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 August 2, 2006
earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
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enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
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enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
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Links to Documents on Fraud ---
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security, are at
Bob Jensen's links to education technology and controversies ---
Bob Jensen's home page ---
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 ---
Question: Did she really get angry or was she playing along
with the Comedy Central spirit?
Hilarious Stephen Colbert interview of Eleanor Holmes Norton ---
Breaking Through Poverty with Microfinance from the
Grameen Foundation ---
http://www.gfusa.org/ Additional multimedia
presentations on microfinance linked by Jim Mahar
has a short video (for PBS) on how microfinance can lift the poor out of
- NPR has an interesting (short, 4 minute)
NPR newscast on micro finance in which "a group of bankers and MBA
students assemble to talk about micro-financing. The group tries to imagine
what life would be like without insurance, credit cards and bank accounts"
Kevin Sites in War Hot Zones (History) ---
Dog Wins a Game of "Simon Says" ---
She's Really, Really Blonde ---
Free music downloads ---
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 ---
Art of the States ---
Includes collections titled, "Music of Memory" and "Parody Pieces"
A Country Music Outlaw, Resurrected ---
A Visit with the Soul Queen of New Orleans ---
Reggae versions of songs by Radiohead ---
Gina from Lifehacker has a feature how-to on
finding free music online. She suggests couple of places on finding free music,
such as Google, Singing Fish, WebJay, del.icio.us, Amazon’s Top Free Music
downloads, MP3 blogs. Google’s query on finding files (in this case, using mp3
and wma file extension for music) is the most popular method introduced around
THE HYPE MACHINE audio blog aggregator ---
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 ---
John Barbato's Collected Poems 1964 - 2002 is Now
Available On-line at Lulu.com ---
Meeting of Frontiers is a bilingual, multimedia
English-Russian digital library that tells the story of the American exploration
and settlement of the West, the parallel exploration and settlement of Siberia
and the Russian Far East, and the meeting of the Russian-American frontier in
Alaska and the Pacific Northwest ---
All Empires History Forum ---
HyperHistory Online ---
History World ---
World History International ---
MacroHistory: PREHISTORY TO THE 21st CENTURY ---
When The Sleeper Wakes by Herbert
G. Wells ---
Brain Juice Biographies ---
100 Best Novels ---
Read Steady Book Reviews ---
Knowledge is our most powerful engine of production;
it enables us to subdue nature and force her to satisfy our wants.
British Economist Alfred Marshall as
quoted by Nick Schulz ---
Robert Heilbroner commented on how mathematics
brought great rigor to economics, unfortunately, as he opined, it also brought
Paul Williams in a recent email
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to
time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure.
Thomas Jefferson ---
Ahmed says he always knows who the air marshal is on
a flight: "It's the guy who's reading People magazine upside down and is looking
right at me."
Ahmed Ahmed, Axis of Evil' Comedy,
on Tour ---
Television is more interesting than people. If it
were not, we would have people standing in the corners of our rooms.
Alan Coren ---
Ride me down easy lord, ride me on down
Leave word in the dust where I lay Say
I'm easy come, easy go,
And easy to love when I stay.
Bill Joe Shaver as quoted in a
recent email message from Patricia Doherty
Washing Clothes Instructions Forwarded by Paula
Never thought of a "washer" in this light before. .
.what a blessing!
' Washing Clothes Recipe' -- imagine having a recipe for this ! ! !
Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride
the following recipe:
This is an exact copy as written and found in an
old scrapbook - with spelling errors and all.
Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain
water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole
cake of lie soap in boilin water.
Sort things, make 3 piles 1 pile white, 1 pile
colored, 1 pile work britches and rags.
To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth,
then thin down with boiling water.
Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub
hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch.
Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle,
then wrench, and starch.
Hang old rags on fence.
Spread tea towels on grass.
Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with
hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down.
Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs.
Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.
Post this over your washer and dryer. Next time when you think things are
bleak, read it again, kiss that washing machine and dryer, and give THANKS
First thing each morning you should run and hug your washer and dryer, also
your toilet---those two-holers used to get mighty cold!
For any non-southerners out there: "wrench" means
AND WE TH INK WE HAVE IT ROUGH!!!
Of course our modern conveniences use more water, and gas or electricity.
They also require experts to repair. Furthermore these appliances always malfunction of
weekends or holidays. And there are no backup conveniences when they are
needed the most. Who has a reserve outhouse or a washboard these days?
See Time Magazine's photo essay of living without electricity ---
While the media focuses on Lebanon, the bigger tragedy in the Congo is largely
Though Congo’s civil war supposedly ended four years
ago, and the nation’s first democratic elections in more than four decades are
scheduled for Sunday, the fighting and chaos here continue to kill about 1,250
people each day,
mostly from hunger and disease. In all, nearly four million people have died as
a result of the conflict since 1998, almost half of them children under the age
of 5, according to the International Rescue Committee.
"War’s Chaos Steals Congo’s Young by the Millions," by Lydia Polgreen, The
New York Times, July 30, 2006 ---
See Time Magazine's photo essay on the Congo tragedy ---
Contrary to media claims that Beirut is being systematically destroyed by
bombs, the evidence is quite to the contrary ---
The long-term environmental damage to Lebanon as a whole is more worrisome
Hezbollywood? Evidence mounts that Qana collapse and deaths were staged
Israel’s response to Hezbollah has demonstrated to
the enemies of the Jewish state that Israel will stand up and fight. This is in
marked contrast to Spain, France and Germany under Schroeder, who have blinked
and withdrawn responding to Islamic terror or threatened terror. Thankfully, our
country’s leaders appreciate that we are at war with international terrorism.
Ed Koch, "FUTURE DETERRENCE AT STAKE," New York Press, August 2, 2006 ---
What's the Elephant-in-the-Room syndrome?
Forget NATO: Europe Will Not Fight to Suppress Hezbolla
Europe will chastise Jerusalem and beseech Beirut and
excoriate Washington and aggrandize Kofi Annan, but it will not fight in Lebanon
to support Israel and America in suppressing Hezbollah. Why? Europe is not
ignorant or cowardly; rather, Europe is collectively suffering what savants call
the double wall of denial, or what is drolly known as the Elephant-in-the-Room
syndrome . . . The elephant is Iran. The double wall is that not only can Europe
not talk about Iran as the command and control of Hezbollah in Lebanon, but also
Europe won't let the United Nations Security Council talk about the facts that
those are Iranian missiles with Iranian agents with Iranian war aims to destroy
Israel and defeat America in Iraq, the Gulf, the ummah.
John Bachelor, "War Elephant," The New York Sun, July 25, 2006 ---
The complex and changing world of enemies and friends
Iranians view the Taliban as a C.I.A. creation
formed to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. The Islamic fundamentalists
that control the Iranian government had no official relations with the Taliban
and the two groups have different interpretations of Islam. In Iran, the C.I.A.,
Israel, and British intelligence, are often blamed for most things that go
"Iran's Sept. 11 theories and feelings about Iraq," by Ramin Talaie,
Downtown Express, April 1, 2003 ---
Iran did help the U.S. during the war with
Afghanistan. When we went after the Taliban, we made deals with the Iranians
through third parties to do search and rescue operations near the
Iran-Afghan border. On the west, Iran shares a vast border with Iraq, and
Iranians fought a bloody eight-year war to defend the opposing Iraqi forces
while the U.S. and the Europeans provided arms and intelligence to Saddam
Hussein. In Tehran, a taxi driver told me stories from the frontlines of
that war. He told me about his unit getting hit with chemical bombs and how
devastating it was. When I was there, the United Nations and Iran were
building camps on the old battlefields for anticipated Iraqi refugees.
Iranians do not like Saddam, but they do not trust
what the U.S. is going to do [post Saddam]. They do not like Bush putting
them in the "axis of evil."
Yet even with a U.S. economic embargo for more than
20 years, many Iranians love most everything American. Iranian boys and
girls, born after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, wear DKNY shoes purchased in
Dubai, and listen to the latest hip-hop CD's fresh from the thriving black
"Terror's Playbook: Al Qaeda manual is a blueprint for hate that
reveals a sinister plot to invade & conquer,"
by William F. McCants, New York Daily News, July 30, 2006 ---
Most Americans know that Al Qaeda and its
franchises are willing to sink to any depth to destroy the United States.
But few people realize just how deep those depths are.
The public's knowledge of the terror group's goals
and motives is largely confined to the English translations of Osama Bin
Laden's and Ayman al-Zawahiri's propaganda. Consequently, Al Qaeda and
like-minded groups, or "jihadis," are viewed either as unthinking zealots or
misguided freedom fighters.
"The Management of Savagery" - a book
written in 2004 by Abu Bakr Naji, a high-level Al Qaeda strategist -
suggests that both perspectives are off the mark.
Most jihadi writings in Arabic are similar to those
already available in English. These are lengthy exposés on the Western plot
to destroy Islam, dense with religious references meant to justify a violent
response to this plot. Naji's book is different. Unlike typical jihadi
tracts, this genre eschews religious propaganda in favor of scientific
analysis, drawing on close readings of Western political theories.
In "The Management of Savagery," Naji argues
that the jihadis failed in the past to establish an Islamic state because
they were focused on toppling local regimes. These efforts were fruitless,
he argues, because jihadis were seen as fighting their own people, which
alienated the masses. Moreover, the local governments proved impervious to
revolution as long as they were supported by the U.S. Based on his
understanding of power politics, Naji says that the jihadis had to provoke
the United States to invade a country in the Middle East.
This would 1.) turn the Muslims against local
governments allied with the U.S.; 2.) destroy the U.S. aura of
invincibility, which it maintains through the media, and 3.) create sympathy
for the jihadis, who would be viewed as standing up to Crusader aggression.
Moreover, the invasion would bleed the U.S. economy and sap its military
power, leading to social unrest at home and its ultimate withdrawal from the
Naji had hoped that Afghanistan would play out in
this manner for the U.S., as it did for the Soviets. Now, Naji places his
hopes on Iraq. Once the U.S. withdraws from Iraq, he contends, the jihadis
must quickly move to invade neighboring countries.
Some countries are particularly ripe for jihadi
incursion: Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen, as well as North West Africa
and the Arabian Peninsula. These areas were selected by Al Qaeda because of
each region's geographic features, weak central governments, the receptivity
of the people and the proliferation of weapons and jihadi propaganda. The
plan, according to Naji, is to conduct small- to medium-scale attacks on
crucial infrastructure (like oil or tourism), which will cause the
government to draw in its security forces. Chaos or "savagery" will erupt in
the unpoliced areas.
Then, the jihadis will move into these security
vacuums and provide basic services to people, who will welcome an end to the
instability. The final goal is to establish a single global state ruled by a
pious Muslim dictator, the caliph, who will implement a strict
interpretation of Islamic law.
Drawing on the experience of jihadis in Egypt and
Algeria, Naji cautions his readers that no plan will succeed unless the
jihadis learn how to respond to public opinion and manipulate the media.
Many Westerners underestimate just how
sophisticated and ruthless our enemy is. Reading Naji is a start to better
understand our foes' mind-set, particularly because his text has Al Qaeda's
seal of approval. The manual is available at
www.ctc.usma.edu/naji.asp . Without this kind of information, the
American people and our lawmakers and judges will never fully understand the
awful magnitude of what we face.
This understanding is crucial for generating the
bipartisan support and action so badly needed to effectively wage the
long-term battle against those who would threaten our way of life. Only by
knowing the depths to which the enemy will sink to defeat us will we be able
to have a meaningful discussion of how far we should go to destroy them.
McCants translated "The Management of Savagery." He is a fellow at the
Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
What is the best method of peer review?
Is it truly a value-adding process?
What are the ethical concerns?
And how can new technology be used to improve traditional models?
"Nature's Debate on Peer Review and Test of Open Review," Issues in
Scholarly Communication from the University of Illinois, July 27, 2006 ---
From Nature... "Peer review is commonly
accepted as an essential part of scientific publication. But the ways peer
review is put into practice vary across journals and disciplines. What is
the best method of peer review? Is it truly a value-adding process? What are
the ethical concerns? And how can new technology be used to improve
The Nature debate consists of 22 articles of
analyses and perspectives from leading scientists, publishers and other
stakeholders on such subjects as listed above. Readers are invited to
comment on the various articles.
Additionally, for a period of three months,
Nature is holding it's own "peer review trial".
Again, from Nature: "The trial will not displace
Nature's traditional confidential peer review process, but will
complement it. From 5 June 2006, authors may opt to have their submitted
manuscripts posted publicly for comment. Any scientist may then post
comments, provided they identify themselves. Once the usual confidential
peer review process is complete, the public 'open peer review' process will
be closed. Editors will then read all comments on the manuscript and invite
authors to respond. At the end of the process, as part of the trial, editors
will assess the value of the public comments."
Nature's site on this debate is at
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
July 28, 2006 reply from Alexander Robin A
Two quotes from a couple of Bob Jensen's recent
"Of course we knew students are obsessed with
grades." (from the RateMyProfessors thread)
"The problem is that universities have explicit
or implicit rankings of "journal quality" that is largely dictated by
research faculty in those universities. These rankings are crucial to
promotion, tenure, and performance evaluation decisions." (from the TAR
These two issues are related. First, students are
obsessed with grades because universities, employers and just about everyone
else involved are obsessed with grades. One can also say that faculty are
obsessed with publications because so are those who decide their fates. In
these two areas of academia, the measurement has become more important than
the thing it was supposed to measure.
