During the August 2000 Annual Meetings of the American Accounting Association, the President of the AAA that year was Professor Jan Williams from the University of Tennessee. The President of the AAA has discretion in choosing plenary session speakers. Generally these speakers are from academe in accountancy, the profession of accountancy, or some related field of business or government --- often dull stuff as you can imagine. Jan departed from tradition that year by inviting an inspirational speaker named Captain Gerald Coffee who had no connection to the academic world of accountancy. Captain Coffee is a retired U.S. Navy Pilot who was shot down over North Viet Nam and spent seven years plus nine days virtually in solitary, between beatings, in a  3'-by-6.5' cement accommodation inside what is cynically called the Hanoi Hilton ---

A free video (approximately 60 minutes) by Captain Coffee is available online at http://www.nationwidespeakers.com/video/343
This is the exact, and I mean really exact, presentation that we received in the Year 2000 plenary session arranged by Professor Williams.

I have just a few comments for those of you who decide to watch this one-hour video (downloading will require broadband):

  1. Even though Captain Coffee made a lot of money from his oft-repeated presentation before huge audiences, he's also making his presentation available free on the Internet.  His 1991 book soon went out of print, and I doubt that he made much money from his book (I could be wrong about this).
  2. The video gets better and better such that, if you begin it, please watch it to the end.
  3. Think of how long seven years plus nine days must be in a 3' by 6.5' cell that is miserably hot most of the time.
  4. Smile or chuckle or weep at the irony of having to listen repeatedly to propaganda blaring for seven years from a speaker high up the wall of your cell haranguing against the evils of capitalism and free enterprise knowing full well that Viet Nam, like China, is now promoting free enterprise and seeking more and more trade pacts with the United States.
  5. Listen to how Captain Coffee sometimes wrote poetry to restore his sense of humor
  6. Learn how prisoners developed tap codes and coughs to communicate through cement walls.
  7. Learn about the infinite strength of faith in one's self, friends, nation, and a god (of one's own choosing) to keep faith in living and hope that one day you will be returned to the joys of being alive, free, and having your "cup overflowing."
  8. Be thankful every day that you are free to speak your mind and choose how you want to live to the extent you are healthy and determined.
  9. Try not to let hate for your perceived enemy (probably terrorists these days) and fear consume your being and take away your joy in being alive. If your body is consumed with hate and fear your enemy has already been victorious over you.

* Book Title:  Beyond Survival: Reaffirming the Invincibility of the Human Spirit
* Author:  Gerald Coffee
* ISBN: 0425124428
* Pub. Date: February 1991
* Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
* Status: Probably only available in used copies these days. I bought a used copy from Amazon.

"The war that won't go away," by John Christensen, CNN Interactive --- http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2000/vietnam/story/America.at.25/

A U.S. Navy pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1966 -- his co-pilot was killed -- (Gerald) Coffee can appreciate these moments better than most. He spent seven years and nine days in Hoa Lo, the infamous North Vietnamese prison known as "the Hanoi Hilton," where he was beaten, tortured, interrogated and subjected to relentless communist indoctrination

Since his liberation in 1973, Coffee has written a book ("Beyond Survival: Reaffirming the Invincibility of the Human Spirit") and turned his private nightmare into a highly profitable business. In giving 50 to 60 motivational speeches a year for the past two decades, Coffee has mined a vein that shows no sign of giving out.

"I thought the gig would have a shelf life to it," Coffee said recently, "but there's a huge void in our knowledge about Vietnam, especially among the younger generation. There are so many unanswered questions."

. . .

"It was an end to the American century," says Peter Kuznick, an associate professor of history at American University, and himself an anti-war protester. "It was an end to the sense of American triumphalism, of American exceptionalism. We thought our culture was different, that we were altruistic and only interested in the welfare of mankind. Those delusions were pretty much eliminated for most people."

. . .

Coffee tells his audiences that the 10 years the U.S. spent in Vietnam halted the march of communism through Southeast Asia. 

But Mitchell K. Hall, associate professor of history at Central Michigan University, says historians agree that "it was the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
In spite of the tragedy, carnage, death, and our seeming defeat in Viet Nam (defeat is a relative term now that Viet Nam is our trading partner), I'm glad that I have the freedom to disagree with Professor Hall. I think the tragedy of Viet Nam convinced China and the Soviet Union and the United States about the futility of winning the world with military worldwide takeovers using blazing armies and army occupation in every nation with no intent to allow people to freely govern themselves. And I do believe that we want, in spite of mistakes that got us there, our wounded butts out of Iraq as soon as we can leave without turning it over to Iran and engulfing the entire Middle East in sectarian war that might well ignite a devastating world holocaust. There's more than soaring fuel pricing at stake in Iraq at the moment!

I do not see good things happening if we cut and run in Iraq like we cut and run in Viet Nam. I honestly believe that the message (of military futility) of Viet Nam came across to opposing communist and capitalist factions of the world --- our head-bowed departure did not alter lessons already learned during that miserable war where we dropped more bombs than in all previous wars. Lessons learned do not extend to the secular ambitions of religious and cultural factions of the Middle East. Apart from Rumsfeld's jibberish about Neville Chamberlain and 1930s fascism in Europe, jibberish that does not apply to deeply divided 2006 secular factions in the Middle East, there's a looming problem of a power vacuum in Iraq that will fuel a colossal secular war across the entire Middle East if we simply let Iran have Iraq by cutting and running.

By taking out Saddam we created this power vacuum, and Iran is the only force powerful enough in that part of the world to take over Iraq if we cut and run. A power vacuum did not exist in Viet Nam when we departed; this is not the case in Iraq today where there will be a huge power vacuum to be filled by Iranian forces bent on taking over the entire Middle East. By knocking out Saddam we created this power vacuum. Now we have a responsibility to Muslin moderates throughout the Middle East to not abruptly turn Iraq over to Shiite fundamentalists who ignite Jihad extremism with each perceived victory over the west.

Tidbits on September 1, 2006
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm#Presentations   


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

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

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

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

Inside Cancer --- http://www.insidecancer.org/

Zwishhinspeichern (Guitar like never before) --- http://video.google.de/videoplay?docid=6007768965488299182
(Be patient this takes a while to load even with broadband.)

Propaganda Video Gallery --- http://www.propagandacritic.com/gallery/
This is behind the times on terrorism's frightful propaganda!

Gratuitous Pleasures --- http://www.gratuitouspleasures.com/

Punctuation Substitution (or how to be weird/rude with symbols) --- http://www.zefrank.com/punc/ 

Afternoon Delight (music with weird daytime lovemaking video) --- http://youtube.com/watch?v=YpQvszWfcSc

A free video (approximately 60 minutes) by Captain Coffee is available online at http://www.nationwidespeakers.com/video/343

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

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

New from Jessie
In the Garden --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/inthegarden.htm
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on

Leadbelly's 'Old Man' and the Work Song Tradition --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5686572

Exploring the Soul of Raul Midon --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5730869

Music for the Morning After, and Beyond --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5698627

A Protest Anthem That Rocks and Stomps --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5705665

Ray LaMontagne, Back with 'Sun Turns Black' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5704463

Ordinary Songs Become Memorable Events (if you liked Bob Dylan then you will probably like Karen Dalton) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5691531

Photographs and Art

New Trinity University Photographs:  August 30, 2006 message from Trey Dunn
Thought maybe if you were missing Trinity yet you could catch up on some good times! I have taken a bunch of pictures around campus and have them up if you are interested. Enjoy the mild summer there where you are! -Trey

Iran's Holocaust cartoon exhibition ---
Also see

North Korean First Grade Textbook --- http://www.dailynk.com/korean/read.php?num=27560&cataId=nk00500

Supersonic Jets --- http://blog.wired.com/supersonic/

Vatican Museums Online --- http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Musei.html

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa --- http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/Tepapa/

Boston African American Project --- http://www.bostonafricanamericana.org/ 

Mapping Medieval Townscapes: A Digital Atlas of the New Towns of Edward I --- Click Here

Kentuckiana Digital Library (focus is on Kentucky history and photographs) ---  http://kdl.kyvl.org/

Sharing images from Katrina’s ‘ground zero’ --- Click Here

Teen Photographers Take Aim at 'My New Orleans --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5730124

Dunnottar Castle (Scotland) --- http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/stonehaven/dunnottarcastle/


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

Bartleby's Great Books Online --- http://www.bartleby.com/titles/

The Poison Belt by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here

Underwoods by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) --- Click Here

Short Stories --- http://www.short-stories.co.uk/

Classic Short Stories --- http://www.classicshorts.com/ 

All-Story Short Stories --- http://www.all-story.com/

Albert Einstein Quotations --- Click Here

The Experience of Technology in Literature and Art --- http://commhum.mccneb.edu/PHILOS/techlit.htm

A recent Harris Interactive poll of 1,002 adults in the United States found that 85 percent would trust their doctors to tell them the truth, up from 77 percent in 2002, the last time the survey was conducted. Accountants made the most significant gains in the ranks of professionals most trusted by the public, with 68 percent of the respondents saying they would trust their accountants, compared with 55 percent in 2002 . . . Stockbrokers, lawyers and actors ranked at the bottom of the list, with less than 30 percent of those questioned saying they would trust them to tell the truth.
Accounting Web --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102481
Jensen Comment
Keep in mind that most legislators are lawyers.

When it comes to flying, the fly reigns supreme. This two-winged insect’s sophisticated flying behavior enables it to make sharp turns, aim at targets and hover – traits which make the insect an ideal prototype for tiny micro air vehicles (MAVs). However, the same flying finesse also presents challenges for scientists trying to investigate, observe and understand these complex creatures in their natural environments. Now, scientists from the U.K. demonstrate that mathematical modeling may provide adequate complementary information for advances in MAV technology.
"Flies provide aerodynamic model for tiny flying vehicles," PhysOrg, August 28, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75969014.html

Cynic: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.
Ambrose Bierce (1842 1914) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrose_Bierce

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
Albert Einstein

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
Albert Einstein

Economists and other academics that study the movie industry say most marquee names in Hollywood are simply not worth the expense.
Eduardo Porter and Geraldine Fabrikant, "A Big Star May Not a Profitable Movie Make," The New York Times, August 28, 2006 --- Click Here

All the glory of the world lies in a grain of corn.
José Martí (1853-1895) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Mart%C3%AD
(They still claim this in Iowa where bigger ears are better.)

I'll give up my cell phone when you pry it from my cold dead hand!
Bumper Sticker

Sen. Hillary Clinton is prepared to be the first female president of the United States, according to a new FOX News poll.
Fox News, August 31, 2006 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,211562,00.html
Jensen Comment
Then again Fox may just be being clever like a fox.

Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius--and a lot of courage--to move in the opposite direction.
Albert Einstein

This is how Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority government and a former newspaper editor, described the situation in the Gaza Strip in an article he published on Sunday on some Palestinian news Web sites. . . . "We're always afraid to talk about our mistakes," he [Ghazi Hamad] added. "We're used to blaming our mistakes on others. What is the relationship between the chaos, anarchy, lawlessness, indiscriminate murders, theft of land, family rivalries, transgression on public lands and unorganized traffic and the occupation? We are still trapped by the mentality of conspiracy theories--one that has limited our capability to think." . .
Khaled Abu Toameh, "'Gaza caught in anarchy and thuggery'," Jerusalem Post, August 28, 2006 --- Click Here

The WSJ's Opinion Journal on August 29, 2006 refers to the two Fox News forced "conversions to Islam" while kidnapped and then reminds us of al Qaeda and insurgency prisoners who supposedly have endured insults to their religion by U.S. interrogators.

Blogging Under The Radar
As War Raged, Lebanese and Israelis Found Common Ground

"I think it's the start of something. In a way, it's a revolution," said Mustapha Hamoui, the blogger behind Beirut Spring. "Communication is never bad. It's better to tell someone, 'I hate you.' Then you have to ask, 'Why do you hate?' Then you have to have a conversation." The Lebanese government forbids its citizens contact with Israelis. But keeping a lid on the Internet is a bit like trying to shovel sand with a sieve. And in the midst of war, scouring online for views from the other side has been one way for Lebanese and Israelis to alleviate the terrible sense of the impotence of standing by as their countries bled. Thousands of people, often posting in English, seem compelled to try to make some sense of the chaos -- or, through personal narratives, to help debunk stereotypes and misperceptions.
Delphine Schrank, "Blogging Under The Radar As War Raged, Lebanese and Israelis Found Common Ground," The Washington Post, August 28, 2006 --- Click Here

Bias in the News Media: Hizbollah's Counterfeit Hizdollas
Did the major news outlets hide the fact that much of the Hizbollah distribution money was counterfeit?

"Counterfeit News," by David Frum, Canadian National Post, August 26, 2006 --- Click Here

This scene and dozens more like it flashed around the planet. Only one thing was missing -- the thin wire security strip that runs from top to bottom of a genuine US$100 bill. The money Hezbollah was passing was counterfeit, as should have been evident to anybody who studied the photographs with due care.

Care was due because of Hezbollah's history of counterfeiting: In June, 2004, the U.S. Department of the Treasury publicly cited Hezbollah as one of the planet's leading forgers of U.S. currency.

But this knowledge was disregarded by the news organizations who queued up to publicize Hezbollah's pseudo-philanthropy. The passing of counterfeit bills was detected not by the reporters and photographers on the spot, but by bloggers thousands of miles away: SnappedShots.com, MyPetJawa and Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs. These sites magnified photographs and showed them to currency experts and detected irregularity after irregularity in the bills. (Links to all the sites mentioned here can be found at frum.nationalreview.com )

. . .

"A Lebanese man counts U.S dollar bills received from Hizbollah members in a school in Bourj el-Barajneh, a southern suburb of Beirut, August 19, 2006. Hizbollah handed out bundles of cash on Friday to people whose homes were wrecked by Israeli bombing, consolidating the Iranian-backed group's support among Lebanon's Shiites and embarrassing the Beirut government. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (LEBANON)"

This scene and dozens more like it flashed around the planet. Only one thing was missing -- the thin wire security strip that runs from top to bottom of a genuine US$100 bill. The money Hezbollah was passing was counterfeit, as should have been evident to anybody who studied the photographs with due care.

Care was due because of Hezbollah's history of counterfeiting: In June, 2004, the U.S. Department of the Treasury publicly cited Hezbollah as one of the planet's leading forgers of U.S. currency.

