Tidbits on September 7, 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

President Bush Press Conference --- http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1921276117304287501 

Pipe Dream has been voted one of the best 3D animation projects ever (by 3D World magazine) ---
Click Here

Free Music Videos --- http://www6.islandrecords.com/site/home.php

100 Years of Pictures (turn up your speakers) --- http://usaattacked.com/100_years_of_pictures.htm

Pixsy's updates on free news videos --- http://www.pixsy.com/search.aspx?cat=12

 


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

Marni Nixon: Hollywood's Invisible Voice --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5751867
Jensen Comment
I once listened to a marvelous concert by Marni Nixon at the Magestic in San Antonio. She has an amazing voice and voice control.

Sarah Vaughan's Unlikeliest Jazz Classic --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5732357

Three Decades of Pop Music, Colliding at Once --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5732930

Blog Music Net --- http://blogmusik.net/

AM Radio Gets a Modern Sheen --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5713293


Photographs and Art

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
http://www.trinity.edu/jdunn/trinity.htm

What a Beautiful Blue Planet --- http://home.att.net/%7Ehideaway_fun/442/planet.htm

Sonja Mueller Photography (with sounds of nature) --- http://www.sonjamueller.org/

Magic Media --- http://www.magic.be/

Zullo Photography --- http://www.zullophoto.com/

Photos and Images of World War II --- http://www.ww2incolor.com/

Are alien's from outer space stealing our cows? --- http://www.cowabduction.com/

Nicoletta --- http://www.nicoletta.info/eng_htm/principal_eng.htm

Lunarium --- http://www.luminarium.org/lumina.htm

Fractal World Gallery --- http://www.enchgallery.com/fractals/fracthumbs.htm

Surrealism --- http://www.luc.edu/depts/history/dennis/Visual_Arts/page_Surrealism.htm

LookAtBook --- http://www.lookatbook.com/

Modern Paintings --- http://www.fredgatesdesign.com/painting/
Also see http://www.charisma-art.com/landscape_paintings/
From Viet Nam --- http://www.thavibu.com/vietnam/dao_hai_phong/VIE1500.htm

Tamera de Lempicka --- http://tamara-lempicka.com/

Painting Trees --- http://painting.about.com/library/weekly/aatrees1a.htm

Where Cloning Goes Wrong --- http://www.dnaco.net/~vogelke/pictures/when-cloning-goes-wrong/

Iran's Holocaust cartoon exhibition ---
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6332204D-7694-40B2-B134-06ADB6A47CD3.htm
 


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

Planet eBook --- http://www.planetebook.com/

The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form --- http://www.oedilf.com/db/Lim.php

A Photographer'S Day Out by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) --- Click Here

The Lesson of the Master by Henry James (1843-1916) --- Click Here

Lady Susan by Jane Austen (1775-1817) --- Click Here

History News Network --- http://hnn.us/

The Heritage of the Great War --- http://www.greatwar.nl/

Don Mabry's Historical Text Archive --- http://historicaltextarchive.com/

Motivational Quotations --- http://www.quotemeonit.com/handey.html





Not everything that can be counted, counts. And not everything that counts can be counted.
Albert Einstein

If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.
Albert Einstein

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.
Albert Einstein

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
Albert Einstein

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.
Niels Bohr (1885-1962) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niels_Bohr

The problem with history is that it gets old in a hurry, falling from our forward vision into the peripheral, then tumbling to the rearview mirror with astonishing swiftness until it fades into a tiny speck fighting for space on the limited chip of memory.
Ron Sirak --- http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/features/tigerwoods/index
Jensen Comment
Paraphrasing a lyric by Buddy Holly, "Happiness is history in my rear view mirror." The literal Buddy Holly quotation is "Happiness is Lubbock in my rear view mirror."

Finally, I grew bored of looking through proof that I was an airhead 30 years ago. I am so glad I grew out of that stage of my life. I moved the books to the pile of things we are just not sure about yet, and I joined my husband on the couch. I did not want to miss a minute of "Big Brother All-Stars".
Felice Prager when sorting old books out of her library, "Dispensing With the Indispensable," The Irascible Professor, August 31, 2006 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-08-31-06.htm

Talk-radio giant Rush Limbaugh will reportedly join Katie Couric this week on the CBS Evening News to help launch the former "Today" show host in her new duties as anchor at the Tiffany network.
"Report: Katie Couric scores Rush Limbaugh:  Radio giant to appear on CBS Evening News to help launch new anchor," WorldNetDaily, September 5, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51815

In an article for The Guardian, feminist and activist Germaine Greer announces: "The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin." Irwin was lauded as a fine conservationist because he deplored the slaughter of crocodiles and had purchased large tracts of land to keep their habitat alive. He was the face of a quarantine campaign, designed to keep foreign pests out of Australia. But Greer said he was "an entertainer, a 21st-century version of a lion tamer, with crocodiles instead of lions".
Caroline Overington, "Greer sticks in a barb of her own," The Australian, September 6, 2006 --- http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20361926-601,00.html




The first Muslim to be crowned Miss England has warned that stereotyping members of her community is leading some towards extremism . . . Even moderate Muslims are turning to terrorism to prove themselves. They think they might as well support it because they are stereotyped anyway.
Daily Mail, August 31, 2006 --- Click Here

Pundits have overwhelming supported the notion that illiteracy, poverty and deprivation are the prime reasons behind the surge in Islamic radicalization and vioelnce in recent years. But a careful analysis of the socio-economic factors of the Muslim world does not support such a hypothesis at all. But in stead, better education and economic prosperity appear to be the primers, not the remedy, of Islamic radicalization and violence.
Alamgir Hussain, "Reasons behind Islamic Terrorism: Illiteracy, Poverty and Deprivation?" Islam Watch, September 1, 2006 --- http://www.islam-watch.org/AlamgirHussain/CausesofTerrorism.htm

If you live long enough, you'll see every victory turn into a defeat.
Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simone_de_Beauvoir

It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.
Yogi Berra

A Harvard Historian Writes a Scenario for the Years Up to Year 2031
Did the U.S. overreact to Sept. 11? Niall Ferguson, one of the world's leading historians, speculates on how future generations will judge the war on terrorism--and on what it will take for America to win it.

One of Professor Ferguson's conclusions is that the U.S. wasted its pre-emptive strike against terrorism on Iraq when it should've saved it up for a more reasoned resistance against a power grab by Iran. Invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in effect will, according to Professor Ferguson, allow  fundamentalist Islamic clerics in Iran to take Persian control of the entire Middle East. In other words the U.S. overreacted to the 9/11 terror strike without assessing its impact in solidifying the Islamic extremist power base in the Middle East.

I don't agree entirely with this criticism of the Coalition strikes after 9/11. Without taking out Saddam, a power-hungry and U.S.-hating Saddam would've obtained weapons of serious mass destruction. Without taking on bin Laden in Afghanistan and suppressing the power base of Al-Qaida (or Al Qaeda), bin Laden's Arabic terror power base would've mushroomed like wildfire in Arabic nations. While building an unrestrained and energized terror network, Al-Qaida after 9/11would've captured control of Saudi Arabia and the other Arab countries that, in turn, would've held Iran in check --- but at the price of even worse prospects for terrorism in the U.S. and Europe.

With no immediate Coalition military strikes after 9/11, fundamentalist takeovers of the Middle East would've been much quicker and given power to fundamentalist Arabic rather than fundamentalist Persian (Iranian) factions. And the explosive power centers would've been bin Laden and Saddam, which I think is what some Arab leaders greatly feared after 9/11 in nations like Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordon, Kuwait, Qatar and other Arab nations currently fighting Al-Qaida. While building up the fear of Iran, Professor Ferguson makes no mention of the dangers of unrestrained Saddam and bin Laden fanatics.

Professor Ferguson marginalizes Saddam as a madman in Iraq. Professor Ferguson ignores the scenario of what would've happened if Saddam remained in power and eventually faced off against bin Laden after 9/11. Saddam may have teamed up with bin Laden to capture control of the Middle East and Africa. On the other hand, it's more likely that Saddam would've  declared war on bin Laden, and who knows what might've happened at that juncture? Saddam certainly had more oil and other resources to buy/build weapons of mass destruction. But an almost non-religious Saddam was not nearly as popular in the world of Islam as the devout prophet Osama bin Laden. Osama probably would've lost some key battles while winning the war against Saddam if the U.S. and other Coalition forces had not intervened to take out Saddam. But the Middle East may have been covered in nuclear fallout in a Saddam-Osama bin Laden war just like it was covered with smoke from Kuwait's oil wells set on fire when a vindictive Saddam was forced to retreat in the Gulf War.

I think people critical of our going to war in Iraq play down the real danger of the revenge-crazed and power-hungry Saddam following his defeat in the Gulf War. They rant and rave about mistakes we made after moving into Iraq, but they don't mention how unsafe we were with Saddam rebuilding his war machine, e.g., see the typical Bush-bashing rants and raves in "The World After 9/11:  Amy Davidson talks to Seymour M. Hersh, Jon Lee Anderson, and George Packer about Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror, and whether America is stronger now," The New Yorker, September 11, 2006 --- http://www.newyorker.com/online/content/articles/060911on_onlineonly02
PS:  Seymour Hersh was recently singled out by bin Laden as a Western friend of  Al-Qaida. See below!

Another scenario that Professor Ferguson avoids is the dangerous reluctance of Israel to easily give up with millions of Jews fleeing from the Middle East in surrender of the Jewish Holy Land to Iran. I'm more inclined to predict greater use of weapons of mass destruction by all warring sides that will leave an impatient Iran very saddened by trying to take Israel out with force.

Professor Ferguson also marginalizes and/or exaggerates some key players that will confront Islamic terrorists between the Years 2006 and 2031. Perhaps he's correct in marginalizing European nations that already show signs, in terminal economic sickness, of caving in to inside and outside forces, but I'm not so ready to believe that Islam will concede Europe to Russia as predicted by Professor Ferguson. The Red Bear proved to be the downfall of Napoleon and Hitler. Russia may well be the force that nukes Iran if Ayatollah Ali Khamenei points his bombs and terrorist cells toward Russia and Europe. Professor Ferguson predicts that Russia rather than Iran will control Europe with oil economics, but Europe has millions of Islamic loyalists that may bring an easily frightened Europe under Islamic control. Russia will most likely not unleash its nuclear and biological fury on the Middle East for the sake of Europe but it will most certainly do so for the sake of Mother Russia. Hence Iran will most likely not take on the Bear.

Professor Ferguson marginalizes China by predicting an economic meltdown in the Far East. China will nevertheless remain dominant in the Far East, but in a weakened economic condition China will not take over the world according to Professor Ferguson. This is a highly unlikely scenario in my judgment. I think China will become the dominant economic and military force of the world as the U.S. succumbs to hyperinflation, bloated entitlement programs, wasted trillions in futile efforts to become the world's police force, energy shortages, an unstoppable tide of millions upon millions of illegal border crossings, and loss of national identity that characterized the legal immigrant culture between 1776 and 2016 before the internal U.S. cultural wars commencing around Year 2016.

Professor Ferguson also marginalizes South America, a continent that may successfully resist the spread of Islam while sitting on the world's largest oil reserves, i.e., possibly more oil reserves and other resources than in all the Middle East. He also marginalizes the role of India as both a nuclear power resisting Islam and as an economic hurricane in global affairs. My own prediction is that China, India, and South America, particularly Brazil, will dominate the global economy to fill the vacuum left by an entitlement-deflated (with inflated dollars) and retreating (under the guise of protectionism) United States. See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm

And what about the United States in 2031?
Professor Ferguson predicts that technological and economic miracles (i.e., reduced entitlement programs and energy technologies) will leave the U.S. alive as a non-global bottom feeder marginalized by the three global powers of Persia, Russia, and China. Where Israel, South America, Africa, India and Canada end up is uncertain in Professor Ferguson's scenario.  Presumably Persia will take over all of Africa and possibly India if India resists using its weapons of mass destruction. In this regard, the land of Gandhi is less dangerous than Israel in my viewpoint, although Professor Ferguson ignores any possibility of nuclear/biological winter.

Presumably both South and North America will become mere bit players as the three superpowers (Persia, Russia, and China) on the opposite side of the earth face each other off in Cold War amidst global warming. Israel may just give up, without war, in economic despair if Iran stops provoking Israel while the U.S. crashes as a superpower propping up Israel with guns and greenbacks. Personally I don't think Iran has that kind of patience and may well trigger World War III before Professor Ferguson's peaceful Cold War scenario can play itself out.

Ferguson's probably correct that the U.S. along with its dreams of world democracies will probably "fall to earth" under any reasonable scenario at this juncture. Contrary to what both Bush supporters and the Bush bashers argue, the U.S. fall to earth will happen irrespective of any action taken by the U.S. and its allies after 9/11. Islam was going to rise up against the "Great Satan" under any scenario commencing with 9/11..Remember that the U.S. had not yet invaded Iraq when bin Laden unleashed his 9/11 war of terror against the U.S.

The only question five years ago was whether the terrorism victory would eventually be celebrated by Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, or Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Professor Ferguson opts for Khamenei now that we've taken out Saddam and weakened bin Laden. I think it would've been bin Laden if we saved our pre-emptive strikes for Iran as recommended by Professor Ferguson.

Before we unleashed any military might on Iran in a delayed pre-emptive strike proposed by Professor Ferguson, Iran would've been marginalized by Saddam and/or bin Laden. Saddam most likely would've been taken out by bin Laden's terror cells in Iraq before Saddam got nuclear bombs. In the meantime, all of the Middle East would've succumbed to Al-Qaida terror as millions of Arabs and Persians pledged allegiance to Prophet bin Laden.

In any case democracy as we once experimented with it for a few hundred years in North America is doomed under any probable scenario, especially the scenario of Professor Ferguson where he predicts that worldwide future elections and freedoms will become  more of a "sham" than they are today.

"The Nation That Fell To Earth," by Niall Ferguson, Time Magazine Cover Story. September 11, 2006 --- Click Here

By the fall of 2003, just two years after the 9/11 attacks, doubts had begun to creep back in. The most striking manifestation of American miscalculation was the refusal of Iraqis to peacefully embrace the nascent democracy created for them by U.S. arms. Far from abating, violence in Iraq increased over time. Part of the problem was the insufficiency of U.S. boots on the ground. General Eric Shinseki turned out to have been right that "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would be needed to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. Trying to do the job with around 135,000--roughly 1 American for every 210 Iraqis--exposed a part of the spectrum that the U.S. could not fully dominate: the Arab street. U.S. soldiers patrolling strife-torn cities could be killed or maimed by the simplest of improvised explosive devices. Here was a new and shocking symmetry in warfare.

By the fall of 2003, just two years after the 9/11 attacks, doubts had begun to creep back in. The most striking manifestation of American miscalculation was the refusal of Iraqis to peacefully embrace the nascent democracy created for them by U.S. arms. Far from abating, violence in Iraq increased over time. Part of the problem was the insufficiency of U.S. boots on the ground. General Eric Shinseki turned out to have been right that "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would be needed to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. Trying to do the job with around 135,000--roughly 1 American for every 210 Iraqis--exposed a part of the spectrum that the U.S. could not fully dominate: the Arab street. U.S. soldiers patrolling strife-torn cities could be killed or maimed by the simplest of improvised explosive devices. Here was a new and shocking symmetry in warfare.