For the student, ideally the learning is the most
important outcome of a class and the grade is supposed to reflect how
successful the learning was. But the learning does not directly and tangibly
affect the student - the grade does. In my teaching experience students,
administrators and employers saw the grade as being the key outcome of a
class, not the learning.
Research publication is supposed to result from a
desire to communicate the results of research activity that the researcher
is very interested in. But, especially in business schools, this has been
turned on its head and the publication is most important and the research is
secondary - it's just a means to the publication, which is necessary for
It's really a pathetic situation in which the
ideals of learning and discovery are largely perverted. Had I fully
understood the magnitude of the problem, I would have never gone for a PhD
or gotten into teaching. As to what to do about it, I really don't know. The
problems are so deeply entrenched in academic culture. Finally I just gave
up and retired early hoping to do something useful for the rest of my
July 28, 2006 reply from Carol Flowers
Interestingly, I used to believe that education should be run as a
business. However, as this has occurred, I have seen that education has no
longer become the issue. The value of education has been lost on the grade
and funding. And, colleges (in order to "stay in business") have allowed
standards to be watered down to "give the customer what they want and what
they are willing to pay for".
This is reflected in Rate My Professor. The individual postings rarely
mention what they have learned from the class but whether the teacher is
easy and which instructors you can be assured will GIVE you a good
grade--all with minimal effort involved on the students part, of course.
What really is a surprise to me is that students BELIEVE they are "A"
students. If they enroll with an instructor who doesn't provide an
acceptable grade for them, the instructor is the problem. After all, they
got high grades in the other classes!! I see instructors being pulled into
this popularity contest to survive. Since funding is very directly tied to
retention, it becomes obvious what needs to be done to be "successful as an
With the No Child Left Behind policy, everyone must pass. Education is
now an entitlement instead of being earned. I keep hearing about the sad
state of affairs in education. Yet, no one indicates that this could be
turned around if the country's value system changed instead of just throwing
money at the problem. Sadly, I see the deterioration of education from my
mother's generation to my son's. American society no longer places value on
it (as in the past). It used to HAVE TO BE EARNED. That is not the case,
anymore. Now it can be bought!!
Frustrated in Academia
Peer Review or Wikipedia, That is the Question
Peer review, the mainstream media, and government
agencies have landed us in a ditch. Not only are we impatient with the
authorities but we are in a mood to talk back. Wikipedia offers endless
opportunities for self-expression. It is the love child of reading groups and
chat rooms, a second home for anyone who has written an Amazon review. This is
not the first time that encyclopedia-makers have snatched control from an élite,
or cast a harsh light on certitude. Jimmy Wales may or may not be the new Henry
Ford, yet he has sent us tooling down the interstate, with but a squint back at
the railroad. We’re on the open road now, without conductors and timetables.
We’re free to chart our own course, also free to get gloriously, recklessly
lost. Your truth or mine?
Stacy Schiff, "KNOW IT ALLL Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?" The New
Yorker, July 31, 2006 ---
When Professors Accept Research Money from Questionable Sources
Last week, news reports surfaced that Patrick J.
a research professor of environmental sciences at
the University of Virginia, and Virginia’s state climatologist, is receiving
money from coal-burning utility companies pleased with his public skepticism
about global warming.
David Epstein, "Helping a Global Warming Skeptic," Inside Higher Ed, July
31, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on "Appearance Versus the Reality of Research
Independence and Freedom" are at
Everyone is entitled to their own
opinion, but not their own facts.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan --- FactCheck.org ---
Then again, maybe we're all entitled to our own facts!
"The Power of Postpositive Thinking," Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed,
August 2, 2006 ---
In particular, a dominant trend in critical theory
was the rejection of the concept of objectivity as something that rests on a
more or less naive epistemology: a simple belief that “facts” exist in some
pristine state untouched by “theory.” To avoid being naive, the dutiful
student learned to insist that, after all, all facts come to us embedded in
various assumptions about the world. Hence (ta da!) “objectivity” exists
only within an agreed-upon framework. It is relative to that framework. So
it isn’t really objective....
What Mohanty found in his readings of the
philosophy of science were much less naïve, and more robust, conceptions of
objectivity than the straw men being thrashed by young Foucauldians at the
time. We are not all prisoners of our paradigms. Some theoretical frameworks
permit the discovery of new facts and the testing of interpretations or
hypotheses. Others do not. In short, objectivity is a possibility and a goal
— not just in the natural sciences, but for social inquiry and humanistic
research as well.
Mohanty’s major theoretical statement on PPR
arrived in 1997 with Literary Theory and the Claims of History:
Postmodernism, Objectivity, Multicultural Politics (Cornell University
Press). Because poststructurally inspired notions of cultural relativism are
usually understood to be left wing in intention, there is often a tendency
to assume that hard-edged notions of objectivity must have conservative
implications. But Mohanty’s work went very much against the current.
“Since the lowest common principle of evaluation is
all that I can invoke,” wrote Mohanty, complaining about certain strains of
multicultural relativism, “I cannot — and consequently need not — think
about how your space impinges on mine or how my history is defined together
with yours. If that is the case, I may have started by declaring a pious
political wish, but I end up denying that I need to take you seriously.”
PPR did not require throwing out the
multicultural baby with the relativist bathwater, however. It meant
developing ways to think about cultural identity and its discontents. A
number of Mohanty’s students and scholarly colleagues have pursued the
implications of postpositive identity politics.
I’ve written elsewhere
about Moya, an associate professor of English at Stanford University who has
played an important role in developing PPR ideas about identity. And one
academic critic has written
an interesting review essay
on early postpositive scholarship — highly recommended for anyone with a
hankering for more cultural theory right about now.
Not everybody with a sophisticated epistemological
critique manages to turn it into a functioning think tank — which is what
started to happen when people in the postpositive circle started organizing
the first Future of Minority Studies meetings at Cornell and Stanford in
2000. Others followed at the University of Michigan and at the University of
Wisconsin in Madison. Two years ago FMS applied for a grant from Mellon
Foundation, receiving $350,000 to create a series of programs for graduate
students and junior faculty from minority backgrounds.
The FMS Summer Institute, first held in 2005, is a
two-week seminar with about a dozen participants — most of them ABD or just
starting their first tenure-track jobs. The institute is followed by a much
larger colloquium (the part I got to attend last week). As schools of
thought in the humanities go, the postpositivists are remarkably light on
the in-group jargon. Someone emerging from the Institute does not, it seems,
need a translator to be understood by the uninitated. Nor was there a
dominant theme at the various panels I heard.
Rather, the distinctive quality of FMS discourse
seems to derive from a certain very clear, but largely unstated, assumption:
It can be useful for scholars concerned with issues particular to one group
to listen to the research being done on problems pertaining to other groups.
That sounds pretty simple. But there is rather more
behind it than the belief that we should all just try to get along.
Diversity (of background, of experience, of disciplinary formation) is not
something that exists alongside or in addition to whatever happens in the
“real world.” It is an inescapable and enabling condition of life in a more
or less democratic society. And anyone who wants it to become more
democratic, rather than less, has an interest in learning to understand both
its inequities and how other people are affected by them.
A case in point might be the findings
discussed by Claude Steele, a professor of psychology at Stanford, in a
panel on Friday. His paper reviewed some of the research on “identity
contingencies,” meaning “things you have to deal with because of your social
identity.” One such contingency is what he called “stereotype threat” — a
situation in which an individual becomes aware of the risk that what you are
doing will confirm some established negative quality associated with your
group. And in keeping with the threat, there is a tendency to become
vigilant and defensive.
Steele did not just have a string of concepts to
put up on PowerPoint. He had research findings on how stereotype threat can
affect education. The most striking involved results from a puzzle-solving
test given to groups of white and black students. When the test was
described as a game, the scores for the black students were excellent —
conspicuously higher, in fact, than the scores of white students. But in
experiments where the very same puzzle was described as an intelligence
test, the results were reversed. The black kids scores dropped by about
half, while the graph for their white peers spiked.
The only variable? How the puzzle was framed — with
distracting thoughts about African-American performance on IQ tests creating
“stereotype threat” in a way that game-playing did not.
Steele also cited an experiment in which white
engineering students were given a mathematics test. Just beforehand, some
groups were told that Asian students usually did really well on this
particular test. Others were simply handed the test without comment.
Students who heard about their Asian competitors tended to get much lower
scores than the control group.
Extrapolate from the social psychologist’s
experiments with the effect of a few innocent-sounding remarks — and imagine
the cumulative effect of more overt forms of domination. The picture is one
of a culture that is profoundly wasteful, even destructive, of the best
abilities of many of its members.
“It’s not easy for minority folks to discuss these
things,” Satya Mohanty told me on the final day of the colloquium. “But I
don’t think we can afford to wait until it becomes comfortable to start
thinking about them. Our future depends on it. By ‘our’ I mean everyone’s
future. How we enrich and deepen our democratic society and institutions
depends on the answers we come up with now.”
Portions of the Colloquium will be made available online. For updates,
and more information on the Future of Minority Studies project, check the
FMS Web site.
A version of the keynote speech from this year’s Colloquium,
“Multiculturalism, Universalism, and the 21st Century Academy,” by Nancy
Cantor, chancellor and president of Syracuse University, will appear soon at
Inside Higher Ed.
Earlier this year, Oxford University Press published a major new work
on postpositivist theory,
Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self,by Linda Martin Alcoff,
a professor of philosophy at Syracuse University. Several essays from the
book are available at
the author’s Web
Hatsize Camtasia Update
Camtasia began as an effective and efficient way to video capture computerized
explanations of technical processes. These videos can be served up for replay by
students over and over until they get the technical steps down pat ---
July 27, 2006 message from Richard Campbell
I just completed a Camtasia training session in a
virtual lab environment using
Essentially the trainer uploaded Camtasia to the
hatsize server and demonstrated certain tasks in Camtasia. Then each of the
students had their own instance of Camtasia running on the server and
replicated the steps by the instructor.
The instructor was able to toggle between views of
the various students just as if he was physically in the lab.
The difference between this technology and Webex
and Gotomeeting web conferencing software is the ability of students to work
in their own workspace on the same software.
Very interesting web application software.
Richard J. Campbell
European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia ---
The recent months have seen a heated debate on
freedom of speech and hate speech. This issue of the EUMC’s Magazine Equal
Voices brings together different views on the issue: NGOs, representatives
of different religious communities, and media experts explain how they think
hate speech can be tackled, and how freedom of speech should be applied in
Alumnus and Nike founder Philip H. Knight, MBA '62, will make a gift of
$105 million to Stanford University's Graduate School of Business ---
Auntie Bev verified this with Sears before sending it out
I assume you have all seen the reports about how
Sears is treating its reservist employees who are called up? By law, they are
required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually,
people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called
up...Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all
benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up
reservist employees for up to two years. I submit that S ears i is an exemplary
corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution.
Auntie Bev, "Shop at Sears"
What topic dominates instructor evaluations on RateMyProfessors.com (or RATE for
"RateMyProfessors — or His Shoes Are Dirty," by Terry Caesar, Inside
Higher Ed, July 28, 2006 ---
But the trouble begins here. Like those guests,
students turn out to be candid about the same thing. Rather than sex, it’s
grades. Over and over again, RATE comments cut right to the chase: how easy
does the professor grade? If easy, all things are forgiven, including a dull
classroom presence. If hard, few things are forgiven, especially not a dull
classroom presence. Of course we knew students are obsessed with grades. Yet
until RATE could we have known how utterly, unremittingly, remorselessly?
And now the obsession is free to roam and cavort,
without the constraints of the class-by-class student evaluation forms, with
their desiderata about the course being “organized” or the instructor having
“knowledge of subject matter.” These things still count. RATE students
regularly register them. But nothing counts like grades. Compared to RATE,
the familiar old student evaluation forms suddenly look like searching
inquiries into the very nature of formal education, which consists of many
other things than the evaluative dispositions of the professor teaching it.
What other things? For example, whether or not the
course is required. Even the most rudimentary of student evaluation forms
calls for this information. Not RATE. Much of the reason a student is free
to go straight for the professorial jugular — and notwithstanding all the
praise, the site is a splatfest — is because course content can be merrily
cast aside. The raw, visceral encounter of student with professor, as
mediated through the grade, emerges as virtually the sole item of interest.
Of course one could reply: so what? The site
elicits nothing else. That’s why it’s called, “rate my professors,” and not
“rate my course.” In effect, RATE takes advantage of the slippage always
implicit in traditional student evaluations, which both are and are not
evaluations of the professor rather than the course. To be precise, they are
evaluations of the professor in terms of a particular course. This
particularity, on the other hand, is precisely what is missing at the RATE
site, where whether or not a professor is being judged by majors — a crucial
factor for departmental and college-wide tenure or promotion committees who
are processing an individual’s student evaluations — is not stipulated.
