report to be released this month, the researchers compared the admissions criteria and processes at UC's three most competitive campuses: UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego. (At the latter, the incoming black freshman class stands at 52 students, or 1.1%, even lower than the others.)
The report found that UC San Diego's admissions process relied most heavily on numbers, while UC Berkeley's was most "holistic," allowing a single reader to review all parts of an applicant's file, including academic and personal achievements or challenges.
At UCLA, in what admissions officials have described as an attempt to increase fairness and objectivity, applicants' files are divided by academic and personal areas, and read by separate reviewers. The researchers asserted that UC Berkeley's process may be the fairest, because it allows students' achievements to be seen in the context of their personal challenges.
In an interview, Hunt acknowledged the difficulty for a campus like UCLA, which received 47,000 applications this year. Yet he criticized the school for rejecting many black students based on what he described as factors of questionable validity, and that he said may be linked more to socioeconomic privilege than academic merit.
"There's a common misperception that this is a horrible problem but that black students just need to do better," he said. "But most of the black students who don't get in go to other top-notch schools — Harvard, Duke, Michigan. We're losing students who could be here."
Ward Connerly, the conservative former UC regent who was an architect of Proposition 209, countered that the issue was not the law he helped create.
"The problem — and this is an old song, I know — starts with the small number of black students who are academically competitive," he said, pointing out that many also choose to attend historically black colleges or private schools. "But I don't think we solve this problem by tinkering with the admissions criteria to make it easier to get in."
No matter the cause, the effect is apparent on campus.
Karume James, 20, a graduating senior who led a recent student protest on campus over the issue, said he remembered the excitement he felt when he arrived at UCLA for student orientation in the summer of 2003.
Then just 17, James was preparing to transfer to the big-city campus from a community college in Riverside, his hometown. And he recalled what he felt when he looked around.
"Struggling to Keep Black Students," by David Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, June 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/06/black
Selling the Computer Revolution: Marketing Brochures in the Collection
"Five Things Every Homeowner Needs To Know About The Mortgage Business; Help Wanted: Honest Mortgage Brokers/Lenders," PRWeb, May 30, 2006 --- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/5/prweb383659.htm
The average American consumer/homeowner has little to no chance of getting an honest or fairly priced mortgage in today's double standard, murky mortgage environment. That is if you are a consumer/homeowner attempting to discover what is fair from a mortgage fee/interst rate pricing standpoint and what is not. As a result The Homeowners Consumer Center & its partner The Mortgage Inspection Service are recruiting honest mortgage brokers/lenders who are ready to compete in their local markets with an honest approach in working with consumers/homeowners.
(PRWEB) May 31, 2006 -- The Homeowners Consumer Center (Http://www.HomeownersConsumerCenter.Com) along with its partner the Mortgage Inspection service (Http://www.MortgageInspectionService.com) have called for a national consumer alert to all homeowners about the realities of the current US mortgage market, in the form of five critical consumer tips they need to know. At the same time the Homeowners Consumer Center is seeking information about locally owned mortgage firms/lenders that are tired of trying to compete against dishonest mortgage lenders. The targets of this campaign are as follow:
1. TV Pitchmen promising consumers/homeowners they will get numerous mortgage firms to compete for a mortgage deal, or that someone should have called so and so. The problem; the sales pitch does not always measure up to what the consumer actually gets ( a much higher than market interest rate, ridiculous fees or both).
These same types of ads often times say, or talk about a "no point" gimmick, which is not exactly "no fees", if you are a consumer. The actual translation is the consumer just got a higher interest rate and a higher monthly mortgage payment.
2. National Homebuilders in many to most cases exclude borrowers from getting a competitive quote from local mortgage lenders. Typically the homebuilder prices the home buyers mortgage products 25 to 125 basis points over par (par=the best available interest rate for the borrower) and frequently these transactions are loaded with junk mortgage fees. If the borrower wants to get a competitive quote he/she or they get told, " the house will cost more", or they will not get a "bonus". What the homebuilder failed to tell the consumer is that because they are a "mortgage banker", they are not required to disclose the "yield spread premium" to the borrower=higher monthly mortgage payment. Mortgage brokers are required to disclose yield spreads to consumers.
A second severe problem with homebuilders is that they frequently tell appraisers what they want their homes to sell for, rather than allow the appraiser/appraisal firm to their job. "Either hit our values", the homebuilder wants (real or not), or they find another appraiser/appraisal firm that will. If there is a real estate bubble burst this year, it will start with homebuilders slashing their in some cases false valuations. Inflating real estate appraisals/massive appraisal fraud is the ticking time bomb that could potentially crush the US economy/real estate markets nationwide. Once again Wall Street was asleep at the switch for a disaster that could be worse than the S&L crisis of the 1980's.
3. Mortgage Lead generation scams on the Internet.: Once again the consumer/homeowner can get taken for a ride, or ends up with a much more expensive mortgage product. Most Internet providers have gladly sold advertising space to just about any lender, honest or not. Do business with local or well known mortgage firms.
4. Real Estate firms that also want to be the consumer's mortgage lender. We feel it is the ultimate conflict of interest for a real estate agent/firm to also be wearing the hat of mortgage lender. We believe the functions of real estate sales & real estate financing need to be separate. Next to national homebuilders blackmailing appraisal firms into unrealistic valuations, are real estate agents acting as mortgage lenders doing the same thing. Consumers are advised to steer clear of real estate agents/brokers also acting as mortgage bankers.
5. If anyone is looking to the Bush Administration, HUD, or the US Senate or House Banking Committees for help, don't hold your breath. In light of the Abramoff & Duke Cunningham Congressional bribery scandals one would hope that a consumer/homeowner friendly environment might exist. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality banks and mortgage bankers are not held to the same standards as are mortgage brokers with respect to serious consumer disclosure issues. At the very top of this list are 'yield spread premiums" (a kick back for increasing the mortgage interest rate).
Many have concluded, unlike mortgage brokers, banks and mortgage bankers are not being required to disclose these kick-backs because, they are the number one contributer to US House & Senate Banking Committees. President Bush had his Gala re-election campaign party in part financed by a mortgage lender that has been ordered to pay $300 million+ back to consumers.