To make matters worse, the public appetite for the war in Iraq faded long before a real victory was achieved. Just 12 months after the original invasion--even before the U.S. death toll in Iraq passed the thousand mark--support for the war had dropped below 50%. True, new evidence came to light of the dictator's crimes against his own people. True, opinion polls suggested that Iraqis overwhelmingly preferred democracy to Saddam. But U.S. voters did not see these as sufficient grounds for risking American lives. The Bush Administration's contentions that Saddam had links to al-Qaeda and possessed weapons of mass destruction proved groundless.

Almost as big a miscalculation was the military's failure to understand the nature of the threat to Iraq's security. At first it seemed as if the U.S.-led coalition was facing an insurgency led by Saddam loyalists, with the support of foreign terrorists linked to al-Qaeda. But increasingly what was happening in Iraq was a sectarian war between the Sunni minority and the Shi'ite majority. The country that Americans had set out to democratize had, on closer inspection, voted to break apart. A spiral of tit-for-tat massacres in ethnically mixed Baghdad and the surrounding provinces ensured that the disintegration would happen in the bloodiest possible way. By the summer of 2006, despite the successful formation of a democratically elected government in Baghdad, Iraqis were dying at a rate of more than 100 a day.

. . .

Worse, by breaking up Iraq, the U.S. had unwittingly handed a belated victory in the earlier Iran-Iraq war to the fundamentalist regime in Tehran. No state stood to gain more from democracy in Iraq, since the country's Shi'ite majority felt close ties of kinship to Iran. And no state in the region was more explicitly committed to the destruction of America's ally Israel.

The decision of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [actually Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the real decision maker in Iran] to press ahead with Iran's secret nuclear-weapons program confronted the U.S. with an agonizing strategic dilemma. Iran made no secret of the fact that it was supplying Hizballah with the missiles that rained down on Israel in the summer of 2006. Iran was also hell-bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Yet the essentially unilateral action that had been used against Iraq in 2003 was no longer possible against Iran. A U.S. Administration that had once confidently bypassed the U.N. found it had no option but to turn to the U.N. Security Council in the hope that international pressure could disarm Hizballah and keep Iran from going nuclear. The colossus that once bestrode the globe seemed to be stuck in the Middle Eastern sands--and unable to prevent the seemingly inevitable confrontation between Iran and Israel.

III ENEMIES WITHIN

In the Bush Administration's final years, its reputation touched bottom. Many Americans complained that they had the wrong President. For a time, Bush's approval ratings sank below Richard Nixon's and Jimmy Carter's worst.

Yet history has been a kinder judge of Bush's presidency. Although many analysts had predicted that terrorists would strike again on U.S. soil within five years, there was no sequel to 9/11 on Bush's watch. It was just his bad luck that success in counterterrorism grabbed few headlines, since plots stifled at conception are nonevents in news terms. Moreover, the key point of his national-security strategy turned out to be correct. It was just that pre-emption had been used against Iraq when it should have been saved for Iran.

. . .

They included not just the continued activity of the Islamic terrorist network. In the turbulent years after 9/11, new powers arose to challenge American might. Iran--thanks to raw demography, the reduction of U.S. troops in Iraq and advances in its nuclear program--emerged as the dominant power in the Middle East. Despite the trauma of financial crisis and depression, China became the new hegemon of East Asia. And Russia used its oil riches and nuclear leverage to restore its dominance over Eastern Europe, rolling back the frontier of the European Union. Although all adopted the outward forms of democracy, none of those three powers had much interest in advancing individual liberty and the rule of law, without which elections are a sham. All three had an interest in weakening America.

With the rise of these rivals came one benefit: as time passed, the once hated Great Satan [the United States] was no longer everybody's favorite whipping boy. Since the U.S. presence in the Middle East had wound down after 2008, it was no longer obvious why Islamist terrorists would expend their energies attacking American cities. That was why, by the 30th anniversary of 9/11, many younger Americans looked back on that event as a strange aberration.

. . .

The adoption of fuel-cell engines by the U.S. automobile industry, combined with a new generation of ultrasafe nuclear power plants, effectively ended America's century-long addiction to oil. The application of nanotechnology to homeland security allowed 24/7 surveillance of Islamist suspects by minuscule drones and invisible implants.

And so the Great War of Democracy ended--not with the catastrophic bang that so many had feared but with the imperceptible hum of a technological revolution. "We tried to give the Muslim world a political upgrade," said U.S. President Jimmy McCain, son of the former Senator and a veteran of the Iraq war, on the 30th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. "I guess we failed. So instead we gave ourselves an economic upgrade. I guess we succeeded."

By 2031, Niall Ferguson may have retired as the Laurence A. Tisch professor of history at Harvard University and a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. His latest book, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, has just been published by Penguin Press.


Some argue that taking over Iraq (when the U.S. surrenders) will not be a piece of cake for Iran

"Hostage to Fortune," by Robert D. Kaplan, The Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2006; Page A20 --- Click Here

No leader since Napoleon has roiled the Middle East as has George W. Bush. By invading Iraq, President Bush set history in motion. By doing so without a strategy for governing it afterwards, he did not plan for the worst, and so the worst has happened. Iraq has become the pivot for strengthening the radical forces that the invasion should have weakened. Yet to assume history follows a straight path is fatalism, not analysis.

A strengthened Shiite world was not an unintended consequence of the Iraq war. Toppling a Sunni dictator in predominantly Shiite Mesopotamia had to do that, whether the invasion resulted in stable democracy, benign dictatorship or chaos. People forget that moving history forward after 9/11 required shaking up the suffocating complacency of the Sunni Arab police states from where the terrorists originated.

Back then, Iran seemed to offer an opportunity for regional change. It was among the Muslim world's most sophisticated populations, a significant portion of which was pro-American, embarrassed by their own regime. In late 2001, when the seemingly reformist president, Mohammed Khatami, was in power, a gradual political shift in Tehran without military action seemed possible, particularly if somewhat stable, somewhat pro-American governments emerged on Iran's borders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But ideas, particularly bold ones, are hostage to the quality of their execution. There was indeed a political shift in Iran -- for the worse. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president of the Islamic Republic in June 2005, in the wake of the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the withdrawal of Syrian troops from that country, and historic elections that saw millions of Iraqis hold up the purple finger against tyranny. In the dynamic environment that Mr. Bush had unleashed, even a flawed occupation led to encouraging developments -- however superficial -- to which Iran's radicals reacted. Iran's advantages were these: Though Iraqis had voted, they had no governing authority worth the name; likewise, the Syrian troop withdrawal from Lebanon could not erase the fact of Lebanon's demographically ascendant and militarized Shiite community.

Statements by the Arab League and the governments of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia initially blaming the violence in Lebanon on Hezbollah, rather than on Israel, stood as evidence that a heightened fear of Shiism had indeed shaken these states out of their complacency. Arab support proved short-lived, though, because of Israel's dragged-out and bungled operation. But while Iran is strengthened, it is not dominant: The radical Islamic universalism that it once sought to represent has been narrowed to a sectarianism with no appeal beyond its own Shiite community. Iran plays the spoiler in Iraq. But Iranian politics will become gnarled by its interaction with a more pluralistic, ethnically Arab, Shiite southern Iraq. We are tearing our hair out over Iraq. The Iranians will be too, if there is a full-scale civil war.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Iran has other troubles. Over 40% of Iranians are below the poverty line. Whereas Hitler's Germany in 1938 was the was the second largest economy in the world (with the world's largest military), Iran's GDP, at less than $200 billion for the entire country, is less than half the current annual budget of the Pentagon. Furthermore, Iran's national budget is almost entirely dependent upon unrefined oil exports. Even if Iran wins the prize of Iraq's oil fields, Israel could knock out the Iran-Iraq economies in a New York minute with a modicum of military effort compared to wiping out the underground Hezbollah in Lebanon. Winning the war-torn Iraq is not exactly a prize  for Persia in the short run, and in the long run Arabia will be no pushover for Persia. We always have a tendency to assume that the World of Islam will coalesce into one voice. There will instead many wrangling voices and much fighting between old tribes. Our worry is a looming huge civil war in the Middle East rather than a single Persia superpower in spite of Niall Ferguson's Persian superpower predictions summarized above. Unfortunately the U.S. can no longer afford in money or in spirit to stand between the secular factions of the entire Middle East, and Europe's will to intervene is almost zero, especially with Prime Minister Blair, our only true ally, in retreat.


We Will See the Banner of Islam ‘Flying Over Big Ben and the British Parliament’ . . . What is today called 'Londonistan' is in fact 'Heretistan,' that is, dar al-kufr [the abode of heresy]. I think that loyal Muslims in Britain will one day turn it, with Allah's help, into 'Islamistan,' that is dar al-islam [the abode of Islam], as the first Muslims did in Ethiopia and in Indonesia. Then the great Islamic dream will be fulfilled - that we will see the banner [proclaiming] 'There is no God but Allah' flying over Big Ben and the British Parliament, with Allah's help."
Sheikh Omar bin Bakri --- Click Here

The entire thing [9/11] was of a large scale and was planned within the U.S., in order to enable the U.S. to control and terrorize the entire world, and to get American society to agree to the war declared on terrorism - the definition of which has not yet been determined.
Dr. Salah Sultan,
President of the American Center for Islamic Research (ACIR), a non-profit organization registered in Ohio and located in Columbus --- http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=subjects&Area=jihad&ID=SP116806
Some U.S. professors, many of whom are merely anti-establishment rather than pto-Muslim, under the banner of academic freedom are now trying to convince college students that the President of the United States conspired to kill over 3,000 Americans in a planned 9/11 attack on New York City. It is indeed a shame if these fairy tale teachings fall within a curriculum accepted by the faculties of those colleges.

"All Plots Move Deathward," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, September 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/09/06/mclemee

Last month, Thomas M. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton published Without Precedent, an account of their time as co-chairs (Republican and Democratic, respectively) of the 9/11 Commission. Whatever the uses of a deliberate and scrupulous bipartisanship in political life, it does not make for good memoir-writing. I read it, but kept slipping into that mild coma that is an occupational hazard for anyone who reviews a lot of not-very-good or just-sort-of-okay books for newspapers.

Yet one thing about Without Precedent did prove quite interesting: the strong emphasis on conspiracy theorists. Or rather, to be more exact, the authors’ preoccupation with trying to head them off at the pass. The spectre of the Warren Commission must have haunted their dreams. They put a lot of thought into establishing what they call “core principles” intended to prevent “the kinds of conspiracy theorizing that have followed in the wake of other inquiries.” They mention this guiding intention not once or twice, but roughly a dozen times.

“We decided to be open and transparent,” they write, “so that people could see how we reached our conclusions about 9/11, and we demanded access to every document and witness in part to demonstrate that we had left no stone unturned in our investigation. We also adopted a policy of openness to the general public: people could send information to our offices, and somebody would review that information.”

Clearly preventing conspiracy theory was a major concern — which also suggests that Kean and Hamilton must have known that it was, for all practical purposes, an effectively hopeless endeavor. The impulse to frame things in terms of conspiracy has very deep roots. It is not an American specialty, by any means. But there is something sobering about reading the pamphlets from the years just before the Revolution and discovering that the patriots were, let’s say, a tad paranoid at times. (George Washington worried about the “systematic plan” of King George and minions to turn the colonists into slaves “as tame and abject,” as he put it in an interesting turn of phrase, “as the blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway.")

. . .

Well, there are all sorts of ways of handling trauma. It’s no surprise that this one has emerged. Whether or not 9/11 itself could have been prevented, something like Scholars for 9/11 Truth was perhaps
inevitable.

But so is the free exercise of critical intelligence, which is why I am glad to be able to end with this link to an encouraging development: The Journal of Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy Theories.

Continued in article

Terrorists are winning the Internet propaganda war --- http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr116.html
"Conspiracy Theories Continue to Blame Jews and Israel Five Years After 9/11:  The Lie That Won't Die," by Richard Greenberg, The Jewish Journal, September 1, 2006 --- http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=16394

These canards have not been fleeting expressions of paranoid fantasy that dissipate once they have been debunked. On the contrary, even today the various "Jews-did-it" scenarios emanating from the wreckage of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have proven stubbornly resilient.

"If anything, they're flourishing," said Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a liberal think-tank based in Somerville, Mass. The idea that Jews were somehow involved in Sept. 11 has now become a permanent feature in the conspiracy pantheon, like the JFK assassination and the Oklahoma City bombing," said Mark Pitcavage, director of fact finding for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The Internet is the chief incubator and disseminator of apocryphal Sept. 11 story lines, and cyberspace remains awash with chatter purporting to link the Jews with America's worst terrorist attacks, according to Pitcavage. But the same message, he added, also is being spread through books, pamphlets, videos and speakers. The practical impact of this phenomenon remains unclear.

The purveyors are an eclectic aggregation that spans the geopolitical spectrum. They include neo-Nazis and other white supremacists in the United States and elsewhere, anti-government zealots, young anti-war activists, Holocaust deniers, Lyndon Larouche supporters, New Age ideologues, propagandists and journalists within the Arab and Muslim world, as well as assorted devotees of the early 20th-century forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," which purports to document a Jewish plan to dominate the world. Efforts to connect the Jews with Sept. 11, however, are not limited to fringe groups talking with one another.

Contributors to Wikipedia, the popular and influential online encyclopedia, have tried repeatedly to insert anti-Jewish Sept. 11 theories into Wikipedia's pages and represent them as fact or at least plausible versions of reality, according to Berlet.

The insertions -- which represent one of countless pieces of potentially suspect information submitted to Wikipedia almost daily -- have been promptly excised by the encyclopedia's volunteer editors, said Berlet, himself a Wikipedia editor, "but it requires constant attention."

It's impossible to determine how many viewers see these postings before they are removed from the Wikipedia Web site, which has a daily viewership of roughly 30 million, according to a company spokesman.

The Sept. 11 assaults triggered an almost immediate outpouring of conspiracist conjecture, in part because of the bizarre, almost implausible nature of the attacks, according to Michael Barkun, a professor of political science at Syracuse University who has studied extremist movements and their philosophies.

"These events cried out for some sort of explanation," Barkun said. "This was a golden opportunity for conspiracy theorists to introduce their theories to a broader audience. The thing to remember about conspiracy theories is that they are profoundly psychologically comforting. They give sense and meaning to the world. Nothing is arbitrary or accidental or coincidental."

Not all of the explanatory hypotheses stemming from Sept. 11 implicate Jews. Some accuse the United States government, for example, of being aware of the attacks and doing nothing to stop them in order to justify military intervention in the Muslim world.

