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 last year's 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
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 ---
Muslim Boy Conquers Fear of Hate Crimes in
The innocents are the tear-jerking victims of excessive reactions to media lies
and incitements by extremists at both ends of the hate spectrum.
The Connecticut race and Republican spinmeisters
will be troublesome for Democrats. But the growing public awareness provides
Democrats the opportunity to reshape our party to help America meet the
challenges ahead. For Republicans, it signals the end of using patriotism to
cover up for persistent failures to deal effectively with pressing national
Wesley K. Clark, "A Judgment on Iraq, The Wall Street
Journal, August 10, 2006; Page A8 ---
The problem is that both political parties lack leadership to truly "meet the
challenges ahead." The GOP will attempt to turn any terror tragedy into
political gain, and the cut-and-run Democrats are poised to to turn Iraq over to Iran in a single-issue election influenced by an electorate that is
influenced by highly biased worldwide media. What's also clear is that a biased
media is very much to blame for U.S./U.K. flagellation, encouraging terrorists, and
minimizing our victories in reconstructing Iraq (see below).
Biased Media Update
The latest offense by the Washington Post is another
example of news manufacturing concocting stories in
contravention of facts. Here's the letter Gen. Bill
McCoy - who's in charge of construction projects in Iraq -- sent to the
Washington Post on Sunday. They haven't printed it yet. Will they ever?
Jed Babbin, "A General Fed Up With The MSM, "RCP Blog,"
August 8, 2006 ---
Sunday, 06 August 2006
Maj. Gen. William H. McCoy Jr.
To the Editor of the Washington Post
After spending almost three days traveling
with and being interviewed by one of the co-writers of a very poorly written
article ("Much Undone in Rebuilding Iraq, Audit says", Washington Post,
August 2, 2006), I'm astounded at how distorted a good story can become and
what agenda drives a paper to see only the bad side to the reconstruction
effort here in Iraq. Instead of distorting the facts, let's get to the
There is no flailing reconstruction effort
in Iraq. The United States has rightfully invested $20 billion in Iraq's
reconstruction - in the opinion of many here, we should do more. This
massive undertaking is part of a wider strategy for success in Iraq that
involves the establishment of a democratic government, the development of
professional Iraqi security forces, and the restoration of basic essential
services and facilities to promote the sustained economic development of
this new country.
Yes, this reconstruction effort has been
challenged occasionally by security, poor materials, poor construction
program management practices, and in some cases poor performance by
contractors for a variety of reasons. The Department of State and Defense
professionals over here, many of them civilian volunteers, and the Iraqi
associates who risk their lives every day to have a future that approximates
what America has today, continuously see the challenges and develop and
implement solutions. This is a core part of managing construction anywhere
in the world and, while somewhat more complex here, it is successfully being
accomplished. Have we been guilty of poor planning and mismanagement? The
answer to that is, at times, yes. But professionals constantly strive to
overcome challenges that arise and we are succeeding and making Iraq better
The heart of the article rests on several
old statements by the Special Investigator General for Iraq Reconstruction
which infer these are recent or recurring problems. The SIGIR knows that, in
fact, program management, construction quality, progress, and accountability
have all improved significantly since the early days of the effort some
three years ago. Yet, the reporters' "project problems" comments infer that
these are recent issues. Such actions inflame public opinion in the United
States and create resentment by the very people so many conscientious
Americans over here are trying to help here in Iraq and worse, embolden our
When I arrived here a year ago we planned
to complete 3,200 reconstruction projects. Today we are focusing on the
completion of 3,700 projects. We've started 3,500 of those projects and
completed almost 2,800...and work is continuing! This is not a failure to
meet our commitment to the Iraqi people as the article states. In some cases
we are not executing the same projects - we have changed to meet new
priorities of three government changes in Iraq since our arrival - but in
all cases, rest assured, these projects will be completed. We discussed this
at length with the reporter...and he was taking notes and recording our
We told the reporter that, while 141
health clinic construction projects were taken away from a U.S. contractor
who failed to perform, they were re-awarded to Iraqi contractors who are
already demonstrating progress, have improved quality and shown their great
desire to work with the United States to help Iraq improve ... and they are
doing so phenomenally!
We did talk to the reporter about on
electricity. Three-quarters of Iraq gets twice as much electricity today as
they did before the war. Furthermore, we are working with the Minister of
Electricity to improve the situation in Baghdad daily and have doubled the
hours of power from four to eight in the capitol in the last six months in
spite of the fact that demand is markedly increased with Iraqis' new ability
to buy personal electrical products.
What is truly amazing to me is that we
took the reporter to the Nasiriyah prison project and, while it is true that
we terminated the prime U.S. contractor for failure to perform, the Iraqi
sub-contractor continues to work there (now directly for us) and his
progress and quality have improved significantly ... and he saw that! We are
not turning unfinished work over to the Iraqis as he stated in his article;
we are fulfilling the U.S. commitment to the people of Iraq and using Iraqis
to do it!
The reporter didn't tell you about the
hundreds of dedicated military and civilian professionals he saw over here
working to make Iraq better, or the Iraqis who come to work every day at
their own peril because they believe in what we, and they, are accomplishing
He failed to tell you about Aseel or Salah
who worked for the Corps of Engineers since we arrived in 2003, because they
wanted to make their country like ours, but who were recently brutally
murdered in the streets because they worked for the Americans.
He never wrote about the Water Treatment
Plant he visited that will provide fresh potable water to over half a
million people in southern Iraq in just two more months, or the one in
northern Iraq that is providing water for the 330,000 citizens of Irbil.
He never told folks back home about the
thousands of children that are now in 800 new or rebuilt schools, or about
oil production now being back to pre-war levels and getting better everyday,
or raw sewage being taken out of the streets and put back in the pipes where
it belongs, or about the thousands of miles of new roads, or post offices,
police stations or courthouses or... well, he just left a great deal out
now, didn't he?
Perhaps it's because some in the press
don't want the American people to know the truth and prefer instead to only
report the negative aspects of the news because "it sells papers."
We deserve better from those who claim the
protection of the Constitution we are fighting to support and defend.
America, don't give up. You are doing much
better over here than all too many of your press will tell you. If you are
tired of fighting for freedom and democracy for those who so strongly long
for the country we have, then think of the alternatives for a moment. Iraq
will be better for our efforts and so will the world. And you are making it
happen. Be proud and keep supporting this vital effort. It is the most
important thing America can do.
Thank you. I invite you and your staff to
come over at any time to get the facts. I took a risk with Mr. Mosher and
obviously got what I consider to be a very unbalanced representation of what
he saw, personally. But I still believe in general in the press and will
always be open to helping you tell a balanced story.
Maj. Gen. Bill McCoy
Commanding General Gulf Region Division U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Video of Photo (Media) Fraud Lebanon ---
(Video includes fakes published by Associated Press, Reuters, U.S. News,
and The New York Times)
And today, the Jew-hating bigot of the moment is
unquestionably a man of the press himself
ostensibly unbiased Robert Novak. In every
generation there arises a radical new anti-Semite who uses the pulpit of the
popular media to explain (in the most dramatic and seductive terms) how the
current world crisis can be explained in just three words: "It's the Jews."
Jackie Mason, Jewish World Review,
August 11, 2006 ---
Hollywood's Mel Gibson is milk toast in comparison with columnist Robert Novak.
Born Jewish, Novak lost his faith in college and converted to Catholicism in
Why is the media so biased against Israel and U.S. successes in rebuilding Iraq?
August 11, 2006 message from Dick Wolff
An LGF reader who worked for Associated Press
TV News sent me the following article explaining how APTN works, and
suggesting a reason why their coverage of the Middle East is so
overwhelmingly biased against Israel:
Disproportionately Negative Coverage of Israel
Anything involving Israel is a favorite with Gulf
Arab states for showing to their viewers. Could this be the reason why
Israel receives such a disproportionate amount of particularly negative
coverage especially and increasingly ever since the early 1970’s?
http://honestreporting.com/ ) is usually unable to decide which is most
biased: AP or BBC. As the BBC is often using APTN footage, the difference is
minor. A significant twist to what is seen, concerns what is not seen.
Footage such as the Palestinian mob joyfully lynching two Israeli reservists
in Ramallah in October 2000 is held by APTN’s library: any attempt to
license this film for reshow is carefully vetted. Requests for the use of
“sensitive clips” are referred directly to the Library director. This is not
the case with clips that paint Israel in a bad light. Likewise, the
re-showing of Palestinian celebrations on 9/11 is considered “sensitive”.
The way in which raw footage such as APTN’s is
compiled into a news report and sent round the world has also been analyzed.
The Second Draft (
http://www.seconddraft.org/ ) gives a comprehensive view of how editing
can make all the difference. APTN is the gatekeeper that sits between you
and the actual event. You will never see what the editors at APTN see before
they compile your evening news. What do you think is cut out?
Was this organization set up with this in-built
bias on purpose? Is there some way that the expensive payments made by Gulf
state governments form part of a deliberate attempt to skew the media?
In “Islam and Dhimmitude” (2002) by Bat Ye’or on
p294-296 she recounts how decisions were taken in the wake of the
Arab-Israeli war of 1967 to try to put across an anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist
message. Successive conferences resolved to contribute vast sums “to
universities, centers for Islamic studies, international communications
agencies, and private and governmental organizations in order to win over
world opinion.” (p296).
The messages from these conferences stressed an
addition to the more familiar violent jihad: they also emphasized the
importance of jihad by the written and spoken word—what we would recognize
as classic propaganda. Without question
APTN’s interesting business model represents a concrete example of an
ongoing financial “contribution” to an important communication agency
promoting a pro-Arab bias.
Continued in article
George Will said this: "Elections have brought the
Muslim Brotherhood into government in Egypt. Elections turned Hamas into the
government of the Palestinian territories. . . . It could be that there are
moments when sampling and empowering the popular will is going to empower
extremism." And Time claims, "[E]lections [in the Middle East] are producing
governments more hospitable to extremism, not less. Exhibit A was the election
of Hamas . . ."
Peter Wehner, "Democracy an Its
Discontents Birth pangs of freedom in the Middle East," The Wall Street
Journal, August 9, 2006 ---
Give Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a pulpit and no prizes for
guessing how he will use it. So it was no surprise to see the Iranian President
take advantage of a visit to Malaysia last week to champion the Jewish state's
destruction once again. Peace can come to the Middle East "only when there will
be no Israel there," Mr. Ahmadinejad declared . . . "The question of having a
dialogue with Tel Aviv does not arise," Malaysia's Mr. Abdullah responded over
the weekend. Even as much of the Middle East has opened diplomatic relations
with their long-time adversary in recent years, Malaysia and Indonesia -- which
both refuse to countenance any kind of formal ties with Israel -- still side
with the Islamic hard-liners on this point. Both countries offered last week to
send peacekeepers to join any new United Nations force in Lebanon. But now that
their leaders have shown themselves so willing to look the other way as Mr.
Ahmadinejad calls for Israel's destruction, it will be difficult to trust their
forces not to do likewise as Hezbollah uses its rockets to seek to accomplish
"As It Spreads Hatred in Asia," The Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2006
Mike Wallace lands an exclusive and rare interview
with the president of Iran. In the wide-ranging interview, the Iranian leader
comments on President Bush’s foreign policy, the lack of relations between Iran
and the U.S., Hezbollah, Lebanon and Iraq. Robert Anderson is the producer ---
Mike Wallace never had control of this interview at any point in the
double length segment of CBS Sixty Minutes aired on August 13,
2006. President Ahmadinejad, a college professor with a doctoral degree in
engineering, never deviated from his controlling script and simply ignored
any of Mike's sensitive questions such as:
Ahmadinejad's prepared script was predictable --- Zionists
(meaning Jews) have no legitimate right to reside anywhere in the Middle
East; the U.S. is the world's immoral oppressor; the U.N. and European
nations are puppets controlled by the U.S., and terrorism is a legitimate
weapon of Islamic fundamentalism. Because Ahmadinejad's "advisors" were
obviously nearby and made their presence repeatedly known during the
interview, I was continually reminded of Baghdad Bob, although in fairness
Ahmadinejad is more articulate, intelligent, educated, and dangerous than
Baghdad Bob whose collected quotations are at
There may be something of Iran's social principle of "taarof" in Ahmadinejad's
more extreme comments. I will take up the topic of taarof in the forthcoming
August 20 edition of Tidbits. Clearly Ahmadinejad's comments are widely
off the mark regarding the U.N. (which usually votes against the U.S. on
anything except motherhood and apple pie) and Europe (which has a hostile
media on matters related to the U.S. and almost always opposes U.S.
readiness to fight terrorists with force).
In reaction to Ahmadinejad's comments on the
Holocaust, the United States Senate passed a
unanimous resolution condemning his "harmful,
destructive, and anti-Semitic statements." and "hate and animosity toward all
Jewish people of the world" ---
Iran's Holocaust cartoon exhibition
Probably the Most Important Point Ignored by the Anti-Israel Media Five
Years After 9/11
Even if there were no Israel, these people would
still hate us as an embodiment of everything they consider unholy. . . . The
disappearance of Israel would do nothing to prevent such
Norman Podhoretz in the New York
Post as quoted by James Taranto and Ira Stoll, The Wall Street Journal,
September 14, 2001
What Islamic fundamentalists consider the most "unholy" is the attraction of
Western lifestyle, capitalist globalization, fashion, media/network freedom, and
equal rights for women --- unholy trends deemed far greater threats to Islam
than Zionists. Islamic spokespersons are now, for political purposes in 2006,
trying to blame terrorism on U.S./U.K. support of Israel, but accusations from
true Al Quieda terrorists themselves repeatedly extend well beyond Israel and
U.S. presence in Iraq. Al Quieda to date directed most of its attacks against
Western influence in Saudi Arabia and other Moslem nations that are not
forcefully resisting creeping Westernism within their own borders. Al Quieda
terrorists targeted Bali and Saudi Arabia and African sites where few, if any,
Zionists were the main targets. Islamic terrorists are not targeting Zionists in
India. They're targeting Western-styled economic successes in India (India has
more Moslem citizens than either Pakistan or Iran).