The Homeowners Consumer Center (Http://HomeownersConsumerCenter.Com) and The Mortgage Inspection Service (Http://MortgageInspectionService.Com) want consumers/homeowners to understand these realities and at the same time they would like to partner with local, reputable mortgage firms/lenders that are interested in advancing educational campaigns in their communities so that consumers will be better educated when making application for mortgages or refinances. The goal of this campaign is to increase originations for participating mortgage firms/lenders & at the same time give the consumer an honest mortgage product/refinance.
The Homeowners Consumer Center also think it important that states and the federal government eliminate loop holes that prevent transparency in a mortgage transaction, regardless of a lenders status as broker, banker or the amount of money they contributed/paid to a politician.
Honest mortgage lenders/brokers who want to treat their customers with honesty are encouraged to contact the Homeowners Consumer Center ( Http://HomeownersConsumerCenter.Com ) for more information about a state by state campaign to get the word out about honest or hard working mortgage lenders. To join the Homeowners Consumer Center in this campaign, mortgage firms/ lenders will be required to agree to a realistic consumer disclosure agreement. A straight forward approach like this is long over due in todays mortgage world. Homeowners & consumers deserve better, and The Homeowners Consumer Center and its partner, The Mortgage Inspection Service think this is a very solid step to try to cure problems associated with an out of control mortgage industry.
Bob Jensen's threads on consumer frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm
It pays to be an illegal
If Congress adopts the Bush plan and gives amnesty to illegal aliens, Senate Republicans will be asking President Cheney for a pardon. Bush wants to grant illegal aliens amnesty while sounding like he's really cracking down on them. It tells you where Americans stand on illegal immigration that Bush has to pull the Democrat trick of hiding from the public what he really believes when it comes to immigration. The "path to citizenship" that Bush and the Senate are trying to pawn off on Americans requires that illegals pay huge fines and back taxes. "Huge" is defined as a $2,000 fine and taxes for three of the last five years. Even with the special Two Years Tax-Free package for illegals, this is about as likely as me paying my dad back the money I "borrowed" from him when I was in college.
Ann Coulter, "It pays to be an illegal," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 4, 2006 --- Click Here
Financial Woes of Case Western Reserve University
An undisclosed number of non-faculty employees lost their jobs at Case Western Reserve University last week, as the institution started a round of layoffs, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Large deficits at the university led this spring to faculty anger, which in turn led to the resignation of Edward M. Hundert as president.
Inside Higher Ed, May 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/05/30/qt
ACLU's Free Speech Advocacy Depends on Who's Doing the Speaking
Meyers thinks the ACLU's backing of the Maloney bill is an indication that the organization has strayed from its "traditional free-speech roots" and turned to "identity politics." It's hard to imagine the ACLU of 10 or 20 years ago asking government to monitor advertising. But the ACLU now has issue-oriented lobbies inside it. They are called "projects" and include the "Reproductive Freedom Project," the "Women's Rights Project" and the "Lesbian and Gay Rights Project." The influence of the projects, and the money they bring in, often tend to sway the ACLU away from its once primary concern about free speech.
John Leo, "ACLU's Free Speech Advocacy Depends on Who's Doing the Speaking," Lifenews.com, June 4, 2006 --- http://www.lifenews.com/nat2323.html
NASA Shows You How to Build Your Own Rocket
Rocket Science 101 --- http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/RocketScience101/RocketScience101.html
June 1, 2006 message form Carolyn Kotlas [email@example.com]
THE ROLE OF EMOTION IN THE DISTANCE EDUCATION EXPERIENCE
"Presence, a sense of 'being there,' is critical to the success of designing, teaching, and learning at a distance using both synchronous and asynchronous (blended) technologies. Emotions, behavior, and cognition are components of the way presence is perceived and experienced and are essential for explaining the ways we consciously and unconsciously perceive and experience distance education." Rosemary Lehman, Distance Education Specialist Manager at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, explores the idea that understanding the part emotion plays in teaching and learning "can help instruct us in effective teaching, instructional design, and learning via technology." Her paper, "The Role of Emotion in Creating Instructor and Learner Presence in the Distance Education Experience" (JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE AFFECTIVE LEARNING, vol. 2, no. 2, 2006), is available online at http://www.jcal.emory.edu/viewarticle.php?id=45
Journal of Cognitive Affective Learning (JCAL) [ISSN: 1549-6953] is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published twice a year by Oxford College of Emory University. To access current and back issues go to http://www.jcal.emory.edu/ . For more information, contact: Journal of Cognitive Affective Learning, c/o Prof. Ken Carter, Oxford College of Emory University, 100 Hamill Street, Oxford, GA 30054 USA; tel: 770-784-8439; fax: 770-784-8408;
USING BLOGGER TO GET STARTED WITH E-LEARNING
In "Using Blogger to Get Teachers Started with E-Learning" (FORTNIGHTLY MAILING, May 25, 2006), Keith Burnett discusses how "[s]imple class blogs can be used to post summaries of key points, exercises, links to Web pages of value, and to provide a sense of continuity and encourage engagement with the material." He includes a link to an online blogging tutorial and to examples of how some instructors are using blogs in their classes. The article is online at http://fm.schmoller.net/2006/05/using_blogger_t.html
Fortnightly Mailing, focused on online learning, is published every two weeks by Seb Schmoller, an e-learning consultant. Current and back issues are available at http://www.schmoller.net/mailings/index.pl. For more information, contact: Seb Schmoller 312 Albert Road, Sheffield, S8 9RD, UK; tel: 0114 2586899; fax: 0709 2208443;
BOOKS VS. BLOGS
"Why would I write a book and wait a year or more to see my writing in print, when I can blog and get my words out there immediately?" In "Books, Blogs & Style" (CITES & INSIGHTS, vol. 6, no. 7, May 2006), Walt Crawford, both a book author and a blogger, considers the different niches and purposes of the two communication media. The essay is online at http://cites.boisestate.edu/civ6i7.pdf
Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large [ISSN 1534-0937], a free online journal of libraries, policy, technology, and media, is self-published monthly by Walt Crawford, a senior analyst at the Research Libraries Group, Inc. Current and back issues are at available on the Web at http://cites.boisestate.edu/ . For more information contact: Walt Crawford, The Research Libraries Group, Inc., 2029 Stierlin Ct., Suite 100, Mountain View, CA 94043-4684 USA; tel: 650-691-2227;
"Dr. Tom's Method of Multiples: A Concrete Taxonomy Development Method" http://www.twason.com/Docs/MethodOfMultiples.pdf
Abstract: "An effective metadata system can be established with the participation of multiple teams each with a different perspective, the subject matter expert (SME) teams. Each SME team is comprised of multiple members. The SME teams are given a carefully chosen concrete task that spans their different perspectives. As they work on the task in facilitated joint meetings, a taxonomy team records the comments of SME teams. The taxonomy team is comprised of multiple, independently tasked recorders. The intent is to define and capture metadata and taxonomy definitions from each of several different vantage points. Each recorder provides separate reports that are consolidated into a single report with resulting recommendations for metadata and taxonomies. These recommendations are then validated by an independent set of SME participants. A case study using this method is presented. The results are compliant with SCORM, IEEE-LOM and IMS-MD specifications."