But early on anti-Semitic finger pointing came to dominate the revisionist view of Sept. 11, according to a report issued in 2003 by the ADL. These accusations brought "'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' into the 21st century," updating a familiar theme -- that "Jews are inherently evil and have a 'master plan' to rule the world," says the report, which profiles the Sept. 11 conspiracists' cast of suspected plotters and other scapegoats.

They include:

These assertions either have been laughed off as preposterous -- or investigated and discredited. The "spy ring" story, for example, may have emanated from a disclosure that a number of young Israelis who violated their visas had been deported from the United States. Subsequent reports intimating that the deportees had been engaged in sinister, clandestine activities were examined by The Washington Post, among others, and found to be "nothing more than an urban myth," according to the ADL report.

But the fact that conspiracy theories have been disproven is largely irrelevant to the theories' adherents, according to Barkun. The reason, he said, is that die-hard conspiracy mongers are united by their embrace of what he calls "rejected knowledge."

"These people are profoundly distrustful of authority. It seems absurd to the rest of us, but in the mirror world that conspiracy theorists live, anything that is rejected by mainstream institutions must therefore be true," Barkun said.

A conspiracy-tinged view of world events seems to be gaining traction in America and elsewhere, according to Lou Manza, chairman of the psychology department at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa. As evidence of this trend, he cites polls indicating that suspect theories of all kinds have gained popularity over the past 10 to 15 years.

Among the possible explanations for this emerging worldview: In today's information-bloated environment, the conviction that all-powerful forces control global events makes life easier for believers by obviating the need to think critically about complex issues.

"Our environment today is not conducive to a critical-thinking approach, especially with the instant access we have to so much information," Manza said. "If it's on the Internet and the graphics are good, it must be true." But why does it necessarily follow that the Jews in particular were the unseen hand behind America's most infamous terrorist attack?

Because they had something to gain from Sept. 11, according to conspiracists, who contend that military retaliation against Arabs was its own reward for the Jews and Israel.

Asked why the Jews were implicated in the attacks, Barkun said, "You might as well ask, 'Why does anti-Semitism exist?' Unfortunately, the concept is deeply rooted in Western culture. And like a lot of conspiracy theories, it's a closed system of ideas that is structured so that it's impossible to disprove."

In a sense, the extremist explanations for Sept. 11 are merely an update of conspiracy theories that have been evolving ever since the Crusades, according to conservative columnist and analyst Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, who has written two books examining conspiracy theories.

Virtually every major conspiracy theory hatched over the past 900 years has featured one of two key elements, Pipes said. One is so-called "secret societies," such as the Trilateral Commission -- an influential coalition of influential private citizens -- as well as suspected government cabals; the other is the Jews.

Anti-Semitic Sept. 11 scenarios have staying power, but it's unclear how widely they're embraced. In the West, according to Pipes and others, Sept. 11-related Judeophobia seems to have a limited constituency among both ordinary people and those in positions of power and influence.

No American office holder, for example, has tried to score political points by blaming the Jews for Sept. 11 -- although recently defeated Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) made a name for herself by repeatedly taking anti-Israel stands and alleging that the federal government was complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Pipes believes that all told, the Western strain of Sept. 11 revisionism seems dominated by conspiracy buffs rather than bona fide anti-Semites who pose a real danger to Jews.

Berlet takes a less benign view.

"Any form of conspiracy theory is toxic to the democratic process," he said. "How can you reach compromise with those 'evil people' who bombed the World Trade Center? That sort of thinking could flare up in hard times and affect policy."

Overtly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories stemming from Sept. 11 appear to be more widely accepted and tenacious in the Arab and Muslim world than in the West.

"The implications in the Middle East are quite profound," Pipes said. "It's one more brick in the edifice of fear and loathing of Israel and the Jews.''

Continued in article

"Al-Qaida's list of favorite, least favorite Westerners:  Latest warning video from terror group names enemies, friends in U.S., Britain," WorldNetDaily, September 5, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51816

In the latest video from al-Qaida warning of an imminent terrorist attack on the U.S., five specific "Zionist crusader missionaries of hate" are named, while three Westerners, including one American, are actually praised for their efforts toward "peace."

Those singled out as enemies of al-Qaida are Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Steven Emerson, Michael Scheuer and, of course, President Bush. The first three are WND contributors and outspoken media figures who warn about the growing threat of Islamo-fascism. Scheuer is the former head of the CIA unit assigned the mission of hunting down Osama bin Laden.

Perhaps more surprising than a list of enemies – all of whom were directed to convert at once and be accepted into the brotherhood of Islam – was a slightly shorter list of al-Qaida friends in the West.

That list includes Seymour Hersh, the investigative reporter for the New Yorker who most recently claims the U.S. directed the Israeli attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon. Two Brits are also mentioned in a favorable light by Adam Gadahn, the American spokesman for al-Qaida. They were George Galloway of the House of Commons and Robert Fisk, who writes for the London Independent.

While Gadahn was issuing the statement warning Americans of an impending attack, Galloway was also getting high marks from the terrorist group Hamas, operational allies with al-Qaida.

Hamas' Syrian-based boss, Khaled Mishaal, hailed Galloway for his courage after meeting with him in Damascus. He also thanked him for his opposition stands in the British Parliament and support for the resistance in "Palestine."

Continued in article


In this video series Calvin Sims talks to Sydney Jones, and Islamic expert on terrorism ---
http://www.nytimes.com/ref/multimedia/conversation.html

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, science for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable an ignorable war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
Albert Einstein

Remember what happened to Custer when the both sides had repeating rifles?
The
Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary nonproliferation agreement involving 34 countries and supposedly limiting export of unmanned systems that can deliver weapons of mass destruction, defines a antiship cruise missile as having a range of less than 300 kilometers. A cruise missile is a Category II item--meaning, essentially, that it may be exported by any company that manufactures it. (Category I severely limits exports of ballistic missile systems, space-launch vehicles, and land-attack cruise missile systems.) Given that antiship cruise missiles can be converted to land-attack systems, the MTCR is a particularly leaky sieve. But American actions have also inadvertently helped spread the technology. In 1998, when the Clinton administration launched 75 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Osama bin Laden's bases in response to Al-Qaida's bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, six of the missiles misfired and landed across the border in Pakistan. It has long been suspected that these unexploded missiles were studied by Pakistani and Chinese scientists. Ted Postol, a professor of science, technology, and international security at MIT, confirms this: "A Pakistani colleague of mine told me that a significant number of those missiles that we launched at Afghanistan actually landed in Pakistan and those guys reverse-engineered them."
"The Missiles of August:  The democratization of cruise missile technology.--Part II," MIT's Technology Review, August 29, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17374&ch=biztech

More Sensationalist Bias in the Press
The letter described the author's words as "a racist attack on all people of Jewish descent when he asserted that Jews have been the cause of every tragedy that has befallen them -- from slavery in Egypt to the Holocaust. "We are not surprised when hate-mongers make such statements or when neo-Nazi publications print them. Vulgar and hate-filled statements are written all the time -- editors choose whether or not to publish them. We were, however, surprised, to find them in a Berkeley 'community' newspaper since racism of any kind violates all that our city and region stands for," it read.
Chip Johnson, "Why did Berkeley paper run anti-Jewish column?" San Francisco Chronicle, September 1, 2006 ---
Click Here

The BBC’s World Service makes the New York Times seem fair and balanced. The BBC’s World Service is by far the world’s largest broadcaster, with some 150 million people tuning in every week in 43 languages. It already partners with 1,500 FM outlets in the U.S. and around the world. Now it seeks an even wider American presence by romancing NPR outlets. What better for Galena, Alaska, and Lyman, Wyoming (both now receiving the BBC’s service), than full coverage of cricket, rugby, gardening—and hard-core anti-American left-wing politics! Unlike NPR, the World Service needn’t worry about fund-raising.
Denis Boyles, City Journal, July 21, 2006 --- http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2006-07-21db.html

The only institution for which the press has any praise on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is, naturally enough, the press. They have spent much of this week congratulating themselves on what a marvelous job they did--which is the surest indication that they have completely missed the real story.
Robert Tracinski, "The Unlearned Lesson of Katrina," RealClearPolitics, September 1, 2006 --- Click Here


New Documentary Film Explains How President Bush Can Be Assassinated
A British television network plans to broadcast a dramatic, documentary-style film about a fictional assassination of U.S. President George W. Bush, the network’s head said Thursday . . . “It’s a pointed political examination of what the war on terror did to the American body politic,” he said.
"Bush assassinated? New film depicts it British TV network defends its airing of ‘Death of a President’," MSNBC, September 1, 2006 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14608725/
Jensen Comment
Can you imagine doing this to presidents of Islamic nations and living to air your movie?
Ask Salman Rushdie.


If CIA Calls, Should Anthropology Answer?
Of course sometimes anthropologists have in fact sided with the U.S. government — and later not been proud of the results. Franz Boas, one of the founders of American anthropology and one of the first presidents of the American Anthropological Association, was censured by it 1919 after he criticized scholars who served as spies during World War I. Writing in The Nation, Boas said that anthropologists need to preserve a distinction between spies and scholars, who must be dedicated to “the service of truth.” The article so upset his fellow anthropologists that they voted to condemn him.It was only last year that the association rescinded the censure.
"If CIA Calls, Should Anthropology Answer?" Inside Higher Ed, September 1, 2006 ---
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/01/anthro


THE scale of the Holocaust has been "greatly exaggerated", Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said today, adding he had visited several former concentration camps in eastern Europe . . . Iran's fiercely anti-Israeli regime is supportive of so-called Holocaust revisionists, who maintain the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe's Jews and other groups during World War II was either invented or exaggerated.
"Iran attacks Holocaust again," The Australian, September 3, 2006 ---
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20345654-1702,00.html


Officials blame the increase in cultivation on the resurgence of Taliban rebels in the south, the country’s prime opium growing region . . . He said the increase in cultivation was significantly fueled by the resurgence of Taliban rebels in the south, the country’s prime opium growing region. As the insurgents have stepped up attacks, they have also encouraged and profited from the drug trade, promising protection to growers if they expanded their opium operations. “This year’s harvest will be around 6,100 metric tons of opium — a staggering 92 percent of total world supply. It exceeds global consumption by 30 percent,” Mr. Costa said at a news briefing.
Carlotta Gall, "Opium Harvest at Record Level in Afghanistan," The New York Times, September 3, 2006 --- Click Here


In September 2004, on the first day of class, Chechen militants took more than 1,200 hostages in a school in Beslan, Russia. After nearly three days, explosions and gunfire ripped through the school, leaving more than 300 hostages dead. Two years later, questions remain about what happened and why . . . "They were allowed to camp unmolested in the woods of Ingushetia for two weeks," Dolnik says. "They were allowed to drive dirt roads out of the woods and bypass checkpoints, and, possibly, they prearranged their route with someone who had the power to fix that road." . . . The ruins of the school still stand in the middle of Beslan. There, Kudzeyeva demonstrated how she had to step over bodies on the way to the cafeteria, where militants were waging an all-out battle with soldiers outside. Bullets flew from every direction. Soldiers fired a tank. Militants threw and fired grenades. They ordered women and children to stand in the windows.
"'Mondrage' in Beslan: Inside the School Siege," NPR, August 31, 2006 ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5739902
Jensen Comment
This article/audio reveals how the militants managed to travel through the forests. It is still a mystery as to how the roads were fixed for truck travel. As is so common with terrorists, the militants used women and children as human shields.




Students Secretly Capturing Videos of Professors and Posting The Videos to YouTube
Both conservative and liberal sensationalists may even pay students for captured moments in class

"You May Have Been YouTubed," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/06/youtube

If you don’t like what RateMyProfessors.com has done for the image of professors, get ready for the YouTube effect. YouTube is the immensely popular Web site where people post videos of themselves and their friends hanging out, doing mock television shows, watching television, or just about anything you can imagine in front of a video camera of some sort.

Because YouTube is very popular with college students, it should probably come as no surprise that they are posting videos of course scenes on the Web site — and judging from interviews with the “stars” of these postings, the professors aren’t being asked or giving permission for the filming. Nonetheless, some of the videos feature professors’ names, disciplines and institutions.

Judith Thorpe, who just retired from teaching at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, had no idea that someone had filmed her class and posted it, with her name. Matt Kearly had no idea that what claims to be a biology lecture he gave this month at Auburn University had been posted. In other cases, professors aren’t named, but they are clearly visible and held up to ridicule — as in the video of a professor who is not a native speaker of English mispronouncing a word repeatedly, and made fun of by the student who posted the video. The word is “glucocorticoids” — not a word many non-experts would necessarily use with ease.

To be sure, many of the videos of campus scenes are from public events — protests, strikes, inaugurations. And many more are just silly and don’t invade anyone’s privacy. But many others involve filming courses, or staging events in courses. The boredom of lectures is a frequent theme, with audio of a professor talking while students look bored — or in the case of one student at Southern Methodist University, fight a losing battle to stay awake.

Hijinks are also common, in many cases interrupting classes. There’s the student who talks about honoring his great grandfather’s birthday by mooning a large lecture class. (Warning/spoiler: He goes through with it, so the link may be more detail than you want.) Indiana University students revel at Halloween by interrupting classes as the Village People or portraying scenes from Ghostbusters.

To colleges and faculty members, the filming raises a variety of issues — with regard to their intellectual property and their dignity. Many colleges have been warning students about the images they post of themselves and their friends on YouTube, telling them that scenes of drinking and partying that seem amusing in a dormitory room may not go over well with potential employers. But colleges’ focus has been on telling students about the harm they may be doing to themselves, not their professors.

YouTube, whose officials did not respond to phone calls or e-mail messages about this story, posts a variety of warnings on its site about how people should post only those videos for which they have ownership rights, and that it will not post “hateful” videos, among other categories barred by its terms of service. There is also a form someone can fill out to object to a video posting of them, if they own the copyright.

Of course, people who were never asked if they could be filmed in class wouldn’t know that they had reason to check what is on the site.

Ann Springer, staff counsel for the American Association of University Professors, said that no professor should be filmed in class without granting permission. “The professor’s presentation in class is the professor’s intellectual property, and to submit it to a Web site is a violation of those rights — and a concern to the university and the professor,” she said. If a competing college started posting video of a professor’s courses, that would be a violation of rights, and the same legal principles apply, regardless of whether there is profit involved, Springer said.

She stressed that this wasn’t a free speech issue. “Students will always mock professors and there’s nothing you can do about that,” she said. But filming them without permission is the issue, whatever the use of the video.

In cases where taping of professors has become public — generally when the taping was politically motivated, not just for the purpose of mocking — universities have responded, she noted. In January, for example, a conservative group at the University of California at Los Angeles offered to pay students to tape professors, with the idea of exposing alleged ideological bias. The group backed down when the university and faculty groups raised intellectual property issues.

A spokesman for Indiana University said that the institution has received no complaints from professors about having their lectures filmed, but that university officials would consider it a violation of rules barring “disorderly conduct” or behavior that interferes with teaching. University policy gives professors the right to permit or reject any photography or taping in their classes.

