I recently sent out an "Appeal" for accounting educators, researchers, and
practitioners to actively support what I call The Accounting Review (TAR)
Diversity Initiative as initiated by American Accounting Association President
Judy Rayburn ---
Outgoing President Rayburn has some parting comments in support of her TAR
Diversity Initiative in the Summer 2006 edition of Accounting Education News
Tidbits on July 27, 2006
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Everyone is entitled to their own
opinion, but not their own facts.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan --- FactCheck.org ---
Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
For Accountants and Auditors (Fee-Based)
Sox (as in Sarbanes) Television (link forwarded by Ed Scribner) ---
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In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available
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I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Singer India.Arie's Latest 'Testimony' Hear a Live Performance in NPR's Studio
A Visit with the Soul Queen of New Orleans ---
'Grendel': An Operatic Monster's Tale ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5542123 All at Once, a
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Hard Rock From NPR
All at Once, a Blazing Introduction ---
Photographs and Art
Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Internet Public Library ---
The Internet Classics Archive ---
The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson ---
Abolishing of Christianity in England
--- Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) ---
The Pit And The Pendulum by Edgar
Allan Poe (1809-1849) ---
Wilhelm Von Schmitz by Lewis
Carroll (1832-1898) ---
A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles
Dickens (1812-1870) ---
Once hailed as the pioneers of citizen journalism,
Internet bloggers are, according to a new survey, mostly self-indulgent diarists
interested in one topic above all others: themselves.
"Blogging -- It's all about me: survey," PhysOrg, July 20, 2006 ---
Arrogance invites ruin; humility receives benefits.
Chinese proverb. I-ching (Book of
Changes) as quoted by Mark Shapiro at
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton said Sunday that
scientific and medical advances in fields including embryonic stem cell research
are being held back by a White House that puts ideology and theology ahead of
facts and evidence. "The last 5 1/2 years have been hard on science ... and
particularly hard because of the president's veto last week."
Mark Pratt ---
A paranoid is a man who knows a little of what's
William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) ---
He shall judge between nations, and shall arbitrate
for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears
into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall
they learn war any more.
Plowshares Collaborative Seeks Middle Ground in Conflict Resolution
The Plowshares Collaborative was formed in 2002 by
Earlham College, Goshen College and Manchester College to develop the strongest,
most distinctive undergraduate program in peace studies in the United States.
Funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., this institutional collaboration is
finding new, imaginative ways to address the problems of violence and related
challenges that confront America and most of the world today. ---
Some 44 years ago, when Soviet missiles in
neighboring Cuba threatened American cities, John F. Kennedy set one goal and
ultimately prevailed in achieving it: Remove the missiles.
Bejamin Netanyahu, "No Cease-Fire,"
The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2006 ---
We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being
courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies.
Ehud Olmert before he became Prime
Minister. He referred to his countrymen as "an exhausted people, confused and
without direction." ---
"Why are so many Jews liberal?" by Dennis Prager, Jewish World
Review, April 25, 2006 ---
The most frequently asked question I receive from
non-Jews about Jews is, why are Jews so liberal?
The question is entirely legitimate since Jews
(outside of Israel) are indeed overwhelmingly liberal and disproportionately
left of liberal as well. For example, other than blacks, no American group
votes so lopsidedly for the Democratic Party. And the question is further
sharpened given that traditional Jewish values are not leftist. That is why
the more religiously involved the Jew, the less likely he is to be on the
Left. The old saw, "There are two types of Jews — those who believe Judaism
is social justice and those who know Hebrew," contains more than a kernel of
In no order of importance, here are six reasons:
1. Judaism is indeed preoccupied with social
justice (as well as with holiness and personal morality), and many Jews
believe that the only way to achieve a just society is through leftist
2. More than any other major religion, Judaism has
always been preoccupied with this world. The (secular) Encyclopedia Judaica
begins its entry on "Afterlife" by noting that "Judaism has always affirmed
belief in an afterlife." But the preoccupation of Judaism has been making
this world a better place. That is why the Torah (the Five Books of Moses)
is largely silent about the afterlife; and it is preoccupied with rejecting
ancient Egyptian values. That value system was centered on the afterlife —
its bible was the Book of the Dead, and its greatest monuments, the
pyramids, were tombs.
3. Most Jews are frightened by anything that
connotes right wing — such as the words "right-wing" and "conservative."
Especially since the Holocaust, they think that threats to their security
emanate from the Right only. (It is pointless to argue that Nazism stood for
National Socialism and therefore was really a leftist ideology. Whether that
is theoretically accurate doesn't matter; nearly everyone regards the Nazis
as far Right, and, therefore, Jews fear the Right.) The fact that the Jews'
best friends today are conservatives and the fact that the Left is the home
of most of the Jews' enemies outside of the Muslim world have made little
impact on Jews' psyches.
4. Liberal Jews fear most religion. They identify
religion — especially fundamentalist religion and especially Christianity —
with anti-Semitism. Jews are taught from birth about the horrors of the
Holocaust, and of nearly 2,000 years of European, meaning Christian,
anti-Semitism. They therefore tend to fear Christianity and believe that
secularism guarantees their physical security.
5. Despite their secularism, Jews may be the most
religious ethnic group in the world. The problem is that their religion is
rarely Judaism; rather it is every "ism" of the Left. These include
liberalism, socialism, feminism, Marxism and environmentalism. Jews involved
in these movements believe in them with the same ideological fervor and same
suspension of critical reason with which many religious people believe in
their religion. It is therefore usually as hard to shake a liberal Jew's
belief in the Left and in the Democratic Party as it is to shake an
evangelical Christian's belief in Christianity. The big difference, however,
is that the Christian believer acknowledges his Christianity is a belief,
whereas the believer in liberalism views his belief as entirely the product
of rational inquiry.
The Jews' religious fervor emanates from the
origins of the Jewish people as a religious people elected by G-d to help
guide humanity to a better future. Of course, the original intent was to
bring humanity to ethical monotheism, G-d-based universal moral standards,
not to secular liberalism or to feminism or to socialism. Leftist Jews have
simply secularized their religious calling.
6. Liberal Jews fear nationalism. The birth of
nationalism in Europe planted the secular seeds of the Holocaust (religious
seeds had been planted by some early and medieval Church teachings and
reinforced by Martin Luther). European nationalists welcomed all national
identities except the Jews'. That is a major reason so many Jews identify
primarily as "world citizens"; they have contempt for nationalism and
believe that strong national identities, even in America, will exclude them.
Just as liberal Jews fear a resurgent Christianity
despite the fact that contemporary Christians are the Jews' best friends,
leftist Jews fear American nationalism despite the fact that Americans who
believe in American exceptionalism are far more pro-Jewish and pro-Israel
than leftist Americans. But most leftist Jews so abhor nationalism, they
don't even like the Jews' nationalism (Zionism).
If you believe that leftist ideas and policies are
good for America and for the world, then you are particularly pleased to
know how deeply Jews — with their moral passion, intellectual energies and
abilities, and financial clout — are involved with the Left. If, on the
other hand, you believe that the Left is morally confused and largely a
destructive force in America and the world, then the Jews' disproportionate
involvement on the Left is nothing less than a tragedy — for the world and
especially for the Jews.
"Rush Limbaugh needs to pick up a history book
instead of a doughnut," Kerry added. "It was a Democratic president who first
recognized the State of Israel. It was a Democratic president who first sold
Israel defensive weapons. And it was a Democratic president who first sold
Israel offensive weapons." Kerry continued: "The people of Israel and the Jewish
community don’t need Rush Limbaugh to tell them who stands with them, and no one
has time for right wing trying to score cheap political points while Israel
fights to defend its very existence."
Senator John Kerry, "Kerry on Rush
and Israel Idea that Republicans back Jewish state ruffles senator," World
Net Daily, July 21, 2006 ---
Senator Kerry Proclaims: "We have to destroy Hezbollah!"
Hezbollah guerillas should have been targeted with
other terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaida and the Taliban, which operate
in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kerry said. However, Bush, has focused military
strength on Iraq. "This is about American security and Bush has failed. He has
made it so much worse because of his lack of reality in going into Iraq.…We
have to destroy Hezbollah," he said.
Senator John Kerry, Drudge Report,
July 23, 2006 ---
If we'd stayed out of Iraq and "destroyed Hezbollah" this probably would've
entailed declaring war on Iran since Hezbollah is Iran. President Kerry would
have declared war on Hezbollah if it entailed war with Iran? Yeah right! This
sounds to me like political doublespeak. The Websites of antiwar Democrats
Barbara Streisand, George Clooney, and Michael Moore are not criticizing current
Israeli efforts to destroy Hezbollah, although Moore does bemoan the Israeli
attack on the U.N. observer post. I guess these movie celebrities are not as
much against all war as they are against the GOP. Even The New York Times
is in favor of destroying Hezbollah with war.
A Totally Out of Character Editorial in The New York Times
"Intellectual confusion on terror," The Washington Times, July 23,
Two days ago, the New York Times suggested an
out-of-character response to dealing with the crisis in the Middle East
should the U.N. Security Council fail to enforce Resolution 1559, which
requires Hezbollah to disarm. "If the Security Council isn't willing to
issue such explicit demands or link them to clear punishments," the paper
editorialized, "the United States, Europe and key Arab allies, who are also
eager to see the fighting and Hezbollah contained, will have to bring
serious pressure on their own." Of course, the editorial continued, "[t]he
United States will have to take the lead."
The NYT's argument that the United States may be forced to assemble and
lead a coalition if the Security Council fails to act represents a
remarkable change in perspective from just three years ago.
This is the same editorial page, after all, that claimed in March 2003
that it was "persuaded of the vital need to disarm Iraq. But it is a process
that should go through the United Nations." The Times consistently chided
President Bush for not being more patient with the United Nations, even when
it became clear that no action could be expected from the Security Council.
It's curious that the Times predicated the necessary action to resolve one
dangerous situation on U.N. approval (an editorial, also in March 2003,
declared that "[t]he threat of force... should not give way to the use of
force until peaceful paths to Iraqi disarmament have been exhausted and the
Security Council gives its assent to war") but is now willing to wave that
condition in order to deal with Hezbollah. Friday's editorial fails to
explain why the Times believes two situations should be handled so
Continued in article
Did Syria shrewdly engage the Israeli military to do Syria's dirty work in
"Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in their last meeting before Hariri's
assassination, that if he pushed for Syria's withdrawal Assad would 'break'
"Nasrallah's Game," by Adam Shatz, The Nation, July 20, 2006 ---
In January 2004 Sheik Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the
Secretary-General of Hezbollah, presided over a major prisoner exchange with
Israel, in which the Lebanese guerrilla movement and political party secured
the release of more than 400 Arab prisoners in return for the bodies of
three Israeli soldiers and an Israeli businessman and alleged spy, Elhanan
Tannenbaum, whom Hezbollah had kidnapped. Moments before the exchange was
sealed, Ariel Sharon withheld three Lebanese detainees, one of whom, Samir
Kuntar, had killed a family of three in the Israeli town of Nahariya in
1979. Nasrallah, having failed to release Kuntar and the two other men,
declared that Hezbollah would "reserve the right" to capture Israeli
soldiers until the men were freed.
On July 12 Nasrallah launched the most daring
assault of his tenure as Hezbollah's leader: the capture of two Israeli
soldiers in a raid that left eight other Israeli soldiers dead. He called
the attack "Operation Truthful Promise."
. . .
Nasrallah's objectives most likely lie elsewhere.
Since the 2000 Israeli withdrawal ("the first Arab victory in the history of
the Arab-Israeli conflict," as Nasrallah often notes), Hezbollah has faced
mounting pressure, from the West but also at home, to lay down its arms and
become a purely political organization--a fate the party dreads, since it
prides itself on being a vanguard of Islamic resistance to American and
Israeli ambitions in the Middle East. This pressure dramatically intensified
with UN Security Council resolution 1559 (2004), which called for the
disbanding of all Lebanese militias, and with the withdrawal of Syrian
troops from Lebanon last year. By conducting a raid that was likely to
provoke a brutal Israeli reprisal, Nasrallah may have gambled that the fury
of the Lebanese would soon turn from Hezbollah to the Jewish state, thereby
providing a justification for "the national resistance" as Lebanon's only
deterrent against Israel. So far, Israel (with the full support of the Bush
Administration) has played right into his hands, inflicting more than 300
casualties, nearly all of them civilians, and pounding the civilian
infrastructure, eliciting sympathy for Hezbollah even among some Lebanese
Christians. By striking at Israel's Army during its most destructive
campaign in Palestine since 2002's "Operation Defensive Shield," Nasrallah
must have known that he would earn praise throughout the Muslim world for
coming to the aid of Palestinians abandoned by the region's authoritarian
governments, a number of which have pointedly chastised Nasrallah's
"adventurism." And by bloodying Israel's nose, Hezbollah could once again
bolster its aura in the wider Arab world as a redoubtable "resistance"
force, a model it seeks to promote regionally, especially in Palestine,
where Nasrallah is a folk hero, and in Iraq, where Muqtada al-Sadr, the
leader of the radical Shiite Mahdi Army, has proclaimed himself a follower
of Hezbollah and has threatened to renew attacks against US forces in
solidarity with the Lebanese.