Granted, a student might bring up being a major. A
student might bring anything up. This is why RATE disappoints, though,
because there’s no framework, not even that of a specific course, to
restrain or guide student comments. “Sarcastic” could well be a different
thing in an upper-division than in a lower-division course. But in the
personalistic RATE idiom, it’s always a character flaw. Indeed, the purest
RATE comments are all about character. Just as the course is without
content, the professor is without performative ability. Whether he’s a “nice
guy” or she “plays favorites,” it’s as if the student has met the professor
a few times at a party, rather than as a member of his or her class for a
RATE comments are particularly striking if we
compare those made by the professor’s colleagues as a result of classroom
observations. Many departments have evolved extremely detailed checksheets.
I have before me one that divides the observation into four categories,
including Personal Characteristics (10 items), Interpersonal Relationships
(8), Subject Application/Knowledge (8), and Conducting Instruction (36). Why
so many in the last category? Because performance matters — which is just
what we tell students about examinations: each aims to test not so much an
individual’s knowledge as a particular performance of that knowledge.
Of course, some items on the checksheet are of
dubious value, e.g. “uses a variety of cognitive levels when asking
questions.” So it goes in the effort to itemize successful teaching, an
attempt lauded by proponents of student evaluations or lamented by critics.
The genius of RATE is to bypass the attempt entirely, most notoriously with
its “Hotness Total.” Successful teaching? You may be able to improve
“helpfulness” or “clarity.” But you can’t very well improve “hotness.”
Whether or not you are a successful teacher is not safely distant at RATE
from whether or not you are “hot.”
Perhaps it never was. In calling for a temperature
check, RATE may merely be directly addressing a question — call it the
charisma of an individual professor — that traditional student evaluations
avoid. If so, though, they avoid it with good reason: charisma can’t be
routinized. When it is, it becomes banal, which is one reason why the
critical comments are far livelier than the celebratory ones. RATE winds up
testifying to one truism about teaching: It’s a lot easier to say what good
teaching isn’t than to say what it is. Why? One reason is, because it’s a
lot easier for students who care only about teachers and not about teaching
to say so.
Finally, what about these RATE students? How many
semester hours have they completed? How many classes did they miss? It is
with good reason (we discover) that traditional student evaluation forms are
careful to ask something about each student. Not only is it important for
the administrative processing of each form. Such questions, even at a
minimal level, concede the significance in any evaluation of the evaluating
subject. Without some attention to this, the person under consideration is
reduced to the status of an object — which is, precisely, what the RATE
professor becomes, time after time. Students on RATE provide no information
at all about themselves, not even initials or geographical locations, as
given by many of the people who rate books and movies on amazon.com or who
give comments on columns and articles on this Web site.
In fact, students at RATE don’t even have to be
students! I know of one professor who was so angered at a comment made by
one of her students that she took out a fake account, wrote a more favorable
comment about herself, and then added more praise to the comments about two
of her colleagues. How many other professors do this? There’s no telling —
just as there’s no telling about local uses of the site by campus
committees. Of course this is ultimately the point about RATE: Even the
student who writes in the most personal comments (e.g. “hates deodorant") is
completely safe from local retribution — never mind accountability — because
the medium is so completely anonymous.
Thus, the blunt energies of RATE emerge as cutting
edge for higher education in the 21st century. In this respect, the degree
of accuracy concerning any one individual comment about any one professor is
beside the point. The point is instead the medium itself and the nature of
the judgements it makes possible. Those on display at RATE are immediate
because the virtual medium makes them possible, and anonymous because the
same medium requires no identity markers for an individual. Moreover, the
sheer aggregation of the site itself — including anybody from anywhere in
the country — emerges as much more decisive than what can or cannot be said
on it. I suppose this is equivalent to shrugging, whatever we think of RATE,
we now have to live with it.
I think again of the very first student evaluation
I received at a T.A. The result? I no longer remember. Probably not quite as
bad as I feared, although certainly not as good as I hoped. The only thing I
remember is one comment. It was made, I was pretty sure, by a student who
sat right in the front row, often put her head down on the desk (the class
was at 8 a.m.) and never said a word all semester. She wrote: “his shoes are
dirty.” This shocked me. What about all the time I had spent, reading,
preparing, correcting? What about how I tried to make available the best
interpretations of the stories required? My attempts to keep discussions
organized, or just to have discussions, rather than lectures?
All irrelevant, at least for one student? It seemed
so. Worse, I had to admit the student was probably right — that old pair of
brown wingtips I loved was visibly becoming frayed and I hadn’t kept them
shined. Of course I could object: Should the state of a professor’s shoes
really constitute a legitimate student concern? Come to this, can’t you be a
successful teacher if your shoes are dirty? In today’s idiom, might this not
even strike at least some students all by itself as being, well, “hot"? In
any case, I’ve never forgotten this comment. Sometimes it represents to me
the only thing I’ve ever learned from reading my student evaluations. I took
it very personally once and I cherish it personally still.
Had it appeared on RATE, however, the comment would
feel very different. A RATE[D] professor is likely to feel like a contestant
on “American Idol,” standing there smiling while the results from the
viewing audience are totaled. What do any of them learn? Nothing, except
that everything from the peculiarities of their personalities to, ah, the
shine of their shoes, counts. But of course as professors we knew this
already. Didn’t we? Of course it might always be good to learn it all over
again. But not at a site where nobody’s particular class has any weight; not
in a medium in which everybody’s words float free; and not from students
whose comments guarantee nothing except their own anonymity. I’ll bet some
of them even wear dirty shoes.
Bob Jensen's threads on teaching evaluations are at
Bob Jensen's threads on course evaluations and grade inflation are at
Bob Jensen's threads on teaching evaluations and learning styles are at
Mutual Funds Watchdog Site
Featured (Positively) in USA Today on July 3, 2006, Page 3B ---
FundAlarm is a free, non-commercial Website. Our
view of the mutual fund industry is slightly off-center. We help you decide
when it's time to sell a fund, instead of when it's time to buy. The mutual
fund industry is full of broken promises, arrogance, greed, hypocrisy -- the
list goes on. We try to shine a light in the darker corners, and poke holes
in balloons that could use some poking.
Bob Jensen's threads on mutual fund scandals are at
Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at
EU Ministers Agree to Fund Stem Cell Research
European ministers have struck a compromise deal
allowing embryonic stem cell research to continue. It means EU members states
can spend some of the bloc's over 50 billion euro science budget on stem cell
programmes. Science and Research Minister Janez Potocnik said no exact figure
EuroNews, July 24, 2006 ---
Sociology Should Redefine Its Mission in General Education
The problem, the panel found, was that at a time that
colleges are placing increasing emphasis on assessing what students learn,
sociologists have focused primarily on assessing what their majors learn.
Because the discipline’s role in general education is primarily educating
non-majors, professors and departments need to find ways to measure learning in
areas like critical thinking, not just assume that the learning takes place, the
Scott Jaschik, "What Role for Sociology?" Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2006
Universities Take on the Price-Gouging Publication Oligopoly
"Rallying Behind Open Access," Inside Higher Ed, July 28, 2006
If universities pay the salaries of researchers and
provide them with labs, and the federal government provides those
researchers with grants for their studies, why should those same
universities feel they can’t afford to have access to research findings?
That’s part of the argument behind a push by some
in Congress to make such findings widely available at no charge. The
Federal Public Research Access Act would require
federal agencies to publish their findings, online and free, within six
months of their publication elsewhere. Proponents of the legislation,
including many librarians and professors frustrated by skyrocketing journal
prices, see such “open access” as entirely fair. But publishers — including
many scholarly associations —
have attacked the bill, warning that it could
endanger research and kill off many journals.
In an attempt to refocus the debate, the provosts
of 25 top universities are
jointly releasing an open letter that strongly
backs the bill and encourages higher education to prepare for a new way of
disseminating research findings. “Widespread public dissemination levels the
economic playing field for researchers outside of well-funded universities
and research centers and creates more opportunities for innovation. Ease of
access and discovery also encourages use by scholars outside traditional
disciplinary communities, thus encouraging imaginative and productive
scholarly convergence,” the provosts write.
While the letter acknowledges that the bill would
force publishers and scholarly societies to consider potentially significant
changes in their operations, the provosts conclude that the legislation “is
good for education and good for research.”
The letter originated with the provosts of the
Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which includes the universities of
the Big Ten Conference plus the University of Chicago. Others joining the
effort include the provosts of such institutions as Dartmouth College,
Harvard University, Texas A&M University, the University of California, the
University of Rochester, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University in
“I think the provosts are concerned that our
scientists are doing important research, and their fields demand that they
publish the research in highly respected journals, and then those journals
become more and more expensive and control information in a way that is
worrisome,” said R. Michael Tanner, provost and vice chancellor for academic
affairs of the University of Illinois at Chicago and one of those who worked
on the letter. When universities can’t afford to keep all of their
subscriptions, universities face the prospect that their own faculty members
can’t read the findings of fellow faculty members — even when taxpayers paid
for the research.
“At a certain point, we can’t be held prisoner
within the publication system,” Tanner said.
Tanner said he was worried about how the changes
already taking place in publishing — and those that could potentially take
place because of this legislation — would affect small publishers. But he
said that the reality was that larger publishers were making large profits
off universities like his.
Barbara Allen, director of the Committee on
Institutional Cooperation, said that she hoped the open letter would reshape
the debate on open access. “The public debate on these issues seems to be
driven by the commercial publishing sector, and the scholarly publishers
were lining up with the commercial sector,” she said. The provosts wanted to
make clear to Congress and others that “our needs as communities of
scholars” aren’t necessarily the same as those of large commercial
It’s not at all clear that the legislation will go
anywhere this year, with Congress already headed into pre-election season
and debates over scholarly publishing not exactly competing with Iraq or the
economy for voters’ attention. But the proposal is almost sure to return
next year — and the provosts’ action marks a shift of sorts for academic
leaders. Scholarly associations (many of which depend for their budgets on
journal sales) have been against these kinds of changes — even as more and
more of their members demand free, online access for information. The groups
that represent colleges have also been less than enthusiastic about this
push. The Association of American Universities — which includes most of the
institutions whose provosts signed the open letter — hasn’t taken a position
on the bill, and officials say that they see both benefits and problems with
While the provosts don’t claim the legislation is
perfect, they want university leaders to be decidedly on the “open access”
side of the debate.
Continued in article
But many professors oppose open sharing of research outcomes ---
Bob Jensen's threads on the price-gouging publication oligopoly are at
Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing are at
Engineering Programs Facing Up to Possible Requirements for Masters
Accounting Programs Were Forced to Do This Via Newly-Enacted State Laws for CPA
"Mastering Engineering," by David Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, July 28,
“I would like to see people with an engineering
education go into government,” King said. But King argues that the narrow,
rigorous program required for an undergraduate engineering degree limits the
amount of education engineering students get in other disciplines King hopes
to see the master’s degree, rather than the bachelor’s, become the true
entry level degree for professional engineers.
In King’s view, the undergraduate engineering
program — “pre-engineering,” he calls it, like pre-med or pre-law — should
have a lighter engineering load so that students can get a broader liberal
arts education. “The abilities of engineers to move into other areas … [is]
limited by the narrowness and inward-looking nature of their education,”
King says in a paper titled “
Engineers Should Have a College Education,” on the
Berkeley center’s Web site. A version of the essay appeared in the summer
2006 edition of Issues in Science and Technology. “Engineering is
typically the one undergraduate area that is not subject, or is much less
subject, to the general education requirements that are common for other
Making the master’s degree the entry level degree
would open up room in the undergraduate curriculum, King said, which is now
chock full of the requisite science and engineering courses for professional
practice. King makes some very similar suggestions to those made by the
National Academy of Engineering in its 2005 report, “Educating the Engineer
of 2020,” which
calls for a more liberal education for engineers,
and greater prevalence and recognition of the worth of professional master’s
degrees. “We’re recognizing that, because of the very fast expansion of
knowledge in science and engineering,” said Richard Taber, a program officer
at the National Academy of Engineering, “there’s too much for a student to
learn in that area in a four year degree.”
But critics cite students’ past resistance to
five-year B.S./M.S. programs, and say that graduate study is often
unnecessary for engineers, and would turn many students away from
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
"Technology Q&A," by Stanley Zarowin, Journal of Accountancy,
August 2006 ---
by Stanley Zarowin
Program Excel’s page-order print sequence…
formulas without using macros…
Search out files across a network with Google…
Outlook’s contacts as a paper phone directory…
mix of pages/sections from a document…
Nudge a Word file that opens slowly…
Denied tenure for being white
New Mexico Highlands University has agreed to pay
$170,000 to Gregg Turner, who was fired shortly after being denied tenure in the
math department, and to expunge the tenure denial from his record,
The New Mexican reported.
Turner is among several faculty members who say that they were treated unfairly,
in part because of a push by a university president who recently agreed to quit,
to hire more Latino faculty members. The American Association of University
Professors found that the way Turner and another professor were treated
violated standards of academic freedom and due process.
Inside Higher Ed, July 27, 2006 ---
"Google-porn site battle puts Internet freedoms in balance,"
PhysOrg, July 27, 2006 ---
At issue in the landmark case being appealed to the
San Francisco circuit court of appeals is whether Google infringed on
copyrights by creating links to Perfect 10 pictures copied from its website
and posted elsewhere on the Internet, according to the Electronic Frontier
"The stakes are high and everybody is out
expressing an opinion," EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann told AFP. "Links are
really the whole enchilada when it comes to the worldwide web."