Bob Jensen's threads on the controversial future of technology in education are linked at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm
June 1, 2006 message form Carolyn Kotlas [firstname.lastname@example.org]
DESIGNING THE FUTURE PHYSICAL UNIVERSITY
"In discussions about the future of the university, little has been said about how these changes will affect its spatial layout, even though a university's physical characteristics must complement and strengthen its mission." In "Designing the University of the Future" (PLANNING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, vol. 34, no. 2, 2005-2006, pp. 5-19) Rifca Hashimshony and Jacov Haina discuss several factors, including teaching and learning technology, that may define what the physical facilities of the university of the future will look like.
The paper is online --- Click Here
Planning for Higher Education is published by the Society for College and University Planning, 339 E. Liberty, Suite 300, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 USA; tell: 734-998-7832; fax: 734-998-6532;
"The Impact of Facilities on Recruitment and Retention of Students" by David Cain and Gary L. Reynolds FACILITIES MANAGER, vol. 22, no. 2, March/April 2006 http://www.appa.org/FacilitiesManager/article.cfm?ItemNumber=2567&parentid=2542 or http://www.appa.org/files/FMArticles/fm030406_f7_impact.pdf
According to a survey conducted by the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers: "Nearly three out of 10 students spurned a college because it lacked a facility they thought was important."
"Facilities Can Play Key Role in Students' Enrollment Decisions, Study Finds" by Audrey Williams June THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, May 30, 2006 http://chronicle.com/daily/2006/05/2006053002n.htm
(Online access requires a subscription to the Chronicle.)
Bob Jensen's threads on classroom, building, and campus design are in a module at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm
May 25, 2006 message from Andrew Priest [a.priest@ECU.EDU.AU]
>I just received this request for some sort of ball park figure for a starting salary. My school is in Ohio, in the midwestern part of the US.
There are salary surveys around the place. I would suggest hitting Google or I think it is the NACE website.
May 26, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
I tend to discourage students from putting too much emphasis on starting salaries. The important factors are learning opportunities, client exposures, nature of job assignments, work loads, degree of travel, family supportiveness, and growth potential.
There are various accounting salary links and related information at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers
Salary varies by locale and by size of firm with smaller local firms generally paying less (but possibly with greater chances for promotion and partnership admission). Salary also varies by job security with governmental accountants often making less but having tremendous job security and benefits.
The NACEWeb site is at http://www.naceweb.org/
He might try Payroll Online --- http://www.payrollonline.com/mainpage.asp
There is a SmartPros salary survey at http://accounting.smartpros.com/x51651.xml
There is some salary information for managerial accountants at http://www.imanet.org/ima/index.asp
Also check with the latest Bureau of Labor tables --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x43328.xml
Once again, I stress that salary surveys are of limited value unless they are related to a particular locale.
Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/
Latest Headlines on June 6, 2006
- Canned Tuna: Avoid if Pregnant?
- Study: Millions May Have Rage Disorder
- Drug May Slow Advanced Breast Cancer
- Consume Caffeine, Change Your Mind?
- New Clue on Babies’ Wheat Allergy
- Does Parenting Style Up Kids' Weight?
- FDA Presses Restaurants on Obesity
- RSS WebMD Health News
Latest Headlines on June 8, 2006
Liquorice compounds could be a key component for cheaper, more
effective liver cancer treatment, reports Lisa Richards in Chemistry
& Industry magazine.
See PhysOrg, June 5, 2006 --- http://www.physorg.com/news68703822.html
Regrowing the Damaged Brain
In recent years, scientists have discovered that the brain has a remarkable capacity for self-repair. Hoping to take advantage of this ability, researchers have developed a technology to deliver electrical stimulation directly to brain tissue. The therapy, now being tested in large clinical trials, could boost the brain's repair mechanisms and improve recovery after stroke. Studies in both laboratory animals and humans have shown that after stroke, neurons near the damaged tissue begin to reorganize themselves in an attempt to compensate for the injured areas. However, this healing ability can be hit or miss -- some patients regain the ability to walk or talk while others are left permanently disabled.
Emily Singer, "Regrowing the Damaged Brain: Electrically stimulating the cerebral cortex could help stroke recovery," MIT's Technology Review, June 8, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16966&ch=biotech
[Click here for illustrations of the brain's areas and device's functions.]
Defibrillation's Alternative: A new approach would stop ventricular
fibrillation before it started
Treating a failing heart by zapping it with a painful, powerful electrical shock has become a common procedure. Now, a medical device company, based in West Henrietta, NY, has patented a technique that avoids the need for such dramatic treatment, by predicting the onset of fibrillation -- the heart rhythm that can lead to sudden death -- and treating it before it occurs. The preventative treatment does, like defibrillation, involve electrically stimulating the heart, says Michael Weiner, CEO of Biophan Technologies. But this new technique's weak signal would be minuscule compared to the jolt that defibrillators normally deliver. "I know patients with defibrillators who live in fear of that son-of-a-gun going off," he says.
Duncan Graham-Rowe, "Defibrillation's Alternative: A new approach would stop ventricular fibrillation before it started," MIT's Technology Review, June 7, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16964&ch=biotech
A Huge Amount of Data on Family Comparisons --- Click Here
The snipped link is http://snipurl.com/FamilyStatistics
Ernst & Young Computer Stolen
Thousands of Hotels.com customers may be at risk for credit card fraud after a laptop computer containing their personal information was stolen from an auditor, a company spokesman said Saturday. The password-protected laptop belonging to an Ernst & Young auditor was taken in late February from a locked car, said Paul Kranhold, spokesman for Hotels.com, a subsidiary of Expedia.com based in Bellevue, Washington. "As a result of our ongoing communication with law enforcement, we don't have any indication that any credit card numbers have been used for fraudulent activity," Kranhold said. "It appears the laptop was not the target of the break-in." Both Hotels.com and Ernst & Young mailed letters to Hotels.com customers this past week encouraging them to take appropriate action to protect their personal information.