Operation Truthful Promise was also, in part, a
service rendered to Hezbollah's patrons in Damascus and Tehran, whether or
not Bashar al-Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were consulted beforehand. The
Syrian President warned former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in
their last meeting before Hariri's assassination, that if he pushed for
Syria's withdrawal Assad would "break" Lebanon. With Hezbollah's raid, Assad
may have found a way to get Israel to break Lebanon for him--a wish that
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz were
more than happy to fulfill. Damascus may be facing renewed threats, but
Assad can now bask in Nasrallah's glow without directly engaging the Israeli
military, which, as he knows, is divided on whether to depose him (since the
only realistic alternative to the secular Baath regime is the fundamentalist
Muslim Brotherhood); Lebanese anger has been redirected from Syria back to
Israel; Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora looks on helplessly as the
Israelis strafe his country; and the West has been warned that Lebanon will
remain fractured, volatile and incapable of controlling its borders unless
Syria's interests (particularly in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights) are
taken into account. President Ahmadinejad, for his part, can thank Nasrallah
for diverting attention from the controversy over Iran's nuclear program,
and for burnishing the Islamic republic's reputation as a staunch defender
of Palestinian rights--and, not least, of Muslim Jerusalem--in a region
whose other (largely Sunni Arab) governments have compromised with the
enemy. And the spectacular display of Hezbollah's Iranian-made weaponry,
which have reached further into Israel than even the Israelis feared, and of
the group's sophistication in deploying them, have reminded Israel and the
United States of the "surprises" (Nasrallah's word) in store in the event of
an attack on Iran.
Nasrallah is under no illusions that his small
guerrilla movement can defeat the Israeli Army. But he can lose militarily
and still score a political victory, particularly if the Israelis continue
visiting suffering on Lebanon, whose government, as they well know, is
powerless to control Hezbollah. Nasrallah, whom the Israelis attempted to
assassinate on July 19 with a twenty-three-ton bomb attack on an alleged
Hezbollah bunker, is doubtless aware that he may share the fate of his
predecessor, Abbas Musawi, who was killed in an Israeli helicopter gunship
attack in 1992. But Hezbollah outlived Musawi and grew exponentially, thanks
in part to its followers' passion for martyrdom. To some, Nasrallah's raid
may look like a death wish. But it is almost
impossible to defeat someone who has no fear of death.
Continued in article
It's hard to beat them because they're not afraid of anything as long as
they can hide among children
Israeli troops returning from the front described
Hezbollah guerrillas hiding among civilians and in underground bunkers two or
three stories deep _ evidence, they say, that Hezbollah has been planning this
battle for many years. "It's hard to beat them," one soldier said. "They're not
afraid of anything." The soldiers, most of whom declined to give their names
under orders from superiors, described exchanges of gunfire in between houses on
village streets, with Hezbollah guerrillas sometimes popping out of bushes to
fire Kalashnikovs, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles.
Kathy Gannon, "Arabs Press Syria to End Hezbollah Support," Breitbart,
July 23, 2006 ---
Faisal Devji, author of Landscapes of the Jihad, explains how the
London bombers were driven by pity – that most 'dangerous and bitter passion'.
Millions, perhaps even billions of words have been
written about al-Qaeda since 9/11, all of them struggling to explain this
network’s origins, belief systems and methods. Scores of books on Osama bin
Laden and his henchmen have hit the shelves (many of which, for my sins, I have
read), and thousands of articles have been published (some of which I wrote).
For me, one of the most interesting of the many texts on al-Qaeda is Faisal
Devji’s Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity, published last
year. Devji cuts through the two most common perceptions about al-Qaeda: that it
is political or religious. In fact, he says, it cannot be understood as a
political movement in any traditional sense; indeed, it has dispensed with ‘an
old-fashioned politics tied to states and citizenship’ (1). It is not
traditionally religious, either, he argues, in the sense that it does not follow
any recognisable Islamic hierarchy and chops and changes the religious
justifications for its actions.
Brendan O’Neill, "An explosion of pity," Spiked Online, July 21, 2006 ---
How to get more science majors: Don't be so tough on grades and
Huge Differences Between Grades in English versus Math Courses
Science students get worse grades than non-science
students. No comprehensive data for the distribution of grades around the nation
by discipline exists, but in 1998 the College Board
surveyed a representative sample of 21 selective
institutions to find out how students who took Advanced Placement courses in
high school were performing in college. The data show that, when students who
got AP credit and were taking second-level college courses (as opposed to intro
classes) were compared, non-science students got much better grades. In English
courses surveyed, 85 percent of those high-achieving students that were surveyed
received A’s or B’s. That’s compared to 54 percent of those students in math
courses.Paul Romer, an economics professor at the Graduate School of Business at
Stanford University, who has studied the issue, wrote in an
article for Stanford Business that “the grades
assigned in science courses are systematically lower than grades in other
disciplines, and students rely heavily on grades as signals about the fields for
which they are best suited.” Thus, he concluded, students usher themselves out
of the science track.
David Epstein, "So That’s Why They’re Leaving," Inside Higher Ed, July
26, 2006 ---
"The Real Reasons Students Can’t Write," by Laurence Musgrove,
Inside Higher Ed, April 28, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Hacking into a professor's computer to change grades of 300 students
Two students at California State University at
Northridge have been charged by state authorities with illegally hacking into a
professor’s computer account to change their grades and the grades of nearly 300
Los Angeles Times reported. The students told
authorities that they thought the professor was unfair.
Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2006 ---
July 28, 2006 Update
Two students each face up to a year in jail for a prank
that involved hacking into a professor's computer, giving grades to other
students and sending pizza, magazine subscriptions and CDs to the professor's
home. Chen, 20, and Jennifer Ngan, 19, face misdemeanor charges of illegally
accessing computers. The pair, both students of California State University,
Northridge, are scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 21.
"Students Face 1 Year in Jail for Hacking," PhysOrg, July 28, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon's surface after
Neil Armstrong, says space agency bosses covered up their UFO sighting
"MAN ON MOON: WE SAW A UFO: Astronauts' close encounter," by Mike
Swain, The Daily Record, July 24, 2006 ---
The first men to walk on the Moon reported seeing a
UFO, a new TV documentary reveals.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on
the Moon's surface after Neil Armstrong, says space agency bosses covered up
And the Apollo 11 astronauts were also careful not
to talk ab out it openly.
He said: "There was something out there, close
enough to be observed, and what could it be?
"Now, obviously the three of us weren't going to
blurt out, 'Hey, Houston, we've got something moving alongside of us and we
don't know what it is, you know?
"Can you tell us what it is?'
"We weren't about to do that, because we knew that
that those transmissions would be heard by all sorts of people and somebody
might have demanded we turn back because of aliens or whatever the reason
The documentary, tonight on Five, also reveals that
the astronauts had to repair the lunar module with a ballpoint pen after the
historic landing in July 1969.
In the cramped conditions, someone's bulky
spacesuit had snapped off a circuit breaker essential for starting up the
To this day, Aldrin treasures the everyday object
that saved their lives.
He said: "I used a pen, one of several that we had
on board that didn't have metal on the end, and we used that to push the
circuit breaker in."
The programme also draws on classified documents
made public for the first time.
Should Academic Left Defend Churchill?
The debate might be summed up in an analogy offered by
one of the faculty panels that reviewed Churchill and found that he committed,
all kinds of research misconduct. Committee members
said that they were uncomfortable with the fact that Colorado ignored serious
allegations against Churchill for years, and took them seriously only when his
politics attracted attention. The panel compared the situation to one in which a
motorist is stopped for speeding because a police officer doesn’t like the
bumper sticker on her car. If she was speeding, she was speeding — regardless of
the officer’s motives, the panel said.
Scott Jaschik, "Should Academic Left Defend Churchill?" Inside Higher Ed,
July 25, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at
Should the academic freedom principles guarantee the right to teach astrology?
"Conspiracy Theories 101," by Stanley Fish, The New York Times, July
23, 2006 ---
KEVIN BARRETT, a lecturer at the University of
Wisconsin at Madison, has now taken his place alongside Ward Churchill of
the University of Colorado as a college teacher whose views on 9/11 have led
politicians and ordinary citizens to demand that he be fired.
Mr. Barrett, who has a one-semester contract to
teach a course titled “Islam: Religion and Culture,” acknowledged on a radio
talk show that he has shared with students his strong conviction that the
destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job perpetrated by the
American government. The predictable uproar ensued, and the equally
predictable battle lines were drawn between those who disagree about what
the doctrine of academic freedom does and does not allow.
Mr. Barrett’s critics argue that academic freedom
has limits and should not be invoked to justify the dissemination of lies
and fantasies. Mr. Barrett’s supporters (most of whom are not partisans of
his conspiracy theory) insist that it is the very point of an academic
institution to entertain all points of view, however unpopular. (This was
the position taken by the university’s provost, Patrick Farrell, when he
ruled on July 10 that Mr. Barrett would be retained: “We cannot allow
political pressure from critics of unpopular ideas to inhibit the free
exchange of ideas.”)
Both sides get it wrong. The problem is that each
assumes that academic freedom is about protecting the content of a
professor’s speech; one side thinks that no content should be ruled out in
advance; while the other would draw the line at propositions (like the
denial of the Holocaust or the flatness of the world) considered by almost
everyone to be crazy or dangerous.
But in fact, academic freedom has nothing to do
with content. It is not a subset of the general freedom of Americans to say
anything they like (so long as it is not an incitement to violence or is
treasonous or libelous). Rather, academic freedom is the freedom of
academics to study anything they like; the freedom, that is, to subject any
body of material, however unpromising it might seem, to academic
interrogation and analysis.
Academic freedom means that if I think that there
may be an intellectual payoff to be had by turning an academic lens on
material others consider trivial — golf tees, gourmet coffee, lingerie ads,
convenience stores, street names, whatever — I should get a chance to try.
If I manage to demonstrate to my peers and students that studying this
material yields insights into matters of general intellectual interest,
there is a new topic under the academic sun and a new subject for classroom
In short, whether something is an appropriate
object of academic study is a matter not of its content — a crackpot theory
may have had a history of influence that well rewards scholarly scrutiny —
but of its availability to serious analysis. This point was missed by the
author of a comment posted to the blog of a University of Wisconsin law
professor, Ann Althouse: “When is the University of Wisconsin hiring a
professor of astrology?” The question is obviously sarcastic; its intention
is to equate the 9/11-inside-job theory with believing in the predictive
power of astrology, and to imply that since the university wouldn’t think of
hiring someone to teach the one, it should have known better than to hire
someone to teach the other.
But the truth is that it would not be at all
outlandish for a university to hire someone to teach astrology — not to
profess astrology and recommend it as the basis of decision-making (shades
of Nancy Reagan), but to teach the history of its very long career. There
is, after all, a good argument for saying that Shakespeare, Chaucer and
Dante, among others, cannot be fully understood unless one understands
The distinction I am making — between studying
astrology and proselytizing for it — is crucial and can be generalized; it
shows us where the line between the responsible and irresponsible practice
of academic freedom should always be drawn. Any idea can be brought into the
classroom if the point is to inquire into its structure, history, influence
and so forth. But no idea belongs in the classroom if the point of
introducing it is to recruit your students for the political agenda it may
be thought to imply.
And this is where we come back to Mr. Barrett, who,
in addition to being a college lecturer, is a member of a group calling
itself Scholars for 9/11 Truth, an organization with the decidedly political
agenda of persuading Americans that the Bush administration “not only
permitted 9/11 to happen but may even have orchestrated these events.”
Is the fact of this group’s growing presence on the
Internet a reason for studying it in a course on 9/11? Sure. Is the
instructor who discusses the group’s arguments thereby endorsing them? Not
at all. It is perfectly possible to teach a viewpoint without embracing it
and urging it. But the moment a professor does embrace and urge it, academic
study has ceased and been replaced by partisan advocacy. And that is a
moment no college administration should allow to occur.
Provost Farrell doesn’t quite see it that way,
because he is too hung up on questions of content and balance. He thinks
that the important thing is to assure a diversity of views in the classroom,
and so he is reassured when Mr. Barrett promises to surround his
“unconventional” ideas and “personal opinions” with readings “representing a
variety of viewpoints.”
But the number of viewpoints Mr. Barrett presents
to his students is not the measure of his responsibility. There is, in fact,
no academic requirement to include more than one view of an academic issue,
although it is usually pedagogically useful to do so. The true requirement
is that no matter how many (or few) views are presented to the students,
they should be offered as objects of analysis rather than as candidates for
There is a world of difference, for example,
between surveying the pro and con arguments about the Iraq war, a perfectly
appropriate academic assignment, and pressing students to come down on your
side. Of course the instructor who presides over such a survey is likely to
be a partisan of one position or the other — after all, who doesn’t have an
opinion on the Iraq war? — but it is part of a teacher’s job to set personal
conviction aside for the hour or two when a class is in session and allow
the techniques and protocols of academic research full sway.
This restraint should not be too difficult to
exercise. After all, we require and expect it of judges, referees and
reporters. And while its exercise may not always be total, it is both
important and possible to make the effort.
Thus the question Provost Farrell should put to Mr.
Barrett is not “Do you hold these views?” (he can hold any views he likes)
or “Do you proclaim them in public?” (he has that right no less that the
rest of us) or even “Do you surround them with the views of others?”