A Perfect 10 court victory would stifle the sharing
of website links whether it be by bloggers, search engines, online
newspapers, or simply people sending e-mail to friends, von Lohmann said.
"It will be the most important copyright decision
for search engines in years."
The photos which Google provided links to were
evidently copies made by Perfect 10 website visitors and put on other
Continued in article
What tune should be used to accompany the lyrics to "Topless in the Goodtime
Flow Toward Old San Antonio?"
In the midst of attempts to crack down on raunchy
and rowdy behavior during traditional summertime tubing river trips through this
city, a San Antonio topless club is planning a tubing excursion featuring
strippers. Trey Maddox, a manager at Palace Men's Club, said Sunday's excursion
on the Comal River — during which men can pay $25 to join the strippers — isn't
meant to fly in the face of the city's new rules. "We're not hookers, dope
dealers or Mafia thugs," he said, noting that the strippers will be
appropriately dressed. "We're just coming to have a
"Strippers plan to tube New Braunfels river Sunday," Chron.com, July 27,
Although we have more fun water flows up here, white water tubing just isn't the
same in New Hampshire's mountains. I miss some things about San Antonio. Sigh!
"Smart Stops on the Web," by Vince Nolan, Journal of Accountancy,
August 2006 ---
CAREER BUILDING SITES
The Job Hunt
The Quintessential Careers Web portal offers links to job databases and
search engines for more than 1,400 employment and resume-writing e-stops.
Accounting and finance professionals also can research the latest starting
salaries by geographic location and find schools offering continuing
education programs. Once you’ve landed the interview, revisit the portal for
behavioral interview strategies, interview dos and don’ts and tips for
avoiding interview bloopers.
You’ve done the resume-writing, posting and job-search thing and you have a
few interviews lined up. Now come to this site to check out more than 300
free salary surveys, some specifically for accounting and finance, take a
salary I.Q. test and learn strategies for negotiating a higher starting
salary. Already employed and looking to make a change? Career Guides has
resources and links to the fastest growing job opportunities and aptitude
tests for new occupations.
The Juggling Act
You’ve got a new job and you’re busier than ever. Maybe too busy? Go to
Monster’s Work/Life Balance Web stop for tips on how to simplify your work
life in sections on office culture and politics, career development and
managing time and stress levels. Also get advice on negotiating a flex
schedule, building workplace friendships or renegotiating your salary at
review time. Take quizzes to find out whether you’re a team player or a
workaholic, and whether you’re getting the most out of your downtime.
Strike a Balance
Looking for advice on managing your work and home lives? The Benefits
section at this Smart Stop links to articles on caregivers, the cost of
absenteeism and flex practices. Free registration also gets you access to
newsletters on human resources and recruiting topics. Community Center
discussion threads let registrants voice their opinions and share
information on topics from age bias and workplace dress codes to staffing
and telecommuting. Check out the business cartoons in The Buzz for a quick
(Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at
GENERAL INTEREST SITES
CPAs looking for links to personal financial planning information should
bookmark this Web site that has links in dozens of categories, from
budgeting and business financial planning to small business and software.
Subscribe for free to the Planner’s Weekly, Career Adviser and
Wealth Adviser newsletters and post comments and questions on the
discussion board sections for case studies, career building and tax issues.
Financial Planning Tips has advice for business owners, new college
graduates and newlyweds.
Take a Tax Tip
This accounting firm Web site offers free weekly tax tips, such as for
year-end filing, and monthly business tips, including a checklist of ways to
make business meetings worthwhile. Monthly Financial Planning Tips has a
discussion on how to get the most out of investment dollars, while the
weekly “Money Management” column offers advice on getting tax breaks when
disaster strikes and deducting investment-related expenses. Check out Client
Alert for information on buy-sell agreements and long-term-care insurance.
A Site for Savings
Financial planners looking for ways to save clients money can go here for
quick tips on personal finances. Users can get tips on saving money through
government auctions or when moving, as well as on teaching kids about money
through a link to the “Jump$tart Financial Literacy Survey.” Visitors also
can find out how to pay taxes with an IRS loan and look up archive entries
for previous tips.
In the Beginning
Curious Web surfers can explore the how of the inner workings of everything
from laptop computers to the PayPal program at this e-site. Money Stuff has
an explanation of how income taxes work with detailed sections on the
origins of taxes in America, including the first income tax. Looking for
information on how phishing works? Read how scammers do it, learn how to
protect yourself and get links to popular firewall software.
Get Noticed Then Hired
Of the roughly 1,500 resumes executive job hunters receive for each open
position, only 100 of the applicants are ever contacted for interviews. Make
your resume the best fit for that position and company by using this Web
site’s fax resume distribution service. Jobseekers can receive a free resume
review and tips on how to improve theirs before subscribing to this paid
service, which sends out your revised and targeted resume and personalized
fax cover sheet to recruiters.
The top 10 unintentionally worst company URLs ---
1. A site called ‘Who Represents‘ where you can find the
name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for
2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers
can exchange advice and views at
3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at
4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at
5. Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator
6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery,
based in New South Wales:
7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always
8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their
9. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their
10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure
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
Adobe Photoshop Plugins ---
Knowledge Media Laboratory ---
The Carnegie Foundation
The Knowledge Media Laboratory works to create a
future in which communities of teachers, faculty, programs, and institutions
collectively advance teaching and learning by exchanging their educational
knowledge, experiences, ideas, and reflections by taking advantage of
various technologies and resources.
The KML is currently working with its partners,
including Carnegie Foundation programs, to achieve the following goals:
• To develop digital (or electronic) tools and
resources that help to make knowledge of effective teaching practices
and educational transformation efforts visible, shareable, and reusable.
• To explore synergy among various technologies
to better support the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
• To build the capacity for faculty and
teachers independently to take advantage of information and
communications technologies that enable them to re-examine, rethink, and
represent teaching and students learning, and to share the outcomes in
an effective and efficient way.
• To sustain communities of practice engaged in
collaboratively improving teaching and student learning by building
common areas to exchange knowledge and by building repositories for the
representation of effective practice.
Bob Jensen's threads on teaching resources are at
What are does "Rent a Dread" mean and why are so many women doing this for
"Sex, sand and sugar mummies in a Caribbean beach fantasy," Lorna Martin,
The Guardian, July 23, 2006 ---
It's 10am on Jamaica's breathtaking Negril beach.
Bleached white sand, swaying palms and crystalline Caribbean waters stretch
into the distance for seven miles. It looks endless and, on a first
impression, this could be paradise. But Negril is not as dreamlike as it
looks. It is no longer visited primarily for sun, sea and sand. Instead it
is the destination of choice for an increasing number of British female sex
tourists. An estimated 80,000 single women, from teenagers to grandmothers,
flock to the island every year and use the services of around 200 men known
as 'rent a dreads', 'rastitutes' or 'the Foreign Service' who make this
resort their headquarters.
Female sex tourism is nothing new. It was reported
in the late 1840s, when an Englishwoman went to Rome to take a lover. But in
recent years it has grown in popularity. These days the women who
participate are more likely to be single professionals than bored Shirley
Valentine housewives. With females staying single longer and rising divorce
rates, these holidays are expected to explode in popularity in the years
ahead. Consequently they are the subject of a sudden flurry of books, films
and plays examining the motivations of women who travel for sex, love and
Continued in article
Tackling Favoritism for Athletes
Watkins says it is all too common to see athletes
grouped in certain departments or programs under the sheltering wings of faculty
members who appear to care more about their success on the courts, rinks and
fields than in the classroom. Faculty members are often the most vocal critics
of favoritism for athletes (the issues at Auburn were raised by one whistle
blowing sociology professor against another), he says, but it is frequently
professors who are responsible for the favoritism in the first place.
Rob Capriccioso, "Tackling Favoritism for Athletes," Inside Higher Ed,
July 20, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on athletic scandals in academe are at
The J-School Boom
Indeed, students, fewer of whom are reading newspapers
than ever, are not deterred by the industry doom and gloom. A 2004 survey of
journalism and mass communication graduates by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for
International Mass Communication and Research at the University of Georgia
reported that enrollment in the nation’s journalism
programs grew almost 30 percent between 1999 and 2004. And, after a dismal few
survey showed that, in 2004, about 70 percent of
journalism undergraduates had a job offer upon graduation, up about 5 percentage
points from the previous year.
David Epstein, "The J-School Boom," Inside Higher Ed, July 24, 2006 ---
"Last Bastion of Liberal Education?" by W. Robert Connor, Inside
Higher Ed, July 25, 2006 ---
The last bastion mentality discourages breakout
strategies. Even talking to colleagues in business or environmental studies
can be seen as collaborating with the enemy rather than as a step toward
broadening and enriching the education of students majoring in these fields.
The last bastion mentality, like the widespread narratives of decline,
injects the insidious language of purity into our thinking about student
learning, hinting that any move beyond the cordon sanitaire is
somehow foul or polluting and likely to result in the corruption of high
All right, what if one takes this professed concern
for high standards seriously? What standards, exactly, do we really care
about and wish to see maintained? If it’s a high level of student engagement
and learning, then let’s say so, and be forthright in the claim that liberal
education is reaching that standard, or at least can reach that standard if
given half a chance. That entails, of course, backing up the claim with some
systematic form of assessment.
That provides one way to break out of the last
bastion mentality. One reason that liberal education remains so vital is
that when properly presented it contributes so much to personal and
cognitive growth. The subject matter of the liberal arts and sciences
provides some of the best ways of helping students achieve goals such as
analytical thinking, clarity of written and oral expression, problem
solving, and alertness to moral complexity, unexpected consequences and
cultural difference. These goals command wide assent outside academia, not
least among employers concerned about the quality of their work forces. They
are, moreover, readily attainable through liberal education provided
proper attention is paid to “transference.” “High
standards” in liberal education require progress toward these cognitive
Is it not time, then, for those concerned with the
vitality of liberal education to abandon the defensive strategies that
derive from the last bastion mentality, and adopt a new and much more
forthright stance? Liberal education cares about high standards of student
engagement and learning, and it cares about them for all students regardless
of their social status or the institution in which they are enrolled.
There is, of course, a corollary. Liberal education
can’t just make the claim that it is committed to such standards, still less
insist that others demonstrate their effectiveness in reaching them, unless
those of us in the various fields of the arts and sciences are willing to
put ourselves on the line. In today’s climate we have to be prepared to back
up the claim that we are meeting those standards. Ways to make such
assessments are now at hand, still incomplete and imperfect, but good enough
to provide an opportunity for the liberal arts and sciences to show what
they can do.
That story, I am convinced, is far more compelling
than any narrative of decline.
Rise of Women in the Accounting Profession
July 27, 2006 message from Linda C Pfingst CPA
Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard University
president who created a storm of controversy when he said that women lack
the knack for science and mathematics, apparently wasn't paying attention to
what's been happening in the accounting profession.
The number of female accountants has increased
dramatically in recent years, to the point where they now outnumber men.
An estimated 842,000 women are employed as
accountants in the United States, making up about 60 percent of the total,
according to the Journal of Accountancy. In 1983, the percentage of women
was 39 percent.
read entire at:
Linda Pfingst, CPA
No accounting for the disparity between the academic achievement of
African American and white students
In her newest book, No Children Left Behind,
Longshore takes issue with assertions made in the Declaration of Independence,
that all men are created equally ; proving the opposite to be true; that no men,
women or children are created equally. According to this author, the public
school curriculum is not only based upon this pseudo-reality, but has failed
historically to take into account the individual learning styles of all the
students; accounting for the disparity between the academic achievement of
African American and white students .
"No Children Left Behind?" PRWeb, July 24, 2006 ---
"The Student Loan Network Introduces Graduate PLUS Loan With Fixed Rate
for Grad Students," PR Web, July 21, 2006 ---
With an average sticker price of $40,000 per year,
graduate school can be a costly, though important, next step for those
seeking greater opportunities for advancement. The new Federal Graduate PLUS
Loan from the Student Loan Network can help fill this need.
A Federal Graduate PLUS Loan from the Student Loan
Network, available through
www.GradLoans.com, offers students many
- Fixed interest rates at 8.5% - lower your
rate by up to 2% through borrower benefits depending on your school
- Borrow up to the cost of education - that includes tuition, books,
fees, supplies, and a computer
- No payments while enrolled in school half time or greater
- No penalties for early repayment
- Easy online application and knowledgeable Financial Aid Consultants
who can even take an application over the phone
Continued in article
Updates from WebMD ---
Latest Headlines on July
Latest Headlines on July
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Latest Headlines on July
Should there be a doughnut hole in the Medicare D coverage under Medicare's new
"Medicare Beneficiaries Confused and Angry Over Gap in Drug Coverage," by
Robert Pear, The New York Times, July 29, 2006 ---
Tens of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries who
signed up for prescription drug coverage are paying monthly premiums, but
Medicare is not paying any of their drug costs because they have reached a
gap in their coverage.
The gap, the notorious “doughnut hole,” is
upsetting many beneficiaries, and it has become a potent symbol as
politicians debate the merits of the new program.
