Tidbits on September 11, 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 bogs 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

From the University of Virginia (more than just an online version of the book)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin & American Culture --- http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/utc/

Two 9/11 Videos --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1698382/posts

Holy Lemon Videos (often humorous and/or musical) --- http://www.holylemon.com/


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

Historical Political Campaign Song Recordings
Getting the Message Out! National Political Campaign Materials, 1840- 1860 --- http://dig.lib.niu.edu/message/

Invented by Thomas Edison in 1877, the phonograph was a device with a cylinder covered with a soft material such as tin foil, lead, or wax on which a stylus drew grooves --- http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/
The University of California at Santa Barbara has over 6,000 historic cylindars that you can now listen to free over online
Cylindar Radio
--- http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/

The Eubie Blake Collection (Jazz Piano) ---  http://www.mdhs.org/eubieblake/

Ain't Talkin  by Bob Dylan --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5752709

Remember when (Jukebox Days) --- http://www.paulalfrey.com/email/olddays.html


Photographs and Art

NPR's 9/11 Photos (some are astounding) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5788165

Who are the Iranians (from photos from Time Magazine) --- Click Here

Hubble takes first image of solar eclipse on Uranus --- Click Here

Dioramas: American Museum of Natural History --- http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/dioramas/

Facing East: Portraits From Asia --- http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/current/FacingEast.htm# 

Enduring Outrage: Editorial Cartoons by Herblock
http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/herblock-home.html

James Nachtwey witnessed misery around the world --- http://www.jamesnachtwey.com/

 


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

From the University of Virginia (more than just an online version of the book)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin & American Culture --- http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/utc/

From Virginia Commonwealth University
Blackbird: An Online Journal of Literature and the Arts --- http://www.blackbird.vcu.edu/

Commonwealth Writers Prize --- http://www.commonwealthwriters.com/

The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here

The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) --- Click Here

Photography Extraordinary by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) --- Click Here

Through The Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) --- Click Here 




Sandwiched between Painters and Reupholsters in the Classified Adds
Police in Bucks County have charged 12 women after an investigation into prostitutes who allegedly have been advertising on the Web site Craigslist --- http://sfbay.craigslist.org/
Yahoo News, "12 arrested for prostitution ads on Web," September 9, 2006 --- Click Here

A lawyer is a gentleman who rescues your estate from your enemies and keeps it for himself.
Lord Henry Brougham (1778 1868) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Henry_Brougham

Still more alarming was last month's admission by Interior Minister Patrick Dewael that 1,529 Belgian police stations has been burgled from 2000 to 2004. The thieves made off with guns, ammunition, bulletproof jackets, bicycles, flashlights and more, according to Belga, the state news agency. And these weren't just small-town capers pulled off by Belgian Barney Fifes: Nearly half of the 325 burglaries in 2004 were in the capital Brussels (101) and the port city of Antwerp (55). Belgium is the butt of a lot of jokes in Europe. But even Belgians have to be rolling their eyes at the way their supposed defenders can't defend themselves.
"Belgian Insecurity," The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2006 --- Click Here

We make war that we may live in peace.
Aristotle --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle

There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy.
George Washington --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington

It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.
John F. Kennedy --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
Dwight D. Eisenhower --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenhower

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
Eleanor Roosevelt --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Roosevelt

Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Hermann Goering --- http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.htm

The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men.
John F. Kennedy --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
John Stuart Mills --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stuart_Mills

You can't say civilization don't advance -- for in every war, they kill you in a new way.
Will Rogers --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Rogers




More Bias in the Press:  This Time on Government Payola
Ten journalists, including two staffers with The Miami Herald's Spanish-language sister paper, received a total of more than $300,000 from the U.S. government for working on a radio and TV station aimed at undermining Cuba's communist government, the Herald reported Friday.  Pablo Alfonso, who reported on Cuba and wrote an opinion column for El Nuevo Herald, was paid almost $175,000 since 2001 by the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting to host shows on Radio and TV Marti, according to government documents obtained by The Miami Herald. Olga Connor, a freelance reporter who wrote about Cuban culture for El Nuevo Herald, received about $71,000, and staff reporter Wilfredo Cancio Isla, who covered the Cuban exile community and politics, was paid almost $15,000 in the last five years, The Miami Herald reported. Alberto Mascaro, chief of staff of the U.S. Cuban broadcasting office, confirmed to The Associated Press that all 10 journalists had received payments but said he did not have the details and declined to comment further.
Laura Wides-Munoz, "Report: Miami journalists on U.S. government payroll," Palm Beach Post, September 9, 2006 --- http://www.palmbeachpost.com/state/content/gen/ap/FL_Journalists_Paid.html


Pay to stop Africa migrants, Gaddafi tells Europe
European nations should pay 10 billion euros ($12.7 billion dollars) a year to Africa to help it stop migrants seeking a better life flooding northwards into Europe, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Saturday. ADVERTISEMENT In a speech to an African Union (AU) ceremony, Gaddafi added that African and European leaders should meet soon to discuss the phenomenon, which has soared to unprecedented levels and touched off internal political disputes in many European states. "In our final statement we will ask Europe to pay 10 billion euros per year if it really wants to stop migration toward Europe," Gaddafi said.
"Pay to stop Africa migrants, Gaddafi tells Europe," Yahoo News, September 10, 2006 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Life would be fantastic if it only took money to stamp out poverty enough to end illegal immigration. But throwing money at corrupt regimes in Africa, Latin America, and Asia will hardly solve illegal immigration or its root poverty causes. It will only make brutal dictators richer and fan the fires of civil war unless miracles accompany the thrown dollars. Even working with programs that send goods (like tractors and seeds) won't work if enormous bribes must be paid to corrupt officials who care little about their poor and suffering brethren. Most of the $12.7 billion sent to Africa would boomerang back to hidden Swiss bank accounts, Paris boutiques, and Europe's luxury hotels.


It was to be "The Mother of All Raids" (ghazvat al-gha zavat) that would bring down "The House of the Spider" as promised by the sheik in his mountain hideout. The "raid" would terrify the "infidel" and hasten his demise just as the armies of Islam had destroyed the Persian and Byzantine empires with a series of ghazavat 14 centuries ago. This time, the empire that would crumble under the weight of Islam's attack was the American "Great Satan," which had been running away from its enemies for decades. It had run away from Saigon, Tehran, Beirut, Mogadishu, Kohbar and Aden. Even when attacked in the heart of New York, its real capital city, it had done little more than nurse its chagrin with petulance. History, however, is never written in advance. And this time the "cowardly infidel," far from running away, decided to return and hit back. And hit back hard. A war that was to see several sobriquets, the latest being "the war against Islamofascism," had begun. Within weeks, the sheik's hideout in Afghanistan had been invaded and its rulers sent scurrying in all directions. IT was to be "The Mother of All Raids" (ghazvat al-gha zavat) that would bring down "The House of the Spider" as promised by the sheik in his mountain hideout. The "raid" would terrify the "infidel" and hasten his demise just as the armies of Islam had destroyed the Persian and Byzantine empires with a series of ghazavat 14 centuries ago. This time, the empire that would crumble under the weight of Islam's attack was the American "Great Satan," which had been running away from its enemies for decades. It had run away from Saigon, Tehran,...
Amir Taheri, "Osama's Error," The New York Post, September 11, 2006 --- Click Here

Bush is Worse Than Bin Laden
Mark Finkelstein in the Boston Globe, September 11, 2006 --- http://newsbusters.org/node/7532

If Mr. Rumsfeld is so concerned with comparisons to World War II, he should explain why our troops have now been fighting in Iraq longer than it took our forces to defeat the Nazis in Europe.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as quoted by Anne Plummer Flaherty, The Sun, September 7, 2006 --- http://www.nysun.com/article/38874
Jensen Comment
What a dumb comment! Firstly, "our troops" did not defeat the Nazis in World War II. It was an allied effort and the credit for inflicting the most damage to Germany without doubt was Russia. Certainly the United States and various other nations contributed greatly to the victorious outcome, but "our troops" did not defeat the Nazis. Secondly, if Russia and (former?) European allies plunged into the Iraq war like they did in World War II, the Iraq War would've probably ended in less than a year. Thirdly, however devastating the cost in money and lives might be to date in Iraq, the toll of dead soldiers and civilians is miniscule compared to World War II --- Click Here

Some 62 million people, or 2.5% of the world population, died in the war, though estimates vary greatly - about 25 million soldiers and 37 million civilians. This total includes the estimated 12 million lives lost in the HolocaustOf the total deaths in World War II approximately 80% were on the Allied side and 20% on the Axis side.

Allied forces suffered approximately 17 million military deaths, of which about 10 million were Soviet and 4 million Chinese. Axis forces suffered about 8 million, of which more than 5 million were German. The Soviet Union suffered by far the largest death toll of any nation in the war; around 23 million people died in the Soviet Union, including more than 12 million civilians. Some modern estimates double the number of Chinese casualties originally mentioned.

The dead and missing among Allied uniformed personnel totaled about 14.2 million, including about 10 million from the USSR, 2.5 million from China, 400,000 from the British Commonwealth, 400,000 from the U.S., 400,000 from Poland, 300,000 from Yugoslavia, and 250,000 from France. The Axis military lost about 8.5 million including 5.5 million from Germany, 2.0 million from Japan, and 400,000 from Italy.

About 49 million deaths were civilians, who died as a result of disease, starvation, genocide (in particular, the Holocaust), massacres, and aerial bombing. One estimate is that 12 million civilians died in the camps, 1.5 million by bombs, 7 million in Europe from other causes, and 7.5 million in China from other causes. Allied civilian deaths came to about 38 million, including Soviet Union (20 million), China (10 million), Poland (4.1 million) and Yugoslavia (1.7 million). There were about 11 million civilian deaths on the Axis side, including Germany (6.5 million) Japan (2.0 Million), Italy (500,000) and Romania (500,000). The Holocaust refers to the organized state-sponsored murder of 6 million Jews, 220,000 Roma people, and other ethnic minorities and political opponents carried out by the Nazis during the war.

Liberal Educators Not Welcome in Iranian Colleges: Where Academic Freedom of Speech No Longer Exists
Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Tuesday for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported in another step back to 1980s-style radicalism.
Nasser Karimi, "Ahmadinejad calls for purge of liberal teachers," CNews, September 5, 2006 --- http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2006/09/05/1803328-ap.html
Academic Freedom, Iranian Style --- Click Here
Speaking to a group of students Tuesday, Ahmadinejad called on them to pressure his administration to keep driving out moderate instructors, a process that began earlier this year. Dozens of liberal university professors and teachers were sent into retirement this year after Ahmadinejad's administration, sparking strong protests from students, named the first cleric to head Teheran University.


Update on Future Space War:  It's Not Just a Game
"Iran's space program: The next genie in a bottle?" by Lee Kass, Free Republic, September 8, 2006 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1697781/posts

External support continues to help advance Iran's space effort. Teheran is advancing its space program to satisfy numerous civil and military objectives, including manufacturing satellites to accurately guide its Shahab ballistic missiles. The United States and Israel remain gravely concerned about Iranian efforts to gain more military power.

The Iranian space endeavor mimics a disturbing pattern other countries use clandestinely to advance their long-range missile programs. Iran might reengineer the Shahab to carry future satellites and try to obtain significant political rewards from future satellite launches. Exploiting this event would unite Iran politically, complicating Washington's regional objective, and further destabilizing the region.

In slightly different ways and to varying degrees of success, China, North Korea, and Pakistan use a civil space program clandestinely to manufacture longer-range missiles to further safeguard national security. Iran seeks to become a space power for similar reasons.