Rather, the question should be: “Do you separate
yourself from your partisan identity when you are in the employ of the
citizens of Wisconsin and teach subject matter — whatever it is — rather
than urge political action?” If the answer is yes, allowing Mr. Barrett to
remain in the classroom is warranted. If the answer is no, (or if a yes
answer is followed by classroom behavior that contradicts it) he should be
shown the door. Not because he would be teaching the “wrong” things, but
because he would have abandoned teaching for indoctrination.
The advantage of this way of thinking about the
issue is that it outflanks the sloganeering and posturing both sides indulge
in: on the one hand, faculty members who shout “academic freedom” and mean
by it an instructor’s right to say or advocate anything at all with
impunity; on the other hand, state legislators who shout “not on our dime”
and mean by it that they can tell academics what ideas they can and cannot
bring into the classroom.
All you have to do is remember that academic
freedom is just that: the freedom to do an academic job without external
interference. It is not the freedom to do other jobs, jobs you are neither
trained for nor paid to perform. While there should be no restrictions on
what can be taught — no list of interdicted ideas or topics — there should
be an absolute restriction on appropriating the scene of teaching for
partisan political ideals. Teachers who use the classroom to indoctrinate
make the enterprise of higher education vulnerable to its critics and
shortchange students in the guise of showing them the true way.
Stanley Fish is a law professor at Florida International University.
It has always seemed to me that professors should have extreme freedom to teach
what fits within the constraints of the curriculum plan adopted by the college
as a whole. Every college has what is tantamount to a Curriculum Council that
approves contents of the curriculum. The fact that Barrett is allowed to teach
that the President of the United States deliberately targeted the deaths of over
3,000 Americans on 9/11 implies that the University of Wisconsin has approved
this nonsense in the curriculum plan.
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Bob Jensen's threads on the saga of Ward Churchill and academic hypocrisy are
Center for Science in the Public Interest ---
American Society of International Law (ASIL) Guide to Electronic Resources
for International Law
Bob Jensen's Legal Research Portals
From Rutgers University
Literary Resources — Theory ---
Yotophoto is the first internet search engine for finding free-to-use
photographs and images ---
Bob Jensen's helpers for writers and readers are at
Would President Bush veto this research as well?
"China looks to space for super fruit and vegetables," PhysOrg,
July 24, 2006 ---
The Shijian-8, a recoverable satellite, will be
launched aboard a Long March 2C rocket in early September, for a two-week
mission that will expose 2,000 seeds to cosmic radiation and micro-gravity,
the China Daily reported.
The "seed satellite" will enable scientists to try
to cultivate high-yield and high-quality plants, Sun Laiyan, head of the
China National Space Administration, told the paper.
"Exposed to special environment such as cosmic
radiation and micro-gravity, some seeds will mutate to such an extent that
they may produce much higher yields and improved quality," the paper said.
Nine categories of seeds, including grains, cash
crops and forage plants will be aboard the satellite, it said.
China has been experimenting with space-bred seeds
for years, with rice and wheat exposed to the universe resulting in
increased yields, the paper said.
Space-bred tomato and green peppers seeds have
resulted in harvests between 10 and 20 percent larger than ordinary seeds,
while vegetables grown from space-bred seeds have a higher vitamin content,
However the satellite to be launched in September
will be the first dedicated specifically for seeds.
China's space seed experiments come as the nation
seeks ways to feed its 1.3 billion people amid a rapid decline in farming
land due to swift industrialization.
The nation has pursued some forms of genetically
modified crops, with GMO tomatoes, soy beans and corn already in production.
China is also mulling plans to approve the production of genetically
Genetically engineered organisms can more efficiently produce ethanol
"Redesigning Life to Make Ethanol: Genetically engineered organisms can
more efficiently produce ethanol from cheap and abundant sources of biomass,
such as agricultural waste. It could make ethanol cost competitive," by Jamie
Shreeve, MIT's Technology Review, July 21, 2006 ---
Congratulations to Paul Williams Wolfpack
Representing North Carolina State University, the
team of Hannah Sadler, of Cary, N.C., and Jason Matthews, originally from Kansas
City, Mo., and currently of Raleigh, N.C., were declared the winner of the
Institute of Management Accountants’ (IMA’s) annual Student Case Competition
following a live finalist presentation at IMA’s Annual Conference and
Exposition. “IMA’s student Case competition is an excellent opportunity for
accounting students to develop their strategic planning, decision making and
presentation skills – critical skills required for success in the management
accounting profession,” Sandra Richtermeyer, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA’s
Professor-in-Residence and a professor at Xavier University, said in a prepared
statement announcing the winners. “We’re pleased to recognize the efforts of
outstanding accounting students through this award presented to North Carolina
"NC State Wins Annual Student Case Competition," AccountingWeb, July 24,
Where can you find a good retirement calculator?
"Financial Tools on the Web," by Kelly Greene, The Wall Street Journal,
July 21, 2006, Page B5 ---
Many readers emailed us notes like these when we
announced the launch of "Ask Encore" this month and solicited questions
about retirement-related financial issues.
Two of the most comprehensive
calculators we have come across are at
analyzenow.com, a Web site by Henry Hebeler, an
author and retired Boeing Co. executive. Begin by clicking on "Free
Programs." A preretirement planner there collects the information Mr.
Guttman lists, and can help you put together budgets for current expenses as
well as those expected in retirement to see if your savings are on track.
Retirement expenses such as medical bills (including Medicare Part B
premiums) could rise more quickly than inflation; this tool lets you tinker
with anticipated increases in future costs. One caution: To make your
predictions as accurate as possible, plan on spending at least a couple of
hours going through old financial records.
The postretirement calculator cranks
out the amount you can spend each year, using your age, number of years you
want the investments to last, taxes, income from investments (other than
your home), reserves, debt, Social Security, pensions, and any other income.
If you have a pension with no cost-of-living adjustment, make sure that's
taken into account. In the spot for reserves, be sure to include savings for
future home repairs and car purchases, too, Mr. Hebeler says.
A calculator at
figures out your nest egg's chances for outlasting you
by examining how it would perform in 500 hypothetical future economic
scenarios. (Click the applicable link below "individual investors," then go
to the "investment planning & tools" tab and click "retirement planning."
There, you'll see the link to the retirement-income calculator.) WSJ.com
also offers retirement-planning tools at
uses investment returns since 1871 to figure out how
often your strategy would have paid off historically. Of course, tools like
these come with a big caveat: Nobody can predict the future. But if, say,
firecalc.com indicates that your nest egg might have survived the Great
Depression and other financial calamities that have hit the U.S. in the past
135 years, at least you can take comfort in that.
• Ask Encore/Focus on
Retirement is a weekly column answering readers' questions about
retirement and personal finance -- from annuities and bonds, to trusts
and inheritance issues. Send questions to
Bob Jensen's threads on calculators are at
Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at
College is Possible ---
College Is Possible (CIP) is the American Council
on Education's K–16 youth development program that motivates middle and high
school students from underserved communities to seek a college education. As
the umbrella organization for higher education and a presidential
association, the American Council on Education (ACE) is uniquely positioned
to build a bridge between colleges and universities and their local K-12
community with commitment at the executive level. Resources
- Paying for College
- A Brief Look at Student Financial Aid Programs
- Basic Facts About College Prices and Student
- Financial Aid Glossary
- Myths and Realities About Paying for College
- Recommended Web sites, Books, and Brochures
- Preparing for College
- A Guide for Parents: Ten Steps to Prepare Your
Child for College
- Courses Students Should Take in Middle,
Junior, and High School to Prepare for College
- Recommended Web sites, Books, and Brochures
- Choosing the Right College
- Search for Colleges
- College Admissions and Financial Aid Calendar
- College and University Web sites
- Recommended Web sites, Books, and Brochures
Bob Jensen's search helpers for finding a the right
college are at
For distance education programs go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm
A Comprehensive Guide to Universities, Colleges, and Schools Worldwide ---
Bob Jensen's higher education helpers are at
U.S. not allowed to drill for oil off Florida, but this does not stop Cuba
"Cuba drills for oil off Florida," by Patrice Hill, The Washington Times,
July 24, 2006 ---
Cuba is drilling for oil 60 miles off the coast of
Florida with help from China, Canada and Spain even as Congress struggles to
end years of deadlock over drilling for what could be a treasure trove of
offshore oil and gas.
Republicans in Congress have tried repeatedly in the past decade to open
up the outer continental shelf to exploration, and Florida's waters hold
some of the most promising prospects for major energy finds. Their efforts
have been frustrated by opposition from Florida, California and
environmental-minded legislators from both parties.
Florida's powerful tourism and booming real estate industries fear that
oil spills could cost them business. Lawmakers from the state are so
adamantly opposed to drilling that they have bid to extend the national ban
on drilling activity from 100 miles to as far as 250 miles offshore,
encompassing the island of Cuba.
Cuba is exploring in its half of the 90-mile-wide Straits of Florida
within the internationally recognized boundary as well as in deep-water
areas of the Gulf of Mexico. The impoverished communist nation is eager to
receive any economic boost that would come from a major oil find.
"They think there's a lot of oil out there. We'll see," said Fadi
Kabboul, a Venezuelan energy minister. He noted that the oil fields Cuba is
plumbing do not respect national borders. Any oil Cuba finds and extracts
could siphon off fuel that otherwise would be available to drillers off the
Florida coast and oil-thirsty Americans.
Canadian companies Sherritt International Co. and Pebercan Inc. already
are pumping more than 19,000 barrels of crude each day from the Santa Cruz,
Puerto Escondido, Canasi and other offshore fields in the straits about 90
miles from Key West, and Spain's Repsol oil company has announced the
discovery of "quality oil" in deep-water areas of the same region, the
National Ocean Industries Association said.
Continued in article
The U.S. is not alone with its illegal aliens: European Union plans
emergency border squads and boats
A plan to create rapid reaction teams of border
guards to deal with European Union immigration crises has been unveiled by the
European Commission. The teams would be assembled by the EU border security
agency, Frontex, from lists of experts in member states. The plan would help the
EU respond to appeals for assistance, such as Spain's request in May for help
dealing with African migrants in the Canary Islands . . . Some 11,000 migrants
have arrived in the Canary Islands this year.
"EU plans emergency border squads," BBC News, July 19, 2006 ---
What's primarily to blame for lack of racial diversity on campus?
These plans don’t make much difference. The problem
is less a lack of good will than a lack of connection to facts on the ground.
Universities cannot remake the fundamental culture in which they exist, and that
is a culture in which the availability of minority faculty and, to some extent,
minority students, is decided years before a particular college or university
can affect the situation by internal policies.
"Affirmative Inaction," by Alan L. Contreras, Inside Higher Ed, July 21,
Do many college financial aid directors make the best interests of students a
“You should know the truth about financial aid
offices,” an ad in last Sunday’s New York Times read. “They’re supposed to help
you choose the best lenders. But in reality, they may steer you towards lenders
that benefit them. Not you. Unless you check for yourself, how do YOU know
you’re getting the best loan?” Well, that’s one way to grab attention. Not
surprisingly, the ads have rubbed many people in the financial aid world the
wrong way. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators is
planning a formal response to MyRichUncle’s aggressive ad campaign, and is
contemplating barring the company from its next annual meeting (MyRichUncle
exhibited at NASFAA’s annual conference this month in Seattle and sponsored the
opening session). MyRichUncle has even upset some financial aid officers and
experts who are intrigued by the company’s philosophy and are otherwise fans.
Doug Lederman, "MyRichUncle, InYourFace," Inside Higher Ed, July 21, 2006
"The Internet Is Your Next Hard Drive: New Web-based services don't
just store your data online -- they keep it synchronized across your laptop,
desktop, and mobile phone," by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, July
24, 2006 ---
Online storage systems
that can automatically synchronize the data on all of your computing
devices, including the PCs you use at home and at work and your smart phone,
are finally a reality. One industry watcher, Thomas Vander Wal, calls them
infoclouds": technologies that scatter your data
across the Internet and reassemble them on your preferred devices.
If you edit a photo or a
document and save it on your work PC, for example, these new services will
automatically update the online copy, then do the same for the copies on
your work PC or even your cell phone. This month,
introduced a service that synchronizes digital
photographs, and companies such as
are rolling out systems this summer that keep other
types of files in sync, including commercially purchased downloads such as
iTunes songs and videos.
With these new offerings
-- and assuming that broadband Internet connections keep getting faster and
more ubiquitous -- it might become unnecessary to store local copies at all,
meaning your hard drive could be entirely replaced by remote Internet
servers. Although that isn't likely to happen soon, the looming "data cloud"
is already beginning to obscure the once-paramount PC. "The more devices we
have that can access such services, and use them to share and synchronize
information, the less we need computers," says Alex Soojung-Kim Pang,
research director at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA.
synchronization feature, added to its existing
service a few weeks ago, is typical of the genre.
Users can set the MediaMax client software to keep either the entire
contents or selected files from their hard drives synchronized across
devices. "Once I associate MediaMax with a folder on my machine, then those
files will stay in sync, automatically, behind the scenes," says Michael
Corrales, Streamload's director of marketing. "And I have the option to
invite others to synchronize with my folder. So every time I upload a new
movie, my mother will receive a notification that it's there, and the option
to download, view, or delete it -- and if she's running the client
application, too, it will automatically download to her computer."
Streamload gives away
the first 25 gigabytes of storage and 1 gigabyte of downloaded data; heavier
users pay $4.95 per month for 100 gigabytes of storage and 10 gigabytes of
Similar services are
available from Israeli software outfit
and a Microsoft-owned company,
whose synchronization system is being folded into the parent company's
Windows Live Web services platform.