Aside from the legal issues, there are also questions to some academics about how this YouTube trend affects professors generally, and whether anything can be done about it. Neil Gross, a sociologist at Harvard University, has surveyed public attitudes about faculty members, and found “soft support” for their work, and skepticism of some of their views. He said that in the mocking of professors on YouTube, he saw some strains of political disagreement with professors, along with “classic anti-intellectual themes, as well as the typical youthful distaste for authority.”

Several academic blogs, such as Yellow Dog and Digital Digs, have been discussing the implications as they relate to both professors and high school teachers (videos abound on YouTube of teachers losing their temper in class, for instance). Among the issues being raised are whether this form of expression — however upsetting to faculty members — is an example of students acting on their feelings and expressing themselves, something composition instructors in particular tend to encourage.

The blog Metaspencer predicted that YouTube would have an impact that builds on the way RateMyProfessors.com has intimidated many faculty members — who hate the site and check to see how they are doing on it.

“When that site first went online, many seemed outraged that college level instructors would be publicly assessed in this way, outside of our already established course-evaluation-systems, and in many cases, professors have been graphically slandered and bodily objectified on that site. RateMyProfessors.com made our lives as college level instructors suddenly unstable and encouraged some of us to be just a bit more careful, if that’s the right word, when it comes to what we do in the classroom,” the blog said. “Videos of teachers on YouTube, however, magnify whatever paranoia RateMyProfessors.com may have generated. Were you videotaped in front of your class yesterday? Today? Yesterday? Will what you do with your students be edited and presented in a way that you feel misrepresents how you teach?”

Jensen Comment
To see some of the professors on video, go to the following link and type in the search term "Professor" for a given category --- http://www.youtube.com/categories

Bob Jensen's threads on student evaluations of professors are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation


Exercises in Math Readiness --- http://math.usask.ca/mrc-cgi-bin/emr/first_page.cgi 

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


Question
What states have the highest and lowest average K-12 teacher salaries?

According to the American Federation of Teachers, the state with the highest average 2003-2004 salary for teachers was Connecticut, at $56,516; the lowest was South Dakota, at $33,236.

The 2004 AFT salary surveys are at http://www.aft.org/salary/index.htm
The AFT teacher salary survey found that the average teacher salary in the 2003-04 school year was $46,597, a 2.2 percent increase from the year before.  This falls short of the rate of inflation for 2004, which was 2.7 percent.

Also see http://www.calnews.com/Archives/1YB_II_sal.htm


"An Etiquette Lesson," by Alaina G. Levine, Inside Higher Ed, August 29, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/workplace/2006/08/28/levine

It was the luncheon portion of the academic conference when I witnessed the anomaly. A gorgeous, well-dressed man had claimed the chair to my right at the table. There are plenty of good-looking academics, but few of them show up to a scholarly conference impeccably dressed in a three-piece pin-stripped suit, matching tie tack and cuff links, and shoes as shiny as mirrors. My reaction upon observing this unusual creature outside his native habitat? This is going to be a mighty fine lunch.

I would like to say that this story has a happy ending and that we united to form scholarly offspring who speak five languages and tell physics jokes without appearing nerdy. But alas, this was not to be in this timeline. As Dr. Suit sat down for lunch, he reached across the table to grab a roll from the bread basket. He buried his entire hairy hand in the vessel until he found the specimen he craved. It was a perfectly round roll. He then proceeded to spread mountains of butter on its entire spherical surface, until the roll ceased to be no longer. It had been transformed…to a Ball o’ Butter. Dr. Suit’s fingers were smeared with butter and when he appeared satisfied that his masterpiece, the Ball o’ Butter, was complete, he then commenced gorging on it, one huge buttery bite at a time. He shifted said Ball o’ Butter between hands, licking his once perfectly manicured fingers as he went. I quickly lost my appetite (for the food and the man).

I often think of this moment — not because I hunger for memories of the grotesque — but because I wonder: Is this how Dr. Suit behaves on a job interview? Or at dinner with his dean? I would hope not, but something tells me he had no idea that he was demonstrating improper and disrespectful manners, in the process making a lasting negative impression on me.

Professionals in any field often neglect a basic understanding of proper etiquette in interacting with other human beings. We are inclined to argue that our skills, talents and reputation alone will secure us advancement opportunities. Academics especially opine that any impression they impart from behavior is inconsequential to what super star scholars they are, and it matters not how they hold their fork or eat their bread at a business dinner.

But the truth is that academe is a profession in which one must behave professionally at all times. Being professional means demonstrating you are serious about your craft, and having good manners and proper business etiquette for all occasions promotes and amplifies your level of professionalism. When you practice flawless etiquette, your talents are bolstered, allowing attention to be paid to you, and not your slimy buttery fingers (which you keep wiping on your pants). Furthermore, in acting as a professional with professional behavioral traits, you are demonstrating a high level of respect for both you and your colleagues.

In Dr. Suit’s case, he made some terrible and basic mistakes when he sat down at the lunch. He ruined his chances of communicating his wisdom because all I could concentrate on was his bad manners. Here are some pointers for professional etiquette at meals and in interactions so that you don’t become a Dr. Suit:

Smile, and remember other actions to take during the first interaction. When you meet someone for the first time, there are five things you should do: introduce yourself, shake the person’s hand, look them in the eyes, smile, and say their name back to them (so they know you are listening and you know that you pronounced their moniker correctly).

Keep your handshake quick, firm and dry. Shaking hands leaves more of an impression than one realizes. Your handshake should be firm, dry, and quick. The shake should employ two pumps up and down, and then get the heck out of there. Don’t linger and don’t keep holding their hand like you’re mates. Don’t use your other hand for the “reach around,” in which you grab your colleagues shoulder and shake their entire body. Utilize the whole hand — don’t engage a shake with three fingers. Keep yourself dry by not clasping anything in advance (like a drink or a briefcase), and always use your right hand.

Place that napkin on your lap. When you arrive at a luncheon, whether the table is for 2 people or 10, sit down and immediately put the napkin on your lap. The napkin will stay on your lap the entire time you are sitting there, even after the meal is complete. It should never touch the table until you rise to leave.

Harness the silverware. If you are at an event in which the table is set with multiple utensils, here is a simple trick to remember which to use and when. Start from the outside in, and for each course, use the utensil that is farthest from your plate. If you drop your fork on the floor, ask your server for another — don’t reach for it.

Utilize the b-d rule for triumph over the bread plate. When you sit down at a round table, you are immediately faced with lots of glasses, coffee cups, and bread plates. Which is yours? You can’t go wrong with the b-d rule. In your lap, take both your hands and form the OK sign with your thumb and pointer finger touching to shape an “o”. Keep your other fingers extended straight and together. With both hands in this position, you will see the shape of a “b” on the left hand and a “d” on the right. The “b” stands for bread, which means your bread plate will always be on your left. The “d” means drink, which translates to your drinking glasses and cup placed on your right. Now, invariably at large luncheon tables, there will be someone who will make an error, incorrectly claim the bread plate on their right, causing a domino effect around the table, leaving you without. No need to fret (or call attention to the mistake). Simply ask the server for another one.

Don’t reach or grab, just pass. If you want something on the table, such as the salt shaker or bread basket, and it is not within arm’s length (while you are still sitting), ask your colleague to pass it to you. For bread baskets, there is no need to touch every roll, just take the one at the top. When you have made your selection, put the basket directly in front of you (you don’t have to pass it back to the person unless they request it). If someone asks you to pass the salt, always offer both the salt and pepper, and never grasp the shakers from the top.

Consume your bread in no less than an eon. Don’t eat your roll like an apple. The courteous way to dine on bread is to tear off a bite-size piece, butter only that morsel, and pop it in your mouth. Chew, swallow, and repeat. It may take a million years to eat your bread, but at least you will look like a gentleman or lady while doing it.

Other rules include not eating until everyone is served, and refraining from wiping your nose, picking your teeth, or applying ChapStick while seated at the table.

I was having dinner with one of my graduate students and a CEO a few years ago when I noticed my student was holding his fork like he was in the Big House and was fearful someone would try to swipe it. He treated it like a scoop, and shoveled food into his mouth like it was his last meal. I was embarrassed for him, embarrassed for me, and embarrassed for the business leader, especially since the student was speaking with him about potential job opportunities. I would have hated for this talented, intelligent, and driven student of excellent academic pedigree to miss out on a professional opportunity simply because he did not take the time to employ the most courteous way to interact with someone over a business meal.

The reality is that scholarly strength can get you in the door, but proper etiquette and manners will seal the deal, and ultimately, elevate your academic credentials. So the next time you have an important function, wear a great suit, shine your shoes, and make sure you hone your business etiquette skills before you go. You will make an impression that can land you the opportunity you crave. And for goodness sake, under no circumstances, no matter how much you desire it, don’t lick your fingers and don’t build a Ball o’ Butter.

Alaina G. Levine is director of special projects for the University of Arizona College of Science, where she oversees the Professional Science Master’s Program. She is also president of Quantum Success Solutions.

The Obese/Piggish Generation: Students help themselves to bigger portions than we did when we were in college
A study of how college students serve themselves in college cafeterias has found that today’s students take significantly larger portions, on average, than did students 20 years ago. For instance, students asked to serve themselves a portion of cereal are likely to take 44 grams today, up from 37 grams 20 years ago. Most portions are also well above recommended portion sizes, according to the study, which appears in this month’s Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/05/qt


The University of Florida Needs More Roman Studies
The University of Florida has distributed several thousand T-shirts in which Roman numerals intended to indicate 2006 (MMVI) in fact indicate 26 (XXVI). After discovering the mistake, the university will have many thousands of other T-shirts redone, The Gainesville Sun reported.
Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/05/qt
Jensen Comment
This is not as serious as the year Trinity University printed its main college catalog with "Trinity" misspelled on the front cover.


"In Defense of Welfare Reform:  Ten years of a controversial policy that worked wonders," by Cathy Young, Reason Magazine, August 29, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/cy/cy082906.shtml 

There remains, however, much to be done. Perhaps the biggest weakness of welfare reform is that it has focused almost exclusively on women, neglecting the all-important issue of their partners and the fathers of their children. Many reports on the struggles of single mothers trying to get themselves and their children out of poverty treat the men in these women's and children's lives as an obstacle to success, offering stories of hard-working women held back by lazy, feckless, often violent boyfriends. In some cases the stereotype is true; but many of those men, like many women, are trapped by a lack of resources and skills and by a subculture that offers few models of successful work and parenting. And some, as reporter and author Jason DeParle and others have documented, are trying their best to stay connected to their children.

Today, there is a need for more efforts, in the public and private sector alike, to encourage employment and child-rearing among poor fathers. One of the baneful effects of the old welfare system was that it enshrined the idea of family and children as a female sphere while turning men into outsiders. Reintegrating men into families will not end poverty or solve all social problems, but it will be a major step in the right direction.

Continued in article

Family Violence Prevention Fund --- http://endabuse.org/

Frank Rich [The New York Times] and company claimed that people were trapped in New Orleans because they had been abandoned for decades by a stingy government that denied them an adequate level of welfare handouts. In fact, New Orleans received a higher per-capita rate of federal welfare spending than most cities--a full 78 percent more than the national average--and the districts hardest hit by the flooding contained some of the city's largest public housing projects. The welfare state had showered its largesse on New Orleans, but with what result? In fact, the disaster in New Orleans was caused, not by too little welfare spending, but by too much. Four decades of dependence on government left people without the resources--economic, intellectual, or moral--to plan ahead and provide for themselves in an emergency.
Robert Tracinski, "The Unlearned Lesson of Katrina," RealClearPolitics, September 1, 2006 --- Click Here

According to 2006 (lst Qtr) INS/FBI Statistical Report 58% of all welfare payments in the United States are issued to illegal aliens. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties in the United States are illegal aliens.
Idaho Observer --- Click Here

Hunger in America 2006 --- http://www.hungerinamerica.org/ 


NFL Football Second Guessing the Coaches
A startup venture, EndGame Technologies, has designed novel computer modeling software to assist National Football League coaches with critical play-calling decisions--the kind that often determine the outcome of the game. Should a team punt on fourth down--or go for it? Or attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown? The software, called ZEUS, is designed to answer such questions by calculating the consequences of each decision in a matter of seconds.
Brittany Sauser, "Revolutionizing Football:  New computer modeling software could make gridiron coaches rethink their decisions and look to science for guidance," MIT's Technology Review, August 31, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17383&ch=infotech  

"Fire-the-coach Web sites a big business," PhysOrg, August 31, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76257644.html

EA, the world's largest video game publisher, said consumers snapped up more than 2 million copies of "Madden NFL 07" in its opening week, up 12 percent from last year's game launch. The Madden game is the flagship franchise for the Redwood City-based game maker, with new versions each year ranking consistently as best sellers. To date, more than 53 million copies of the game have been sold.
"Madden Video Game Posts Record Sales," PhysOrg, September 1, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76332609.html
Jensen Comment
Please don't consider this Tidbit an endorsement. Bob Jensen is opposed to all video games other than those specifically designed for education and training. Although there are entertainment values from other types of games, I think the negatives outweigh the positives in most instances.


Computer defeats humans at the NYT’s crossword Puzzles
Crossword-solving computer program WebCrow has defeated 25 human competitors in a puzzle competition in Riva del Garda, Italy. The program took both first- and second-place honors in the contest, which was staged as part of the European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, New Scientist reported Thursday. The two English puzzles were taken from The New York Times and The Washington Post, while two Italian puzzles were taken from newspapers in the country. A fifth puzzle featured clues in both languages taken from all four sources. "It exceeded our expectations because there were around 15 Americans in the competition," said Marco Ernandes, who created WebCrow along with Giovanni Angelini and Marco Gori. "Now we'd like to test it against more people with English as their first language."
"Computer defeats humans at crossword," PhysOrg, September 1, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76345125.html


How can this happen? Sometimes the best of the best in the U.S. just isn't enough
Greece used a sizzling stretch of shooting across the middle two quarters to turn a 12-point deficit into a 14-point lead, and beat the Americans 101-95 Friday in the semifinals of the world championships. ''To lose any game is a shock to us,'' U.S. star Carmelo Anthony said. ''We came in with the mentality to win the game and the gold medal.'' Instead, the best Anthony can do now is add another bronze to his collection. Greece (8-0) can earn a world title to go with the European championship it won in 2005 with a victory over Spain in Sunday's gold-medal game. Spain (8-0) beat Argentina 75-74 on Friday night. ''They played like a champion plays,'' U.S. forward Shane Battier said of Greece.
"Greece Shocks U.S. Basketball Team," New York Times, September 1, 2006 --- Click Here


Question
Do you really want to attend a fraudulent academic conference for lines on a resume and/or a paid vacation?
Is this violation of your personal integrity really worth it?

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

Hi XXXXX,

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

Bob Jensen's threads on fraudulent academic conferences are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#AcademicConferences


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


The Politically Incorrect Guide to Factually Incorrect Guides --- http://90percenttrue.com/?p=116


"Researchers create new system to address phishing fraud," PhysOrg, September 1, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76325493.html

Carnegie Mellon University CyLab researchers have developed a new anti-phishing tool to protect users from online transactions at fraudulent Web sites. 