Here is what we want to do in the wake of the
arrests in Britain. We want to understand as much as possible about what
terrorists were planning. To talk about airport security and how to make it
better. To find out what worked in the British
investigation and discuss how to push these efforts farther.
It would be a blessed moment in modern American history if we could do that
without turning this into a political game plan.
London Plot," The New York Times, August 11, 2006 ---
"To find out what worked in the British investigation and discuss how to push
these efforts farther." Yeah right! See the WSJ editorial below.
Let's emphasize that again: The plot was foiled
because a large number of people were under surveillance concerning their
spending, travel and communications. Which leads us to wonder if Scotland Yard
would have succeeded if the ACLU or the New York Times had first learned the
details of such surveillance programs.
"'Mass Murder' Foiled A terror plot is exposed by the policies many American
liberals oppose," The Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2006 ---
What Britain can teach America about counterterrorism ---
Many Jews are in my position -- the children and
grandchildren of labor leaders, socialists, pacifists, humanitarians, antiwar
protestors -- instinctively leaning left, rejecting war, unwilling to demonize,
and insisting that violence only breeds more violence. Most of all we share the
profound belief that killing, humiliation and the infliction of unnecessary pain
are not Jewish attributes. However, the world as we know it today --
post-Holocaust, post-9/11, post-sanity -- is not cooperating. Given the
realities of the new Middle East, perhaps it is time for a reality check. For
this reason, many Jewish liberals are surrendering to the mindset that there are
no solutions other than to allow Israel to defend itself -- with whatever means
necessary. Unfortunately, the inevitability of Israel coincides with the
inevitability of anti-Semitism.
Thane Rosenbaurm, "Red State Jews,"
by , The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2006; Page A10 ---
Jewish Americans Share Israel's Pain ---
"Liberal McCarthyism," by Lanny J. Davis, The Wall Street Journal,
August 8, 2006; Page A10 ---
This kind of scary hatred, my dad used to tell me,
comes only from the right wing -- in his day from people such as the late
Sen. Joseph McCarthy, with his tirades against "communists and their fellow
travelers." The word "McCarthyism" became a red flag for liberals,
signifying the far right's fascistic tactics of labeling anyone a
"communist" or "socialist" who favored an active federal government to help
the middle class and the poor, and to level the playing field.
I came to believe that we liberals couldn't
possibly be so intolerant and hateful, because our ideology was famous for
ACLU-type commitments to free speech, dissent and, especially, tolerance for
those who differed with us. And in recent years -- with the deadly
combination of sanctimony and vitriol displayed by the likes of Rush
Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Michael Savage -- I held on to the view that the
left was inherently more tolerant and less hateful than the right.
Now, in the closing days of the Lieberman primary
campaign, I have reluctantly concluded that I was wrong. The far right does
not have a monopoly on bigotry and hatred and sanctimony. Here are just a
few examples (there are many, many more anyone with a search engine can
find) of the type of thing the liberal blog sites have been posting about
Joe Lieberman: • "Ned Lamont and his supporters need to [g]et real busy. Ned
needs to beat Lieberman to a pulp in the debate and define what it means to
be an AMerican who is NOT beholden to the Israeli Lobby" (by "rim," posted
on Huffington Post, July 6, 2006).
• "Joe's on the Senate floor now and
he's growing a beard. He has about a weeks growth on his face. . . . I
hope he dyes his beard Blood red. It would be so appropriate" (by "ctkeith,"
posted on Daily Kos, July 11 and 12, 2005).
• On "Lieberman vs. Murtha": "as
everybody knows, jews ONLY care about the welfare of other jews; thanks
ever so much for reminding everyone of this most salient fact, so that
we might better ignore all that jewish propaganda [by Lieberman] about
participating in the civil rights movement of the 60s and so on" (by "tomjones,"
posted on Daily Kos, Dec. 7, 2005).
• "Good men, Daniel Webster and Faust
would attest, sell their souls to the Devil. Is selling your soul to a
god any worse? Leiberman cannot escape the religious bond he represents.
Hell, his wife's name is Haggadah or Muffeletta or Diaspora or something
you eat at Passover" (by "gerrylong," posted on the Huffington Post,
July 8, 2006).
• "Joe Lieberman is a racist and a
religious bigot" (by "greenskeeper," posted on Daily Kos, Dec. 7, 2005).
And these are some of the nicer examples.
One Sunday morning on C-Span I debated Nation
editor Katrina vanden Heuvel on the Lieberman versus Lamont race. Afterwards
I received a series of emails -- many of them in ALL CAPS (which often
suggests the hyper-frenetic state of these extremist haters) -- that were of
the same stripe as the blog posts, and filled with the same level of
Continued in article
To every Democratic Senator and Congressman who
continues to back Bush's War, allow me to inform you that your days in elective
office are now numbered. Myself and tens of millions of citizens are going to
work hard to actively remove you from any position of power. If you don't
believe us, give Joe a call.
Michael Moore, "It's All About Who
You Sleep With" ---
Right-wing Jew fooled no one this time. Wednesday,
August 09, 2006 -- Voters in Connecticut reject three-term Sen. Lieberman for a
political newcomer in the nation's first major test of the depth of anger over
the Iraq war. Americans who are sick of this lying right-wing punk in the White
House and his damn supporters gased Bush's Jew at the polls. God in heaven, it
is my prayer that You will punish these ungrateful, omnipotent fools so harshly
that even those like myself, who despise the ground they walk on, will feel
sorry for them.
Bob Miller, "The Kiss of Death, Out2.com, August 9, 2006 ---
Apart from the repulsive wording typical of many extremist writers about Senator
Lieberman, it's strange that Miller would call Lieberman a "right-wing Jew."
Jews are seldom right-wing, and Senator Lieberman is one of the more liberal
members of the Senate, especially in terms of support for poverty and other social programs. The
Democratic Primary outcome in Connecticut illustrates how one-issue platforms
are misleading when appealing for votes. Lieberman may possibly be re-elected as
an independent since Democrats only comprise about a third of the voters in
Connecticut where half the voters are "independents" and the remainder are
either Republicans or Don't-Cares. Fiscal conservatives
are hoping Lieberman drops out of the race for re-election since his seniority
in the Senate gives him greater power to push for liberal spending.
Lieberman is possibly the least libertarian member
of the United States Senate: An infinite-state liberal who always found ways to
oppose Social Security reform . . .
questions the Republicans' apparent strategy of
doubling down on support for the Iraq war, and
wonders who will take Lieberman's place as the
Senate's killjoy in chief.
Tim Cavanaugh, "Adios, Vinegar Joe A gleeful obituary for a loathsome
politician, Reason Magazine, August 9, 2006 ---
Democratic Party embraces Ned Lamont, it must also
embrace his antiwar message: It proved a winning strategy for Connecticut, and
will be for the mid-term elections.
Editors, "Lamont Wins," The Nation, August 10, 2006
It should be footnoted that "it proved a winning strategy" for 52% of registered
democrats in Connecticut where registered democrats comprise about one third of
the voting populace. The remainder of this populace will have a voice in
Murtha's re-election bid in Pennsylvania is also an antiwar test ---
The activist liberal media like The Nation, however, is more uncomfortable with Murtha's support
for increased funding of a formidable U.S. military.
But let's not overstate the blogs' role in this
(defeat of Lieberman). They get both credit and
blame for driving the Democrats to an antiwar platform. But there was never any
real resistance from the party elders. The people atop the party provided the
energy and intellectual content to the last famous antiwar movement, against
Vietnam. Events like the massive protests in Washington and elsewhere between
1969 and 1971 were in part about events in Vietnam, but there was also a huge
amount of narcissistic self-indulgence in the movement. People joined in the
expectation of being around an "event" -- part rock concert, part street
theater, the rush of being part of a morally unblemished belief system. Sort of
like the Web. This politics produced two major candidacies -- Eugene McCarthy's
challenge to Lyndon Johnson in 1968 and George McGovern's to Richard Nixon in
1972. Both got blown out.
Daniel Henninger, "Democrats Knifed Lieberman on Eve Of Airliner Plot," The
Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2006; Page A12 ---
Old Hippies Have Their Day ---
(If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the
page and turn it on.)
In the aftermath of the (Connecticut)
primary, Democrats settled on the idea that Lieberman fell
because of his support for the Iraq war. This was technically true, in the same
way that a 95-year-old man might technically be said to die from pneumonia;
there were, to say the least, underlying causes. The war was a galvanizing
issue, but Lieberman's loss was just the first major victory for a larger
grass-roots movement. While that movement is identified with young, online
activists, it is populated largely by exasperated and ideologically disappointed
baby boomers. These are the liberals who quietly seethed as Bill Clinton worked
with Republicans to reform welfare and pass free-trade agreements. After the
''stolen'' election of 2000 and the subsequent loss of House and Senate seats in
2004, these Democrats felt duped. If triangulation wasn't a winning strategy,
they asked, why were they ever asked to tolerate it in the first place? The Web
gave them a place to share their frustrations, and Howard Dean gave them an
icon. Iraq has energized these older lapsed liberals; for a generation that got
into politics marching against Vietnam, an antiwar movement is comfortable
space. But it was the yearning for a more confrontational brand of opposition on
all fronts, for something resembling the black-and-white moral choices of the
1960's, that more broadly animated Lamont's insurgency. Connecticut's primary
showdown (which now appears to be headed for a sequel in November) marked an
emphatic repudiation not just of the war but also of Clinton's ''third way''
governing philosophy - a philosophy not unlike the Republican ethos of
''compromise'' and ''pragmatism'' that so infuriated Reagan conservatives.
Matt Bai, "What Are the Lieberman Foes For?" The New York Times
Magazine, August 20, 2006 ---
In the mid-20th century the core constituencies of
both the Democratic and the Republican Parties stood foursquare for America's
prosecution of World War II and the Cold War. Today, as the Connecticut results
suggest, it's different. The core constituency of the Republican Party stands
foursquare for America's prosecution of the global struggle against
Islamofascist terrorism -- and solidly on the side of Israel in its struggle
against the same forces. The core constituency of the Democratic Party wants to
stand aside from the global struggle -- and, as the presence of (anti-Israel
leaders) Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton at Mr. Lamont's side on election night
suggests, is not necessarily on the side of Israel. It's not your father's
Michael Barone, "Primary Colors, The Wall Street
Journal, August 10, 2006; Page A8 ---
Everyone is entitled to their own
opinion, but not their own facts.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan --- FactCheck.org ---
The way to do research is to attack the
facts at the point of greatest astonishment.
Celia Green as quoted by Mark
Asked to define "truthiness," [Comedy
Central's Stephen] Colbert tells [CBS
Sixty Minute's interviewer Morley] Safer, "Truthiness is what you want the
facts to be as opposed to what the facts are. What feels like the right answer
as opposed to what reality will support." ---
This is what makes Colbert's "truthiness" a perfect word for postmodernism
and its postpositive critical theory:
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....
Scott McLemee, "The
Power of Postpositive Thinking," , Inside Higher Ed, August 2, 2006
"Who Needs Harvard? Competition for the Ivies is as fierce as ever,
but kids who look beyond the famous schools may be the smartest applicants of
all," by Nancy Gibbs and Nathan Ghornburgh, Time Magazine Cover
Story (Complete with a cover photo of lots of green ivy), August 21, 2006 ---
Academe is Just Not Cool
Time Magazine's selections for "The 50 Coolest Websites" ---
Those phony emails pretending to be from banks and PayPal
Q. I get a ton of
e-mail messages purporting to be from banks and Web sites that are
obviously not from those institutions even though the return address
looks real. Is there a way to find out where these messages actually
Although you probably won’t be able to trace the fraudulent message
directly back to its human sender, you can usually poke around inside
the message’s full header field to see where it might have come from
electronically. Check your particular e-mail program’s settings for
displaying “full” or “long” message headers — in Outlook Express, for
example, you can see the full header by right-clicking on a message in
your mailbox window, selecting Properties and clicking the Details
The full header shows the path that message
took across the Internet from sender to recipient. Even if the return
address is forged with something like firstname.lastname@example.org,
if you look closely, odds are you’ll see other addresses in the
“Received:” lines in the header that give some indication of the
message’s origin. A detailed explanation of how to read e-mail headers
If you receive spam that solicits your personal
information, the consumer safety site
suggests forwarding it to the bank or institution used in the forged
address and to email@example.com.
Bob Jensen's threads on spam blocking are at
Bob Jensen's threads on ID theft are at
Few Working Couples Are Happy Says University of Minnesota Sociologist
"Study: Few working couples happy," PhysOrg, August 12, 2006 ---
A Minnesota researcher says middle-class couples
are struggling to balance work and family in jobs designed for the days when
men were the breadwinners.
Phyllis Moen, who holds a chair in sociology at the
University of Minnesota, tracked 1,060 couples. She found that only one in
six qualified as super couples -- with both partners reporting a good
quality of life -- while more than half reported that neither was getting
much enjoyment out of life.
Moen said couples are "stretched thin by
She presented her paper -- "Dual-Earner
Middle-Class Time Convoys, Ecologies, and Life-Course 'Fit': Super Couples
or Couples Stretched Thin?" -- at the American Sociological Association's
Military Spending Fraud on an Unfathomable Scale
Of course, people have been decrying Pentagon waste and
inefficiency for decades. But things have got significantly worse over the past
five years, because Congress and the Bush Administration have thrown so much
money at the Defense Department so fast. Studies of corporate behavior show that
when companies are flush with cash they are more likely to make acquisitions
that reduce their over-all value. The defense industry today, in fact, is much
like Silicon Valley in the late nineties—when you give lots of money to an
industry with no audits and no supervision, people lose discipline. They spend
on bad ideas, gild every surface, and cheat. Is it really a surprise that
billions of dollars meant for private contractors in Iraq seems to have been
James Surowiecki, "Unsafe at Any Price," The New Yorker, August 8, 2006
Could there possibly be fraud in U.S. Government accounting?