Unlike other Islamic countries with satellites, the Iranian defense ministry plays a prominent role in shaping the space effort with possible contributions from the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). This military component manages the Shahab ballistic missile program, which Iran might modify into a space launch vehicle (SLV) with foreign support.

Enhancing the Shahab to become satellite-guided would allow Iran to strike Israel and United States military forces stationed throughout the region precisely. Statements from Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who declared his intention to "wipe Israel off the map" and dismissed the United States as a "hollow superpower," heighten the level of tension.

Iran might seek to develop a space program to improve national pride. Successfully testing a launch vehicle would allow Iran to boast that it is a space power. The propaganda Teheran espouses following this event might unite the country. This would further legitimize Ahmadinejad's policies and rhetoric, and generate greater regional and international fear regarding the regime's intentions.

Iranian efforts to exploit space began under the Shah, who tried to improve his country's scientific standing. In 1959, Teheran became a founding member of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). The United Nations' General Assembly requested that UNCOPUOS review international collaborative programs to exploit space for civil purposes, serve as a forum for information exchanges, and encourage the development and facilitate the advancement of national programs to study outer space.

The fact that Iranian efforts to exploit space started over thirty years ago demonstrates that the country put a premium on further understanding this arena. Iran built a facility to obtain photographs soon after the United States launched the first system designed to capture imagery of the Earth. The Iranian Remote Sensing Center (IRSC) is responsible for gathering, processing, and distributing relevant material to users throughout the country for resource planning and management. The IRSC helps officials determine suitable areas to develop, and its personnel maintained operations while the country experienced a revolution and a devastating conflict with neighboring Iraq.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
As President Bush's political career draws to a close over the next two years, it makes little sense to focus elections on his mistakes of the past. He made some huge mistakes. His father made mistakes. Bill Clinton made some huge mistakes. Jimmy Carter made some enormous mistakes dealing with Iran that confined him to a single term as President of the United States. There's now wearisome  political debate over the lack of ties between al Qaeda and Saddam. Saddam is history! Without doubt Iraq is now a major base for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Our abrupt cutting and running will energize terrorists and give them a safe haven for training and coordinating future attacks.

My point is that Bush's decision to take out Saddam undoubtedly strengthened the terrorist bases in Iraq. The terrorists would've had a more difficult time with Saddam than they do in the disarray of Iraq today. Certainly the new Iraq army will be more helpless in squashing the terror groups than President Mousharif is today in Pakistan where terror groups are gaining a larger and more dangerous stronghold as well. As long as Jihad's terrorists have victorious (over the U.S.) freedom in Iraq and Pakistan they will continue to train, arm, and carry on a worldwide propaganda war to win converts to violent Jihad. To those that want us entirely out of Iraq I say be careful what you wish for because you may get it!

It may have been President Bush who played into terrorist hands by taking out Saddam, but that's history! Our worry is with terrorism of the future given the bases of terror that are growing by double digits at the moment, especially in Iraq. We're losing the propaganda war by focusing on the past rather than the future. Our surrender in Iraq will fan the fires of violent Jihad.

Taking out an aging Osama Bin Laden may further fan those fires of Jihad. Keeping Bin Laden alive in some cave may be more of an asset to us than a liability at this point in time. Keeping terrorists at bay in Iraq is far more important. The USA is the Great Satan that will not be hated any less by abruptly surrendering in Iraq. We will be loved by Islamic extremists only when our economy implodes and only illiterate harems wearing burkas are allowed on the streets while accompanied by their ruling husbands.




A Court Decision Allowing Guns on Campus
The state's highest court ruled Friday that the University of Utah has no right to ban guns on campus, rejecting the argument that prohibiting firearms is part of the school's power to control academic affairs. Writing for the 4-1 majority, Utah Supreme Court Justice Jill Parrish said case law "is incompatible with the university's position." "We simply cannot agree with the proposition that the Utah Constitution restricts the Legislature's ability to enact firearms laws pertaining to the university," Parrish wrote.
Pamela Manson and Sheena McFarland, "Court shoots down U. gun ban Justices say school no exception to Utah law; case goes back to feds, "The Salt Lake Tribune," September 9, 2006 --- http://www.sltrib.com/ci_4311399


Indiana University Health Center: Coping with Starting College
http://www.indiana.edu/~health/caps/begincollege.shtml


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. (Scout Report, September 1, 2006)

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


What not to say to your professor/instructor
Top Ten No Sympathy Lines (Plus a Few Extra) --- http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/nosymp.htm

Here are some samples:

Think of it as a TOP TEN list with a few bonus items:
  1. This Course Covered Too Much Material...
  2. The Expected Grade Just for Coming to Class is a B
  3. I Disagreed With the Professor's Stand on ----
  4. Some Topics in Class Weren't on the Exams
  5. Do You Give Out a Study Guide?
  6. I Studied for Hours
  7. I Know The Material - I Just Don't Do Well on Exams
  8. I Don't Have Time For All This (...but you don't understand - I have a job.)
  9. Students Are Customers
  10. Do I Need to Know This?
  11. There Was Too Much Memorization
  12. This Course Wasn't Relevant
  13. Exams Don't Reflect Real Life
  14. I Paid Good Money for This Course and I Deserve a Good Grade
  15. All I Want Is The Diploma

RateMyProfessors has some real-world examples of comments that professors hated even worse --- http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/Funniest.jsp

A few samples are shown below:

I remember one of mine evaluations that read:  "The best thing about the course is that classes sometimes ended early."

One of my colleagues received one that read:  "Until I took this course I did not know that leisure suits came in so many different shades of pastel."

Years ago one of my econometrics professors received the following comment:  "After the first minute of the course he turned toward the blackboard and we never again laid eyes upon his front side."


Ghost Writers in the Sky

Question
How easy is it to hire out term paper and other assignments?

"At $9.95 a Page, You Expected Poetry?" by Charles McGrath, The New York Times, September 10, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/10/weekinreview/10mcgrath.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Well, no, she won’t — not if she’s enterprising enough to enlist Term Paper Relief to write it for her. For $9.95 to a page she can obtain an “A-grade” paper that is fashioned to order and “completely non-plagiarized.” This last detail is important. Thanks to search engines like Google, college instructors have become adept at spotting those shop-worn, downloadable papers that circulate freely on the Web, and can even finger passages that have been ripped off from standard texts and reference works.

A grade-conscious student these days seems to need a custom job, and to judge from the number of services on the Internet, there must be virtual mills somewhere employing armies of diligent scholars who grind away so that credit-card-equipped undergrads can enjoy more carefree time together.

How good are the results? With first semester just getting under way at most colleges, bringing with it the certain prospect of both academic and social pressure, The Times decided to undertake an experiment in quality control of the current offerings. Using her own name and her personal e-mail address, an editor ordered three English literature papers from three different sites on standard, often-assigned topics: one comparing and contrasting Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Orwell’s “1984”; one discussing the nature of Ophelia’s madness in “Hamlet”; and one exploring the theme of colonialism in Conrad’s “Lord Jim.”

A small sample, perhaps, but one sufficient, upon perusal, to suggest that papers written to order are just like the ones students write for themselves, only more so — they’re poorly organized, awkwardly phrased, thin on substance, but masterly in the ancient arts of padding and stating and restating the obvious.

If they’re delivered, that is. The “Lord Jim” essay, ordered from SuperiorPapers.com, never arrived, despite repeated entreaties, and the excuse finally offered was a high-tech variant of “The dog ate my homework.” The writer assigned to the task, No. 3323, was “obviously facing some technical difficulties,” an e-mail message explained, “and cannot upload your paper.” The message went on to ask for a 24-hour extension, the wheeziest stratagem in the procrastinator’s arsenal, invented long before the electronic age.

The two other papers came in on time, and each grappled, more or less, with the assigned topic. The Orwell/Huxley essay, prepared by Term Paper Relief and a relative bargain at $49.75 for five pages, begins: “Although many similarities exist between Aldous Huxley’s ‘A Brave New World’ and George Orwell’s ‘1984,’ the works books [sic] though they deal with similar topics, are more dissimilar than alike.” That’s certainly a relief, because we couldn’t have an essay if they weren’t.

Elsewhere the author proves highly adept with the “on the one hand/on the other” formula, one of the most valuable tools for a writer concerned with attaining his assigned word count, and says, for example, of “Brave New World”: “Many people consider this Huxley’s most important work: many others think it is his only work. This novel has been praised and condemned, vilified and glorified, a source of controversy, a subject for sermons, and required reading for many high school students and college undergraduates. This novel has had twenty-seven printings in the United States alone and will probably have twenty-seven more.”

The obvious point of comparison between the two novels is that where Orwell’s world is an authoritarian, police-state nightmare, Huxley’s dystopia is ostensibly a paradise, with drugs and sex available on demand. A clever student might even pick up some extra credit by pointing out that while Orwell meant his book as a kind of predictive warning, it is Huxley’s world, much more far-fetched at the time of writing, that now more nearly resembles our own.

The essay never exactly makes these points, though it gets close a couple of times, declaring at one point that “the two works vary greatly.” It also manages to remind us that Orwell’s real name was Eric Blair and that both he and his book “are misunderstood to this day.”

Continued in article

Related

Term Paper From Go-Essays (September 9, 2006)

Essay From Term Paper Relief (September 9, 2006)

 

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating in higher education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/plagiarism.htm

Jensen Comment
I wonder what it might take to have a research paper written and published so a poor professor can get a better raise or maybe even tenure? At worst it could give that professor with writer's block a booster paper that can be embellished. Think of the possibilities. Maybe us retired professors should hire out, but certainly not for ten bucks per page. This is only idle speculation since absolutely no instructor wants a term paper on FAS 133. Sigh!

September 10, 2006 reply from Alexander Robin A [alexande.robi@UWLAX.EDU]

The existence of term paper writing services is evidence that the students don't see value in the process of writing the paper other than to have it done and get a grade. Presumably, there is value in creating a term paper or they should not be assigned.

But such assignments and student attempts to circumvent them point to the fundamental problem with the entire educational system: it ignores a fundamental reality that people learn when they want to learn and are excited and/or curious about what they are learning. Schools, through the use of forced assignments, lockstep classes rewards and punishments methodically extinguish young people's natural curiosity so that by the time they reach college, where I taught, I found that the desire to learn for its own sake was almost entirely absent in most students. Thus the popularity of finding various "easy ways" to get assignments done.

Obviously, changing this situation will require a massive effort and a dramatic change in mindset about education. I don't expect to see it in my lifetime.

Robin Alexander

September 10, 2006 reply from Elliot Kamlet [ekamlet@STNY.RR.COM]

I think a more fundamental question comes from the students - who are in one sense our customers. In speaking to a group of students, I observed that education is an unusual commodity. The less we supply, the happier our customers are. If a professor cancels class, no one says it's unfair since they paid for a full semester of classes.

A student observed that perhaps the customer does not want the education - just the course credit (with a A grade) leading to a degree.

Elliot Kamlet
Binghamton University

September 10, 2006 reply from MacEwan Wright, Victoria University [Mac.Wright@VU.EDU.AU]

I second Elliot's view. Students who fail will spend more time and effort on persuading the system it is all a ghastly mistake than they do on attempting to pass. I recently had a student complain that I told him to come to my office prepared to convince me that he should be given a pass in a subject. Then when he attended, he was asked questions about the subject. This was unfair.

The only good news is that the ghosts appear to be as bad as the students, and this despite the "Written by PhD's "A"s guaranteed advertising. The potential legal implications are interesting.