A research team led by Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Adrian Perrig has created the Phoolproof Phishing Prevention system that protects users against all network-based attacks, even when they make mistakes. The innovative security system provides strong mutual authentication between the Web server and the user by leveraging a mobile device, such as the user's cell phone or PDA.

The system is also designed to be easy for businesses to implement. Perrig, along with engineering Ph.D. student assistants Bryan Parno and Cynthia Kuo, has developed an anti-phishing system that makes the user's cell phone an active participant in the authentication process to securely communicate with a particular Internet site.

"Essentially, our research indicates that Internet users do not always make correct security decisions, so our new system helps them make the right decision, and protects them even if they manage to make a wrong decision," Perrig said. "Our new anti-phishing system, which operates with the standard secure Web protocol, ensures that the user accesses the Web site they intend to visit, instead of a phishing site posing as a legitimate business. The mobile device acts like an electronic assistant, storing a secure bookmark and a cryptographic key for each of the user's online accounts."

Phoolproof Phishing Prevention essentially provides a secure electronic key ring that the user can access while making online transactions, according to Parno. These special keys are more secure than one-time passwords because the user can't give them away. So, phishers can't access the user's accounts, even if they obtain other information about the user, researchers said.

Since the user's cell phone performs cryptographic operations without revealing the secret key to the user's computer, the system also defends against keyloggers and other malicious software on the user's computer. Even if the user loses the cell phone, the keys remain secure.

Driving the need for this new tool is escalating consumer worries over online fraud -- a major barrier for a banking industry seeking to push consumers to do more of their banking online. More than 5 percent of Internet users say they have stopped banking online because of security concerns, up from 1 percent a year ago, according to industry reports.

Complicating the concern for more secure financial sites is a looming deadline for new security guidelines from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), a group of government agencies that sets standards for financial institutions. Last year, the FFIEC set a Dec. 31 deadline for banks to add online security measures beyond just a user name and password. Failure to meet that deadline could result in fines, the FFIEC said.

Bob Jensen's threads on phishing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#Phishing


From the University of Pennsylvania
How to deal with unwelcome mail and telephone solitications --- http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~kurisuto/consumer_warfare.html

Other guides for frustrating telemarketers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#Telemarketing


Also from the University of Pennsylvania:  How many arrests does it take to fire a tenured professor?
"A Ring of Fire," by Rob Capriccioso, Inside Higher Ed, August 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/31/upenn

Penn officials said Tuesday that Ward would never teach again at the university. But some are asking what took them so long, since this was not the first time, but the third, that Ward had been charged in sex scandals involving minors.

Catherine Bath, executive director of Security on Campus, a nonprofit organization concerned with campus safety, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that it seemed that Penn “was giving him a chance” despite his history. “But do you really want known child molesters on your campus?” she asked. “I would say no.”

“It seems like an odd situation,” said Jason Johnston, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. “I’m not surprised people are having negative reactions.”

In 1995, the marketing professor was acquitted of “involuntary deviate sexual intercourse” after an 18-year-old male alleged that he had sexual contact with Ward between 50 and 100 times from the time he was 13 or 14 years old. Four years later, in 1999, Ward was accused of soliciting sex from a state trooper who had posed as a 15-year-old boy. In that case, he pleaded guilty without admitting that he tried to promote prostitution and corrupt minors. Ultimately, he was given five years of probation and fined $2,500. Ward is currently being held in a Virginia jail and could not be reached for comment. His lawyer did not return calls for comment on Wednesday.

Continued in article

How much stolen money does it take to fire a tenured professor?
Priscilla Slade was fired as president of Texas Southern University and was indicted last month based on allegations that she mismanaged university funds and that some were used inappropriately for her home (charges that she denies). The Houston Chronicle reported that Slade is teaching accounting at Texas Southern this semester. Texas Southern officials noted that Slade is a tenured professor and that her firing as president did not revoke her tenure.
Inside Higher Ed, August 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/31/qt

Bob Jensen's threads on higher Education Controversies are at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/31/qt


The Brain's Filing System:  Where do you store your memory of socks in your bureau?
Socks in the sock drawer, shirts in the shirt drawer, the time-honored lessons of helping organize one’s clothes learned in youth. But what parts of the brain are used to encode such categories as socks, shirts, or any other item, and how does such learning take place? New research from Harvard Medical School (HMS) investigators has identified an area of the brain where such memories are found. They report in the advanced online Nature that they have identified neurons that assist in categorizing visual stimuli. They found that the activity of neurons in a part of the brain called the parietal cortex encode the category, or meaning, of familiar visual images and that brain activity patterns changed dramatically as a result of learning. Their results suggest that categories are encoded by the activity of individual neurons (brain cells) and that the parietal cortex is a part of the brain circuitry that learns and recognizes the meaning of the things that we see.
"Brain's Filing System Uncovered," PhysOrg, August 28, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75960117.html


Web sites recommended by Time Magazine on August 31, 2006, Page 64:

* World News * Sports * Science News * Celebrities & Entertainment * Politics * People & Dating * Photo & Video Sharing * Posters & Products * Tech News * Style & Fashion * Travel


Are lawyers padding expense billings?
The career of Matthew Farmer, a junior partner in the Chicago law offices of Holland & Knight LLP, was on the upswing in December 2004. He had just won a monthlong trial for Pinnacle Corp., a Midwestern home builder accused of copyright infringement, and gotten kudos from many of his partners. But weeks later, after reviewing billing records in the Pinnacle matter, he decided to leave the 1,200-lawyer firm. Mr. Farmer, 42 years old, believed his own hours on the case had been inflated by the partner in charge of billing, 62-year-old Edward Ryan. Fearing he would violate state ethics rules if he kept quiet, Mr. Farmer blew the whistle to Holland & Knight lawyers.
Nathan Koppel, "Lawyer's Charge Opens Window On Bill Padding," The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2006; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115689325718248915.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
Jensen Comment
Large accounting firms previously got caught up in bill padding scandals, particularly inflated airline fare reimbursements --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#BigFirms


Warning to retirees: Beware of your families
Financial swindles are one of the fastest-growing forms of elder abuse. By some estimates, as many as five million senior citizens are victimized each year, says Sara Aravanis, director of the nonprofit National Center on Elder Abuse, which provides information to federal and state policy makers. Because of the problem's spread, "many states have laws authorizing financial institutions to report suspicions of elderly abuse," says Bruce Jay Baker, general counsel for the Illinois Bankers Association. Earlier this summer, the Securities and Exchange Commission hosted a Seniors Summit to highlight the issue, with SEC Chairman Christopher Cox noting that protecting seniors' pocketbooks "is one of the most important issues of our time."
Jeff D. Opdyke, "Intimate Betrayal: When the Elderly Are Robbed by Their Family Members," The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2006; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115689331870748918.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

February 18, 2005 message from Joanne Tweed [ibridges@san.rr.com

America's seniors are being cheated of their life's savings by securities Broker/Dealers. 
SENIORS AGAINST SECURITIES FRAUD http://seniorsagainstsecuritiesfraud.com  offers supportive educational links and solutions. Please consider linking.

Most Sincerely,
Joanne Tweed


Fear of Blackboard's Patent Just Will Not Go Away

"Patent Fight Rattles Academic Computing," PhysOrg, August 28, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75967078.html

Every day, millions of students taking online college courses act in much the same way as their bricks-and-mortar counterparts. After logging on, they move from course to course and do things like submit work in virtual drop boxes and view posted grades - all from a program running on a PC.

It may seem self-evident that virtual classrooms should closely resemble real ones. But a major education software company contends it wasn't always so obvious. And now, in a move that has shaken up the e-learning community, Blackboard Inc. has been awarded a patent establishing its claims to some of the basic features of the software that powers online education.

The patent, awarded to the Washington, D.C.-based company in January but announced last month, has prompted an angry backlash from the academic computing community, which is fighting back in techie fashion - through online petitions and in a sprawling Wikipedia entry that helps make its case.

Critics say the patent claims nothing less than Blackboard's ownership of the very idea of e-learning. If allowed to stand, they say, it could quash the cooperation between academia and the private sector that has characterized e-learning for years and explains why virtual classrooms are so much better than they used to be.

The patent is "is antithetical to the way that academia makes progress," said Michael Feldstein, assistant director of the State University of New York's online learning network and one of the bloggers who has criticized the company.

Blackboard, which recently became the dominant company in the field by acquiring rival WebCT, says the critics misunderstand what the patent claims. But the company does say it must protect its $100 million investment in the technology. The day the patent was announced, Blackboard sued rival Desire2Learn for infringement and is seeking royalties.

"It just wouldn't be a level playing field if someone could come onto the scene tomorrow, copy everything that Blackboard and WebCT have done and call it their own," said Blackboard general counsel Matthew Small.

Waterloo, Ontario-based Desire2Learn said it was surprised by the lawsuit but will defend itself vigorously. No court date has been set.

The dispute is part of a contentious area of the law concerning patents awarded not just on invented objects, but on ideas and processes. In theory, patents can be awarded on a whole range of ideas as long as they are "non-obvious" and the Patent Office sees no evidence they have been described before. Patents have been awarded for everything from types of credit card offers to methods of teaching a golf swing.

Now, the issue is surfacing in the growing field of e-learning.

According to the Sloan Consortium, 2.3 million U.S. college students were taking at least one course entirely online in the fall of 2004 - a figure that is likely higher now and doesn't include "hybrid" classes with both online and in-person components. Most of those students use so-called "Learning Management Systems," which provide the electronic backbone for online education. For-profit and traditional universities are investing millions in these systems, hoping the upfront investment will pay off down the road with a more efficient teaching model.

About 90 percent of colleges use some kind of LMS, according to data from Eduventures, a Boston company that does research and consulting on online learning, and they are used in about 46 percent of classes. Blackboard has about 60 percent of the market for those systems, followed by eCollege and Desire2Learn with about 20 percent each, according to Eduventures.

"A few years ago this was a place to just hang your syllabus, maybe post a couple of links," said Catherine Burdt, a senior analyst with Eduventures. "Increasingly, we see these systems as the foundation of academic computing."

Blackboard's patent doesn't refer to any device or even specific software code. Rather, it describes the basic framework of an LMS. In short, Blackboard says what it invented isn't learning tools like drop boxes, but the idea of putting such tools together in one big, scalable system across a university.

"Our developers sat down and said 'college IT departments are having a lot of trouble managing all these disparate Web sites from each class. How can we turn this into one computer program that manages all of the classes?'" Small said. "That was a leap."

Critics say it was a tiny hop at most.

Blackboard's claims are "incredibly obvious," said Feldstein. The company's patent suggests "that they invented e-learning," said Alfred Essa, associate vice chancellor and CIO of the Minnesota state college and university system.

The academic IT community has taken its case to the blogosphere. Over recent weeks, a sprawling Wikipedia entry has emerged tracking a history of virtual classrooms as far back as 1945 in an effort to demonstrate the idea was not Blackboard's.

Why are universities concerned? Many use off-the-shelf systems sold by Blackboard already. But others use rival companies like Desire2Learn, or mix and match to meet their own needs. Because universities are decentralized and have such varied systems, one size rarely fits all, says Feldstein. Many borrow from open-source courseware programs with names like "Moodle" and "the Sakai Project."

The fear is that universities, afraid of being sued for patent infringement, would stop that mixing, matching and experimenting - and that innovation would suffer. Feldstein notes most LMSs started out as university research projects - including Blackboard itself, at Cornell.

Blackboard's Small denies the company is claiming to own the very idea of e-learning. He says the company supports open source, and notes a Blackboard product called Building Blocks allows users to create their own systems off Blackboard's basic platform. Blackboard, he says, is focussed on commercial providers and has no intention of going after universities - its customers, after all - in court to collect royalties.

"Blackboard is not a troll," he said, referring to the term for companies that establish a patent but don't use it except to exact royalties from others. "We're not trying to put anyone out of business. We're not trying to hinder innovation. We're seeking a reasonable royalty."

Desire2Learn founder and CEO John Baker says his company will fight the patent hard.

"We hope that after we defend ourselves this will be good for everybody in the industry - clients, students, educators, everybody," he said.

It may seem self-evident that virtual classrooms should closely resemble real ones. But a major education software company contends it wasn't always so obvious. And now, in a move that has shaken up the e-learning community, Blackboard has been awarded a patent establishing its claims to some of the basic features of the software that powers online education. The patent, awarded to the Washington, D.C.-based company in January but announced last month, has prompted an angry backlash from the academic computing community, which is fighting back in techie fashion -- through online petitions and in a sprawling Wikipedia entry that helps make its case. Critics say the patent claims nothing less than Blackboard's ownership of the very idea of e-learning. If allowed to stand, they say, it could quash the cooperation between academia and the private sector that has characterized e-learning for years and explains why virtual classrooms are so much better than they used to be. The patent is "is antithetical to the way that academia makes progress," said Michael Feldstein, assistant director of the State University of New York's online learning network and one of the bloggers who has criticized the company.
"Patent Fight in Online Academia," Wired News, August 27, 2006 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of eLearning are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm

 


Update on HDTV Over the Web
Companies are finding ways to stream high-definition TV signals over the Web. Could the technology make low-quality video at sites like YouTube a distant memory?
Wade Roush, "HDTV over the Internet," MIT's Technology Review, August 29, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17375&ch=infotech


Question
Aside from raising money for roads, what's the huge advantage of toll roads?

New research shows that making drivers pay higher tolls at peak times and tracking their location with RFID or GPS technology can eliminate traffic jams.
David Talbot, "Market Forces vs. Traffic Jams," MIT's Technology Review, August 29, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17373&ch=infotech


"Greenhouse Methane Released From Ice Age Ocean," PhysOrg, August 29, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76087184.html

Periods of warming temperatures during the last ice age triggered the release of methane from beneath the ocean, according to U.S. and French researchers. Once in the atmosphere, the methane would have acted as a heat-trapping greenhouse gas.

"This is a new source of methane which has not been looked at before," said Tessa Hill, now assistant professor of geology at UC Davis and at the university's Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Off the California coast -- and elsewhere around the world -- natural petroleum seeps release oil, tar and gas into the bottom of the ocean. Some methane gas finds its way to the surface, while the tar sinks back to the bottom.

Methane is also generated in marine sediments by bacteria and other organisms. Much of the biological methane remains at the sea floor in a chemically "frozen" form.

During 2002, Hill, then a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara, and colleagues sampled ocean sediments off California from a French government research vessel, the R/V Marion Dufresne.

Looking at sediments laid down during the past 30,000 years, they measured the amount of tar left behind by methane seepage and also the temperature at the ocean surface as recorded by the oxygen isotopes included in the shells of tiny sea animals.

Methane emissions peaked between 16,000 to 14,000 years ago and again 11,000 to 10,000 years ago, both periods when glaciers were melting and the ocean was warming.