The State Department agency in charge of $1.4 billion in
reconstruction money in Iraq used an accounting shell game to hide ballooning
cost overruns on its projects there and knowingly withheld information on
schedule delays from Congress, a federal audit released late Friday has found.
The agency hid construction overruns by listing them as overhead or
administrative costs, according to the audit, written by the Special Inspector
General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent office that reports to Congress,
the Pentagon and the State Department. Called the United States Agency for
International Development, or A.I.D., the agency administers foreign aid
projects around the world. It has been working in Iraq on reconstruction since
shortly after the 2003 invasion. The report by the inspector general’s office
does not give a full accounting of all projects financed by the agency’s $1.4
billion budget, but cites several examples.
"Audit Finds U.S. Hid Cost of Iraq Projects," by James Glanz, The New York
Times, July 29, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's updates on fraud are at
Create your own Web applications with ease using this free Zoho Creater
August 7, 2006 message from Richard Campbell
"This free Web-based software
handled the job -- but without the bells and whistles of Access that had baffled
Mr Hughes. And since the program stored his data on the Web, his colleagues
could tap into it easily with a browser. "To me it was like a godsend" says Mr.
Hughes, operations manager at SoluChem. "
Exclusive benefits of Zoho Creator
Robert A. Guth, The Wall Street Journal Online ---
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Zoho Creator helps you to easily create personal
and business web applications on your own by structuring and presenting your
data in a lot of interesting and useful ways. You can view the data as a
table, calendar or just as a summary. In addition to just viewing your data
in many ways, you might also want to perform one or more of the following:
Perform an action when a row
is added successfully or detect when someone adds a row to a form. For
example, you might want to receive email notifications as and when a row
Perform an action when a row
is updated. For example, in the case of a bug tracker, you might want to
receive email notifications whenever the status of the issue gets
Validate the form data before
Add a row only if it
satisfies a certain criteria and reject the other entries. For example,
in a recruitment application, accept only those applicants who have more
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Define formulas for
calculations. For example, assume a student database has marks obtained
by students in all the subjects and you want to display the total and
average marks also.
Create complex filters in
With Zoho Creator, you don't have to write code
to build a simple data collection and viewing application like a Contacts
list. But, scripting will be indispensable for building a full fledged
application with complex logic, for example, Library Manager.
Although this is not course management software, it can be used for authoring
presentation lessons by instructors.
Bob Jensen's summaries of course authoring and course management software
Also see Bob Jensen's
summary authoring software ---
"Students Getting Sticker Shock from Textbook Prices,"
AccountingWeb, August 4, 2006 ---
Students entering college in 2006 can expect to pay
more than $500 for textbooks for their first semester courses, a huge outlay
of cash for many who have already taken out student loans to pay for tuition
and fees. University of Connecticut freshman Ben March returned to UConn’s
Co-op bookstore for an accounting textbook last February, after having
already spent $400 on other textbooks. The book cost $101. “I was trying not
to buy it, but I ended up needing it," March said, according to boston.com.
“The prices are depressing, but you really don’t have a choice.”
Full-time students in a four-year public college
paid $898 for books in 2003-2004, equal to 26 percent of the cost of tuition
and fees, according to a Government Accountability Office report issued in
2005. Congress is looking at the problem, and Virginia and California have
passed legislation, but these measures have had little impact on student
costs so far.
Faculty members are now being asked by state
legislatures to consider pricing in their selection of textbooks and study
materials. Is it necessary, for example, for an introductory accounting
course to use the latest edition of a text that comes from the publisher
bundled with a CD-ROM and study aids, which jack up the price?
New editions, which now come out every three or
four years, cost students up to 45 percent more, the Washington Post says.
The most popular accounting textbooks have been through many editions, and
changes from the previous editions may be limited to the use of color and
graphics. Accounting, by Warren, Reeves and Fess, published by South-Western
Press, is now in its 22nd edition.
Publishing companies market their wares directly to
professors at regional and national meetings of groups like the American
Accounting Association, where professors sign up to receive complimentary
copies of new textbooks. Large sales teams from companies like McGraw-Hill,
publisher of Principles of Financial Accounting, 18th edition, and
Prentice-Hall, publisher of Introduction to Financial Accounting, 9th
edition, attend the national meetings.
A survey conducted by the California Student Public
Interest Research Group reported that faculty members in all disciplines at
Stanford University said that the replacement of old editions by new ones
was “rarely” or “never” justified. But many continued to order them for
their classes anyway, according to the American Intelligence Wire.
Eighty-seven percent of faculty surveyed in the entire California system
favored publishing new information in the form of paperbound supplements.
A Textbook Task Force at Western Connecticut State
University (WCSU), recommended not buying new editions or bundled products,
but faculty peers did not endorse these proposals. The faculty senate, while
acknowledging that textbook pricing was a persistent problem, did not agree
with the Task Force’s opposition to bundling or to new editions, saying that
educators in the professions use evidence-based materials and needed to
consider the requirements of professional licensing.
The senate found that providing “faculty and
students with more comprehensive, current pricing information in a timely,
easily-accessible fashion is not only critical, but the most practical first
step to take.” The WCSU task force recommendations and responses are
published on the university’s Web site.
In fields like accounting, where older editions
might work in introductory courses, professors have individual goals for
more advanced courses, and texts should include current law, research or
cases, instructors say. The text should be considered an investment, a
reference that the student will want to keep. Additional resources may also
prove a good investment for many students.
Publishers determine wholesale prices for
textbooks, and college bookstores determine the final price for the book.
The average mark-up college bookstores add to new books is 33 percent, and
the mark-up for used books is 50 percent, Bruce Hildebrand, executive
director at the Association for American Publisher says, according to MSNBC.
Peg Godwin, manager of the University of Idaho’s
Bookstore, told the university newspaper, the Argonaut, that it is hard to
break even. “If we buy 100 books, we have to sell 80 books just to pay for
those books and then we have to sell another four or five books to pay for
the freight on them. And then we have to pay all our salaries, and salaries
run around 12 to 13 percent, so we have to sell those last three books.”
Most college bookstores have textbook buyback
programs, but with new editions coming out so frequently, there are not many
books stores can accept for resale. University of Texas Co-op President,
George H. Mitchell, says that UT students buy an average of 40 percent used
books, much higher that the national average of 25 percent, the Financial
Times reports. The process is successful in Texas, says Jennifer Libertowsky,
spokeswoman with the National Association of College Stores, because
instructors provide lists of books that will be used in classes well in
advance of the buying period.
Students are finding that purchasing online
provides substantial savings on both new and used books, the Washington Post
says. Popular sites, in addition to Amazon.com, include
www.campusbookswap.com, which allows students to buy and sell used books
directly, and www.textbookx.com.
And like other products, some textbooks are cheaper
in Canada. In some cases savings can equal 90 percent of the U.S. retail
price, the Post says, although AccountingWeb found prices for accounting
textbooks were only slightly lower than U.S. prices. Shipping time is
estimated to be three to six weeks. Buyers can go to www.amazon.ca.
But shop early or pay full price. As of August 1st,
Amazon had only one new copy of Principles of Financial Accounting by Wild,
Larson and Chiapetta, (Chapters 1-17) now in its 18th edition and selling
for $113. McGraw-Hill does not list their price for the book. There were
only four new copies of Introduction to Financial Accounting by Horngren,
Sundem, Elliott and Philbrick available on Amazon for $106.70. The book
lists on the Prentice-Hall Web site at $149.50 and costs $165 with Peachtree
And the most successful textbook in history,
according to Amazon, Warren, Reeves and Fess’s Accounting, published by
South-Western Publishing in a number of different formats, is also nearly
sold out. Amazon says they have more copies of all of these books on order.
Bob Jensen's threads on oligopoly publisher frauds are at
How do good readers differ from bad readers?
"Metaphors We Read By," by
Laurence Musgrove, Inside Higher Ed, August 4, 2006 ---
As I continued to examine these drawings,
especially those including imaginative representations of reading, I began
to investigate the various ways reading is analogized and to make a list of
Here is a sample of 20 from my ever-expanding
- 1. Reading is grafting, and the reader
connects new text to another text read.
- 2. Reading is dancing, and the reader follows
the lead and steps of the text, including its rhythm, music, lyric,
genre, and flow.
- 3. Reading is sorting, and the reader puts
knowledge and experience and dramatic elements of text into categories.
- 4. Reading is surveying, and the reader
examines the territory of the book, its surface, size, structure, scope,
distinguishing features, divisions, boundaries, etc.
- 5. Reading is integrating, and the reader
incorporates new knowledge into other knowledge; blending and kneading
- 6. Reading is counting, and the reader is
concerned with the number of pages in the text or how many pages are
left until they can escape the text (also envision the image of a
prisoner marking off days on calendar).
- 7. Reading is soaking up, and the reader
absorbs the text like a sponge.
- 8. Reading is a vehicle, and the reader
travels to another place.
- 9. Reading is eating, and the reader consumes
and is nourished (or poisoned) by the text.
- 10. Reading is a mirror, and the reader sees
reflection in text.
- 11. Reading is a machine, and the reader feeds
the text through a mechanical process.
- 12. Reading is a transaction, and the reader
and text exchange value: the reader receives knowledge and experience,
the text receives meaning, and the newly produced response is the
receipt or proof of the transaction.
- 13. Reading is exercise, and the reader gains
intellectual agility and strength.
- 14. Reading is mining, and the reader digs
into the text for answers.
- 15. Reading is a good investment, and the
reader’s efforts pay off.
- 16. Reading is planting, and the reader
receives seeds of knowledge that grow into new understanding.
- 17. Reading is unwrapping, and the reader
opens the text to reveal a hidden message.
- 18. Reading is translating, and the reader
moves the meaning from one language to another.
- 19. Reading is a friend, and the reader enjoys
the companionship of the text.
- 20. Reading is wrestling, and the reader
struggles with the text.
In Metaphors We Live By, Lakoff and Johnson
write, “Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and
act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.” In addition, they argue that
these metaphorically-determinate conceptual frameworks are unconsciously
meta-cognitive; that is, we reason and engage automatically without
understanding the powerful metaphors shaping our interactions with each
other and the world around us.
Thus, metaphorical concepts also impact students’
relationships with texts. My research so far suggests that many students
have not developed adequate reading habits because they bring with them
incapacitating conceptions or analogies of reading. They see it as torture
or a lullaby. They also assign human agency to the text. They blame it for
being hard to understand, when in fact they lack the understanding to engage
the text successfully.
Rather than positioning themselves to become the
reader the text wants them to be — to go out and find the knowledge the text
assumes the reader already owns — students lash out at the unresponsive
novel, poem, play, essay, or textbook chapter. They also sometimes see
reading assignments as lifeless information to be transferred from one place
to another (like the student described in the anecdote above copying
highlighted words from one book to another), or as Paulo Freire analogizes
in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, they see knowledge as temporary
commodities to be banked in their memories until withdrawn by an instructor
at test time.
But these faulty conceptions of reading didn’t
magically appear out of thin air. Students learned them, and many certainly
learned them one way or another, implicitly or explicitly, in school. That
so many of our students have come to hate reading (and writing, of course,
too) is a cultural disgrace. Therefore, we need specific counter-cultural
methods of instruction to adequately respond to the inappropriate metaphors
of reading students bring to the classroom.
For my part, I want to discover which of my
students have, knowingly or not, embraced these self-defeating notions of
reading and then provide them the means to replace those conceptual
roadblocks with more effective and empowering metaphors.
I also propose that professors across the
curriculum actively identify and more effectively deploy metaphors of
reading. In other words, rather than assume our students already know what
it means to read in their disciplines, we should reflect on the kinds of
reading we expect our students to practice, examine the metaphorical
concepts at the heart of those reading strategies, and then present those
metaphors in the classroom.
Continued in article
"Brain imaging identifies best memorization strategies," PhysOrg,
August 3, 2006 ---
Exploring exactly why some individuals' memory
skills are better than others has led researchers at Washington University
in St. Louis to study the brain basis of learning strategies that healthy
young adults select to help them memorize a series of objects. Using
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers uncovered
brain regions specifically correlated with the diverse strategies that
Brenda Kirchhoff, research associate in psychology
in the University's School of Arts and Sciences, conducted this study in the
then-Washington University lab of Randy L. Buckner, now a professor of
psychology at Harvard University and investigator at the Howard Hughes
Medical Institute. Their findings have been published in the July 20, 2006,
issue of Neuron. (Kirchhoff is the article's first author and Buckner is
"Randy and I were interested in exploring
individual differences in memory — why some people are better at learning
new information than others," said Kirchhoff. "Our main goal was to
determine the learning strategies that people use and their relationship to
memory performance. Secondly, we wanted to know if individual differences in
learning strategies were associated with individual differences in brain
Continued in article
Also see "Researchers find new learning strategy," PhysOrg,
August 3, 2006 ---
Also see "Novelty aids learning," PhysOrg, August 3, 2006 ---
Exposure to new experiences improves memory,
according to research by UCL psychologists and medical doctors that could
hold major implications for the treatment of memory problems. The study,
published in Neuron on 3 August, concludes that introducing completely new
facts when learning, significantly improves memory performance.
Researchers have long suspected that the human
brain is particularly attracted to new information and that this might be
important for learning. They are now a step closer to understanding why.
A region in the midbrain (substantia nigra/ventral
tegmental), which is responsible for regulating our motivation and
reward-processing, responds better to novelty than to the familiar. This
system also regulates levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain,
and could aid learning. This link between memory, novelty, motivation and
reward could help patients with memory problems.