Sharpcast's service is
even simpler. Once the company's client software is installed on the user's
PCs and mobile phones, any change made to any photograph on one device is
automatically replicated on all of the other devices and on Sharpcast's own
servers. If the user takes a photograph using his phone, for example, a copy
is sent immediately to his Sharpcast website and home or office PCs. If the
user doesn't happen to be online when taking or editing photos, the system
queues updates for later delivery. "It's syncing without thinking," says
Sharpcast CEO Gibu Thomas. "You don't even have to push a button. The whole
process of manual uploads and downloads goes away." Later this year,
Sharpcast intends to let users synchronize other data, such as calendar
appointments and contacts.
What are two of the shocking developments in spyware and spam?
July 14, 2006 message from Richard Campbell
This is from a newsletter from sunbelt software -
developers of Counterspy, a spyware detection software.
CSN: What do you see as the latest trends in spam?
AM: I see four main trends. The first is that most
spam now comes from zombie machines so even if you are able to track the
spam back to the machine that sent it, there is nothing you can do about it
as the person that owns the machine most likely doesn't even know that his
machine is being used as a zombie and even if he did, he wouldn't know what
to do about it. This zombie phenomenon also leads to individualized spam as
the zombie code can access the address book and send legitimate looking
email to the zombie machine owner's friends.
The second trend I see is the increase in the
amount of image spam. That is spam that contains an image instead of text.
The spammer's message is contained in the image as a graphic image instead
of text so that there is no practical way to try and detect spam by looking
at the contents of the email. It's easy for the human eye to look at the
picture and read the text that it contains but it is very difficult for a
computer to do the same thing. Since it is so easy to change a bit or two in
the image, it is not easy to come up with a hashing algorithm (a way to
create a "signature" that can be used to determine if another image is the
same as the original one). There is a lot of work being done to try to come
up with ways of comparing images to see how "similar" they are but nobody
has come up with a workable solution so far. Currently, I'd guess the amount
of image spam is around 5% - 10% of the total amount of spam. I expect to
see this increase to 20% - 30% in the next year or two.
The third trend is the scariest and that is
phishing. I monitor the spam reported by our users so I get to see a pretty
good cross section and it scares me to see how good the phishing sites are.
They are so good that you have to be pretty savvy to detect some of them. I
feel sorry for all the non-computer types out there that will fall victim to
these. I have seen a dramatic rise in the amount of phish email in the past
6 months and expect to see that increase continue because there is so much
money to be made with very little effort or risk.
The fourth trend and is "returned email" I have
noticed a marked increase but I haven't had time to investigate. I suspect
that the bulk of it is spam/malware, especially those that have attachments.
It is particularly nasty because an attachment on a returned email doesn't
seem out of the norm. In fact, you kind of expect to see your original email
attached. Some of the undelivered email that I've looked at with attachments
doesn't have the original email there. Instead it contains spam or a link to
a malware site. You have to be real careful and make sure that the "bounce"
(rejected email) is actually something that you sent. Many times it is the
result of a rootkit having taken over your machine, turning it into a
zombie. If you see email bounced that you never sent, it is very likely that
you machine is infected.
CSN: What about image spam, what is it, and why so
dangerous or such a pain to get ride of?
AM: The primary use for image spam is to advertise
penny stocks. Most of this type of spam is part of a 'pump-n-dump' scheme
where the spammer buys a lot of a particular stock and then starts promoting
it via spam that describes what a great buy the stock is or giving the
impression that the company is on the verge of some major expansion or
discovery in order to get gullible investors to buy the stock. Once the
price goes up, and it can go up as much as 500%, the spammer sells his
shares and makes a huge profit. Since there was no real reason for the stock
to increase, it usually falls back to its original level or lower. Most of
the time, the company whose stock is being hyped is not involved in the
spamming so they end up being a victim of the spammer as well as there is
very little that they can do to keep their stock from being manipulated.
Image spam is only useful in situations where the
user doesn't have to communicate with the spammer. With normal spam, there
is a phone number to call or a button to click to order pills or whatever
the spammer is hawking but with image spam, there is no information that
links the email to the spammer as the typical stock add mentions the company
but not the spammer. This is what makes it so different from the run of the
I'm sure that it won't be too long before some
creative spammer comes up with another type of situation where one way
communication can be used to somehow flow money to them.
Richard J. Campbell
Bob Jensen's threads on spyware and spam are at
How can colleges best mix on-campus and online delivery of instruction?
"Going Hybrid," by Kristin L. Greene, Inside Higher Ed, July 20, 2006 ---
Too many college and university leaders think, “We
have an online program and we have a campus program, so we can probably just
combine the two to create a hybrid program.” This usually doesn’t work well
because online and on-campus programs often appeal to different people for
different reasons, and the delivery challenges for each are also quite
We’ve seen some great successes, and a few
spectacular failures, in the hybrid market model (in which 20-80 percent of
content is delivered online). From these examples, we’ve learned that
planning up front and being clear about objectives are preconditions for
success. Institutions considering hybrid models for a program, or even
several courses, must first create a “business plan” and clearly state what
they want to achieve, which students they plan to serve, and how they plan
to compete. When building this plan for your institution, you should keep
the following in mind:
The Goal. Why are you considering a hybrid
model? What is the business rationale? Are you trying to reach different, or
more, students, or trying to solve space constraints? Are you doing it
because you see an unmet need in your marketplace or because your
competitors are going hybrid and you feel the need to keep up? Are you
looking for a local, regional, or national audience? The national market is
becoming quite competitive, and programs in this space are becoming more
commodity like, so a program focusing on the regional or local market may
position your program for success.
Philosophy. A program with 20 percent of
delivery online and 80 percent on-campus is quite different from a program
with 80 percent online and 20 percent on-campus, yet they both qualify as
hybrid. Will you use the online component only for communication purposes or
for content delivery as well? How will you use adjunct faculty members — to
create the content, deliver it, or both? The philosophy you choose should
provide a blueprint or roadmap for how you will achieve your goals. Too
often in our work, we have seen institutions miss this step — they did not
identify their philosophy before jumping into the hybrid model, and later
found that it significantly impeded success. Without a philosophy, it is
difficult to communicate the value proposition internally or externally, and
it becomes challenging to make some of the difficult trade-offs inherent in
any new venture.
Target Consumer. What type of consumer is
your hybrid offering designed to attract? Adult learners tend to be more
open to an online experience because it allows them to balance their
professional and personal lives with their educational pursuits. Traditional
students — those aged 18 to 24 – tend to want face-to-face, classroom-based
learning. Corporations may prefer a little of both, to allow employees to
work and study at the same time. Segmenting the market by consumer types and
needs — adult, traditional, current, new, credit, non-credit — and designing
programs that fit these segments and needs are important early steps.
Integration. Integrating between bricks and
clicks is probably the single biggest point of failure for institutions
pursuing a hybrid model. Where does campus-based learning begin and end
relative to the online component? How do student services coordinate with
these components? What do you need to change about your student information
system? The challenges range from technology and training, to content design
and delivery, to student services. Be sure to prepare by thinking through
the entire system and how it will affect the students, the faculty, and the
Programs. Some courses and programs have
done very well online and would be logical candidates for a hybrid model
(e.g., business, IT, education), but not every course or program is
well-suited to a hybrid approach. It’s best to begin with an audit of
existing programs, dissecting the curriculum to determine how a hybrid model
might be applied. At the same time, you should do an external evaluation of
market demand and supply to determine where the best opportunities are for
introducing new programs. Again, if you consider local versus national
distribution, you may find that, on a local level, a particular hybrid
program may provide a competitive advantage in attracting students.
Core Competencies. What is your institution
known for? What do you do better than most of your peer schools? Focus your
efforts on maximizing the benefit of these core competencies and consider
outsourcing those areas that are not strengths, such as marketing, lead
management, student services, or technology.
Faculty Buy-In. Faculty members have a large
stake in content delivery because most of the time they supply the
curriculum. Whether you plan to offer incentives for faculty to adapt
content to a hybrid model or to outsource this function, faculty should be
involved in the discussions.
Hybrid courses and programs represent more of an
evolution than a revolution in educational content delivery. Hybrid delivery
represents a natural progression for many campus-based institutions to
investigate and perhaps pursue, and often can serve as a competitive
advantage in reaching a wider student population. Rigorously thinking
through process design and delivery components and planning carefully for
implementation will make the difference between those programs that succeed
in the hybrid arena and those that invest a lot of resources with little to
show for it.
Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of distance education are at
Updates from WebMD ---
Latest Headlines on July
20, 2006 ---
Latest Headlines on July
Latest Headlines on July
New Pill from Melbourne Research Team Promises to Cure Alzheimer's
"Pill promises to stop Alzheimer's," Sunday Herald Sun, July 23, 2006
In a world first, a Melbourne research team has
developed a once-a-day pill that could stop the debilitating disease in its
Human trials of the drug PBT2 will begin next
Professor George Fink, director of the Mental
Health Research Institute of Victoria, which developed the drug in
partnership with Prana Biotechnology, said it was a major breakthrough.
"I'm getting great excitement out of it, it's
certainly another Eureka," he said on Channel 10.
"If we can replicate in a human what occurs at the
lab bench then this will be of great, immense importance."
Prof Fink said the drug could prevent or delay
Alzheimer's from developing.
PBT2 works by attacking a build up of the protein
amyloid, which is thought to cause the brain to rust.
Clinical tests on animals have found the drug acts
fast, with amyloid levels dropping by 60 per cent within 24 hours of a dose.
About 700 Australians are diagnosed with
Alzheimer's each week, with that figure expected to triple within 40 years.
"It is a major breakthrough and very much a
Melbourne discovery," Prof Fink told the Sunday Herald Sun.
"Though much depends on the next phase of human
clinical trials ... early results indicate this drug offers hope to people
with Alzheimer's disease."
Continued in article
Sleep Less and Stay Fat
If you want to lose weight, get more sleep. In a new
article appearing in the current issue of Obesity Reviews, University of
Michigan researcher Michael Sivak presents calculations showing that replacing
one hour of inactive wakefulness—such as watching television—with sleep can
result in a 6 percent reduction in caloric intake. User rating 3 out of 5 after
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“Caloric consumption in a society with readily available food is likely to be
approximately proportional to the number of hours of being awake,” said Sivak,
head of the Human Factors Division at the U-M Transportation Research Institute.
“By replacing one hour of being awake with sleeping, we forgo a significant
consumption of food because of the resulting reduction in the opportunity to
"Want to lose weight? Try sleeping more," PhysOrg, July 24, 2006 ---
In 1957 when I was a first-year student at Iowa State University, I joined a
national fraternity and moved into the fraternity house, one of a nationwide
system of this fraternity's distinctive and attractive houses bright red doors.
It was an era when hazing was an out-of-control ritual. At the end of my pledge
period the pledges were not allowed to sleep for six days and five nights. In
addition to being observed in class and the library by day to be sure we did not
doze, we were required by night to build a long stone wall. One night we
were also dumped 20 miles in the country and were forced to walk back to campus.
The fraternity followed a hazing policy that declared that pledges deprived of
sleep must eat more, and so we were fed great amounts of food in that six-day
sleepless period. I concluded that, in spite of the great parties and social
interactions of the fraternity, much of what we were required to do was
silly, immature, and a danger to our health. I left the fraternity and never
looked back. Today the hazing is more restricted by college officials, but the
system is still one of forming unhealthy cliques that foster the
"superior-person" ego mentality and too much drinking.
"WHETHER IN MICE OR MEN, ALL CELLS AGE THE SAME, STANFORD STUDY FINDS,"
Stanford University School of Medicine, July 22, 2006 ---
We can dye gray hair, lift sagging skin or boost
lost hearing, but no visit to the day spa would be able to hide a newly
discovered genetic marker for the toll that time takes on our cells. “We’ve
found something that is at the core of aging,” said Stuart Kim, PhD,
professor of developmental biology and of genetics at the Stanford
University School of Medicine.
In a study published in the July 21 issue of Public
Library of Science-Genetics, Kim and colleagues report finding a group of
genes that are consistently less active in older animals across a variety of
species. The activity of these genes proved to be a consistent indicator of
how far a cell had progressed toward its eventual demise.
Until now, researchers have studied genes that
underlie aging in a single animal, such as flies or mice, or in different
human tissues. However, a protein associated with aging in one species may
not be relevant to the aging function in a different animal. This limitation
had made it difficult to study the universal processes involved in aging.
Kim’s work overturns a commonly held view that all
animals, including humans, age like an abandoned home. Slowly but surely the
windows break, the shingles fall off and floorboards rot, but there’s no
master plan for the decay.
That theory has left open questions about why
tortoises and rockfish are still partying like 20-somethingsat an age when
humans are considered relics. At the other end of the spectrum, flies die
off before young humans can even focus their eyes. Clearly, not all cells
fall apart at the same rate.
“Aging isn’t like the speed of light; it’s not a
constant,” said Kim. Why animals and even people age at different rates
prompted Kim to look deeper into the processes that control aging.
His new study suggests that the cell has a
molecular homeowner that keeps up repairs until a predetermined time, when
the owner picks up the welcome mat and moves out. Once that process kicks
off, the decay happens as a matter of course. The homeowners in tortoise
cells stick around for hundreds of years delaying the decay, while those in
fly cells move out within weeks.