Continued in article


Outrageous Executive Audacity

"That Other Guy From Omaha," by Gretchen Morgenson, The New York Times, August 29, 2006

Mr. Gupta is, shall we say, a piece of work. He often prevents large shareholders from asking questions on conference calls. He has received compensation that was not earned under the terms of the company’s executive compensation program, according to a lawsuit that Cardinal Value Equity Partners, infoUSA’s largest outside holder, filed against the company. And, the suit alleges, his board has given him free rein to dispense stock options to whomever he likes.

Related-party transactions are also routine at infoUSA. The Cardinal lawsuit contends that infoUSA paid a company owned by Mr. Gupta about $608,000 in 2003 to buy his interest in a skybox at the University of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium. The university is Mr. Gupta’s alma mater and home of the Cornhuskers football team. In June 2005, the suit says, infoUSA paid $2.2 million for a long-term lease of his yacht. The yacht, named American Princess, is 80 feet long and has an all-female crew, according to a report in The Triton, a monthly publication for boat captains and crews.

Leases on an H2 Hummer, a gold Honda Odyssey, a Glacier Bay Catamaran, a Mini Cooper, a Lexus 330, a Mercedes SL500 ­ all used by the Gupta clan ­ as well as rent on a Gupta family condominium on Maui have also been financed by infoUSA shareholders, the suit said.

Shareholders also paid a company owned by Mr. Gupta’s wife $64,200 for consulting services in 2003 and 2004. Shareholders have also covered the Gupta family’s personal use of a corporate jet ­ leased by infoUSA from a company owned by the family ­ to have fun in the sun in Hawaii and the Bahamas. Mr. Gupta apparently wasn’t in a mood to return the favor: during a four-year period ending in 2004, infoUSA paid $13.5 million to Mr. Gupta’s private company for use of the aircraft.

What to make of all of this? The Cardinal lawsuit contends that the carnivalesque spending amounts to unregulated perquisites and evidence of a somnambulant board. Sleepy, perhaps, but always on the move. Some 15 directors have spun through infoUSA’s boardroom door over the last decade; five of them stayed less than a year.

It wasn’t until two years ago ­ November 2004 ­ that infoUSA’s board created guidelines for the approval of related-party transactions over $60,000. The Cardinal lawsuit alleges that some of infoUSA’s related-party dealings with certain board members “did not have a sufficient record to show authorizations and whether the services could be procured from other sources at comparable prices.”

None of the infoUSA board members returned phone calls seeking comment. Mr. Gupta did not return several phone calls, either.

But Mr. Gupta’s biggest faux pas occurred in June 2005, when infoUSA warned that its earnings would not be up to expectations. The stock fell from $11.94 a share to $9.85 the day after the announcement. Less than a week later, Mr. Gupta offered to acquire infoUSA for $11.75 a share, far less than the $18 a share he had said the company was worth just a few months earlier.

A special committee of the company’s board was set up to evaluate Mr. Gupta’s offer and to field bids from other possible partners in order to secure the highest possible price for infoUSA shareholders. Almost exactly a year ago, the committee concluded that the $11.75 offer was too low and that it should be subject to a “market check.”

At a board meeting on Aug. 26, 2005, Mr. Gupta said that he would not sell any of his shares to a third party in an alternative transaction, according to the lawsuit. Some directors might have used this opportunity to give Mr. Gupta a well-earned public rebuke. But a majority of the sleepwalkers at infoUSA just got into lockstep with their chief executive.

The directors responded by deciding that there was no need for infoUSA’s special committee to exist. They voted 5 to 3 (with one abstention) to abolish it. The only directors voting for the committee’s continuance were three of its four members; the fourth abstained from voting. The stock closed that day at $10.89.

The vote was the last straw for Cardinal Value Equity Partners. It filed suit in February against Mr. Gupta, some of infoUSA’s directors and the company itself.

“Our suit says that the special committee was prematurely terminated, that they didn’t get to finish their work and that was the wrong decision by the entire board,” said Robert B. Kirkpatrick, a managing director at Cardinal Capital Management. “We’re not asking for $100 billion; we ask that the special committee be reconstituted to be able to have the time to fulfill their original mandate as dictated by the board.”

In other words, to reopen the possibility of a buyout.

IN the meantime, all is right in Mr. Gupta’s gilded world. About three weeks ago, on Aug. 4, infoUSA announced that it was buying Opinion Research, a consulting services company, for $12 a share, an almost 100 percent premium to Opinion Research’s market price the day before the announcement.

Lo and behold, who owned Opinion Research shares the day the deal was announced? The Vinod Gupta Revocable Trust, according to a regulatory filing, owned 33,000 shares. The trust, controlled by Mr. Gupta, sold 22,000 of its shares after the merger announcement sent Opinion Research’s stock rocketing.

The trust’s shares don’t represent a huge stake, but it is worth asking: Did infoUSA’s directors know that the Gupta trust was an Opinion Research shareholder when they signed off on the premium-priced deal? And what gains did the trust record when it sold into the deal-jazzed market? For now, the answers are unclear.

In coming weeks, a judge in Delaware will rule on whether the Cardinal lawsuit can proceed. InfoUSA has asked the judge to dismiss the case, saying that it has no merit.

“Unfortunately, the system is broken in this case,” said Donald T. Netter, senior managing director at Dolphin Financial Partners, a private investment partnership in Stamford, Conn., that is an infoUSA shareholder. “The board has failed to protect the unaffiliated shareholders. When the system works properly, you shouldn’t get into these situations.”

No kidding.

Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation schemes are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#OutrageousCompensation


The last episode of the HBO series “Deadwood”
The last episode of
the HBO series “Deadwood” ran on Sunday evening, bringing to an end one of the most unusual and absorbing experiments in historical storytelling ever attempted on the small screen. The network’s decision not to continue the program is understandable (it was very expensive to film) if by no means easy to forgive.
Scott McLemee, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," Inside Higher Ed, August 30, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/08/30/mclemee


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

Latest Headlines on September 1, 2006

Latest Headlines on September 2, 2006

Latest Headlines on September 6, 2006

 

 


Fruit juice could help stave off Alzheimer's: study
Drinking fruit or vegetable juice several times a week could help protect against Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in the September issue of The American Journal of Medicine. The nine-year study involving nearly 2,000 people, led by Professor Qi Dai of Tennessee's Vanderbilt University, showed that the risk of developing Alzheimer's -- a degenerative brain disease that affects a person's memory, thinking and mood -- was cut by 76 percent among those who drank fruit or vegetable juice more than three times a week. Among those who drank juice once a week, the risk was reduced by 16 percent.
"Juice could help stave off Alzheimer's: study," PhysOrg, August 31, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76266077.html


Milwaukee may be the bingiest city, but the "best" is still in the "west"
A federal government survey recently confirmed what residents of Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas already knew: people there drink to excess, at very early ages, well above the national average. The survey, conducted over three years by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said south-central Wyoming led the nation with the highest rate of alcohol abuse by people age 12 and older. In Albany and Carbon counties, more than 30 percent of people under age 20 binge drink — 50 percent above the national average. In examining behavior in 340 regions of the country, the survey found that 7 of the top 10 areas for under-age binge drinking — defined as five or more drinks at a time — were in Wyoming, Montana and North and South Dakota.
Timothy Egan, "Boredom in the West Fuels Binge Drinking," The New York Times, September 2, 2006 --- Click Here

Help for Binge Drinkers and Alcoholics in General from the National Institute of Health
A Clinician's Guide --- http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Practitioner/CliniciansGuide2005/clinicians_guide.htm 

Why do some people with a strong family history of alcoholism develop alcohol dependency while others do not? A new study provides clues that differing brain chemistry may provide part of the answer
Researchers from four scientific institutions and federal agencies working at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have found that elevated levels of D2 receptors for dopamine -- a chemical "messenger" in the brain's reward circuits -- may provide a protective effect for those most at risk for developing alcoholism. The study, part of an ongoing effort to understand the biochemical basis of alcohol abuse, also provides new evidence for a linkage between emotional attributes and brain function. The study appears in the September 2006 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. "Higher levels of dopamine D2 receptors may provide protection against alcoholism by triggering the brain circuits involved in inhibiting behavioral responses to the presence of alcohol," said lead author Nora D. Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and former Associate Laboratory Director for life sciences research at Brookhaven Lab. "This means that treatment strategies for alcoholism that increase dopamine D2 receptors could be beneficial for at-risk individuals."
"Study offers clues to brain's protective mechanisms against alcoholism," PhysOrg, September 4, 2006 ---
http://physorg.com/news76606058.html

 


The Latest Buzz on the Mosquito War
It's a war that began more than a century ago, but there's no end in sight. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year. And hundreds of scientists have devoted their lives to it. It's the battle against disease-carrying mosquitoes. Science writer Jennifer Kahn learned just how bad for you these tiny pests can be. On a trip to Thailand, she caught dengue fever from a mosquito bite. She fell ill on the long flight back and spent several weeks at home recovering.
"The Latest Buzz on the Mosquito War," by Steve Inskeep, NPR, September 4, 2006 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5753574


Older fathers 'raise autism risk'
Children with older fathers have a significantly increased risk of having autism, a study has concluded. The UK and US researchers examined data on 132,271 children and said those born to men over 40 were six times more at risk than those born to men under 30. They said the study in Archives of General Psychiatry was further proof men also had "biological clocks". One UK expert said the study could be important in understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying autism.
"Older fathers 'raise autism risk'," BBC News, September 4, 2006 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5313874.stm

Also see http://physorg.com/news76669941.html


The Man Who Fed the World
Who? Norman Borlaug, 92, is the father of the "Green Revolution," the dramatic improvement in agricultural productivity that swept the globe in the 1960s. He is now the subject of an admiring biography by Leon Hesser, a former State Department official who first met Mr. Borlaug 40 years ago in Pakistan, where they worked together to boost that country's grain production. "The Man Who Fed the World" describes, in a workmanlike way, how a poor Iowa farm boy trained in forestry and plant pathology came to be one of humanity's greatest benefactors.
Ronald Bailey, "The Man Who Fed the World:  How a poor Iowa farm boy came to be one of humanity's greatest benefactors," The Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110008897


Things to Avoid in College Applications (and I suspect employment applications)

"The Admit Office's Hate List:  Excuses don't cut it, say seasoned admissions officials. Here's what not to say, from the folks who have heard it all," by Kerry Miller, Business Week, August 22, 2006 ---
http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/aug2006/bs20060822_0207_bs001.htm?link_position=link1

 

Whether it be gaps in your employment history, significant job-hopping, or a lower-than-you'd like GPA or GMAT score, many prospective B-schoolers have something in their applications that they worry doesn't reflect their true abilities. Is the worry justified? Actually, say admissions counselors, yes. "If you think the admissions committee will question something, we probably will," says Alison Merzel, co-director of MBA admissions at Ohio State's Fisher College of Business].

You can try gloss over the shortcomings, or you can make excuses. Either way, you won't win any points with B-schools admissions offices. Fortunately, most schools' applications include an optional essay with an open-ended question like, "Is there any further information that you wish to provide to the Admissions Committee?" that's designed so you can explain any mitigating factors behind the data. "The more information that we have about you, the better," says Beth Flye, assistant dean and director of admissions and financial aid at
Kellogg.

While some applicants might think that drawing extra attention to a problem could be a bad approach, admissions officers say addressing problems head-on—and demonstrating why you can succeed in spite of them—is a much better strategy than trying to hide behind them. "Don't leave a gap in your application that would leave us wondering. Address it, and then move on," says Christina Ballenger, co-director of MBA admissions at Ohio State.

But how you address the problem can make all the difference. In fact, admissions directors say MBA candidates sometimes go overboard trying to compensate for the weaknesses (or perceived weaknesses) in their applications. Here's what they say are some of the most common tactics that backfire.

1. Making Excuses Instead of Offering Explanations
When addressing problems in your application, beware the fine line between explaining and making excuses. "We want everybody to take responsibility for their lives," says Rose Martinelli, associate dean of student recruitment and admissions at
Chicago's Graduate School of Business. "Excuses drive me nuts."

For instance, in explaining inconsistencies in your application, use the old writing teacher's cliche, "Show, don't tell," as your guide. Daniel Garza, assistant dean at the University of Texas'
McCombs School of Business, encourages taking a "journalistic approach": sticking to the facts, rather than editorializing. In other words, "Don't have a pity party for yourself in your application," says Ballenger.

"What I look for is complete honesty," says Brian Lohr, director of admissions at Notre Dame's
Mendoza College of Business. "There's an ethical component there, too." If you say you're a "not a good test taker"—and admissions officers say lots of people do— demonstrate how you've taken steps to deal with it in the past. ("And you can't tell me that if you only took the test once," Martinelli adds.) Low GPA? "Make a case for how it will be different this time around," says Anne Coyle, director of admissions at the Yale School of Management. No quantitative courses on your transcript? Talk about the statistics class you're taking now to catch up, says Kellogg's Flye.

And remember, there are only so many elements of your application you can explain away. "I'm too busy" is one excuse that often sends eyes rolling, especially when it's used as a catch-all to explain low test scores, lack of extracurricular involvement, and lackluster essays. "We get applicants from people working Herculean hours who still manage to turn in top-notch applications," says
Wharton Director of MBA Admissions Thomas Caleel. "If you're too busy, maybe it's better to wait until the next round to apply."

2. Writing What You Think They Want To Hear
"A lot of people assume—incorrectly—that's we're looking for a love letter," says Wharton's Caleel. While he says his office stresses this point "until we're all blue in the face," every year applicants still try to second-guess the admissions committee by writing what they think is the "correct" answer, losing their own voice in the process.

The tip-off, Flye says, are essays that sound "almost too crafted," and interviews that sound "almost scripted." Soojin Koh, interim director of admissions at the University of Michigan's
Ross School of Business, says she sees candidates every year who opt for memorization instead of self-reflection. "They try to regurgitate our viewbook and Web site, repeating back our own buzzwords," she says.

Carrie Marcinkevage, MBA admissions director at Penn State's
Smeal College of Business, says such "obvious schmoozing" is one of her biggest pet peeves: "If I read one more essay that says, 'If I didn't have to work for a living, I'd do volunteer work'—when the person has no background in volunteerism, or 'I would travel because I want to see the many diverse cultures of the world'…""

3. Getting Too Personal
On the other hand, telling the admissions committee just what they don't want to hear can be a risky strategy as well. While there's no consensus among admissions officers about what topics are off-limits, a good general rule is that if it's inappropriate for dinner-party conversation, it probably doesn't belong in your B-school essay.

Martinelli says the key question for her is, "Is it relevant?" In general, she cautions applicants to avoid the victim mentality in their essays. Bringing up a difficult situation—for example, a close friend's stint in rehab—could offer real insight into an applicant's character. Or it could just reflect poorly on it. "If it doesn't relate, we would question the judgment," says Caleel.

Laurie Stewart, executive director of admissions at Carnegie Mellon's
Tepper School of Business, says candidates should also use caution when they list their personal Web sites or blogs on their application, because admissions officers will visit them. If what they find are pictures of you doing keg stands with your buddies, that might reflect poorly on your judgment, Stewart says.