Federal officials and outside experts say that 3
million to 3.5 million people may fall into the gap this year, about half
the number predicted. While lawmakers and lobbyists were well aware of the
problem, it is attracting fresh attention because many beneficiaries are
just now discovering it.
The original estimates assumed that people would
sign up for drug coverage in January, but many waited until April or May.
They will file fewer claims than expected and are therefore less likely to
reach the gap in coverage this year.
Poor people eligible for Medicare and Medicaid have
no gap in the benefit. In addition, many retirees found that
employer-sponsored health plans provided better drug benefits than Medicare,
so they stayed in those plans, which rarely have a gap in coverage.
Beneficiaries often learn about the doughnut hole
when they try to refill prescriptions. They may be asked to pay $75 to $125
or more for a drug they had been receiving for a co-payment of $20 to $30.
Marcella Crown, 80, of Des Plaines, Ill., near
Chicago, takes Lipitor for high cholesterol, Diovan for high blood pressure,
Synthroid for thyroid disease, Fosamax for osteoporosis, Nexium for
heartburn and several other drugs.
Mrs. Crown signed up in November for a drug plan
offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. Her coverage began in
January, and she reached the coverage gap in April.
Her husband, David F. Crown, a retired mechanical
engineer, said: “Blue Cross is saying that even though she will get no
benefit, she must still pay the premiums. That’s outrageous. We have never
had insurance policies that gave us no benefit yet required us to pay
Melvin A. Kinnison, 65, of Huntington Beach,
Calif., a retired deputy sheriff with diabetes and prostate cancer, said:
“The drug benefit was fine for a while, until the doughnut hole came around.
It was a total surprise. Nobody ever explained it to me.”
Mr. Kinnison said he reached the coverage gap in
June. The cost for a month’s supply of Cymbalta, which he takes for diabetic
nerve pain, jumped to $104, from $20.
Former Senator Dave Durenberger, a Minnesota
Republican who runs a national health policy forum, said, “The doughnut hole
could have negative repercussions for Republicans in the November midterm
Democrats hope that is the case. The coverage gap
is “a goofy idea,” said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota.
Administration officials play down such concerns.
Dr. Mark B. McClellan, administrator of the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said beneficiaries had already saved
about $1,500 by the time they reached the coverage gap. Beneficiaries
concerned about the gap, Dr. McClellan said, can often reduce their costs by
switching to generic drugs and by taking advantage of assistance programs
offered by many states and by drug manufacturers. Next year, he said, they
can switch to plans that offer some coverage in the gap.
While beneficiaries are generally responsible for
all drug costs in the gap, they do have access to discounts negotiated by
Many beneficiaries, like Mr. and Mrs. Crown, had
heard about the coverage gap but did not fully understand how it worked.
Under the standard drug benefit defined by Congress
in the 2003 Medicare law, the beneficiary pays a $250 deductible and then 25
percent of drug costs from $251 to $2,250. When total yearly drug costs,
paid by the beneficiary and the plan, reach $2,250, the coverage stops, and
the beneficiary pays 100 percent of the cost of each prescription, until the
person’s out-of-pocket costs reach $3,600. At that point, insurance resumes,
and the beneficiary pays about 5 percent of the cost of each drug. The
tabulation of costs begins anew each year.
Wen A. Daniels of California Health Advocates, an
insurance counseling organization, said she had clients who reached the gap
in January or February because they were taking high-cost drugs like Avastin,
Gleevec and Iressa for different types of cancer; Pegasys for hepatitis;
Betaseron for multiple sclerosis; and Tracleer for a life-threatening lung
UnitedHealth, the largest sponsor of Medicare drug
plans, with 4.5 million members, said that 45,000 of them had reached the
point where the coverage gap begins.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads confusion over the Medicare D Program are at
Veggie Diets Do for Diabetics What Abstinence Does for Prevention of AIDs
Writing in the journal Diabetes Care, researchers say a
diet that avoids animal products, such as meat and dairy, is superior to the
traditional diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association, WebMD
reports. According to the researchers, 43 percent of the diabetics who followed
a low-fat vegan diet for 22 weeks reduced their need to take medicine to manage
their disease compared to 26 percent who followed the ADA diet. In addition,
those following the vegan diet lowered their cholesterol and weight more than
diabetics following the traditional diet. "The diet appears remarkably
effective, and all the side effects are good ones -- especially weight loss and
lower cholesterol," said chief researcher Neal D. Barnard, M.D., adjunct
professor of medicine at George Washington University and president of
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. "I hope this study will rekindle
interest in using diet changes first, rather than prescription drugs," he said.
"Vegan diet best for type 2 diabetics," PhysOrg, July 28, 2006
What is prosopagnosia and why is it so debilitating for teachers?
Prosopagnosia is otherwise known as face blindness resulting from brain
malfunction. In the July 17, 2006 issue on Page 56 of Time Magazine, a
recent article from American Journal of Medical Genetics is summarized.
Originally thought to be rare, it is now believed that 1 in every 50 people
suffer to some degree of prosopagnosia with difficult or altogether inability to
recognize faces. As a result sufferers are less likely to recognize people
face-to-face. Most can see faces but fail to recall features of faces seen.
Extreme sufferers cannot even see faces.
Scottish Women Learning to Love Their Scotch to Their Own Peril
The number of women dying from causes related to
drinking and smoking rose to record levels in Scotland last year . . . "Women
need to realize their drinking limits are lower. Their bodies cannot handle it
and their livers are more damaged if they drink too much," she said. Men are
still more likely than women to die of smoking and alcohol-related disease, but
if current trends continue that could change, the newspaper said.
"Booze, smoking killing more women," PhysOrg, July 30, 2006 ---
We might ask what drives more males to die of booze than females, but it would
be unseemly to make jokes at this point.
Fargo's Body Chipper Déjà Vu at Western Carolina University
"Western Carolina U. plans 'body farm'," PhysOrg, July 30, 2006 ---
The 6.5-horsepower wood chipper sitting in the
middle of John Williams' forensic anthropology lab run is no macabre joke.
Yes, a wood chipper did figure in the bloody climax of the 1996 film
"Fargo." And yes, the professor at Western Carolina University has run human
bones through this particular Briggs & Stratton model.
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But Williams, of course, isn't trying to dispose of
any dead bodies. Rather, he's a student of how the human body decomposes.
He needed the chipper for a study on what the
machine does to bone, a study commissioned by attorneys suing a Georgia
crematorium owner charged with dumping - and chipping - human remains he had
been given for incineration.
Soon, Williams will have a new place to conduct his
research - a well-hidden location near Western Carolina's campus where he
and students studying the science of the human skeleton and human remains
can watch cadavers decompose in the mountainous environment of western North
It will be just the second such "body farm" in the
country - the first was found in 1980 at the University of Tennessee in
"They'll be involved with the daily observation
process. Very early on, you are examining that body daily, because the
changes initially go very quickly," Williams said. "They'll learn how to
observe as scientists."
How fast a body left in the open breaks down - key
to establishing when a person was killed - depends heavily on temperature,
moisture and other environmental factors, Williams said. In relatively dry,
cold conditions, like those found in these mountains in the winter, it can
take months for a body to decompose to skeletal remains.
In the warmer, more humid conditions of summertime,
when there are plenty of insects around, that process can speed up greatly,
said Williams, a veteran of body recovery operations at the World Trade
Center after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the 1999 EgyptAir crash off
the Massachusetts coast.
School officials are keeping the facility's exact
location a secret, to discourage those with a morbid curiosity from dropping
by. Roughly the size of a garage with room for six bodies, it will be hidden
from view by a 9-foot privacy fence and protected by a second security fence
topped with razor wire. Campus plans daily patrols at the site, which is a
half-mile from the nearest home.
Rick Schwein, head of the FBI office in Asheville,
said his office handles four to six body recoveries each year on federal
lands, including the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National
Park, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians reservation and numerous national
"We do have a fair number of body recoveries,"
Schwein said, "because of the remote and rural environment and the amount of
publicly accessible remote land."
Most recently, he said, a murder victim from
Cleveland County, in the central part of the state, was found dumped near
the parkway. In a 2001 case, the body of a Wisconsin man was discovered by
hunters in a forest about seven miles from the Western Carolina campus. The
man's son, a former student at Western Carolina, was eventually convicted of
killing his father in the summer of 1998.
"Any education program that can be utilized as a
resource by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies has got to be
a good thing," Schwein said.
Already, Williams has fielded dozens of calls from
law enforcement officials excited about the research site, including a
trainer who teaches search dogs for nearby Macon County and has put in a
plug for training cadaver-finding bloodhounds at the site.
The planned Western Carolina facility is 120 miles
southeast of the only other such research site in the country, at the
University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Professor William M. Bass III founded
his "Anthropology Research Facility" in 1980 and saw it become a sensation
after it was featured as "the body farm" in a Patricia Cornwell novel.
Bass went on to co-author a 2003 book, "Death's
Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab 'The Body Farm,' Where the Dead Do
Western Carolina Chancellor John Bardo, who hired
Williams from the University of North Dakota in 2003, has been supportive of
Williams' effort to build a Top 10 forensic anthropology program at the
Among the ways Williams hopes to set his facility
apart from Tennessee's is by coming up with a moniker other than "body
farm," which he finds both inaccurate and too flippant.
"I'd rather have something more dignified," he
That's in keeping with Williams' requirement that
students working in his lab always refer to remains by the first name of the
person from whom they came.
As an example, Williams holds up a leg bone from a
man named Walter, a diabetic who had one leg amputated at the knee. The
femur is from Walter's other leg, which he broke and doctors had to repair
with the metal plate.
"We use their real names to remind people that
these are real people," Williams said.
But Williams does have a sense of humor about his
profession. The screen saver on the lab's computer scrolls a famous line
from the film "The Sixth Sense" - "I see dead people" - while decorations
include a bumper sticker that reads "I Sucked Bones at Fat Buddies," a local
More than anything, Williams said, the new Western
Carolina facility will help students learn whether they literally have the
stomach for a field that many choose based on having watched the popular
"CSI" television shows.
"'CSI' paints this picture of this sterile, perfect
world, where there are no, for example, smells, and even the sights TV
flattens out," Williams said. "One of the first thing I want our students to
be exposed to is the real thing, so that they don't spend a portion of their
life learning this and then go on their first case and ... realize, 'I can't
Continued in article
Who are the lowly "cashiers" in ID theft rings?
Who are the bad guys at the top of the theft chain?
According to Dillinger, he obtained at least 450
numbers from a Russian hacker he met online, then used them to withdraw
thousands of dollars from ATM machines before banks canceled the cards and
issued new ones to customers. Dillinger, a drug addict and former prostitute in
Southern California, was arrested last month on charges unrelated to the
cash-out operation. It's unclear whether he'll be charged for the cashing,
although he's spoken openly about his activities with many people . . .
Dillinger typifies the thieves who are carving out a living on the bottom rung
of the growing international cybercrime industry. Congregating on members-only
web forums, where they take assignments from more technically sophisticated
criminals, many have only moderate computer skills. They are the mules of
electronic fraud, filling a vital role at the intersection of the virtual and
the real: converting stolen account information into cold, hard cash. Most are
young males in their teens and early 20s who are lured by the prospect of making
big bucks in an environment that offers them relative anonymity. Others are
longtime bank and identity thieves in the offline world who have become
acquainted with the riches that carding sites promise to even unsophisticated
scammers like Dillinger. At the top of the pyramid are sophisticated hackers --
many of them East Europeans -- with the technical skills to hack databases and
online bank accounts. It's the latter who have helped turn carding into a
multibillion-dollar worldwide crime.
Kim Zetter, "Confessions of a Cybermule," Wired News, July 29, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on ID theft are at
Could drugs that mimic nicotine help boost
brain power? Several companies and academic research groups are banking on it,
with a handful of compounds showing promising results in preliminary human
Nicotine, even without
the carcinogenic effects of smoking, has major downsides: it's addictive and can
increase heart rate and blood pressure. But now scientists are trying to develop
drugs that target the brain's nicotine receptors to treat an array of cognitive
impairments without these side effects. Several candidates are now being tested
or about to be tested in clinical trials to treat Alzheimer's disease,
schizophrenia, and age-related memory loss.
Emily Singer, "The Upside to Nicotine?" MIT's Technology Review, July 28,
What are the world's ten most deadly ingested/inhaled poisons/
"The Best: Deadly Poisons, Ingested or Inhaled," by Christopher Null,
Wired Magazine, August 2006 ---
1. Botulinum (ingested)
It’s hard to rank the lethality of toxins, but experts agree that botulinum
– several orders of magnitude deadlier than sarin – is the gold standard.
Your nervous system fails and you die in extreme pain. Works miracles on
2. Ricin (ingested or inhaled)
Made from the lowly castor bean, ricin causes respiratory and organ failure,
followed by death within hours. Even chewing a few beans can kill you.
3. Anthrax (inhaled)
Cutaneous exposure can kill, but the most deadly, panic-inspiring form of
anthrax is inhaled. It starts with flu that doesn’t get better – then your
respiratory system collapses.
4. Sarin (inhaled)
Sarin is one of the deadliest nerve gases, hundreds of times more toxic than
cyanide. Just one whiff and you’ll foam at the mouth, fall into a coma, and
die. Originally synthesized for use as a pesticide, it was outlawed as a
warfare agent in 1997.