"Data Breach: Hotels.com Customers," Wired News, June 4, 2006 --- Click Here
June 6, 2006 reply from Mooney, Kate [kkmooney@STCLOUDSTATE.EDU]
One of our former students, a partner with E&Y, told us that at the Minneapolis office they were encrypting all the laptops. He said it was painful and expensive, but probably worth it. I guess so.
June 6, 2006 reply from Jagdish S. Gangolly [gangolly@INFOTOC.COM]
Those who believe encryption to be a panacea should read the recent works of Bruce Schneier (www.counterpane.com , which, by the way, is headquartered in Minneapolis) who wrote one of the earliest and most popular texts on cryptography. He has been totally disenchanted with encryption for quite a while.
Security is not a condition, but a process. Belief in the omnipotence of encryption is based on the tenet that security is a condition, and therefore you only need to find a "technical" (more appropriately a "techie") solution to the problem of deviations from the secure state. Real world is not so, and therefore we need to look at security as a process.
In that view, encryption is just a means to an end, and not an end in of itself. Management of keys, passwords, adoption of security policies, all have a great role to play in the "process".
June 6, 2006 reply from Robin A. Alexander [alexande.robi@UWLAX.EDU]
Couple of points: My Dell has a feature whereby one can set a password that needs to be entered as the computer boots. I don't think that protects the data on the computer. The hard drive could be removed and read directly by anyone having the right equipment.
Encrypting the data is more secure, I believe. I'm not sure why Kate says it's a painful process. I use BestCrypt on my lowly data on all my personal computers. It's easy to use and even facilitates data backup since it creates a file that loads as a virtual drive. Backing up can be done by just copying that file to whatever medium you wish to use.
June 6, 2006 reply from Sam A. Hicks [shicks@VT.EDU]
It seems to me a better method would be to put client data on servers and access when the data is needed. If the decrypt program is easy to use, the person with the laptop can decrypt the data stored on the laptop. I expect that every thing will require passwords, but they can be identified in many cases.
Given the problems in the last year [VA, AICPA, Choice Point, E&Y and I am certain that there are others] companies are going to have to take strong action to protect data.
Have a Good Day!
June 6, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
Sam’s correct about not putting all the data on a laptop. However, at times some of the data must be stored on the client (laptop) machine if that machine is doing the edits.
One means of encrypted access to a server is the Cisco VPN system that I’m now using to access servers back at Trinity University. It works fairly well but is slow. I think this is due to the decryption process.
I noticed a huge difference in software use with the Cisco VPN. I never edit a file back on the server and save it directly because this is painfully slow, especially with MS FrontPage. I edit a file on my local machine and then save it back to the server using Windows Explorer (which shows my Network drives). This is a faster process.
If my laptop is stolen, the thieves would only be able to access the Network drives if they know my password which is nowhere on my laptop. However, if there were something of value in my Network files on a Trinity University server, a thief could force me to disclose the password in much the same manner as a thief can force a person to withdraw money from an ATM machine.
I cannot access files on Network servers that I am not authorized to access, e.g., files of other professors.
Jagdish is correct in stating that the problem is not so much one of password and encryption protection as it is a process such as partitioning server files in order to limit which files an employee can access. It is absurd, for example, that a single VA Employee could compromise all personal data of millions upon millions of retired military and active duty military. No one employee should have access to such a large file. More internal controls are required to limit what files he or she can access even in front of the barrel of a gun.
From the Scout Report on June 2, 2006
MappingService 1.0 http://web.mac.com/rjsdev/iWeb/software/MappingService.html
More and more applications are offering the ability to map various addresses and locations, and users seem to enjoy having this option embedded into such programs. With that in mind, users may also find Mapping Service 1.0 quite helpful. Essentially, the application allows users to selected an address in an email (or other document) and then immediately use the mapping function to display a map using Google Maps. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4.6.
Bob Jensen's mapping helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm
The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary --- http://www.benfranklin300.org/index.php
In his writings, Benjamin Franklin once observed, “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” Franklin certainly followed this sage advice, as people continue to read his works and replicate some of his experiments (and adventures) across the globe. 2006 happens to mark the three-hundredth anniversary of his birth, and a consortium of interested organizations and individuals have created this website to act as a clearinghouse of information about the various celebrations, exhibits, and other such activities that will be taking place over the next couple of years to celebrate Franklin’s life and accomplishments. Complete with a typeface that would be familiar to those reading American printed works of the 18th century, the homepage contains sections on the ongoing Franklin exhibition that is traveling the world and an education area that contains materials for teachers seeking to incorporate discussion of Franklin into their classrooms. The “Programs” area is a real gem, as it contains links to a variety of projects (including a multimedia site designed by middle school students that examines Franklin’s legacy) created in honor of this most momentous occasion.
The Happiness Formula [Real Player] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/happiness_formula/
Measuring something as subjective as the feeling or state of happiness is a tricky business. While some may take pleasure in closing a big financial merger, others may be content to watch a babbling brook as they sip lemonade. The BBC has never shied away from taking on such weighty matters and they have recently created this website to complement their ongoing series titled “The Happiness Formula”. Users may wish to orient themselves to the site by viewing some of the short video clips featured on the right- hand side of the site’s homepage. The site also contains material on the relationship between economic success and overall happiness levels and the health benefits of happiness. The site is rounded out by a place where visitors can offer their own suggestions for improving happiness and another area where they can take a quiz on happiness.
Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500-2005 [Macromedia Flash Player] http://www.cooperhewitt.org/EXHIBITIONS/feeding_desire/
To the millions of individuals with harried lifestyles, the artistic flourish or design of a fork or knife may escape notice. However, the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum in New York is intimately concerned with such matters, and they have created this delightful online exhibit that explores the design of various table tools and accessories from 1500 to 2005. As its focal point, the website is primarily concerned with the “Big Three” of the table: the fork, the knife, and the spoon. Visitors can browse through the interactive timeline offered here that traces through each utensil’s respective evolution, as well as read three short “biographies” of each. Along the way, visitors are treated to images of a ponderous spoon from 17th century Germany and a dagger-like knife from 16th century France. The site also contains a number of specialized thematic offerings, such as short essays and images that address the ergonomics of the table, flatware for children, and the naturalism movement in tableware design.