Dr Emrah Düzel, UCL Institute of Cognitive
Neuroscience, said: “We hope that these findings will have an impact on
behavioural treatments for patients with poor memory. Current practice by
behavioural psychologists aims to improve memory through repeatedly exposing
a person to information – just as we do when we revise for an exam. This
study shows that revising is more effective if you mix new facts in with the
old. You actually learn better, even though your brain is also tied up with
“It is a well-known fact amongst scientists that
the midbrain region regulates our levels of motivation and our ability to
predict rewards by releasing dopamine in the frontal and temporal regions of
the brain. We have now shown that novelty activates this brain area. We
believe that experiencing novelty might, in itself, have an impact on our
dopamine levels. Our next project will be to test the role of dopamine in
learning. These findings could have implications for drug development.”
Subjects took part in a series of tests. The first
experiment assessed whether the brain prefers novel stimuli over familiar
stimuli even when the familiar images are made significant because they are
either rare or depict emotionally negative content. Subjects were shown
images of indoor and outdoor scenes and faces, while their brain activity
was analysed using an fMRI scanner. Some images rarely popped up and some
were emotionally negative, such as an angry face or a car accident. Even the
rare and emotional images did not activate the midbrain. It responded only
to new images.
The second experiment, using fMRI, made some of the
images more or less familiar to test how this relativity affected brain
activity. It did not – only completely new images produced activity in the
Dr Düzel said: “We thought that less familiar
information would stand out as being significant when mixed with
well-learnt, very familiar information and so activate the midbrain region
just as strongly as absolutely new information. That was not the case. Only
completely new things cause strong activity in the midbrain area.”
Separate behavioural experiments were also
conducted without the use of a scanner to test the subjects’ memory. Their
memory of the novel, familiar and very familiar images they had studied was
tested after 20 minutes and then a day later. Subjects performed best in
these tests when new information was combined with familiar information
during learning. After a 20 minute delay, subjects’ memory for slightly
familiar information was boosted by 19 per cent if it had been mixed with
new facts during learning sessions.
Dr Düzel said: “When we see something new, we see
it has a potential for rewarding us in some way. This potential that lies in
new things motivates us to explore our environment for rewards. The brain
learns that the stimulus, once familiar, has no reward associated with it
and so it loses its potential. For this reason, only completely new objects
activate the midbrain area and increase our levels of dopamine.”
Monetary policy resulting in a weak dollar is the culprit for high oil
"The Elephant in the Barrel," by Bret Swanson, The Wall Street Journal,
August 12, 2006; Page A8 ---
Nigerian pipeline explosions, Chinese
demand, Arab angst, Venezuelan volatility, peak oil and a Putin premium:
These are the usual explanations for high petroleum prices. But our
discussion of the "energy crisis" has ignored the elephant in the barrel --
monetary policy. Today, high oil prices are the backdrop for Middle Eastern
chaos and calls for bad energy policy. It was much the same in the 1970s,
when high prices yielded similar violence against our fellow man and against
economics. This is no coincidence. A weak dollar is the culprit, now as
When the Yom Kippur war was launched
in October 1973, the price of oil had been rising for two years. For
decades, oil's price had been remarkably stable, like the prices of most
other goods. But in 1971 Richard Nixon broke the dollar's links both to gold
and to key foreign currencies. Bretton Woods -- and the dollar -- collapsed,
and a decade-long inflation began.
By July 1973, gold had deviated from
its long-time price of $35 per ounce and soared to $120. Oil also responded
quickly to dollar weakness and doubled in price by the early autumn. The
Mideast nations complained that the Western oil companies were accumulating
massive "windfall profits." Having negotiated agreements in the previous
environment of price stability, the Arabs and Persians were stuck with much
lower prices and royalty payments. You know the rest of the decade's news:
embargoes, gas lines, inflation, wage and price controls, hostages.
* * *
Today, commodity prices across the
board, from coffee to carbon fiber, remain near 25-year highs. High oil
prices are not a unique phenomenon, but just another commodity whose price
is determined primarily by the value of the dollar. Expensive oil isn't
exclusively a monetary event, of course: Risk and demand matter, too.
But in comparing oil to other commodities, especially gold, we find that
elevated risk and demand explains only $10-$15 of the higher oil price; $30
of the price is explained by a weak, inflationary dollar. The entity most
responsible for expensive oil is thus the Fed.
For more evidence of the centrality
of the dollar's value, consider what happened to oil just a few years ago.
In 1998 the price of crude plunged to $10 per barrel. At the time, China had
been growing at 10% per year for 20 years, the U.S. economy was growing fast
at 4%, and the Middle East was typically if not maximally volatile, with
Saddam testing the U.N. inspection process and the U.S. sending Tomahawks
back his way. Demand and geopolitical volatility were fairly high in 1998,
and ominous "peak oil" theories had been around for a while; yet oil was
just a seventh of today's price. Other commodity prices were also at
multidecade lows, with gold sinking below $275 per ounce (versus today's
$640). The common factor was a superstrong currency -- a severe shortage of
dollars. This deflation roiled world markets and bankrupted many companies
and nations with dollar debts: Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey,
The deflationary dollar sent a
struggling but oil-rich Russia over the edge into default. Russia today
supposedly has some magical power to set world prices, yet in 1998 oil was
$60 less expensive, and a desperate Russia was helpless to achieve higher
prices. Even after 9/11 and the take-down of the Taliban, oil still traded
at $20 per barrel. Adjusted for inflation, this was the price of oil in 1970
-- and in 1960, and 1950.
Then the Fed started making
inflationary mistakes. Alan Greenspan's liquidity injections after 9/11 had
mercifully relieved the deflation of 1997 to 2001, but the Fed overdid it.
By leaving interest rates at 1% for far too long in 2003-04 and then raising
interest rates far too slowly through 2006 -- even though the economy and
commodity prices had long since recovered -- the Fed weakened the dollar and
juiced oil prices. The Fed can make these mistakes because it watches old
data like the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) deflator, possibly the
most backward-looking of all price indicators. It can take five years or
more before Fed actions find their way through the web of global commerce
and contracts and finally show up in the PCE deflator. The dollar weakening
of 1985-86, for example, did not cause a peak in measured inflation until
1990. By then the damage was done.
People say oil supply-lines are
"tight," but that's what happens with all goods in an inflationary
environment. Buyers buy before prices further rise. Monetary velocity -- the
turnover of currency -- takes off. It looks like there are "shortages," but
in fact there is only a shortage at the old price. The opposite happens with
a strong, or deflationary, dollar. As currency becomes more valuable, buyers
hold on to the money, waiting for cheaper prices later. Velocity plummets.
The apparent result is "gluts" of goods. Markets and supply-lines appear
Because dollar weakness hits
commodities first but eventually filters through every product, service and
asset in the world economy, high oil prices won't yield as much real wealth
to suppliers tomorrow as today. The prices of things they can buy with oil
money will have risen as well. Rogue oil nations will thus not enjoy as much
of an increase in power as it might appear today. Alternative fuel sources
and schemes, supposedly now in play because of high oil prices, also become
less economically feasible if most of the increased oil price is due to
dollar devaluation. Moreover, if the Fed gets control of the dollar, the
price of oil could fall substantially. It is these periods of transition,
where the value of the currency is changing fast, but before price changes
filter through all commerce and contracts, when financial and political
disruptions often take place.
A third oil flashpoint dominates our
thinking. We are told there is a race to secure scarce resources, a zero-sum
struggle that points to an inevitable clash between the U.S. and China. But
there is no inherent shortage of oil. One tiny shale formation right in
America's backyard -- the 1,200 square mile Piceance Basin of western
Colorado -- contains a trillion barrels, more than all the proven reserves
in the world. Vast open spaces across the globe remain unexplored or
untapped. None of this is to say we don't need more energy from more diverse
sources. We do, and we should encourage the entrepreneurial pursuit of a
range of new technologies. But basing our energy policies on a
misunderstanding of why the oil price is so high could severely jeopardize
our economy and international security.
Mr. Swanson is a senior fellow at the Discovery
Institute in Seattle.
What's wrong with "earmarked" research funding?
"K Street and Colleges," by David Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, August 9,
Four million dollars goes a long way at Glenville
State College. It may seem unlikely that the tiny West Virginia institution
would see that much federal money in a single spending bill, but that’s
about what Glenville got in the 2006 appropriations legislation for science
and other programs.
That was just one of dozens of earmarks in the
bill, and one of several that set aside more than $1 million for
institutions from Mississippi and West Virginia, homes of the Republican
chairman and the ranking Democrat, respectively, of the Senate
Whether earmarks — funds that a member of Congress
directs to recipients without the peer-review process that federal agencies
use to dole out most research funds — are dangerously and increasingly
undermining peer review, or simply a way that legislators can look out for
constituents, depends on who’s talking.
The question, however, has been put into greater
relief for higher education officials in the wake of a letter from Sen. Tom
Coburn (R-Okla.) asking 111 institutions (a list is available here) to send
him information on all of the money they have received from earmarks since
2000, and whether they have considered paying lobbyists to help secure the
The letter from Coburn, a vocal opponent of
earmarks, has been interpreted by some experts as an attempt to find
examples of wasteful earmarks that might be used to combat the practice of
earmarking — often derided as “pork-barrel spending” — altogether. John
Hart, a spokesman for Coburn, said that the senator is particularly
interested in finding out whether there’s a “pay to play” system that forces
colleges to waste money by “spending extravagantly” on lobbyists.
Kei Koizumi, director of the R&D Budget and Policy
Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said
that AAAS’s position is that peer review is the “highest quality way to
allocate funds,” he said, “but we recognize that there are many different
ways to allocate funds.”
Koizumi added that some federal objectives, such as
building research capacity in geographical areas wihout huge research
infrastructures, may not have the possibility of getting funded through a
competitive grant process.
The Glenville State money, for example, was for
science laboratories, equipment and programs, according to the legislation.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Coffins Made of Heavy Steel
(IsraelNN.com) IDF officials admit that the biggest
surprise of the ongoing war against Hizbullah is the ease by which terrorists
have destroyed IDF tanks. At least 30 tanks have been totally destroyed or
seriously damaged in bomb and anti-tank rocket attacks involving
state-of-the-art Russian anti-tank rockets. About one-half of the military
personnel killed in southern Lebanon were inside tanks.
Israel National News, August 11, 2006 ---
Since the beginning of the operation, Israel has
scored some impressive successes. In addition to the long-range rockets that
have been wiped out, the IDF has also destroyed Hizbullah's elite units, and
killed close to 500 other gunmen. The operations of Sayeret Matkal (General
Staff Reconnaissance Unit) in Baalbek, and of Shayetet 13 (Navy Commandos) in
Tyre, were also impressive, demonstrating the IDF's long-arm capabilities. But
alongside the success, the high-ranking officer admitted, it was difficult to
ignore the difficulty Israel was having in defeating Hizbullah on the ground
inside southern Lebanon. As of Thursday morning, 82 soldiers had been killed
since the beginning of the operation. It was also difficult, he said, to ignore
Israel's overall failure to stop the Katyusha rocket attacks, still close to 200
Yaakov Katz, "Security and Defense: Extended standstill," Jerusalem Post,
August 11, 2006 ---
Ask senior officers about Israel's achievements in
this war, and you will get an answer that usually includes the words
For six years - these officers will explain -
Israel allowed Hizbullah to build up a formidable force on the other side of
the border. The quiet along the north - they will assert - was deceptive; it
was Israel that was scared of Hizbullah - not the other way around, not the
way it used to be following Israel's wars of the past.
Continued in article
Critics call the Deleting Online Predators Act an election-year stunt that
could do lasting damage to youth culture and education.
"The Moral Panic over Social-Networking Sites," by Wade Roush, MIT's
Technology Review, August 8, 2006 ---http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17266&ch=infotech
The social-networking site MySpace has 95 million
registered users. If it were a country, it would be the 12th largest in the
world (ranking between Mexico and the Philippines). But under a bill
designed to combat sexual predators on the Internet, MySpace and similar
sites would become countries that young people can't visit -- at least not
using computers at schools or libraries.
The Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA),
introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in May by Michael
Fitzpatrick (R-PA), was passed by a vote of 410 to 15 on July 26. It
requires, with few exemptions, that facilities receiving federal aid block
minors from accessing commercial social-networking sites and chat rooms,
where they might encounter adults seeking sexual contact.
The bill has now moved on to the Senate. Critics
from the worlds of educational technology and media studies say they're
alarmed that the legislation has advanced this far. They warn that it would
do little to stop sexual predators, but would deprive youth from poor areas
of their only access to the online communities that are an increasingly
critical part of teen culture. To these critics, the act is an election-year
stunt designed to make any member of Congress who opposes it look "soft" on
It's a "monumentally ill-considered piece of
legislation" that "by any rational measure" should never have left the
House, says Henry Jenkins, professor of literature and director of the
Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT. Jenkins believes the act plays on
parents' lack of understanding, and their resulting fears, about their kids'
activities on the Internet. "But the price of standing up to that fear may
be too high for liberal Democrats," he says.
If the Senate approves a similar bill and the
legislation reaches President Bush's desk, the price to young people will be
even higher, say Jenkins and other critics. "If it would actually prevent
predation, I would be fine with it," says Danah Boyd, a PhD candidate in the
School of Information Management Sciences at the University of California,
Berkeley, who is considered one of the leading scholarly authorities on
social-networking sites. "But it's not going to help at all. Out of 300,000
child abductions every year, only 12 are by strangers. This is just going to
stifle the social-networking industry and completely segment youth around
The impact on youth from economically disadvantaged
families is what Jenkins worries about most. "Already, you have a gap
between kids who have 10 minutes of Internet access a day at the public
library and kids who have 24-hour-a-day access at home," he says. "Already,
we have filters in libraries [required under the Child Internet Protection
Act of 2001] blocking access to much of the Internet. Now we're talking
about adding even more restrictions. It exaggerates the 'participation gap'
-- not a technology gap, but a difference in access to the defining cultural
experiences that take place around technology today."