Although Kim’s work doesn’t identify what triggers
that process, it does provide a way of detecting the point a cell has
reached in its life span.
In the study, Kim and his colleagues looked at
which genes were actively producing protein and at what level in flies and
mice in a range of ages and in tissue taken from the muscle, brain and
kidney of 81 people ranging in age from 20 to 80. The group used a
microarray, which can detect the activity level of all genes in a cell or
tissue. Genes that are more active are thought to be making more proteins.
One group of genes consistently made less protein
as cells aged in all of the animals and tissues the group examined. These
genes make up the cellular machinery called the electron transport chain,
which generates energy in the cell’s mitochondria.
Kim said the gene activity is a better indicator of
a cell’s relative maturity than a person’s birthday. One 41-year-old
participant had gene activity similar to that of people 10 to 20 years
older; muscle tissue from the participant also appeared similar to that of
older people. Likewise, the sample from a 64-year-old participant, whose
muscles looked like those of a person 30 years younger, also showed gene
activity patterns similar to a younger person.
These results confirm Kim’s assumption that the
rate of aging is at least in part genetically determined. Those study
participants whose tissues appeared younger than their true age had
something—something dearly sought by aging researchers—that made their cells
keep activating genes in a more youthful pattern.
The question is: What causes the electron transport
chain genes to slow their protein production and why? And why, if tortoises
can live hundreds of years, do flies self-destruct in a matter of weeks?
Kim thinks there must be some reason behind when an
animal’s cells are programmed to begin falling apart. He points out that
most animals begin to grow old at around the age when they would normally
meet their demise in the wild. It’s no coincidence, Kim noted, that 90
percent of mice get eaten in the first year and that mice start growing old
in the lab at around that age.
Kim suggests that aging wouldn’t have to happen if
cells weren’t programmed to fail. With a marker for aging in hand, he thinks
future research will reveal what drives the process. “People think of aging
and taxes as unavoidable,” Kim said, “but in the case of aging, that’s not
Other Stanford authors include graduate student
Jacob Zahn; medical student Rebecca Sonu; Hannes Vogel, MD, associate
professor of pathology and pediatrics; Ralph Rabkin, MD, professor of
medicine, emeritus; Ronald Davis, PhD, professor of biochemistry and
genetics; and Art Owen, PhD, professor of statistics. Funding for the study
was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Veterans
Affairs, the National Institutes of Health and the Ellison Medical
Stanford University Medical Center integrates
research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions -
Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. For more information, please visit the
Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at
Continued in article
The National Hurricane Survival Initiative ---
United States History (Philadelphia) ---
American Heritage ---
Bob Jensen's links to history learning materials are at
Why are Baptist colleges increasingly cutting ties with the church?
Appearance Versus Reality in Church Dogma and Education Integrity
“The future of Baptist higher education has rarely been
more fragile,’’ R. Kirby Godsey, the former president of Mercer University in
Macon, Ga., said in a speech in Atlanta in June. The Georgia Baptist Convention
voted last November to sever ties with Mercer. The issues vary from state to
state. But many Southern Baptist colleges and their state conventions have been
battling over money, control of boards of trustees, whether the Bible must be
interpreted literally, how evolution is taught, the propriety of some books for
college courses and of some plays for campus performances and whether cultural
and religious diversity should be encouraged. At the root of the conflicts is
the question of how much the colleges should reflect the views of their
denomination. They are part of the continuing battle among Southern Baptists for
control of their church’s institutions.
Alan Finder, "Feeling Strains, Baptist Colleges Cut Church Ties," The New
York Times, July 22, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
"Not Yet the Holy Grail: Nokia's Tiny Computer Is Crisp, but So Slow,"
by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2006; Page
Now, Nokia, the big phone maker, has come out with
a $360 pocket computer that aims to solve that problem. It's called the
Nokia 770 Internet Tablet and, true to its name, it concentrates on surfing
the Web. The 770 can also send and receive email and instant messages, view
images and videos, and play music and simple games. But its focus is on
displaying Web sites really well.
The 770 has been popular in Europe, at least among
techies, but has had little impact so far in the U.S., where it is available
only via Nokia's Web site (nokiausa.com/770) and a few other online outlets,
such as Amazon.com.
Since Nokia is a cellphone maker, it's odd that the
770 has no cellphone radio inside and can't connect to the Internet via the
latest cellphone networks, which now boast broadband speeds. Instead, it
relies on Wi-Fi wireless networking, which is faster but much less
ubiquitous than cellphone networks. It's possible to connect a cellphone to
the 770 and indirectly use a cellphone network, but as with all such setups,
this is a clumsy approach.
I have been testing the 770, and I found that it
performs its main function, Web browsing, better than any other pocket
device I've tried. But it falls down badly on many other tasks, partly
because of kludgy software and partly because it is agonizingly slow at
almost everything other than surfing the Web.
The best thing about the Nokia 770 is the hardware
design. It's a sleek, thin, horizontally oriented device with a handsome
black-matte finish and a small number of silver-colored buttons. It weighs
just 8.1 ounces, and is only 5.5 inches long and 0.7 inch thick.
Most of the surface is occupied by the very vivid,
bright display, which boasts by far the highest resolution I have seen on a
hand-held digital device -- 800x480, enough to display photos and videos
really well and to view many Web pages without scrolling. This is a higher
resolution than many Windows PCs commonly used 10 years ago.
By contrast, the screen on the Sony PSP portable
game player, generally hailed as excellent, has a resolution of just
480x272, although it's roughly the same size as the screen on the Nokia. And
the screen on the Treo 700p, which has the best resolution of any smart
phone display, is just 320x320.
Text looks very sharp on the 770, but it can be too
small to read easily. To help with that, Nokia has placed buttons on the top
edge of the device that can quickly zoom the display in and out, and put the
device into full-screen mode, banishing all menus and icons temporarily.
Unfortunately, this beautiful exterior hardware is
served poorly by the software, and by the processor and memory beneath the
covers, which are easily overwhelmed.
Using the 770's Web browser, I was able to
successfully, and fairly quickly, call up a wide variety of sites, and all
the ones I tried were rendered just as they would be on a regular computer.
In most cases, even though no horizontal scrolling
was needed to read the pages, I often had to use the zoom feature to make
out small text. Vertical scrolling using the stylus was easy. You can also
skip from link to link on a Web page using the gadget's five-way navigation
But the email program was so slow as to be
essentially useless. Even simple tasks like selecting and deleting emails
take forever. There's another reason the 770 isn't a very good email device:
Unlike the Treo, the 770 lacks a keyboard; so you have to tap out emails on
an onscreen keyboard or use handwriting recognition, which wasn't great.
The image viewer, and video and music players,
worked pretty well with pictures, song files and video clips I copied to the
770's storage card from my Macintosh via an included USB cable. But I
couldn't figure out how to do some simple things, like rotating a photo.
The user interface is confusing. The same icon is
used for both the Web browser and for turning on the Wi-Fi connection. The
email program is buried in the Contact menu and the picture viewer is buried
in a Utilities menu.
There are many more software oddities. The 770 also
uses an unusual, hard-to-find type of memory card for data storage -- a
"reduced-size" Multimedia card.
If you are a gadget geek, or just want to surf the
Web on a small device with a great screen, the 770 might be for you. But for
most mainstream users, the 770 is a disappointment. With more horsepower and
a revamped interface, it might get closer to the holy grail.
From Germany With Debits and Credits: Outsourcing of Accounting
DaimlerChrysler may outsource some of its accounting
work to countries that pay lower wages, German media sources reported.According
to the company’s works council, the German-U.S. car manufacturer is considering
the Czech Republic and India for some of the company's accounting work. The
works council opposes the outsourcing plan and has threatened a veto. "We are
saying without a balance of interest this simply won't fly," said Erich Klemm,
head of the council, according to a report in Monday’s Stuttgarter Zeitung. He
called the plan “the biggest restructuring program that there has ever been in
the auto sector.” DaimlerChrysler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche, who hopes to
save around $1.8 billion per year, wants to cut a fifth of the company's
accounting, personnel and strategic planning staff worldwide, Forbes reported.
In total, Daimler’s restructuring plan calls for cutting about 6,000 positions,
including 3,200 in Germany, Accountancy Age reported.
"Daimler Plan to Outsource Accounting Sparks Opposition," AccountingWeb,
July 13, 2006 ---
"Keeping Computers in Sync," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal,
July 20, 2006; Page B4 ---
Q: I travel among three
locations and I currently lug an eight-pound Dell laptop. I would like to
change this to having "permanent" PCs (either Windows or Mac) at each of the
three locations. What software can I use to keep them in sync?
A: I recommend a product
called FolderShare (www.foldershare.com),
which is now owned by
Microsoft, or a
competing product called BeInSync (www.beinsync.com).
Both do the job, though they differ. FolderShare can synchronize selected
folders among groups of computers, including mixed groups of Windows and
Macintosh computers. For instance, all the files in your My Documents folder
on a Dell can be synchronized with all the files in the My Documents folder
on an HP, or with all the files in the Documents folder on a Mac. But it
doesn't synchronize contacts and calendar items in Microsoft Outlook.
BeInSync doesn't work with Macs, but it does synchronize Outlook items, in a
For years I've used "GoToMyPC" which allows me to save files back and forth
between remote clients computers and networked home computers. The real
advantage of GoToMyPC is that no software need be installed on a client computer
such that public remote computers such as those in public libraries, Internet
cafes, and rented hotel computers can be used for file updating and
interactions. GoToMyPC is not a free service, although I think prices are
reasonable for this very ethical company ---
Lately I've been using a "free service" provided to me by Trinity University
(where I am an emeritus professor of accounting). This is called Cisco VPN
networked file access. The drawback is that the remote computers must have VPN
software installed by techies. It cannot be used on public computers that do not
allow personal software installation. Access also is somewhat slow due to VPN's
Accounting Made Easy: BillMonk Formalizes IOUs
A new field of accounting has sprung forth from the
software industry: “social money.” And a start-up company is servicing the
recently identified market, helping college students and young adults track
informal debt. “BillMonk helps you avoid the awkwardness of borrowing and
sharing. We track the debts that might otherwise be forgotten, and we do the
cumbersome money-math,” the company says. In short, BillMonk helps a circle of
friends keep track of who owes how much to whom. For example, a user wants to
report a debt like shared rent or an IOU to another person. He or she simply
enters it on BillMonk.com. This is easy to do, says a review by Michael
Arrington of TechCrunch.com, even for more complicated transactions, such as a
bill shared among a lot of people. Simply input the amount of the bill and the
e-mail addresses of those who participated. The BillMonk software keeps the
balance and sends out payment reminders, says Business 2.0 Magazine. Now, when
the check comes for dinner, the young party of five can avoid those awkward
moments of dividing up the bill at the table. It gets paid by whomever has cash
on hand, then BillMonk will let you know later who owes whom.
"Accounting Made Easy: BillMonk Formalizes IOUs," AccountingWeb, July 14,
What 's a recently measured non-human major contributor to global warming?
Gas escaping from the ocean floor may provide some
answers to understanding historical global warming cycles and provide
information on current climate changes, according to a team of scientists at the
University of California, Santa Barbara. The findings are reported in the July
20 on-line version of the scientific journal, Global Biogeochemical Cycles.
Remarkable and unexpected support for this idea occurred when divers and
scientists from UC Santa Barbara observed and videotaped a massive blowout of
methane from the ocean floor. It happened in an area of gas and oil seepage
coming out of small volcanoes in the ocean floor of the Santa Barbara channel ––
called Shane Seep –– near an area known as the Coal Oil Point seep field. The
blowout sounded like a freight train, according to the divers. Atmospheric
methane is at least 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is the most
abundant organic compound in the atmosphere, according to the study's authors,
all from UC Santa Barbara. "Other people have reported this type of methane
blowout, but no one has ever checked the numbers until now," said Ira Leifer,
lead author and an associate researcher with UCSB's Marine Science Institute.
"Ours is the first set of numbers associated with a seep blowout." Leifer was in
a research boat on the surface at the time of the blowouts.
Gail Gallessich, "Gas escaping from ocean floor may drive global warming,"
Eureka Alert, July 19, 2006 ---
Pretty in Pink
What's Great for Japanese Women, But Not Necessarily for Men?
"'Women only' signs make Japan's men fume," Julian Ryall, Scotsman,
July 19, 2006 ---
AT THE time, most people agreed it seemed a good
idea: carriages on Japanese commuter trains set aside specifically for
females would dramatically reduce the number of women being molested by the
chikan who get their kicks by having a sly fondle among the tightly packed
bodies. And it worked.
The idea was so effective that it was quickly
adopted by numerous train companies across the country, with pink signs
adorning certain carriages warning men to keep their distance.
What is less welcome, however, is the sudden
embracing of an entire male-free environment by whole sectors of the
Japanese service industry.
It has become so common to see "no males" signs
outside stores, restaurants, hotels, spas and even entertainment outlets
that the victims of this policy are beginning to grumble that they are
becoming second-class citizens.
"I completely supported the whole thing with
women-only train carriages, even though it made my commute more difficult
because there always seemed to be room in those carriages while us men were
squeezed together tighter than ever," one Tokyo businessman said.