Two on Bankruptcy and Credit Bankruptcy: Maxed out in American [Real Player]
Credit Score, Reports, and Getting Ahead in America [pdf] http://www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/20060501_creditscores.pdf
Frozen Angels [Real Player] http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/frozenangels/index.html
Since the creation of that now celebrated sheep Dolly in Scotland back in 1996, there has been a deluge of talk (and significant scholarly work) about the possibility of creating scientifically engineered humans. This recent documentary from the people at the Independent Lens organization takes a close look at the current research being done in the field of reproductive technology. On the homepage, visitors can look through sections that offer profiles of the people featured in the film, ask questions of the filmmakers, and also read a provocative and thoughtful essay by Professor Lori Andrews of the Chicago-Kent College of Law about the ethical ramifications of various reproductive technologies. Visitors will not want to miss the “Talkback” area, which features some rather heated debate and a few retorts, which might be expected given the sensitive material covered by such a program.
Flashback from The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 1986
June 6, 2006 message from Ganesh M. Pandit [profgmp@HOTMAIL.COM]
An article published in the March 2006 issue of the CPA Journal says "Accounting did not cause the recent corporate scandals such as Enron and WorldCom. Unreliable financial statements were the results of management decisions, fraudulent or otherwise. To blame management's misdeeds on fraudulent financial statements casts accountants as the scapegoats and misses the real issue....". The article can be accessed at http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2006/306/essentials/p48.htm
Any thoughts from anybody??
Ganesh M. Pandit
June 6, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
Shame on the Lin and Wu!
Enron's Chief Accounting Officer, Rick Causey, now sits in prison after having admitted to falsifying accounts. He refused to testify in the Lay/Skilling trial unless granted immunity from other prosecution.
Other Enron executives, including some accountants, have confessed to accounting fraud.
Accounting fraud committed by accountants purportedly because their bosses ordered them to knowingly participate in the fraud does not make the fraud non-accounting fraud no matter what the NYSSCPA Society tries to tell us.
The NYSSCPA Society published this Lin and Wu article. Recall that the NYSSCPA Society only took CPA licenses away from CPAs convicted of drunk driving and overlooked CPA fraud for decades in New York. I don't place much stock in this NYSSCPA Society defense of accountants. I don't find the article that you mention even worth citing. The authors did not do their homework on the Enron or Worldcom scandals.
When Andersen auditor Carl Bass sniffed out both charge-off and derivatives accounting fraud, his boss David Duncan had him removed from the Enron audit.
The Worldcom fraud was Accounting 101 where over $1 billion in expenses were knowingly capitalized by the CFO and top accounting executives. The top accountant mainly involved confessed that he knew what he did was against the law but played along because of his need for the large paycheck. Only when Worldcom internal auditor Cynthia Cooper finally figured out what was going on and refused to play along was this enormous accounting fraud brought to light.
These were huge ACCOUNTANT frauds contrary to what the Lin and Wu would like to make you believe with a whitewash article that should be beneath the professional standards of a CPA society. CPAs are under tremendous pressure to lobby on behalf of clients to water down Section 404 of SOX. The NYSSCPA is simply playing along with defending accountants who knowingly committed felonies. Now if they also had DWI convictions they'd be in bigger trouble with the NYSSCPA Society.
June 6, 2006 reply from Ganesh M. Pandit [profgmp@HOTMAIL.COM]
I don't think that this article is trying establish that this is not an accounting fraud...regardless of the title of the article. It is only saying that there were several parties in addition to the accountants who helped this fraud! :)
June 6, 2006 reply from Roger Collins [rcollins@TRU.CA]
Let's think about this a minute...
It must be obvious from all the media reports that there were "parties in addition to the accountants". Lay was not an accountant; Skilling was not an accountant; Fastow never qualified as a CPA. So, if the Lin & Wu paper is merely stating the obvious, why publish it?
The only obvious answer is that the paper was approved for publication, not as a professional, but a political, statement. As Bob says,
"CPAs are under > tremendous pressure to lobby on behalf of clients to water down Section > 404 of SOX. The NYSSCPA is simply playing along with these clients and > their CPAs."
Think for a moment about how articles are read and interpreted. Most academic articles are published in so-called "academic" journals - to be read by other academics and thereafter consigned to the dust of history. A few establish new theories or lines of enquiry; rather more either mine an already existing line of enquiry or justify themselves in other ways such as maintaining or establishing academic reputations. Dr Johnson famously wrote "No man but a fool ever wrote, except for money" - and the money doesn't have to be a direct flow of cash. There are a few selfless souls who find academic accounting an end in itself, but they are thin on the ground.
Most professional articles are read far more widely. But they are often skimmed or "headlined", with summaries - or less - tossed around for any manner of reasons. Whether it was their intention or not, what L and W have done is to provide ammunition in the defence of a group - accountants - who, as the NYSSCPA and other professional groups, seek to deflect responsibility and accountability when they should be engaging in a much more profound examination of accounting policies, procedures and ethics. Articles such as that by L &W are harvested for sound bites by the profession's apologists and replayed ad infinitum for the benefit of any politician / lobbyist who will lend an ear.And, as Bob says, that comes down to yet more pressure to roll back the one major advance in accountability the accounting world has experienced in a very long time. All in all, its NOT "A Good Thing".
TRU School of Business PS For anyone curious about the previously-mentioned Mandy Rice-Davis... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandy_Rice-Davies
June 6, 2006 added reply from Roger Collins [rcollins@TRU.CA]
After my last note, I came across this article, reporting on a piece of acdemic research that's in stark contrast to the W & L article...
A quote.... "Then came Sarbanes-Oxley, which required that option grants be reported within two business days. A new paper by Lie and Randall Heron of Indiana University, still unpublished, finds that evidence of backdating virtually disappears after Aug. 29, 2002, when the requirement took effect."
(My apologies if others have posted this previously).