From The Washington Post on August 8, 2006
Google says it reached a deal to become the
exclusive search provider for MySpace.com. Approximately how many users does
the online hangout have?
How to Improve Wikipedia
the online encyclopedia for which anyone may write and
edit, is now in its sixth year and has nearly 1.3 million articles in English.
Recently, Wikipedians from around the world gathered in Cambridge, MA, to
discuss, among other things, how to make the enormous online encyclopedia more
accurate, more organized, and easier to use. Author and Web expert
referred to the conference, known as
as "the Woodstock of the 21st century."
Susan Nasr, "Cofounder Jimmy Wales updates Technology Review on Wikipedia,"
MIT's Technology Review, August 8, 2006 ---
"Online Grocery Shopping: Way To Go? Susan Koeppen Tests Four Of The Bigger
Services," CBS News, July 28, 2006 ---
You can almost anything via your computer, even your
But do the companies that provide the service deliver on their promises of
On The Early Show Friday, consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen came
through with the scoop on buying food the high-tech way.
She says the millions of consumers who do their grocery shopping online are
expected to spend more than $4 billion on it this year.
Among them, Gennifer Calise, a working Manhattan mother of a ten-month-old,
who summed up her reasons for going that route when she told Koeppen it's
"quicker and easier."
Calise gets her shopping done in 15 minutes by clicking away, while a
typical trip to the supermarket takes her about an hour. And that doesn't
include much travel time: Calise buys online even though the supermarket she
buys from is on the ground floor of her apartment building!
"I am not lugging my son to the grocery store and lugging him back," she
says. "I can be here and play with him on the floor and be clicking online
at the same time.
"These days, having a kid and a full time job, I don't do anything that
isn't easy. S I wouldn't be doing it if it didn't make a difference."
Calise adds that most of her friends buy food online, and Koeppen notes that
most of the consumers shopping online for groceries are women.
Online shoppng facts:
In 2005, $3.3 billion was spent on online grocery shopping. That's projected
to hit $4.2 billion this year, and double, to $8.4 billion, by 2010.
Overall, groceries are a $640 billion business. There are currently five
million people who shop online for groceries, and that's only makes up 2% of
the online population.
Koeppen herself gave four of the major online grocery providers a try, and
reported on how she fared with each of them.
Koeppen's order came in grocery bags. She ordered many items in hopes of
planning a fun family picnic. The hotdogs she ordered were not in the bags.
There was no substitution in the bag, so no hotdogs. She received everything
else on her grocery list. The prices online were all comparable to those in
the brick and mortar supermarket. The site is user friendly. Customers are
able to search for foods that are categorized by section. Once in a selected
department, you can sort foods by price, specials, popularity, calories,
fat, carbs, cholesterol, dietary fiber, kosher, organic, protein, sodium,
and sugars. That's great for people who love to read labels! The site gives
delivery times to choose from, and the order arrived right on time.
-The whipped cream and yogurts came cold
-The strawberries were all great looking
-No hotdogs, no substitution offered
-Flowers: Ordered a bouquet of flowers. Online, they were pictured as
purple. They arrived in white. This was probably a substitution.
-Cheese platter presentation was unattractive and the cheese was really
warm. Looked like pieces of the cheese were missing.
-Beans: The can was dented. Susan wouldn't buy a dented can in the actual
-Largest online grocery store
-Since inception 17 years ago, has delivered to 8 million customers
-From June '05 to June '06, had 250,000 active customers
-12,000 customers a day go to the Web site
-Serves Connecticut, New York, Rhode island, Washington, D.C., Maryland,
Virginia, Massachusetts, the rest of the New England coast, Chicago and
-Associated with Stop & Shop and Giant on East Coast. Those stores offer
bonus packages and you can use that online to get additional discounts. The
online site keeps your profile in its memory.
-Site organizes many of its products by nutritional value, sodium, fiber,
calories. That's helpful to people on a variety of diets, and to picky
eaters. You can also sort by price.
-Delivery: $100 and over is $6.95. $100 and under costs $9.95.
-Customers can save additional money online by using manufacturers' coupons
and by selecting less desirable delivery times.
-Grocery packers aren't in stores, but warehouses, to control quality and
out-of-stock items. If something is out-of-stock, customers have the option
of substituting a similar item.
-There is a 100 percent guarantee on food. You can get a refund if you are
All groceries came in boxes, except for the frozen goods. On the Web site,
they feature a link to different recipes. Customers have the option to buy
all the ingredients to make that recipe. Koeppen loved that feature. She
ordered the ingredients for ten-minute chili. The frozen food came in a
separate bag. Everything inside the bag was cold. Two eggs out of a dozen
came cracked. Everything was packaged tightly in different boxes, except for
the frozen goods. The deli meats were also impressive. The site gives
consumers the option to cube cheese, or have your deli meat cut regular,
thin, or thick. All was done as ordered. The fruits were all very fresh.
This site also offers nutritional information on its products. The site
gives delivery times to choose from. The order came right on time. Company
has return policy and will refund the money on the cracked eggs.
-Freshness guarantee: Company prides itself in the high quality of its fresh
food and packaged goods. It guarantees your satisfaction with every product,
-Rapidly expanding. Currently serves most of Manhattan and locations in
Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and parts of Long Island, New Jersey and
-Claims 25,000 - 35,000 unique shoppers come to the site each day
-Most popular items on the site: pizzas, fresh dining meals, stir fry kits,
croissants, fruit (bananas, strawberries), Veggies (broccoli, carrots,
Manhattan, and New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens: $4.95 delivery
Riverdale (a section of the New York City borough of the Bronx): $4.95 for
orders over $100, and $6.95 for orders under $100
Westchester (northern suburb of New York City): $5.95 for orders over $100,
$7.95 for orders $75-100, and $9.95 for orders under $75
New Jersey: $5.95 delivery charge
Non-perishables: There were specialty items on this new grocery section.
They did not have Poland Spring water, but they did have Zico Pure Coconut
Water. Koeppen could not find one of her favorites: Hershey kisses. She did
order Back to Nature all natural cereal, Kraft Easy Mac Cups, Milk Bone
original dog treats, nuts, Bounty paper towels. All of these items are
bought in bulk. Amazon offers free shipping nationwide with purchases
over $25. Koeppen found the Web site more challenging to navigate than the
-Features more than 14,000 non-perishable food and household items; lots of
dry goods, such as packaged cereals and canned food
-Only shop organic? From Alter Eco to Wild Oats, from Wolfgang Puck soups to
Sun Ridge Farms nuts, Amazon Grocery has nearly 7,000 organic products to
-Ships in Bulk
-Does not offer returns, but if there is a problem with the product, will
send a replacement.
There were lots of organic and natural groceries on this site. Some prices
higher than in the grocery store, such as that of protein bars. Others, such
as baby food, were the same. All the items (non perishable) came via FedEx
and were packed nicely, and you don't have to be home when the food arrives.
Everything was fresh, but the bag of tortillas was crushed and the tortillas
-FedEx shipping, based on how many dollars are being spent
-30,000 items shipped nationwide and worldwide
-100,000 customers have used the site
-Return policy: 100 percent guarantee: refund or new shipment
-Non perishables right now, but will start offering perishables in about two
-Since 1997, Netgrocer says, it has been the premier online provider of
"hard-to-find" brands, regional favorites, and other specialty
Garth Barth Brooks Has Friends in Wal-Mart (video) ---
In economics, what is the Phillips Curve?
From Wikipedia ---
The New Zealand-born economist
, in his 1958 paper
"The relationship between unemployment and the rate of
change of money wages in the UK 1861-1957" published in
, observed an inverse
relationship between money wage changes and unemployment in
the British economy over the period examined. Similar
patterns were found in other countries and in 1960
Paul Samuelson and
Robert Solow took Phillips' work
and made explicit the link between inflation and
unemployment—when inflation was high, unemployment was low,
little known that the American economist
Irving Fisher pointed to this kind
of Phillips curve relationship back in the 1920s. On the
other hand, Phillips' original curve described the behavior
of money wages. So some believe that the PC should be called
the "Fisher curve."
In the years following his 1958
paper, many economists in the advanced industrial countries
believed that Phillips' results showed that there was a
permanently stable relationship between inflation and
unemployment. One implication of this for government policy
was that governments could control unemployment and
inflation within a
policy. They could tolerate a reasonably high rate of
inflation as this would lead to lower
unemployment – there would be a
trade-off between inflation and
unemployment. For example,
monetary policy and/or
fiscal policy (i.e.,
deficit spending) could be used to
stimulate the economy, raising
gross domestic product and
lowering the unemployment rate. Moving along the Phillips
curve, this would lead to a higher inflation rate, the cost
of enjoying lower unemployment rates.
The Phillips Curve makes a comeback at the Fed.
"A Pause That Digresses," The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2006; Page
Your editorial on Chicago's recently passed living
wage ordinance for retail workers ("The Red Lining of Chicago," Review &
Outlook, July 31), suggests that Americans must choose between low prices and
decent wages. That's a false choice. Cities such as Santa Fe and San Francisco,
which have raised their local minimum wages to $9.50 and $8.82 respectively,
have found that large retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Sam's Club and Toys "R"
Us have adjusted, and are still offering consumers low prices.
Paul Sonn, "Prices Versus Wages: A False Dichotomy," The Wall Street Journal,
August 12, 2006; Page A9 ---
Sonn's argument illustrates a type of anecdotal evidence that hardly negates
Philips Curve theory. Higher minimum wages in two or even a few cities allows
those cities to benefit as free riders on lower wages in nearly
4,000 Wal-Mart stores, numerous warehouses, and distribution networks across
the U.S. Raising the minimum wage in all companies nationwide will have a much
larger multiplier impact on pricing and/or job losses. Resisting a rise in the
nationwide minimum wage is not politically correct, but it's naive to suggest
higher minimum wages will not affect pricing, job losses, offshore
manufacturing, and hiring of illegal aliens.
What is the new "Leopard Operating System?"
"Apple's Newest Bells and Whistles," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology
Review, August 8, 2006 ---
Yesterday Apple announced a partial list of the
features to come with the newest version of its operating system, Mac OS X
Leopard, due next spring. The announcement was made at the Apple Worldwide
Developers Conference in San Francisco (August 7-11), where more than 4,000
software developers have gathered to talk shop.
Here's a rundown of three improvements planned for
Leopard. All 10 announced features can be found here -- you may need to
download the latest version of Quicktime to view some features.
-- Boot Camp, the application that allows Windows
to be run on a Mac, will be integrated into the new operating system.
Currently, a test version of it is available for download at Apple's site.
Those who have an Intel-based Mac can use it to switch between Mac OS X and
Windows on the same computer. With Boot Camp embedded into Leopard, Apple
may be removing the long-standing barrier that has kept many people from
-- Time Machine is a new application designed to
make backing up a hard drive easier. According to Bertrand Serlet, senior
vice president of software engineering at Apple, only about 26 percent of
computer users back up their files, and only 4 percent use automated
software to back up regularly. To keep all those photos and music files safe
from a crash, Time Machine automatically saves everything -- pictures,
music, documents, applications -- to an external hard drive or server. One
can also pick and choose what to save, but the application's default setting
saves an extra copy of everything. The added feature here is the ability to
access every version of a file ever saved. Time Machine also provides a neat
interface that "zooms" back in time as one looks for, say, a specific file
that was saved months ago.
-- One of the useful advances in the previous Mac
operating system, Tiger, is an application called Dashboard. It has
"widgets" -- tiny applications that might include, say, a dictionary,
weather map, or sports scores. They provide instant information from the
Internet without using a web browser. In Leopard, widgets will be
customizable, so that any web page, or part of a page, can be turned into a
widget. It can be used to get instant access to, for instance, New York
Times best sellers, eBay auction updates, or live Web cams.
What is Microsoft saying to hackers about "Vista?"
"Microsoft to Hackers: Try to Break Vista," MIT's Technology Review,
August 4, 2006 ---
After suffering embarrassing
security exploits over the past
several years, Microsoft Corp. is
trying a new tactic: inviting some
of the world's best-known computer
experts to try to poke holes in
Vista, the next generation of its
Windows operating system.
Microsoft made a test version of
Vista available to about 3,000
security professionals Thursday as
it detailed the steps it has taken
to fortify the product against
attacks that can compromise bank
account numbers and other sensitive
''You need to touch it, feel it,''
Andrew Cushman, Microsoft's director
of security outreach, said during a
talk at the Black Hat
''We're here to show our work.''
Microsoft has faced blistering
criticism for security holes that
have led to network outages and
business disruptions for its
customers. After being accused for
not putting enough resources into
shoring up its products, the
software maker is trying to convince
outsiders that it has changed.
''They're going directly to the bear
in the bear's lair,'' says Jon
Callas, the chief technology officer
at PGP Corp., which makes encryption
software and other security
products. ''They are going to people
who don't like them, say nasty
things and have the incentive to
find the things that are wrong.''
Due early next year, Vista is the
first product to be designed from
scratch under a Microsoft program
dubbed secure development life
cycle, which represents a sea change
in the company's approach to
bringing out new products. Instead
of placing the addition of
compelling new features at the top
of engineers' priority list,
Microsoft now requires them to first
consider how code might be misused.
A security team with oversight of
every Microsoft product -- from its
Xbox video game console to its Word
program for creating documents --
has broad authority to block
shipments until they pass security
tests. The company also hosts two
internal conferences a year so some
of the world's top security experts
can share the latest research on
Cushman said the presentations have
already paid off. One talk,
delivered in March by a security
expert named Johnny Long, detailed a
new way to identify security holes
using Google. Shortly after the
talk, a Microsoft manager applied
the technique and discovered a
customer was at risk because it
hadn't properly set up a computer
that was running SQL, a database
program that competes with business
programs sold by Oracle Corp.