Best wishes,
Mac Wright

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating in higher education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/plagiarism.htm


What states have the best and worst report cards in higher education?
Relative to other nations, the U.S. as a whole rises up to an average grade

"Mediocre Grades for Colleges," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 7, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/07/reportcard

“Measuring Up 2006: The National Report Card on Higher Education” assigns the United States and individual states grades in various categories that reflect how well they do at preparing students for college, having affordable higher education systems, and various other criteria. There aren’t a lot of candidates for the dean’s list. While the report found progress in some areas over the time period that the center has been producing these report cards (this is the fourth biennial study), in other areas, especially related to costs, states appear to be backsliding.

Patrick M. Callan, president of the center, started a press briefing Wednesday on the report by noting the “even the harshest critics” of American higher education tend to preface their analyses by praising the system at the “best in the world.” The report, which includes international comparisons for the first time, “suggests otherwise,” Callan said.

What the data suggest, Callan said, is a system in which American higher education is resting on its laurels from the period of time before the rest of the world started to pay attention to higher education. This is clear when one compares adult populations as a whole to younger adults who more recently were in — or had the potential to be in — college. The United States is second in the world in percentage of adults aged 35 to 64 holding a college degree, but seventh among those 25 to 34. In addition, the data note that Americans are better at starting college than finishing it. The U.S. ranks 5th in the world in the percentage of young adults enrolled in college, but 16th in degrees per students enrolled.

The report card is best known for its grades for individual states — and the grades were particular poor for affordability, with 43 states receiving an F and no states earning an A or a B. Grades are based on a series of factors designed to avoid single national standards, while attempting to hold lawmakers accountable. So for affordability, for example, the study considers among other factors the percentage of family income required to pay net costs of attending a four-year college. This approach is designed not to punish states that have high tuition but high aid or to penalize states with low income and low tuition. The study found numerous states where this percentage is going up, where aid is increasingly focused on merit, and where tuition is increasing faster than sources of aid.

Callan said that on affordability, there is plenty of blame to go around. The federal government has failed to keep Pell Grants’ value rising with the cost of attending college. But he said that more Pell funds alone wouldn’t solve the problems because with rising tuition rates, “all the new money gets absorbed.” He called for a push by colleges to limit increases, while federal and state governments try to provide more need-based aid.

The report looks both at state totals and also at subgroups, with states earning better grades if they don’t have large gaps in the performance of different racial and ethnic groups. Generally, the report found that such gaps are widespread and significant. In New Jersey, for example, the enrollment rate for white 18- to 24-year olds is 47 percent, compared to 27 percent for others. In Colorado, the rates are 40 percent for whites and 17 percent for others.

While Callan said that he was saddened by the lack of progress on affordability, there were other categories in which states demonstrated more progress. On various measures of college completion, 35 states have improved in more than half of the measures used. On measures that go into the preparation grade, 45 states have improved on more than half of the measures.

One of the newer features of the report card is an analysis of learning that takes place in college, where the center does not award letter grades but gives a + to some states and an incomplete grade to others. In 2000, the center awarded incomplete grades to every state, finding that none of them had good systems in place to measure what students actually learn in a way that could be compared from state to state. This year, nine states earned a + for participating in programs that allow for such comparisons, through analyses of the literacy and mathematical skills of graduates and the adult population, passage rates on licensure examinations, admissions to competitive graduate schools and various other measures.

The Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education, which Callan has advised, has made a priority of pushing colleges to identify and to start using ways to measure learning. While there was much talk during the commission’s deliberations of having some test, the panel did not recommend that any single measure, but called on colleges to have easily understood, consumer-oriented tools that would allow prospective students and their families, as well as the government, figure out what happens during the years of an undergraduate education. Supporters of this push talked about the need for standards and accountability, while critics — especially amid discussion of possible national tests — cautioned against trying to measure all colleges in the same way.

Callan said that he saw a great deal of “synergy” between the ideas he was pushing on measuring student learning and those advocated by the commission.

With the ground covered by the commission, Callan said, “the argument that this can’t be done without destroying higher education or dumbing it down is pretty much dead in the water.” Callan noted that the comparisons the center uses aren’t one single test, but a variety of measures. Still, they are comparable across the country and that’s key, he said. “At the end of the day, if you can’t compare, you don’t know very much,” he said.

The following table features the state-by-state grades. Detailed reports will be available later today on the center’s Web site.

State Grades in Measuring Up 2006

State Prepa-
ration
Partici-
pation
Afford-
ability
Comple-
tion
Benefits Learning
Alabama D- C F B- B I
Alaska B- C+ F F B- I
Arizona D B+ F B B+ I
Arkansas D+ C F C C I
Calif. C A C- B A I
Colo. B+ A- F B A- I
Conn. A- A- F B+ A I
Delaware C B F A- B- I
Florida C C F A B I
Georgia C+ D+ F A B- I
Hawaii C- C D B- A- I
Idaho C D+ D C+ C- I
Illinois B A F B+ A +
Indiana C C+ F B+ C I
Iowa B+ A- F A C I
Kansas B- A F B+ B+ I
Kentucky C- B- F C+ C+ +
La. F C- F C- D+ I
Maine B B- F B B- I
Maryland A- A F B A +
Mass. A A F A A +
Michigan C- A- F B A- I
Minn. B A D A B+ I
Miss. D- D F B C I
Missouri C B F B+ A +
Montana B+ C- F B- C+ I
Nebraska B A F B+ B I
Nevada C- C F F C- +
N. Hampshire B+ C+ F A A I
N. Jersey A A- D B A I
N. Mexico F A F D C I
New York A- B- F A- B+ +
N. Carolina B+ B- F B+ B I
N. Dakota B- A F B C+ I
Ohio B- B- F B B+ I
Oklahoma D+ C+ F C B- +
Oregon C- C+ F B- A I
Pa. B B F A A- I
Rhode Isl. C+ A F A B I
S. Carolina C+ D+ F B+ C +
S. Dakota B A F B+ C+ I
Tenn. C- C- F B C+ I
Texas B- C+ F C+ B- I
Utah A B C- B A- I
Vermont B- C F A A- I
Virginia A- B F B+ A I
Wash. B C- D- A A- I
W. Virginia C- C- F C+ D+ I
Wisconsin B+ A- F A B- I
Wyoming C- B+ F A C- I
U.S. C+ B F B B+ I

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm


Bias in Elite School Admissions:  Target Dumb Kids of the Rich and Famous
Over more than 20 years, Duke transformed itself from a Southern school to a premier national institution with the help of a winning strategy: targeting rich students whose families could help build up its endowment. At the same time, and in a similar way, Brown University, eager to shed its label as one of the weakest schools in the Ivy League, bolstered its reputation by recruiting kids with famous parents. While celebrities don't often contribute financially, they generate invaluable publicity.
Daniel Golden, "How Lowering the Bar Helps Colleges Prosper:  Duke and Brown Universities Rise in Prestige In Part by Wooing Kids of Hollywood, Business Elite; A Debate Over Michael Ovitz's Son," The Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2006; Page A1 --- Click Here

At Harvard, over 50% of million-dollar donors got at least one of their children into Harvard
"Price of Admission:  By the Numbers," The Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2006 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on "silver spoon admissions" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#SilverSpoon


"Silver Spoon Admissions," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/05/admit

Though Ovitz’s son was admitted, under special status, he didn’t last long at Brown and left. Ovitz’s daughter followed, apparently with more success. And Brown also gained, as the book describes Brown President Ruth Simmons gushing over Ovitz for arranging a campus appearance in which he appeared with Dustin Hoffman, and for hosting a reception for her at Ovitz’s Brentwood mansion.

Neither Ovitz nor Brown University officials would respond to calls to ask about their reactions to the description of their relationship in The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way Into Elite Colleges — and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates (Random House). Daniel Golden, the author, won a Pulitzer Prize for exploring some of these issues in The Wall Street Journal, but his book contains numerous investigations that have not appeared previously, and that are bound to be controversial.

. . .

That American higher education is not a pure meritocracy is, of course, hardly news. But Golden’s book has a level of detail about the degree to which he says some colleges favor the privileged that will embarrass many an admissions officer. Golden names names of students — and includes details about their academic records before college and once there that raise questions about the admissions decisions being made. For good measure, he attacks Title IX (saying that the women’s teams colleges create favor wealthy, white applicants), preferences for faculty children (ditto, although substitute middle class for wealthy), and accuses colleges of making Asian applicants the “new Jews” and holding them to much higher standards than other students.

Even before its official release, The Price of Admission is causing considerable fear among the admissions officers of elite colleges. If you want to see an admissions dean really happy, tell her that you can’t find her institution in the index. The preferences highlighted in this book are the admissions preferences that college officials don’t like to talk about (except perhaps at reunion weekend). Presidents and deans in many cases welcome the opportunity to talk about why they want racial or socioeconomic or geographic diversity in their classes, why it is important that a class include enough string players for the orchestra and enough running backs for the football team. Who hasn’t heard an admissions story about recruiting a tuba player from Wyoming — as the perfect symbol of the art and science of constructing a class.

But preferences for the rich and famous, or generous alumni donors? That’s not something people like to talk about. Several deans accused Golden of taking the admissions process out of context (they said the numbers of rich who benefit are small), or being naive (when a billionaire is admitted to the ER, is treatment the same as that for an average Joe?), and of neglecting history (the preferences Golden described were far worse a few generations back). Some argued that it would be racist to eliminate preferences for the children of wealthy alumni now, when for the first time there are starting to be significant numbers of wealthy alumni who aren’t white.

Others disputed some details about their institutions, but most acknowledged that the book is likely to increase scrutiny of their practices — whatever they think of the fairness of the book and its message.

A chapter about Duke University, for example, says that a few years back the institution spread the word among private high schools that it wanted “development admits,” those whose families had the potential to become big donors, and that strong academic credentials weren’t a requirement.

Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions, said that while the book says this started prior to his arrival, it doesn’t ring true to him. “It’s certainly not my experience and it doesn’t feel right to me as a description of what was happening,” he said.

He acknowledged that Duke does consider — “for a small number of students” — the ability of their families to make contributions (financial and otherwise) to the university, but he stressed that he regularly “says No” to requests on behalf of such applicants, and that only those capable of doing well in Duke’s classrooms are admitted. Asked whether it was fair to do so, even for a small number, he started by talking about how this was similar to the way he considers requests from academic departments, supporters of extracurricular groups, coaches, and others. But he paused when told that all of those potential candidates contributed — at least in theory — to the educational environment for all students by virtue of their skills or interests. Isn’t money different?

Said Guttentag: “I don’t think there is a selective private university that is the kind of university we are that to one degree or another doesn’t do this, with the understanding that ultimately the university as a whole and the students benefit from the facilities or financial aid [donated]. When there is a significant financial interest in the university, that’s one of the things we take into account.”

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm


Life Experience Work Around of California's Ban on Affirmative Action Admissions

"UCLA Revamps Admissions," by Rob Capriccioso, Inside Higher Ed, September 8, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/08/ucla

The number of black students at the University of California at Los Angeles has plummeted since the voter-approved Proposition 209 outlawed the use of race in admissions decisions beginning in 1996. The university projected in June that fewer than than 100 black first-year students planned to enroll this fall, which amounts to less than 2 percent of the class. More than 200 black students were part of the fall 1997 class. Administrators say that the numbers of African American students at the institution are now at the lowest levels since the 1970s.

Alarm bells have been increasingly ringing on campus regarding a situation that’s had many black alumni and business leaders calling for a revamp in admissions policies. And UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies released a report this month that said “[r]esegregation began 10 years ago with the implementation of Proposition 209” and called for administrators to find ways to address that concern.

Some administrators felt constrained to do so under the confines of the law, which does not allow for special consideration of race in the admissions process. Now, with support from many of the institution’s top administrators, some believe that a new admissions model may help turn the numbers around — although campus officials insist that isn’t the main goal.