Lack of judgment is also a factor in the admissions interview, when Coyle says that asking too many personal questions of an interviewer (for example: "Are you married?") is inappropriate. While prospectives might feel pressured to ask questions of the interview like in a normal conversation, "an interview really is all about the applicant," Coyle adds.

4. Obvious Resume Padding
Overinflating titles, responsibilities, or hours put into work or extracurricular activities can get applicants in trouble. Admissions officers read so many resumes that they've got a pretty good handle on, say, what a first-year analyst does, and what their career trajectory looks like. "If someone is a relatively recent college grad, and they're suddenly saying they're at a managerial level, that's a red flag," says Carmen Castro-Rivera, director of Master's admissions at Purdue's
Krannert School of Management.

Martinelli says applicants who say they work 80 hours a week and spend 30 to 50 hours on extracurriculars make admissions officers wonder, "Is that actually possible?" Ballenger says she's also suspicious of extracurricular activities that all have a start date of 2006 for a 2006 application, or of a long list of organization memberships without any leadership roles. Flye says it gives her pause when an applicant doesn't mention a seemingly significant activity or leadership role elsewhere in their essays or interview.

5. Title-Shopping
Most schools strongly suggest—if not require—that you get a recommendation letter from your current supervisor. And all B-schools prefer that recommendations come from someone who knows you well in a business—not a personal—context.

What's even worse are recommendations from people who barely know you at all. Julie Strong, senior associate director of admissions at
MIT-Sloan, says her office once received a letter from a country's prime minister that commented primarily on the prominence of the applicant's family—not about the applicant's specific abilities.

Caleel says Wharton "actively discourages" that kind of title-shopping, and adds that a recommendation from a CEO or a congressman who can't speak in detail about your work won't impress the admissions committee. "Choose your recommender based on how well they know you, not their prestige factor," says
Harvard's Britt Dewey. "If all they can say is 'John lived next door to me and cut my grass,' or 'He was my son's best friend in college,' that doesn't help at all," says Rivera.

6. Playing Alpha-Dog
Coyle admits, "It's a tricky thing, striking the right balance between being confident and a good self-promoter without being arrogant and over the top." But being too intense—or even worse, condescending or rude—is no way to win points with the admissions committee (see BusinessWeek.com, 7/31/06,
"When 'Persistent' Becomes 'Pushy'"). "We're a very team-based learning environment, and we want people who interact well with others," says Caleel. "We don't want someone who's just here for themselves."

Rivera says her office doesn't look favorably on alpha personalities that intimidate and exclude other people. Much of that comes through in the interview portion of the application process, but admissions officers scour essays for clues to your personality as well. For example, using "I" in situations where "we" would be more appropriate is one potential sign that a person overemphasizes personal rather team wins, says Garza.

But of course, there's no magic number of "I's" and "we's." And Koh says the converse is equally problematic. "Overusing 'we' can raise questions like, 'Well what did you do? Are you taking credit for your team's success?'"

Garza also says that how a candidate discusses promotions at work can show a lot about their motivations—overly stressing financial and material gains is a sign that someone might care a little too much about power and wealth. Criticizing or blaming other people for your failures doesn't typically go over well, either. Flye's advice: Keep it positive. "We want confident people who can attack problems and questions, not attack each other."

So before you sign and seal that application, check to see if you've committed any of the above transgressions. Remember, B-schools admit offices have seen lots more applications than you have, and admissions officers have a finely-tuned ear for inauthenticity. The bottom line, B-schools say, is that they want to see the real you—not the person your application says you would like to be.


In the U.S. media, troubles in this part of the world are seldom reported
"Only about 10 per cent of the young boys here have jobs," said Ken Sain. "The rest hang around drinking beer, smoking marijuana, and committing robberies, thefts, bag snatching. When the government leaders steal millions nothing happens. When we steal five kina we get 10 years in Bomana." Facing this is a Papua New Guinea police force whose numbers have dropped to below 4000 personnel, thanks to a halt to recruiting since 2001 because of budget constraints. That is for a country of 5.5 million people, spread across rugged mountains and remote islands. "We are one against a thousand, with their guns and drugs," said a senior policeman in Mount Hagen.
"Dejected police fight a losing battle," Sydney Morning Herald, September 4, 2006 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2006/09/03/1157222010832.html


"Why Are We Even Here For?’," by J.D. Scrimgeour, Inside Higher Ed, September 1, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/09/01/scrimgeour

This past year, for the first time, I taught African American literature: two sections each semester of a yearlong sequence, around 22 students per section. The first semester we began with Phyllis Wheatley and ended with the Harlem Renaissance. The second semester we started with Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright and ended with Percival Everett’s satire, Erasure, published early in the new millennium.

The students in these classes weren’t the ones I typically had in my writing classes. About half were white, and the other half were black, Latino, or Asian. They were generally uninterested or inexperienced in reading, simply trying to satisfy the college’s literature requirement. One day before spring break I was assigning the class a hundred pages from Toni Morrison’s Sula, and one student looked aghast. “We have to read during vacation?” he sputtered. I learned from them the whole year.

In the fall semester, I was teaching W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk. As classes go, it had been fairly dull. Du Bois’s essays didn’t have the compelling story line of the slave narratives that we had read earlier in the semester. We had just begun examining Du Bois’s idea of “double consciousness.” It is a complicated notion that an African American, at least around 1900 when Du Bois was writing, had “no true self-consciousness” because he was “always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others ... measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” In class, I read this definition, paraphrased it, then asked, “Does this make sense to you?”

There was the usual pause after I ask a question and then, from Omar, a large, seemingly lethargic African American, came a soulful, deep-throated “yeah.” The word reverberated in the haphazard circle of desks as we registered the depths from which he had spoken. The room’s silence after his “yeah” was not the bored silence that had preceded it. The air was charged. Someone had actually meant something he had said. Someone was talking about his own life, even if it was only one word.

I followed up: “So what do you do about this feeling? How do you deal with it?”

Everyone was staring at Omar, but he didn’t seem to notice. He looked at me a second, then put his head down and shook it, slowly, as if seeing and thinking were too much for him. “I don’t know, man. I don’t know.”

The rest of the heads in class dropped down, too, and students began reviewing the passage, which was no longer just a bunch of incomprehensible words by some long-dead guy with too many initials.

Every book that we studied after that day, some student would bring up double consciousness, incorporating it smartly into our discussion. Omar had branded the concept into everyone’s minds, including mine.

One idea that arises from double consciousness is that, without “true self-consciousness,” you risk giving in and accepting society’s definitions of yourself, becoming what society tells you that you are. Such a capitulation may be what happens to Bigger Thomas, the protagonist of Richard Wright’s Native Son, a novel we read during the second semester. Native Son is a brutal book. Bigger, a poor African American from the Chicago ghetto, shows little regret after he murders two women. His first victim is Mary, the daughter of a wealthy white family for whom Bigger works as a driver. After Bigger carries a drunk, semiconscious Mary up to her room, he accidentally suffocates her with a pillow while trying to keep her quiet so his presence won’t be discovered. Realizing what he has done, he hacks up her body and throws it in the furnace. Emboldened rather than horrified, he writes a ransom note to the family and eventually kills his girlfriend, Bessie, whom he drags into the scheme. In the end, he’s found out, and, after Chicago is thrown into a hysterical, racist-charged panic, he’s caught, brought to trial — a very long trial that contains a communist lawyer’s exhaustive defense of Bigger that is an indictment of capitalism and racism — and sentenced to death.

Readers, to this day, are not sure what to make of Bigger. Is he to be pitied? Is he a warning? A symbol? A product of American racism?

During the second week of teaching Native Son, I was walking through the college’s athletic facility when I heard my name, “Mr. Scrimgeour. Mr. Scrimgeour...”

I turn and it is Keith, an African American from the class. “Hey, I wanted to tell you, I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” He has missed a few classes, but no more than most students. Maybe he hasn’t turned in his last response paper.

“Yeah, I’m going to talk in class more.” I nod. He looks at me as if I’m not following. “Like Bigger, I don’t know.... I don’t like it.” His white baseball cap casts a shadow over his face so that I can barely see his eyes.

“What don’t you like?”

“He’s, like,” Keith grimaces, as if he isn’t sure that he should say what he is about to say. “He’s like a stereotype — he’s like what people — some people — say about us.”

On “us,” he points to his chest, takes a step back, and gives a pained half grin, his teeth a bright contrast to his dark, nearly black skin.

“Yeah,” I say. “That’s understandable. You should bring that up in the next class. We’ll see what other people think.”

He nods. “And I’m sorry,” he says, taking another step back, “It’s just that....” He taps his chest again, “I’m shy.”

Keith has trouble forming complete sentences when he writes. I don’t doubt that my fourth-grade son can write with fewer grammatical errors. Yet he had identified the criticism of Wright’s book made by such writers as James Baldwin and David Bradley, whose essays on Native Son we would read after we finished the novel. And he knew something serious was at stake — his life — that chest, and what was inside it, that he’d tapped so expressively. Was Bigger what Baldwin identified as the “inverse” of the saccharine Uncle Tom stereotype? Was Wright denying Bigger humanity? And, if so, should we be reading the book?

To begin answering these questions required an understanding of Bigger. For me, such an understanding would come not just from the text, but from my students’ own lives.

That Keith apologized for his lack of participation in class is not surprising. My students are generally apologetic. “I’m so ashamed,” one student said to me, explaining why she didn’t get a phone message I’d left her. “I live in a shelter with my daughter.” Many of them feel a sense of guilt for who they are, a sense that whatever went wrong must be their fault. These feelings, while often debilitating, enable my students, even Keith, to understand Bigger, perhaps better than most critics. Keith, who — at my prompting — spoke in class about being pulled over by the police, understood the accumulation of guilt that makes you certain that what you are doing, and what you will do, is wrong. Bigger says he knew he was going to murder someone long before he actually does, that it was as if he had already murdered.

Unlike his critics, Richard Wright had an unrelentingly negative upbringing. As he details in his autobiography, Black Boy, Wright was raised in poverty by a family that discouraged books in the violently racist South. There was little, if anything, that was sustaining or nurturing. Perhaps a person has to have this sense of worthlessness ground into one’s life to conceive of a character like Bigger. Like my students, one must be told that one isn’t much often enough so that it is not simply an insult, but a seemingly intractable truth.

“I’m sorry,” Keith had said. It was something Bigger could never really bring himself to say, and in this sense the Salem State students were much different from Bigger. Their response to society’s intimidation isn’t Bigger’s rebelliousness. Wright documents Bigger’s sense of discomfort in most social interactions, particularly when speaking with whites, during which he is rendered virtually mute, stumbling through “yes, sirs” and loathing both himself and the whites while doing so.

Although my students weren’t violent, they identified with Bigger’s discomfort — they’d experienced similar, less extreme discomforts talking to teachers, policemen, and other authority figures. As a way into discussing Bigger, I’d asked them to write for a few minutes in class about a time in which they felt uncomfortable and how they had responded to the situation. I joined them in the exercise. Here’s what I wrote:

As a teenager, after school, I would go with a few other guys and smoke pot in the parking lot of the local supermarket, then go into the market’s foyer and play video games stoned. While I felt uncomfortable about smoking pot in the parking lot, I didn’t really do much. I tried to urge the guys I was with to leave the car and go inside and play the video games, but it wouldn’t mean the same thing: to just go in and play the games would be childish, uncool, but to do it after smoking pot made it OK — and once I was in the foyer, it was OK.; I wouldn’t get in trouble. But mostly I did nothing to stop us. I toked, like everyone else. I got quiet. I didn’t really hear the jokes, but forced laughter anyway. I was very attentive to my surroundings — was that lady walking out with the grocery cart looking at us? Afterward, when we went in and manipulated those electronic pulses of light and laughed at our failures, we weren’t just laughing at our failures, we were laughing at what we had gotten away with.

After they had worked in groups, comparing their own experiences to Bigger’s, I shared my own writing with the class. Of course, there were smiles, as well as a few looks of astonishment and approbation. I had weighed whether to confess to my “crime,” and determined that it might lead to learning, as self-disclosure can sometimes do, and so here I was, hanging my former self out on a laundry line for their inspection.

What came of the discussion was, first of all, how noticeable the differences were between my experience and Bigger’s. I was a middle class white boy who assumed he would be going to college. I believed I had a lot to lose from being caught, while Bigger, trapped in a life of poverty, may not have felt such risks. Also, the discomfort I was feeling was from peer pressure, rather than from the dominant power structure. Indeed, my discomfort arose from fact that I was breaking the rules, whereas Bigger’s arose from trying to follow the rules — how he was supposed to act around whites.

Continued in article


From the Scout Report on September 1, 2006

Entourage3D --- http://quicksilver.caup.washington.edu/entourage/index.php 

From charettes to ateliers, architectural education is dedicated to collaborative learning environments. In recent years, some of these activities have migrated to the web, and along the way a number of forward- thinking individuals have seen fit to create online resources that might be of use to students working in this field. Created by the Design Machine Group at the University of Washington’s Department of Architecture, the entourage 3D database includes “building blocks, complete models, and ‘finishing touches’ for users to download and use.” Visitors will appreciate the fact that they can browse these resources by such categories as building component, lighting element, office furniture, or street furniture. Visitors will need to complete a free registration before looking at the various designs and plans available here, but this only takes a few moments.


TEDTalks --- http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/index.cfm?flashEnabled=1 

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and this acronym is familiar to those in the know as an annual conference that brings together talented persons from each of these fields every year to Monterey, CA. The price of attending the conference is a bit steep, but never fear, as this site will give users access to some of these provocative and enlightening sessions presented at their various gatherings. Through a partnership with BMW and New York Public Radio, the talks can be viewed in their entirety, or visitors can just listen to the audio portion if they so wish. Currently, there are several dozen presentations, including those by Jimmy Wales (the founder of Wikipedia), Nicholas Negroponte, and Al Gore. The wide range of persons selected for the annual TED conference is rather appealing, and overall, there area number of intriguing ideas presented throughout their number.


Foundation Coalition: Active/Cooperative Learning --- http://clte.asu.edu/active/main.htm 

In some disciplines, particularly those with an applied component, cooperative education has been standard operating procedure in the classroom for over a century. Engineering is one such discipline, and this insightful website provides a number of resources for educators looking for some helpful modules to use in their own classrooms. Appropriately enough, the sections on the site include “Preparing”, “Planning”, “Implementing”, “Assessment”, and “Lessons and Activities”. The “Preparing” section offers a good selection of activities that help instructors create a productive classroom environment, and the “Lessons and Activities” section contains very useful content-specific lessons that address such topics as steady state open-system devices and database management. Additional lessons include those on aerospace principles, freshmen engineering projects, and engineering statistics.


JetPhoto Studio 3.2.1 --- http://www.jetphotosoft.com/web/home/ 

As the summer draws to a close, some people may find themselves with the heavy burden of cataloging and organizing their digital photographs. Fortunately, JetPhoto Studio 3.2.1 will make this process a bit easier. With this application, users can add keyword tags to each photo and also use a GPS-drive photo locator to add great geographic specificity to each item. Of course, the application makes it easy to send along the albums to friends and family via email. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and XP or Mac OS X 10.3 or higher.