But internal conferences are one
matter. Taking Vista to Black Hat,
where some of the world's foremost
security gurus annually make sport
of ripping through programming code
to find bugs, is another.
''The fact that they're releasing it
here is probably a bold statement,''
said Mike Janosko, a security expert
with Ernst & Young who has been
reviewing Vista for several months.
On the Net:
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-2007 Edition ---
For hundreds of different types of jobs—such as
Occupational Outlook Handbook tells you:
- the training and education needed
- expected job prospects
- what workers do on the job
- working conditions
In addition, the Handbook gives you
job search tips,
information about the job market in each State, and
Accountants and Auditors ---
Employment of accountants and auditors is expected
to grow faster than average for all occupations through the year 2014. An
increase in the number of businesses, changing financial laws and
regulations, and increased scrutiny of company finances will drive growth.
In addition to openings resulting from growth, the need to replace
accountants and auditors who retire or transfer to other occupations will
produce numerous job openings in this large occupation.
As the economy grows, the number of business
establishments will increase, requiring more accountants and auditors to set
up books, prepare taxes, and provide management advice. As these businesses
grow, the volume and complexity of information developed by accountants and
auditors regarding costs, expenditures, and taxes will increase as well. An
increased need for accountants and auditors will arise from changes in
legislation related to taxes, financial reporting standards, business
investments, mergers, and other financial events. The growth of
international business also has led to more demand for accounting expertise
and services related to international trade and accounting rules, as well as
to international mergers and acquisitions. These trends should create more
jobs for accountants and auditors.
As a result of accounting scandals at several large
corporate companies, Congress passed legislation in an effort to curb
corporate accounting fraud. This legislation requires public companies to
maintain well-functioning internal controls to ensure the accuracy and
reliability of their financial reporting. It also holds the company’s chief
executive personally responsible for falsely reporting financial
These changes should lead to increased scrutiny of
company finances and accounting procedures and should create opportunities
for accountants and auditors, particularly CPAs, to audit financial records
more thoroughly. In order to ensure that finances comply with the law before
public accountants conduct audits, management accountants and internal
auditors increasingly will be needed to discover and eliminate fraud. Also,
in an effort to make government agencies more efficient and accountable,
demand for government accountants should increase.
Increased awareness of financial crimes such as
embezzlement, bribery, and securities fraud will increase the demand for
forensic accountants, to detect illegal financial activity by individuals,
companies, and organized crime rings. Computer technology has made these
crimes easier to commit, and they are on the rise. At the same time, the
development of new computer software and electronic surveillance technology
has made tracking down financial criminals easier, thus increasing the ease
with which, and likelihood that, forensic accountants will discover their
crimes. As success rates of investigations grow, demand also will grow for
The changing role of accountants and auditors also
will spur job growth, although this growth will be limited as a result of
financial scandals. In response to demand, some accountants were offering
more financial management and consulting services as they assumed a greater
advisory role and developed more sophisticated accounting systems. Because
Federal legislation now prohibits accountants from providing nontraditional
services to clients whose books they audit, opportunities for accountants to
offer such services could be limited. However, accountants will still be
able to advise on other financial matters for clients that are not publicly
traded companies and for nonaudit clients, but growth in these areas will be
slower than in the past. Also, due to the increasing popularity of tax
preparation firms and computer software, accountants will shift away from
tax preparation. As computer programs continue to simplify some
accounting-related tasks, clerical staff will increasingly handle many
Overall, job opportunities for accountants and
auditors should be favorable. After most States instituted the 150-hour rule
for CPAs, enrollment in accounting programs declined; however, enrollment is
slowly beginning to grow again as more students become attracted to the
profession because of the attention from the accounting scandals. Those who
earn a CPA should have excellent job prospects. However, many accounting
graduates are instead pursuing other certifications, such as the CMA and
CIA, so job prospects may not be as favorable in management accounting and
internal auditing as in public accounting. Regardless of specialty,
accountants and auditors who have earned professional recognition through
certification or licensure should have the best job prospects. Applicants
with a master’s degree in accounting, or a master’s degree in business
administration with a concentration in accounting, also will have an
advantage. In the aftermath of the accounting scandals, professional
certification is even more important in order to ensure that accountants’
credentials and ethics are sound.
Proficiency in accounting and auditing computer
software, or expertise in specialized areas such as international business,
specific industries, or current legislation, may be helpful in landing
certain accounting and auditing jobs. In addition, employers increasingly
are seeking applicants with strong interpersonal and communication skills.
Because many accountants work on teams with others from different
backgrounds, they must be able to communicate accounting and financial
information clearly and concisely. Regardless of one’s qualifications,
however, competition will remain keen for the most prestigious jobs in major
accounting and business firms.
Bob Jensen's threads on accountancy careers are at
Rewarding Stupidity of Top Athletes
"Remove the Worm From the Apple," by Steve Bahls, Inside Higher Ed,
August 8, 2006 ---
The average Division I football and basketball
player today comes to college with academic credentials that differ from
those of their fellow students. Once they matriculate, athletes often
cluster in a few choice majors — like interdisciplinary studies or
recreation — more hospitable to the less than serious student. At many
schools, athletes register before the average Joe or Jane, so they can skim
off the cream courses recommended by their advisers.
Grade point averages in the big money sports often
trail their non-sports campus peers, and graduation rates can be
These prized students often eat at exclusive
“training tables,” with the phony justification that eating the same food
available to regular students will not provide them with “the necessary
nutrition.” Peruse the creature comforts of Division I athletics departments
compared to those in philosophy, sociology or history. The former usually
features state-of-the art facilities and technology; the latter is vastly
When colleges exempt athletes from the rules
applicable to other students, the institutions shouldn’t be surprised that
the athletes feel exempt from expectations of responsible conduct applicable
to us all. Combine that with the media hype involving Division I athletics
and it’s no wonder that there is a worm in the apple of big time college
If I sound bitter, it is quite the contrary. As president of a Division III
college, I am delighted to see the educational opportunities college sports
offer to young men and women who otherwise may not get that most precious
opportunity. I’ve seen how athletes grow in mind, body and spirit through
their participation in sports and I greatly admire the lessons learned on
the playing field. Likewise, I relish the concept that college sports teach
a hard work ethic, the value of teamwork and the spirit of camaraderie.
But I do worry that Division I sports is
ill-serving far too many young people. And I challenge the NCAA to
accelerate the reform movement promised in the recent past. What has
happened to cries of turning down the volume in college sports? The media
won’t turn down the volume, so college presidents must exercise their
I strongly believe Division I sports can learn
something from Division III, where the athletes play sans scholarships and
typically without the promise of future sports riches. Most importantly,
Division III athletes live and breathe not in the rarified air of a sports
subculture, but, when they are out of uniform, just like other students on
I don’t expect Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA to
dismantle proud (and profitable) athletics programs, and I strongly believe
that would be a foolish mistake. But I do believe the subculture of today’s
big-time college athlete is a problem that demands open debate and sweeping
Here are five simple questions Division I sports
administrators should ask of themselves: Are our athletes representative of
the student body in terms of admissions and financial aid considerations?
Are our athletes in revenue sports of football and basketball studying only
in a select few majors? Is it uncommon for athletes to participate in other
campus organizations or to take advantage of opportunities for international
study? Are our athletes’ GPAs and graduation rates in line with the student
body? Upon graduating, are our athletes prepared for graduate study and/or
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on athletics controversies in colleges are at
Virtues and Values of Learning Accountability Assessments of College
Much of the emphasis on accountability measurement has as
its premise the highly destructive goal of homogenizing the content and process
of American higher education so that all students have the same experience and
the same process. This centralizing drive comforts regulators, but it does not
reflect the reality of the marketplace. As we
have emphasized before,
the American commitment to universal access to higher education requires a high
level of variability in institutions, in the educational process, and in the
outcomes. We do need good data from our institutions about what they do and what
success their graduates have, but we do not need elaborate, centralized,
homogeneity enforced by an ever more intrusive regulatory apparatus.
John V. Lombardi, "Virtues and Vices of ‘Value Added’," Inside Higher Ed,
August 10, 2006 ---
John V. Lombardi, chancellor and a professor of history at the University of
Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at
The National Education Database Controversy
The president of the National Association of
Independent Colleges and Universities reiterated its intense opposition to the
federal higher education commission’s proposal to create a federal database of
student academic records in
a letter to the panel’s
chairman Tuesday. David L. Warren, who has been the most persistent and
vociferous critic of the Secretary of Education’s
Commission on the Future of Higher Education, said
the “cradle-to-grave database” would invade students’ privacy and open sensitive
information to security risks. The letter also urges the panel to abandon its
calls to “dismantle” the federal student-aid programs and to try to compare all
institutions using similar measures of student outcomes.
Inside Higher Ed, August 9, 2006 ---
One by one, the members of the Secretary of Education’s
Commission on the Future of Higher Education offered their support for
the panel’s report except for one dissenting skeptic
In some ways, Ward’s decision was not surprising; the
cautious, evenhanded leader had expressed
uncharacteristically vociferous displeasure about
the first draft of the commission’s report, and some of his constituents —
particularly the nearly 1,000 private colleges that are also members of the
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, led by its
president, David L. Warren — have aggressively opposed many of the panel’s
ideas. But Ward also knew that opposing the panel’s work could open him and
higher education generally to the oft-heard charge (oft-heard, among others,
from the commission’s chairman, Charles Miller) that colleges are reluctant to
acknowledge their flaws and unwilling to undertake significant change.
Doug Lederman, "18 Yesses, 1 Major No," Inside Higher Ed, August 11, 2006
Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in higher education are at
College Officials Unhappy with MyRichUncle
The National Association of Student Financial Aid
Administrators has released
a new statement denouncing the advertising campaign
being used by MyRichUncle,
new lender trying to shake up the student loan market.
The aid group said that the new company’s campaign discourages students from
trusting their aid officers. MyRichUncle’s ads suggest that aid officials at
some campuses are trying to steer students to certain loans, based on cozy
arrangements between lenders and aid officers.
Inside Higher Ed, August 11, 2006 ---
Multiculturalism, Universalism, and the 21st Century Academy
At the end of the day, the hope of these two kinds of
projects — internal multicultural dialogue and external multicultural
collaboration — is that we all come to value diverse groups, not just diverse
individuals. We will do this by expanding the lesson of citizenship from one
purely about individual rights to one about connectivity and responsibility —
and the social embedding of individuality. We’ll learn that we are all in this
together, and we can’t just make creating opportunity someone else’s project. If
this works, then I believe that, at least in this regard, presidents will sleep
at night, and, more importantly, universities will make a difference in
promoting social justice and universal human rights.
Syracuse Presidential Address by Nancy Cantor, "Multiculturalism, Universalism,
and the 21st Century Academy," Inside Higher Ed, August 11, 2006 ---
"Computer scientists put social network theory to the test," Inside
Higher Ed, August 10, 2006 ---
Ever since 1969, when psychologists Jeffery Travers
and Stanley Milgram first explained that everyone was separated by only six
connections from anyone else, researchers have created theoretical models of
the networks that societies create.
Now, computer scientists at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science have devised an
ingenious experiment to put such theories to the test.
The findings, which appear today in the journal
Science, have implications for many forms of social interaction, from
disaster management to how many friends connect to your MySpace page. The
Penn researchers have found that some of the simplest social networks
function the most poorly and that information beyond a "local" view of the
network can actually hinder the ability of some complicated social networks
to accomplish tasks.
"Travers and Milgram's classic six degrees of
separation experiment was one of the first large-scale attempts at studying
a human network, but almost 40 years later the interaction between social
network structure and collective problem solving is still largely a matter
of theoretical conjecture," said Michael Kearns, a professor in Penn's
Computer and Information Science Department. "Our goal was to initiate a
controlled, behavioral component of social network studies that lets us
deliberately vary network structure and examine its impact on human behavior
To empirically test a number of standard network
theories, Kearns and Penn doctoral students Siddharth Suri and Nick Montfort
gathered 38 Penn undergraduate students at a time to play a game of color
selection on networked computers. The game required each of the students to
choose a color that did not match the color of any person who was
immediately connected to him or her in the network. The researchers changed
the patterns of the networked connections -- that is, who was connected to
whom -- in ways that corresponded to the theoretical models.
"This coloring problem models social situations in
which each person needs or wants to distinguish his or her behavior or
choices from neighboring parties", Kearns said. "A good modern example is
choosing a ringtone for your cell phone. You don't want to choose one that
is the same as a family member or a colleague in the next cubicle. But if
there's a limit to the number of available ringtones, you may have a
difficult collective problem of coordination. In our experiments, many of
the networks were quite dense with connections, and the colors were very
few, so they were hard coloring problems."
The tests allowed Kearns and his colleagues to
examine, in real time, how well networks of people work together to solve
coloring problems. They performed a number of trials based on each model,
looking at the speed at which the trial was completed and varying how much
information subjects had about what colors were being selected elsewhere in
the network. The Science paper describes six different network models that
The first three of the tests began with a circular
structure, like a 38-member daisy chain. These networks represent a "small
world" network that models a local area, such as a small group in a single
town, mixed with the occasional cross-town relationship. The simplest of
these, a single circular chain, was actually the most difficult for the
subjects, but the more connections made across the circle, the faster the
test was completed.
The fourth model represented a more engineered or
hierarchical structure: a circle with two individuals that have many more
connections than the rest. This model proved the easiest for the subjects:
once each of the two "commanders" picked a color, everyone else unwittingly
fell into place, despite the fact that nobody was told anything about the
network structure or could see anything but the colors of immediate
The last two tests studied so-called preferential
attachment models, well studied networks in which many parties are highly
connected. These models look something like maps of the Internet. Unlike the
more circular models, here Kearns found that a complete view of the color
selections across the entire network actually led to confusion among members
of the network.