The renovation would be modeled on the University of California at Berkeley’s current admissions process, adopted after Proposition 209 passed. That institution’s policies call for consideration of students’ achievements in the context of their life experiences. A UCLA faculty committee has already approved the framework that could lead to a change as early as this fall for students seeking to enroll in fall of 2007. Two more faculty committees are scheduled to vote on the matter by month’s end. Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams, too, has voiced his support for a change.

“We’re very excited,” said Janina Montero, vice chancellor for student affairs at UCLA. “It’s intended to provide a broader view of each applicant.”

Montero said that all students would benefit from a “holistic approach” in reviewing applications — in which academic achievements, personal achievements and life challenges would be used as interdependent determining factors for admittance. The institution had already adopted a policy post-Proposition 209 that it described as being “holistic” as well. However, the past policy had different admissions officers weighing the separate admissions criteria independently of one another. Under the new approach, the same admissions officer would look at all three areas and have more leeway in assessing an application’s overall merit.

Montero also noted the low number of African Americans who are now enrolled at the institution. “It’s a big concern,” she said. “The numbers this year reached a crisis point.”

Ward Connerly, a former regent with the UC system who helped create Proposition 209 and is generally critical of affirmative action, said that he believed the university’s response was racially motivated, rather than meant to help the whole student body. “I don’t think they should be disingenous about that,” he said.

Still, Connerly said he doesn’t oppose the plan, since he believes “the campus should have more flexibility ... as long as they follow the law.” He said that all low-income and rural students could have an advantage under the new system, regardless of their race.

Montero said that the university “will meet the law.” “We want to be fair to all students,” she said. She also said that community members and alumni could do more than the university in increasing minority enrollment by holding fund raisers, creating scholarships, and helping students at low-income high schools realize their options.

Adrienne Lavine, the departing chair of UCLA’s Academic Senate and an engineering professor, said that there is no way “to predict how this could impact underrepresented minorities.” “I’m not sure it will increase our minority admittance,” she said. “But I would be thrilled if it did have a positive effect.”

Montero said that if the faculty committees ultimately approve a new plan and hammer out its details, new admissions training and guidance from the Berkeley campus would be needed. The aim, she said, would be to have the reformatted admissions process up and running for applicants this fall.

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action controversies in college admissions are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#AcademicStandards


Teaching Excellence Secondary to Research for Promotion, Tenure, and Pay

"Teaching versus Research: Does It Have To Be That Way?" by Lucas Carpenter, Emory University --- http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2003/sept/carpenter.html

What should be glaringly apparent to our new president--and to us--is that the two reports and their recommendations are, if one switches the words research and teaching, virtual mirror images of one another. For example, the Commission on Teaching concludes that research expectations detract from the quality of a faculty member's teaching, while the Commission on Research asserts that teaching loads interfere with faculty research and scholarship. Both want more financial support and greater recognition for research/teaching. Both want research/teaching to weigh more heavily in the tenure and promotion process.

Needless to say, no faculty is composed entirely of stellar scholars and researchers. Where the problems arise is with junior faculty, who at Emory are "officially" expected to excel both as researchers and teachers but who in reality receive mixed signals from their departments and senior colleagues. Is it even realistic to expect that everyone can succeed at both? There are also problems with regard to how teaching and research are evaluated at Emory. With regard to research, the benchmark is still juried publication of articles and books, with little inclination to consider alternatives. Teaching, too, is measured almost exclusively by student evaluations, which are problematic instruments at best, especially since students are now aware of how crucial their evaluations can be in cases of promotion and tenure and can use this awareness to intimidate junior faculty and to promote grade inflation.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Although Professor Carpenter makes an appeal to link research to undergraduate studies, the fact of the matter is that most academic research of merit in academe is too esoteric and too advanced to fit into an undergraduate curriculum. More often than not it is impractical to bring undergraduates up to a level where some narrow, esoteric study can be comprehended without an unrealistic amount of preparatory study.

Professors pressured for esoteric research often begrudge the time it takes to excel in undergraduate teaching. Professors engaged in scholarship for teaching begrudge the time and effort and personal sacrifice required for risky research endeavors that, in most instances, have a low probability of acceptance in top refereed journals.

When push comes to shove in most tenure, promotion, and pay decisions in major colleges, research wins out over teaching. A minimum threshold may be required for teaching quality, but beyond that research and publication take priority such that giving added time for greater teaching excellence is not rewarded relative to research and publication effort.


"Harvard studies ways to promote teaching," by Marcella Bombardieri, Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2006 --- http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2006/09/05/harvard_studies_ways_to_promote_teaching/

Harvard University today begins a new effort to figure out how to improve teaching and make it a bigger factor in whether professors get tenure or raises.

If successful, the initiative could counter Harvard's image as a school that allows professors to neglect undergraduates in favor of the research that wins them grants, book prizes, and fame.

Harvard officials also hope to spur changes at universities around the country. Nationally, American higher education is drawing accusations of smugness and complacency. A report from a panel established by US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said colleges and universities should be more accountable for students' learning.

``I think the quality of education is going to get more and more important," said interim Harvard president Derek Bok, noting that globalization has boosted the competition that American graduates face in the workforce. ``We see this as a real opportunity to try to improve what we do for undergraduates."

Harvard's new task force on teaching and career development, which meets for the first time today , will cover the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, home to Harvard's undergraduate and doctoral programs.

The task force's chairwoman, Theda Skocpol, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, said she was inspired to propose the idea by the book that Bok published just months before taking over after Lawrence H. Summers's resignation. The book is called ``Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should be Learning More." Bok led Harvard from 1971 to 1991.

After studying best practices at Harvard and elsewhere, Skocpol expects the group to have recommendations ready to present to the faculty by Feb. 1. Some ideas, she hopes, could be acted upon immediately, while others will be left for Harvard's next president. But any major changes would need the backing of the majority of arts and science faculty members, some of whom may balk at any significant change in Harvard's traditions.

The high standards for earning tenure at Harvard are heavily weighted toward excellence in research, not teaching. The same is true at other elite research universities, while small liberal arts colleges generally focus more on undergraduate teaching.

``Comparisons with other institutions show that we are not as good as we should be," said Jeremy R. Knowles, interim dean of arts and sciences. ``When we're not the best, I want to be the best."

Harvard already has a system for students to evaluate their professors, but Skocpol said she would like to see professors evaluating one another's classes as well, just as they critique one another's academic articles and books. The point, she said, would be not just to judge but to expose professors to new ideas and encourage every faculty member, young or old, to think about ways he or she can improve.

Continued in article


The Price Professors Pay for Choosing a "Teaching Institution"
Unlike at the research university, there was no established plan for sabbaticals or release time to further my own projects. Interviews with faculty members made clear that I was expected to be accessible to students at all times. I wondered how I could be an effective teacher if I had no chance to stay abreast of the current thinking in my field. And I wondered whether I wanted to devote my professional life to hanging out with recent high-school graduates.
Peter S. Cahn, "Teaching Versus Research," Chronicle of Higher Education, March 4, 2002 --- http://chronicle.com/jobs/2002/03/2002030402c.htm

Differences between "popular teacher"
versus "master teacher"
versus "mastery learning"
versus "master educator."


"The 20th Century University Is Obsolete," by Rev. John P. Minogue, Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/09/05/minogue

Higher education, like the human species itself, is the product of evolutionary forces that produce structures — the DNA if you will — that enable one variant to thrive and cause another to falter.

The life form known as higher education was hatched in a monastic cocoon in the 10th century. From this beginning, higher education institutions took shape as an evolving species, changing form and mission in response to external forces. Familiar milestones on this evolutionary journey include secularization, development of academic disciplines, evolution of administrative structures, growth of the research university, and the concepts of academic freedom and tenure.

With the dawn of the Knowledge Age, the evolution of higher education has drastically accelerated so that the pace of change is now measured in years, not centuries. Higher education today is a global commodity with all the competition and product diversification that entails, including the splitting of the production from the distribution of knowledge. This is much like the movie industry, where a few companies make movies and many companies distribute them in theaters, on television, and on DVDs.

Research I universities that produce new knowledge thrive in this new environment, but they are now dependent upon strong financial links with the economic agendas of companies and countries. They are no longer the sole citadels for the production of new knowledge, but rather just one node on a global network of corporate and national R&D sites.

The transformation of Higher Education Life Forms on the distribution side of knowledge is even more dramatic, evolving a new species that concentrates simply on distribution of currently available knowledge.

This new species features a small core of knowledge engineers who wrap courses into a degree to be distributed in cookie-cutter institutions and delivered by working professionals, not academics. There is no tenured faculty, no academic processes; the sole focus is on bottom-line economic results. These 21st century institutions are not burdened with esoteric pursuits of knowledge; rather, they focus on professional degrees for adults that have a fairly clear market value for a given career path.

The exemplars of this new species are the for-profit universities, which are cutting their teeth on the weakness of the 20th century universities. Though new at the game, in a few years they will be capable of hunting with lethal success. This new species is market-driven. Its key survival mechanism is the ability to rapidly evolve to new environments and to position in the market. Since they do not carry tenured faculty, they can rapidly jettison disciplines of study that do not penetrate market. Since they do not have academic processes, they can rapidly bring to market programs that can capture market share.

Certainly, not all for-profit providers have the core capabilities to compete long term in the market. Some emerge quickly and as quickly become extinct, but others are proving quite adept at drawing strength from this globally competitive market.

As mass, longevity and a voracious need for large quantities of prey (resources) proved lethal to the dinosaurs in the stark environments created by global darkening, so the universities of the early 20th century may face serious thinning or perhaps even extinction in the new globally competitive environment of higher education. Universities rooted in the early 20th century are intrinsically inefficient in today’s environment of market valuation and brand identity. Given the current internal structure of tenure and faculty governance, these universities lack the capability to respond to market forces in a timely fashion — to close out product lines no longer playing in the market and rapidly bring new and more efficient product to market.

Still, these once elegant life forms persevere, but for reasons having nothing to do with innate capability to embrace change. Instead, at the undergraduate level it is the instinctual and perhaps irrational desire of many parents to see their children prosper in a traditional liberal arts environment, and so their willingness to spend inordinate amounts of money for education. At the graduate level, the “brand name” is the driver. The reputation of leading institutions, established in an era before global market competition, is based on a footing much different from that used today to obtain market position, but it still works to sustain the life form, at least among a few elite universities.

In addition, traditional universities have benefited from some serious slack in the evolutionary rope. The Industrial Age required a few knowledge workers and a lot of folks doing heavy lifting, whereas the Knowledge Age requires vast numbers of educated workers. Almost overnight, this has led to a massive spike in global demand for education, with motivated consumers increasing perhaps 100-fold. What was the privilege of a few has become the expectation of all.

But global supply falls far short of meeting demand. With a population of 295 million, the United States has only 15 million active seats in the higher education classroom; China, with a population of 1.2 billion, has 2 million seats available; Brazil, with a population 170 million, has 2.5 million seats available.

This imbalance between supply and demand has creating a robust market for all providers. Suppliers of higher education simply have to dip their nets in the water to catch students. There is not yet the fight-to-the death competition for market share, and inefficient institutions have received a short reprieve from their evolutionary fate. But at some point, as with all markets, a saturation point will be reached, with supply outstripping demand — perhaps in 5, perhaps in 15 years. When this inversion occurs, those life forms with the required flexibility to quickly adapt to a fiercely competitive environment will survive and the others will fade from memory.

As there is private health care for those who can afford to pay at any price point, so there will continue some form of higher education that will meet the need and the check book of those wealthy enough to afford it. But for most now driven to higher education to meet the requirements of the Knowledge Age, it is value (the ratio of perceived quality over price) that will be the key determinate of what institution they will choose for their tuition dollar. To further stress the current market, state funding is not keeping up with inflation or enrollment growth, forcing higher education institutions to rely more on tuition and donations. Thus higher education is being pushed to stand on its own financial bottom rather than be a subsidized commodity, once again forcing the value proposition.