TRU School of Business
Bob Jensen's threads on proposed reforms are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm
Bob Jensen's Enron Quiz is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnronQuiz.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on the Enron, Worldcom, and Andersen meltdowns can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm
From The Washington Post on June 8, 2006
"Big Four Firms Face Huge Potential Liability in Global Audits," AccountingWeb, May 22, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102172
Fear in the European Union (EU) of the potential collapse of one of the Big Four accounting firms surfaced this week when a briefing document, prepared for members of the EU delegation meeting in Beijing with Chinese officials on accounting and auditing issues, was shown to XFN-Asia. “The audit firms wish to have a limit of their liability, at least to acts for which they can be held directly responsible for. There is a particular fear that the next corporate scandal would reduce the Big Four to Big Three,” it said, according to AFX News Limited.
The audit giants have been lobbying member states for legislation that will limit their liability to shareholder claims. A study currently underway in the EU of the economic consequences of the liability issue will be concluded by September of this year, AFX News says.
“Towards the end of the year, I intend to be in a position to assess the options and decide what can be done,” the position paper said as a proposed response to a question about a collapse of any of the Big Four.
While the Big Four prepare for limited liability in the EU, China, a market in which they are all seeking a larger presence, is subjecting their audits to close examination and at times, public rebuke.
Last week, Ernst & Young (E&Y) was forced to retract data on nonperforming loans in China’s banking sector. E&Y estimated that China’s bank held $900 billion in bad loans, a number it later said was “factually erroneous” and “embarrassing.” But the official Chinese estimate of $164 billion is not accepted by most analysts, the Wall Street Journal says. “There are hidden NPLs there,” Mei Yan, a bank analyst at Moody’s Investor Services told the Journal. She said that Beijing’s estimates were based on a very narrow definition of a bad loan.
Deloitte and Touche has been sued in China for failing to expose falsified accounts in its audits of Guandong Kelon Electrical Holdings Co., AFX News says.
Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has been inspecting local affiliates of each of the Big Four firms and will issue a report in late June on the strength and independence of the firms, according to the Washington Post. Government officials in Japan, the Post reports, have indicated that they lack confidence in the ability of local Japanese firms to uncover fraud in their clients.
Chuo Aoyama PwC, a local affiliate of Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC), was banned from auditing for two months by the FSA last week. While PwC said that it would support the affiliate, it announced that it would form a new Japanese auditing firm that will compete with Chuo Aoyama, that it hopes will be running by July, the Post says.
Bob Jensen's threads on the woes of large accounting firms are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#BigFirms
"RevenueRecognition.com Launches Experts and Authors Program," AccountingWeb, May 23, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102185
The first installment of RevenueRecognition.com’s “Experts and Authors” program features an excerpt from Miller Revenue Recognition Guide, 2006 by Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Emerging Issues Task Force (EITF) member Ashwinpaul C. Sondhi and Scott A. Taub, acting chief accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The program is designed to provide in-depth insight and analysis on critical revenue and compliance related issues.
“Our Experts and Authors program will bring tremendous value to financial professionals who are struggling with today’s complex revenue accounting and compliance guidelines,” Gottfired Sehringer, Executive Editor of RevenueRecognition.com said in a prepared statement announcing the program. “With access to the latest ideas from practitioners and regulators, readers will have a better understanding of how to make important judgments for reporting revenue and managing compliance.”
RevenueRecognition.com is a website dedicated to educating finance professionals on revenue management and related issues. The Experts and Authors program is designed to deliver perspectives from top-notch financial professionals on issues such as: revenue recognition; Sarbanes-Oxley compliance; internal controls; corporate governance/ethics; SEC and FASB guideline compliance; Merger and Acquisition (M&A) issues; contract management; billing and revenue accounting; revenue reporting and forecasting; international revenue accounting; and industry specific revenue challenges.
Bob Jensen's threads on revenue recognition are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/eitf01.htm
Yale Center for the Study of Globalization --- http://www.ycsg.yale.edu/center/index.html
Archive of European Integration (Common Market) --- http://aei.pitt.edu/
U.S. Customs and Border Protection --- http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/home.xml
International Journal of Motorcycle Studies
"Hog Wild!" by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, May 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/05/31/mclemee
Okay, now, see, there are the stereotypes again.... I really should know better — having just discovered a new online publication called the International Journal of Motorcycle Studies. It came to my attention thanks to Political Theory Daily Review, itself an incomparable and altogether indispensable website. (For more on it, see this article.) Four issues of IJMS have appeared so far. The next is due in July.
The title might sound tongue-in-cheek. The contents most assuredly are not. The ratio of substantial, intelligent articles to resume-padding chuff would be creditable for a print-format scholarly journal — let alone one that exists entirely online, available to readers free. I expected numerous citations of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig’s quasi-autobiographical novel — in which riding cross-country cures the narrator of the nervous breakdown he suffered as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago. But such references are mercifully scarce. The reader is more likely to come across an allusion to Donna Haraway’s agenda-setting theoretical work on the cyborg (no longer a sci-fi concept, but rather something like a metaphor for the way we live now, in a world where human beings increasingly become the missing link between monkey and machine).
There is something rather cyborgic about academic/biker hybridity itself. In the contributors’ notes, an author will usually list not only scholarly credentials but also the make of his or her ride.
The emphasis of the journal’s articles, which are peer-reviewed, falls mainly on the social and cultural dimension of motorcycling, rather than its mechanics. Some of the best papers explore the history of bike clubs over the past century.
Or longer, actually. The Federation of American Motorcyclists, formed in 1903, emerged as a umbrella organization to incorporate enthusiasts from already established clubs, according to an interesting (and lovingly researched) study by William L. Dulaney, a visiting assistant professor of communication at Western Carolina University.
Dulaney does not reveal the make of his motorcycle, but he spent 10 years riding with an “outlaw” club. You picture him lecturing with a pool cue in his hand, using it to point to the chalkboard and to menace students (perhaps to their pedagogical benefit).
In this context, however, the term “outlaw” has a particular meaning that does not necessarily connote violence. An outlaw club is simply one that has refused the Foucaultian regime of subjective normalization imposed by the American Motorcyclist Association. They are not (necessarily) criminal — just sensitive to bureaucracy.