"We see that social networks with more connectivity
aren't necessarily more efficient, but that it depends strongly on the
collective problem being solved", Kearns said. "Less connectivity and less
information about the network can sometimes make the problem easier. But now
we have an experimental framework in which we can systematically investigate
how social network structure influences actual human performance."
Privatization and Public Universities
The cover of
Privatization and Public Universities features a
brick campus wall with a “For Sale” sign taped to it. The collection of essays
arrives from Indiana University Press at a time that many fear that public
universities and their values may indeed be for sale — as states pull back from
their role providing both funds and leadership for public higher education. Two
scholars of higher education — Edward P. St. John of the University of Michigan
and Douglas M. Priest of Indiana University — edited the collection and answered
questions about its themes.
Scott Jaschik, "‘Privatization and Public Universities’," Inside Higher Ed,
August 10, 2006 ---
Large public universities are thinking about the P-word even
though they avoid using it
"At Public Universities, Warnings of Privatization," by Sam
Dillon, The New York Times, October 16, 2005 ---
Taxpayer support for public
universities, measured per student, has plunged more precipitously since
2001 than at any time in two decades, and several university presidents are
calling the decline a de facto privatization of the institutions that played
a crucial role in the creation of the American middle class.
Graham Spanier, president of
Pennsylvania State University, said this year that
skyrocketing tuition was a result of what he called "public
higher education's slow slide toward privatization."
Other educators have made similar
assertions, some avoiding the term "privatization" but
nonetheless describing a crisis that they say is
transforming public universities. At an academic forum last
month, John D. Wiley, chancellor of the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, said that during the years after World
War II, America built the world's greatest system of public
"We're now in the process of
dismantling all that," Dr. Wiley said.
The share of all public
universities' revenues deriving from state and local taxes
declined to 64 percent in 2004 from 74 percent in 1991. At
many flagship universities, the percentages are far smaller.
About 25 percent of the University of Illinois's budget
comes from the state.
Michigan finances about 18 percent
of Ann Arbor's revenues. The taxpayer share of revenues at
the University of Virginia is about 8 percent.
"At those levels, we have to ask
what it means to be a public institution," said Katharine C.
Lyall, an economist and president emeritus of the University
of Wisconsin. "America is rapidly privatizing its public
colleges and universities, whose mission used to be to serve
the public good. But if private donors and corporations are
providing much of a university's budget, then they will set
the agenda, perhaps in ways the public likes and perhaps
not. Public control is slipping away."
Not everyone agrees with the
doomsday talk. Some experts who study university finance say
the declines are only part of a familiar cycle in which
legislatures cut the budgets of public universities more
radically than other state agencies during recession but
restore financing when good times return, said Paul E.
Lingenfelter, president of State Higher Education Executive
Officers, a nonprofit association.
"Let's not panic and say that the
public commitment to higher education has fundamentally
changed," Dr. Lingenfelter said. "Let's just say that these
cycles happen, and get back to work to restore the funding."
But the future of hundreds of
universities and colleges has become a subject of anxious
debate nationwide. At stake are institutions that carry out
much of the country's public-interest research and educate
nearly 80 percent of all college students, and whose
scientific and technological innovation has been crucial to
America's economic dominance.
Continued in article
Privatization controversies in higher education are discussed at
What's a Yahoo, Wal-Mart online avatar?
"Yahoo, Wal-Mart Build a Virtual Catwalk Contest Puts the Retailer's Fashions
on Users' Avatars," by Yuki Noguchi, The Washington Post, August 10, 2006
It's a marketing pitch, of course: The biggest Web
site in the world wants more users to think about developing an online
profile, complete with an avatar, a cartoonish replica of oneself. And the
world's largest retailer wants a chance to hook in with the fashionable
At stake: Five (real) $100 Wal-Mart gift cards for
the winners, and a shot at fame -- for their avatars.
As the Internet comes of age, more companies are
trying to make it possible for Web users to give their online presence a
lifelike personality -- or at least a lifelike appearance. AOL, for example,
gives its users the option of choosing 3-D avatars that laugh, shake their
heads and respond to things written during an instant-message conversation.
. . .
To compete in the Yahoo fashion show, an avatar
must come decked out in Wal-Mart style. That is to say, the contestant must
dress his or her avatar in clothes, swimwear, hats and shoes chosen from the
online armoire provided by Yahoo and Wal-Mart.
There is, for example, the "orange and yellow
Hawaiian swimsuit and sarong." A more modest avatar might chose the "long
blue coat w/ fur collar." There is also the "brown business suit &
newspaper," which hews more to the K Street commuter look.
Continued in article
Updates from WebMD ---
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Japanese Find a More Ethical Way To Create Human Stem Cells
Japanese researchers announced that they can make adult
differentiated cells behave like embryonic stem cells, just by exposing them to
four different proteins. The findings, reported yesterday in the journal Cell,
could be the first step toward the holy grail of stem cell biology: a way to
create stem cells without the use of human eggs.
"A New, More Ethical Way To Create Human Stem Cells?" MIT's Technology Review,
August 11, 2006 ---
"Kids need more time than adults give them, study finds," PhysOrg,
August 9, 2006 ---
Further proof that children require more time comes
via a study to be published today in Developmental Science asserting that
the fast pace expected by adults - both parents and educators - can be
beyond children's perceptual abilities.
"Children are increasingly being expected to
provide an adult-level of detail and information," says David Shore,
associate professor in McMaster University's Department of Psychology,
Neuroscience & Behaviour. "Adults have had years to hone their perceptual
skills; children - even 10 year olds - are just starting out."
The study is the first to probe so-called change
blindness in children, a hot topic in psychology circles especially when it
pertains to gauging the veracity of children who are called upon to give
eyewitness testimony in court.
The results surprised Shore.
"When it comes to many aspects of attention, an
eight-year-old's skill is adult-like," says Shore. "But on this particular
skill we never thought 10-year-olds would differ so dramatically from
adults. Kids do not appear adult-like in this regard until their early
Shore's study looked at the development of change
detection in children ranging from ages six to 10 and found that, contrary
to societal perception, even 10-year-olds cannot be relied upon to provide
adult-like details. The reason is that children have undeveloped and,
therefore, imprecise attention, he says. Their difficulties with eyewitness
testimony may not stem from memory errors alone but may arise due to
difficulty in perceiving some critical aspects of a scene in the first
"We expect children to be adult-like, because of
their proficiency on computers or because they display adult-like speech,"
he says, "so we give them instructions and get impatient when they can't
understand what we tell them the first time. Children learn through
repetition, at a pace suitable to the child, not to the curriculum. Once
upon a time, kids controlled their own pace; now that pace is controlled by
Meth Promotes Spread of Virus in HIV-Infected Users
"Meth reduces inhibitions, thus increasing the
likelihood of risky sexual behavior and the potential to introduce the virus
into the body, and at the same time allows more virus to get into the cell,"
said Nair, professor of medicine and a specialist in immunology in the UB School
of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. His research centers on dendritic cells,
which serve as the first line of defense again pathogens, and two receptors on
these cells -- HIV binding/attachment receptors (DC-SIGN) and the meth-specific
dopamine receptor. Dendritic cells overloaded with virus due to the action of
methamphetamine can overwhelm the T cells, the major target of HIV, and disrupt
the immune response, promoting HIV infection.
"Meth Promotes Spread of Virus in HIV-Infected Users," PhysOrg, August 4,
New Clues to Cell-Phone Health Effects
The way a living cell responds to radio waves from a
cell-phone depends on the cell's genetic makeup. And these findings may suggest
how the effects of cellular radiation vary from person to person. The study,
which is the first to examine how the impact of cell-phone exposure might be
affected by genomic differences, could also help to explain why attempts to
replicate previous studies linking cell-phone use with health problems have
failed, says Dariusz Leszczynski, head of radiation biology at the Radiation and
Nuclear Safety Authority in Helsinki, who led the research.
Duncan Graham-Rowe, "New Clues to Cell-Phone Health Effects: A study shows
that the effects of cell-phone radiation may depend on your genes," MIT's
Technology Review, August 4, 2006 ---
Gambling Addiction is a Brain Disorder
"US study identifies brain's gambling chips," PhysOrg, August 3, 2006
US researchers have identified the part of the
brain that is stimulated by making wagers, which they say could prove
helpful in treating gambling addictions and certain mental health disorders.
=In a new study led by researchers from the
California Institute of Technology and published Thursday in the journal
Neuron, subjects were asked to select two cards from a deck and bet one
dollar on whether the first or second card would be a higher number.
At the same time, each subject's brain was
monitored using magnetic resonance imaging to show which subcortical region
was stimulated by risk-taking and the anticipation of a reward.
The study also located a sort of gambling zone in
the brain, controlled by the neurotransmitter dopamine, which also plays a
role in learning and motivation.
The study could help scientists understand
"pathological behaviors" such as gambling addiction, as well as mental
illnesses including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Continued in article
"Report says teens don't often use condoms," PhysOrg, August 3,
A study has found most sexually active U.S.
teenagers do not use condoms, placing themselves at a higher risk of
developing sexually transmitted diseases.
The study, done by
the Washington non-profit research center Child Trends and reported by USA
Today, used federal data collected in 2002 on unmarried teens ages 15-19.
The findings showed 47 percent of boys in the
survey who had intercourse in the previous year said they always use a
condom. Among girls it was 28 percent. The report is to be released Monday.
"Condom use declines a little with age and more
serious relationships are less likely to use condoms," the report's
co-author Jennifer Manlove was quoted as saying. "At first sexual
intercourse, folks are more likely to use condoms for pregnancy and disease
prevention but as they are more sexually experienced, they are more likely
to switch to other methods of birth control."
One analyst told the newspaper the gender
differences in condom use could be related to sex within a relationship
rather than casual sex.
"My guess is you have teenage guys having more
one-night stands, and guys are very likely to use a condom during a
one-night stand, where with their girlfriends it's not as likely," she said.
Association for Death Education and Counseling: Newsletter Resources
Rett syndrome can strike males
"The common thinking in the past had been that Rett
syndrome only affects girls, and that the genetic flaw would be so serious in
boys that they would die before birth," Leonard said. "Worldwide there have only
been 11 previously established cases in boys who have presented early in life
with a severe clinical picture of progressive neurological decline and breathing
abnormalities starting soon after birth," she said. "All but two had a family
history of a girl in the family with Rett syndrome. This study has confirmed a
further four cases with no family history." She said it's likely some baby boys
with early severe progressive encephalopathy might go undiagnosed. "We encourage
pediatricians to think about (Rett Syndrome) as a possible cause of severe
"Study: Rett syndrome can strike males," PhysOrg, August 8, 2006 ---
"Once were warriors: gene linked to Maori violence," Sydney Morning
Herald, August 9, 2006 ---
MAORIS carry a "warrior" gene that makes them more
prone to violence, criminal acts and risky behaviour, a scientist has
Dr Rod Lea, a New Zealand researcher, and his
colleagues told an Australian genetics conference that Maori men had a
"striking over-representation" of monoamine oxidase - dubbed the warrior
gene - which they say is strongly associated with aggressive behaviour.
He says the unpublished studies prove that Maoris
have the highest prevalence of this strength gene, first discovered by US
researchers but never linked to an ethnic group.
This explains how Maoris migrated across the
Pacific and survived, said Dr Lea, a genetic epidemiologist at the New
Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research.
But he said the presence of the gene also "goes a
long way to explaining some of the problems Maoris have".
"Obviously, this means they are going to be more
aggressive and violent and more likely to get involved in risk-taking
behaviour like gambling," Dr Lea said before his presentation to the
International Congress of Human Genetics in Brisbane.
Dr Lea said he believed other, non-genetic factors
might also be at play. "There are lots of lifestyle, upbringing-related
exposures that could be relevant here, so obviously the gene won't
automatically make you a criminal."
The same gene was linked to high rates of
alcoholism and smoking. "In terms of alcohol-metabolising genes we've found
that Maori have a very unique genetic signature," Dr Lea said.
"That influences their drinking behaviour, so
they're much more likely to binge drink than other groups …"
The researchers are now collecting thousands of DNA
samples from Maoris to investigate these traits.
They can then work out precisely what role each
gene plays and use this to explore these trends in the mainstream
"With Maori it's easier to find the genes than it
is in the broader Caucasian population so it's a great case study," Dr Lea
New Zealand's indigenous Maori population have
reacted angrily to a researcher's findings that Maori have a high representation
of a gene linked to aggression . . . Media reports of Lea's findings have
outraged Maori leaders who said they only reinforced "Once Were Warriors"
cultural stereotypes, a reference to a harrowing 1994 movie about domestic
violence in poor Maori families.
Al Jazeera, August 9, 2006 ---
The erotic fiction contest --- a shot at a $2,000 grand prize ---
Jonko Auto Repair Online ---
RepairClinic.com Launches Appliance Repair Tip Site at LifeTips.com
"The Corporate Blogging Book,” a new book by
Debbie Weil, engages practical-minded managers who don’t want to be bullied into
adopting blogs as the next new thing.
"Debbie Weil's New Book Addresses Corporate Blogging Fears, Skepticism," PR
Web, August 3, 2006 ---
What July was the hottest on record?
Folks who sweated through last month's blistering
heat wave may be surprised to know it was only the second hottest July on record
for the United States. More than 2,300 daily temperature records were broken
from coast to coast, and the average temperature for the 48 contiguous states
was 77.2 degrees Fahrenheit, the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday.
July 1936 still holds the record at 77.5, while July 1934 fell to third place at
77.1, the agency said. The average July temperature is 74.3 degrees based on
records going back to 1901. Overall, the first seven months of 2006 were the
warmest January-July of any year in the United States on record.