So what will be demanded of 20th century universities to survive when market supply reaches or exceeds demand? As in every market, those producers that have driven efficiency into their production system and responsiveness into their market positioning have at least a change at surviving. But the challenge is daunting because the 20th century university is trying to play serious catch up in new markets — adults, women, diversities, the under privileged — while using the same mentalities that allowed them to attract the 18 to 25 year old male.

As with IBM, which played in the personal computer market, but really lived in the mainframe business market, there is no fire in the belly of 20th century universities for these new markets. These institutions have not changed the way they go about their business to serve these new markets; and if there has been some change, it has been accompanied by the widespread grumbling of the faculty: Why do we have to teach at night? Why do we have to teach at multiple campuses? Why do we have to provide support services in the evening? Why do we have to teach students who aren’t educated the way we were? Why do we have to schedule classes so students can maximize their employment opportunities?

Meanwhile, 20th century universities are running average price increases twice the inflation rate and carrying multiple overheads of unproven value to the buying market. Walk into the library of any university today that has ubiquitous connections to the Internet, and you will find the stacks empty of both faculty and students. Is the traditional library a value add or a costly overhead? As with IBM, 20th century universities believe their brand will sustain price increases. “No frill, just degree” competitors are producing product without the high cost of minimalist full-time faculty workloads, large libraries and multiple staff intensive manual processes. As with the personal computer, will the buying market ultimately see any difference between the products except the name on the plastic and the price on the sticker?

What will be the destiny of the current life form we have called the 20th century university? It consumes far too many resources for what it returns to the environment, and though there are vast resources (markets) available, its structures do not let it tap these resources effectively. Its evolutionary tardiness has provided opportunity for a new species to take hold — the profit driven university. As the evolution of the human race has picked up the pace with each passing millennium, a future life form that has little resemblance to current higher education life forms will emerge much sooner than the usual eons it takes for evolution to create the next iteration of life.

The 20th century university is indeed obsolete and faces extinction.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm


Question
Is Harvard's curriculum tantamount to no curriculum?
What does it take at a minimum to have an undergraduate education?

"As Goes Harvard. . . ," by Donald Kagan, Commentary Magazine ---
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article.asp?aid=12202034_1

The dean of Harvard College, Harry R. Lewis, would seem to have agreed with this assessment. In a recently published book on the decline of Harvard, Excellence Without a Soul: How a Great University Forgot Education, he cites the excuse offered by one member of the faculty committee: “the committee thought the best thing was to put a row of empty bottles up and see how the faculty wanted to fill them.” Lewis responds, acidly:

The empty bottles could be filled with anything so long as the right department was offering it. . . . But there is absolutely nothing that Harvard can expect students will know after they take three science or three humanities courses freely chosen from across the entire course catalog. The proposed general-education requirement gives up entirely on the idea of shared knowledge, shared values, even shared aspirations. In the absence of any pronouncement that anything is more important than anything else for Harvard students to know, Harvard is declaring that one can be an educated person in the 21st century without knowing anything about genomes, chromosomes, or Shakespeare.

_____________________

Does it matter that Harvard’s curriculum is a vacant vessel? It is no secret, after all, that to the Harvard faculty, undergraduate education is at best of secondary interest. What is laughingly called the Core Curriculum—precisely what Summers sought to repair—is distinguished by the absence of any core of studies generally required. In practice, moreover, a significant number of the courses in Harvard College are taught by graduate students, not as assistants to professors but in full control of the content. Although they are called “tutors,” evoking an image of learned Oxbridge dons passing on their wisdom one-on-one, what they are is a collection of inexperienced leaders of discussion or pseudo-discussion groups. The overwhelming majority of these young men and women, to whom is entrusted a good chunk of a typical undergraduate’s education, will never be considered good enough to belong to Harvard’s regular faculty.

But this does matter, and the reason is that how Harvard deals with its undergraduates is of great importance to other colleges. Harvard’s antiquity, the high quality of its faculty and student body, its wealth, and its prestige have made it a model to be watched and emulated. When Harvard adopted a program of “General Education” after World War II—the forerunner of today’s debased Core Curriculum—it changed the character of undergraduate education throughout the country.

So it is intriguing and instructive that Harvard’s former dean should be castigating the curriculum produced by the Harvard faculty—a curriculum that, he believes, exposes Harvard as “a university without a larger sense of educational purpose or a connection with its principal constituents.” And it is equally intriguing that Derek C. Bok, a former and now again, in the wake of Summers’s departure, the current president of Harvard, should have released his own troubled look at the same subject.

Continued in article

Students may take the easiest way out in customizable curricula --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#CustomizedCurricula


But is it too quick to blame affordability relative to other major causes of dropping out of college,
especially the poor preparedness cause?

"Report Finds U.S. Students Lagging in Finishing College," by Tamar Lewin, The New York Times, September 7, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/07/education/07educ.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

The United States, long the world leader in higher education, has fallen behind other nations in its college enrollment and completion rates, as the affordability of American colleges and universities has declined, according to a new report.

The study, from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, found that although the United States still leads the world in the proportion of 35- to 64-year-olds with college degrees, it ranks seventh among developed nations for 25- to 34-year-olds. On rates of college completion, the United States is in the lower half of developed nations.

“Completion is the Achilles’ heel of American higher education,’’ said Patrick M. Callan, president of the center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in San Jose, Calif., and Washington.

One particular area of concern, Mr. Callan said, is that younger Americans — the most diverse generation in the nation’s history — are lagging educationally, compared with the baby boom generation.

“The strength of America is in the population that’s closest to retirement, while the strength of many countries against whom we compare ourselves is in their younger population,’’ he said. “Perhaps for the first time in our history, the next generation will be less educated.’’

Over all, the report said, while other nations have significantly improved and expanded their higher education systems, the United States’ higher education performance has stalled since the early 1990’s.

At the same time, for most American families, college is becoming increasingly unaffordable. While federal Pell grants for low-income students covered 70 percent of the cost of a year at a four-year public university in the 1990’s, Mr. Callan said, that has dropped to less than half.

“It’s going backwards,’’ he said. “Tuition is going up faster than family income, faster than inflation, faster even than health care.’’

The report, which grades the states on how well they compare with the state with the best record, gives 43 states, including New York and Connecticut, an F for affordability. New Jersey got a D.

On average, a year at a public four-year university costs 31 percent of a family’s income, the report said. But that figure hides the enormous difference between families in the bottom 20 percent of income, for which it would be 73 percent of annual income, and those in the top 20 percent, for which it would amount to only 9 percent.

The report, “Measuring Up 2006: The National Report Card on Higher Education,” paints a picture of an income-stratified society, with a huge educational gap between low- and high-income young adults. In 12 states, the proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds from high-income families who are enrolled in college is at least twice as great as those from low-income families; in five states, the high-income students are at least three times as likely to be in college.

In New York, 33 percent of young adults from families with the lowest fifth of incomes are in college, compared with 55 percent of those from the richest families, close to the national average. The figures for Connecticut are 16.1 percent from the bottom fifth and 57.9 percent from the top fifth. New Jersey’s figures are 19.6 percent from the bottom fifth and 51.0 percent from the top.

Ethnic differences in college enrollment also persist, with four states having twice the percentage of white students in college as nonwhite students. The secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, plans to announce her own ideas for making higher education “affordable, accessible and consumer friendly for all Americans’’ after the Commission on the Future of Higher Education that she created last fall delivers its final recommendations this month.

“In order to remain a leader in the global economy, our nation must adapt its higher education system to prepare Americans for the jobs of today and tomorrow,’’ Ms. Spellings said yesterday.

The report is the fourth in the center’s series of assessments of national and state performance, which it produces every two years. This is the first report to include international comparisons.

On the state level, New York rated an A– on both students’ preparation and the proportion who complete their degrees. New Jersey got an A on preparation and a B on completion, Connecticut an A– on preparation and a B on completion.

The likelihood of a ninth grader in New York enrolling in college four years later has dropped to 37 percent, three percentage points below the national average, from 45 percent in the early 1990’s. That is one of the steepest declines in the nation, and one the center attributed to a falling high school graduation rate in the state.

Even accounting for New York’s Tuition Assistance Program for low-income students, the center found, attending a public two- or four-year college would cost low- and lower-middle-income students nearly half of their family’s annual income.

“New York has one of the best financial aid programs in the country, but also one of the largest low-income populations that the program doesn’t reach,’’ Mr. Callan said.

Officials at the State University of New York, the City University of New York and the State Education Department took issue with the center’s methodology and said New York’s public universities were more affordable than portrayed.

The report “badly miscalculates New York’s TAP program and inaccurately portrays higher education in New York as unaffordable,’’ said John R. Ryan, the SUNY chancellor. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The vice chancellor at CUNY, Jay Hershenson, said that, among other things, the report sharply understated the average amount of aid to undergraduates who receive state aid and failed to take into account more than a quarter-million students in nondegree programs that lead to college.

Continued in article


Are conflicts of interest and kickbacks among college "trustees" the norm or the exception?
But Adelphi’s trustees had never voted on his compensation; only a small committee even knew the details. Adelphi even concealed the largesse from the Internal Revenue Service for five years, incurring an $11,500 fine. The Regents also found conflicts of interest involving two trustees, including the former board chairwoman. Her insurance company was found to have gotten $1.2 million in fees for handling Adelphi’s accounts.
"University Enjoys a Renaissance After 90’s Strife," by Bruce Lambert, The New York Times, September 5, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/04/nyregion/04adelphi.html

Appearance Versus Reality of Trustee/School Kickbacks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Kickbacks


"U. of Phoenix Loses in U.S. Court," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, September 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/06/phoenix

The University of Phoenix must defend itself against charges that it violated federal law by paying its recruiters based on how many students they enrolled, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Tuesday. The federal appeals panel’s unanimous decision, which overturned a lower court’s ruling in Phoenix’s favor, had been eagerly awaited because of the for-profit university’s high profile as one of the country’s largest and because of the mammoth size of the malfeasance alleged — billions of dollars could be at stake.

But the case is also important because it is the latest in a string of decisions in which federal courts have gradually expanded the grounds under which colleges can be sued under the federal False Claims Act, much to the consternation of some college and university lawyers and legal experts. In siding with the former admissions officials who sued Phoenix on the government’s behalf, the Ninth Circuit panel leaned heavily on one of those earlier decisions, involving Oakland City University.

At issue in the Phoenix case is a provision in the Higher Education Act that prohibits colleges from offering bonuses or other incentive pay to admissions officers or recruiters based on specific enrollment goals, to discourage them from giving officials extra incentive to bring in any potential student, regardless of academic ability. Two former enrollment counselors at Phoenix, Mary Hendow and Julie Albertson, charge that the for-profit university paid cash bonuses and other gifts to them and to other recruiters based strictly on how many students they enrolled — charges Phoenix has denied.

In 2003, Hendow and Albertson filed what is known as a qui tam lawsuit, which is filed under the federal False Claims Act by an individual who believes he or she has identified fraud committed against the federal government, and who sues hoping to be joined by the U.S. Justice Department. (The plaintiff then shares in any financial penalties, which can include trebled damages.) The women charged that the allegedly fraudulent behavior had put more than $1.5 billion in federal funds at risk, which set the value of a potential verdict in the case at several times that. The federal government declined to join the lawsuit as a third party, but the Justice Department did file a friend of the court brief in 2005 encouraging the court to rule against Phoenix.

A federal district court dismissed the women’s lawsuit in May 2004, concluding that they had not put forward a valid theory for how Phoenix had defrauded the government under the False Claims Act.