By the Great Depression, Dulaney notes, many clubs had embraced the “enduring biker pastime” of “the massive consumption of alcohol and general good-natured debauchery.” (It’s so important to have traditions.) In 1947, the AMA leadership denounced certain exceptionally wild clubs — for example, the Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington — in the name of the 99 percent of motorcycling enthusiasts who were clean-cut, law-abiding citizens. In defiance, some outlaw clubs accepted the label “one-percenters,” incorporating the symbol “1%” (inscribed within a diamond) into their club logos.
All one-percenters are outlaws. But not all outlaws are one percenters. Nor (archetypal imagery notwithstanding) do cycle clubs primarily attract Y-chromosome Caucasian lumpen roustabouts. The Motor Maids, the first all-female club, received an AMA charter in 1941 (and thus are not outlaws). Now in their 76th year, they still ride. And as another paper notes, there are also fundamentalist Christian clubs, and gay clubs, and ethnicity-based groups like the Ebony Angels and the New York club called the Sons of David. Some biker organizations are serious about maintaining sobriety, just as much as the Hells Angels are committed to avoiding it.
To learn more about the Footnote Gang (or whatever the group was that got IJMS started) I contacted Suzanne Ferriss, one of the managing editors. She is a professor of English at Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, and among other things the co-author of A Handbook of Literary Feminisms (Oxford University Press, 2002).
The timing of the telephone interview seemed appropriate. As Ferriss explained how academic-biker culture acquired its own journal, the distant rumble of Rolling Thunder came in through the window of my study.
It all started about six years ago, Ferriss said, in the wake of a series of panels at regional meetings of the Popular Culture Association. (It might be worth interrupting her narrative to give some background: Founded in the late 1960s, the association predates much of what is now called “cultural studies,” a field that only began to establish itself in American academic life about 20 years ago. The PCA’s own internal culture and outlook have always been far more populist than theoreticist. Not that its members are averse to analysis. But the PCA’s flagship publication, Journal of Popular Culture, tends to resemble a smart fanzine more than it does, say, a special issue of Diacritics devoted to “Six Feet Under.")
Anyway, to continue: People involved in the PCA sessions began working on an edited collection of papers. The volume was accepted by the University of Wisconsin Press, only to become a casualty of budget cuts. (The editors are looking for a new publisher.) But by then a network of scholars interested in motorcycle culture was taking shape.
“We had a list of about 300 people who’d been involved in the PCA panels,” says Ferris, “or who had expressed interest.” A core group of volunteers wanted to work on a journal, and Ferriss’s institution, Nova Southeastern University, was willing to host it online. The editorial board of six scholars reflected the sense that the journal should be international in scope: it had two members each from Britain, Canada, and the United States.
The editorial board also has an honorary member, best known as Sputnik — an activist prominent in the struggle against helmet laws. “The journal doesn’t have a position on that or any other political issue,” Ferriss told me. However, Sputnik’s advisory role lends the whole enterprise “biker cred.” As publisher of Texas Road Warrior Motorcycle Magazine, he is, as the saying goes, an organic intellectual.
IJMS also has an audience in the motorcycle industry itself. For example, it is read by the professional historians who work for particular companies. “We knew this was a subject that had a wider readership,” she said, “and that the journal would not just be of interest to academics.”
The first issue went up in March 2005. Since then, several editors and contributors have also had work in the anthology Harley-Davidson and Philosophy, published this year by Open Court. It’s an interesting collection, if by no means exhaustive. (The papers scarcely more than namecheck Gilles Deleuze, for example, even though his concepts of deterritorialization, nomadology, and “line of flight” seem quite biker-friendly.) But the paper by Bernard E. Rollins, a professor of philosophy and biomedical sciences at Colorado State University, certainly has a great title: “ ‘It’s My Own Damned Head’: Ethics, Freedom, and Helmet Laws.”
Continued in article
P. D. James choices as to the top five mystery novels
"Murder, They Wrote The most riveting crime novels," by P. D. James, The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110008466
1. "Tragedy at Law" by Cyril Hare (Harcourt, Brace, 1943).
For me there is particular charm in books written before or during World War II, not least because I find myself engrossed in that very different world. In "Tragedy at Law" we travel with a High Court judge, Mr. Justice Barber, as he moves in state from town to town presiding over cases. But someone obviously wishes him dead, and twice he narrowly escapes. The amateur detective is a defending barrister, Francis Pettigrew, once in love with the judge's wife and a man of ability and probity who has never quite achieved success. Author Cyril Hare was himself a judge, and the book provides a fascinating portrayal of the judge in court and of the coterie of people, including barristers, who travel with him. Written with elegance and wit, "Tragedy at Law" is regarded by many lawyers as the best English detective story set in the legal world.
2. "The Franchise Affair" by Josephine Tey (MacMillan, 1949).
"The Franchise Affair" is an unusual detective story in that it contains no murder. It is, however, enthralling from beginning to end. A 15-year-old girl, Betty Kane, who has obviously been assaulted, accuses two eccentric and isolated women, Miss Marion Sharp and her elderly mother, of kidnapping, starving and forcing her to work for them as a servant. Opinion in their small town is outraged, and the two ladies are at risk from the mob as well as the law. The amateur detective, a local solicitor becoming set in his comfortable ways, takes on the challenge of defending the two women. The setting and the people come brilliantly alive and, despite the absence of egregious violence, the tension never slackens.
3. "The Moving Toyshop" by Edmund Crispin (Lippincott, 1946).
Edmund Crispin is one of the few mystery writers able to combine situation comedy and high spirits with detection. "The Moving Toyshop" is set in Oxford--a popular city for mystery writers--and has as its detective an eccentric amateur, Gervase Fen, a professor of English at the university. A murder is discovered in a toyshop, but when the police arrive the shop itself has disappeared. Suspension of disbelief is occasionally needed, but this spirited frolic of a detective story retains its place as one of the most engaging and ingenious mysteries of its age.
4. "Murder Must Advertise" by Dorothy L. Sayers (Harcourt, Brace, 1933).
Dorothy L. Sayers is a writer of the Golden Age still read with pleasure today. One of her most enjoyable novels, and the most credible judged as a mystery, is "Murder Must Advertise," set at Pym's Advertising Agency in London. A copywriter has written to the agency's chief saying that something undesirable is going on in the office, but before he can explain, his body is found at the foot of an iron staircase, his neck broken. Mr. Pym hires a private detective to investigate, and Lord Peter Wimsey, under the pseudonym Mr. Death Bredon, takes a job as copywriter. Before he unravels the mystery, five people will die and Lord Peter will be drawn into a vicious network of blackmail and drug peddling. The novel shows Sayers's virtues of originality, energy and wit. Anyone interested in what it was like to work in an advertising agency in the 1930s has only to read "Murder Must Advertise." Copywriters today may feel that little has changed.