"Sweltering July Was 2nd Hottest on Record," Breitbart.com, August 7,
"How to Attain Student Respect in Your Classroom," PR Web, July
28, 2006 ---
Males vs. Females in Education Patent Trends
Women in the life sciences in higher education patent
their work at a rate of 40 percent of their male colleagues, according to a
study being published today in the journal Science. In a random sample of 4,227
life scientists over a 30-year period, the study found that 5.65 percent of the
903 women in the group (51 female patenters) produced only 92 patents. By
contrast, 13 percent of the 3,324 male scientists in the sample (431 male
patenters) amassed a total of 1,286 patents — nearly 14 times as many as their
Inside Higher Ed, August 4, 2006 ---
"CUNY Seeing Fewer Blacks at Top Schools," by Karen Arenson, The
New York Times, August 10, 2006 ---
The enrollment of black students at three of the
most prestigious colleges of the City University of New York has dropped
significantly in the six years since the university imposed tougher
One of the sharp declines has come at the City
College of New York, CUNY’s flagship campus, in Harlem, which was at the
center of bitter open admissions battles in the late 1960’s. Black students,
who accounted for 40 percent of City College’s undergraduates as recently as
1999, now make up about 30 percent of the student body there, figures
provided by the university show.
At Hunter, a competitive liberal arts campus on the
East Side of Manhattan, the share of black students fell to 15 percent last
year from 20 percent in 1999. And at Baruch, a campus that specializes in
business, the proportion of black students slipped to 14 percent from 24
percent. Over all, the number of black undergraduates at CUNY, including
those in associate’s degree programs, grew to 57,791 last year from 52,937
in 1999, the figures show.
University officials attributed the declines to
several factors, from their admissions policies to greater competition for
top minority students from other colleges to students’ own preferences about
where they want to study. But Robert Bruce Slater, the managing editor of
The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, which noted the trend at CUNY in
its Weekly Bulletin last week, said, “The tougher admissions policy seems to
have had a major impact.”
CUNY is not the only public university experiencing
such changes. In California, which voted to end affirmative action at its
public universities a decade ago, U.C.L.A. and Berkeley have both seen steep
declines in the number of black students, even as the numbers at other
campuses fell less and have recovered more over time.
CUNY put its tougher admissions policies in place
in 2000 and 2001.
Continued in article
Saga of affirmative action at the University of Michigan ---
Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action versus academic standards are at
CEO Sees New Sources of Black Leadership
For decades, black religious figures and politicians
have been seen as the primary leaders in the African-American community. But
business figures and other role models are assuming as much of a leadership
role, Ann Fudge says. She's the CEO of Young and Rubicam Brands, a worldwide
marketing communications company.
"CEO Sees New Sources of Black Leadership," NPR, August 10, 2006 ---
NPR Commentary: The Problem of Black Leadership ---
Reality tempers South African women's hopes
Thousands of women have marked the 50th anniversary of
a famed anti-apartheid demonstration, but the celebrations have been soured by
the reality that poverty, Aids and crime have replaced political oppression as
the scourge of South Africa . . . An estimated 75% of black women under 30 are
jobless, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions. In 2002 women
held only 14% of top management positions - although the proportion held by
black women was only 2%.
"Reality tempers SA women's hopes," Al Jazeera, August 9, 2006 ---
The University of California Will Allow Google to Scan Library Books
It’s official: The University of California and Google
have reached an agreement under which the university will become the seventh
participant in the company’s controversial efforts to digitally scan the book
collections of libraries, Reuters reported. UC, which has 100 libraries on 10
campuses, is the first party to join since groups of publishers and authors sued
the company to stop the project.
Inside Higher Ed, August 9, 2006 ---
John McWhorter: How Welfare Went Wrong
Writer and linguist John McWhorter says that what's
gone wrong in black America demands rethinking. His observation is that
African-American leaders often excuse problems like crime and poverty, instead
of solving them.
"John McWhorter: How Welfare Went Wrong," NPR, August 9, 2006 ---
Haiti's Jean Bertrand Aristide stole liberally from the public purse
"New Jersey and Aristide, Perfect Together," by Mary Anastasis O'Grady,
The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2006; Page A17 --- Click
There has never been a shortage of "off-the-record"
allegations that Haiti's Jean Bertrand Aristide stole liberally from the
public purse. But a case being heard in federal court in Newark, N.J. might
actually prove it . . .
In court documents Mr. Jewett claims he was
wrongfully fired because he objected to the agreement. The deal, as he
describes it in his complaint, was also highly unethical because it
facilitated the theft of Haiti's telecom revenues -- one of the few sources
of hard currency for the starving nation.
Mr. Jewett's claim has enough credence that the
U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating it, according to his
lawyer in court documents. But now federal magistrate judge Mark Falk has
issued a blanket protective order prohibiting Mr. Jewett from talking to
Justice about whatever IDT deems confidential in the discovery phase of the
case. It leaves one wondering what IDT, which did not return phone calls for
comment, doesn't want Justice to find out.
This case has implications that go far beyond the
rights of the plaintiff. Based on what has already been revealed in the
case, it seems quite possible that if he is allowed to tell his story, Mr.
Jewett could help Justice get to the truth about Mr. Aristide's financial
misdeeds, allegedly aided and abetted by IDT and other U.S. corporations
during the decade that he controlled the country.
In the past two weeks at least 30 people have died
in gang violence in Port-au-Prince and 300 others were forced to flee their
homes. The Economist Intelligence Unit reported on Monday that "U.N.
representatives fear that the recent attacks in the capital's slums may be
designed to exert pressure on [President René] Préval to allow Mr. Aristide,
now in exile in South Africa, to return to Haiti." U.N. peacekeepers may not
be the most effective fighting force but they tend to be in the know about
who is behind trouble. Their observations support the claim that until Mr.
Aristide is convicted and put in jail for his many transgressions --
alongside Panama's Manuel Noriega -- Haiti cannot begin to stabilize.
The interim Haitian government of Gerard Latortue
(March 2004-May 2006) compiled a mountain of evidence against Mr. Aristide,
alleging the theft of revenues from the telecom monopoly Haiti Teleco. In a
civil lawsuit filed in a federal court in Florida in November, Haiti alleged
that Mr. Aristide had given foreign carriers preferential settlement rates
in return for their agreement to place payments in offshore bank accounts
belonging to him. This is precisely what Mr. Jewett's claim against IDT
Unfortunately, Haiti has withdrawn its case in
Florida, citing troubles with legal fees. The case may be refiled, but until
then, the keys to unlocking the wider truth of the Aristide telecom business
lie with the Jewett case and the Justice Department.
Continued in article
Study breaks ice on ancient arctic thaw
A new analysis of ocean-floor sediments collected near
the North Pole finds that the Arctic was extremely warm, unusually wet and
ice-free the last time massive amounts of greenhouse gases were released into
the Earth's atmosphere - a prehistoric period 55 million years ago. The findings
appear in the Aug. 10 issue of Nature. Current climatic evidence and computer
models suggest the modern Arctic is rapidly warming, gaining precipitation and
becoming ice-free because of carbon emissions. Scientists have been keen to
unlock the mysteries of the Arctic when this last happened - an interval known
as the Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM. Researchers have long known
that a massive release of greenhouse gases, probably carbon dioxide or methane,
occurred during the PETM. Surface temperatures also rose in many places by as
much as 15 degrees Fahrenheit in the relative geological instant of about
"Study breaks ice on ancient arctic thaw," PhysOrg, August 9, 2006 ---
"Evolution Fight Shifts Direction in Kansas Vote," by Monica Davey and
Ralph Blumenthal, The New York Times, August 3, 2006 ---
Several of the winners in the primary (Kansas)
election, whose victories are virtually certain to
shift the board to at least a 6-to-4 moderate majority in November, promised
Wednesday to work swiftly to restore a science curriculum that does not
subject evolution to critical attack.
They also said they would try to eliminate
restrictions on sex education passed by the current board and to review the
status of the education commissioner, Bob Corkins, who they said was hired
last year with little background in education.
In a state where a fierce fight over how much
students should be taught about the criticism of evolution has gone back and
forth since 1999, the election results were seen as a significant defeat for
the movement of intelligent design, which holds that nature by itself cannot
account for life’s complexity.
Defenders of evolution pointed to the results in
Kansas as a third major defeat for the intelligent design movement across
the country recently and a sign, perhaps, that the public was beginning to
pay attention to the movement’s details and, they said, its failings.
“I think more citizens are learning what
intelligent design really is and realizing that they don’t really want that
taught in their public schools,” said Eugenie C. Scott, director of the
National Center for Science Education.
In February, Ohio’s board of education dropped a
mandate that 10th-grade biology classes include critical analysis of
evolution. Last year, a federal judge ruled that teaching intelligent design
in the schools of Dover, Pa., was unconstitutional. But Ms. Scott said that
opponents of evolution were hardly finished.
“They’ve had a series of setbacks,” she said, “but
I don’t think for one moment that this means the intelligent design people
will fold their tents and go away.”
Supporters of intelligent design and others who had
favored the Kansas science standards said they were disappointed in
Tuesday’s outcome, but they said they had also won a series of
little-noticed victories in other states, including South Carolina. There,
supporters said, state officials decided this summer to require students to
look at ways that scientists use data “to investigate and critically analyze
aspects of evolutionary theory.”
John G. West, a senior fellow at the Discovery
Institute, a group in the forefront of the intelligent design movement, said
any repeal of the science standards would be a disservice to students here,
and an effort to censor legitimate scientific challenges to Darwin’s
theories. Still, he said, no local political skirmish will ultimately answer
the broad issue.
“The debate over Darwin’s theory will be won or
lost over the science,” he said.
Continued in article
But the evangelicals are winning nationwide
The United States ranks near the bottom (of 34 nations) in public acceptance of
"Study: Evolution losing favor in U.S.," PhysOrg, August 11, 2006 ---
The study, led by University of Michigan
researcher Jon Miller, found that 40 percent of Americans accept evolution,
down from 45 percent over the past 20 years. Among the nations examined,
only Turkey had a lower rate of acceptance of evolution, with 25 percent
accepting it and 75 percent rejecting it.
The percentage of U.S. adults who overtly reject
evolution also declined over the past 20 years, from 48 percent to 39
percent. The percentage of those who were unsure increased from 7 percent to
Miller said contributing factors to Americans'
attitudes toward evolution include poor understanding of biology, especially
genetics, the politicization of science and the literal interpretation of
the Bible by a small but vocal group of American Christians, livescience.com
"American Protestantism is more fundamentalist than
anybody except perhaps the Islamic fundamentalist, which is why Turkey and
we are so close," said Miller.
In Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and France, 80 percent
or more of adults accepted evolution. In Japan, 78 percent of adults did.
The study is reported in the Aug. 11 issue of
The Roman Catholic Church is more open to science
Benedict has at times appeared to favor intelligent design, describing the
natural world as an "intelligent project" one day after the Kansas Board of
Education voted last November to adopt new standards that cast doubt on
evolution. But in January, an editorial published in L'Osservatore Romano, the
Vatican's official newspaper, questioned the validity of intelligent design,
reaffirming Roman Catholicism's support for evolution.
"Pope to Dissect Evolution With Former Students," by Stacy Meichtry,
BeliefNet, August 10, 2006 ---
What's a "stigmatized" parcel of real estate?
professionals call homes tainted by murder, sex scandals or messy divorce
"stigmatized properties." While they make up a sliver of the market, they have
been the subject of academic research, provided fodder for lawsuits and posed a
challenge for brokers. State real-estate agent and appraisal groups regularly
include the subject in seminars, and the National Association of Realtors
publishes a "Field Guide to Dealing with Stigmatized Property," offering
insights on everything from how to market and sell stigmatized homes to dealing
with buyer reluctance to own them. One scandal-dampening suggestion from the
guide's "tool kit": Enhance the home's facade by painting it or replanting
shrubs and flowers.
"The Scandal Effect: Troy
McMullen on how messy divorces, murder and mayhem influence the price of real
estate," The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2006; Page W1
Three Executives at Comverse Charged in Stock Options Case
Describing a brazen scheme to manipulate the granting
of options, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged three former executives of
Comverse Technology with mail, securities and wire fraud yesterday. The three
executives, prosecutors said, used fictitious employees to create a secret slush
fund of options to be distributed to favored employees. Two of the executives,
David Kreinberg, the former chief financial officer, and William F. Sorin, the
former general counsel, were arraigned yesterday in Federal District Court in
Brooklyn, where they were released on $1 million bail each, secured by their
Julie Creswell, "3 at Comverse Charged in Stock Options Case," The New York
Times, August 10, 2006 ---
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
Forwarded by Paula
"You know you're a redneck when...... "
01. You take your dog for a walk and you both use the same tree.
02. You can entertain yourself for more than 15 minutes with a fly swatter.
03. Your boat has not left the driveway in 15 years.
04. You burn your yard rather than mow it.
05. You think "The Nutcracker" is something you do off the high dive.
06 The Salvation Army declines your furniture.
07.You offer to give someone the shirt off your back and they don't want it.
08. You have the local taxidermist on speed dial.
09. You come back from the dump with more than you took.
10. You keep a can of Raid on the kitchen table.
11. Your wife can climb a tree faster than your cat.
12. Your grandmother has "ammo" on her Christmas list
13. You keep flea and tick soap in the shower.
14. You've been involved in a custody fight over a hunting dog.
15. You go to the stock car races and don't need a program
16. You know how many bales of hay your car will hold.
17. You have a rag for a gas cap.
18. Your house doesn't have curtains, but your truck does.
19. You wonder how service stations keep their rest-room's so clean.
20. You can spit without opening your mouth.
21. You consider your license plate! persona lized because your father made
22. Your lifetime goal is to own a fireworks stand.
23. You have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say "Cool Whip" on
24. The biggest city you've ever been to is Wal-Mart.
25. Your working TV sits on top of your non-working TV.
26. You've used your ironing board as a buffet table.
27. A tornado hits your neighborhood and does $100,000 worth of improvements.
28. You've used a toilet brush to scratch your back.
29. You missed your 5th grade graduation because you were on jury duty.
30. You think fast food is hitting a deer at 65.