"But now it's just getting silly. I couldn't even
get into my gym at my regular time last week because they have introduced a
'women-only' hour in the early evening."
Responding to a survey in the weekly news magazine
Aera, 55 per cent of men said matters have gone too far. Perhaps
surprisingly, 40 per cent of women agreed, saying the complete exclusion of
men amounts to sex discrimination.
Men turning up at restaurants are being turned away
because the women-only lunch special is on the menu, while convenience
stores, cinemas and even pachinko parlours - the pinball gambling game that
is the staple for the weary workers - are out of bounds for the boys, either
permanently or for parts of the day.
"All these other establishments are simply jumping
on the women-only bandwagon because they see an economic opportunity in it,"
says Toshiko Marks, a professor of multicultural understanding at Shumei
"It's well-known that single women today have a lot
of money, so companies are exploiting that. Men are definitely starting to
From the Scout Report on July 14, 2006
A number of browsers out there attempt to offer
improvements for existing products, and some do the job quite admirably.
Maxthon improves upon Internet Explorer by offering autoscrolling, a
newsgroup-browsing mode, and customizable skins. Additionally there are a
number of unique security features that provide protection against those who
would use the Internet for their own unscrupulous purposes. This version is
compatible with all computers running Windows 95 and newer.
AirPort Radar 1.1
People and their computers are growing hungry for
more wireless options as they travel for work, pleasure, and sometimes,
journeys that combine a little bit of both. This handy tool will be quite
useful for such persons as it scans the surrounding area for nearby wireless
networks. The program will tell users the signal’s strength, and also allow
them to attempt to connect to open networks. This application is compatible
with all computers running Mac OS X 10.4.
From the Scout Report on July 21, 2006
In this rather hectic world of deadlines, due
dates, and decision-making, it can be hard to remember: Did I fill out that
form correctly? While this program can’t help with that exact aspect of a
busy lifestyle, it can make it a bit easier for users to fill out online
forms. iNetFormFiller can be used to edit online forms, store personal data,
and also record any order of actions required to accurately fill out such
forms. This free trial version will work on computers running Windows 98 and
Whether they are images of the lovely Jersey shore
or the tremendous vistas to be found among the peaks of the Olympic National
Rainforest, all photos can be cataloged, displayed, and sent on to friends
via JAlbum 6.5. Visitors can customize their photo albums appearance with
different skins and also create any number of image folders. This version is
compatible with computers running Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, or XP.
How to get broadband Internet upload and download service in the boonies
WildBlue is lightning fast. Get download speeds up to
1.5 Mbps and upload speeds up to 256Kbps. WildBlue is available to virtually
every home and small office in America. Just enter your zip code so we can
verify your availability. Check out the minimum system requirements for the
WildBlue service. With packages as low as $49.95 per month, WildBlue is very
affordable. All of your ISP services like email and web space are included. Get
this great value in wireless broadband today!
Summary Information ---
A negative review is at
That review focuses on possible downtime for maintenance and bad weather.
WildBlue may still be the most cost-effective alternative for remote areas
(e.g., for pig farmers) not covered by cable and DSL.
Why not stay for lunch?
Multnomah County deputies say a male inmate snuck
into a female inmate's cell and had sex with her. He then pressed a call button,
to ask a guard to allow him back into his own cell.
"Multnomah Jail Inmate Sex: Sheriff Waits A Month To Admit Problem,"
KOIN News, July 24, 2006 ---
"Google profits, revenues rocket," PhysOrg, July 20, 2006 ---
The Internet search leader
said its net profit for the April-June period came to 721 million dollars,
compared to 343 million dollars in the same quarter of 2005.
The figure translated into earnings per share of 2.33 dollars, well ahead of
Wall Street's target of 2.22 dollars.
Revenue surged 78 percent to 2.46 billion dollars in the quarter as Google
entrenched its dominance of Internet searches and the online advertisers
"Google grew at an impressive pace during a seasonally slower quarter,"
company chief executive Eric Schmidt said in a statement.
"We continue to deliver valuable new products and services to users around
the world through our partnerships and investments in our business," he
"Our strong performance results from our clear focus on increasing the
quality of user experience, particularly in search and ads."
Google's stellar performance came after its leading rival Yahoo Tuesday
unveiled quarterly earnings that were merely in line with analyst forecasts.
Continued in article
What are computer viruses and where do they come from?
PhysOrg, July 20, 2006 ---
The history of medical viruses is outlined at
The history of computer viruses is outlined at
Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at
Identity Theft Resource Center ---
Bob Jensen's helpers for ID theft victims are at
Woodpecker (possibly nonexistent) halts Ark. irrigation project
A federal judge temporarily stopped construction on a
$320 million irrigation project Thursday, ruling the changes could disturb the
habitat of a woodpecker that might or might not exist.
"Woodpecker halts Ark. irrigation project," PhysOrg, July 20, 2006 ---
Denver choking on near record smog levels
Colorado is suffering through a summer of smog. With
temperatures topping 100 degrees this month in Denver and elsewhere along the
populous Front Range, routine activities like filling up at the gas station or
mowing the lawn are releasing fumes into a perfect cauldron for creating ozone,
a major component of smog.
"Denver choking on near record smog levels," PhysOrg, July 20, 2006 ---
July 14, 2006 message from Ivy Banaag
My name is Ivy Carla, and I work for ECNext, Inc. After reviewing your
website, specifically the Helpers for Searching the Web section,
wanted to propose you consider adding a new online textbooks site,
iChapters.com offers brand new textbooks, in electronic & print formats.
Electronic versions of college textbooks, including individual chapters, are
available for immediate download at affordable prices. Only at iChapters.com
can you choose to buy just what you need at the price you want to pay.
Students who frequent your website, especially those with a tight budget,
will surely benefit from iChapters. I am hoping that you can help them find
us by including iChapters (http://www.iChapters.com)
on your Helpers for Searching the Web section.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me (email@example.com) if you have any
July 17, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
I added your message to the following documents:
From The Washington Post on July 20, 2006
Which company will become the first to sell
downloadable mainstream movies that will give customers a "Burn to DVD" option?
Do industry ties always have to be disclosed to peer-reviewed journals?
"Think Before You Research," by David Epstein,
Inside Higher Ed, July 17, 2006 ---
Do industry ties always have to be disclosed to
peer-reviewed journals? What stipulations should researchers put up with in
return for money from the private sector?
These are just a few of the questions that the
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology wants institutions
and researchers to consider.
The federation released a report,
“Shared Responsibility, Individual Integrity: Scientists Addressing
Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research,”
which offers some ethical guidelines that FASEB hopes will spur widespread
discussion and that might eventually lead to consensus on some ethical
“This will be an unending issue for us,” said Leo
Furcht, president of FASEB, who has been both a researcher, a physician, and
an entrepreneur, and is head of the department of laboratory medicine and
pathology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “The vast majority
of researchers want to do the right thing, if they know what the right thing
is but … some of the conflicts are not obvious.”
Though FASEB officials acknowledged the
impossibility of rooting out all improprieties in biological research, they
said that more clearly stated principles could go a long way in
strengthening public trust in medical research, even as researchers embrace
and often seek funding or consulting work with companies.
Among the 19 “guiding principles” in the FASEB
report are: “Investigators shall not use federal funds to the benefit of a
company, unless this is the explicit purpose of the mechanism used to fund
the research,” and “Mentors and institutions should make trainees aware of
their rights and responsibilities in industry relationships.”
Guiding principle number nine — “Investigators
shall be aware of and adhere to individual journal policies on disclosure of
industry relationships” — is particularly timely.
Last week, the Journal of the American Medical
Association printed a note telling readers that many of the 13 authors
of a study published in February, which showed that pregnant women who go
off antidepressants can slip back into depression, have ties to drug
companies, including antidepressant manufacturers, which they did not
disclose. It’s the second time in two months that JAMA has had such
an experience with unreported conflicts.
In a letter to JAMA, the researchers
defended their work, saying that industry interests did not influence the
work, and that because it was funded by the government, they did not think
they had overlooked relevant disclosures.
A study by Harvard Medical School researchers,
which was published in JAMA in May, found that about half of medical
studies are now funded entirely by for-profit entities, and that such
clinical trials are more likely to find a positive benefit from whatever
drug or treatment is being tested.
Furcht said that many conflict of interest
questions remain in a gray area, like how much equity, if any, a researcher
should take in a company that funds research at their institution. “We think
there needs to be a greater consensus,” Furcht said. He added that the
attitude often taken is that “laissez faire is fine as long as it
works out,” but that it is not fine right now. “We have fallen short of
where we need to be.”
Robert Palazzo, president-elect of FASEB and
director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, said that the medical research community
is “relatively naïve about this terrain.”
Last August, some researchers showed their apparent
naïveté in a
Seattle Times investigation. Some researchers told
the paper that they didn’t see a problem with sharing their impressions of a
clinical trial — for which they had signed a confidentiality agreement —
with select clients from investment firms prior to the completion and public
dissemination of the study. The Securities and Exchange Commission and at
least one of the institutions home to one of the researchers named began
investigations immediately after the article appeared.
Furcht, who said he holds 30-40 patents, said that
researchers also need to learn the ins and outs of the patent process so
they don’t hurriedly make public results that could be patented and used to
bring money to a university. Furcht recalled an assistant professor who
published, without a patent, the discovery of a new signaling pathway in
detecting whether prostate tumor cells are metastatic.
Palazzo echoed one of the guiding principles in the
report when he emphasized the need for student protection. Confidentiality
and pre-publication review stipulations made by corporate funders can delay
or restrict a graduate student’s ability to publish, and hence to complete
their degree. “There has to be clarity that the student needs to be
protected,” Palazzo said. “It’s not something that pops into a junior
professor’s mind when there’s a chance for funding.”
Some institutions have been proactive in outlining
principles for years. Harvard’s Medical School has a comprehensive set of
originally drafted in the 1980s, and reviewed every
8-10 years. A Harvard spokesman said that all researchers have to fill out a
formal conflict of interest form every 12-18 months, and that if the forms
show a conflict, Harvard insists that the researcher divest.
Bob Jensen's threads on research independence
controversies are at
"American Moguls: Top biographies of
business titans," by David Nasqw, The Wall Street Journal, July 15,
1. "Titan" by Ron
Chernow (Random House, 1998).
ruthlessness are often conjoined as defining character traits in saints,
sinners and moguls. John D. Rockefeller's life, as Ron Chernow shows us, was
saturated by religiosity and rapacity in almost equal quantities. Chernow is
a master at peeling back the layers of obfuscation and denial to get to the
man himself. As the story unfolds, we see how this most unsociable of moguls
was deeply embedded in an extended family. Part of the strength of the
interpretation is Chernow's ability to use insights into Rockefeller's
family life--as son, brother, husband and father--in tracking his evolution
from clerk to titan. The trick in writing a mogul biography is to
concentrate on telling the story, not judging the life or moralizing about
it, and at this Chernow succeeds.
2. "Morgan" by
Jean Strouse (Random House, 1999).
It's difficult to
write the biography of a man as humorless, unpleasant and reticent as J.
Pierpont Morgan, but Jean Strouse manages to do it by clearing away the
apocryphal anecdotes, then starting over again. A fresh interpretation
requires new material--and Strouse, an indefatigable researcher, located a
number of sources that enabled her to round out the cartoonish, villainous
portrait left by other biographers. Hers is a heroic account of one
financier's attempts to rein in the excesses of speculative capitalism. But
heroes have their flaws, and Strouse does not shrink from describing
Morgan's. For those of us who avoided college economics courses, she
provides a readable primer on matters financial.
3. "The Colonel"
by Richard Norton Smith (Houghton Mifflin, 1997).
McCormick, the editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, was probably the
most outrageously provocative critic of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.
Smith brilliantly captures McCormick's flamboyant theatricality as a
newspaperman and judiciously reconstructs his rather outlandishly
idiosyncratic political philosophy. This is a highly readable and judicious
account of a madman mogul who reveled in excess, invective and ridicule long
before it was fashionable. Smith is a master prose stylist. There is not a
dull sentence in the book.
4. "Orson Welles"
by Simon Callow (Viking, 1996).
This is the first of
a two-volume biography in which Callow, an actor and director as well as a
gifted writer, tells the story of the boy wonder in his glory years.
Welles's appetites and ambitions were matched only by his talents. By his
mid-20s, when this volume concludes, he had made his mark as a performer and
innovator in a variety of media, displaying an uncanny ability to attract
audiences and the admiration of critics. He directed dozens of theater
pieces in New York, including an all-black "Macbeth" and a modern-dress
"Julius Caesar" set in Mussolini's Rome. He also produced, directed and
performed in some 100 radio dramas, including the notoriously successful
"War of the Worlds" broadcast. He set off for Hollywood, intending to
transform film as he had theater and radio. And then he ran into William
Randolph Hearst and his watchdog, Louella Parsons. The resulting movie,
"Citizen Kane," was premiered in New York City on May 1, 1941, five days
before Welles's 26th birthday. After reading Callow's biography, we come to
see that the megalomaniac captured on screen in "Citizen Kane" is much more
Welles than Hearst.
5. "Why Sinatra
Matters" by Pete Hamill (Little, Brown, 1998).