5. Tetrodotoxin (ingested)
Found in the organs of puffer fish (the famous Japanese delicacy fugu),
tetrodotoxin persists even after the fish is cooked. If the toxin is
consumed, paralysis and death can strike within six hours. Up to five
Japanese die from badly prepared fugu every year.
6. Cyanide (ingested or inhaled)
Cyanide exists in a number of lethal forms that are present in nature or
easily manufactured. Exposure leads to seizures, cardiac arrest, and death
7. Mercury (inhaled)
Low levels of mercury are not especially toxic to adults. However, inhaled
mercury vapor (the metal starts turning to a gas at room temp) attacks the
brain and lungs, shutting down the central nervous system.
8. Strychnine (ingested or inhaled)
A common pesticide, strychnine isn’t as toxic as other poisons on our list,
but it gets style points for causing one of the most horrific deaths of all:
Every muscle in your body spasms violently until you die from exhaustion.
9. Amatoxin (ingested)
Derived from the death cap family of mushrooms, amatoxin destroys your liver
and kidneys over several days. You remain conscious – and in excruciating
pain – until you slip into a coma and expire.
10. Compound 1080 (ingested or inhaled)
As an animal poison, compound 1080 proved a little too effective: The bodies
of creatures killed with 1080 remain poisonous for up to a year. Odorless,
tasteless, water soluble, and without antidote, 1080 blocks cellular
metabolism, leading to a quick yet painful death.
Successes of Privatization Across 30 Years
"Socialism in Reverse," The Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2006; Page
Both in the U.S. and abroad, there is still much
more privatization that could be done. In this digital age, it's
inexplicable to have government deliver the mail or burn $1.2 billion a year
for Amtrak's passenger-train service. But these are trivial wastes compared
with the public monopoly over the vital social service of education. It is
no accident that education is one of the only modern services that has
experienced a steady erosion of productivity. The advancement of charter
schools, vouchers and private scholarship programs has been much too slow
for the well-being of our poorest children.
Looking ahead, the Reason editors see much more
private investments in roads, water systems and airports. More than a dozen
nations have privatized air-traffic operations -- including Britain and
Canada -- though not the U.S. The main obstacle in all of these cases is
entrenched interests, such as unions and public employees, that intimidate
politicians into opposing competition. Building a political strategy to
overcome this opposition is one of the main challenges of our time.
All in all, however, the story over the last 30
years is one of remarkable progress. "All great ideas go through three
stages. In the first stage they are ridiculed. In the second stage, they are
strongly opposed. And in the third stage they are considered to be
self-evident," the philosopher Schopenhauer once observed. Privatization may
not have reached stage three, but it's getting there.
Continued in article
Five from Jim Mahar on July 26, 2006 ---
- This would defintely be fodder for my Money
and Banking classes if I were teaching that this semester!
will be phased out in a new version of the game in a bid to keep up with
will use mock Visa debit cards to keep track of how much money they are
winning or losing.
machine is provided, which allows the banker to transfer money from
players and record their earnings and payments."
2. A somewhat dated (it is from 2003)
piece by Nobel Prize Winner Joseph Stiglitz on Globalization
in which he attacks the IMF. This would definitely be
required reading were I to be teaching International (finance or economics).
(thanks to MBA
Depot for pointing it out!)
"What is this phenomenon of globalization that has
been subject, at the same time, to such vilification and such praise?
Fundamentally, it is the closer integration of the countries and peoples
of the world which has been brought about by the enormous reduction in
costs of transportation and communication, and the breaking down of
artificial barriers to the flows of goods, services, capital, knowledge,
and people across borders...."
CNN on backdating of options:
"If, in too many instances, the benefits of globalization have been less
than its advocates claim, the price paid has been greater, as political
processes have been corrupted, and the rapid pace of change has not
allowed countries time for cultural adaptation. These problems are
hardly new–but the increasingly vehement worldwide reaction against the
policies that drive globalization is a significant change."
"By some reckonings, close to 100 countries have faced crises. Worse,
many of the policies that the IMF pushed – such as premature capital
market liberalization – have contributed to global instability. And once
a country was in crisis, IMF programs not only failed to stabilize the
situation, in many cases, they actually made
"...let's dispense with the pooh-poohers, those
who'd minimize the importance of this issue....At its worst, the
practice is called backdating because an executive manages to move the
date of a stock option back in time, presumably to when the stock price
was lower....by moving back the grant date during a rising market, for
example - and the option is worth even more.The scandal, however,
involves far more shenanigans, and deeper nuances, than mere
backdating....the system of awarding options has gone from an incentive
program to an entitlement....So here's a radical proposal: Scrap the
In a related article, the SEC is investigating how to
increase pay transparency.
4. Longer term and traded options to minic emplouee
options? From the
"Analysts at Wall Street's
Bear Stearns Cos.
have outlined a proposal for competitive pricing of employee stock
options that they claim would be a better gauge of value than the models
companies currently use. The idea, laid out in a recent report, calls
for companies to sell 10-year options to investors to be traded
alongside the stock options they grant employees."
Which would be a great idea if (and this is a giant
if) there is a market for them. Looking at LEAPS, that is questionable. But
10 year options would make various investment strategies much easier to
SEC promised to increase regulation of hedge funds
after their original regulation plans were turned down by US courts.
"The head of the
US financial watchdog has vowed to continue pushing for tougher
regulation of the multi-billion dollar hedge fund industry...Mr Cox
told the Senate Banking Committee that he had not ruled out appealing
against the June court ruling....He added that without regulation "the
potential for retail investors to be harmed by hedge fund risk" was a
What do companies and executives who back dated options fear the most?
The Internal Revenue Service is examining as many as
40 companies ensnared in various stock options investigations to determine
whether they owe millions of dollars in unpaid taxes. In the last few weeks, the
agency has directed its corporate auditors to start reviewing the tax returns of
dozens of executives and companies, which may have improperly reported stock
option grants. These preliminary investigations are expected to take months, but
if there is early evidence of widespread tax trouble, I.R.S. officials said they
were prepared to step up their effort. “Where there are indications of mischief,
we want to now look at those cases and see if they complied with tax laws,” said
Bruce Ungar, the agency’s deputy commissioner for large and midsize businesses.
“It is possible that they are compliant, but the early indication is that there
is a good likelihood there is some noncompliance.
Eric Dash, "I.R.S. Reviewing Companies in Options Inquiries," The New York
Times, July 28, 2006 ---
The first 40 companies are only a drop in this scandalous bucket. Over 2,000
companies are suspected of this unethical compensation ploy.
Bob Jensen's threads on scandalous executive compensation are at
What is the true meaning of "joint and severally liable?"
"Rumpelstiltskin, LLP" by Walter Olson, The Wall Street Journal, July
29, 2006; Page A11 ---
When porcupines were a big nuisance
in rural New England half a century ago, Vermont offered 50 cents for a pair
of the creatures' ears. Industrious Yankees duly submitted the auricular
trophies in great volume -- in 1952 the state paid out $90,000 on the bounty
program -- yet the woods still abounded with the prickly rodents. Author
Richard Conniff quotes a district forester who explained one of the reasons:
"A trapper who knew how to use his knife could get 10 or 12 sets of ears out
of a single animal."
Bounty hunting has, if anything,
grown more popular in modern American law, despite the unintended
consequences; and when the history of this practice is written, junk-fax
litigation will have a special place. It all began in 1991, when Congress
banned the transmission of unsolicited commercial ("junk") faxes. As
legislative ideas go, this was one of the less controversial: Unasked-for
faxes rank up there with dinnertime sales calls as a source of annoyance to
How to enforce such a ban? Lawsuits
by an annoyed consumer might seem unlikely, because the damages would
ordinarily be too trivial to justify a trip to court. So the law provided
for automatic damages of $500 per fax page received, and triple that, or
$1,500, for a willful and deliberate offense. This might make sense were the
idea to let offended consumers vindicate their rights in a small-claims
context (although federal in origin, the law can be enforced in state
Since a single damage claim could
roll together multiple pages and transmissions, however, the sums get
serious fairly quickly. For example, a three-page newsletter faxed monthly
for a year might generate damages of $18,000 (36 times $500), or $54,000 if
Enter the plaintiff lawyers.
An early order of business for these
litigators was to find state courts willing to entertain class actions for
junk faxes; damages from large numbers of passive recipients could then be
rolled together with those from one live client and a routine case vaulted
into the million-dollar class. In 1995 lawyers filed a class action
demanding $7 billion from more than 70 Houston restaurants, car
dealerships and other businesses that had advertised in a series of omnibus
fax mailings. One local Mexican eatery was potentially liable for $25
million because it advertised in 50,000 faxes.
But wasn't the target the business
that sent the fax, and not those that had merely paid to advertise in
it? No: The law made all parties, including advertisers, jointly and
severally liable. The actual sender of the faxes, often enough an
independent marketing promoter or ad agency, had often vanished from the
scene (or was without assets) by the time a case reaches a court. So
advertisers become the main target -- and if a single fax carried coupons
from a couple of dozen local businesses, each can be menaced with the law's
scary penalties. A lawyer representing some of the Houston defendants dubbed
the process "Powerball for the clever."
Many of the local businesses say they
hadn't known about the law, or had believed promoters' assurances that all
recipients had opted into tell-me-about-discount-offers arrangements, or
that no one had complained. But those aren't valid defenses under the law,
and a string of large judgments and settlements began that continues to this
A Web site in Arizona advises
visitors to "Turn your fax machine into a money machine," and not without
reason. The North Charleston, S.C. Ramada Inn agreed to pay $450,000 for
promoting a New Year's celebration. A $12 million judgment forced a Georgia
restaurant into bankruptcy. A car dealership in St. Clair County, Ill., was
told to pay $7 million.
Illinois has emerged as a particular
hotbed of junk-fax litigation; one Cook County judge alone has presided over
more than 100 cases seeking class-action status, according to Crain's
Chicago Business. Last month a plaintiff's lawyer in suburban Chicago who
publishes the Internet and Class Action Law Blog told readers that they
should stop regarding these unwanted transmissions as a mere throwaway
nuisance: "Why not turn all those junk faxes into a college fund for your
The vast sums up for grabs have
stimulated lawyers into what you might call ear-carving. California lawyers
are advancing the theory that major telecom carriers have legally abetted
the rogue faxers by setting them up with accounts: They too should be held
liable under the law, to the tune of $2.2 trillion.
One case against AMF Bowling Centers
for improper faxing of coupons was resolved by way of a promise to furnish
members with more coupons; a critic pointed out that the sending of
unasked-for coupons was "the conduct that got AMF in trouble" in the first
place. (Lawyers of course got cash.) Incidentally, unsolicited court-ordered
faxes notifying consumers of class actions going on in their name are not
covered by the law's prohibitions.
There are wider lessons here about
the dangers of bounty-hunting methods in law enforcement, which -- from the
classic small-town speed trap to the ever-richer incentives for "whistleblowing"
-- can undercut due process and create a constituency for harshly punitive
applications of the law. In California, "citizen enforcement" provisions now
attach to whole sectors of business regulation, with the result that a
mercenary army of attorneys and freelancers roams the state, ginning up
complaints over (among much else) the alleged sexism of Mother's Day
promotions and businesses' failure to warn of "toxic emissions" from such
unlikely substances as candles and billiard chalk.
No doubt you can make a case that
getting at the most heinous wrongdoers through bounty-hunting is preferable
to never getting at them at all. But note that where crimes are indisputably
serious, the rewards for informing are fixed and often modest. The typical
reward for helping solve a bank robbery is $5,000. At rewardsforjustice.net,
the U.S. government offers bounties for information leading to the capture
of leading terrorists: Even notorious masterminds tend to be worth at most
$5 million, while turning in Osama bin Laden will win you $25 million.
If Osama had sent 100,000 junk faxes,
there'd be a bigger price on his head.
Mr. Olson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute
The Deep Secret About Why Auditors Are Replaced
Auditors are there to protect investors. When an
audit firm resigns an engagement, the investors deserve to know why.
Floyd Norris, "Deep Secret: Why Auditors Are Replaced," The New York Times,
July 28, 2006 ---
Here if You Are a TimesSelect Subscriber
Tracey Sutherland [
firstname.lastname@example.org ] informed me that Floyd Norris will be making a
presentation in the August AAA meetings in Washington DC for those of you who
are interested in this topic. She wonders what he will have to say, I can only
guess at this point in time.
I suspect he’ll talk about the ethical problem of client
confidentiality where professionals like auditors are pledged to confidentiality
regarding client relationships. Of course this confidentiality was weakened over
30 years ago when it was deemed that accountants must disclose confidential
information under court orders, disclosures that are not required of lawyers
(and I think the clergy but I’m not certain how much protection is still
afforded to the clergy).
The reason lawyers are immune from having to disclose
client secrets is ostensibly that clients would be afraid to communicate
information crucial to their defense. Accountants used to make similar arguments
that, without confidentiality protection, clients would hide more from auditors,
but the courts eventually rejected such arguments by accountants. Attorneys
still are immune for the simple reason that lawyers write the laws due to the
high proportion of (often unemployed) lawyers who are also legislators.