5. "Dissolution" by C.J. Sansom (Viking, 2003).
"Dissolution" has established historian C.J. Sansom as one of the most promising new writers of detective fiction. The book is set in 1537, when England is torn by the Reformation. The terrifying Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and his power is being enforced by savage new laws and a network of secret informers. A team of commissioners is sent out to investigate the country's monasteries. At one, a commissioner is found dead, his head severed from his body, his murder accompanied by sinister acts of sacrilege. The hero, Matthew Shardlake, a hunchback lawyer, intelligent and incorruptible, is ordered by Thomas Cromwell to uncover the truth. His investigation involves him in treachery and danger, leading him to question everything he believes. The sights, the voices, the very smell of this turbulent age seem to rise from the page.
Ms. James's most recent mystery is "The Lighthouse" (Knopf), published in November.
As a former Guggenheim Fellow, I especially appreciate the following editorial.
"A Noble Virtue Under Siege: Do Americans still understand the meaning of honor?" by Josiah Bunting III, The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110008477
In our culture of therapy, self-absorption and celebrity, "honor" has very little cachet. An abuse of honor--say, by perpetrating a public fraud or acting duplicitously in private life--is but the occasion for the administration of comforting words of understanding, the application of medicines to assuage lingering anxieties and the invitation to appear on "Oprah," the better to explain the forces that, overwhelming meager resources of conscience and character, impelled a dishonorable act. Next may come an invitation to undertake the labor of a book, more fully to explore and expiate the fall from grace. Closure (as it is called) will then, at last, be obtained.
In short, there is no shame in actions once known as dishonorable, and the virtues that supported honor seem moribund. Chastity and modesty--so important to honor in social relations--are treated as relics from Jane Austen and "Little Women." When a high-school girl defends a sexual encounter on the grounds that an American president said that her particular act was not really sex, both she and her role model are, if not completely forgiven, understood to be, as members of the human family, subject to the same vagaries of uncontrollable temptations as you and I.
Things used to be so different. James Bowman's "Honor: A History" offers a brilliantly astringent accounting for the disappearance of honor as a normative standard of conduct in American society. Mr. Bowman traces the idea of honor from its classical origins to its aristocratic and democratic forms. Along the way, he discusses religious teachings (in Christianity and Islam), philosophical definitions (e.g., Aristotle and Nietzsche) and literary treatments (Arthurian legend, Shakespeare, Hemingway). Throughout, he cites the emblems of honor--or dishonor--in current events and popular culture. Perhaps most pertinent to the present moment, he surveys America's use of honor (and prestige) as causes (and justifications) for going to war, indeed for serving in the armed forces.
As late as the mid-1960s, lest we forget, members of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations prized "toughness" in foreign affairs and considered national honor a principal justification for fighting in Vietnam. There was a need, the architects of foreign policy felt, "to avoid a humiliating U.S. defeat (to our reputation as a guarantor)." What was on the line, Mr. Bowman writes, "was the 'prestige' that was really old-fashioned honor under a different name." Yet the war was not always justified to the American people in such terms, and when Richard Nixon promised "peace with honor," few believed him: Honor was, by then, understood as a slipshod synonym for "this is all we can take. We've done all we reasonably could for our ally."
In the West, the identity of personal with national honor was part of the fighting spirit in World War I, though it nearly sank in the slime of Passchendaele and the Somme. Its last florescence was in World War II, Mr. Bowman observes. And even then, "honor" and "duty" in the stiff, upper-class sense of the terms gave way, during the war, to a democratic ideal: the average guy "just doing a job." For America, this antiheroic theme was part of a national self-definition. "We were still, surely, different from . . . those old-fashioned jingoist or imperialist forebears who had been able to speak unashamedly of honor and its demands."
The rhetoric surrounding war changed over time--in Korea, in Vietnam, in the Balkans and now in Iraq. Governments came to feel, Mr. Bowman argues, that appeals to national honor, prestige and reputation for toughness no longer worked. The Marines may remain determined to keep their honor clean, but no such justification seems to animate the country as a whole in its role in the world. When terrorists took over Fallujah in 2004 and the Marines moved in to take them out, Mr. Bowman remembers a commentator saying: "This isn't about national security anymore: it's about pride and credibility." True enough, but the words were rare and tell-tale. Mr. Bowman notes that only in a post-honor society would such an explanation be necessary: Pride and credibility, he argues, are "commonly used substitutes for the old-fashioned sounding 'honor.' " They imply "jealousy for reputation" and the respect that countries and armies once demanded and expected.
Can honor be resuscitated? As Mr. Bowman notes, "honor is stark and unforgiving," and early-21st-century America does not like stark choices. ("Then it is the brave man chooses / While the coward turns aside," in the words of the old hymn.) "Character," meaning resolution, the persistence in right action whatever its costs, seems a quaint and Victorian crotchet. Citizens feverishly, fitfully, deplore the inadequacies of body armor for their Marines and soldiers; three days later, they have moved on. Did you say 32 Iraqis were blown up this morning, and a soldier killed, north of Baghdad? Shame. Let's see what that does to the president's poll numbers.
How well America understands its enemies' notions of honor--and how prepared the country is, itself, to act honorably--will be tested between now and the fall elections. A failure to understand, though not inevitable, may be writ large in a headline like this one: "Administration Announces Withdrawal of 28,000 American Troops by End of Year." As Vo Nguyen Giap and Ho Chi Minh must have smiled the first time they heard the word "Vietnamize," radical Islamists will rejoice at such a development, irrefutable evidence that America neither understands their own misbegotten notions of honor nor has the will, if it does understand, to act honorably in confronting them.
Mr. Bunting is president of the H.F. Guggenheim Foundation in New York.
Forwarded by Paula
I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives.
By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr. Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started and never finished."
So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a bottle of Kahlua, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos and a box of chocolates.
You have no idea how freaking good I feel. Please pass this on to those you feel might be in need of inner peace.