But this knowledge was disregarded by the news organizations who queued up to publicize Hezbollah's pseudo-philanthropy. The passing of counterfeit bills was detected not by the reporters and photographers on the spot, but by bloggers thousands of miles away: SnappedShots.com, MyPetJawa and Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs. These sites magnified photographs and showed them to currency experts and detected irregularity after irregularity in the bills. (Links to all the sites mentioned here can be found at www.frum.nationalreview.com  )

How quickly we forget
The French defence minister would repeat it like a chant. It was 1995. In Srebrenica, a United Nations so-called safe haven in Bosnia, 8,000 men had been slaughtered by Bosnian Serbs. Gorazde was another enclave that the UN had promised to defend. But the French and British forces in the region were many miles away. As participants in a UN humanitarian mission they were lightly armed. They had lorries, not tanks, and no aircraft. So the idea of pushing through to Gorazde was fanciful. It had been a French general, Philippe Morillon, who as head of the UN forces in the former Yugoslavia had first pledged to protect Srebrenica. He did not have the resources to keep that promise and Dutch UN forces in the city did nothing to prevent the massacre. We (the other Nato defence ministers) found a word to describe the French habit of making impressive statements with no means to put them into effect. We called it “grandstanding”.
Michael Portillo, "France about-turns into a bigger military mess," London Times, August 27, 2006 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-2330259,00.html

After shaping the ceasefire resolution and proposed stabilization force on the basis of its commitment to lead with several thousand troops, France appeared suddenly to reverse course, announcing that it would send only a token force. The outcry — across France, Europe, and the world — seemed to rush Chirac into reversing himself again . . .
Mario Loyola, "Too Clever for Their Own Good:  How Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan tricked themselves into helping Israel," National Review, August 30, 2006 --- Click Here

The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Hadassa Ben-Itto, a former Israeli judge, honorary president and past president of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists. She is the author of the book The Lie That Wouldn't Die: The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion, now published in nine languages . . .
For a whole century this dangerous document was used not only to blame Jews but to actually incite to murdering them, first by the Russians, in the pogroms that raged in Russia at the beginning of the century, then by the Nazis who openly used the Protocols as a central theme in their propaganda and as a valid reason to stop the Jews from dominating the world by exterminating them, and now the same libel is spread not only by Moslem fundamentalists, not only by terrorist groups like the Hamas, the Hizbolla, and the president of Iran, but even by mainstream media in moderate Moslem and Arab countries, as well as the Palestinian authority.
Jamie Glazov, "The Lie That Wouldn't Die," FrontPage Magazine, August 28, 2006 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=24085

We will have peace with the Arabs when they will love their children more than they hate us.
Golda Meir

In March 2002, Israeli Defense Forces discovered a bomb in a Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulance near Jerusalem. The bomb, packed in a suicide belt, was hidden under a gurney carrying a Palestinian child.
Michelle Malkin, "No more ambulances for terror," Jewish World Review, August 30, 2006 ---

Great spirits have always faced violent protest from mediocre minds.
Albert Einstein
Helpers for Learning How to Kill a Westerner/Crusader ---

In its August 18, 2006 edition, the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yusuf featured an investigative article by Mirfat Al-Hakim titled "Hizbullah's Children's Militias." The article reveals that Hizbullah has recruited over 2,000 children aged 10-15 to serve in armed militias, and that the Hizbullah-affiliated Mahdi Scouts youth organization is training them to become martyrs . . . Hizbullah has customarily recruited youths and children and trained them to fight from a very early age. These are children barely 10 years old, who wear camouflage uniforms, cover their faces with black [camouflage] paint, swear to wage jihad, and join the Mahdi Scouts [youth organization]... "The children are selected by Hizbullah recruitment [officers] based on one criterion only: They must be willing to become martyrs."According to the article, Na'im Qasim, deputy to Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, said in an interview on Radio Canada: "A nation with child-martyrs will be victorious, no matter what difficulties lie in its path. Israel...
Memri, September 1, 2006 --- http://memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD127606 

Where are the Muslim mothers for peace?
There was, for me, an additionally odd, circular sense of disbelief about this particular journey. Last summer, a few days after the terrorists’ July bombings in London, I was interviewing the fatwa-reprieved Salman Rushdie in New York. A year later, on the very day of the Heathrow drama, I was interviewing his great mate Martin Amis, also in New York, albeit in a secluded enclave in the Hamptons. On both occasions, current events inevitably featured in our discussions. If you believe, as I do, that literature can help to make sense of the life we are living, then the response of these guys should certainly command some attention . . . And where are the voices of the ordinary mothers and daughters and aunts from the Muslim community saying, “Enough. No more violence. No more deaths”, as did all those courageous women who helped to bring peace to Ireland? And if they, our Muslim sisters, are mute slaves to — or, worse, themselves in thrall to — the siren call of the death-wish culture, is there any hope for the rest of us?
Ginny Dougary, "Where are the Muslim mothers for peace?" London Times, August 26, 2006 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-2326888,00.html 

Where are the Anti-Bush mothers for peace?
Answer:  Crawford, Texas --- http://www.gsfp.org/article.php?list=type&type=21 

Al-Qaida sending terror cell seedlings across the Rio Grande
Al-Qaida reportedly integrating into Mexican society Border sheriff says Middle Easterners paying coyotes to smuggle them into U.S.
Fox News, August 25, 2006 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
The term "coyotes" in this context refers to criminals who, for a fee, help smuggle illegal immigrants across the border.

Research in the Homeland Security Program supports the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies charged with preventing and mitigating the effects of terrorist activity within U.S. borders. Projects in this program will include critical infrastructure protection, emergency management, terrorism risk management, border control (particularly ports), first responders and preparedness, domestic threat assessments, domestic intelligence, and manpower and training.
RAND:  Homeland Security --- http://www.rand.org/ise/security/

You cannot prevent and prepare for war at the same time.
Albert Einstein

It is appallingly obvious that our technology exceeds our humanity.
Albert Einstein

Game of Nuclear Chicken Diplomacy:  Then and Now
Just hours after Iran opened a new plant capable of making plutonium “for peaceful purposes”, U.S. President George Bush assured his Iranian counterpart that any B-2 bombers that appear over Tehran in the near future would also serve peaceful purposes. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cut the ribbon on the new heavy-water nuclear plant Saturday as part of a month-long Iranian tribute to the effectiveness of the United Nations. Mr. Bush hailed Iran’s “transparent diplomacy” and said, “I called President Ahmadinejad today to congratulate him, and I told him that if he happens to notice one of them Stealth bombers going over...
Scott Ott, "Bush: B-2 Flights Over Tehran for ‘Peaceful Purposes’," ScrappleFace, August 25, 2006 --- http://www.scrappleface.com/
Jensen Comment
I recall a game of chicken that was played by macho teens in the 1950s. Two speeding cars bore down on each other aimed at a head-on collision to see which driver "turned chicken" by swerving away at the last instant.

The last game of nuclear chicken was played out to the very brink of holocaust in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Missile_Crisis
Fortunately none of the key players (John Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, and Fidel Castro) was a religious fanatic in search of martyrdom and/or heavenly virgins.  Nikita Khrushchev eventually swerved to avoid thermonuclear collision. Earlier in 1961 President Kennedy had really screwed up with the Bay of Pigs Invasion, but that was not a game of nuclear chicken --- just chicken --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Pigs

Iran has commenced a new game of nuclear chicken even if its latest submarine missile photographs were probably propaganda photographs of some older Chinese missile tests.

The president of Iran has recently been trying to suck up to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He sent her a letter in which he asks for support and writes that both the Germans and the Iranians have been screwed over by the Jews and the west.
"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sends letter to German Chancellor Merkel," SammyNews, August 29, 2006 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1691950/posts

Where did Israel purchase two of its new frightening submarines in this game of nuclear chicken?

Hint: It was not the United States

With the purchase of two more German-made Dolphin submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads, military experts say Israel is sending a clear message to Iran that it can strike back if attacked by nuclear weapons. The purchases come at a time when Iran is refusing to bow to growing Western demands to halt its nuclear program, and after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." CountryWatch: Israel The new submarines, built at a cost of $1.3 billion with Germany footing one-third of the bill, have diesel-electric propulsion systems that allow them...
"Israel Adds 2 Nuke-Capable Submarines," Fox News, August 24, 2006 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,210373,00.html

Iran is said to have successfully tested an upgraded, indegenious, guided surface-to-sea missile, media reports confirmed on Saturday The missile was tested at the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman during the 'Blow of Zolfaqar' military exercises which began last Saturday.
"Iran tests upgraded surface-to-sea missile," India Defence, August 26, 2006 --- http://www.india-defence.com/reports/2408

What nation has the fourth largest air force in the world?

$18B bolstering just a startAir Force head: 75 aircraft on order: Planes in service now will need replacing soonChris Wattie National Post Friday, August 25, 2006 The head of the Canadian air force says that $18-billion and 75 new aircraft are only a start at rebuilding an air force that was at one time the fourth largest in the world. Lieutenant-General Steve Lucas told the National Post yesterday the purchases of new heavy transport planes, fleets of new helicopters and replacements for the military's Hercules cargo planes are a good beginning, but more will soon be needed.
"$18B bolstering just a start," National Post, August 25, 2006 --- Click Here

Flashback from The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 1990
Speculation about a possible diplomatic resolution to the Mideast crisis sent stock prices soaring in the biggest rally this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 78.71, or 3.11%, to 2611.63. Contributing to the gain was a $4 drop in the price of crude oil to $26.91 a barrel.

America grows weary of black leader ingratitude for the good things we do from the heart!
Perhaps most sad is that in four hours Lee has nothing positive to say about America and Americans. No mention is made of the $700 million from private citizens and churches that were committed in the first few days of the tragedy. No mention is made of the thousands of homes across the nation that welcomed evacuees. No mention is made of the tens of thousands who have successfully rebuilt their lives. (No mention is made of the thousands of fire fighters, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, cement workers, and others who spent their own money to go down to Louisiana and Mississippi to help clear debris and rebuild.)
"Katrina, lies and videotape," by Star Parker, WorldNetDaily, August 26, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51687

Spike Lee took his cameras and crew to New Orleans to film a documentary about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The four-hour production, which aired on HBO, is, unfortunately, about as destructive as was the disaster it depicts.

At a time when we need light and understanding, Lee has delivered darkness, anger and hatred. Those who will be hurt the most by the distorted and untruthful picture that Lee has concocted are the poor blacks he purports to want to help.

. . .

Central to the Katrina story is the failure of the levees. Indeed, Lee's film is called "When the Levees Broke."

But who is responsible for ignoring the warnings over the years that the levees protecting New Orleans were inadequate? Bush? Of course not.

It was Louisiana's congressional delegation that was responsible to ensure that their constituents' interests were being represented and that funds were being appropriated to fix sub-standard levees. But not a single Louisiana senator or congressman is ever mentioned or appears in "When the Levees Broke."

William Jefferson, New Orleans' congressman for the last 16 years, has been under FBI investigation over the last year under bribery charges. However, Jefferson is a Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. To shine a light on his possible, and likely, neglect of representing his constituents' interests would have distracted from the single message that Bush was the evil genius behind this tragedy.

Of course, no mention is made of Jefferson's trip home, when he commandeered a National Guard truck in the middle of rescue efforts to take him to his house to retrieve personal property.

. . .

I have written previously of the love of affair of the black left, particularly the Rev. Jesse Jackson, with Third World dictators. There is virtually no freedom of the press and speech in Venezuela. If Lee were a citizen of Venezuela and made a similar film attacking Chavez, he would disappear forever after the first showing.

Perhaps most sad is that in four hours Lee has nothing positive to say about America and Americans. No mention is made of the $700 million from private citizens and churches that were committed in the first few days of the tragedy. No mention is made of the thousands of homes across the nation that welcomed evacuees. No mention is made of the tens of thousands who have successfully rebuilt their lives.

Spike Lee clearly has little affection for the country that gives him free expression and has made him wealthy. He has produced a self-indulgent, deceitful and exploitive film about a tragedy. His message will give poor blacks more reasons to feel powerless, to feel lost, to feel that others bear responsibility for their lives, to hate, and to stay poor.

Continued in article

The extreme left does seem to have abandoned any idea of creating 
a socialist utopia; today it is devoted solely to uncreative destruction
Opinion Journal, February 11, 2005
he extreme left has a different, but no less ungrateful, take in its review of Spike Lee's Katrina movie. Lee has been criticized for reducing "Katrina to a black problem," as Nicholas Kulish wrote in the New York Times. But Richard Kim defends this as justified and is critical mainly that Spike Lee did not go far enough in trying to destroy business enterprise. What Kim does not answer below, like most critics of business enterprise, is how socialism with big government would have done so much better. It's easy to criticize, but it's far more difficult to find a improved solutions.
"Doing the Right Thing," by Richard Kim, The Nation, August 25, 2006 ---

Where Lee falters is not in his multi-faceted account of race and class, but in his examination of the politics and economics that set in play this unnatural disaster and continue to mangle New Orleans' reconstruction. The usual suspects are, of course, deliciously skewered: George Bush's sinister disinterest, Michael Brown's incompetence (he gets roasted by Soledad O'Brien who asks how her 23-year-old research assistant can have better intelligence than FEMA), Chertoff, Cheney, Condi and her Blahniks, Barbara Bush (the "President Momma" as Al Sharpton puts it), the insurance industry, the Army Corps of Engineers. But others, like Nagin who has consistently sided with business and property interests in the reconstruction, are largely absolved or made into heroes. With the exception of a brief query into Louisiana's oil and gas industry, the film seems to suggest that Hurricane Katrina happened because bad people made bad decisions, rather than because of the systematic gutting of urban infrastructure and the heartless pursuit of neoliberal economics.

Katrina spending is five times larger than past disasters
New Orleans' plight is not the result of federal underspending. Uncle Sam has spent some five times more on Katrina relief than any other natural disaster in the past 50 years. Both parties in Congress and the White House opted for the status quo by relying on federal bureaucracies to oversee the rebuilding effort. If Uncle Sam were deliberately trying to waste these funds, it is hard to imagine a better way than to funnel the money through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Both HUD and the SBA have been on the chopping block back to the early Reagan years . . . For all the finger-pointing this week, Congress hasn't spent much more than a dime to clear away the debris of corruption, patronage, welfare dependency, high taxes and racial division of decimated neighborhoods. What is still lacking in the life of New Orleans is the vital architecture of local capitalism.
"The Tragedy of New Orleans:  Katrina spending is five times larger than past disasters," The Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008860

Spike Lee Fails to Fault Louisiana Political Corruption Where Katrina's Worst Fault Lies,
Before and After the Storm

Sneaky Intelligent Design Republicans?
I am writing to express concern about the exclusion of "evolutionary biology," a core component of the biological sciences, from the eligibility rules for the new federal "National Smart Grant" program. According to a recent account in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the list of college majors for which students may be eligible to receive the Smart Grants has only a blank line where the listing for evolutionary biology would be expected to appear.
Democratic Senator Henry A. Waxman in an August 24, 2006 letter to the Secretary of the Department of Education --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1690283/posts

After all the negative media publicity, evolutionary biology mysteriously reappeared on the grant list ---

Politics purportedly is not a bell-shaped curve that peaks in the center
"The Vitiated Center:  The successful failures of right and left intellectuals," by Brian Doherty, Reason Magazine, August/September 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/0608/cr.bd.the.shtml

Welfare Reform That Costs More Today for, Gulp, Welfare

"The Amazing Colossal Poorhouse:  Ten years after welfare reform, the welfare state is even larger than before," by Jesse Walker, Reason Magazine, August 22, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/links/links082206.shtml

People on the rolls.
If you focus narrowly on the program known until '96 as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and known since then as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, you'll get the impression that welfare is disappearing. In a time when the country's population was growing, the number of families receiving AFDC/TANF subsidies dropped from 4.6 million a decade ago to under 2 million today. There were several reasons for this, including a booming economy in the late '90s, but the chief factor was welfare reform, which established new time limits and work requirements for the program's clients.

But if you look across the spectrum of federal social programs, a more ambiguous picture emerges. As Douglas Besherov of the American Enterprise Institute pointed out last week in The New York Times, some of the families booted from TANF simply move to different sources of assistance: "food stamps (an average of more than $2,500), the Women, Infants and Children program (about $1,800 for infants and new mothers), Supplemental Security Income (an average of over $6,500), or housing aid (an average of $6,000). Their children also qualify for Medicaid. In reality, these families are still on welfare because they are still receiving benefits and not working—call it 'welfare lite.'" It's not clear what makes this arrangement "lite," given that all five forms of aid have seen their budgets increase since Bush took office.

In March, USA Today examined 25 programs, from Medicaid to the Earned Income Tax Credit. In nearly all of them, enrollment grew. Congress expanded eligibility for several, usually with the proviso that the recipients also work. But for the most part, this growth was a matter of the existing programs stretching to take on more clients as they fell below the poverty line. That doesn't necessarily constitute an increase in the number of people getting benefits: USA Today calculated that overall enrollment increased 17 percent from 2000 to 2005—"the biggest five-year increase in 40 years"—but that double-counts people who joined more than one program. But it certainly isn't the unambiguous contraction you see if you look at TANF alone.

Lest we forget, incarceration expanded considerably during this period as well. It is not true, as some leftists have suggested, that the people who left the welfare rolls simply moved en masse to jail. But there is an overlap; and, at any rate, any measurement of the number of Americans who depend on the government for sustenance should account for the 2,186,230 people incarcerated in the country's prisons and jails—up from 1,630,940 in 1996.

Money spent.
Again, a narrow focus on TANF gives the impression that welfare outlays are down. Spending on that one program dropped severely in Clinton's second term, and has remained roughly flat under his successor. But overall spending on transfer payments has increased radically, particularly under Bush. That shouldn't be surprising, given that government spending overall has increased radically under Bush. The tricky issue—particularly for those of us who are inclined to regard any transfer payment as welfare, whether the recipient is a single mom or a multinational corporation—is discerning which spending does not fall into the welfare category.