The SEC also has some rules regarding information that must
be disclosed when clients change auditors, but these rules do not go far enough
according to Norris. But I think the rules apply more to clients than to
auditors. Perhaps some of you out there can clarify this for me.
One of the most interesting tests of client confidentiality
arose in the Boston Strangler Case where the prosecution really did not have a
good case against the serial killer named Albert Henry DeSalvo. His famed
defense attorney, F. Lee Bailey, purportedly had confidential information about
guilt and was faced with the dilemma of brilliantly defending DeSalvo and,
thereby, allowing a supposedly deranged serial killer back on the streets to
kill again. You can read the following at
While defendant Albert
DeSalvo was in jail for the "Green Man" sexual assaults, he had confessed
his guilt in the "Boston Strangler" murders to Bailey. Bailey sought to
arrange a deal for DeSalvo to avoid the death penalty in the Strangler
murders, in exchange for his confession. Bailey used DeSalvo's murder
confession to argue an insanity defense in the sexual assault case. However,
DeSalvo was found guilty.
Allegedly F. Lee Bailey faced the same dilemma in the O.J.
Simpson murder trial where he helped Simpson to go free. Perhaps he viewed
Simpson as less of a threat to society if Simpson was allowed to continue to
roam the golf courses. Then again Simpson may truly have been innocent. Yeah
I suspect there are countless instances where defense
attorneys have acted in the best interest of the public in one way or another
when defending a maniac who would be a continued menace to society if allowed to
go free. But there are countless other instances where restraints of
confidentiality have allowed persons or companies known to be guilty to get off
to free or even collect gazillions in damages from truly innocent persons. This
is probably the main ethical dilemma of “confidentiality rights and restraints.”
It is a great issue for student debates and term papers.
"C. Frederick Mosteller, a Pioneer in Statistics, Dies at 89," by
Kenneth Chang, The New York Times, July 29, 2006 ---
C. Frederick Mosteller, the founding chairman of
Harvard’s statistics department and a pioneer in using statistics to analyze
an array of topics as disparate as anesthesia, presidential elections and
baseball, died on Sunday in Virginia. He was 89.
The cause of death was sepsis, said his son,
From Dr. Mosteller’s earliest research, he ventured
where few statisticians had gone before. During World War II, he calculated
the dispersion pattern of a string of bombs. After the 1948 presidential
election, he was a member of a committee that looked into how presidential
pre-election polls erroneously forecast Thomas E. Dewey as the winner over
Harry S. Truman, finding that pollsters’ data had contained signs that the
election would be close and that their analysis of the data had included
In the late 1950’s, Dr. Mosteller assisted in
analyzing data from a large clinical study looking at the anesthetic
halothane, which was suspected of causing fatal liver damage in some
patients. The analysis showed no evidence that halothane was more dangerous
than other forms of anesthesia.
He worked with Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a professor
of government at Harvard and later a senator from New York, on studies
looking at the impact of home life on children’s performance in school. They
argued that raising families out of poverty would have a greater educational
impact than pouring money directly into schools.
Dr. Mosteller also appeared on national television
in 1961, teaching a course on statistics on NBC’s early morning program
In 1962 he stepped into a question of prose.
Scholars disagreed on who — James Madison or Alexander Hamilton — was the
author of a dozen of the essays in the Federalist Papers, articles published
anonymously in 1787 and 1788 that described how the fledgling United States
government was to work. Analyzing the frequency of certain words — like
“upon,” which Hamilton used frequently and Madison hardly at all — Dr.
Mosteller and David L. Wallace of the University of Chicago concluded that
Madison wrote all 12.
In the 1970’s, Dr. Mosteller worked on studies that
questioned whether the benefits of some surgical procedures were worth their
costs. In the 1980’s, he was instrumental in persuading Tennessee to conduct
a controlled study on the effect of classroom size. The study showed
convincingly that smaller classes significantly helped children from poorer
In his half-century career at Harvard, Dr.
Mosteller served as chairman of four departments.
“He was a remarkably disciplined scholar,” said
James Ware, the dean for academic affairs at Harvard School of Public
Health, “and he really knew how to share with other people.”
Charles Frederick Mosteller was born in Clarksburg,
W.Va., on Dec. 24, 1916. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in
mathematics from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the forerunner of
Carnegie Mellon University. He received a doctorate in mathematics from
Princeton in 1946.
He then joined Harvard as a lecturer in the social
relations department. After being promoted to professor in 1951, he became
acting chairman of the department in 1953.
At that time, Harvard had nine statistics
professors, and they were scattered among different departments. In 1957,
the university created a statistics department, and Dr. Mosteller was its
“Harvard literally created a department for Fred,”
said Richard Light, an education professor at Harvard who was one of Dr.
Mosteller’s graduate students.
In the 1970’s, Dr. Mosteller was chairman of the
biostatistics department at the Harvard School of Public Health, and in the
1980’s he was chairman of the health policy and management department. After
retiring in 1987, he continued to work as an emeritus professor until he
moved to Virginia two years ago.
Continued in article
Algebra: In Simplest Terms ---
Bob Jensen's threads on math helpers are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics These include
The Math Forum@ Drexel University ---
Mathematics Help Central ---
Wikipedia has a number of good modules on mathematics ---
Wikipedia also has some modules on problem solving ---
Help in Problem Solving Courses
July 14, 2006 message from biology professor Robert Blystone
Below is a reference that may be useful to advisors
with incoming first-year students and parents with children who are facing
St. Louis University has prepared a helpful
commentary for students who are taking problem solving courses, such as
The Web site has a lot of common sense information.
It is nicely organized and should be helpful to the student who is facing a
math class and is feeling a little uncomfortable about it.
The site was just reviewed by the Internet Scout
Project folks and that is how it came to my attention.
I plan to read the information with my 15 year old
The Home Sewing Association ---
Do you know where your spouse's car is parked
at the moment and where he/she has been most of the day?
"License Plate Tracking for All," by Luke
O'Brien,Wired News, July 25, 2006 ---
Jealous lovers may soon have an alternative to
sniffing for perfume to catch a cheating mate: Just follow their license
In recent years, police around the country have
started to use powerful infrared cameras to read plates and catch carjackers
and ticket scofflaws. But the technology will soon migrate into the private
sector, and morph into a tool for tracking individual motorists' movements,
says former policeman Andy Bucholz, who's on the board of Virginia-based
a manufacturer of the technology.
Bucholz, who designed some of the first mobile
license plate reading, or LPR, equipment, gave a presentation at the 2006
National Institute of Justice conference here last week laying out a vision
of the future in which LPR does everything from helping insurance companies
find missing cars to letting retail chains chart customer migrations. It
could also let a nosy citizen with enough cash find out if the mayor is
having an affair, he says.
Giant data-tracking firms such as ChoicePoint,
Accurint and Acxiom already collect detailed personal and financial
information on millions of Americans. Once they discover how lucrative it is
to know where a person goes between the supermarket, for example, and the
strip club, the LPR industry could explode, says Bucholz.
Private detectives would want the information. So
would repo men or bail bondsmen. And the government, which often contracts
out personal data collection -- in part, so it doesn't have to deal with
Freedom of Information Act requests -- might encourage it.
"I know it sounds really Big Brother," Bucholz
says. "But it's going to happen. It's going to get cheaper and cheaper until
they slap them up on every taxicab and delivery truck and track where people
live." And work. And sleep. And move.
Privacy advocates worry that Bucholz, who wants to
sell LPR data to consumer data brokers like
knows what he's talking about.
"We have pretty much a Wild West society when it
comes to privacy rights," says Jay Stanley, a spokesman for the American
Civil Liberties Union. "The overall lesson here is that we really need to
put in place some broad-based privacy laws. We need to establish basic
ground rules for how these new capabilities are constrained."
Current laws don't constrain much. Just as it's
legal for the paparazzi to take pictures of celebrities in public, it's
legal for anyone to photograph your license plate on the street. Still,
there aren't enough LPR units in service yet to follow your car everywhere.
The systems, which cost around $25,000 and are made
by G2 Tactics, Civica, AutoVu and Remington Elsag Law Enforcement Systems,
among others, have been sold mostly to major police departments around the
Police in cities such as Los Angeles use them to
hunt down stolen cars and felony vehicles like getaway cars. And
parking-enforcement officers use LPR to collect money -- lots of it. In the
first 12 hours after New Haven, Connecticut, deployed a G2 Tactics LPR to
crack down on parking violations, the city towed or booted 119 cars,
resulting in a $40,000 windfall, according to Bucholz.
LPR cameras, which are usually around the size of a
can of tomato sauce, can be mounted on police cruisers and powered by
cigarette lighters. As the car moves, the camera bounces infrared light off
other vehicles' license plates. The camera reads the plates and feeds them
to a laptop in real time, where information from an FBI or local database
can tell an officer if the car is hot. Some systems can read up to 60 plates
per second, and they work at highway speeds and acute angles.
The next step is connecting the technology to
databases that will tell cops whether a sexual offender has failed to
register in the state or is loitering too close to a school, or whether a
driver has an outstanding warrant. It could also snag you if you're
uninsured, if your license expired last week or even if your library books
The subway has never looked more appealing.
Helpers for Small Businesses
July 24, 2006 message from Wendell Gingerich
I just wound up on your site and noticed you had
some links to other resources for entrepreneurs.
I was wondering if you could include my site in
Go BIG Network
We're the largest on-line network of small
businesses, startup companies and investors. I figured it might be a nice
Let me know if that works - I'd appreciate it!
Go Big Network
Bob Jensen's helpers for small businesses are at
July 25, 2006 query from Carol Flowers
I am looking for a study that I saw. I was unsure
if someone in this group had supplied the link, originally. It was a very
honest and extremely comprehensive evaluation of higher education. In it,
Higher Education Evaluation and Research Group was
constantly quoted. But, what organizations it is affiliated with, I am
They commented on the lack of student academic
preparedness in our educational system today along with other challenging
areas that need to be addressed inorder to serve the population with which
we now deal.
If anyone remembers such a report, please forward
to me the url.
July 25, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
I think the HEERG is
affiliated with the Chancellor's Office of the California Community
Colleges. It is primarily focused upon accountability and assessment of
Articles related to your query include the
Leopards in the Temple ---
Accountability, Improvement and Money ---
Grade Inflation and Abdication ---
Students Read Less. Should We Care? ---
Missing the Mark: Graduation Rates and University
Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at
Especially note the module at
I can vouch for U.S.P.S. Priority Mail
delivery delays in the White Mountains
But competitors often have similar delay troubles
“According to the deputy postmaster general, some
Priority Mail delivery standards call for on-time delivery of Priority Mail in
two days, but it is often physically impossible for U.S.P.S. to meet these
standards when that requires moving the mail across the country,” the report
"Postal Service Is Criticized," The New York Times, July 28, 2006 ---
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Robert Frost, Mending Wall ---
By the time Cindy Sheehan gets all the sewage
and building permits for her one acre, Bush will be out of office
"Cindy Sheehan buys land near Bush’s ranch Antiwar mom used insurance money
to buy Crawford, Texas plot," MSNBC, July 27, 2006 ---
Vanity Press Goes High Tech
"Technology Rewrites the Book," Issues in
Scholarly Communications Blog at the University of Illinois, July 20, 2006 ---
Technology Rewrites the Book
From today's New York Times comes an interesting
look at the emerging print-on-demand book business:
The print-on-demand business is gradually moving
toward the center of the marketplace. What began as a way for publishers to
reduce their inventory and stop wasting paper is becoming a tool for anyone
who needs a bound document. Short-run presses can turn out books
economically in small quantities or singly, and new software simplifies the
process of designing a book.
As the technology becomes simpler, the market is
expanding beyond the earliest adopters, the aspiring authors. The first
companies like AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse and others pushed themselves
as new models of publishing, with an eye on shaking up the dusty book
business. They aimed at authors looking for someone to edit a manuscript,
lay out the book and bring it to market.
The newer ventures also produce bound books, but
they do not offer the same hand-holding or the same drive for the
best-seller list. Blurb’s product will appeal to people searching for a
publisher, but its business is aimed at anyone who needs a
professional-looking book, from architects with plans to present to clients,
to travelers looking to immortalize a trip.
More at New York Times 7/20/06
High Accounting Fiction Resulting From the
World's Worst Audit
The Wall Street Journal Flashback, July 24,
WorldCom Inc., on the verge of closing its
long-awaited merger with MCI Communications Corp., posted a more than
fivefold increase in second-quarter profit on soaring revenue. The companies
last week won Justice Department clearance for their $37 billion merger.
Bob Jensen's threads on the WorldCom/Andersen
scandal are at
From the Scout Report on July 28, 2006
Have you ever found yourself in Wichita searching
for the best Thai restaurant? Stranded in New York looking for the closest
kosher deli? Users of this application will need to look no further for such
assistance. Essentially, Loki turns Wi-Fi enabled laptops into a GPS device,
and integrates their location into Internet searches. Visitors can also use
the “Find Me” feature, if they are in fact not completely sure where they
are. If they so desire, visitors can also share their locations with others,
along with directions on how to reach them. This version of Loki is
compatible with all computers running Windows XP and Internet Explorer.