But in its decision Tuesday, a three judge panel of Ninth Circuit appeals court concluded differently. Reinforcing and even expanding on last October’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in United States of America ex. rel. Jeffrey E. Main v. Oakland City University, the Ninth Circuit judges declared that the two former admissions officers (known in False Claims Act parlance as the “relators") had indeed offered two legitimate theories (known as “false certification” and “promissory fraud") for how the university had defrauded the government.

Without ruling on whether the women had actually proven their claims — impossible without a trial on the facts of the case — the court concluded that they had met the four requirements of filing a legitimate claim under the federal fraud law: (1) alleging that a defendant had made false statement or engaged in fraudulent conduct; (2) that the action had been taken deliberately; (3) that the act or statement played a direct role in money flowing out of government coffers; and (4) that the government did indeed pay out or forfeit money as a result. At its core, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the university had — by participating in a several-step process to accept federal financial aid — committed to abiding by a wide range of rules and requirements, including the prohibition on incentive compensation.

On multiple fronts, the court rejected arguments made by lawyers for Phoenix. To the suggestion — which other college officials have echoed in fighting False Claims Act cases — that “the incentive compensation ban is nothing more than one of hundreds of boilerplate requirements with which it promises compliance,” as the appeals panel phrased it, the court wrote: “This may be true, but fraud is fraud, no matter how ’small.’

“The university is worried that our holding today opens it up to greater liability for innocent regulatory violations, but that is not the case — as we held above, innocent or unintentional violations do not lead to False Claims Act liability,” Judge Cynthia Holcomb Hall wrote for the court. “But that is no reason to innoculate [sic] institutions of higher education from liability when they knowingly violate a regulatory condition, with the intent to deceive, as is alleged here.”

With that statement, the court seemed to clearly reject the arguments made by college officials that the federal courts’ decisions in this line of cases are making colleges significantly more vulnerable to False Claims Act challenges — even if they have violated federal law by simple mistake.

And Phoenix’s assertion that the ban on incentive compensation is a condition on participating in the federal student aid programs, but not a condition on receiving payment from the government, “is a distinction without a difference,” the court said. “In the context of Title IV and the Higher Education Act, if we held that conditions of participation were not conditions of payment, there would be no conditions of payment at all — and thus, an educational institution could flout the law at will.”

The Ninth Circuit’s decision not to dismiss the lawsuit against Phoenix would send the case back to the lower federal court for a trial on the merits. But several other possibilities seem likelier at this point. The university could ask the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to review the decision of the three judge panel.

Or Phoenix’s lawyers could appeal the Ninth Circuit’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, on the hope that the nation’s highest court decides to hear the case because it concludes that federal appeals courts have split on the issues in the case. But the Supreme Court declined in April to consider the Oakland City case, letting the Seventh Circuit’s decision stand, which would appear to make it unlikely to hear the Phoenix case.

Timothy J. Hatch, a Los Angeles lawyer who represented Phoenix in this case, said that he and the university “obviously disagree” with the court’s conclusions but had not yet decided how to respond to the ruling. Terri Bishop, chief communications officer for the Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix, added in a statement that the decision “greatly expands the scope of False Claims Act liability beyond what Congress had intended or even what other courts have recognized.” The company is “carefully reviewing the opinion in order to determine our next steps,” she said.

The two California lawyers who represented the relators in the case, Nancy G. Krop and J. Daniel Bartley, were practically giddy on the telephone late Tuesday afternoon, and said they were eager to get the case before a jury. “The evidence is all sitting there waiting for a courtroom, and once we get a courtroom,” Krop said, Phoenix “is in big trouble.”

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm


Oligopoly academic journal  publishers brought this on themselves by price gouging research libraries

"Momentum for Open Access Research," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 6, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/06/access

When the Federal Public Research Access Act was proposed this year, scholarly society after scholarly society came out against the legislation, which would require federal agencies to publish their findings, online and free, within six months of their publication elsewhere. The future of academic research was at stake, the societies said, and both their journals and the peer review system could collapse if the legislation passed.

It s increasingly hard, however, to say that those societies reflect the views of academe on the issue. In July, the provosts of 25 research universities came out in favor of the legislation, saying that the current system of research publishing leads to outrageously high journal costs that are harming libraries and making it impossible for people to follow research. Now the presidents of 53 liberal arts colleges — at the behest of their librarians — are issuing a joint letter backing the legislation. And while it is unlikely that the bill will pass this year, the new letter that was released Tuesday is part of a broader effort by open access supporters to place higher education in a new position when the debate is renewed next year.

Nancy S. Dye, president of Oberlin College, where the new letter was organized, said that her interest was in part — but only in part — financial. “All liberal arts colleges are finding it more and more difficult to purchase the materials we need,” she said. But Dye stressed that there is also “a philosophical view” that is spreading: “Knowledge is made to be shared.” And while that may sound idealistic, Dye said there is another “underlying view” that makes sense to her and other presidents. “If this research is being done with federal money, it would only seem right that the people who are paying taxes have access to the research findings.”

In another sign of the shifting debate on open access, the American Chemical Society — a major journal publisher and a strong critic of the open access legislation — announced that it was creating an “author choice” program where authors for its journals could pay a fee to have their articles available online and free should the authors “wish or need” to do so.

Society officials denied that this was an attempt to compromise, but said that the change was needed because of other shifts in journal publishing. Pushed by the National Institutes of Health, biology journals have been speedier to move toward open access than have chemistry journals, and with more chemistry work these days linked to biology, the move was seen as key to promoting healthy interaction between the disciplines. (The fees would range from $1,000 to $3,000 and would not be discussed until after an article had been accepted, to prevent financial incentives from entering into the peer review process.)

The letter from the liberal arts college presidents is straightforward. It says that their institutions can’t afford rising journal prices, that their faculties and students want more access to journals than the institutions can provide, and that liberal arts colleges play a key role in producing future Ph.D.’s, so their exposure to journals matters. Oberlin is among many liberal arts colleges with unusually high percentages of graduates who go on to earn doctorates.

“Adoption of the Federal Research Public Access Act will democratize access to research information funded by tax dollars,” the letter says. “It will benefit education, research, and the general public.”

Presidents signing the letter come from all over the country. Among them are the heads of Amherst, Barnard, Bowdoin, Coe, Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Kalamazoo, Lake Forest, Middlebury, Occidental, Reed, Rhodes, Vassar, Wabash and Whitman Colleges. They were organized by the Oberlin Group, an organization of the libraries of liberal arts colleges.

Ray English, director of libraries at Oberlin, said that the current system is “fundamentally unstable,” adding that “I’ve been looking at these issues for more than a decade now, and it’s clear that there are problems of access to research that are such that we need transformational strategies.”

Diane Graves, university librarian at Trinity University, in Texas, another of the institutions backing the letter, agreed. “The current model is broken so it’s time for new models. Staying with the status quo is unsustainable.”

Graves said that in five years in her position, her library has received “generous” overall budget increases from the university, but that they are never enough to keep up with journal inflation. Dozens of journals have been cut, and she is forced each year to go to each academic department to seek agreement on what to eliminate. What frustrates her the most, she said, is continuing to cut off access to information professors and students want — when the model being pushed by the legislation would provide that knowledge without increasing the college’s costs.

As for the scholarly societies, Graves said that she knew that they did valuable work, but questioned why that work needed to be subsidized by journals. “A lot of societies have relied on journals to fund other activities. But why should libraries at colleges — nonprofit entities within nonprofit entities — fund those activities? Shouldn’t members be funding those activities? We need to have this conversation.”

Continued in article

Related stories

 

At last editorial boards are protesting rip-offs of oligopoly publishers
Another journal declaration of independence is in progress. The entire editorial board of Topology has resigned to protest Elsevier's refusal to lower the subscription price.
University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog, August 14, 2006 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

Bob Jensen's threads on academic journal publisher frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals


"States Levy Wide Range of Taxes on Gasoline," AccountingWeb, August 28, 2006 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102497


"Goodbye, Taxachusetts," The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2006; Page A20 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115758826429655841.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

You'll never guess the hottest issue in this fall's Democratic primary for governor of Massachusetts: income tax cuts. Two of the three Democratic candidates in this bluest of blue states have endorsed cutting the state flat-rate income tax to 5%. One of them, Democratic Attorney General Tom Reilly, insists the tax cut would mean "real money in people's pockets," and he pledges to be a "strong, unwavering voice to stand up and hold the line on taxes."

The leading Republican candidate heading into the September 19 primary, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, agrees. The lone dissenter is former Clinton Administration U.S. Attorney Deval Patrick, who sounds like his former Washington colleagues in claiming "we can't afford it." Voters disagree. An August 27 Boston Globe poll found that 57% of Democratic primary voters support the tax relief plan. This is the same electorate that has given the nation Ted Kennedy, Michael Dukakis and John Kerry.

Perhaps liberal Northeasterners aren't as fond of high taxes as their political leaders assert. Earlier this year, the heavily Democratic legislature in Rhode Island slid down the Laffer Curve by chopping its top income tax rate nearly in half as part of a plan to lure departed jobs and workers back to the state. Meanwhile, a property tax revolt is brewing in New Jersey.

Despite the disparaging legend of "Taxachusetts" going back to the Dukakis era, Bay State voters have often shown they like taxes about as much as they do the New York Yankees. Though Democrats outnumber Republicans five to one in the state, the last four governors have been fiscally conservative and tax-cutting Republicans. In 2000, despite heavy opposition from the Boston media and lobbyists, 59% of Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative to cut the income tax rate to 5%, from 5.85%.

This year's tax fight has erupted because the oligarchs in the legislature have ignored the will of the electorate by freezing the rate at 5.3%. Their excuse was that this was required in 2002 to make up for falling tax revenue and would only be "temporary." But tax receipts have climbed again since 2003 -- to $18.4 billion from $14 billion, a 31% cash windfall.

The pro-tax coalition has also found an unlikely ally in the state Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, which insist the government has unmet spending needs. "The big businesses lobby against tax cuts here," says David Tuerck, director of the Beacon Hill Institute, a local think-tank. "They much prefer to spend the money on corporate welfare projects." The Institute's new study estimates the tax cut would create 8,000 new jobs and raise incomes by more than $450 million over the next four years.

Current Governor Mitt Romney says the state's $1 billion revenue surplus more than justifies the tax cut. "We'll either spend that money or give it back to the citizens," he says. "Those are our options." It says something about the public mood that, even in the cradle of modern liberalism, voters don't seem to trust politicians to spend the dollars wisely and want more of their money back.


Global Warming Feeds Itself
"Greenhouse Gas Bubbling from Melting Permafrost Feeds Climate Warming at Much Higher Than Expected Rates," PhysOrg, September 6, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76777896.html

A study co-authored by a Florida State University scientist and published in the Sept. 7 issue of the journal Nature has found that as the permafrost melts in North Siberia due to climate change, carbon sequestered and buried there since the Pleistocene era is bubbling up to the surface of Siberian thaw lakes and into the atmosphere as methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

In turn, that bubbling methane held captive as carbon under the permafrost for more than 40,000 years is accelerating global warming by heating the Earth even more --- exacerbating the entire cycle. The ominous implications of the process grow as the permafrost decomposes further and the resulting lakes continue to expand, according to FSU oceanography Professor Jeff Chanton and study co-authors at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

"This is not good for the quality of human life on Earth," Chanton said.

The researchers devised a novel method of measuring ebullition (bubbling) to more accurately quantify the methane emissions from two Siberian thaw lakes and in so doing, revealed the world's northern wetlands as a much larger source of methane release into the atmosphere than previously believed. The magnitude of their findings has increased estimates of such emissions by 10 to 63 percent.