I'm not going to go through every item in the budget. I'll just note that even by the narrowest definition of welfare spending—programs aimed at fighting poverty—the figure has gone up 39 percent during the Bush presidency. There isn't any ambiguity here. The government is spending more money on welfare—and with the coming explosion in entitlements, you can expect it to spend even more in the future.

Continued in article

From the Scout Report on August 25, 2006

Policy experts, politicians, and others debate successes and failures of welfare reform 10 years of welfare reform assessed http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06234/715333-85.stm

On and off the rolls, women work to get ahead

NPR: Legislator Offers First-Person View of Welfare [Real Player]

In Focus: Ten Years of Welfare Reform [pdf] http://www.brookings.edu/comm/infocus/welfare.htm

NPR: Where the Welfare Law Failed Fathers

Fact Sheet: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/ofa/prwora96.htm

Some sixty years after its introduction during the New Deal era, the essence of social welfare in the United States was dramatically transformed with the passage of The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Despite its cumbersome name, the Act effectively placed a five- year time limit on welfare assistance, and also required a significant commitment on the part of recipients to find work. As various groups and individuals reflected on the past ten years, some were quick to note that the number of people on welfare has dropped 60 percent. Others have been more sanguine, noting that these reforms continue to inadequately address deeper problems, particularly those of single mothers with few job qualifications or education. Some critics continue to suggest that these problems are related to structural changes in the economy, and others continue to blame the so-called "culture of poverty". The debates over what to do in order to solve the problems of working families continues to be intense, with some groups pushing to encourage marriage as a solution, and others seeking to provide more money for child care and higher minimum wages. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s own Steve Levin that takes a closer look at the effects of welfare reform on several local residents. The second link leads to a similar piece which looks at women’s experience with the welfare system in and around Kansas City. The third link leads to a provocative piece from National Public Radio which features Montana legislator Mary Caferro talking about her own first- hand experience as a welfare recipient. Moving right along, visitors will find a diverse set of scholarly writings on welfare reform at the fourth site, offered courtesy of The Brookings Institution. The fifth link offers commentary by two scholars (Ron Haskins and Ronald Mincy) about how public policy should be adjusted over the next decade to meet the needs of poor families. Finally, the last link leads to a basic fact sheet on The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

 "Schwarzenegger Gives Up," by Shikha Dalmia, The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 2006; Page A13 --- Click Here

The real issue, however, is what this bond measure will do to California. Few doubt the need for California to invest in its crumbling infrastructure. But this is an infrastructure bond in name only. The four big-ticket items in the bond -- which is two times bigger than the biggest bond in the state's history -- are $2.6 billion for housing, $10.4 billion for K-12 schools and universities, $3.1 billion for levee repairs and $19.2 billion for transportation.

The housing bond is simply welfare masquerading as a capital project. A bulk of its money won't fund general infrastructure -- an acceptable use of general-obligation bonds like these -- but such things as cheap multifamily dwellings for low-income families, and down-payment assistance for first-time home buyers.

The education bond is equally misguided, given that 40% of the state's $94 billion general-fund revenues are already constitutionally earmarked for education. Moreover, California voters approved a total of $25 billion for school-construction bonds in 2002 and 2004 to reduce overcrowding. If there is still not enough money for new schools, it is not because of lack of state spending, but abject waste by individual districts. If anything, this handout will encourage more waste by undercutting districts' need to explore the kind of public-private partnership responsible for Inderkum High School in Sacramento being completed a month early and $2.5 million under budget. In this case, a private developer built the school and district authorities used their public dollars to lease the facility from him.

In contrast to schools, California has genuinely underinvested in its levees and transportation. Yet it is unclear that general-obligation bonds that mortgage the wallets of all future taxpayers are the best remedy. To the extent that levee repair, for instance, would benefit mostly those living in the flood plains, at least part of the cost ought to be recovered through special assessments on them.

California has also been routinely raiding the transportation dollars it raises from gas taxes for other general fund needs -- a fact obvious to anyone who has ever battled traffic on the San Diego Freeway. Yet only about half of this bond's revenues are slated for actual road building. Instead, $4 billion is going to mass transit even though mass transit's share of commuters, never large, has dropped by 9% since 2000.

Even after the proposed $19 billion transportation bond and the $384 billion in planned transportation spending by the state's biggest three regions (Los Angeles, the Bay Area and San Diego), California's traffic congestion will actually be worse in 2030 than it is today because the state is choosing pork and pet transit projects instead of prioritizing and adding much-needed highway capacity.

There are better ways of generating steady revenues to fund transportation and other needed infrastructure that don't involve giving Sacramento's politicians a ready excuse to dip into the pockets of future taxpayers. Among them, notes Donna Arduin, Mr. Schwarzenegger's former finance director, are things like privately built toll roads and congestion pricing. "These were things that were recommended to him back when he first took office," she says.

It is disheartening that the governor -- who claims to have been inspired to enter political life by the small-government ideas of Milton Friedman and Adam Smith -- has ignored these measures, especially now when government spending in California is touching the stratosphere. Indeed, despite the fact that California's economy has rebounded after the dot-com bust, pouring $7 billion more than expected into the state's coffers this year, the state's 2006-07 budget still shows a deficit of $7 billion. California has the dubious distinction of being one of only eight states showing deficits instead of surpluses right now.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Governor Schwarzenegger is now following the George Bush Mortgage-the-Future playbook of balancing the books with billions upon billions of  new debt rather than the Ronald Regan playbook of fiscal responsibility ink in the veto pen. The problem is that California, unlike the Feds, cannot print more money when needed to pay back debt with inflated dollars.

Finland Did Not Cave In to Bureaucracy and Education Unions
Taking Finland as an example, the following key lessons can be drawn. Education, skills and lifelong learning must be at the center of an innovative economy. Far from being a consistent top performer -- in the mid-1980s, secondary school students in Finland performed only slightly above the OECD average in science tests -- the country pursued comprehensive reforms in spite of a deep recession in the 1990s. Finland's policy makers were determined to rid their schools of the bureaucratic inertia and myriad of responsibilities that hobble other European school systems to this day. Through decentralization and holding teachers and schools accountable for their students' performance -- unthinkable in much of the rest of Europe -- the reforms instilled in educators a sense of professional pride and unprecedented empowerment. Today, Finland is the top performer in the OECD's high-school study. A second area where Finland is leading by example is in shifting its resources toward future-oriented projects. In 2004, Finland spent 3.41% of its GDP on R&D. Even more important, industry contributed the lion's share, 2.41%. Much of Europe, on the other hand, is trying (unsuccessfully) to reach the 3% target through more public spending. Finland realized that attracting private-sector investment is not only more productive but also more likely to yield commercially viable innovative products.

Ann Mettler, "Innovation, Innovation, Innovation," The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 2006 --- Click Here

Public school teachers in Detroit voted yesterday to reject a contract offer and to not report for their first day of work today. School is scheduled to start Sept. 5 for the 129,000 students in the Detroit Public Schools.
"Detroit Teachers Vote to Not Report to Work," The New York Times, August 28, 2006 --- Click Here

College Leaders in Michigan Push Hard to Defeat Vote to Bar Affirmative Action in Colleges
A federal judge on Tuesday refused to block a Michigan referendum this fall to bar affirmative action by public colleges and universities and other state agencies, The Detroit Free Press reported. The judge was harshly critical of the initiative, and said he believed that many people who signed petitions to place the measure on the ballot had been misled. But the judge said he lacked the authority to remove the measure from the ballot. College leaders are pushing hard to defeat the measure.
Inside Higher Ed, August 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/30/qt

Here's What Happened in Washington State
Minority enrollments have lagged in Washington State, relative to the state’s population for the last eight years — ever since the state’s voters barred the use of affirmative action in public higher education, the
Associated Press reported.
Inside Higher Ed, August 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/30/qt

Bob Jensen's threads on both affirmative action for faculty hiring/pay and affirmative action on student admissions/aid are available in separate categories at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm

As much as I criticize the biased news media, for me the newspaper industry's financial woes are saddening
“Our investment in newspaper stocks continues to cause concern for some clients,” Mr. Sherman wrote in a letter to clients earlier this summer. “Given the disappointing returns thus far, we understand their consternation. In some regards, it would be easier for us to abandon the investment theme than to continue to argue the point.” While Mr. Sherman’s firm has been shedding some of its newspaper stocks, largely at the direction of dissatisfied clients, about 10 percent of his portfolio remains invested in newspapers. (As of June 30 his firm owned 13 percent of the common stock of The New York Times Company.) Despite the industry’s woes, some in the newspaper industry have sharply criticized Mr. Ridder for not fighting harder to save his company. He had been acquiescing to Wall Street for years, they say, and his sale of the company was only the final, most striking, example.
Katherine Q. Seelye, "What-Ifs of a Media Eclipse," The New York Times, August 27, 2006 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Television news reporters and correspondents are more visible, but it's an army of newspaper reporters worldwide that are truly bringing us the daily news. I don't think anybody is predicting an abrupt shutdown of the presses. But draconian cost cutting will greatly degrade newsgathering.. Much of the problem arises from the shifting of advertising, including classified advertising, from local newspapers to the Internet in such outlets as CraigsList, eBay, Google, Yahoo, etc. Newspapers moved to the Internet, but competition for advertising revenue is intense relative to the virtual monopoly powers newspapers enjoyed at one time in their communities.

Academic Freedom at the Dawn of a New Century:
How Terrorism, Governments, and Culture Wars Impact Free Speech

Q: In the essays in the book, which issues raised were the most surprising to you? Which were of the greatest concern?

A: I think what surprised me the most was how grave the situation is regarding academic freedom in many countries around the world. I certainly knew that there were problems in other countries, but until you actually read about all of the examples of people being beaten, imprisoned, and even killed for their views, I don’t think you quite understand how dire the situation is.
Matthew J. Streb in an interview with Scott Jaschik, "New Analysis of Academic Freedom," Inside Higher Ed, August 28, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/28/streb

The essays in a new book, Academic Freedom at the Dawn of a New Century: How Terrorism, Governments, and Culture Wars Impact Free Speech (Stanford University Press), explore attacks and defenses of professors in countries all over the world. The editors (who also contribute to the volume) are Evan Gerstmann, chair of political science at Loyola Marymount University, and Matthew J. Streb, assistant professor of political science at Northern Illinois University. Streb responded to questions via e-mail on the themes of the book.

And now a few words about academic freedom from New Hampshire's Democratic Governor
and Former Dean of the Harvard Business School, John Lynch

"Although academic freedom is important," the governor said, "if the UNH professor is promoting that view, it reflects a reckless disregard for the true facts and raises questions as to why such a professor would be teaching at the university in the first place." Woodward is a member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, an organization that maintains the Bush administration permitted the terrorist attacks to occur, and may even have planned them, so as to rally the public around its policies.
Scott Brooks, "Lynch calls teacher's theories crazy as UNH stands behind 9/11 prof," Union Leader, August 29, 2006 ---
Click Here

The University of New Hampshire is refusing to fire a tenured professor whose views on 9/11 have led many politicians in the state to demand his dismissal. William Woodward, a professor of psychology, is among those academics who believe that U.S. leaders have lied about what they know about 9/11, and were involved in a conspiracy that led to the massive deaths on that day, setting the stage for the war with Iraq. The Union Leader, a New Hampshire newspaper, reported on Woodward’s views on Sunday, and quoted him (accurately, he says) saying that he includes his views in some class sessions.
Scott Jaschik, "Another Scholar Under Fire for 9/11 Views," Inside Higher Ed, August 29, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/29/woodward

"Stretching the Definition of Academic Freedom," by John Friedl, Inside Higher Ed, August 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/08/31/friedl

Academic freedom is under attack on college campuses across the country. The “Academic Bill of Rights,” authored by David Horowitz, seems to be motivated by a concern that some professors are turning their classrooms into personal forums in which they force-feed their students a liberal political dogma unrelated to the subject matter of the course.

Horowitz’s attempt to involve legislatures in addressing what is clearly an academic issue is not only a dangerous precedent, but unnecessary as well. It is dangerous because it threatens the freedom of inquiry and critical thinking that we strive to achieve through open discussion of controversial issues. And it is unnecessary because we have in place institutional guidelines and professional standards that, when properly applied, provide balance without destroying the spontaneity and intellectual stimulation that is currently found in our classrooms.

The real problem that needs to be addressed is the growing gap in the understanding of the concept of academic freedom shared — or more often not shared — by faculty and administrators. Matters of institutional policy proposed by academic administrators are increasingly — and frequently without justification — condemned by professors as infringements on their rights.

A few examples provide an enlightening illustration. These examples involve what are mistakenly seen as academic freedom issues, providing a sense of how broadly many faculty interpret the concept and the rights it creates.

My current university for many years has provided an e-mail list service open to all faculty and staff for virtually any purpose: to post notices, advertise items for sale, express opinions on any topic, and to disseminate official university announcements. As the volume of garage sale ads grew and the expression of opinions became increasingly vitriolic, many faculty and staff members elected to filter out messages from the list service, with the result that they did not receive official announcements.

As a solution to this problem, university administrators created a second list service limited to official announcements, in which all employees would participate without the option of unsubscribing. The original open list remained available to all who chose to participate. In response to this action, one faculty member sent a message to the entire university (on the pre-existing list service) denouncing the change as a violation of academic freedom and First Amendment rights, because the “official” announcements would first be screened by the University Relations Office before being posted.

A second example: At my former university, in response to concerns over a high rate of attrition between the freshman and sophomore year, the deans proposed a policy whereby each instructor in a lower division course would be required to provide students with some type of graded or appropriately evaluated work product by the end of the sixth week of a 15-week semester. The stated purpose of the policy was to identify students at risk early enough to help them bring their grades up to a C or better. (The original proposal also included the suggestion that faculty members work with students to develop a plan to improve their performance, but that was quickly taken off the table when faculty complained of an increase in their workload without additional compensation.)

When this proposal was discussed among the faculty, several complained that the scheduling of exams was a faculty prerogative protected by academic freedom, and that any attempt by university administrators to mandate early feedback to students was an infringement upon that right. Those who spoke out did not object to the concept of early feedback — they just didn’t want to be told they had to do it.

Another example: At the same institution, in preparation for its decennial review by the regional accrediting body, the vice president for academic affairs began to assemble the mountains of documents required for that review, including a syllabus for every course offered. The accrediting organization guidelines list 11 items recommended for inclusion in every course syllabus, and the vice president duly notified the faculty, through the deans and department chairs, of this recommendation.

The response of a surprising number of the faculty members was to argue that what goes into their syllabus is a matter of academic freedom, not subject to the mandate of the vice president or the accreditor. Again, their complaints did not seem to be directed at the suggested content, but rather they were opposed to being told what they must put in their syllabi.

The concept of academic freedom is often viewed as an extension of the rights granted under the First Amendment, applicable within the limited context of the educational system. One of the earliest definitions of academic freedom is found in the AAUP’s 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure. The discussion is framed in terms of the freedom of the individual faculty member to pursue his or her research and teaching interests without interference from “outsiders,” whether they be members of the institution’s governing body or the public at large.

As an indication of how far the pendulum has swung in the 90 years since the AAUP Declaration was written, in 1915 the authors expressed concern that “where the university is dependent for funds upon legislative favor, ... the menace to academic freedom may consist in the repression of opinions that in the particular political situation are deemed ultra-conservative rather than ultra-radical.” But the authors correctly point out that “whether the departure is in the one direction or the other is immaterial.”

As appealing as the principle embodied in the AAUP Declaration may be to many academic administrators and to most, if not all, professors, that principle has not found favor in American jurisprudence. Academic freedom is not mentioned directly in the U.S. Constitution or in any federal statute. It was first recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1957 case of Sweezy v. New Hampshire, when Justice Felix Frankfurter defined the four elements of academic freedom as: “the freedom of an institution to decide who may attend, who may teach, what may be taught and how it shall be taught.” Note that this definition places the bundle of rights that make up academic freedom in the institution, not the individual faculty member.

It is a huge leap from the AAUP Declaration to the contention that a policy requiring a graded work product by the sixth week or mandating 11elements in every syllabus is an abridgment of the faculty’s constitutional rights, not to mention the claim that university administrators have no right to screen what goes out to the campus community as an official university announcement.