CatsCradle 3.5 --- http://www.stormdance.net/software/catscradle/overview.htm 

Many websurfers enjoy going to sites that might be based in other countries, and as such, they might very well encounter a different language. With CatsCradle 3.5, these persons need worry no more, as this application can be used to translate entire websites in such languages as Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows XP or 2000.

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm


"Tales of Intrigue:  The top political novels," by Melanie Kirkpatrick, The Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110008851 
 

1. "The Prime Minister" by Anthony Trollope (1876).

The late British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan famously relished going to bed with a good Trollope--Anthony Trollope, that is, the Victorian novelist. Trollope's sextet of novels known as "The Pallisers," interwoven with plots filled with true-to-life details about the workings of the House of Commons, is unrivaled in capturing the allures and temptations of politics. The apex of the series is "The Prime Minister," the tale of an unscrupulous man's campaign for Parliament and the prime minister's wife who supports him against her husband's wishes. Like the rest of the series, "The Prime Minister" offers psychological insights--on power, sex, love, money--that are sharper than anything Freud wrote a half-century later.

2. "Shelley's Heart" by Charles McCarry (Random House, 1995).

America's best writer of espionage novels produced this gripping tale of political intrigue that is also an audacious romp through contemporary Washington mores. A scene at a Georgetown dinner party attended by a former president, a Supreme Court justice, a speaker of the House, a reporter and a lesbian ranks as one of the funniest scenes in contemporary American fiction. No one writes better--or more cynically--than Mr. McCarry about the parasitic relationship between politicians and the press: "The reporters surged forward, as though their many bodies were controlled by a single overloaded brain . . . the Speaker's name was uttered like a mating call by two dozen identically pitched voices. . . .The creature was dangerous but predictable. It was always hungry: to keep it at bay, to prevent it from having bad memories of you, you had to feed it each time you saw it." This isn't your daddy's Woodward and Bernstein.

3. "Death of a Red Heroine" by Qiu Xiaolong (Soho, 2000).

Set in 1990s Shanghai, "Death of a Red Heroine" is an intriguing detective yarn as well as a commentary on how the Communist Party remains the controlling force in most aspects of ordinary life in China. While this is changing--especially in Beijing and Shanghai, where the "work unit" is no longer regnant--Party members still have access to better jobs, better apartments and even, in some cases, better options in love. One thing that hasn't changed is the personal power wielded by China's top officials and their families. Mr. Qiu's inspector-poet risks all when his investigation takes him too close to one of China's untouchable princelings, the son of a high-ranking official in Beijing. Mr. Qiu can write so accurately about life in the new China because he was born and grew up there; he can write so candidly because he now lives in the U.S., where he teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

4. "Darkness at Noon" by Arthur Koestler (Macmillan, 1941).

The words "Russia" and "Soviet Union" do not appear in this petrifying story of life in Stalin's Russia during the Moscow show trials, but every reader of the day knew exactly what Koestler was writing about and whom the totalitarian leader known merely as "Number One" was modeled on. "Darkness at Noon" recounts the fate of Rubashov, an old revolutionary who is charged with treason and thrown in prison, where he is brainwashed and tortured; he ultimately confesses to imaginary crimes against the state. Koestler was himself a disillusioned Communist, and "Darkness at Noon" was greeted with rage by Western intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre, who pegged the book for what it was: a searing indictment of life in a totalitarian society.

5. "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren (Harcourt, Brace, 1946).

Robert Penn Warren was the nation's first poet laureate, and it's easy to understand why when lingering over the beautiful language in this lushly written novel. But it's also a rollicking good read. Based on the life of Huey "Kingfish" Long of Louisiana, "All the King's Men" is the rags-to-riches story of Willie Stark, a small-town Southern politician who starts out as an idealistic young man of the people and ends up corrupted by the system he had sought to reform. Seen from the perspective of our new century, it's also a window into daily life in the Old South--its prejudices, language, manners and mores.

Ms. Kirkpatrick is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.


Hysterical and True (I think)

"Reading Flaubert and More in Belize," by Fleur LaDouleur (the part that isn't true), Inside Higher Ed, August 28, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/08/28/ladouleur

Spring 2006 was a difficult time in the department. At first, people weren’t speaking to each other; then, the halls were simply empty. I don’t know where most of my colleagues were hiding out. I frequented the medical school cafeteria, where you could count the people not wearing scrubs on one hand — me and four others . . . I spent May and June finishing proofs for a book I had translated from French to English and revisions to an article on gorillas, Dian Fossey, and excrement.

. . .

I was tired of coming up with synonyms for excrement: waste, shit, dung, the abject, poop, caca, number two. The editor of the British journal that accepted the article wrote me that foax is the singular of feces. The local school board announced that my daughter’s elementary school will close for budgetary reasons. Amazon.com informed me that it couldn’t send me the books for my fall classes because my university credit card had been rejected. I scanned the job ads and then booked us on a three-week vacation to Belize. I packed two paperbacks that I already owned, Flaubert’s Bouvard et Pécuchet for a graduate course, and François Mauriac’s Thérèse Desqueyroux for an undergrad course on crime in French literature.

My husband insisted we go light — each of us would have a backpack — so I wore my new Keen sandals and packed three pairs of shorts, four tank tops, one long-sleeved shirt, and minimal toiletry items. I got a bikini wax, a dose of antibiotics, and a hepatitis A shot. My daughter, Lucy, settled on three small stuffies and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, in the series by C.S. Lewis. My husband packed a relief map of Belize and said we should think of retiring there. Lucy breathed easy when I told her that they speak English in Belize (she had been traumatized by the French public school system while we lived there on a sabbatical). We took two planes to Cancun and a bus to Belize. I had set up an automatic e-mail reply that stated I would be back shortly before classes started and that I would not have regular access to e-mail in the interim. The Israeli-Hezbollah war began.

It was incongruous reading Bouvard et Pécuchet while riding on old American school buses in Belize. With the radio blaring two songs — one about “de subway” and the other insisting “déme más gasolina” — I read about the Frenchmen who were amassing a personal museum from medieval church fragments. Flaubert was mocking them. I mixed up the names, for Bouvard seemed more of a Pécuchet and vice versa. They had bought a farm to escape Paris. We passed by the Mennonite settlement of Shipyard. A very large Spiderman piñata occupied its own seat.

I plowed through B et P on the balcony of a hotel in Orange Walk at dawn, unable to sleep due to the time change. A Baptist missionary from Kentucky joined me on the balcony and talked of feeding the poor kids in town. We saw Mayan ruins and our guide talked of the destruction of Orange Walk due to crack cocaine. The hotel room was miniscule and not ventilated. Every evening the Orange Walk drum corps and baton team practiced across the street in a lot by the Shell station. We moved on to San Ignacio, in the Cayo District, and to a lodge in the village of Bullet Tree.

At Cohune Palms we had a thatched cabana for a week. The river was too flooded for swimming and canoeing, but Lucy and my husband went caving and I took her to Tikal, across the border in Guatemala. I had gotten a bladder infection in Orange Walk and had begun my antibiotics. I had also bought two rounds of Cipro over the counter for $8, just in case. Prescient of me, since the infection continued. I checked my e-mail. More fly droppings. No response from the last job I had applied for.

Bevin, from Idaho, ran the lodge with her Rastafarian husband, Mike. She was 10 years younger than me and in the “library” I found a version of Short Story Masterpieces that came out in the mid-80s and that had a completely different set of stories than the edition I had read in high school. Mine had Conrad’s “An Outpost of Progress,” Saki’s “The Open Window,” and Fitzgerald’s “Winter Dreams,” still one of my favorites. Hers had Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” and James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.” I read it in a hammock and tried not to let the wilted pages get away from each other. A fer-de-lance viper snake curled up on a chair on Bevin and Mike’s porch, inches from their daughter and mine. Workers killed it with a machete.

The only other tourist with Lucy and me on the trip to Tikal was Will, an American undergraduate at the University of Houston, in Belize to study HIV. He had taken Mythology 101 in the spring and was happy to tell Lucy the story of the Titans, again and again. He had to tell it twice at lunch and twice on the way back to Cayo. Lucy was in awe. By the second telling she was asking pointed questions and Will was inventing answers that incorporated the Mayan cosmology, laid out in the Popul Voh, which he was reading. Back at Cohune Palms I read Vance Bourjaily’s “The Amish Farmer.”

We took a bus on the Hummingbird Highway to Stann Creek, where the Garifuna population has a drum center in Hopkins. We sat outside our cabana and watched neighbors empty their trash onto the beach at sunset; papers fluttered in the wind. The hotel owner cut green coconuts with a machete and Lucy drank the juice. Trash made its way over, like fall leaves that are not bagged and make it into the neighbors’ yards. Buses always had their doors open and plastic bottles and wrappers made their way to the front and slipped out. We took a bus to Belize City and then a boat to Caye (pronounced KEY) Caulker.

Less expensive than Ambergris Caye, which we were told was built entirely on drug money, and more laid back, Caye Caulker was a small island of three main dirt roads, with golf carts instead of cars. We stayed a week in a small cabana back from the beach, rented bikes, and slept through the sizzling middle of the day. Lucy got to know the neighborhood children and five of them formed a gang: Lucy, the only girl but who is often mistaken for a boy; Kemar, an independent and unreliable Creole, also eight; Christian, a cheerful Mestizo six-year-old; Christian’s younger brother, who remained unnamed and had to be carried up and down ladders and trees; and “Fat Boy,” who insisted on being called by his nickname. They collected and ate coco plums and craboo berries, played on the rundown elementary school’s swings and slide, climbed fences and trees, and established a clubhouse in an abandoned beach shack. Lucy’s favorite moment was being chased from a yard by an old man who yelled “Git! Git!” By day three, she was determined that we would live forever on the island. She wore her McDonalds Happy Meal Pirates of the Caribbean bandana, a shark-tooth necklace, and carried a big stick. Fire ants laid claim to the gang’s bare feet and Fat Boy told her she would die from them. Christian, trying to cheer her, reminded her that her parents would die long before her. She returned to the cabana in tears.

The sun was stronger than I’d ever felt it. I read Thérèse Raquin and nodded off. I soon tired of reggae music and the Creole spoken by Rastafarians, peppered with the F-word every two seconds. The “beach” was a small bit of sand bordered by a concrete wall that had tumbled during the last hurricane. Thirst was ever present; the bottled water, rum and lime juice, and Belikins (Belizean beer) couldn’t or wouldn’t quench it. I had finished the first round of Cipro, began the second, and bought a third round, terrified of that stinging feeling in my private area while bouncing on a bus. We headed to the Zoo and Monkey Bay.

We were the only guests at Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary; our accommodations included latrines, hammocks, and mosquito netting around the beds, but no fans. We continued to remind ourselves that one does not flush toilet paper anywhere in Belize, here in particular because the excrement is used, in the form of methane gas, for cooking. I was back, knee-high, in primate foax. I imagined myself as Dian Fossey, always wet, always dirty, always itchy. Our rooms opened onto a “library” filled with books about herbal remedies, Mayan culture, and sustainable ecology, as well as fiction left by former interns. I abandoned Thérèse Raquin. I knew how it would end: not with a bang, but with a whimper characterized by the moaning of wind through pine trees.

I read Phillip Gourevitch’s A Cold Case, about a murderer found many years after his crime. A theme was emerging, from “A Good Man is Hard To Find,” to “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” to Leonard Michaels’ “Murderers” and O. Henry’s “A Retrieved Reformation,” the later of which I found in a collection of stories in Monkey Bay: criminal men (a nice contrast to would-be husband killer Thérèse), from a safe cracker to murderers and rapists. I thought of my father, also a criminal, although never a rapist or murderer. Robbery, drugs. When he could go back and forth between Miami and Cuba he was fine; once Cuba was closed off he had no outlet for urges that would put him in prison in the States. I’ve always felt odd, an academic with an uneducated and imprisoned father, a father who had joined the three branches of the military under three aliases and was once thrown off a navy ship in the middle of the sea for cheating at poker. In the end, he was found in a Dade County motel room, his gun by his side.

I found a Stephen King collection and more short stories. I had checked my e-mail at Caulker and knew it was best to dream away the rest of the summer. And then I had a very real excuse for not leaving the hammock: my left foot was the size of a football. On our second day in Monkey Bay we set out with Manolo, the camp manager, to St. Herman’s Cave and Blue Hole National Park. Finally, a trek that almost satisfied Lucy, who had imagined we would be working our way through jungle with machetes, killing off coral snakes that dropped from vines. It was wet, muddy, thick, and green. Fat orange and black centipedes crossed our tracks and hidden birds screamed above. We climbed up and then down, then up again, to get to a look-out tower after trekking through the submerged darkness of the cave. I began to step down an incline and murmured to Lucy, “Careful here, it’s slippery.” I saw my Keen sandal — God love ‘em — actually bend completely back as my foot slipped forward. I was astounded at the flexibility of the sole, which sprung back into place. At the same time, I vaguely realized that if the sole had bent back then so had my foot, like an accordion breathing in and out.

I crawled to the hammock on the veranda and read William Saroyan’s “Summer of the Beautiful White Horse” out loud, again and again, to Lucy. We laughed at the antics of the children and the grouchy uncle. We did a jigsaw puzzle. Rainy season finally descended and it rained bullets, night and day. Our passports curled into odd shapes on the shelf. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’s binding melted away and the pages blew over the drenched savannah. I read a chapter on Ted Bundy in a book about serial killers.

My husband discovered a bot fly larva dwelling in his inner left thigh. After Manolo told us about his own experience — seis en la cabeza — he prepared the ointment. If it wasn’t effective, Julio would come by and use his special fingernail. A bot fly’s lifespan is singularly short and sad: its egg is deposited by a mosquito and grows in its host’s body; after about six weeks it falls to the ground and pupates. My husband had a parasite in his thigh and an odd (and new) large patch of dark skin running from his neck to his scalp, like a map of Belize. I had 276 bites, mostly from mosquitoes, a swollen ankle, and a lingering bladder infection. Lucy had a pink fungal rash on her stomach, shoulders, and thighs. I read Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Poe’s “Hop-Frog.”

When we rode back through Orange Walk the town didn’t look half bad. In the States, I rushed — as much as I could — to prepare my syllabi. The doctor did X-rays and gave me a handicapped tag for my car. The gynecologist looked at me in disbelief and told me to get off the antibiotics and focus on something else. We watched as our bites faded with each day that passed. JonBenet’s killer had maybe been found; two serial killers had maybe been found in Phoenix. Non-parasitic administrators have replaced the bot flies and I have a line on a good job for next year. We won’t decide on retirement just yet.

Continued in article




Points to Ponder --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1689729/posts

Why do you have to "put your two cents in".. but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Why do they call it an asteroid when it's outside the hemisphere, but call it a hemorrhoid when it's in your butt?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride; he sticks his head out the window?




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

Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
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Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

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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
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Phone:  603-823-8482 
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