Understanding the contribution of North Siberia thaw lakes to global atmospheric methane is critical, explains the paper that appears in this week's Nature, because the concentration of that potent greenhouse is highest at that latitude, has risen sharply in recent decades and exhibits a significant seasonal jump at those high northern latitudes.

Chanton points to the thawing permafrost along the margins of the thaw lakes -- which comprise 90 percent of the lakes in the Russian permafrost zone -- as the primary source of methane released in the region. During the yearlong study, he performed the isotopic analysis and interpretation to determine the methane's age and origin and assisted with measurements of the methane bubbles' composition to shed light on the mode of gas transport.

"My fellow researchers and I estimate that an expansion of these thaw lakes between 1974 and 2000, a period of regional warming, increased methane emissions by 58 percent there," said Chanton. "Because the methane now emitted in our study region dates to the Pleistocene age, it's clear that the process, described by scientists as 'positive feedback to global warming,' has led to the release of old carbon stocks once stored in the permafrost."

In addition to Chanton, the John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography at FSU, co-authors of "Methane bubbling from Siberian thaw lakes as a positive feedback to climate warming" include K. M. Walter (Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska-Fairbanks); S. A. Zimov (Northeast Science Station, Cherskii, Russia); and D. Verbyla (Forest Science department, University of Alaska-Fairbanks).


From Jim Mahar's Blog on September 6, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

Executive Governance: Congressional Hearings and more

I worked at home this morning in order to watch the Senate Finance Committee's meeting on Executive Compensation. It was interesting but did not cut much new ground.

Predictably, the session began with the numbers (for instance that CEOs made more than 300 times the average employee in 2004), the problems of backdating options (including the need to redo tax records), and the principle-agent conflicts that arise when executives are paid large amounts of money.

Why are taxes so important of issue here? One reason is that firms can deduct over $1 million per executive only if that pay is incentive based. Back-dating the options loses that incentive component and thus disallows the deduction.

Consider the following from
Business Week:
"Known as Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code, that provision limits the tax deductibility of pay for the five highest-paid executives at public companies to $1 million, unless the pay is determined to be "performance-based." To qualify as performance-based pay, compensation committees must set "pre-established" and "objective" performance goals. Shareholders must approve the goals, and the compensation committee must certify they were met.....

But corporate governance experts, academics, and some members of Congress contend that many big companies have figured out how to bypass the rule by setting easy-to-reach goals that make the lion's share of executive pay �from bonuses to stock grants "performance-based" so they can write those payments off on tax returns.

BILLIONS IN LOST TAXES. The net effect, say critics, is that many companies now deduct almost all of their top executives' compensation"

C-Span also covered the Finance Committe's panel question and answer period. Some highlights from the panel discussion.
 
Senatore Grassely who led the meeting concluded by saying he will be asking for board minutes of firms that did backdate options.

Interesting discussion. I wish I had recorded it. Hopefully it will be online soon.

This meeting came on the heels of a
NY Times report that backdating was a more serious problem than previously thought:
 
"A new study estimates that the stock options backdating scandal may cost shareholders hundreds of millions of dollars. The study was released on the eve of two Senate committee hearings that plan to examine the scope of the widening investigation into improper options practices.

Three researchers at the University of Michigan estimated that backdating stock options between 2000 and 2004 helped sweeten the average executive'�s pay by more than 1.25 percent, or about $600,000. But the fallout from the recent options investigations has caused those executives'� companies to fall in market value by an average of 8 percent, or $500 million each.

�For about $600,000 a year to the executives, shareholders are being put at risk to the tune of $500 million,� the study concludes."

 


September 1, 2006 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

TECHNOLOGY LITERACY TEST REVEALS STUDENT DEFICIENCIES

Educational Testing Service's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy Assessment "uses scenario-based tasks to measure both cognitive and technical skills . . . and assesses individual student proficiency." Institutions that were early adopters of the test are finding that it reveals student deficiencies in critical areas. "Of 10,000 high school and college students asked to evaluate a set of Web sites last fall, nearly half could not correctly judge which was the most objective, reliable and timely, according to preliminary results of a digital-literacy assessment." ["Students Don't Know Much Beyond Google," by Leila Fadel; STAR-TELEGRAM, July 27, 2006; http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/15134538.htm ]

While college students may be competent Google searchers, many lack skills for evaluating online resources and are unaware of other digital resources, such as library databases, that could provide more reliable content. The test's results indicate the need for more formal training for students at all levels to acquire the skills they need to critically evaluate online resources.

For more information on the ICT, go to http://www.ets.org/portal/site/ets/menuitem.435c0b5cc7bd0ae7015d9510c3921509 

......................................................................

PLAYING GAMES

Several recently-published articles discuss the role of game playing as tools for education or social engagement.

"Simulations, Games, and Learning" By Diana Oblinger EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, May 2006 http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3004.pdf 

"Today's games are complex, take up to 100 hours, require collaboration with others, and involve developing values, insights, and new knowledge. They are immersive virtual worlds that are augmented by a more complex external environment that involves communities of practice, the buying and selling of game items, blogs, and developer communities. In many ways, games have become complex learning systems."

"Digital Game-Based Learning: It's Not Just the Digital Natives Who Are Restless" By Richard Van Eck EDUCAUSE REVIEW, vol. 41, no. 2, March/April 2006, pp. 16–30. http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm06/erm0620.asp 

According to the author, "The combined weight of three factors has resulted in widespread public interest in games as learning tools." These factors are (1) "ongoing research conducted by DGBL [digital game-based learning] proponents;" (2) "today's 'Net Generation,' or 'digital natives,' who have become disengaged with traditional instruction;" and (3) "the increased popularity of games. . . nearly as many digital games were sold as there are people in the United States (248 million games vs. 293.6 million residents.)"

"Scavenger Hunt Enhances Students' Utilization of Blackboard" By Dianne C. Jones JOURNAL OF ONLINE LEARNING AND TEACHING, vol. 2, no. 2, June 2006 http://jolt.merlot.org/Vol2_No2_Jones.htm

"The use of the Scavenger Hunt game has made the use of a web-based course management system, like Blackboard, less threatening for students and has significantly reduced the need for additional instructor time to deal with technology-related issues throughout the course."

"Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name: Online Games as 'Third Places'" By Constance Steinkuehler and Dmitri Williams JOURNAL OF COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION, vol. 11, issue 4, 2006 http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol11/issue4/steinkuehler.html 

The authors studied how massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) provide a means for establishing informal social relationships beyond the workplace and home. (This issue has other articles related to games and play. Link to other articles at http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol11/issue4/ )

Bob Jensen's threads on edutainment and learning games are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

SLOAN SEMESTER ARCHIVES

The "Sloan Semester" was an initiative by Sloan-C member institutions to provide free online courses to college and university students whose studies were impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. In twenty-one days a "virtual" institution was set up to provide "more than 1,350 courses from over 150 institutions in 38 states available to over 1,750 students, utilizing over 4,000 'seats' in online courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels." The Sloan Semester Archives website includes "includes links to an archived version of the Sloan Semester Catalog, a case study of the project, data about participants and lessons learned." The archives are available at http://www.sloan-c.org/sloansemester/index.asp 

Sloan-C is a consortium of institutions and organizations committed "to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth of their online programs according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines." Sloan-C is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. For more information go to http://www.aln.org/

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OBSTACLES TO EDUCATIONAL USE OF DIGITAL MATERIAL

"The Digital Learning Challenge: Obstacles to Educational Uses of Copyrighted Material in the Digital Age" reports on a year-long study, conducted by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, to "explore whether innovative educational uses of digital technology were hampered by the restrictions of copyright." Four serious obstacles were identified in the study:

-- "Unclear or inadequate copyright law relating to crucial provisions such as fair use and educational use;"

-- "Extensive adoption of 'digital rights management' technology to lock up content;"

-- "Practical difficulties obtaining rights to use content when licenses are necessary;" and

-- "Undue caution by gatekeepers such as publishers or educational administrators."

The complete report can be download at no cost at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=923465

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School is a "research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. For more information, contact Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, 23 Everett Street, Second Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA; tel: 617-495-7547; fax: 617-495-7641; email: cyber@law.harvard.edu ; Web: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

RECOMMENDED READING

"Perspective: Teen's Warning on the Gospel of Wikipedia"
By Soumya Srinagesh
CNET News.com, August 11, 2006

http://news.com.com/2010-1038_3-6104446.html?part=rss&tag=6104446&subj=news 

"Yes, teachers and parents constantly remind students to think twice before relying on certain online sources, but it's easy for a student in a rush to forget that Wikipedia belongs in the category of unverified information rather than credible information--especially because its format is one of a traditional encyclopedia. Which isn't to say Wikipedia's a bad thing."


Urban Environment: Challenges to Sustainability ---
http://topics.developmentgateway.org/special/urbanenvironment

Cyburbia Resource Directory: Zoning and Land Use Regulations ---
http://www.cyburbia.org/directory/index.php?sid=760110057&cat=51&t=sub_pages





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

Latest Headlines on September 8, 2006

Latest Headlines on September 9, 2006


"Early Symptoms Can Warn of Sudden Cardiac Death," Food Consumer, September 8, 2006 ---
http://www.foodconsumer.org/777/8/Early_Symptoms_Can_Warn_of_Sudden_Cardiac_Death.shtml

FRIDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- "Sudden cardiac death" often isn't all that sudden, and lives can be saved by training people about the symptoms of impending cardiac arrest and what action to take, a German study shows.

"A study of 406 sudden cardiac death patients indicates that they often have symptoms, especially the typical symptom angina pectoris [chest pain] for as long as 120 minutes before an arrest," said study lead author Dr. Dirk Muller, a cardiologist and emergency physician at the Medical Clinic II, Cardiology and Pulmonology, in Berlin.

"Two-thirds of cardiac arrest patients have a history that predisposes them to sudden cardiac death," Muller added, so efforts to reduce the toll should focus on teaching their family members to recognize the symptoms and how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

In the study, 72 percent of cardiac-arrest cases occurred at home, and two-thirds were witnessed by others.

The researchers collected information about symptoms preceding cardiac arrest for 323 patients. The most common warning sign was chest pain, which occurred for at least 20 minutes, and, in some cases, for hours, before cardiac arrest. Chest pain occurred in 25 percent of the patients whose cardiac arrest was witnessed by other persons and in one-third of other cases.

Breathlessness was the next most common symptom, seen in 17 percent of witnessed arrests and 30 percent of other cases. Other common symptoms were nausea, vomiting, dizziness or fainting.

CPR was performed on 57 patients, and 13 of them survived to be discharged from the hospital. The survival rate for those who did not get CPR was 4 percent -- 13 of 349 patients.

One notable fact was that CPR was more likely to be performed when cardiac arrest occurred in public cases -- 26 percent of the time, compared to 11 percent of the time when the attack occurred at home.

The study results were expected to be published in this week's issue of Circulation.

There are two significant messages from the study, said Dr. Ann Bolger, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

"The first is that people need to be educated about how cardiac symptoms can present," Bolger said. "We always try to encourage people not to discount such things as shortness of breath, things that really should demand a response, because they could be a harbinger of early death.

"The second thing is that the family is important," she added. "Many of these patients have a known history of heart problems. They are not taking us by surprise. We know that one of these things can happen to them, so, it is important to get education that if there is chest pain that does not respond to nitroglycerine, they should call 911. When a patient has active heart disease, I try to make sure that they and their family get basic training about calling 911 and get the emergency medical service on the scene. People who don't get CPR before they get to the hospital have much worse outcomes."

According to the American Heart Association, cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart function. The victim may or may not have diagnosed heart disease; the most common cause of death is coronary heart disease.