The problem, of course, goes much deeper. The real difficulty is that on many campuses throughout the country, the expanding concept of academic freedom has created an expectation of total individual autonomy. Our concept of faculty status seems to have evolved from one of employee to that of an independent contractor offering private tutorials to the institution’s students using the institution’s resources, but unfettered by many of the institution’s policies.

Lest any of us grow accustomed to this new order, it is instructive to see what one federal court has said about the limits to academic freedom. In the case of Urofsky v. Gilmore, a prominent legal scholar challenged a state policy aimed at restricting the use of state-owned computers by public employees to visit pornographic Web sites. The faculty member made the by now familiar claim that access to such information for teaching or research is constitutionally protected under the First Amendment, and falls within the scope of the individual faculty right to academic freedom.

The U.S. Court of Appeals disagreed, saying that academic freedom is not an individual right, but one that belongs to the institution, and in this case the institution (Virginia Commonwealth University) is an extension of the state. In the court’s words, “to the extent the Constitution recognizes any right of ‘academic freedom’ above and beyond the First Amendment rights to which every citizen is entitled, the right inheres in the university, not in individual professors....” The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review this decision, thereby allowing it to stand. And while it is binding legal precedent only for federal courts in the Fourth Circuit (Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia), this decision will serve as a powerful influence on other courts throughout the country.

The court’s conclusion was a shock to many of us, administrators and faculty members alike. Even more troubling is the court’s statement that “the [Supreme] Court has never recognized that professors possess a First Amendment right of academic freedom to determine for themselves the content of their courses and scholarship, despite opportunities to do so.” But as offensive as this statement may seem to some, it could have an unintended and beneficial consequence of bringing faculty and administrators closer together in recognizing their common bonds and in working toward achieving common goals for the good of their colleges and universities.

When faculty members recognize that there are limits to academic freedom, and that the rights ultimately reside with the institution, there is a powerful incentive to work with academic administrators to reach consensus on policies that will achieve important goals. And even if administrators feel emboldened by what may at first be perceived as a weakening of the individual faculty member’s freedom, every seasoned academic administrator knows that without faculty cooperation and support, even the most well-intentioned policy cannot succeed.

Cider apples have high levels of phenolics –
antioxidants linked to protection against stroke, heart disease and cancer

The saying goes that an apple a day keeps the doctor away but now scientists at the University of Glasgow are looking into whether a pint of cider could have the same effect. Researchers have discovered that English cider apples have high levels of phenolics – antioxidants linked to protection against stroke, heart disease and cancer – and are working with volunteers to see whether these health benefits could be passed onto cider drinkers.
"Could a pint of cider help keep the doctor away?" PhysOrg, August 28, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75964425.html
Jensen Comment
The fresh cider is outstanding up here in apple country this time of year. Alas --- don't forget that cider, like all fruit juice, is extremely high in calories. Persons drinking a pint of cider each day should probably drink one less pint of Guinness or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Sigh!

Still Rotten to the Core:  Unethical and Sneaky Cigarette Companies Behind the Scenes
The level of nicotine that smokers typically consume per cigarette has risen 10 percent in the past six years, making it harder to quit and easier to be addicted, said a report that the Massachusetts Department of Health released on Tuesday. The study shows a steady increase in the amount of nicotine delivered to the smokers’ lungs regardless of brand, with overall yields increasing 10 percent. Massachusetts is one of three states to require tobacco companies to submit information on nicotine testing to its specifications and is the sole state with data as far back as 1998.
"Nicotine Levels Rose 10 Percent in Last Six Years, Report Says," The New York Times, August 31, 2006 --- Click Here

Forget the biscuits:  Pass the berries Miranda, I'm as forgetful as sin
If humans are anything like rats, scientists at Tufts University in Boston may be on the road to discovering the fountain of youth for the human brain. Reporting in the online edition of Neurobiology of Aging, Tufts psychologist Barbara Shukitt-Hale and her colleagues say a diet rich in berries improved the brain function of aging rats, WebMd reports.
PhysOrg, August 25, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75730536.html

Blueberries rank among the healthiest foods on the planet (good oxidizers)
Chef Rob Evans' Blueberry Recipes --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5716453

Related NPR Stories

The University of Illinois Plans a Huge New Online "Campus"
Faculty Seeking Tenure Need Not Apply

Remember the impressive SCALE study?

"The New State U," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/31/illinois

The University of Illinois is in many ways a classic state university system. Urbana-Champaign is a flagship, with a history of Nobel laureates and competitive admissions. The Chicago campus has been very much on the rise in the last 10 years, expanding research and graduate programs and attracting academic stars. Springfield has more of an undergraduate and liberal arts focus.

All three campuses have some distance education programs, but the university system is now getting ready to launch a whole new campus, creating an online division that could eventually rival the individual campuses in enrollment levels, operating in a very different environment. The University of Illinois Global Campus would be operated as a separate for-profit entity, have almost entirely part-time faculty members (and none with tenure), and focus on a relatively small number of degree programs.

The idea, according to Illinois officials, is to learn from a variety of models out there that are growing rapidly (UMass Online, University of Maryland University College, and the University of Phoenix), while also learning from some of the failed attempts of the dot-com boom, when many colleges started online, for-profit spinoffs with much hype — only to see them go nowhere.

“This could be extremely significant in the online landscape,” said Trace Urdan, who tracks education ventures for the Signal Hill Capital Group. The Illinois effort reflects a number of key trends, he said: the continued growing popularity of online education, the desire of many adults to study not only online but with an institution they know well, and the realization of many public universities that they need different types of models to compete for these students — while not promising the moon overnight, as some institutions did 10 years ago.

“This is part of a continuing trend where the traditional schools and state institutions are becoming much more competitive in the areas that have been dominated by the for-profits,” he said. “Their online programs are becoming more relevant, and even the ones that aren’t spending effectively have boosted the amount of money they are spending.”

Richard Vedder, an Ohio University professor who has been an outspoken critic of traditional higher education and who is a member of the U.S. education secretary’s commission studying higher education, has been praising the Illinois plan as a “bold innovation” that could shake up public higher education.

But not everyone at Illinois is in love with the plan, which is expected to receive final board approval next month. Faculty leaders from the three existing campuses are working on a letter to express concerns about the idea. One faculty leader who asked not to be identified said that the plan risked the university’s values. “Tenure is a very critical concern because it is a hallmark of the academic freedom that is needed for intellectual inquiry,” said the professor. “If people are all part-time and non-tenure track, is that a university? Is that a faculty? It’s certainly the University of Phoenix, but it’s not traditionally what has been the University of Illinois.”

The Illinois plan was the result of nearly a year of work by a committee that included administrators and faculty members (while some professors question the direction of the plan, even critics praise the administration for having been inclusive in planning).

Chet Gardner, who led the effort as vice president for academic affairs and is now leading the drive to create the new campus, said that the committee came to believe that distance education needed to grow, and that it couldn’t do so with existing models. Currently, online enrollments are about 6,900, or 2 percent systemwide “and that just can’t scale up,” he said. Under the new structure, Illinois wants to have 10,000 students enrolled in 5 years and up to 50,000 in 10 years. Programs would be limited — largely business, technology, education and similar fields in which there is strong demand by adult learners. “This will not be a traditional university where you have 100 or more academic programs,” he said.

By raising money privately — about $15-20 million for starters — Illinois plans to create the new university without state funds (which have generally been in short supply for the last decade for higher ed in the state). As a private, for-profit institution, without tenure, the new campus will seek independent accreditation, and expects to have the freedom to create (and discard) programs quickly. Courses will be starting every few weeks, not just on a traditional semester schedule. And while most students are expected to be Illinois residents, there will be no differential between in and out of state rates.

Despite all of those very non-traditional characteristics, Gardner insisted that this “isn’t about profit,” but is about the university’s historic mission. “What’s driving this is that we are a land grant university. It’s our core mission to provide access to high quality education first and foremost to the people of Illinois,” he said, adding that adult students who can’t enroll full time on an Illinois campus “aren’t well served today.”

One contention of Illinois officials is that while the online market is in some ways national or international — since anyone online can enroll anywhere — there is increasing evidence that online customers still want to root for the home team. UMass Online is one of the entities Illinois has studied — and its figures suggest a strong desire to enroll at a local institution online. During the last academic year, the institution’s enrollments increased by 23 percent, to 21,682 — in a state with no shortage of colleges and where many experts have warned that students could become scarce as the U.S. population shifts out of the Northeast. Revenues from those students were up 32 percent, to nearly $23 million.

Only 28 percent of UMass Online students are from out of state.

“There is a lot of regionalism in online education,” said David Gray, CEO of UMass Online. “I think Illinois will find a lot of receptivity in its own backyard.”

Peter Stokes, executive vice president at Eduventures, an education research firm that has advised Illinois on its plans, agreed. “State sponsorship is very positive” as potential students are considering where to enroll — in person or online, he said. Whatever people imagined about the worldwide market for distance education, “most enrollments are local.”

Stokes said that the Illinois plans reflect a maturation of the way traditional universities are thinking about starting new online ventures, some of them with for-profit models. “Everyone knows the failures of NYU Online or Fathom,” he said. “I think that going back, universities thought they could access a tremendous amount of venture capital,” and then ended up “putting their own money in, without real business models in place for the time.”

The survivors of that era — he cited eCornell as an example — are “more modest in focus.”

Stokes said it was significant that Illinois was talking about raising serious amounts of money, but not outrageous sums, and that its emphasis was on serving its own state. “The motivation to go for-profit today isn’t to raise capital, but to free themselves from constraints of traditional university governance. With traditional governance, it’s hard to make the kinds of quick decisions you need.”

Several other major public universities are currently considering an approach similar to what Illinois is planning, Stokes said, although he declined to name them. While places like UMass Online, the University of Maryland University College, and Penn State World Campus have a head start, not to mention the advantages the University of Phoenix enjoys, Stokes said that there was probably room for more players — provided they maintain a focus on their states.

Urdan of Signal Hill agreed. “The opportunity to be as big as Phoenix is gone,” he said. The opportunities that remain for state university systems are closer to home.

Not all supporters of online education, however, favor the for-profit model. UMass Online is “firmly nonprofit,” Gray said, even though it is making plenty of money. It turned over $8 million in what would have been profit to the university system last year, and Gray said he expects that to rise to $10 million this year — even with extensive growth in programming.

Gray said that UMass Online’s success relates to a degree of independence it does enjoy — while it works with individual faculty members and professors at UMass campuses, the online program can add offerings or eliminate them quickly, set up marketing efforts, and generally “operate on its own schedule,” Gray said.

“I think there was a recognition here that we needed independence to pump some energy into this initiative, that something very distinctly different had to be done,” he said.

So why stay nonprofit? Gray said that another key to success has been faculty support. New offerings are designed and taught by regular university faculty members. He said that any move to for-profit status would put that support at risk. “We never got into the arguments about profit-making,” he said. “We needed engagement to occur for this to work, and this model isn’t threatening. We got the engagement we needed because we didn’t spend a lot of time on the arguments about being a commercial enterprise.”

Gray said that there’s no doubt that “some things can be easier by adopting a for-profit model,” but he said that university leaders need to remember that “there are tradeoffs.”

Pat Langley, chair of the Campus Senate at the University of Illinois at Springfield, said that her campus is providing a model of how distance education can work well — and that she’s skeptical of the new model being proposed. Springfield has received support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to put traditional liberal arts courses online, and Langley said that professors have embraced the idea. “You always find computer science and business being offered online, but we’re working to get philosophy and English up as well,” said Langley, a professor of women’s studies and legal studies.

The reason faculty members like the program — which has resulted in Springfield having a larger share of its enrollment online than the other Illinois campuses — is that quality is the same, Langley said. “We received a commitment that the people who would teach these courses would be the people who teach them on the ground, and as a result, the quality is indistinguishable online or in the classroom, and the professors are enjoying teaching these courses,” she said.

Is a new model needed to offer more courses? “It depends what your goal is,” Langley said. “In our model, students are getting a very high quality education and I’m sure that it’s at least as good as if they were sitting in the bricks and mortar classroom,” she said. “We don’t think the model needs to be changed.”

Some faculty members are supportive of the new online effort — with a few conditions. Elliot Kaufman, chair of the University Senates Conference of the Illinois campuses, said that while “a lot of faculty are concerned, I don’t share those concerns.” Kaufman, a professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the Chicago campus, was on the committee that prepared the plan.

He noted that the university uses part-time faculty members now and that the quality of instruction by adjuncts can be very high, provided they are adequately supported. “We can’t scale up what we are doing right now with the existing model, and I think we need to use adjuncts,” he said.

“The trick is to make sure everyone is highly qualified and trained,” Kaufman said. “I understand the concerns some people have about this model, but I don’t think we should say we don’t like this model. We should say we’ll do this, and do it well.”

Jensen Comment
The University of Illinois conducted one of the first scholarly "SCALE" experiments of onsite versus online learning using resident on-campus students --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm#Illinois

Bob Jensen's threads on distance training and education alternatives are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm

Free from Temple University
COW:  Calculus on the Web (plus linear algebra) --- http://www.math.temple.edu/%7Ecow/

Bob Jensen's threads on free math tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

Learnthat.com: Free web training for computer courses ---

Free From the University of Utah
Learn Genetics Online (for teachers and students) --- http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/

The Genetic Science Learning Center is an outreach education program located in the midst of bioscience research at the University of Utah. Our mission is to help people understand how genetics affects their lives and society.

To achieve this mission, we present education offerings for various audiences, including:

  • This website, which delivers interactive and print-based resources, free of charge, to Internet users worldwide. The website has two main components:

    • Information and activities: These address standards for science education, and are accessible to all users from the homepage.
    • Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans: These are accessible from the top right of any page. They include PDF-based Print-and-Go™ classroom activities and teacher guides for all materials.
  • Professional development programs that update K-12 teachers' expertise in bioscience topics. See our list of upcoming courses and workshops, accessible through the Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans section of this site.
  • Public education programs that highlight topics of current interest and research underway at the University of Utah.

Our educational resources provide accurate and unbiased information about topics in genetics and bioscience. Designed for non-research audiences, our materials are interactive and jargon-free, target multiple learning styles, and often convey concepts through visual elements. Our newest materials are being developed with our Exploragraphic™ design methodology.

Some topics in genetics and bioscience research are controversial. The Learning Center does not take sides in politically or ethically charged topics. Rather, our goal is to provide comprehensive information that promotes a lively discussion of these topics, so that individuals can arrive at their own informed decisions.

Bob Jensen's threads on online education and training alternatives are at

If homework does not significantly (on average) improve learning in grade school, how does it impact learning in higher education?

"The Myth About Homework:  Think hours of slogging are helping your child make the grade?" by Caludia Wallis, Time Magazine, August  27, 2006 --- Click Here

Both books cite studies, surveys, statistics, along with some hair-raising anecdotes, on how a rising tide of dull, useless assignments is oppressing families and making kids hate learning. A few highlights from the books and my own investigation:

• According to a 2004 national survey of 2,900 American children conducted by the University of Michigan, the amount of time spent on homework is up 51% since 1981.

• Most of that increase reflects bigger loads for little kids. An academic study found that whereas students ages 6 to 8 did an average of 52 min. of homework a week in 1981, they were toiling 128 min. weekly by 1997. And that's before No Child Left Behind kicked in. An admittedly less scientific poll of parents conducted this year for AOL and the Associated Press found that elementary school students were averaging 78 min. a night.

• The onslaught comes despite the fact that an exhaustive review by the nation's top homework scholar, Duke University's Harris Cooper, concluded that homework does not measurably improve academic achievement for kids in grade school. That's right: all the sweat and tears do not make Johnny a better reader or mathematician.

• Too much homework brings diminishing returns. Cooper's analysis of dozens of studies found that kids who do some homework in middle and high school score somewhat better on standardized tests, but doing more than 60 to 90 min. a night in middle school and more than 2 hr. in high school is associated with, gulp, lower scores.

• Teachers in many of the nations that outperform the U.S. on student achievement tests--such as Japan, Denmark and the Czech Republic--tend to assign less homework than American teachers, but instructors in low-scoring countries like Greece, Thailand and Iran tend to pile it on.