Frank Sinatra was
not exactly a "mogul," and Hamill's book is not a biography per se, but it
belongs here--as an astounding portrait of a 20th-century icon, his rise and
fall and rise again. Sinatra embodied the mogul's gift for brutally focused
self-invention. He understood his appeal--to women and men--far better than
anyone else, and he capitalized on it to build a personal empire. He was the
king, surrounded by courtiers and retainers and a usually adoring throng of
subjects. This is a small book, but it brilliantly depicts how the skinny
kid from Hoboken, N.J., became the "chairman of the board" and managed to
exercise political, social and cultural influence totally incommensurate
with his considerable talents as singer and actor.
Mr. Nasaw is the author of "The
Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst." His latest book, "Andrew
Carnegie," will be published in October.
Judge Approves $36M Settlement Balance in PNC Accounting Scandal: $193
Million Out of $1.15 Billion
The separate suit against Ernst & Young is still pending
A federal judge in Pittsburgh has approved the last
part of a settlement involving more than 73,000 shareholders who lost money
in a PNC Financial Services Group Inc. accounting scandal. The shareholders
are ready to receive about $2,600 each, for a total of $36.6 million, based
on the $193 million settlement and interest. That amounts to 68 cents per
share, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. It's not clear when
settlement money will be distributed, and the final amount will be reduced
by attorneys' fees. The last remaining portion of the class-action lawsuit
was approved by U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone, July 13.
"Judge Approves $36M Settlement Balance in PNC Scandal," AccountingWeb,
July 19, 2006 ---
Earnings were restated, as required by the Federal
Reserve, and the results were $155 million less than originally reported.
The lawsuit contends that stockholders who bought the bloated shares between
July 19, 2001, and July 18, 2002, lost an estimated $1.15 billion.
PNC paid $25 million to the U.S. Department of
Justice to settle conspiracy to commit securities fraud charges in June
2003. The government ordered PNC to place $90 million into the $193 million
restitution fund. Most of the rest of the escrow fund came from insurance
companies and from AIG, which paid in $44 million.
A separate shareholder lawsuit is pending against
Ernst & Young, which reviewed the questionable loan sales.
Continued in article
July 21, 2006 reply from MacEwan Wright, Victoria University
The level of the judgement is to be expected. It is
similar to the experience in Australia:
About 100 years ago, the State of Victoria founded
a "State Bank", the State Savings Bank of Victoria. The main purpose of the
bank was to provide housing loans for the citizens of Victoria, a function
it performed well. With careful lending to established wage earners with
historically sound savings habits, and secured by 1st mortgage, the
operations of the bank were on a sound footing. In the 1980's the incumbent
government decided that the bank should expand to operate as a normal
commercial bank, with normal commercial lending programs. The problem was
that the bank had no real experience in that type of lending. It sought to
employ outside expertise, but not knowing how to vet the experts, made some
really poor choices. These choices wrote some very very risky (some would
say outright bad) business.
Probably because of fear of loosing the audit, the
auditors did not highlight this risky lending and the growing underprovision
for bad debts, until the bank ran out of capital.
The bank was wound up in a manner that protected
most employees and all the depositors. The State Government sued the
auditors for the amount of capital the govenment had lost, slightly over one
billion, and settled for around 150 million. This was basically the amount
the auditor's liability insurers were willing to pay. Had they gone to
court, the government may have bankrupted the individual partners in the
firm, but by settling, the partners were able to keep the house and BMWs
(and therefore the wife). The net outcome was a steep increase in public
liabilty insurance for audit firms (insurance hypothesis?)
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
Bob Jensen's threads on Ernst & Young are at
You can read about the Poincaré conjecture at
"Major Math Problem Is Believed Solved By Reclusive Russian," by Sharon
Begley, The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2006; Page A9 ---
For six years, $7 million in prize money has lay
unclaimed at the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Mass., waiting for
someone to solve any of the seven "millennium prize problems," the oldest of
which has been kicking around since 1859. Despite periodic claims, it looked
like the institute would hold on to the cash until after the sun burned out.
But the math world is abuzz over the very real
possibility that one millennium problem, the Poincaré conjecture, has been
proved by a mathematician in Russia. After nearly four years of scrutiny by
other mathematicians, the work holds up, even though Grigori Perelman's work
is decidedly unusual.
In 2002 and 2003, he posted two papers to an online
archive. Usually, a posting serves a flag-planting function -- "I solved
this first!" -- until the paper is published in a journal, which can take
years. But as the math community waited for him to follow up his postings, a
realization set in. Dr. Perelman, long affiliated with the Steklov Institute
of Mathematics in St. Petersburg, apparently has no intention of saying
more. He probably feels he proved the Poincaré conjecture, mathematicians
surmise, and has no interest in the $1 million bounty. (He did not respond
to emailed requests for comment.)
Dr. Perelman's style is reminiscent of the Sid
Harris cartoon of a board filled with equations and, at a key step, the
words, "then a miracle occurs." One mathematician tells the other, "I think
you should be more explicit here in step two."
The conjecture Henri Poincaré posited in 1904 is
the most famous problem in topology, the branch of math that analyzes the
shape of objects and space. He claimed, "if a closed 3-dimensional manifold
has trivial fundamental group, [it must be] homeomorphic to the 3-sphere,"
as John Milnor of Stony Brook University puts it.
Translated, that means that if you wrap one rubber
band around the surface of an orange and another around a doughnut, and
shrink down both, the rubber bands act differently. The one around the
orange keeps shrinking without tearing or leaving the surface. The one
around the doughnut can't, without breaking itself or the doughnut. This
difference says something profound about the structure of space itself.
Many mathematicians have claimed to prove Poincaré,
but the claims flamed out immediately, their fatal flaws obvious. Dr.
Perelman's proof has survived. The dilemma for the Clay Institute is that,
according to its rules, a proof must be published in a refereed math
publication. The archives aren't refereed.
Putting his proof online rather than in a journal
is only one example of Dr. Perelman's iconoclasm. He admits that he gives
only "a sketch of an eclectic proof of" a more general conjecture from which
Poincaré's follows; he never mentions Poincaré. The papers are difficult to
understand, and sketchy in the extreme. He asserts that one can prove
something by a variation on an earlier argument, but it isn't clear what the
variation is. "Perelman's papers are written in a style rather different
from what would appear in a journal," says mathematician Bruce Kleiner of
The sketchiness may reflect how a genius interacts
with mortals. Dr. Perelman may believe some things are so obvious he needn't
bother to explain them step by step, say mathematicians. If readers are too
dumb to fill in the blanks, he doesn't care. Or, he has better things to do
than justify every tortuous step, as proofs must.
Others have taken it upon themselves to explicate
his work -- and find no major flaws. Like Torah commentaries, they dwarf the
original. Dr. Perelman's 2003 paper is 22 pdf pages; the 2002 paper is 39.
But "Notes on Perelman's Papers," in which Prof. Kleiner and John Lott of
the University of Michigan explain them almost line-by-line, is 192 pages. A
book on the papers is expected to top 300 pages. A "complete proof" of
Poincaré, based on Dr. Perelman's breakthrough and published last month in
the Asian Journal of Mathematics (which Prof. Milnor describes as throwing
"a monkey wrench" into the question of who gets credit), is 328 pages long.
Oddly, either the book or the Kleiner-Lott paper
might count as the "refereed" work the Clay Institute demands. If so, we
would have the weird situation in which authors of the work that satisfies
the prize requirement aren't the people who figured out the proof. But their
efforts could win Dr. Perelman $1 million.
"It's definitely an unusual situation, but what's
important is that the person who made the breakthrough put it out there so
the community could scrutinize and analyze it," says institute president,
Dr. Perelman shuns the limelight, but is known
through lectures in the U.S. and for getting a perfect score at the 1982
International Mathematical Olympiad, at age 16. He isn't expected at the
quadrennial meeting of the International Congress of Mathematicians, in
Madrid. There, the Fields Medal, math's Nobel Prize, will be awarded to the
"outstanding" mathematician 40 or under. Dr. Perelman is the odds-on
And the millennium prizes? "I don't think the other
six will be solved in my lifetime," says Dr. Carlson. "But then, I didn't
think the Poincaré conjecture would be solved either."
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The American Language ---
Bob Jensen's helpers for writers ---
At the Feet of Sociology Professor Phillip Rieff
"A Moralist of
the Mind," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, July 19, 2006 ---
Rieff, who died on July 1, was for decades a
somewhat legendary professor of sociology at the
University of Pennsylvania. To echo
a point made elsewhere, I think the power of his
influence greatly exceeded the reach of his reputation. Rieff didn’t want a
large readership. He wrote in knotty apothegms — developing a set of terms
that resembled sociological jargon less than it does the private language of
some brilliant but eccentric rabbi. With his later texts (including
Life Among the Deathworks, just published by the
University of Virginia Press) you do not so much read Rieff as sit at his
But in his first book, Freud: The Mind of the
Moralist (1959) — his dissertation from the University of Chicago, as
rewritten with the help of his first wife, Susan Sontag — the knack for
aphorisms had not yet hardened into a tic. He was still addressing a broad
audience of educated readers, not disciples. And it was in the final pages
of that volume that he sketched the concept of “psychological man.”
According to Rieff’s careful reading, the founder
of psychoanalysis was no subversive champion of the id against bourgeois
society. Rather, his Freud comes to resemble other Victorian sages who tried
to create inner order as the established patterns of authority were
dissolving. But along the way, Freud also helped foster a new system of
values – one toward which Rieff would show deep and growing ambivalence.
The new “character ideal” that Rieff saw emerging
in Freud’s wake was no longer inspired by religious faith, or a strong sense
of civic responsibility. Psychological man would not even need to cultivate
the sort of self-interested self control practiced by his immediate
ancestor, homo economicus. (Think of Benjamin Franklin, making
himself wealthy and wise by careful planning.) Psychological man need not
fret over material security – being, after all, reasonably comfortable in an
affluent society. His energies would turn inward, toward the care and
maintenance of the self.
Rieff returned to the future of psychological man
in his second book, The Triumph of the Therapeutic. Its final
sentence verges on a prophetic statement, then carefully backs away:
“That a sense of well-being has become the end,
rather than the by-product of striving after some communal end,” wrote
Rieff, “announces a fundamental change in the entire cast of our culture –
toward a human condition about which there will be nothing further to say in
terms of the old style of hope and despair.”
It can be strange to read some of the
earliest discussions of Rieff’s work, for there was occasionally a tendency
to regard him as cheerleading “the triumph of the therapeutic.” This was
wide of the mark. Eventually Rieff did find things to say about this
cultural transformation “in the old style of despair.”
He became a cultural reactionary. I mean that term
as a description, rather than a denunciation. He saw culture as a system of
restraints (what he termed “interdicts”) that prevented the individual from
being swamped by the excessive range of potential human desires and
behaviors. Thrown into “the abyss of possibility,” man “becomes not human
but demonic.” So Rieff put it in reviewing Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of
As the historian Christopher Lasch once put it,
Rieff belonged to “the party of the superego.” (Lasch translated many of
Rieff’s insights about psychological man into a neo-Marxist analysis of the
“culture of narcissism” emerging in advanced capitalist society.) And it was
the duty of any teacher worthy of the name to play the role of superego to
the hilt. “Authority untaught,” Rieff declared in the early 1970s, “is the
condition in which a culture commits suicide.”
His later writings are, in effect, a series of
coroner’s reports. “We professionals of the reading discipline,” he stated
in My Life Among the Deathworks, “we are the real police. As teaching
agents of sacred order, and inescapably within it, the moral demands we must
teach, if we are teachers, are those eternal truths by which all social
orders endure.” And Rieff made it pretty clear that he did not think this
There are plenty of conservative publicists
in America now. There are not many conservative thinkers, proper, worthy of
the name. Rieff, for all his crotchety obliqueness, was one of them.(By the
way, the ratio of philosophers to propagandists is hardly any better on the
In scrutinizing the logic of contemporary culture,
Rieff indirectly revealed some of the dark secrets of U.S. politics — which
has been dominated by the right wing for at least a quarter century now. The
therapeutic has triumphed in the red states as well as the blue. Any
reference to how Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush proved themselves as great
leaders by “helping America feel good about itself” confirms that
psychological man is often happy to vote Republican.
But more than that, Rieff is of lasting interest
for upholding an exorbitant standard of seriousness. The Feeling
Intellect, a collection of his essays published by the University of
Chicago Press in 1990, is rather awe-inspiring in the range and intensity of
its erudition – though you do have to look past the strangely cultish
introduction by one of the author’s devotees, Jonathan B. Imber, a professor
of sociology at Wellesley College.
And his early polemic in the culture wars,
Fellow Teachers, is some kind of cranky masterpiece. (It is now out of
print.) One passage in particular has left a strong impression, lingering in
my mind like the voice of a testy grandfather telling me to get off the
“Our sacred world must remain the book,” he says.
“No, not the book: the page.... To get inside a page of Haydn, of Freud, of
Weber, of James: only so can our students be possessed by an idea of what it
means to study.... Then, at least, they may acquire a becoming modesty about
becoming ‘problem-solvers,’ dictating reality. Such disciplines would teach
us, as teachers, that it would be better to spend three days imprisoned by a
sentence than any length of time handing over ready-made ideas.”
Reading this again, I feel guilty of a thousand
sins. Which is, of course, the intent. There are qualities and opinions in
Rieff’s work it is difficult to admire. But studying him has at least one
good effect. It teaches you to think about the difference between a strong
want and a justifiable need — and to keep a safe distance from anything
tending to blur that distinction.