The AHA estimates that 330,000 Americans die each year from heart disease before reaching a hospital and urges CPR training on a large scale.

More information

For more on CPR, visit the American Heart Association.


Unusual three-drug combo inhibits growth of aggressive tumors
An experimental anti-cancer regimen combined a diuretic, a Parkinson's disease medication and a drug ordinarily used to reverse the effect of sedatives. The unusual mixture inhibited the growth of aggressive prostate tumors in laboratory mice in research conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Although their drug choices may seem capricious, the researchers weren't randomly pulling drugs from their shelves. They made their discovery using sophisticated methods for delving into the unique metabolism of cancer cells and then choosing compounds likely to interfere with their growth.
"Unusual three-drug combo inhibits growth of aggressive tumors," PhysOrg, September 8, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news76951366.html


Forwarded by Debbie Bowling

Help for chronic pain: Drug limits may be eased Restrictions on the use of powerful painkillers would be loosened for patients with chronic pain under a federal rule proposed Wednesday, allowing doctors to prescribe a 90-day supply of the drugs. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14702157/from/ET/


"Gene Called Link Between Life Span and Cancers," by Nicholas Wade, The New York Times, September 7, 2006 ---
Click Here 

Biologists have uncovered a deep link between life span and cancer in the form of a gene that switches off stem cells as a person ages.

The critical gene, well known for its role in suppressing tumors, seems to mediate a profound balance between life and death. It weighs the generation of new replacement cells, required for continued life, against the risk of death from cancer, which is the inevitable outcome of letting cells divide.

To offset the increasing risk of cancer as a person ages, the gene gradually reduces the ability of stem cells to proliferate.

The new finding, reported by three groups of researchers online yesterday in Nature, was made in a special breed of mice that lack the pivotal gene, but is thought likely to apply to people, as well.

The finding suggests that many degenerative diseases of aging are caused by an active shutting down of the stem cells that renew the body’s various tissues and are not just a passive disintegration of tissues under daily wear and tear. “I don’t think aging is a random process — it’s a program, an anticancer program,” said Dr. Norman E. Sharpless of the University of North Carolina, senior author of one of the three reports.

The other senior authors are Drs. Sean J. Morrison of the University of Michigan and David T. Scadden of the Harvard Medical School.

The full implications are far from clear, but the finding that the cells are switched off with age does not seem too encouraging for researchers who hope to use a patient’s own adult stem cells to treat disease. That result may undercut opponents of research on human embryonic stem cells who argue that adult stem cells are enough to build new tissue.

Continued in article


From the Scout Report on September 8, 2006

Rossetti Archive --- http://www.rossettiarchive.org/index.html 

Not unlike its contemporary, the William Blake Archive (mentioned in the January 2nd, 1998 Scout Report), the Rossetti Archive exists to advance the study of one particular painter and writer, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, "who was, according to both John Ruskin and Walter Pater, the most important and original artistic force in the second half of the nineteenth century in Great Britain." The Rossetti Archive does this by transporting traditional methods of humanities scholarship into the digital environment, by providing what will eventually be a comprehensive collection of digital versions of all Rossetti's works, supplemented with analysis, notes, and editorial commentary. Ultimately, it will be easy for scholars to use any digital object in the Rossetti Archive, as well as share their analyses, and view others' work. In addition, the Rossetti Archive is one of the collaborators in NINES (http://www.nines.org/index.html), an attempt to bring together the numerous digital humanities projects that have come online in the last 10 years, and facilitate online collaboration between scholars.


Stories on Stage --- http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/programs/specials/sos/stories.asp 

Dramatic readings on the radio were a mainstay of this Marconi-infused mode of communication for decades, and in recent years, more and more public radio station have been creating their own live dramatic reading series. One such vehicle is the Stories on Stage series, which was started in 1993 on Chicago Public Radio. Essentially, each program finds a single actor reading three or four stories that share a common theme. Visitors who are seeking literary and dramatic nourishment will appreciate the fact that this site contains both current and past performances of the series for their listening pleasure. Over the years, readings have featured the works of Raymond Carver, Edith Wharton, and a special episode dedicated to the works of Tobias Wolff. Certainly, one can see that this site might be put to good use in a theater arts classroom or one dedicated to the practice of elocution or performance arts.

====== Network Tools ====

GroupMail Free Edition 5.1.032 --- http://www.group-mail.com/asp/common/downloads.asp?p=pp 

Let’s be honest: While sending a mass email may not be one’s favorite way to communicate with friends, colleagues, or family, sometimes it’s just plain necessary. For those occasions, visitors may wish to take a gander at this application which eases this process. With GroupMail, users can create lists that include up to 100 recipients, and then send their messages straight away. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer.


LiveCargo PC Desktop 3.5.1
http://www.livecargo.com/LiveCargo/index/processfreetrial/topic/FREE_TRIAL_SIGNUP 

With the rise of online collaborations, users in the business, higher education, or related fields may find this application terribly useful. LiveCargo will allow them to send large files quickly, along with offering them the ability to store said files for their convenience. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer or Mac OS X 10.4.



"Books: Out of Print:  Sylvia Plath's bedtime story. Lynne Cheney's novel. A look at the year's top used books," by Nate Herpich, The Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2006, Page P2 --- Click Here

When readers want to see how new books are selling, they check the bestseller lists or the rankings on Web sites like Amazon. But a new set of rankings has just come out for another segment of the market: books that are out of print. Last week, www.BookFinder.com , a site that lets shoppers search the inventories of about 100,000 booksellers for new and used books, released a list of the out-of-print books that were most searched-for on its site in the past year. Though these books weren't necessarily the top sellers, the report offers a look at what titles are generating interest. Below, three of the most searched-for out-of-print titles in the past year, according to the site's rankings.

The Bed Book, Sylvia Plath (1976)

One of the top out-of-print children's books has an unexpected author -- the poet Sylvia Plath, who wrote this book-length poem for youngsters. The work describes a series of magical beds, including one that grows when it's watered and another that can be used as a submarine.

Sisters, Lynne Cheney (1981)

The single most sought-after work of fiction on BookFinder this year was written by the vice president's wife. The novel, a romance set in the American frontier that had limited sales at the time of its release, currently commands prices as high as $720 at used-book sellers in BookFinder's network.

Voices of Moccasin Creek, Tate Cromwell Page (1972)

This extremely rare work chronicles the journey of Mr. Page's ancestors from Mississippi to Pope County, Ark., in the Ozark National Forest. The founder and CEO of BookFinder.com, Anirvan Chatterjee, says that books tied to a particular area can develop a strong regional following.

 




Forwarded by Debbie Bowling from a WSJ article

"I Just Called to Say I Love You:  The sounds of 9/11, beyond the metallic roar, by Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/

Everyone remembers the pictures, but I think more and more about the sounds. I always ask people what they heard that day in New York. We've all seen the film and videotape, but the sound equipment of television crews didn't always catch what people have described as the deep metallic roar. The other night on TV there was a documentary on the Ironworkers of New York's Local 40, whose members ran to the site when the towers fell. They pitched in on rescue, then stayed for eight months to deconstruct a skyscraper some of them had helped build 35 years before. An ironworker named Jim Gaffney said, "My partner kept telling me the buildings are coming down and I'm saying 'no way.' Then we heard that noise that I will never forget. It was like a creaking and then the next thing you felt the ground rumbling."

Rudy Giuliani said it was like an earthquake. The actor Jim Caviezel saw the second plane hit the towers on television and what he heard shook him: "A weird, guttural discordant sound," he called it, a sound exactly like lightning. He knew because earlier that year he'd been hit. My son, then a teenager in a high school across the river from the towers, heard the first plane go in at 8:45 a.m. It sounded, he said, like a heavy truck going hard over a big street grate.

I think too about the sounds that came from within the buildings and within the planes--the phone calls and messages left on answering machines, all the last things said to whoever was home and picked up the phone. They awe me, those messages. Something terrible had happened. Life was reduced to its essentials. Time was short. People said what counted, what mattered. It has been noted that there is no record of anyone calling to say, "I never liked you," or, "You hurt my feelings." No one negotiated past grievances or said, "Vote for Smith." Amazingly --or not--there is no record of anyone damning the terrorists or saying "I hate them."

No one said anything unneeded, extraneous or small. Crisis is a great editor. When you read the transcripts that have been released over the years it's all so clear.

Flight 93 flight attendant Ceecee Lyles, 33 years old, in an answering-machine message to her husband: "Please tell my children that I love them very much. I'm sorry, baby. I wish I could see your face again."

Thirty-one-year-old Melissa Harrington, a California-based trade consultant at a meeting in the towers, called her father to say she loved him. Minutes later she left a message on the answering machine as her new husband slept in their San Francisco home. "Sean, it's me, she said. "I just wanted to let you know I love you."

Capt. Walter Hynes of the New York Fire Department's Ladder 13 dialed home that morning as his rig left the firehouse at 85th Street and Lexington Avenue. He was on his way downtown, he said in his message, and things were bad. "I don't know if we'll make it out. I want to tell you that I love you and I love the kids."

Firemen don't become firemen because they're pessimists. Imagine being a guy who feels in his gut he's going to his death, and he calls on the way to say goodbye and make things clear. His widow later told the Associated Press she'd played his message hundreds of times and made copies for their kids. "He was thinking about us in those final moments."

Elizabeth Rivas saw it that way too. When her husband left for the World Trade Center that morning, she went to a laundromat, where she heard the news. She couldn't reach him by cell and rushed home. He'd called at 9:02 and reached her daughter. The child reported, "He say, mommy, he say he love you no matter what happens, he loves you." He never called again. Mrs. Rivas later said, "He tried to call me. He called me."

There was the amazing acceptance. I spoke this week with a medical doctor who told me she'd seen many people die, and many "with grace and acceptance." The people on the planes didn't have time to accept, to reflect, to think through; and yet so many showed the kind of grace you see in a hospice.

Peter Hanson, a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175 called his father. "I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building," he said. "Don't worry, Dad--if it happens, it will be very fast." On the same flight, Brian Sweeney called his wife, got the answering machine, and told her they'd been hijacked. "Hopefully I'll talk to you again, but if not, have a good life. I know I'll see you again some day."

There was Tom Burnett's famous call from United Flight 93. "We're all going to die, but three of us are going to do something," he told his wife, Deena. "I love you, honey."

These were people saying, essentially, In spite of my imminent death, my thoughts are on you, and on love. I asked a psychiatrist the other day for his thoughts, and he said the people on the planes and in the towers were "accepting the inevitable" and taking care of "unfinished business." "At death's door people pass on a responsibility--'Tell Billy I never stopped loving him and forgave him long ago.' 'Take care of Mom.' 'Pray for me, Father. Pray for me, I haven't been very good.' " They address what needs doing.

This reminded me of that moment when Todd Beamer of United 93 wound up praying on the phone with a woman he'd never met before, a Verizon Airfone supervisor named Lisa Jefferson. She said later that his tone was calm. It seemed as if they were "old friends," she later wrote. They said the Lord's Prayer together. Then he said "Let's roll."

This is what I get from the last messages. People are often stronger than they know, bigger, more gallant than they'd guess. And this: We're all lucky to be here today and able to say what deserves saying, and if you say it a lot, it won't make it common and so unheard, but known and absorbed. I think the sound of the last messages, of what was said, will live as long in human history, and contain within it as much of human history, as any old metallic roar.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father," (Penguin, 2005), which you can order from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Fridays.

Stories from Sept. 11: Wives, Daughters, Mothers --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5784423




Forwarded by Paula

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing of one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:

01. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

02. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

03. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

04. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

05. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

07. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

08. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

09. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

14. Glibido: All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

Here's one they didn't think of:

Fartification: Protection using bad odors.




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

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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

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