Success on standardized tests is, of course, only one measure of learning--and only one purported goal of homework. Educators, including Cooper, tend to defend homework by saying it builds study habits, self-discipline and time-management skills. But there's also evidence that homework sours kids' attitudes toward school. "It's one thing to say we are wasting kids' time and straining parent-kid relationships," Kohn told me, "but what's unforgivable is if homework is damaging our kids' interest in learning, undermining their curiosity."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I think homework is like any other learning tool that can be used effectively or ineffectively depending upon the context of where and how it is used. Homework may enhance or suppress creativity. Homework may increase or stifle motivation. One problem is that too much homework is the mechanical exercise of merely looking up and copying answers. Another problem is that too much homework is graded mechanically such that creative answers that take time to ponder and evaluate by instructors are probably overlooked. For example, written assignments may be graded for grammar without comment on the content itself. I think some topics are better suited to homework. I can't imagine mathematics courses without homework. I learned most of the mathematics I ever mastered because of homework. In science lab exercises are a form of homework that are, in my viewpoint, indispensable. 

Economics and Banking Tutorials Free from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Inside the Vault --- http://www.stls.frb.org/publications/itv/default.html
This is a newsletter that explains the banking system, international economics, deficits, etc.

Bob Jensen's threads on free math tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

Bob Jensen's threads on free textbooks and other learning materials in various fields, including literature, economics, history, statistics, and  accounting --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Bob Jensen's writing helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries

SAT Scores Down While ACT Scores Up
Mean scores on the SAT fell this year by more than they have in decades. A five-point drop in critical reading, to 503, was the largest decline since 1975 and the two-point drop in mathematics, to 518, was the largest dip since 1978.
Scott Jaschik, "Lower Scores, Fewer Students," Inside Higher Ed, August 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/30/sat

Gaps among racial and ethnic groups continued to be significant on the SAT, including the new writing test, for which the first mean scores were released at the College Board’s annual SAT briefing on Tuesday. The board also reported a small decline in the total number of people who took the test, and while board officials insisted at a news conference that the decline was across the board, they acknowledged later Tuesday that the board’s own data suggest that the decline appears to be among students from the lowest income families.

The percentage of SAT test takers with family incomes up to $30,000 was 19 percent for the high school class of 2006, down from 22 percent a year ago. The share of SAT test takers from families with incomes greater than $100,000 was 24 percent, up from 21 percent a year ago.

Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, provided a generally upbeat assessment of the year’s results, saying that the new writing test was off to a strong start, both strengthening the SAT and encouraging high schools to focus on writing skills. He attributed the drops in SAT scores to a decline in the number of students who took the test more than once. Fifty-three percent of students did so, down from 56 percent the previous year. Repeat test takers tend to improve their scores, Caperton noted, and students tend to alter their test-taking behavior in years when the SAT undergoes major changes, as was the case this year.

n light of these changes, he said he wasn’t concerned about the one-year drops, although he remained seriously concerned that too many students are not taking rigorous courses in high school that lead to their doing well on the SAT and in college. He said that the average drops in SAT scores didn’t even amount to a single additional question being answered incorrectly.

A reporter at the briefing asked Caperton why in previous years — as SAT scores inched upward — he had implied that those increases were signs of real progress, while he was playing down the impact of larger decreases. Caperton said that “I think we tend to overemphasize a few points here or there.”

Christine Parker, who runs the SAT and ACT preparation programs for the Princeton Review, said that she was struck by the tone of the College Board’s materials on this year’s scores. “It’s pretty clear that the board is on the defensive about these decreases,” she said. She thinks that one reason the retesting totals are down is that more students are taking the ACT and the SAT and figuring out which score will help them the most with colleges, rather than simply retaking the SAT.

Many high school guidance counselors — not to mention SAT test takers — complained that the addition of the writing test made the SAT too long, and there has been much discussion of whether “SAT fatigue” contributed to the decline in scores.

But Wayne Camara, vice president for research and psychometrics at the board, said that the duration of the test had “no impact” on student scores, and that College Board officials have examined the rates at which students answer questions correctly or incorrectly or don’t answer at all during all portions of the test. No link is evident between how long a student has been taking the test and the quality of answers, he said. The College Board has said that it will study the idea of letting students take different parts of the SAT at different times, and Camara said Tuesday that any determination on that idea was at least a year away.

As has been the case in past years, clear gaps were evident by racial and ethnic groups, with Asian and white students doing much better than other groups.

Mean SAT Scores by Ethnicity, 2006

Group Critical Reading Mathematics Writing
American Indian 487 494 474
Asian 510 578 512
African American 434 429 428
Mexican American 454 465 452
Puerto Rican 459 456 448
Other Hispanic 458 463 450
White 527 536 519
Other 494 513 493
Race unknown 487 506 482
All 503 518 497

Also consistent with past years, men outscored women — 505 to 502 on critical reading and 536 to 502 on mathematics. But women had higher mean scores — 502 to 491 — on the new writing test. In some areas, subgroups of women outperformed men. For example, black women outscored black men on critical reading.

In most recent years, the total number of people taking the SAT has generally increased, but that was not the case this year, when there was a slight drop — of just under 10,000 students — out of a total of more than 1.4 million students who took the exam. During the press briefing, College Board officials insisted that the decline was not significant and that data indicated that it was across the board and not linked to any demographic group.

College Board data, however, show that the share of SAT test takers from the lowest income groups declined this year, while the share from the highest income group increased.

SAT Population by Income Level, 2005-6

Income Level % of Test Takers 2005 % of Test Takers 2006
Less Than $10,000 5 4
$10,000-$20,000 8 7
$20,000-$30,000 9 8
$30,000-$40,000 10 10
$40,000-$50,000 9 8
$50,000-$60,000 9 9
$60,000-$70,000 8 8
$70,000-$80,000 8 9
$80,000-$100,000 13 13
More than $100,000 21 24

The shares of test takers for those in the three categories up to $30,000 as well as those in $40,000-$50,000 declined this year, while there were increases for $70,000-$80,000 and those from families with incomes over $100,000.

The ACT — which has been seeing increases in test takers, many of them people who also take the SAT — uses slightly different income levels for its demographic comparisons. But ACT data show that there have not been notable changes among the share of test takers from various income groups, and that a much smaller share of students (10 percent) comes from families with incomes greater than $10,000.

Camara, in an interview after the briefing, acknowledged that the numbers are striking enough to suggest that the decline in test takers may be primarily from certain economic groups, but he said more study would be needed. He said that many students incorrectly report family income so he is skeptical of reading too much into answers on that question. Camara said he pays more attention to the question about parents’ educational background.

But there too, the College Board’s data suggest that the disappearing test takers are not coming from a broad cross section of the population. From 2005 to 2006, the percentage of SAT test takers whose parents’ highest degree is a high school diploma or an associate degree declined while the percentage of SAT test takers whose parents have bachelor’s or graduate degrees increased.

Camara said it was important to figure out what these drops mean because of the need to avoid having “students fall through the cracks.”

One reason that economic demographics are important to the College Board is that the SAT mean scores follow a consistent pattern in which increases in family income correlate directly with scores.

SAT Mean Scores by Income Level, 2006

Income Level Critical Reading Mathematics Writing
Less Than $10,000 429 457 427
$10,000-$20,000 445 465 440
$20,000-$30,000 462 474 454
$30,000-$40,000 478 488 470
$40,000-$50,000 493 501 483
$50,000-$60,000 500 509 490
$60,000-$70,000 505 515 496
$70,000-$80,000 511 521 502
$80,000-$100,000 523 534 514
More than $100,000 549 564 543

This year was the first with the writing test, with the most interest in the essay portion of that test. Essays are graded by two readers, providing scores on a scale of 1 to 6 for a maximum of 12. The College Board released the following information about the first year of essays and their scoring, based on overall averages and an in-depth study the board conducted of a sample of essays:

  • Most essays received very similar scores from the two readers, with 97 percent of essays having scores that differed by one point or less. (Those with larger gaps had third readers.)
  • The average essay score was 7.2 out of 12, with women leading men 7.4 to 7.1.
  • Longer essays on average received slightly higher scores.
  • Half of the essays used first person, but average scores were slightly higher for those who did not use the first person.
  • Only 8 percent of essays used the standard five-paragraph essay structure.

What U.S. city is the binge drinkinest?
Hint: sometimes called "The Nation's Watering Hole"

"Milwaukee tops U.S. cities for drinking," PhysOrg, August 25, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75739577.html

Milwaukee, sometimes called "The Nation's Watering Hole," has been named the hardest-drinking city in America in a new Forbes.com ranking.

"America's Drunkest Cities" evaluated 35 candidate cities based on availability of data and geographic diversity, Forbes said, with the candidates chosen from among the largest metropolitan areas in the continental United States.

The study ranked each city on the basis of state laws, number of drinkers, number of heavy drinkers, number of binge drinkers and alcoholism. Each area was assigned a score based on its ranking in each category and Milwaukee came out No. 1.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey 2004 show more than 70 percent of adult Milwaukeeans reported they had had at least one alcoholic drink within 30 days. Twenty-two percent said they had engaged in binge drinking -- having five or more drinks on one occasion -- and 7.5 percent were reported as heavy drinkers.

As we approach another academic year, I want to remind professors of the following fraud that is somewhat commonplace in academe, fraud exacerbated by the need to pad annual performance reports and resumes.

Academic Conferences that Rip Off Colleges ---

I love it when jokesters intentionally submit utter nonsense, albeit clever nonsense, that passes through the pretense of having acceptance/rejection filters by some conference sponsors who in reality accept virtually every submission.

I discovered that some of my best friends go to these rip-off conferences and pay enormous registration fees using travel funds of their respective universities. Sadly, these friends are among the most popular teachers in their universities each year, teaching professors who produce virtually nothing in the way of research. They present scholarship, not research, at these phony "research" conferences and sometimes publish in the sponsor's phony journals. That way they get credit for "research" publications and "research" presentations on their resumes. Typically they show up for an hour or so to make a half-hearted presentation to an audience of three other presenters, all of whom disappear to other parts of Europe or elsewhere as soon a possible. This way they have a reimbursed vacation and two new modules on a resume (one for the presentation and one for the publication in a conference proceeding). The problem is that Donald Duck could easily be accepted for a presentation accepted for these phony conferences as long as Donald Duck pays the huge registration fee.

Even when the conferences meet, they may be fraudulent.  Generally these conferences are held in places where professors like to travel in Europe, South America, Latin America, Las Vegas, Canada, the Virgin Islands, or other nice locations for vacations that accompany a trip to a conference paid for by a professor's employer.  The professor gets credit for a presentation and possibly a publication in the conference proceedings. 

Here are some warning signs for a fraudulent conference:

  1. Even though there is a high registration fee, there are no conference-hosted receptions, luncheons, or plenary sessions.  The conference organizer is never called to account for the high registration fee.  The organizer may allude to the cost of meeting rooms in a hotel, but often the meeting rooms are free as long as the organizer can guarantee a minimum number of guest who will pay for registered rooms in the hotel.

  2. All or nearly all submissions are accepted for presentation.

  3. The only participants in most presentation audiences are generally other presenters assigned to make a presentation in the same time slot.  There is virtually no non-participating audience.  Hence only a few people are in the room and each of them take turns making a presentation.  Most are looking at their watches and hoping to get out of the room as soon as possible.

  4. Presenters present their paper and then disappear for the rest of the conference.  There is virtually no interaction among all conference presenters.

  5. The papers presented are often journal rejects that are cycled conference after conference if the professor can find a conference that will accept anything submitted on paper.  Check the dates on the references listed for each paper.  Chances are the papers have few if any references from the current decade.

  6. These conferences are almost always held in popular tourist locations and are often scheduled between semesters for the convenience of adding vacation time to the trip.  They are especially popular in the summer.


August 31, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen to a professor who proposed rating conferences.


Publishing ratings of conferences will be almost impossible due to endless debates that will arise over defining criteria.

I wish you luck if you carry through with this effort, but I think that it will be very difficult to shut down fraud conferences. Organizers of fraud conferences are very good at their craft, and the professors who attend them are desperate for new lines on dusty old resumes. The professors who attend are often very good teachers frustrated with blank spaces each year by blank spaces for evidence of research in their performance reports.

Hence, the "teachers" who attend fraud conferences will continue to do so even if you take the time and trouble to warn them. These professors want the lines on a resume and an expense-paid vacation in a terrific tourist locale. Interestingly, many of these professors justify this by truly believing that they are badly underpaid and are fully justified for reimbursed travel for R&R if nothing else.

Since you are only listing the good conferences, college deans and administrators will not necessarily be forewarned of the bad conferences since you can't be expected to list 100% of the good conferences in all fields of business, finance, and economics. Most fraud conferences in our discipline are very generic and cover all fields of business and economics. It will be very difficult to track over 1,000 conferences (most legitimate) across such a wide path.

I think the best we can do is plead with the academy, and possibly our reimbursing colleges, to demand accountability of registration fees for conferences. They should be treated a bit like charitable organizations where conference organizers must give an expense accounting and disclose how much of the conference revenues go to personal profit and "administrative expense."

Bob Jensen

What are the two most heavily endowed university research chairs in the United States?

"BMW Professors," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 25, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/25/clemson

Clemson University’s two new BMW endowed chairs are among the most well endowed chairs there are. The auto giant — which while based in Germany has a major plant in South Carolina — contributed $5 million for each one. The state matched those dollars, creating endowments for each chair to support a professor’s salary, lab, graduate students and more.

The chairs are part of BMW’s support for the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, which includes research park facilities for the university and companies and a new graduate program in automotive engineering, which enrolled its first Ph.D. students this month. An article in the International Herald Tribune Thursday used the Clemson center as an example of the increasingly close connections universities are making with businesses.

Clemson officials objected to much of the article, saying that it overstated BMW’s influence and ignored Clemson’s land grant role of promoting economic development. But the university did not dispute a brief mention in the piece to a practice that was news to the university’s Faculty Senate and is unusual in academe: letting donors of endowed chairs interview all finalists for the position.

The university portrayed the practice as perfectly normal, but many others see it as dangerous to institutional independence and academic freedom.

Chris Przirembel, Clemson’s vice president for research and economic development, said that the new automotive center, on 250 acres in Greenville, is based on a new model of university-business cooperation. “The fundamental concept that we are trying to develop is to have a research campus that is anchored by an academic program and research facility and then have land surrounding that academic anchor that will attract private sector R&D and testing facilities.” He said automotive research was important because South Carolina has attracted a number of such businesses, making the industry vital to the state.

As for the endowed chairs, Przirembel said that there was nothing inappropriate about requiring finalists to be interviewed by BMW because the final decisions were made by a university search committee. “The company does not have the opportunity to say Yes or No” on candidates, he added, just to conduct an interview and share its views with the search committee.

While the BMW chairs may not be identical to more traditional chairs, which Przirembel termed “philanthropic” chairs, Clemson has let other donors of chairs have the right to interview finalists, he said. Przirembel repeatedly expressed surprise that anyone would find it unusual that BMW got the right to hold interviews with all finalists for the chairs it endowed. He said that the chair of the search committee would verify that there was no inappropriate influence by BMW, but that chair could not be reached.

Thomas R. Kurfess, the first person hired as a BMW professor, came from the Georgia Institute of Technology and said he wasn’t bothered by the interview with the company. “This is a different model,” he said. Kurfess noted that many federal agencies want to back university research that is linked to economic development and support for industry. “It’s nice to be able to show that it’s not just the name behind the chair,” he said, but that you have “real ties to industry.”

M. Elizabeth Kunkel, the chair of Clemson’s Faculty Senate, said she was surprised that any corporate donor would have the right to interview candidates for an endowed chair. Kunkel, a professor of food science, said that faculty members were generally on board with the new automotive research program, and that industry-sponsored research is hardly unusual or controversial at the university.

Kunkel said that many parts of a faculty search process are wide open — anyone could go to a lecture by a job candidate, for example, she said. And it wouldn’t bother her if BMW showed up for such a lecture. But she said she was not aware that all finalists had to be interviewed by BMW for the endowed chairs. If true, she said, “it would cause me some concern.”

Rae Goldsmith, vice president of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, said that she had heard of colleges allowing donors to interview endowed chair candidates “as a courtesy.” Goldsmith said that she did not have data on how widespread the practice is, but said it was not the norm. Typically, donors of endowed chairs do select the subject matter of the chair (mechanical engineering, French literature or whatever) but not the person who will hold the chair.