New browsers are about as common as celebrity
weddings (or divorces, come to think of it), but there are a few that are
worth some serious attention. One such browser is the latest incarnation of
OmniWeb. With Omniweb, users can utilize their novel approach to tabbed
browsing, auto-save browsing sessions, and even zoom in on text passages.
Which computers can use this fine application you may ask? All computers
running Mac OS X 10.2 will be in good standing with this particular version.
Too Much Pride: Men Not Working, and Not Wanting Just Any Job
Millions of men are turning down jobs they think
beneath them or cannot find work for which they are qualified.
"Men Not Working, and Not Wanting Just Any Job," by Louis Uchitelle and David
Leonhardt, The New York Times, July 31, 2006 ---
"High Infidelity: My favorite novels
about cheating lovers," by Louis Begley, The Wall Street Journal,
July 22, 2006 ---
1. "Madame Bovary" by
Gustave Flaubert (1857).
Set in rural Normandy in the
1830s and 1840s, "Madame Bovary" tells the story of a peasant's daughter,
Emma, who has had her head filled with romantic notions at the convent
school to which she was sent at the age of 13. She marries Charles Bovary,
the local doctor, and quickly discovers that this well-meaning man is
incompetent, timid and a dullard. His personal habits revolt her; the life
she leads is squalid. She seeks escape in two tawdry love affairs, but her
passion wearies and frightens her lovers, who abandon her. Humiliated,
ruined by the usurer from whom she borrowed for expensive gifts and
wardrobe, she dies a suicide.
2. "Anna Karenina" by Leo
Anna is married to an
irreproachable high government official, Karenin, who is also obstinate,
habitually ironic and unable to express emotion. She finds his appearance
repellent. Then Anna meets Vronsky, a dashing cavalry officer, and the
attraction is immediate. Soon she is pregnant. Karenin offers her a divorce,
but a mixture of pride and scruples causes Anna to reject it. Instead she
lives "in sin" with Vronsky. Good society ostracizes Anna, forcing her and
Vronsky to rely on their own resources. He is bored by this mode of
existence. Increasingly jealous and unreasonable, fearing that she has lost
Vronsky's love, Anna throws herself under a train.
3. "The Golden Bowl" by
Henry James (Scribner's, 1904).
This is, to my taste, the
greatest of James's late novels. Adam Verver, a colossally rich American,
finds for his beloved daughter Maggie the best available husband in the
person of an attractive Italian nobleman, whom the reader will know only as
the Prince. The wedding takes place in London, where Verver resides.
Charlotte Stant, a splendid and impecunious American girl who was at
Maggie's school, is an unexpected guest. She has been the Prince's mistress,
and the liaison will continue not only after the Prince and Maggie's
marriage but also after Charlotte's own marriage to Maggie's father. The
Prince is a man who could make two women happy, but Charlotte is willfully
indiscreet. She humiliates Maggie. The revenge Maggie takes is exquisite. It
may preserve both marriages.
4. "The Good Soldier" by
Ford Madox Ford (The Bodley Head, 1915).
The narrator of "The Good
Soldier" is Dowell, a rich and obtuse American who is married to Florence.
Theirs is a sexless marriage, in part because of her feigned heart
condition. At a German spa, they meet an elegant English couple, Edward and
Leonora. He is a retired army officer. The two couples immediately recognize
each other as "good people"; they become inseparable and seemingly are
happiest when together. Years later, Dowell learns the truth: Edward is a
sexual predator, regarding women he is drawn to as a foreign territory he
must conquer. Florence has been his mistress; the narrator could have become
Leonora's lover; death and madness have been the accompaniment of these good
people's idyll. The supreme irony of this ironic and exquisitely told tale
is historical: In the interval between its composition, which began in 1913,
and its publication two years later, the society that Ford Madox Ford so
beautifully rendered perished on the early battlefields of World War I.
5. "Appointment in
Samarra" by John O'Hara (Harcourt, Brace, 1934).
A perfect short novel,
"Appointment in Samarra" is set during Prohibition in fictitious Gibbsville
in the anthracite mining region of Pennsylvania. There is nothing the reader
might want to know about Gibbsville society that O'Hara does not
communicate. Julian and Caroline English are a smart, attractive couple, but
he starts drinking heavily on Christmas Eve and is very drunk the next night
when, at a roadhouse and in full view of Caroline, he persuades the local
mob boss's girlfriend to follow him outside to his car. After half an hour
the woman returns; Julian has passed out in the car. That was plenty of time
for backseat sex, but, this being the most American of stories, the
encounter probably hasn't gone beyond clumsy heavy petting. It hardly
matters. Twenty-four hours later Julian is dead in his Cadillac, the motor
running, and the garage door and windows closed.
Mr. Begley's novels include "Wartime
Lies" (1991) and "Shipwreck" (2003). His latest, "Matters of Honor," will be
published by Knopf in January.
Forwarded by Auntie Bev
Daddy's Poem ---
Click Here for Snopes Version
Her hair was up in a pony tail,
her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
and she couldn't wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her,
that she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand,
if she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid;
she knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
of why he wasn't there today.
But still her mother worried,
for her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
she tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school
eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees
a dad who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in back
for everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
anxious in their seats
One by one the teacher called
a student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
as seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
a man who wasn't there.
"Where's her daddy at?"
She heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one,"
another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
she heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
too busy to waste his day."
The words did not offend her,
as she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
who told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back,
slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
came words incredibly unique.
"My Daddy couldn't be here,
because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
and how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories
he taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
and taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes,
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him.
I'm not standing here alone.
"Cause my daddy's always with me,
even though we are apart
I know because he told me,
he'll forever be in my heart"
With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
beneath her favorite dress.
And from somewhere here in the crowd of dads,
her mother stood in tears.
Proudl y watching her daughter,
who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
doing what was right.
And when she dropped her hand back down,
staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
but its message clear and loud.
"I love my daddy very much,
he's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
but heaven's just too far.
You see he is a Marine
and died just this past year
When a roadside bomb hit his convoy
and taught Americans to fear.
But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes,
and saw him there that day.
And to her mothers amazement,
she witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
all starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them,
who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
they saw him at her side.
"I know you're with me Daddy,"
to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it,
for each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.
And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
by the love of her shining star.
And given the gift of believing,
that heaven is never too far.
Typographical Errors Forwarded by Paula
From the Churchdown Parish
"Would the Congregation please note
that the bowl at the back of the Church, labelled 'For The Sick,' is for
monetary donations only."
From The Guardian concerning
a sign seen in a Police canteen in Christchurch, New Zealand:
'Will the person who took a slice of cake from the Commissioner's Office
return it immediately. It is needed as evidence in a poisoning case."
From The Times:
A young girl, who was blown out to
sea on a set of inflatable teeth, was rescued by a man on an inflatable
lobster. A coast-guard spokesman commented: 'This sort of thing is all too
common these days.'
From The Gloucester Citizen:
A sex line caller complained to
Trading Standards. After dialling an 0891 number from an advertisement
entitled 'Hear Me Moan' the caller was played a tape of a woman nagging her
husband for failing to do jobs around the house. Consumer Watchdogs in
Dorset refused to look into the complaint, saying, 'He got what he
From The Barnsley Chronicle:
Police arrived quickly, to find
Mr Melchett hanging by his fingertips from the back wall. He
had run out of the house when the owner, Paul Finch, returned home
unexpectedly, and, spotting an intruder in the garden, had visiting
Mrs Finch and, hearing the front door open, had climbed out of the
rear window. But the back wall was 8 feet high and Mr
Melchett had been unable to get his leg over.
From The Scottish Big Issue:
In Sydney, 120 men named Henry
attacked each other during a 'My Name is Henry' convention. Henry Pantie of
Canberra accused Henry Pap of Sydney of not being a Henry at all, but in
fact an Angus. 'It was a lie', explained Mr Pap, 'I'm a Henry
and always will be,' whereupon Henry Pap attacked Henry Pantie, whilst two
other Henrys - Jones and Dyer - attempted to pull them apart. Several more
Henrys - Smith, Calderwood and Andrews - became involved and soon the entire
convention descended into a giant fist fight. The brawl was eventually
broken up by riot police, led by a man named Shane.
From The Daily Telegraph:
In a piece headed "Brussels Pays
200,000 Pounds to Save Prostitutes": "[T]he money will not be going directly
into the prostitutes' pocket, but will be used to encourage them to lead a
better life. We will be training them for new positions in hotels."
From The Derby Abbey Community
We apologise for the error in the
last edition, in which we stated that 'Mr Fred Nicolme is a
defective in the police force.' This was a typographical error. We meant of
course that Mr Nicolme is a detective in the police farce.
From The Guardian:
After being charged 20 pounds
for a 10 pounds overdraft, 30 year old Michael
Howard of Leeds changed his name by deed poll to 'Yorkshire Bank Plc are
Fascist Bastards.' The Bank has now asked him to close his account, and
Mr Bastards has asked them to repay the 69p balance by cheque,
made out in his new name.
From The Manchester Evening
Police called to arrest a naked man
on the platform at Piccadilly Station released their suspect after he
produced a valid rail ticket.
An Austrian circus dwarf died
recently when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a
hippopotamus. Seven thousand people watched as little Franz Dasch popped
into the mouth of Hilda the Hippo and the animal's gag reflex forced it to
swallow. The crowd applauded wildly before other circus people realized what
An elderly woman at a unit for
sufferers of senile dementia passed round a box of mothballs thinking that
they were mints. Eleven people were taken to hospital for treatment.
An Indian man who eight months ago
decided to spend his life in a tree has died. He fell out of it.
Following drinking binge in
Christchurch, New Zealand, Koto Salaki passed out - so his buddies stripped
him and shaved off his eyebrows as a joke. Getting no reaction, they
proceeded to cut off his ear and glue it onto his forehead. Doctors managed
to sew it back on.
After a heavy drinking session in
Weymouth in August 1990, 51 year old Philip Pyne fancied a kip
on a bench. To stop himself rolling off, he put 12 nails
through his trousers and in the process, drove several of them through his
leg. Fortunately he was discovered by police.
When 65-year-old Les Edwards
shoveled some coal on to his living-room fire in January 1985, a sudden
explosion rendered him deaf and blind. The mystery blast was traced to the
accidental inclusion of a detonator in the coal mix. The National Coal Board
An operation at Nottingham hospital
in January 1989 ended prematurely when the patient exploded. The casualty,
an 82-year-old woman, was undergoing electrosurgery for cancer. The blast
was attributed to an unusual build-up of stomach gases ignited
by the sparks.
A 20-year-old man was given a
concrete enema by his mischievous lover. Surgeons had to meticulously remove
the cast which, of course, formed the shape of a rectum, perfect in every
respect except for the imprint of a ping-pong ball which was apparently used
to retain the enema.
The Cinnamon family from Washington
were surprised when several ball-sized chunks of green ice crashed through
their roof and landed on the floor beside them. The ice soon melted, giving
off a revolting odour. The Cinnamons were not happy to later discover that
the ice was frozen human waste from the leaky sewage system of a passenger
Phreakers, or 'phone hackers,'
managed to break into the telephone system of 'Weight Watchers' in Glasgow,
and changed the outgoing message to 'Hello, you fat bastard.'
The defence in an Irish murder
trial hung on whether the accused, Thomas McGann, could draw a gun from his
pocket without shooting himself. Demonstrating in court, his lawyer shot his
own foot, and died 12 hours later. McGann, however, was
Police in France are looking for a
man who has been robbing banks dressed as a giant aubergine. During an armed
robbery in Marseilles, he was asked by the manager 'Are you serious?', to
which he replied 'No, I am an aubergine,' and fired a shot. The man escaped
with the cash leaving a real aubergine on the counter.
In April 1993, suspected drug
dealer Alfred Acree tried to evade capture in Charles County, Virginia, by
running into a wood. The police had no trouble following him because he was
wearing a pair of 'Light Gear' trainers, with battery powered lights that
flash when the heel is pressed.
During a 'smash and grab' on a
Zurich jeweller in October 1980, a thief had his finger cut off by broken
glass as he grabbed a tray of rings. The police identified the finger from
their fingerprint records and arrested the thief within a few hours.
In Ireland, a man staggered into
the emergency room of Belfast Hospital with a wind-up turtle attached to his
testicles, explaining that his young son had dropped the toy into his bath.
"A mechanical joint connected to his tender bits and jammed solid," a nurse
When a crook decided to steal the
central heating system from an empty house in Fulham, he removed a pipe
connected to the gas supply, then lit a match so that he could see. Although
the house exploded, he continued with the job and even returned the next
day, only to be arrested.
A totally wrecked cream-coloured
Ford Orion was found at the bottom of a 100 foot cliff face
near Scarborough in North Yorkshire early on the morning of 22nd June.
It was thought to have left the road at a sharp bend between Osgodby and
Cayton. There was no sign of the driver, but a pile of human excrement was
found in the driver's seat.
More Tidbits from the Chronicle
of Higher Education ---
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmark
s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter
--- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity
and other universities is at
International Accounting News
(including the U.S.)
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Upcoming international accounting
Thousands of journal abstracts ---
Deloitte's International Accounting News ---
Association of International Accountants ---
Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm
Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/
recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free
newsletter from a very smart finance professor, Jim Mahar from St. Bonaventure
Jim's great blog is at
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586