"Rose and Milton Friedman:
The Romance of Economics," by Tunku Varadarajan, The Wall Street Journal,
July 22, 2006; Page A10 ---
Keynes was a great economist.
In every discipline, progress comes from people who make hypotheses, most of
which turn out to be wrong, but all of which ultimately point to the right
answer. Now Keynes, in 'The General Theory of Employment, Interest and
Money,' set forth a hypothesis which was a beautiful one, and it really
altered the shape of economics. But it turned out that it was a wrong
hypothesis. That doesn't mean that he wasn't a great man!"
It cannot be said of too many
economists that they "altered the shape of economics." Would Mr. Friedman
say -- modesty aside -- that he was one of them? A long silence ensued --
modesty, clearly, was hard to put aside -- before he mumbled, as if
squeezing words out of himself, "Er . . . very hard to say . . ." And then
he was saved by the belle: The door opened, and in walked Rose, his wife,
bringing a waft of panache into the drab office, her impact enhanced by a
beautiful mink coat -- worn, it should be said, on a late afternoon when it
was 80 degrees outside. "It will be very cold tonight," she forecast with a
shiver. The Friedmans were dining al fresco that night -- along with 1,200
others at the Stanford quad -- and Rose had come prepared for the mercury to
plummet to, oh, the late 60s. "It's a crazy time to have a dinner outside!"
Mrs. Friedman settled herself in a
chair, her eyes twinkling, and my questioning resumed. If they were to throw
a small dinner party -- indoors! -- for Mr. Friedman's favorite economists
(dead or alive), who'd be invited? Gone was his tonguetied-ness of a moment
ago, as he reeled off this answer: "Dead or alive, it's clear that Adam
Smith would be No. 1. Alfred Marshall would be No. 2. John Maynard Keynes
would be No. 3. And George Stigler would be No. 4. George was one of our
closest friends." (Here, Mrs. Friedman, also an economist of distinction,
noted sorrowfully that "it's hard to believe that George is dead.")
Had it helped their marriage -- now
in its 68th year -- that they are both economists? Rose (nodding
affirmatively): "Uh-unh. But I don't argue with him . . . very much." Milton
(guffawing): Don't believe her! She does her share of arguing . . ." Rose
(interrupting): ". . . and I'm not competitive, so I haven't tried to
compete with you." Milton (uxoriously): "She's been very helpful in all of
my work. There's nothing I've written that she hasn't gone over first."
The spark between the Friedmans is
clear, and rather touching. So I'm tempted to ask whether there is a
romantic side to economics, in the way there is to history, or to
philosophy. "Is there a romantic side to economics?" Mr. Friedman repeats
after me, sounding incredulous, and then chuckling. "No, I don't think so.
There's a romantic side to economics in the same way there's a romantic side
to physics. Fundamentally, economics is a science, like physics, like
chemistry . . . It's a science about how human beings organize their
cooperative activities." Was that his preferred definition of economics?
"Well, the standard definition is the study of how a society organizes its
resources. In that sense, it's not particularly romantic."
* * *
Is immigration, I asked -- especially
illegal immigration -- good for the economy, or bad? "It's neither one nor
the other," Mr. Friedman replied. "But it's good for freedom. In principle,
you ought to have completely open immigration. But with the welfare state
it's really not possible to do that. . . . She's an immigrant," he added,
pointing to his wife. "She came in just before World War I." (Rose --
smiling gently: "I was two years old.") "If there were no welfare state," he
continued, "you could have open immigration, because everybody would be
responsible for himself." Was he suggesting that one can't have immigration
reform without welfare reform? "No, you can have immigration reform, but you
can't have open immigration without largely the elimination of welfare.
"At the moment I oppose unlimited
immigration. I think much of the opposition to immigration is of that kind
-- because it's a fundamental tenet of the American view that immigration is
good, that there would be no United States if there had not been
immigration. Of course, there are many things that are easier now for
immigrants than there used to be. . . ."
Did he mean there was much less
pressure to integrate now than there used to be? Milton: "I'm not sure
that's true . . ." Rose (speaking simultaneously): "That's the unfortunate
thing . . ." Milton: "But I don't think it's true . . ." Rose: "Oh, I think
it is! That's one of the problems, when immigrants come across and want to
remain Mexican." Milton: "Oh, but they came in the past and wanted to be
Italian, and be Jewish . . ." Rose: "No they didn't. The ones that did went
Mrs. Friedman, I was learning, often
had the last word.
* * *
With Mr. Friedman, personal questions
are often inextricable from the currents of history. How did he cope, I ask,
with the great opposition to his views in and out of the economics
profession during much of his active career? And how does it feel to have
gone from being a person reviled in certain quarters as Evil, to one revered
across the world?
Milton (suppressing a laugh): "I
don't think I was ever regarded as 'evil.'" Rose (alluding to the protests
that followed him everywhere, especially after he gave economic advice to
the Pinochet regime): "It was very difficult to go to the colleges . . ."
Milton: "I remember a fellow who came to see me from Harvard or somewhere .
. . he wanted to see 'that devil from the West'!" Rose: "Harvard probably
still feels that way!"
Here, Mr. Friedman explains "the
story of the postwar period" in the U.S. "In 1945-46, intellectual opinion
was almost entirely collectivist. But practice was free market. Government
was spending something like 20%-25% of national income. But the ideas of
people were all for more government. And so from 1945 to 1980 you had a
period of galloping socialism. Government started expanding and expanding
and expanding." Mr. Friedman stopped, as if deciding whether to use the word
"expanding" a fourth time, before continuing: "And government spending went
from 20% to 40% of national income.
"But what was happening in the
economy was producing a reverse movement in opinion. Now people could see,
as government started to regulate more, the bad effects of government
involvement. And intellectual opinion began to move away from socialism
toward capitalism. That, in my view, was why Ronald Reagan was able to get
elected in 1980." I noted, here, that Mr. Friedman, too, had some role to
play in this shift in opinion. He was, characteristically, reluctant to take
any credit. "I think we have a tendency to attribute much too much
importance to our own words. People saw what was happening. They wouldn't
have read my Newsweek columns and books if the facts on the ground hadn't
been the way they were." (Rose: "Oh, don't be so modest!")
Does it disappoint Mr. Friedman that
the Bush administration hasn't been able to roll back spending? "Yes," he
said. "But let's go back a moment. During the 1990s, you had the combination
that is best for holding down spending. A Democrat in the White House and
Republicans controlling Congress. That's what produced the surpluses at the
end of the Clinton era, and during the whole of that era there was a trend
for spending to come down. Then the Republicans come in, and they've been in
the desert, and so you have a burst of spending in the first Bush term. And
he refuses to veto anything, so he doesn't exercise any real influence on
cutting down spending. In 2008, you may very well get a Democratic
president" -- (Rose, interjecting: "God forbid!") -- "and if you can keep a
Republican House and Senate, you'll get back to a combination that will
Mr. Friedman here shifted focus.
"What's really killed the Republican Party isn't spending, it's Iraq. As it
happens, I was opposed to going into Iraq from the beginning. I think it was
a mistake, for the simple reason that I do not believe the United States of
America ought to be involved in aggression." Mrs. Friedman -- listening to
her husband with an ear cocked -- was now muttering darkly.
Milton: "Huh? What?" Rose: "This was
not aggression!" Milton (exasperatedly): "It was aggression. Of course it
was!" Rose: "You count it as aggression if it's against the people, not
against the monster who's ruling them. We don't agree. This is the first
thing to come along in our lives, of the deep things, that we don't agree
on. We have disagreed on little things, obviously -- such as, I don't want
to go out to dinner, he wants to go out -- but big issues, this is the first
one!" Milton: "But, having said that, once we went in to Iraq, it seems to
me very important that we make a success of it." Rose: "And we will!"
Mrs. Friedman, you will note, had the
From My Cousin Mark Jensen in
Mark’s newsletter July 18,
First I want to let everybody
know my test in late April showed no cancer found so I want to thank
everyone for your prayers. Thus a plane ticket was bought as quickly as
possible and I was on my way to Iringa. We will return on Aug. 8th
and I will be tested again on August 9th. I humbly request that
you keep us in your prayers.
I arrived safe and sound in Dar
es Salaam, Tanzania on June 1st. I spent several days with a friend that was
instrumental in getting the land for our future Demonstration Farm of 5,000
hectares in Mpanga. Mpanga is southwest of Iringa about 200 kilometers. He
lives in a suburb of Dar called Kisarawe. This is where the first Lutherans
came to Tanzania and I saw the first mission house. They were German
Lutherans. This is also the place that the first Catholics came to Tanzania
and he showed me that area called Pugo. While in Kisarawe I was able to
visit the hospital and spend time with Dr. Kibera who is in charge. We went
through all the wards. One interesting fact is that Tuberculosis is becoming
more of a problem because of HIV.
I arrived in Iringa and could not
get into my house. The key the guard had only opened the door that was
bolted from the inside. To the rescue was friends from my last stay in
Iringa who had moved to Same, which is up by Kilimanjaro, but they kept the
same cell phone and told me where a spare key could be located. My Toyota
pickup (jumpy) would not start but after a couple $100’s it is fine. I came
to the office the next day and only thing there was a lonely desk. The
computer was gone, the bookcase was gone, my maps off the wall were gone and
my other desk was gone. Lucky I brought my laptop because they did not have
one for me to use. The office is Spartan but good enough for me. I am out in
the rural areas a lot.
Iringa is as I remembered. It is
so hard to see their problems. I know it is tough for them because the cost
of corn has doubled. It will not get any better for a year. The farmers have
to sell chickens to buy corn and it is sad because the buyers that go to the
villages know they have to sell so they have dropped the price they pay by
over half. When I go to the market I still pay the full $5 for a chicken and
the villager is getting $1.5 instead of $3.50.
Iringa always has a way of
reminding me that the world does not revolve around me. When we got jumpy
running then I had a friend a driver at Tumaini check to make sure I had all
the stickers up to date for jumpy. We were only renewing the motor vehicle
license. We had to go to six different offices in three different buildings
with several long waits. Magava the driver asked how do you renew the
vehicle license in the United States and I said by mail. I must have looked
a little haggard. He said we next needed to get a municipal license but he
said just give me the money tomorrow and I will do it alone. The very next
Sunday I was driving and the police had a check point that you had to stop
at. They ask me for the registration card and I did not have one so the
police man got in the car we drove to the police station and I had to pay a
$20 fine plus it took about 45 minutes. The policeman kept saying “I am
doing this for your protection.”
I have been to all of the plots
that we had scheduled and it was very discouraging. It looks like we will
get one yield check. The problems were many. Some plots were not put in.
Some plots did not germinate properly. The rain was real late then they quit
for a time then began again. As I observe the crops it appears the later
planted crops did the best.
We will be working on inexpensive
water harvesting techniques this year. I have taken soil samples so we will
keep trying. We have also gotten the plans and drawings done for the first
multi purpose building we will put up on each of the three Demonstration
Farms. The cost will be about $15,000 per building which is about three
times more than I was expecting. The building is necessary for the storage
of equipment and supplies. We also will use as a classroom. The most
important reason is security. We also need to get plots put in at the three
farms especially in Mpanga where we can get some return on our investment.
For what we would like to do minimum this year (one building built, planting
the plots and our operating cost) we are about $15,000 short. I would also
like you to humbly keep the Institute and Iringa in your prayers. As I said
earlier this has been a tough year for a lot of the people in Iringa.
I would like to share what I came
across while doing devotions this morning.
We should willingly come under
God’s discipline and learn what he wants to teach. Important factors are:
First - silent reflection on what
Second - repentant humility.
Third - self-control in the face
Fourth - confident patience,
depend upon the divine teacher to bring about loving lessons in our lives.
God has several long-term and
short-term lessons for us right now. Are we doing our home work?
Another thing that I ran across
is what has God taken away from you so you become more dependant on Him?
I had a great experience with a
Veterinarian from England Andy Hart who I met at a Tuesday night bible
study. He has been here for four years. He is an Anglican. He invited me to
go with to visit several villages in the Isiamoni area. This is north of
Iringa 30 kilometers. He knows the writer and relatives of the author that
wrote the book All Creatures Big and Small. I felt like we were living the
same book only in Iringa. We doctored goats, wormed pigs, vaccinated
chickens for new castle disease, saw improved donkey harness, saw oxen
moldboard plow, looked at a goat and cattle dip tank. He said the villagers
that dip their cattle have less malaria by 80% it has something to do with
less mosquitoes around the house?
On Sunday July 9th I
attended our companion congregation and had a great time with everyone
especially Pastor Kimbavala and Aloyce Chawala. We looked and discussed the
upkeep to the church, the junior seminary that they are beginning to build,
a new church being built at the Junction preaching point, the mill, the plot
of corn we put in, took soil samples and had a great meal including kitimoto
(fried pork) which has become my favorite food.
Terry comes on Friday the 21st
and will that be great. We go to Matamba about 400 kilometers southwest of
Iringa Fr. Mbiche’s parish, then Mpanga Fr. Mbiche”s hometown and where one
of the Institute farms is located, then Iringa, Tumaini University the
people and my office and the other two Institute farms then on to Same where
we have Missionary friends then Dar and back to Minnesota for a cancer check
I apologize for not keeping in
touch better but have been very busy. Feel free to email me with questions
or to say hi.
Totaonana (Good Bye),
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