“The donor can’t have any say over the final decision,” Goldsmith said. Even if the university retains that control, she added, requiring an interview with a donor “raises perception issues” such that colleges “should be very careful.”

Added Goldsmith: “There can be real risks in perception among the candidates and the members of the search committee. Is there implied control of the choice by the donor because of the capacity to make future gifts?”

Roger Bowen, general secretary of the American Association of University Professors, called the Clemson arrangement with BMW “very worrisome and inappropriate” in that it “adds another dimension to the corporatization of the academy: letting corporate donors influence what should be a purely academic decision.” Such a policy, he said, “is not a good idea unless you are indifferent to academic integrity.”

Told that Clemson administrators described the arrangement as normal, Bowen said, “This approach may work in Bavaria, but it should not be condoned here. Donors may designate the academic discipline they wish to fund, but the decision on who to hire should be left to a search committee composed of faculty members.”

"BMW’s Custom-Made University," by Lynnley Browning, The New York Times, August 30, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/29/business/worldbusiness/29bmw.html

In return for the largest cash donation ever received by the school, Clemson gave the company some unusual privileges, including a hand in developing a course of study. Clemson’s president drives a silver BMW X5 sport utility vehicle, compliments of BMW, whose only North American plant is 50 miles away.

At Clemson’s urging, BMW in large part created the curriculum for an automotive graduate engineering school. The company also drew up profiles of its ideal students; it gave Clemson, a state-supported university, a list of professors and specialists to interview, and even had approval rights over the school’s architectural look.

With its first students to be in class this fall, the project, known as the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, is a particularly rich example of cooperation between a multinational corporation and a university. Several automotive suppliers, including Michelin, the tire company, and the Timken Company, a maker of bearings, have also contributed financing to the project, in part by endowing professorships at the new graduate school.

But BMW is the lead player. Details about the arrangement between Clemson and BMW have emerged from a lawsuit brought last year by a Florida developer who claims the university had signed a deal with him to start an automotive center.

Continued in article

Does freezing while still alive improve the odds of ultimate revival? (Answer not given in the study below)
An Australian biologist has won approval from health authorities to build the region's first cryonics centre for freezing people when they die in the hope of revival in the future, reports said Sunday.
PhysOrg, August 27, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75883023.html

Debunking Conventional Wisdom on Student Borrowing
A report issued Tuesday by the Project on Student Debt finds that conventional wisdom isn’t necessarily correct when it comes to how much students borrow. The project sponsors research that tends to be highly critical of policies that result in high borrowing levels. The report’s theme is that paying attention to debt issues — through generous state aid programs, or rethinking the mix of loans and grants in financial aid packages — can seriously reduce debt levels, even at high tuition institutions.
Scott Jaschik, "Debunking Conventional Wisdom on Debt," Inside Higher Ed, August 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/30/debt

I always suspected that I only had one memory molecule
"Scientists Find Memory Molecule," PhysOrg, August 27, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75883856.html

Earth Tilted to Keep It's Balance?: Drunks have long known about balance tilting maneuvers
Imagine a shift in the Earth so profound that it could force our entire planet to spin on its side after a few million years, tilting it so far that Alaska would sit at the equator.
"Planet Earth may have 'tilted' to keep its balance," PhysOrg, August 25, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75725492.html
Jensen Question
Is it too soon to plant palm trees in my New Hampshire lawn?

From The Washington Post on August 29, 2006

Which Web brand had the fastest growth between July 2005 and July 2006?

B. Partypoker.com
D. Wikipedia

Can you hear the grumble all the way from Redmond?

"Google Releasing Package for the Office," PhysOrg, August 28, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75965059.html

Gmail is headed for the office - officially. Starting Monday, Google will offer Google Apps for Your Domain, a free package of programs for businesses, universities and other organizations.

Workers will be able to send e-mail with Gmail, Google's two-year-old Web-based mail service, but messages will carry their company's domain name. The package also includes Google's online calendar, instant-messaging service, and Page Creator, a Web page builder.

Information technology administrators can make some customizations. "But really, the applications are exactly what you'd experience as a consumer if you use them," said Dave Girouard, VP and general manager of Google Enterprise, a division of Google Inc.

The free edition of Apps for Your Domain is, like Google's main site, supported with ads. By the end of the year, the company also plans to launch a paid version that will offer more storage, some degree of support, and likely, no ads. A price for this edition hasn't been set.

Providing e-mail and other applications for businesses moves Google closer into what has traditionally been turf occupied by Microsoft Corp. Earlier this year, Google released a program that builds simple Excel-type spreadsheets but lets users access them on the Web.

Now, with e-mail, Google appears to be targeting Microsoft's Outlook and Exchange franchises - although the company plays down any such views.

"We don't see our products as an either/or thing right now," Girouard said. "Smaller businesses, it may be the case where this is the preferred e-mail and messaging solution. In larger companies, it may well be used alongside."

In February, Google launched a beta test with San Jose City College in California; by the end of the beta, the company said hundreds of universities had signed up, along with one-person businesses, medical and legal practices, even some companies with tens and hundreds of employees.

For all of Google's side projects - spreadsheets, shopping, maps - its revenue is almost entirely based on its search advertising.

While Girouard said the market for enterprise e-mail and other products is very large, he declined to speculate on the financial implications. "We tend to focus first on user adoption," he said. "The business model follows pretty successfully."

For businesses, Google hopes the suite of applications will relieve some of the cost and annoyance of administering e-mail servers and the like - and hopefully, fewer calls to internal help centers.

After AOL's recent data privacy debacle, businesses may have qualms turning their employees' data over to Google.

"Third-party hosting providers aren't necessarily any more risky than their own companies," said Girouard. "Google has hosted applications and information for individuals, and is starting to do it for organizations. We do have a very good track record," he said.

"China's Ministry of Commerce Releases Trade Plan," International Accountant, August 25, 2006 --- http://www.aia.org.uk/InternationalAccountant.htm?News/IAfullStory.php?id=50974

The Ministry of Commerce recently issued the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) on China's trade development, aimed at promoting foreign trade.

According to the plan, during the five-year period the annual average growth rate of sales revenue for both consumer goods and production is forecast at about 11 percent.

The annual average growth rate of sales for retail, wholesale and the catering industry is estimated at about 9 percent, while sales revenue from retail, wholesale and the catering sector is expected to account for about 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

By 2010, China's foreign trade sector is expected to employ 71 million people, accounting for 5.2 percent of the nation's population.

The annual average growth rate of local chain stores is expected to reach 21 percent, while the proportion of their sales compared to consumer goods is expected to be 25 percent.

The report also predicts that about 15 to 20 local trade companies will become national and international influential brands by the end of 2010, while a slew of regional giants are expected to emerge.


Students Who Attempt to Murder Their Professors
Police have charged a former graduate student, who was forced to leave a program at Loyola College in Maryland, of setting fire to a former professor’s home Thursday night, The York Daily Record reported. The professor and his family were asleep at the time, but escaped unharmed. While attempts by disgruntled students and former students to kill professors are rare, they do happen, and typically the murderers are male.
Inside Higher Ed, August 28, 2006

Richard Sansing sent a link reminding of us an even worse murder scene in 1991 at the University of Iowa --- http://www.uiowa.edu/~fyi/issues/issues2001_v39/10192001/november.html

August 28, 2006 reply from MacEwan Wright, Victoria University [Mac.Wright@VU.EDU.AU]

It doesn't have to be USA or a PhD student. An undergraduate honours student attending his last tutorial at Monash University in Melbourne shot up his fellow students in the tutorial room, late October, 2002 killing two and wounding four, and the Professor, who then disarmed him. He is now in a Psychiatric hospital, and will probably end his days there.

Kind regards,
Mac Wright

August 29, 2006 reply from Roger Collins [rcollins@TRU.CA]

And not just students either...

I left Concordia University in Montreal for my present position in July 1992. Just over a month later an engineering prof at Concordia walked up to the 9th floor and shot four other profs dead - a secretary was wounded but survived.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concordia _University under Fabrikant Affair

What the Wikipedia doesn't say is that Fabrikant had a history of making threats which the University had not (in retrospect) dealt with effectively; also, he had accused others of plagiarising his work. A report on the incident was scathing in its criticism of senior University administrators.


Roger Collins
TRU School of Business


Common Investment Mistakes

From Jim Mahar's blog on August 24, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

Could almost be called "Behavioral Finance in Practice" by the Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Clements from MoneyWeb:

Some look-ins:
  • ""People tend to buy the investments they wish they had bought last year," says Terrance Odean, a finance professor at the University of California at Berkeley. "Partly, people simply extrapolate the past trend. But also, people feel that the markets are more predictable than they really are."
If we were rational, we would grow leery as an investment rises in price, because we are now paying more for the same investment. Instead, however, we are drawn to hot stocks and hot mutual funds, because we assume that the future will look like the immediate past."
  • "Rather than accepting that market conditions have changed, home sellers today are often fixated on the price they paid or the price they could have gotten at the market peak. Indeed, whether it is real estate or stocks, folks like to "get even, then get out."

    This, of course, is partly about making money. But it is also about avoiding regret"
  • "According to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. savings rate turned negative over the three months through June 2005 and it has remained that way ever since.

    Partly, this reflects our struggle with self-control. Instead of rationally socking away money on a regular basis, we prefer to spend today and put off saving until tomorrow.

    I suspect the negative savings rate, however, is also driven by our overconfidence"
As always Clements offers some good advice in a readable fashion.

Just Another in a Long Line of Prudential Rip-Offs
Prudential to Cough Up $600 million to settle charges of Improper Mutual Fund Trading

"Brokerage unit admits criminal wrongdoing, DOJ says," by Alistair Barr & Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch, August 29, 2006 --- http://www.the-catbird-seat.net/Prudential.htm

Prudential Financial Inc.'s brokerage unit agreed on Monday to pay $600 million to settle charges that former employees defrauded mutual fund investors by helping clients rapidly trade funds.

The payment -- the largest market-timing settlement involving a single firm -- ends civil and criminal probes and allegations by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and several other regulators including New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Prudential Equity Group, a subsidiary of Prudential Financial (PRU) admitted criminal wrongdoing as part of its agreement with the Justice Department. Prudential Equity Group was formerly known as Prudential Securities.

Prudential will pay $270 million to victims of the fraud, a $300 million criminal penalty to the U.S. government, a $25 million fine to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and a $5 million civil penalty to the state of Massachusetts, according to the Justice Department.

"Prudential to Pay Fine in Trading," by Landen Thomas Jr., The New York Times, August 29, 2006 --- Click Here

Prudential Financial, the life insurance company, agreed yesterday to pay  with federal and state regulators that one of its units engaged in inappropriate mutual fund trading.

The payment, the second-largest levied against a financial institution over the practice, may bring to a close a three-year investigation into the improper trading of mutual funds that has ensnared some of the largest names on Wall Street and the mutual fund industry.

The settlement with the Justice Department, which covers trades totaling more than $2.5 billion made from 1999 to 2000, is also the first in the market timing scandal in which an institution has admitted to criminal wrongdoing.

Such a concession by Prudential, part of a deferred prosecution agreement that will last five years, underscores the extent to which the improper trading practices were not only widespread at Prudential Securities, but also condoned by its top executives, despite repeated complaints from the mutual fund companies.

Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

Wall Street Remains Rotten to the Core
The boom in corporate mergers is creating concern that illicit trading ahead of deal announcements is becoming a systemic problem. It is against the law to trade on inside information about an imminent merger, of course. But an analysis of the nation’s biggest mergers over the last 12 months indicates that the securities of 41 percent of the companies receiving buyout bids exhibited abnormal and suspicious trading in the days and weeks before those deals became public. For those who bought shares during these periods of unusual trading, quick gains of as much as 40 percent were possible.
Gretchen Morgenson, "Whispers of Mergers Set Off Suspicious Trading," The New York Times, August 27, 2006 ---
Click Here

Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

The Investment Banker Who Got Away to Start Another Day
The (Frank Quattrone) deal marks the end of a sorry chapter in American business history. While high-profile white-collar crime persists, the dramatic criminal cases that were launched just after the dotcom economy fizzled are now mostly completed. The icons of massive, turn-of-the-century corporate fraud--Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling of Enron, Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom, Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz of Tyco--are convicted and, in Lay's case, dead. Even Martha Stewart has served time. And many, if not most, of the cases the feds brought against smaller fish--to help assuage a share-owning public that had been scammed by phony accounting and overhyped stock--are resolved. The government claims that since mid-2002 it has won more than 1,000 corporate-fraud convictions, including those of more than 100 CEOs and presidents.
Barbara Kiviat, "The One Who Got Away:  The decision to abandon a high-profile case against a dotcom poster boy marks the end of a sorry era,"  Time Magazine, August 27, 2006 --- Click Here

Mr. Quattrone's rise shows how some who were on the inside during the tech boom piled up huge fortunes in part through special access, unavailable to other investors, to the machinery of that era's frenzied stock market. But now he faces a crunch. The steep yearlong downturn in tech stocks has hurt the profits of his technology group. And in recent weeks, the group he heads has come under scrutiny in connection with a federal probe into whether some investment-bank employees awarded shares of hot IPOs in exchange for unusually high commissions, and whether those commissions amounted to kickbacks.
Susan Pulliam and Randall Smith, The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2003 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB988836228231147483,00.html?mod=2_1040_1

Bob Jensen's threads on investment banking scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#InvestmentBanking

It appears that thousands of CEOs were allowed by their boards to bet on yesterday's horse race
In theory, directors are supposed to help keep wayward practices like options backdating in check at most companies, but at Mercury it was the directors themselves — who received a final seal of approval from the company’s compensation committee — who kept the backdating ball rolling. Now, as federal investigations of possible regulatory and accounting violations related to options backdating have expanded to include more than 80 companies. Mercury’s pay practices — and the actions of the three outside directors on its compensation and audit committees — have come under scrutiny. In late June, the Securities and Exchange Commission advised the three men that it was considering filing a civil complaint against them in connection with dozens of manipulated options grants.
Eric Dash, "Who Signed Off on Those Options?" The New York Times, August 27, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/27/business/yourmoney/27mercury.html

Bob Jensen's threads on executive options compensation scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm

Macalester College Math Problem of the Week --- http://mathforum.org/wagon/

Stan Wagon, a professor in the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Macalester College, poses a mathematics problem to his students every week. The Problem of the Week tradition was started in 1968 by the late Professor Joe Konhauser. Professor Wagon took over in 1993. Since the problems are meant to be accessible to first-year college students, very little background is needed to understand or solve them.

These problems are also sent out by electronic mail. To join the mailing list, send a message to:

with just the words
    subscribe macpow
in the body.

In addition to the Problem of the Week, Professor Wagon also organizes the annual Konhauser Problemfest.

Student votes are largely symbolic on campus
I'm a bit surprised this vote to fire Ward Churchill was even taken.

The University of Colorado student union voted Thursday in support of firing tenured ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill.
Anna Uhls, "CU student union votes to fire Churchill," County News, August 25, 2006 --- Click Here

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

SUVs and trucks have relatively high fuel efficiency if they have diesel engines
 "Early in 2007 Ford will begin selling diesel versions of its F-250 and F-350 pick up trucks that will use the new cleaner diesel fuel,according to the Detroit News. Ford also announced a larger diesel engine for its Super Duty line. The optional 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel engine but will have be more fuel efficient than its predecessor . . . We'd be saving lots of oil if we did like the Europeans and drove as many of the more fuel efficient diesels as gasoline vehicles. I'd also like to see some diesel SUVs that could get closer to 30 mpg.
"Ford Picks Up Diesel Pace," Wired News, August 23, 2006 --- http://blog.wired.com/cars/#1543816

"From India business schools to top of world's boardrooms," International Herald Tribune, August 24, 2006 --- http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/08/23/bloomberg/bxindia.php

Two Irishmen Claim They've Invented Perpetual Motion and Unlimited Free Energy
In Steorn's theory, fixed magnets could act upon a moving magnet in such a way as to make it a virtual perpetual motion generator. In an electrical appliance - a computer, kettle, mobile phone or toy - that would provide all the power for its lifetime. Of course, free-energy cars, power plants and water-pumping systems could follow. A better world indeed. So, as they prepare to demonstrate this wonder of science to me at their modest offices near the Liffey, I feel all the excitement of Christmas Day. There is a test rig with wheels and cogs and four magnets meticulously aligned so as to create the maximum tension between their fields and one other magnet fixed to a point opposite. A motor rotates the wheel bearing the magnets and a computer takes 28,000 measurements a second. The magnets, naturally, act upon one another. And when it is all over, the computer tells us that almost three times the amount of energy has come out of the system as went in. In fact, this piece of equipment is 285% efficient. That's a lot of "free energy" and, supposedly, a slap in the face for one of physics' most basic laws, the principle of conservation of energy: in an isolated system (the planet, say), energy can be neither created nor destroyed; it can only be converted from one form into another.
"These men think they're about to change the world," Guardian, August 25, 2006 --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,1858134,00.html
Jensen Comment
John Kenneth Galbraith once said that the Irish should stick to poetry.

From the Scout Report on August 18, 2006

Boston African American Project http://www.bostonafricanamericana.org/ 

Several years ago, the Boston Athenaeum received a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create an online digital archive of materials related to the lives of African Americans in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Drawing on their own holdings, along with those of The Massachusetts Historical Society and The Bostonian Society, they proved up to the task, and this lovely website is proof of their substantial labors. First-time visitors will want to look at the project overview description to get a sense of the materials that are available here, and after that, they should dive right into the "Collection at a Glance" area. Here they can look over abolition-era broadsheets, political cartoons, illustrations, and some rather evocative portraits of urban life.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Ecosystems Research Division --- http://www.epa.gov/AthensR/ 

Located in Athens, Georgia, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency's Ecosystems Research Division performs research on "approaches to multimedia modeling for landscape, nutrient and chemical stressors of ecosystems." While all of this may sound tremendously complicated, their site does a great job of explaining their work in jargon-free language, along with providing access to their scholarly and research-minded endeavors. On their homepage, visitors can view their latest press releases, take a look at some general EPA resources (such as a chemical contamination calculator), and information about their public seminars. Their "Highlighted Research" area is the one that will be of most interest to the general public, as it contains information on their latest work on such matters as oil spills, gasoline consumption, and brownfields reclamation efforts around the country.

Playing House: Homemaking for Children http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/History/subcollections/ChildHomeEcAbout.shtml 

The world of American domesticity in the late 19th and early 20th century was one that placed a premium on oversight of many aspects of the home. While many instructional devices (such as books and manuals) were created to instruct women in the fine arts of cookery, laundry, and other areas, there were equivalent materials created for young girls. As part of their ongoing work, the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections project has created this digital collection that brings together several of these manuals from this period. All told, the collection contains five such works, including Elizabeth Hale Gilman's "Things Girls Like To Do" from 1917 and her oft- cited work from 1916, "Housekeeping". Each work can be viewed in its entirety, and visitors can also perform searches across the entire collection.

Hotel & Motel Management: Human Resources/Training http://www.hotelmotel.com/hotelmotel/article/articleList.jsp?categoryId=1235 

The world of hotel and motel management is one that has its peaks and valleys, much like any other part of the tourism industry. A number of print publications have been expanding their online offerings as of late, and Hotel & Motel Management is definitely part of this trend. Recently, they began to place some of their archived articles online, including those that deal with on-site dining operations, pest control, and transportation. Another section that is most intriguing is the area of the site that contains the well-written and timely articles on human resources and training in the industry. With pieces on the benefits of training front desk staff and taking advantage of a diverse staff, this resource could be well used by instructors in a hospitality classroom setting or for those seeking professional development updates.

Mozilla Firefox --- http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/ 

Users who may have never tried Mozilla Firefox may want to give this latest version a go, and those who already know the browser well will find several noteworthy new features here. Along with features designed for sophisticated web-browsing, this version of Firefox allows users to reorder tabs by dragging and dropping them. Additionally, cleaning up one's surfing history has gotten even simpler. Of course, users will still find such popular features embedded in the application, including RSS feeds and a download manager. This version of Firefox is compatible with computers running Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, and XP.

SharpReader ---  http://www.sharpreader.net/ 

Many savvy computer users use RSS aggregators on a regular basis, and SharpReader may be yet another such device that is worth examining. Along with performing the normal wrangling task of keeping various feeds in order, SharpReader also detects and shows connected items together in a threaded fashion. Finally, the application can also group subscribed feeds into custom categories. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, and XP.

Links for Immigration Studies from the Scout Report on August 18, 2006

Report reveals immigrants coming to live in a wider range of locales throughout the United States Immigrants now head all over the U.S. --- http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/news/15276948.htm

Area immigrants top 1 million--- Click Here

More foreign-born calling Indy home ---

NPR: Pennsylvania Town Takes Stand Against Immigrants ---

Census Bureau Data Show Key Population Changes Across Nation --- http://www.census.gov/

Pew Hispanic Center  --- http://pewhispanic.org/

Forum: How has the influx of immigrants to the U.S. changed the political and cultural landscape?http://news.blogs.nytimes.com/?p=22#respond

From the Mayor's Desk --- http://www.hazletoncity.org/illegal_immigration_petition.htm

Where do you look first when things are stolen in New Orleans?
In its mostly abandoned Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans is building a memorial to Hurricane Katrina victims. On Aug. 16, more than $100,000 worth of construction equipment was delivered to the site; by the morning of the 19th, it was stolen from under the noses of National Guardsmen assigned to protect it. Authorities haven't a clue who stole the machinery or where they took it . . . New Orleans is scheduled to dedicate its Katrina memorial today. If it isn't soon destroyed or stolen, it will stand as a monument to the madness of people who believe if they throw enough money at America's Atlantis, they can defeat the merciless forces of geology, meteorology and time.
Editorial, Republican American, August 27, 2006 --- http://www.rep-am.com/story.php?id=11751
Jensen Comment
When something gets stolen in New Orleans the first place to look is in the police department. I think some "authorities" have a clue.

We're not talking little kids here when we read that "kids" embarrass their parents on blogs
"Many of them don't think they are committing public acts by posting a blog, but the power of search is that it makes it pretty darn easy to find," said Lee Rainey, founding director of Pew. Parents and increasingly school systems are warning children about the implications of posting things on MySpace, for example, he said. But parents are only starting to become aware of their own vulnerability, he said. "Things that used to be inside familiars or within a small audience now have a global audience."
Yuki Noguchi, "Kids Say the Darndest Things in Their Blogs For Parents, It Can Be Embarrassing," The Washington Post, August 22, 2006 --- Click Here 

Somehow this University of Texas study outcome does not surprise me since I think writing about many things helps me appreciate them more. But negative things that I write about something probably increase my negativism.

"Study shows writing about a romantic relationship may help it last longer," PhysOrg, August 22, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75484695.html

Writing about one’s romantic relationship may help it last longer, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin report in this month’s issue of Psychological Science.

In a study titled “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Words,” Psychology Professor James Pennebaker and graduate student Richard Slatcher analyzed writing samples from 86 couples. One person from each couple was instructed to write for 20 minutes a day for three consecutive days. Volunteers in one group wrote about their daily activities while those in the second group wrote about their deepest thoughts and feelings about the relationship. The participants’ dating partners did not complete any writing task.

The researchers found that 77 percent of volunteers who wrote about their relationship were still dating their partner three months later. In contrast, only 52 percent of people who wrote just about everyday activities stayed with their partner.

The study also showed that those who wrote about their relationship used more words expressing positive emotions such as “happy" and "love" in Instant Message (IM) exchanges with their dating partner during the days following the writing.

“These results demonstrate that people who express more emotion, both in their writing and to their partner, may have the power to improve their relationship’s longevity,” Pennebaker says.

Monitoring IM conversations allowed the researchers to examine the ebb and flow of the participants’ daily conversations in their natural setting, and provided insight into the progression of the relationships after the writing. For example, couples who used more words expressing positive emotions in their IMs after the writing period were more likely to stay together down the road.

Pennebaker and Slatcher believe the connection between writing and improving one’s relationship may extend beyond the realm of dating couples.

“That people may enhance their romantic relationships by simply writing down their thoughts and feelings about those relationships has clear implications,” Pennebaker says. “The use of expressive writing as a tool for relationship enhancement could be applied to those in families, circles of friends and even work groups.”

There's certainly no surprise in this Iowa State University study outcome.
Democratic presidential prospects have targeted the world's largest retailer for its business and employment tactics. Last week, Wal-Mart posted its first profit decline in a decade. But according to an Iowa State University professor who has researched the chain's grocery division, Wal-Mart remains as strong as ever in grocery because of its efficient supply chain management strategies that allows it to offer lower prices to consumers. The retail giant is known for driving down prices throughout an area, and driving out some local competition in the process.
"Wal-Mart can be good news, bad news to communities, ISU researcher says," PhysOrg, August 22, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75483161.html
Jensen Comment
And just guess what happened to most New Hampshire Wal-Mart parking spaces when Vermont put the kabash on building of new Wal-Mart stores? Nothing but green license plates as far as the eye can see! And Wal-Mart is building new stores in New Hampshire alongside states like Maine and Massachusetts that did not deliberately put the kabash on new Wal-Mart stores. But guess what? New Hampshire is the only state that did not up the legal minimum wage when all other New England state set minimum wages much higher than the Federal requirement.

"More Than Ivy in U.S. News’ College Rankings," AccountingWeb, August 22, 2006 ---

Breaking a three year tie with Harvard, Princeton ranked first among National Universities in U.S. News and World Report’s annual guide “America’s Best Colleges”. It is the seventh straight year Princeton had been at least tied for the top ranking. National Universities are only one of the four categories of colleges and universities ranked by the guide.

College presidents pay close attention to the annual rankings but question how much they actually say about the quality of education at any institution. Betsy Muhlenfeld, president of Sweet Briar College, a liberal arts school in Virginia, told the Lynchburg News and Advance that in many ways the rankings miss the point. “It says nothing about whether the college actually delivers or whether student learning is actually taking place.” But, she added, “We want to make sure that the public perception of the college does not fall.”

The comprehensive guide ranks 248 National Universities with undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs, 217 Liberal Arts Colleges, 557 Masters Universities, which have masters’ degree programs and 320 Comprehensive Colleges which grant fewer than 50 percent of their degrees in the liberal arts. The Master’s Universities, Liberal Arts colleges, and Comprehensive Colleges are also given rankings by region.

The model for ranking assigns weighted values to peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty and financial resources, selectivity and alumni giving. The most important ranking, given a weight of 25 percent of the total, is the peer assessment, U.S. News says.

Liberty University’s founder, the Reverend Jerry Falwell, was pleased that the school was included in the ranking this year for the first time. The university in Lynchburg, Virginia, was ranked 105th in the Southern Region among the Master’s universities and is also profiled in U.S. News and World Report. “We have worked for years to build our numbers, to build our finances, to build our athletic programs and to erect our buildings,” he said, according to the News and Advance.

Other schools that were less happy with their ranking included the University of Arkansas, which remained in the third tier of National Universities this year, a category assigned to the lowest ranking quarter of each group, according to a report in the Northwest Arkansas Morning News. The third tier is not numbered. Arkansas has had a low six-year graduation rate, 56 percent, and high acceptance rates, admitting 87 percent of applicants. While faring somewhat better, with a numbered ranking in the first tier, the University of Arizona was tied for 98 with several other schools, hurt this year also by low retention and graduation rates, the Arizona Republic says.

“Overall, private colleges and universities do better on several measures in our ranking model,” U. S. News and Report says, “including student selectivity, graduation and retention rates, and class size.” The top-ranked public university was the University of California at Berkeley.

Graduate programs in business and engineering are ranked separately. The top business schools among the national universities were University of Pennsylvania (Wharton), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan), University of California – Berkeley (Hass) and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The last two schools are public universities.

All of the top colleges, nationally and regionally, in the Comprehensive Colleges and Master’s Universities categories offer accounting programs, although these programs are not ranked. Villanova University in Pennsylvania, Rollins College in Florida, James Madison University in Virginia, Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Carroll College in Montana are among the highest ranking schools in these categories. Most national universities also offer accounting programs.

Brigham Young University (BYU) was cited for its undergraduate accounting program, which ranked fifth among the unspecified specialty categories, deseretnews reports. BYU also ranked 12th nationally with students and graduates having the lowest debt burden. “This is something we take very seriously at BYU,” spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said. “We even provide a program for our students that that can analyze their financial situation and determine if it is wise for them to go into debt and how much, looking to how much they’ll make when they graduate and the cost of the debt when they graduate.”

BYU ranked 19th on a separate national universities list of “Great Schools, Great Prices,” along with Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT, Stanford, Duke and Brown, deseretnews reports. “We are particularly pleased in the company we share on that list,” Jenkins said.

U.S. News sends out an extensive questionnaire each year to all accredited four-year colleges and universities, and schools report their information directly to the publication.

Bob Jensen's threads on the controversies surrounding media rankings of colleges are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings

More Ivy at Yahoo: Future Depends on Fundamental Research by Academics

"Lab Test:  Hoping to Overtake Its Rivals, Yahoo Stocks Up on Academics Economists and Search Gurus Fill New Research Team; Data-Rich Fantasy Land Looming Privacy Concerns," by Kevin J. Delaney, The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2006; Page A1 --- Click Here

Yahoo was blindsided by Google's sophisticated Web search. One of Yahoo's advertising-sales techniques also underperforms its rival's, and when Yahoo said last month that a revamp would be delayed, the company's stock fell 22%, its largest-ever one-day drop. Despite having one of the world's biggest user bases, Yahoo hasn't fully benefited from hot phenomena such as online video and social networking, a service offered by sites such as MySpace.com.

The research push, "has huge consequences for the business if we do things right," says Usama Fayyad, Yahoo's chief data officer.

Central to Yahoo's goal is its ability to record what millions of consumers do every day, and to study how changes to the company's Web services affect their behavior. Internet companies in the past have largely lacked the systems and focus to mine data for research, but now they're viewing it as a key competitive pursuit. For economists, Web operations are data-rich fantasy lands where they can observe in real-time the behavior of millions of consumers in varied marketplaces far more effectively than ever before.

One potential obstacle to collecting and analyzing a vast amount of data is customer privacy, particularly in the wake of concerns stirred up by Time Warner Inc.'s AOL unit earlier this summer. It inadvertently released a slew of information relating to users' search queries.

In addition, tech companies have a mixed record of translating research into profit. Xerox Corp.'s Palo Alto Research Center is widely credited with inventing several key features of modern computing in the 1970s. But it was Apple Computer Inc. and others that capitalized. Google, with such cautionary tales in mind, sprinkles researchers through its product groups, supplementing a small, standalone research unit. Some Yahoo staffers question whether the company's engineers have the time or inclination to implement ideas from the research team.

Continued in article

I hope there's a special place in hell for Bruce D. Hopfengardner

"Ex-officer admits kickbacks in Iraq," Fredericksburg.com, August 26, 2006 ---  http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2006/082006/08262006/216968

A former U.S. Army Reserve officer from Spotsylvania County admitted yesterday that he steered millions of dollars in Iraq-reconstruction contracts in trade for jewelry, computers, cigars and sexual favors.

Bruce D. Hopfengardner, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud.

Hopfengardner served as a special adviser to the U.S.-led occupation, recommending funding for projects on law-enforcement facilities in Iraq.

He admitted conspiring with Philip H. Bloom, a U.S. citizen with businesses in Romania, Robert J. Stein Jr., a former Defense Department contract official, and others to create a corrupt bidding process that included the theft of $2 million in reconstruction money.

Hopfengardner is the first military officer to plead guilty in the conspiracy. Bloom and Stein already have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the scheme.

Hopfengardner's role was to recommend that the Coalition Provisional Authority fund projects to demolish the Ba'ath Party headquarters, rebuild a police academy and construct various other facilities.

Bloom, who controlled companies in Iraq and Romania, bid on projects using dummy corporations. Stein ensured that one of the firms was awarded the contract, according to court documents.

The businessman allegedly showered Hopfengardner and Stein with cash, cars, premium airline seats, jewelry, alcohol and even sexual favors from women at his Baghdad villa.

"A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army today admits to a disturbing abuse of his position, in scheming with others to defraud the government for their own personal and financial gain," Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said in a statement.

Court papers said Hopfengardner demanded that Bloom pay for a white 2004 GMC Yukon Denali with a sandstone interior. At Hopfengardner's request, Bloom also allegedly paid the air fare for Hopfengardner and his wife to travel from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., while he was on leave in January 2004.

E-mails that prosecutors made public in April show that Bloom told his employees to spare no expense in satisfying the officials who controlled contracts in the CPA's regional office in Hillah, about 50 miles south of Baghdad.

As part of the plea agreement, Hopfengardner surrendered a car, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, camera equipment, a Breitling watch valued at $5,700 and a computer. He also agreed to forfeit $144,500, prosecutors said.

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

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

Latest Headlines on August 25, 2006

Latest Headlines on August 26, 2006

Latest Headlines on August 29, 2006

Latest Headlines on August 30, 2006


News Flash:  Epilepsy Seizures May Become a Thing of the Past
Researchers at MIT are developing a device that could detect and prevent epileptic seizures before they become debilitating. Epilepsy affects about 50 million people worldwide, and while anticonvulsant medications can reduce the frequency of seizures, the drugs are ineffective for as many as one in three patients. The new treatment builds on an existing treatment for epilepsy, the Cyberonics Inc. vagus nerve stimulator (VNS), which is often used in patients who do not respond to drugs. A defibrillator typically implanted under the patient's collar bone stimulates the left vagus nerve about every five minutes, which has been shown to help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in many patients.
"Epilepsy breakthrough on horizon," PhysOrg, August 31, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76257854.html

News Flash:  Baldness (at least some kinds) May Become a Thing of the Past
In a finding that could help treat an inherited form of baldness, a research team in Britain said Wednesday it has discovered a protein "code" that instructs cells to sprout hair. By sending the code to more cells than usual, the scientists at the University of Manchester in northwest England say they were able to breed mice with more fur -- a feat that could potentially be replicated in humans.
"Scientists in Britain report baldness breakthrough," PhysOrg, August 31, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76183228.html

Sunscreens can damage skin, researchers find
Are sunscreens always beneficial, or can they be detrimental to users? A research team led by UC Riverside chemists reports that unless people out in the sun apply sunscreen often, the sunscreen itself can become harmful to the skin. When skin is exposed to sunlight, ultraviolet radiation (UV) is absorbed by skin molecules that then can generate harmful compounds, called reactive oxygen species or ROS, which are highly reactive molecules that can cause "oxidative damage." For example, ROS can react with cellular components like cell walls, lipid membranes, mitochondria and DNA, leading to skin damage and increasing the visible signs of aging.
"Sunscreens can damage skin, researchers find," PhysOrg, August 29, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76031408.html

Early warning for schizophrenia found in spinal fluid
There is currently no diagnostic test for schizophrenia, which affects around one in every 100 people. Diagnosis of the condition through clinical interviews and patient observations can be difficult and time-consuming, due to its wide range of symptoms and its similarity to other mental disorders . . . The study, published today in PLoS Medicine, shows that newly diagnosed schizophrenic patients have higher levels of glucose in their brain and spinal fluid than healthy individuals. Scientists hope these findings could be used for early diagnosis and treatment of the condition and could help them to develop more effective drugs.
PhysOrg, August 22, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75475660.html

Self-harm 'most pressing health issue for teenage girls
In the survey of more than 6,000 pupils aged 15 and 16, girls were four times more likely to have engaged in self-harm than boys. Three per cent of boys were harming themselves last year, compared with 11 per cent of girls.
Sarah Womack, "Self-harm 'most pressing health issue for teenage girls'," London Telegraph, August 23, 2006 --- Click Here

"Health Tip: Soothe the Itch of Hives:  How to stay comfortable until they go away," HealthDay, August 23, 2006 --- http://www.healthday.com/view.cfm?id=534449

Hives are red, welt-like bumps that appear on the skin as a result of an allergic reaction to a drug, food or other substance. While they should go away without treatment, hives can be very irritating, itchy and even painful.

The National Library of Medicine offers these tips on how to reduce discomfort while waiting for hives to heal:

* An over-the-counter antihistamine will help control itching. Your doctor may also prescribe an antihistamine or give you a shot.

* Dab calamine lotion on the welts. This should help your skin feel cooler, less irritated, and reduce some itching. * Place a cool compress over your skin to soothe pain, itchiness and swelling. Try taking a cool bath if the hives cover your body.

* Don't take a hot bath or shower -- the hot water may only irritate the skin.

* Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.

What do we call many snuff addicts?


"Study: Snuff users tend to obesity," PhysOrg, August 25, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75739621.html
Jensen Comment
Of course this begs the age-old correlation research question of whether snuff causes obesity or whether obese persons tend to turn to other cravings like snus to reduce their desire to constantly eat. This makes a good example to use in class when explaining cause versus correlation if Yate's stork-birthrate correlation in Denmark example is growing stale.

Study finds tea more healthy than water, but was this a truly independent study?

"Tea seen as healthier than water," PhysOrg, August 25, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75646716.html

British researchers say consuming tea is healthier than drinking water not only for hydration but for other benefits. They recommend drinking three or more cups of tea a day, the BBC reports.

The findings by health nutritionist Dr. Carrie Ruxton and colleagues at Kings College London appears in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The BBC report said the study helps dispel the popular notion tea dehydrates. It said tea not only re-hydrates as well as water, but claimed it also protects against heart disease because of its health-promoting flavonoids, which helps prevent cell damage.

Ruxton said tea replaces fluids and also contains antioxidants.

"Studies on caffeine have found very high doses dehydrate and everyone assumes that caffeine-containing beverages dehydrate. But even if you had a really, really strong cup of tea or coffee, which is quite hard to make, you would still have a net gain of fluid," she said. "Also, a cup of tea contains fluoride, which is good for the teeth."

The BBC report said the Tea Council provided funding for the work, but Ruxton said the study was independent.

Bob Jensen's threads on "Appearance Versus the Reality of Research Independence and Freedom" are at

From the Scout Report on August 25, 2006

Selections from the Naxi Manuscript Collection http://international.loc.gov/intldl/naxihtml/naxihome.html 

Residing today primarily in the northwestern part of China’s Yunnan province near the Tibetan and Burmese borders, the Naxi people are one of China’s fifty-six ethnic national minorities in the country. Their kingdom flourished for close to a thousand years, and along the way they created a language that used primarily pictographs. Recently, the Library of Congress completed cataloging their tremendous collection of Naxi manuscripts, and since that time, they have also created this online presentation. The materials available here include 185 manuscripts, a 39 foot funerary scroll, and an annotated catalog. Visitors may wish to start by reading the overview of the collection, then continue on to search all of the documents here by subject, keyword, or title. Visitors should not miss the lovely “Warrior riding a white cow” or the fragmentary, yet powerful, “Serpent King”.

Doing Business --- http://www.doingbusiness.org/ 

Several years ago, the World Bank became concerned about the business climate and environment in different countries around the world. After a time, they decided to embark on the creation of a database that would provide indicators of the cost of doing business in various countries. With a keen eye towards looking at existing laws and regulations in each country, their team of researchers looked at such topics as starting a business, protecting investors, paying taxes, getting credit, among others. Visitors with an interest in such matters can download their annual reports, view country specific reports (such as “Doing Business in Brazil”), and also take advantage of 155 printable country data profiles. Additionally, visitors can view the study’s complete methodology and also compare economies on various metrics.

National Academy of Sciences: InterViews ---

The National Academy of Sciences has over 2000 members, and they have all distinguished themselves in one of the many learned fields, ranging from biology to geography. In an attempt to offer the general public insights into the lives and careers of some of their members, they have created the InterViews website. As its name implies, the site consists of “first-person accounts of the lives and work of National Academy of Sciences members.” Each interview is about an hour long, and visitors can view the currently available interviews alphabetically or by subject area. There are a number of revealing moments here, such as Roger Beachy’s recollections of his father’s love of nature and Robert Kirshner’s work on supernovas.

Electronic Privacy Information Center  
(Last reviewed in the Scout Report on June 13, 1997)

When the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) was started in 1994, there were already substantial privacy issues surrounding the collection and use of electronic data at play. Since that time, such issues have grown exponentially in their scope, and EPIC continues to perform valuable research in the area. A good place to start exploring their site is right on the homepage, namely their collection of resources on domestic surveillance. Here visitors can read white papers, view letters from government officials on these programs, and also listen to speeches on the subject. For their own personal protection, visitors may want to look over the practical privacy tools offered here, such as anonymous surfing applications and secure instant messaging. Additionally, the “Policy Issues” section contains helpful resources and news updates on free speech, voting, and a privacy “A to Z” primer.

MyTunes RSS 2.2.3 [iTunes] --- http://www.codewave.de/products/mytunesrss/ 

As more and more music listening and storage applications continue to tout their competitive advantages, users are drawn closer to some of them than others. iTunes is a popular choice for some, and this latest application will allow persons using that program to access their iTunes library from any computer connected through a network. Visitors can create RSS feeds in their browser, and of course, just browse and search their libraries as they see fit. This application will work on any system that utilizes iTunes and Java Runtime 1.5.

SurveillizCam Lite 1.14 --- http://www.novosun.com/ 

For users with a web cam or video capture card, SurveillezCam 1.14 will be a real find. With this application, users can use their home computer as a way to monitor their home or office while they are away. The application has the ability to detect motion and log surveillance video into AVI as well. Visitors will also be monitored of abnormal motion via a sound alarm or live videos. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 or XP.

August 25, 2006 message from Cyndi

I just wanted to thank you for your website of the SpaceGirl song. I have 14 year old twin boys and taught them the song when they were 5 but could never find the record or artist. It was a 45 I had in my childhood collection that disappeared. I was floored when I simply typed in some of the lyrics to the song and it brought up your web page on the search engine. After some investigating I found your webpage and I have to compliment you on your layout. So many interesting links and surprises! Keep up the good work. I just wanted to let you know you've put a smile on my family!


August 26, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Cyndi,

Messages like the one above make my life worthwhile.

Thank you for the nice words. I highlight new additions to video, music, photographs, art, and electronic literature in my weekly editions of Tidbits at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm 

Bob Jensen

Book Recommendation:  A Sound Like Thunder (if you liked To Kill a Mockingbird)

The reclusive Harper Lee rarely blurbs books, but she has done so now, praising Sonny Brewer's "A Sound Like Thunder" as "memorable," among other things. We would all do well to believe her. The author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" may be taken as an authority on the kind of coming-of-age story that Mr. Brewer has written so well. The setting of "A Sound Like Thunder" is Fairhope, Ala., just across the bay from Mobile. The time is the eve of World War II. The sensitive narrator is the teenage Rover MacNee, whose life, when we meet him, is centered on the water and the commercial culture surrounding it. He is ardent about sailing and about learning to throw a cast net -- there is a certain art to the bay's saltwater fishing. Rove's father is himself a formidable commercial fisherman, stoic and physically imposing. The novel picks up just as he has fallen into a violent stupor of alcoholism, something that puzzles his son and frightens him.
"A SOUND LIKE THUNDER," The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2006 --- Click Here

Behavior Unbecoming of an Auditor

Forwarded on August 25, 2006 by Jagdish S. Gangolly [j.gangolly@ALBANY.EDU]

BEIJING (Reuters) - A 25-year-old auditor in China apparently ate and drank himself to death while he was supposed to be inspecting a government department, a state newspaper said Friday.

Zhang Hongtao went to many banquets organized by a power company in northern China's Hebei province in April, and instead of working did little else but eat, drink, play cards and enjoy massages, the official China Daily said.

He collapsed and died following one of the banquets, after which "his team and two officials from the electricity bureau traveled for a sightseeing tour around east China," the report said.

"Zhang's colleagues said most of them were too upset over the death to stay in the office, so they went to Yangzhou to relax," it added, referring to a city in eastern Jiangsu province renowned for its gardens.

The National Auditors' Office said the incident had "marred the image and influenced the public's trust" of the government body, which is supposed to be at the forefront of a high-profile campaign against corruption.

Auditors are not allowed to be entertained by departments or companies they are inspecting, according to a 2000 rule, the report said.

From The Washington Post on August 25, 2006

What does the name of the Linux operating system, Ubuntu, mean in both the Zulu and Xhosa languages?

A. Humanity toward others
B. Cloudless sky
C. Liberty for all
D. Peace be with you

Forwarded by Mike Gasior


I saw a statistic the other day that stated that slacking at work cost U.S. corporations $544 billion during 2005, and that 87% of employees in the United States have reported being angry about colleagues they felt didn't pull their weight at the office.

Well, I'm now 25 years into my "professional" life, and my current business allows me to be present in wide array of corporate offices every single year, allowing me to see some of the best corporate screw-offs in the world today. I'm not talking about the obvious, lazy slob who everybody clearly knows is useless. This list of traits I am about to share with you, are the techniques that are employed by the world's finest slackers. You all know the type of people that I'm talking about too; the person who the boss considers one of the best employees in the department, but who truthfully does very little at all. It's quite a science really.

Although I am going to frame these behaviors I've observed as sort of a "How to Manual" for how to be a more successful slacker, I hope it will help bosses and colleagues` around the world bust these corporate cheaters once and for all.

So here are the keys to professional goofing off.

1) Always act impatient and irritated

When you appeared annoyed and agitated all the time, people tend to think that you must just be way too busy. This technique works wonderfully on two fronts, since some people will be afraid to add to your already heavy workload, while others will just want to avoid this cranky jerk.

2) Multitasking

It is critically important to make certain you are at least somewhat associated with as many projects as possible (but obviously in no important sort of way) so you will always have an excuse on why some work didn't get done. "I've been so buried with Project A, I just haven't had any time to get that stuff done on Project B. Sorry boss."

3) Make lists

Make sure to write down every possible thing you might do, even including stuff like "check voicemail" and leave the list in a prominent spot on your desk with a couple of the things scratched off. This will give anybody stopping by an idea how you are swamped with stuff to take care, and with only a few items crossed off your extensive list they might think twice before they burden you with anything more. Not to mention that your list making actually makes you look organized and diligent.

4) Keep a pretty messy desk

Really hard working people have no free time to be cleaning their desks, so nothing screams "VERY BUSY" more than a disaster on your desktop. After all, with all the projects you have going on, you NEED all those piles, right?

5) Always have lots of windows open on your computer monitor

This is basically the oldest trick in the book, but with 4 spreadsheets, 5 emails and an open word processing document all open at the same time, it makes the Spider Solitaire and eBay windows very difficult for anyone who unexpectedly walks into your workspace to detect. It also conveys the sense of how busy you are.

6) Carry documents EVERYWHERE you go

Never leave your desk without at least a few memos, folders, notebooks, binders or papers of some kind with you. This gives the appearance that you're always on your way to somewhere important and related to business, versus just heading to the coffee machine or the restroom to read Sports Illustrated.

7) Document your time in the office

Whenever you find yourself in the office unusually early or late, make certain to send you boss emails or leave voicemails that will time stamp your extreme hours. It doesn't really matter that the only reason you were in the office at 8:00 p.m. was because you forgot your concert tickets in your top drawer. All that matters is that you WERE actually there, and not much else really does.

8) Drink tons and tons of coffee

Nothing screams "I'm so freakin' busy" more than sucking down gigantic buckets of coffee all day long. Every time you go on a coffee machine run, make sure to announce to the boss how you are in critical need of a "caffeine fix". Plus, all this caffeine will help you with my first suggestion of always being impatient and irritable.

So those are my observations, and if any of you know some other beauties, I would love to hear about them.

Forwarded by Dick Haar

According to the source of the original e-mail, every year college English teachers from across the country submit their collections of analogies and metaphors found in essays to a competition. Here are the winners from a couple years ago ...

01. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

02. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

03. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse, without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

04. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

05. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

06. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

07. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

08. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

09. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m Instead of 7:30

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. Traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. At a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

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

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

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

Three Finance Blogs

Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
FinancialRounds Blog --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) --- http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

Some Accounting Blogs

Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL Blogs --- http://www.zorba.ca/
AccountingWeb --- http://www.accountingweb.com/   
SmartPros --- http://www.smartpros.com/

Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

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

Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482 
Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu