I have the honor of chairing the committee that will choose the recipient of the American Accounting Association’s 2007 AAA Innovation Accounting Education Award.

This award is doubly significant because of a $5,000 prize, courtesy of the Ernst & Young Foundation, and improved chances of publication in Issues in Accounting Education.

We encourage you to send in submissions via instructions now available at http://aaahq.org/awards/award6.htm

Tidbits on September 19, 2006
Bob Jensen

Foliage in New Hampshire's White Mountains --- http://www.nhliving.com/foliage/index.shtml
Fall Foliage --- http://gonewengland.about.com/cs/fallfoliage/l/blfoliagecentrl.htm
Foliage Pictures --- http://photo.net/travel/us/ne/foliage

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Crisis in Darfur --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/flash/0,,1870659,00.html
Clooney warns UN of Darfur genocide --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/sudan/story/0,,1873127,00.html
Darfur death toll may be 400,000 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14840118/site/newsweek/
Clooney's video link is at http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/Movies/09/14/wiesel.clooney.ap/index.html

A Energized Drug Cartel That Won't Go Away:  Return of the Taliban Video --- Click Here

The Sonic Memorial Project (to 9/11) --- http://www.sonicmemorial.org/sonic/public/index.html

Slave Narratives --- http://moadsf.org/salon/exhibits/slave_narratives/flash.php

From the University of Wisconsin:  South African Voices --- http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/SouAfrVc/

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

Evolution of Man and Woman (humor) --- http://walter.no.sapo.pt/humor/2001-06-28/humor-044.gif

High speed car flies over 200 feet into the second story of a home --- http://wcbstv.com/topstories/local_story_255120049.html
(Hit the play button and wait for the commercial to end.)


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

The Centre for Swedish Folk Music and Jazz Research --- http://www.visarkiv.se/en/index.htm

The Weepies: Beautiful Music Together --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6041220

From Sufjan to Solo, a Star Turn --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6040468

Dan Reeder: Making Music from Scratch --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6044111

Afrobeat at Its Deceptively Simple Essence --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6056730

Starting today (September 14), there's a way to get access to Rhapsody's 2.5 million digital tunes, in any room in your house, straight from the Internet -- without even turning on your computer. This new system is a time/money tradeoff. It saves you time (and what some folks consider a big hassle) in exchange for money: $999 for the basic hardware, plus $10 a month for the music service . . . There are some drawbacks. Because of complex music-industry policies, a small percentage of songs can't be streamed, yet they still show up in Rhapsody's menus, which leads to frustration. And Sonos hasn't been able to implement a search feature yet, which leaves you doing a lot of scrolling through menus.
Walter S. Mossberg, "Rhapsody Uses Sonos For a PC-Free Entry Into a Trove of Music," The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2006; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/personal_technology.html

Photographs and Art

Foilage Pictures --- http://photo.net/travel/us/ne/foliage

The Metropolitan Museum of Art --- http://www.metmuseum.org/

Smithsonian Photography Initiative --- http://www.photography.si.edu/

Essential Vermeer --- http://essentialvermeer.20m.com/

Laura den Hertog Galleries (reminds me of Andrew Wyeth) --- http://www.lauradenhertog.com/Lauradenhertog.com/Laura_den_Hertog_.html

The New Orleans Kid Camera Project --- http://www.kidcameraproject.org/

Charles Dwyer Pastels --- http://www.onessimofineart.com/artists/Dwyer/Charles_Dwyer.html

Steve Irwin --- http://www.pixsy.com/search.aspx?q=Steve Irwin


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

A Wonderland Miscellany by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) --- Click Here

The Adventure Of The Bruce-Partington Plans by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) --- Click Here

A Descent Into The Maelstrom by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) --- Click Here

Eleonora by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) --- Click Here

Wisdom Quotes --- http://www.wisdomquotes.com/

Since 2001, the health-care industry has added 1.7 million jobs. The rest of the private sector? None! But the very real problems with the health-care system mask a simple fact: Without it the nation's labor market would be in a deep coma. Since 2001, 1.7 million new jobs have been added in the health-care sector, which includes related industries such as pharmaceuticals and health insurance. Meanwhile, the number of private-sector jobs outside of health care is no higher than it was five years ago.
"What's Really Propping Up The Economy," Business Week Cover Story, September 25, 2006 --- Click Here

In postings on a Web site called VampireFreaks.com, blogs in Gill's name show more than 50 photos depicting the young man in various poses holding a rifle and donning a long black trench coat and combat boots. One photo has a tombstone with his name printed on it - below it the phrase: "Lived fast died young. Left a mangled corpse." The last of six journal entries Wednesday was posted at 10:41 a.m, about two hours before the gunmen was shot to death after the college shooting. He said on the site that he liked to play "Super Columbine Massacre," an Internet-based computer game that simulated the April 20, 1999, shootings at the Colorado high school where two students gunned down 12 classmates and a teacher.
Phil Couvrette, "'Columbine' Game Was Gunman's Favorite," Myway, September 14, 2006 --- http://apnews.myway.com/article/20060914/D8K4LEAG0.html

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting.
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Bukowski

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
Albert Camus --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Camus

The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it.
Elizabeth Drew --- Click Here

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
Flannery O'Connor --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Connor%2C_Flannery

Women do not always have to write about women, or gay men about gay men. Indeed, something good and new might happen if they did not.
Kathryne Hughes

Works well under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.
Readers Digest, October 2003, Page 60 (from actual employee evaluation form, but it could apply to some students.)

His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.
Readers Digest, October 2003, Page 60 (from actual employee evaluation form, but it could apply to some teachers.)

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.
Isaac Asimov --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Asimov

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd search the Web a little faster.
Bob Jensen --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm

My doctor gave me only six minutes to live. I said, “Gosh, Doc, I won’t be able to pay you because I don’t get paid for two weeks.” So he gave me two weeks.
Ed Scribner

Pope Stirs Up Poop
Dilbert Blog, September 19, 2006  --- http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2006/09/pope_stirs_up_p.html

Don't Call Us Violent or We'll Blow You Up

"There is such a thing as a medium-security prisoner," Adm. Harris says. "I believe there is no such thing as a medium-security terrorist." You might call Rear Adm. Harry Harris a jailer. As commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, a job he has held for six months, he is in charge of one of the world's best-known detention facilities. But if you call this place a prison, he will correct you. "Prisons are about rehabilitation and punishment," Adm. Harris told me in a phone conversation last week, reiterating a point he had made a few days earlier in a briefing for visiting journalists here. "What we are about is keeping enemy combatants off the battlefield.
"War Inside the Wire," by James Taranto, The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2006; Page A8 --- Click Here
Admiral Harris describes terror incidents inside the compound that make the Guantanamo detainees extremely dangerous to secure except for the 315 out of 770 that have been sent home.

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

Increasing al-Qaida Threat to France is "high" and "permanent"
Current and former French officials specializing in terrorism said Thursday that an al-Qaida alliance with the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, known by its French initials GSPC, was cause for concern. "We take these threats very seriously," Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said, adding in an interview on France-2 television that the threat to France was "high" and "permanent," and that "absolute vigilance" was required. Al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, announced the "blessed union" in a video posted this week on the Internet to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.
John Leicester and Omar Sinan, "Al-Qaida joins Algerians against France," Yahoo News, September 14, 2006 ---
Click Here

Links to Conspiracy Theories That 9/11 Terror Was Orchestrated by the Bush Administration
Is Osama bin Laden merely a figment of the U.S. Satan's imagination?

The spiritual leader of Norway's Muslims told readers of Aftenposten Monday he doubts Muslims were responsible for the 2001 terror attacks on the United States. Imam Zulqarnain Sakandar Madni answered questions from the newspaper's readers. "There's some good evidence that (U.S. President George) Bush and company were behind this," he said. "See the film that's called 'Loose Change.' An American film!" He also said he doubts that al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden exist.
"Norwegian imam: Muslims not behind 9/11," UPI, September 11, 2006 ---

I wonder if Imam Zulqarnain Sakandar Madni and his radical friends did "a lot of research for themselves?"
In response to some of these Korey Rowe, the producer of the "Second Edition of Loose Change", claimed in an interview, “We know there are errors in the documentary, and we’ve actually left them in there so that people discredit us and do the research for themselves.

Loose Change --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loose_Change_(video) 
Jensen Comment
Unlike Michael Moore, Korey Rowe admits to his fabrications and distortions. However, Rowe just won't tell you where they are in his work.

“The hypothesis (that Bush is behind 9/11 terror) that is gaining strength ... is that it was the same U.S. imperial power that planned and carried out this terrible terrorist attack or act against its own people and against citizens of all over the world,” Chavez said. “Why? To justify the aggressions that immediately were unleashed on Afghanistan, on Iraq.” Chavez has said the U.S. launched those wars to ensure its political and economic power.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, "Chavez says U.S. may have orchestrated 9/11, MSNBC, September 12, 2006 --- http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13401534/ 

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

Robert Scheer agrees that Bush is worse than Bin Laden and provides a set of references that expound that it was President Bush rather than Bin Laden who intentionally instigated the 9/11 terror incidents.
"9/11 Conspiracy Theory Links," by Robert Scheer, The Nation, September 11, 2006 --- http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060925/gaping_holes  

  • Washington Post article on the theorists
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's conspiracy roundup
  • Wikipedia's 9/11 Conspiracy Wiki
  • 911truth.org's top 40 reasons to doubt the official September 11th story
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology's response to conspiracy theories
  • TVNewsLies' "All the Proof You Need"
     (a relatively compact conspiracy site)
  • Loose Change
     (the most popular conspiracy theory movie in circulation)
  • 911Research.com
      (a multi-dimensional collection of conspiracy articles)
  • Let's Roll 9/11
     (conspiracy blog)
  • Defective Yeti's satirical conspiracy theories
     ("very funny" or so says Robert Scheer)
  • No, no, no, that's not a conspiracy theory. That's a fact.
    Al Franken on CNN --- http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0308/25/cf.00.html

    Want to come up with your own conspiracy theory about Bush? Don't let Al Franken, Michael Moore, and MoveOn.org have all the fun! Use this handy George W. Bush Conspiracy Theory Generator to come up with your own conspiracy theory! --- http://www.buttafly.com/bush/index.php

    The Sonic Memorial Project (to 9/11) --- http://www.sonicmemorial.org/sonic/public/index.html

    I don't think the Plan B five years later was in the jihad "master plan" but a dangerous Plan B evolved
    "THE MASTER PLAN For the new theorists of jihad, Al Qaeda is just the beginning," by Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker, September 11, 2006 --- http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060911fa_fact3

    [Plan A]
    Even as members of Al Qaeda watched in exultation while the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon burned on September 11, 2001, they realized that the pendulum of catastrophe was swinging in their direction. Osama bin Laden later boasted that he was the only one in the group’s upper hierarchy who had anticipated the magnitude of the wound that Al Qaeda inflicted on America, but he also admitted that he was surprised by the towers’ collapse. His goal, for at least five years, had been to goad America into invading Afghanistan, an ambition that had caused him to continually raise the stakes—the simultaneous bombings of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in August, 1998, followed by the attack on an American warship in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, in October, 2000. Neither of those actions had led the United States to send troops to Afghanistan. After the attacks on New York and Washington, however, it was clear that there would be an overwhelming response. Al Qaeda members began sending their families home and preparing for war.

    Two months later, the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which had given sanctuary to bin Laden, was routed, and the Al Qaeda fighters in Tora Bora were pummelled. Although bin Laden and his chief lieutenants escaped death or capture, nearly eighty per cent of Al Qaeda’s members in Afghanistan were killed. Worse, Al Qaeda’s cause was repudiated throughout the world, even in Muslim countries, where the indiscriminate murder of civilians and the use of suicide operatives were denounced as being contrary to Islam. The remnants of the organization scattered and were on the run. Al Qaeda was essentially dead.

    From hiding places in Iran, Yemen, Iraq, and the tribal areas of western Pakistan, Al Qaeda’s survivors lamented their failed strategy. Abu al-Walid al-Masri, a senior leader of Al Qaeda’s inner council, later wrote that Al Qaeda’s experience in Afghanistan was “a tragic example of an Islamic movement managed in an alarmingly meaningless way.” He went on, “Everyone knew that their leader was leading them to the abyss and even leading the entire country to utter destruction, but they continued to carry out his orders faithfully and with bitterness.”

    In June, 2002, bin Laden’s son Hamzah posted a message on an Al Qaeda Web site: “Oh, Father! Where is the escape and when will we have a home? Oh, Father! I see spheres of danger everywhere I look. . . . Tell me, Father, something useful about what I see.”

    “Oh, son!” bin Laden replied. “Suffice to say that I am full of grief and sighs. . . . I can only see a very steep path ahead. A decade has gone by in vagrancy and travel, and here we are in our tragedy. Security has gone, but danger remains.”

    In the view of Abu Musab al-Suri, a Syrian who had been a member of Al Qaeda’s inner council, and who is a theorist of jihad, the greatest loss was not the destruction of the terrorist organization but the downfall of the Taliban, which meant that Al Qaeda no longer had a place to train, organize, and recruit. The expulsion from Afghanistan, Suri later wrote, was followed by “three meager years which we spent as fugitives,” dodging the international dragnet by “moving between safe houses and hideouts.” In 2002, he fled to eastern Iran, where bin Laden’s son Saad and Al Qaeda’s security chief, Saif al-Adl, had also taken refuge. There was a five-million-dollar bounty on his head. In this moment of exile and defeat, he began to conceive the future of jihad.

    . . .

    [Plan B]
    In Suri’s view, the underground terrorist movement—that is, Al Qaeda and its sleeper cells—is defunct. This approach was “a failure on all fronts,” because of its inability to achieve military victory or to rally the Muslim people to its cause. He proposes that the next stage of jihad will be characterized by terrorism created by individuals or small autonomous groups (what he terms “leaderless resistance”), which will wear down the enemy and prepare the ground for the far more ambitious aim of waging war on “open fronts”—an outright struggle for territory. He explains, “Without confrontation in the field and seizing control of the land, we cannot establish a state, which is the strategic goal of the resistance.”

    Continued in article

    Jensen Comment
    Bush bashers loudly rant that our defeating al Qaeda's Plan A created the more dangerous randomized-terror Plan B, but Bush bashers fail to give fair evaluation of the scenario that would've evolved if Plan A had succeeded with bin Laden's repeated and unimpeded successes against "The Great (Impotent?) Satan." 

    Bush bashers rant about no nukes in Iraq ad nauseam without ever mentioning where the real nuke threat existed if the U.S. did not  retaliate after 9/11.  In short time after September 11, 2001, a victorious bin Laden could've had control (in partnership with internal Pakistan fundamentalists) over all Pakistan's nukes. Bush bashers like Mark Finkelstein, Robert Scheer, David Korn, David Cameron, Michael Moore, and many Bush-bashing professors never mention bin Laden's nuke-takeover possibility under Plan A! The likely scenario, if the U.S. refrained from military 9/11 retaliation, could've been a relatively sudden nuke-armed bin Laden takeover of the Middle East and Africa. Most certainly Plan A success would've been much, much faster than the long and uncoordinated Plan B. 

    The major obstacles to bin Laden's Plan A, if the U.S. military had stayed home, would've been the nuke-armed Israel and Russia. If the U.S. failed to provide military backup to Israel would Israel have fled the Middle East in terrified surrender or would nuclear winter have cooled the hot sands of the Middle East? Would Russia have allowed the Russia-hating bin Laden to point Pakistan's missiles toward the Motherland? I doubt it!

    Our worry then and now is that turmoil in Pakistan will give fanatics control of the red buttons in slower Plan B lunacy. 

    It's absolutely necessary to resourcefully help Pakistan keep the nukes out of the hands of its own internal Islamic fundamentalists. This is a far more dangerous scenario at the moment than Iran's enrichment program, because there are many Islamic fundamentalists in the present army of Pakistan.

    I think it was a mistake to wasting so much money to bring so much power down on Saddam so soon. He stood in the way of Iran's Persian goal of taking over the Middle East at a time when more effort should've been brought to bear on preventing the spread of nukes, which Pakistan was actually doing at the time by leaking nuclear bomb technology to other Islamic nations like Iran.

    Then again maybe it was just a mistake of naively assuming that the people of Iraq would all pitch, once they were free of Saddam, together to make their nation a proud nation of tribes whose national pride in the Iraq as a whole surpassed secular  heritage (as in the case of the early immigrants of the United States who learned English and proudly pledged an allegiance to their new nation).

    "Osama bin Laden calls Iraq the 'epicenter' of this war"
    And if you think we're winning against the main al Qaeda territory (al-Anbar Province) in Iraq, a top secret marine report says that we've never sent enough troops to do the job and probably never will. Once again its the problem of an underground enemy that hides behind innocent human shields. This entrenched al Qaeda enemy can only be defeated by a force that's willing to take out the shields as well.

    "Iraq’s Anbar province a lost cause?" by Jim Miklaszewski, MSNBC, September 12, 2006 ---  http://msnbc.msn.com/id/14805515

    A new military intelligence report offers up the most pessimistic assessment yet of military prospects for al-Anbar province, the vast no-man's land in western Iraq that has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the war — from hard-hit Fallujah to the provincial capital Ramadi, which the U.S. military has never controlled.

    A top secret report by a Marine Corps intelligence officer says there's no chance the U.S. military can end insurgent violence in al-Anbar, and no viable government institutions or chance for political progress anytime soon.

    Even more ominous, military officials say al-Qaida in Iraq has rushed to fill that political vacuum. Military officials tell NBC News al-Qaida's also recruiting increasing numbers of Iraqi Sunnis into the terrorist group.

    The Marine intelligence report says there were never enough American troops in al-Anbar from the beginning. In fact, one senior military official tells NBC News it would take 50,000-60,000 more U.S. ground forces to secure al-Anbar, and that's not going to happen.

    Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 

    Compact for Iraq
    Ministers from around the world will meet today to discuss the International Compact for Iraq, an Iraqi government-led initiative to transform Iraq's economy and achieve financial independence within five years. If the Iraqis map out a credible and promising plan, the international community will support it, investing in Iraq's future. Additional assistance will be expressly conditional on Iraq achieving the benchmarks it has set out . . . In spite of the challenges faced by the Iraqi government, there are good reasons to believe this initiative will succeed. First, it's the economic component of a strategy that also includes the Iraqi government's security and political initiatives, including national reconciliation. Second, though inflation and budget execution are continuing concerns, the Iraqi economy has made consistent progress, with strong foreign-currency reserves, growing revenues, a recently enacted fuel-import liberalization law, and an investment law to be passed this month. Third, the Iraqis have already taken difficult steps, including reducing fuel subsidies, maintaining fiscal discipline and an extensive audit of the Central Bank, as part of their standby arrangement with the IMF. The Compact will add a strong oversight mechanism. All of this should further compel us to remain steadfast in our support of an initiative that deserves the urgent support of the entire international community.

    Robert M. Kimmitt, "Compact for Iraq," The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2006; Page A18 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115853520087165818.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

    An Energized Drug Cartel That Won't Go Away:  Return of the Taliban Video --- Click Here

    Jacob Sullum, "The Latest Dope:  Drug warriors are playing into the Taliban’s hands,"  Reason Magazine, September 15, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/sullum/091306.shtml

    After years of hard work by drug warriors in Afghanistan, the country no longer produces 87 percent of the world's illicit opium. Now it produces 92 percent, according to the latest suspiciously precise estimate from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

    On Tuesday, citing ties between opium trafficking and the Taliban insurgency, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa called upon NATO forces in Afghanistan to get more involved in efforts to stamp out the opium trade. This is exactly the right strategy to pursue if the aim is to alienate the Afghan people, undermine their government, and strengthen the insurgency.

    The Taliban-opium connection goes back at least a decade. After they took control of Afghanistan in 1996, they encouraged opium poppy cultivation and took a cut from the trade, using the money to buy weapons and put up their buddies in Al Qaeda. In 1999, per the UNODC, Afghanistan had a record opium harvest of 4,565 tons.

    The following year, the Taliban suddenly announced that growing poppies was contrary to Islam. The UNODC says the ban, enforced by the threat of summary execution, nearly eliminated cultivation, resulting in a 2001 opium harvest of less than 200 tons.

    But the Taliban's reading of Islamic law conveniently did not require the destruction of opium stockpiles, much of which they controlled. The opium ban therefore looked like an attempt to profit from price increases while getting credit from the West for a firm anti-drug stance.

    In any case, since losing power after the U.S. invasion in 2001, the Taliban seem to have forgotten their religious objections to opium, production of which hit an all-time high of more than 6,000 tons this year, up about 50 percent from 2005. "We are seeing a very strong connection between the increase in the [Taliban] insurgency on the one hand and the increase in cultivation on the other hand," the UNODC's Costa told The New York Times.

    What is the nature of this connection? Poppy farmers welcome the Taliban because the Taliban offer them "protection." Protection from whom? From their own government, which is trying to destroy their livelihood under pressure from the U.S. and the U.K.

    Afghanistan is one of the world's poorest countries, and the UNODC estimates that opium accounted for more than 50 percent of its GDP in 2005. By his own account, then, Costa is demanding that the Afghan government wipe out half of the country's economy, with conspicuous assistance from U.S. and British forces. Does that sound like a recipe for peace and stability?

    It's no mystery why barely subsisting Afghanis choose to grow opium poppies instead of legal crops, contrary to the wishes of foreign governments. According to the UNODC, a hectare of poppies earned farmers some $5,400 last year, about 10 times what they could get by growing wheat.

    Continued in article

    A bomber attacked Canadian troops who were distributing gifts to children Monday in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official said. A NATO spokesman said four of its soldiers were killed, but declined to provide their nationalities. The attack happened in the Kandahar province district of Panjwaii, the scene of a two-week anti-Taliban operation conducted by NATO that ended Sunday. An Afghan official said the bomber targeted Canadian troops handing out candy and other gifts to children. Reports said the explosive device was attached to a bicycle.
    "Canadian troops targeted by bomber," Canada.com, September 18, 2006 --- Click Here

    Afghanistan's Catch-22
    Gen. Eikenberry understands the root of the problem. And it's a big one. In 2005, Afghanistan earned $2.7 billion in opium exports, or 52% of its GDP -- plenty of cash to support an insurgency. That fighting has, in turn, basically halted all of the infrastructure build-out that was meant to provide Afghan farmers and other rural residents alternatives to growing poppy. "In traveling around the country, the top concern of Afghans is unemployment, education and irrigation," Gen. Eikenberry confirms. But to address these issues -- and here's the catch-22 -- violence in rural Afghanistan must first be quelled. If it isn't, the infrastructure that will facilitate trade cannot be built.

    Dana White, "Afghanistan's Catch-22, The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2006; Page A8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115836499497165106.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

    Afghanistan is also a lost cause according to John Kerry
    Democratic Sen. John Kerry, the party's 2004 presidential nominee, accused the Bush administration of pursuing a "cut and run" strategy in Afghanistan that has emboldened terrorists and made the United States less safe. "The administration's Afghanistan policy defines cut and run," Kerry said in remarks prepared for delivery at Howard University on Thursday. "Cut and run while the Taliban-led insurgency is running amok across entire regions of the country. Cut and run while Osama bin Laden and his henchmen hide and plot in a lawless no-man's land."
    "Kerry: Bush Will 'Cut and Run' in Afghanistan," NewsMax, September 14, 2006 --- http://newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/9/14/141147.shtml?s=ic

    "Why we're losing," by Jonathan Kay, National Post via Canada.com, September 19, 2006 --- http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=2ca9307f-4aaa-4c5e-9029-62aae81b979e

    We can lecture the Muslim world till we're blue in the face about freedom of speech and pluralism. But why should they listen? At the end of the day, war and politics are both about mobilization. A couple of blunt words from the Pope or some cartoons published in an obscure European newspaper are apparently enough to get mobs of angry Islamists into the street. But here in the West, we can't even come up with the few thousand extra troops needed to finish off a war we thought we'd already won. We're fat and lazy. The enemy is mean and hungry.

    Afghanistan is just Exhibit A. In Lebanon, the West could have helped Israel snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by sending the 15,000 peacemakers called for in the original UN ceasefire blueprint -- along with a robust mandate to seek and destroy Hezbollah's weapons caches. But France threatened to scuttle the mission unless Hezbollah guaranteed a combat-free deployment. And so the job has been delegated to the Lebanese army, which can reliably be expected to look the other way while Tehran's proxy rearms itself in preparation for the next war -- preferably one waged under an Iranian nuclear umbrella.

    Like Afghanistan, Iran is a problem the West thought it had already fixed. Two years ago, Tehran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment under a deal signed with the European Union. But Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ripped that paper up when it became obvious the West didn't have the stomach for a confrontation. NATO can't even scratch a small expeditionary force together to stop a genocide in Darfur. The idea of attacking Iran -- a real country with a real army -- is out-and-out unthinkable.

    But nowhere is the West's trepidation more blatantly on display than in Iraq, where 150,000 U.S. troops have been trying to win a war that, from the very beginning, called for double or triple that number. As many journalists and ex-generals have written, the U.S. war effort in Iraq has resembled a real-life game of whack-a-mole, in which an overstretched military chases jihadis from one town to the next, with the bad guys melting into the landscape and then reconstituting themselves in some distant, ungarrisoned outpost. The shame of the Iraq war isn't that George W. Bush started it; but that, throughout it all, he and Donald Rumsfeld have been too stubborn to admit they'd made war on the cheap.

    This conflict won't be decided by the jihadis or the United States acting alone: In this kind of asymmetric war, no single player can land a knockout blow. Instead, we can expect that the balance of power will ultimately be tipped according to each side's ability to win over powerful fence-sitters such as Russia, Pakistan, Syria and China.

    In this regard, should we be surprised that Moscow and Beijing are refusing to impose sanctions on Iran? That Pervez Musharraf is cutting deals with terrorists on the Afghan border? That Syria is in bed with Hezbollah? These are amoral actors that have little historic or emotional connection to the West and its idealistic projects. They're merely looking to back a winner. And which side looks like a winner right now? The one with a million maniacs in the street ... or the one issuing the frenzied mea culpas?

    Things will tip back in our favour eventually. Someday, the terrorists will go too far -- by attacking Russia or China with WMDs, for instance -- and turn fair-weather friends into enemies. And over time, political Islam itself will collapse under the weight of the economic failure produced in every place (Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Gaza) it's been imposed. But in the meantime, the ululating fanatics are teaching us a humbling lesson about how soft we've all become. Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Lebanon are broken, bleeding countries that the West could help fix. But we'd rather hand them over to the jihadis than sacrifice blood and treasure. That's why we're losing.

    How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?
    James Madison (Federalist No. 41, 1788) Reference: The Federalist --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Madison

    "A Force for Good," by Donald H. Rumsfeld, The Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2006; Page A14 ---
    Click Here

    We remember where we were that day.

    At 9:38 a.m., the entire Pentagon shook. I went outside and saw the horrific face of war in the 21st century. Those present could feel the heat of the flames and smell the burning jet fuel -- all that remained of American Airlines flight 77.

    Destruction surrounded us: smoldering rubble, twisted steel, victims in agony.

    Last week, President Bush greeted the families of September 11 victims in the East Room of the White House and told them about the efforts to bring to justice those who attacked our nation -- and those who supported them. He said, "The families of those murdered that day have waited patiently for justice. . . . They should have to wait no longer." He announced that 14 high-level terrorists, including the man referred to as the mastermind of the attacks, have been transferred to the Department of Defense and incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. There they will be treated humanely -- though their victims were not -- and, if and when the necessary legislation is passed by the Congress, prosecuted for their crimes, in accordance with law.

    President Bush has reminded us that this enemy is still seeking new ways to attack us. He told us about captured terrorists who provided key information about planned attacks on buildings here in the U.S., and about al Qaeda's efforts to obtain biological weapons. Information the interrogators received from these terrorists has led to the capture of other terrorists, who have in turn led us to still more.

    Yet, even with these victories in the war, President Bush reminded us that it is important to understand the nature of this enemy, and what it is seeking to do. The extremist movement that threatens us is not a reactionary force -- it actively looks for opportunities to acquire new and deadlier weapons, to destabilize governments, and to create discord among our allies and within our own country.

    This enemy has made its immediate strategy clear in public announcements and in captured documents: to undermine the Coalition effort in Iraq, drive our forces out, and then use that nation as a base from which to destabilize the surrounding nations. They seek to extend a hoped-for victory in Iraq to a broad part of the Middle East and even parts of Europe and Asia -- to restore an ancient caliphate.

    Iraq is the linchpin in their effort. Osama bin Laden calls Iraq the "epicenter" of this war, and he believes that "America is prepared to wage easy wars but not prepared to fight long and bitter wars." When Gen. Abizaid, commander of Central Command, was asked what effect pulling out of Iraq would have, he said the extremists would become "emboldened, empowered, more aggressive." They will turn whatever part of Iraq they can control into a safe haven for terrorists, just as Afghanistan was before September 11. They likely will attract still more recruits, inspired by their "victory" over the West.

    To stop them in Iraq, our country has sent our finest young people -- all volunteers -- to help the Iraqis defeat the terrorists seeking to control the region. And while our military tactics, techniques and procedures have adapted as the enemy has changed its tactics, the guiding principle of the overall military strategy remains constant -- namely, to empower the Iraqi people to defend, govern and rebuild their own country. Extremists know that war and anarchy are their friends -- peace and order their enemies.

    There are many challenges ahead in this young century: Among others, Iran's nuclear aspirations, North Korea and the proliferation of dangerous weapons, and the need to build on recent progress in missile defense.

    All this while fighting a war in the media on a global stage. As I recently mentioned in remarks to the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, everyone is watching: the enemies, their supporters, their potential supporters, our allies and our potential allies. In this very public battle for hearts and minds, we must be as confident in the rightness of our cause as the enemy is in its evil purpose. We cannot allow the world to forget that America, though imperfect, is a force for good in the world.

    Mr. Rumsfeld is Secretary of Defense.

    U.S. military intelligence has determined that a video released by the Iranian government purporting to show a test of a new submarine missile is bogus, three Pentagon officials confirmed. The Iranians released the video Aug. 27, one of a series of steps the Tehran government has taken in recent months to display its military potency in the midst of a confrontation with the United States and other Western nations over its nuclear ambitions.
    Los Angeles Times, September 10, 2006 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1699191/posts

    An agreement between President Bush and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is resulting in thousands of additional students from Saudi Arabia enrolling at colleges in the United States, all with full scholarships paid by the Saudi government, according to the AP. The generous aid packages — for which some 15,000 students will have been enrolled by January — have led many American universities to recruit the Saudis.
    Inside Higher Ed, September 11, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/11/qt
    Jensen Comment
    I did not add the above tidbit to imply that having these students in the U.S. is a bad thing at this point in time when we need Saudi Arabia on our side as much as possible.

    Review of Building Red America by The Washington Post's Thomas B. Edsall
    For that matter, neither party is likely to be happy with the findings of this provocative though in many ways familiar book. Mr. Edsall, who covered national politics for The Washington Post from 1981 to 2006, accuses the Republicans of using their closely contested victories to advance a conservative agenda that “does not have the decisive support of the people,” of further polarizing the electorate and cynically forcing it “to pick between extremes,” and of using “the slimmest of political margins” to try “to remake America — as well as America’s role in the world.” As for Democrats, he depicts them as hapless, unfocused and reeling from self-inflicted wounds. He contends that “the social-issue left overwhelmingly sets the agenda of the Democratic Party,” often to the detriment of its candidates in general elections. He takes the party to task for its “lack of credible policies” in the areas of globalization and education. (He curiously has little to say about its internal schisms over foreign policy and national security.)
    Michiko Kakutani, "The Republican Collapse May Not Be So Imminent," The New York Times, September 12, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/12/books/12kaku.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    The Nation is a socialist magazine that diligently and incessantly attempts to undermine capitalist economics, the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex, the GOP, and the Bush-Cheney response to 9/11. It's important to study all sides to important issues. Here's the extreme left's take on things on the fifth anniversary on 9/11.
    "A Just Response," by Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation, September 11, 2006 --- http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060925/just_response

    "On Tuesday morning, a piece was torn out of our world. A patch of blue sky that should not have been there opened up in the New York skyline.... the heavens were raining human beings. Our city was changed forever. Our country was changed forever. Our world was changed forever." So wrote Jonathan Schell in the first issue of The Nation following September 11, 2001.

    At The Nation's office, in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center towers, like everyone else in America we watched television--horrified, saddened, angry. People wept, and at the same time took notes and got on the phones. For we had an issue closing the next day. We quickly learned that our communications links to the outer world were severed--our phone lines had run under World Trade Center 7. So, in those first days, we had no incoming calls and the office computer links to the Internet were down. The facts were sketchy and causes of the attack shrouded in a pall of uncertainty thick as the smog rising from the demolished World Trade Center.

    The issue that we assembled and put to bed the next day struck a tone and purpose that the magazine has striven to maintain in the past five years. Paying respect to the human reactions of anger, hurt and grief, our editorials in that first week, and in the ones that followed, have made the case for an effective and just response to the horrific terrorist acts. We argued that such a response may include discriminate use of military force but that the most promising and effective way to halt terrorism lies in bringing those responsible to justice through nonmilitary actions in cooperation with the global community and within a framework of domestic and international law. As Richard Falk warned in his indispensable "A Just Response," the "justice of the cause" would be "negated by the injustice of improper means and excessive ends."

    As the US military response unfolded in the ensuing days, there seemed to be more questions than answers. Who is Osama bin Laden? What is the involvement of the Taliban? What are we doing in Afghanistan anyway? Did US foreign policy create historic resentments and injustices abroad that spawned the terrible attacks? What is the best way for this country to address the root causes of terrorism? What are the aims of the war on it? What are its limits? What is the potential political and human fallout? Who are our allies? What role should the United Nations play? How to limit civilian casualties and provide humanitarian relief? As autumn in New York merged into Ramadan and Afghanistan's winter, these questions only deepened. It is striking how the essential themes laid out in The Nation in those initial weeks, far from being outrun by events, have gained in resonance.

    One of my roles as editor has been to figure out the bridge from personal to political. How do you balance individual grief and anger at the attacks with proportionality, justice and wisdom in response? How do we reconcile legitimate fear of future attacks with protection of civil liberties, and carry on a political debate that doesn't ignore concerns of economic and social justice?

    To deal with those complex issues, I was fortunate in being able to call on some of the most respected figures on the progressive left. They responded with a series of thoughtful, informed and provocative essays that have appeared in our pages. Among them: the late scholar-philosopher-activist Edward Said demolishing the clash of civilizations argument; Mary Kaldor on the new wars and civil society's role in halting terrorism; Michael T. Klare on Saudi-US relations and the geopolitics of oil; Ellen Willis on homefront conformity; Chalmers Johnson on blowback and the role of US foreign policy; William Greider on war profiteering; Bill Moyers on Americans' restored faith in government; John le Carré on why this war can't be won. Our regular columnists weighed in with their independent takes. And peace and disarmament editor Jonathan Schell filed a weekly "Letter From Ground Zero"--lucid, illuminating, frightening, humane essays that advanced the case for sensible and moral nonmilitary actions.

    The Nation has a long tradition of providing a forum for a broad spectrum of left/progressive views, which sometimes erupted in spirited debates in those weeks after 9/11. Christopher Hitchens's column, "Against Rationalization," which castigated those on the left who drew a causal relationship between US foreign policy in the Middle East and the terrorist acts, provoked a heated exchange with Noam Chomsky. This exchange ran on our website and drew a raft of comments, with readers almost equally divided. Richard Falk's article "Defining a Just War" also provoked numerous letters pro and con.

    As a fog of national security enveloped official Washington and the war front and the mainstream media enlisted in the Administration's war--flag logos flying--the need for an independent, critical press seemed never more urgent. The speedy passage of the repressive PATRIOT Act, with scarcely a murmur of dissent in Congress, the secret detentions of more than 1,000 people and the establishment of military tribunals were troubling signs that a wartime crackdown on civil liberties was under way and called for vigorous opposition. Criticizing government policy in wartime is not a path to popularity. Our independent stand on the war and criticism of what we called "policy profiteering" by conservative Republicans in Congress (who sought to use the war as a pretext to push through their own agenda) drew virulent attacks by the pundits and publications of the right, who questioned our patriotism and trotted out the old chestnut of the left's "anti-Americanism."

    Such attacks are nothing new. The Nation has always marched to a different drummer, opposing US involvement in the Spanish-American War and World War I and the Vietnam War, while giving all-out support to the US effort in World War II. Former Nation editor Ernest Gruening of Alaska was one of only two senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that led to the Vietnam morass. As Eric Foner wrote in the days after the attacks, "At times of crisis the most patriotic act of all is the unyielding defense of civil liberties, the right to dissent." Also in times of crisis, the enduring concerns of this magazine and progressives take on new relevance: the dangers of American unilateralism, corrosion of civil liberties, authoritarianism in any nation, dependence on Big Oil, military quagmire and the urgent necessity of international law and institutions.

    The commentary this magazine has published in the five years since the 9/11 attacks was designed to inform honest debate in this country on key questions that confront us and to enable us to ask hard questions of policy-makers and the media. It is my hope that the ideas expressed here will guide and enrich the policies that will--and must--come.

    Jensen Comment
    I recommend one of the more thoughtful pieces mentioned above, the one the the "new kind of war" entitled "Wanted: Global Politics," by Mary Kaldor, The Nation, October 18, 2001 --- http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011105/kaldor

    Four weeks on and it feels as though we are living in a black hole. The "new war on terrorism" has invaded our lives and sucked in all our usual activities. Even before the start of military action, television, newspapers, e-mail and everyday conversation had all been overwhelmed not just by grief and mourning but by the new global coalition, troop deployments, intelligence efforts, the Afghan crisis and on and on. Normal debates about issues like education and health, climate change and biodiversity, corporate responsibility and debt reduction, not to mention the Balkans or Central America, have been suspended--unless, that is, these issues can somehow be related to September 11. The crime against humanity that took place on September 11 was so horrific and so shocking that this reaction is perhaps understandable (although the world did not shut down after the genocide in Rwanda or the fall of Srebrenica). Nevertheless, it is the wrong reaction. Normal debate is exactly what is needed. If we are to confront what Michael Ignatieff has described as "apocalyptic nihilism" in a serious, sustained way, then we need politics, especially global politics. Not as a substitute for catching the perpetrators and bringing them to justice, but as a central part of the strategy for eliminating their activities.

    In the past decade, since the end of the cold war, we have witnessed the emergence of something that could be called global politics. The cold war can be regarded as the last great global clash between states; it marked the end of an era when the ultimate threat of war between states determined international relations and when the idea of war disciplined and polarized domestic politics. Indeed, this may explain why we became conscious of the phenomenon known as globalization only after the end of the cold war. Nowadays, as September 11 demonstrated only too graphically, we live in an interdependent world, where we cannot maintain security merely through the protection of borders; where states no longer control what happens within their borders; and where old-fashioned war between states has become anachronistic. Today states are still important, but they function in a world shaped less by military power than by complex political processes involving international institutions, multinational corporations, citizens' groups and, indeed, fundamentalists and terrorists--in short, global politics.

    The end of old-fashioned war between states does not mean the end of violence. Instead, we are witnessing the rise of new types of violence, justified in the name of fundamentalism of one variety or another and perpetrated against civilians. President Bush is perhaps right to call what happened a "new kind of war." But this is not the first "new war," although it is more spectacular and more global than ever before and, for the first time, involves large-scale loss of American lives. Wars of this type have taken place in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and Central Asia, especially in the past decade. And there are lessons to be learned that are relevant to the new "new war."

    These new wars have to be understood in the context of globalization. They involve transnational networks, based on political claims in the name of religion or ethnicity, through which ideas, money, arms and mercenaries are organized. These networks flourish in those areas of the world where states have imploded as a consequence of the impact of globalization on formerly closed, authoritarian systems, and they involve private groups and warlords as well as remnants of the state apparatus. In the new wars, the goal is not military victory; it is political mobilization. Whereas in old-fashioned wars, people were mobilized to participate in the war effort, in the new wars, mobilizing people is the aim of the war effort, to expand the networks of extremism. In the new wars, battles are rare and violence is directed against civilians. The strategy is to gain political power through sowing fear and hatred, to create a climate of terror, to eliminate moderate voices and to defeat tolerance. And the goal is to obtain economic power as well. These networks flourish in states where systems of taxation have collapsed, where little new wealth is being created. They raise money through looting and plunder, through illegal trading in drugs, illegal immigrants, cigarettes and alcohol, through "taxing" humanitarian assistance, through support from sympathetic states and through remittances from members of the networks.

    These wars are very difficult to contain and very difficult to end. They spread through refugees and displaced persons, through criminal networks, through the extremist viruses they germinate. We can observe growing clusters of warfare in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus. They represent a defeat for democratic politics, and each bout of warfare strengthens those with a vested political and economic interest in continued violence. The areas where conflicts have lasted longest have generated cultures of violence, as in the jihad culture taught in religious schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan or among the Tamils of Sri Lanka, where young children are taught to be martyrs and where killing is understood as an offering to God. In the instructions found in the car of the hijackers in Boston's Logan Airport, it is written: "If God grants any one of you a slaughter, you should perform it as an offering on behalf of your father and mother, for they are owed by you.... If you slaughter, you should plunder those you slaughter, for that is a sanctioned custom of the Prophet's."

    What we have learned about this kind of war is that the only possible exit route is political. There has to be a strategy of winning hearts and minds to counter the strategy of fear and hate. There has to be an alternative politics based on tolerance and inclusiveness, which is capable of defeating the politics of intolerance and exclusion and capable of preserving the space for democratic politics. In the case of the current new war, what is needed is an appeal for global--not American--justice and legitimacy, aimed at establishing the rule of law in place of war and at fostering understanding between communities in place of terror. There needs to be a much stronger role for the United Nations and serious consideration paid to ways in which legitimate political authority can be re-established in Afghanistan. Thinking through how this should be done needs to be the responsibility of the new United Nations Special Representative to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, in consultation with neighboring states and a range of relevant political and civic actors. There also needs to be a clear demonstration of evenhandedness in places like the Middle East, and real support for democratic and moderate political groupings--in other words, an alternative network involving international institutions as well as civil society groups committed to similar goals. What this entails in concrete terms has to be discussed and debated. In this crisis, there has been much handwringing about the need for better human intelligence. An excellent source of human intelligence and guide to evenhanded policy-making are pro-democracy, human rights and liberal Islamic groups in the Middle East and among exile communities.

    Political action has to be combined with serious attention to overcoming social injustice. Of particular importance is the creation of legitimate methods of making a living. In many of the areas where war takes place and where extreme networks pick up new recruits, becoming a criminal or joining a paramilitary group is literally the only available opportunity for unemployed young men lacking formal education. Where some progress has been made, as in Northern Ireland and the Balkans (and it is always slow and tortuous, since these wars are so much harder to end than to begin), what has made a difference has been the provision of security, including the capture of criminals, support for civil society and for democrats, and efforts at economic reconstruction.

    Such a political strategy is not an alternative to military action. Indeed, military action may be needed in support of alternative politics. But in these wars there is no such thing as military victory; the task of military action is to create conditions for an alternative politics. Thus military action is needed to catch war criminals and protect civilians--to establish areas where individuals and families feel safe and do not depend on extremist networks for protection and livelihood. Devices like safe havens or humanitarian corridors, effectively defended, help protect and support civilians and establish an international presence on the ground.

    After first accusing Israel of war crimes, Amnesty International castigates Hizbullah
    Hizbullah militants broke international humanitarian law during the recent conflict with Israel, an Amnesty International report concluded today. The report said Hizbullah had violated law by firing thousands of rockets into Israel and killing dozens of civilians during the fighting. The human rights group called for a UN investigation into violations committed by both sides during the 34-day conflict, but the report published today focused on the actions of the Lebanese militant organisation.
    "Amnesty report accuses Hizbullah of war crimes," Guardian, September 14, 2006 ---

    Hizbullah's Version of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts:  Training to Become Suicide Bombers
    Hezbollah leads a youth movement that instructs tens of thousands of children and teenagers in military tactics and indoctrinates them with radical Shia Islam beliefs – including the waging of a final, apocalyptic world battle against "evil," according to materials found by Israel during last month's war in Lebanon.
    "Hezbollah youth scouts' train in terrorism:  Thousands of children, teens prepare for apocalyptic battle against 'evil'," WorldNet Daily, September 14, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51968

    Germany Gives Up Terrorist Murderer in Ransom Deal
    Hizballah terrorist Mohammed Ali Hamadi, convicted in Germany of murdering US Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem aboard a hijacked airplane but freed last December in a probable ransom exchange for German hostage Susanne Osthoff (Germany denies this, of course), has rejoined Hizballah.
    "Hizballah Recidivism," Little Green Footballs, September 13, 2006 --- Click Here

    Russian Mayor's Proposed Strategy for Deterring Terrorism
    A Russian mayor has called for prostitution to be made legal in a bid to wipe out a rising tide of extremism. Igor Shpektor, mayor of Vorkuta, said it would give men another way to spend their time rather than getting involved in racist attacks, Ananova reports.
    Mosnews, Defence Talk, September 14, 2006 --- Click Here

    "Cartoons mocking Holocaust prove a flop with Iranians," The Independent, September 14, 2006 --- http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1578720.ece

    “The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. To redefine Common Article 3 [of the Geneva conventions] would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk,” Mr Powell wrote in a letter to Mr McCain released yesterday.
    Demetri Sevastopulo, Caroline Daniel and Holly Yeager, "McCain stands his ground on CIA jails," Financial Times, September 14, 2006 --- Click Here

    The argument (by Senator McCain and Retired General Colin Powell)  that unless we interpret the Geneva Convention as providing maximal protections to terrorists, our enemies will mistreat U.S. soldiers in their captivity. Assume for the sake of argument that this is true. If the restrictions on interrogations that Powell and McCain advocate result in another 9/11, then they will have sacrificed the lives of women and children in order to protect soldiers. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?
    Carol Muller, Opinion Journal, September 16, 2006

    If there are massive terrorist explosions in the United States, who should we probably blame first?

    The U.S. Farm Lobby

    The Farm Lobby has successfully blocked all proposed legislation to identify buyers of ammonium nitrate. Recently CBS investigators purchased enough ammonium nitrate to blow up the White House in a simple truck bomb. It was easily purchased in fertilizer stores that did not even ask for buyer identification and had no record whatsoever of (CBS) strangers who purchased a truckload of this explosive. CBS then rented a storage place within a mile of the White House without having to identify the explosive material moved into the storage place. And the reason all of this is possible is that the U.S. Farm Lobby has vigorously resisted even requiring buyer identification of ammonium nitrate.

    Of course identification alone will not stop the threat since six terrorists with photo IDs could separately buy enough ammonium nitrate to level Times Square thanks to the Farm Lobby.

    The al Qaeda website, according to CBS, shows in great detail how to make an ammonium nitrate bomb big enough to blow up the White House or punch a hole in a New Orleans levee or blow up the New York Stock Exchange.

    I'm almost certain I was watching CBS when this story aired on television. But I've not been able to find the item at the CBS Website.

    Brigham Young University has placed a physics professor on paid leave, taking away the two courses he had just started teaching, because of his statements that explosives, not planes, led to the collapse of the World Trade Center’s two towers.
    "Frays on Academic Freedom," Inside Higher Ed, September 11, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/11/disputes

    Scholars who endorse dissenting views about 9/11 have been creating numerous controversies in recent weeks. Both the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of New Hampshire have resisted calls that they remove from their classrooms scholars who believe that the United States set off the events of 9/11. In both of those cases, numerous politicians said that the instructors involved were not fit to teach, but the universities said that removing them for their views would violate principles of academic freedom.

    At Brigham Young, however, the university has placed Steven E. Jones on paid leave, and assigned other professors to teach the two physics courses he started this semester. A statement from the university said, in its entirety: “Physics professor Steven Jones has made numerous statements about the collapse of the World Trade Center. BYU has repeatedly said that it does not endorse assertions made by individual faculty. We are, however, concerned about the increasingly speculative and accusatory nature of these statements by Dr. Jones. Furthermore, BYU remains concerned that Dr. Jones’ work on this topic has not been published in appropriate scientific venues. Owing to these issues, as well as others, the university has placed Dr. Jones on leave while we continue to review these matters.”

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on controversies over limits of academic freedom --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#AcademicFreedom

    Peer Review in Which Reviewer Comments are Shared With the World

    I think this policy motivates journal article referees to be more responsible and accountable!

    Is this the beginning of the end for the traditional refereeing process of academic journals?
    Could this be the death knell of the huge SSRN commercial business that blocks sharing of academic working papers unless readers and libraries pay?

    "Nature editors start online peer review," PhysOrg, September 14, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news77452540.html

    Editors of the prestigious scientific journal Nature have reportedly embarked on an experiment of their own: adding an online peer review process.

    Articles currently submitted for publication in the journal are subjected to review by several experts in a specific field, The Wall Street Journal reported. But now editors at the 136-year-old Nature have proposed a new system for authors who agree to participate: posting the paper online and inviting scientists in the field to submit comments approving or criticizing it.

    Although lay readers can also view the submitted articles, the site says postings are only for scientists in the discipline, who must list their names and institutional e-mail addresses.

    The journal -- published by the Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd., of London -- said it will discard any comments found to be irrelevant, intemperate or otherwise inappropriate.

    Nature's editors said they will take both sets of comments -- the traditional peer-review opinions and the online remarks -- into consideration when deciding whether to publish a study, The Journal reported.


    A New Model for Peer Review in Which Reviewer Comments are Shared With the World
    Peer Reviewers Comments are Open for All to See in New Biology Journal

    From the University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication Blog, February 15, 2006 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

    BioMed Central has launched Biology Direct, a new online open access journal with a novel system of peer review. The journal will operate completely open peer review, with named peer reviewers' reports published alongside each article. The author's rebuttals to the reviewers comments are also published. The journal also takes the innovative step of requiring that the author approach Biology Direct Editorial Board members directly to obtain their agreement to review the manuscript or to nominate alternative reviewers. [Largely taken from a BioMed Central press report.]

    Biology Direct launches with publications in the fields of Systems Biology, Computational Biology, and Evolutionary Biology, with an Immunology section to follow soon. The journal considers original research articles, hypotheses, and reviews and will eventually cover the full spectrum of biology.

    Biology Direct is led by Editors-in-Chief David J Lipman, Director of the National Center Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at NIH, USA; Eugene V Koonin, Senior Investigator at NCBI; and Laura Landweber, Associate Professor at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA.

    For more information about the journal or about how to submit a manuscript to the journal, visit the Biology Direct website --- http://www.biology-direct.com/

    Bob Jensen's threads on peer review controversies are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm

    September 15, 2006 reply from Alexander Robin A [alexande.robi@UWLAX.EDU]

    Even if reviewers are assigned as they are now, having their comments and the paper on line might be beneficial in reducing "poor quality" on inappropriate reviews. As probably most of you have, I had one run in with a poor review. I had a paper on a study I did using Monte Carlo simulation. The editor of the journal sent the paper to someone who didn't accept simulation as a legitimate research methodology. No surprise that he voted to reject.

    Robin Alexander

    Is it ethical to charge students for recordings of your lectures?
    North Carolina State University is reviewing a communication professor’s policy of making digital recordings of his lectures — and making them available online to his students for a fee, NBC 17 reported. The professor, Robert Schrag, told the network that he set up the system to help students whose schedules make it impossible to attend class and that he’s only trying to cover his costs, not make a profit.
    Inside Higher Ed, September 15, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/15/qt
    Jensen Comment
    I'd be more inclined to investigate the number of absences and what proportion of the students excused from were varsity football and basketball players. If the course becomes totally online for athletes without approval it becomes tantamount to what got an Auburn sociology professor in deep trouble.

    The Dark Side of Blackboard's Broad Patent
    Desire2Learn, which produces course-management systems, has fired back against Blackboard, which sued it for patent infringement last month. Desire2Learn last week
    filed papers charging that the patent isn’t valid and that Blackboard has no right to bring the suit. The case is being closely watched by many — especially open source advocates who fear that Blackboard’s patent is too broad and that the company could use it to squash their efforts. Blackboard has said that it has no plans to go after open source services.
    Inside Higher Ed, September 18, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/18/qt

    Fear of Blackboard's Patent Just Will Not Go Away
    "Patent Fight Rattles Academic Computing," PhysOrg, August 28, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75967078.html

    Bob Jensen's threads on the history of course management software are at

    Hypocrisy of in academe --- "Condoleezza holds a watermelon . . . " 
    Think of the liberal Faculty Union's response if Reverend Jesse Jackson
    or Oprah had been ("accidentally?") holding that watermelon for students

    "College Flunks Professor Over Test," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 14, 2006 ---

    The background for three questions that angered many at Bellevue Community College started like this: “Condoleezza holds a watermelon just over the edge of roof of the 300-foot Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second....”

    Forget velocity — the question set off protests at the college, which is near Seattle, and infuriated civil rights groups. While no last name was given, people took the question as a reference to the secretary of state, and combining her name with watermelon was viewed as racist. The professor who wrote the question apologized, and the college’s president and board apologized. But now the college is trying to suspend the professor for a week without pay, and he is challenging the decision as inappropriate.

    Peter Ratener, the professor, has appealed to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for assistance, and that group is now organizing an outcry in response to the college’s response to the outcry Ratener created.

    “Given the reaction of the community and the college, one might think Ratener was guilty of committing a serious crime, rather than writing an accidentally offensive math problem,” said Greg Lukianoff, president of FIRE. He called the suspension — which currently is on hold pending appeals by Ratener and the faculty union — “unfair and a violation of the First Amendment.”

    The test question that set off the furor actually was given first in 2004, without incident. This year, another professor used the question on a practice test, and a student’s complaint led to widespread publicity and demands for apologies.

    Ratener said that he frequently includes celebrity names on his tests, to relieve student tension, and that he has used Bill Clinton and Madonna, among others, in this way. He originally wrote this question with the name Gallagher, a comedian known for smashing watermelons. But when he realized that many of his students wouldn’t know Gallagher, he substituted Condoleezza. He said that name is “a fascinating name to me,” and that race and politics had nothing to do with his choice.

    In an apology he issued — to students, colleagues and Secretary Rice — he said that he still should have realized the potential problem and caught it. “The responsibility is ultimately mine alone,” he wrote. In the apology, he talked at length about his sadness and shame at having upset so many people and embarrassed his colleagues. And he repeatedly talked about his commitment to equity and respect for people of all kinds.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on hypocrisy in academia and the media are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Hypocrisy.htm

    What's it really like to be the president of a university?

    "The Puzzle of Leadership," by William M. Chace, Inside Higher Ed, September 11, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/09/11/chace

    The university president in the United States is expected to be a friend to the students, a colleague of the faculty, a good fellow with the alumni, a sound administrator with the trustees, a good speaker with the public, an astute bargainer with the foundations and the federal agencies, a politician with the state legislature, a friend of industry, labor and agriculture, a persuasive diplomat with donors, a champion of education generally, a supporter of the professions (particularly law and medicine), a spokesman to the press, a scholar in his own right, a public servant at the state and national levels, a devotee of opera and football generally, a decent human being, a good husband and father, an active member of the church. Above all, he must enjoy traveling in airplanes, eating his meals in public, and attending public ceremonies.

    With the exception of those duties the president of a public institution alone would have, Kerr’s droll description fit what I found myself doing.

    I knew that people thought my job very difficult, but perhaps blinded by excessive self-regard or limited in imaginative intelligence, I thought it a good one, not an impossible one, and I enjoyed almost all of its aspects. In performing all those duties Kerr described, I was glad to be active, happy to be involved in many committees, and eager to learn more about how the place worked, what made different people tick (or not tick), and what held such a curious thing as a liberal-arts college together. I slept well, exercised a lot, went to work every day with a smile, and thought myself a lucky fellow to be at Wesleyan.

    When gloomy days descended, as they now and again did, I consoled myself with little mental games. Thinking about the profusion of advice I continually received from every quarter of the campus, I would say to myself: “Being president must be the easiest job in the world; after all, everybody seems to know how to do it.” Or I would think about how the “leadership” of a campus is so amusingly different from leadership elsewhere. I would recall that George Shultz once said that the biggest difference between his life as a corporate leader and his career as dean of a business school was that, in business, he had to make sure that his orders were precise and exact, given that they would likely be followed. No such danger in academia. In sum, the very peculiarities of the job were its most appealing feature.

    Much of the literature on presidential leadership concludes that the job is impossible, but it should also note the obvious: at any given time, about 3,500 men and women do the job. The situation is much like that of the airplane: there is no obvious reason why so large and heavy a piece of metal can fly through the sky, yet it does. Despite the impossibility of their work, thousands of presidents go to the office every day, successfully complete some tasks, and return home.

    Robert Birnbaum, one of those scholars who claims that the job is unworkable, argues that the problem of presidential leadership is that the criteria for success and failure are elusive:

    …there is no accepted criterion presidents can employ to judge the benefits of one course of action over another, and little assurance that they could implement their preferences even if they could specify them. Presidential authority is limited, complete understanding of the scope and complexity of the enterprise exceeds human cognitive capability, and unforeseen changes in demographic, political, and economic conditions often overwhelm campus plans.

    But the “impossibility” of such places can serve as a healthy reminder of what they are not. A university or college is not a business, does not make a profit, cannot declare quarterly earnings, “wins” nothing, hopes to flourish forever, will never be bought out, cannot relocate, is both in and out of the world, studies everything including itself, considers itself a meritocracy while continually worshipping the idea of community, and has as its greatest asset an odd assemblage of self-directed intellectual entrepreneurs who work on the most complicated aspects of their respective disciplines. What a university does is expensive, time-consuming, inefficient, wayward, hard to understand, and yet prestigious. It also helps young people and, more and more each year, looks after them in all sorts of ways. It is exclusive in admissions and appointments, but generous in sharing the fruits of its labor. It stands on ancient ceremonies yet accelerates the workings of democracy. All in all, I thought, a good place to be, even if my job was “impossible.”

    William M. Chace is professor of English and president emeritus of Emory University. He is the author of The Political Identities of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot and Lionel Trilling: Criticism and Politics. Princeton University Press has just published his autobiography, One Hundred Semesters: My Adventures as Student, Professor and University President, and What I Learned Along the Way. This essay is adapted from the autobiography, covering the period that Chase was president of Wesleyan University. The essay is published here with the permission of the Princeton University Press.

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

    The Picture drawn by Bok is an astonishingly dark one

    Undergraduate education today bears no resemblance to the instruction masters and tutors gave to the trickle of adolescents entering one of the nine colleges that existed prior to the American Revolution.
    Our Underachieving Colleges, by Derek Bok, ISBN: 0691125961 # Pub. Date: January 2006
    (You can read free excerpts in the Amazon.com Reader)

    The Current President of Harvard Takes a Dark View of the State of Learning and the Future State of Learning
    Both Harry Lewis and Derek Bok have entered a devastating judgment on contemporary university leadership

    "As Goes Harvard. . . ," by Donald Kagan, Commentary Magazine, September 2006 ---

    Since his first Harvard presidency (1971-1991), Bok has been a kind of self-appointed national troubleshooter, identifying and suggesting solutions for problems social (The State of the Nation), political (The Trouble with Government), and educational (The Shape of the River, written with William G. Bowen, the former president of Princeton, and Universities in the Marketplace). Now, in Our Underachieving Colleges, Bok acts as both diagnostician and healer, wielding social-science statistics and professional studies to trace the etiology of today’s illnesses and to recommend palliative treatments for what he has discovered. In his analyses he is inveterately as polite, restrained, and solicitous as he is gentle and tentative in his proposed treatments. If he betrays moments of truculence, it is only in responding to critics who, unlike him, find the patient to be very sick indeed, or who hold the patient to blame for his own plight, or who recommend painful and intrusive remedies.

    Such naysayers, among whom Bok names the late Allan Bloom in The Closing of the American Mind, (1987) have no end of complaints:

    As they see it, discourse on campus is seriously inhibited by the orthodoxies of political correctness. Affirmative action has undermined the integrity of faculty hiring. The great canonical masterpieces have been downgraded to make room for lesser works whose principal virtue seems to be that they were authored by women, African Americans, or third-world writers. The very ideals of truth and objectivity, along with conventional judgments of quality, are thought to be endangered by attacks from deconstructionists, feminists, Marxists, and other literary theorists who deny that such goals are even possible.

    These would seem to be serious concerns indeed. But they do not worry Bok. In the first place, he writes, the critics are one-sided polemicists who in general see “little that is positive about the work of universities or the professors who teach there.” For another thing, if the critics’ indictments were “anywhere close to correct, prospective students and their families would be up in arms. . . . [and] students would hardly be applying in such large and growing numbers.” Not only is this not the case but, according to surveys, the great majority of recent graduates say they are satisfied with their college experience. Parents, too, do not complain, and alumni demonstrate their contentment by giving increasing gifts to their alma mater.      


    So if everybody is happy, why the need for this book? As it turns out, the need is great. Even though Bok has scant interest in the issues that preoccupy the most perceptive of the critics—a politicized faculty, threats to freedom of expression, the absence or the actual suppression of a balanced exchange of ideas—when it comes to “how much students are learning,” and “what is actually being accomplished in college classrooms,” he too sees trouble, and plenty of it, in the beautiful groves of academe:

    Many seniors graduate without being able to write well enough to satisfy their employers. Many cannot reason clearly or perform competently in analyzing complex, non-technical problems, even though faculties rank critical thinking as the primary goal of a college education. Few undergraduates receiving a degree are able to speak or read a foreign language. Most have never taken a course in quantitative reasoning or acquired the knowledge needed to be a reasonably informed citizen in a democracy. And those are only some of the problems.

    It seems, in short, that our colleges are “underachieving” after all—and that even their supposedly happy clients know it. Fewer than half of recent graduates, according to Bok’s ever-ready statistics, think they have made significant progress in learning to write, and some think they have actually regressed. Employers confirm this self-assessment, complaining that the college graduates they hire are inarticulate. As for critical thinking, “The vast majority of graduating students are still naïve relativists who ‘do not show the ability to defensibly critique their own judgments’ in analyzing the kinds of unstructured problems commonly encountered in real life.” In the area of foreign languages, fewer than 10 percent of seniors believe they have substantially improved their skills and fewer than 15 percent have progressed to advanced classes. Nor are the results any better in general education, the great battleground of the critics. According to one study, only about a third of seniors report gains in the understanding or the enjoyment of literature, art, music, or theater. Bok goes so far as to quote Daniel Bell’s judgment of the typical curriculum as “a vast smorgasbord” amounting to “an admission of intellectual defeat.”

    Beyond the measurable shortcomings in the intellects of college graduates are deficiencies of character. According to Bok’s findings, recent graduates lack self-discipline. Employers complain that they are habitually tardy, lazy, and unable either to listen carefully or to carry out instructions. Bok blames this, too, on their undergraduate experience: grade inflation has undermined standards and professorial laxity has encouraged negligence. “If undergraduates can receive high marks for sloppy work, routinely get extensions for assignments not completed on time, and escape being penalized for minor misconduct, it is hardly a surprise that employers find them lacking in self-discipline.”


    The picture drawn by Bok is an astonishingly dark one. What, then, to do? One obvious answer, pressed by many critics of the current campus scene, is to readjust the arrangement that has allowed faculty members to devote more and more time to their research and less and less time to teaching.

    When I went to college a half-century ago, my professors taught five courses a semester and met classes for fifteen hours a week. At Penn State, where I began my own career, I taught four courses. When I moved to Cornell in 1960, it was down to three. At Yale we teach two courses a semester, and in the hard sciences only one. The top universities today offer at least one semester off for every seven semesters taught; in my day, it was a semester every seven years. In sum, today’s college faculty meet no more than half as many classes as their predecessors a half-century ago.

    Bok, however, has a different view. The problem, he insists, is not how teachers fill their time but their reluctance or refusal to assess what students are actually learning, or to examine their own performance with an eye to improvement. What this calls for, he writes, is a program of reform “quite unlike the ones advanced by either the well-known critics of the universities” or the faculty committees that have plainly not been doing their job. With the aid of empirical research, Bok asserts, professors will learn how to achieve better results.

    He gamely offers a number of suggestions. At the prodding of their presidents, for example, colleges could undertake continuing “evaluation, experimentation, and reform.” They could offer professors seed money and released time for trying new and better ways to teach. They could hire better-qualified, full-time instructors instead of the graduate students and academic gypsies who currently teach subjects disdained by the regular faculty (like writing and foreign languages). From the other side, student evaluations could be made more probing. Ph.D. programs could be made to include better preparation for teaching. And so forth.

    But would any of this work? Bok himself tacitly admits that the prospect is unlikely. In the end, he writes, it is the “lack of compelling pressures to improve undergraduate education” that helps explain professors’ “casual treatment” of the purposes of undergraduate education, “their neglect of basic courses that develop important skills, their reluctance even to discuss issues of pedagogy, their ignorance of research on student learning, and their unwillingness to pay attention to much of what goes on outside the classroom.” He illustrates the underlying problem with an anecdote from one university where an official slipped a new question into the standard form used by students in general-education classes to evaluate their teachers. The new question asked how much the course had improved the student’s skill in thinking critically and analyzing problems. Fewer than 10 percent reported a significant improvement. Bok comments:

    With such a huge majority indicating that the general-education curriculum was failing to achieve its principal objective, one would have thought that the faculty and administration would rouse themselves to review the problem thoroughly. . . . Instead the troublesome question was dropped from the evaluation forms and did not appear again.

    But Bok declines to see where this evidence leads. To be sure, he concedes in his best we’re-all-gentlemen-here tone, reformist presidents and deans are likely to meet resistance and even “rebuffs” from their faculty. But “most professors are thoughtful, conscientious people. They will not defend an untenable position indefinitely once the issue has been raised.” In fact, however, what this book convincingly shows is that most faculties lack precisely that requisite sense of professional responsibility, and are instead the major obstacle to improvement. If it were otherwise, the problems Bok identifies would not exist.

    It is not as if he is unaware of the real issue, which is much more insidious than his descriptions imply. “The weaknesses of undergraduate education may be real,” he writes at one point, “but they serve important faculty interests” (emphasis added). Just so. What he is getting at are the simple realities of power on college campuses over the last three or four decades. You might think that presidents, provosts, deans, or trustees, with a broader view of the purposes of the institution, could see to it that the faculty became more cooperative. But Bok makes it clear that administrations are largely powerless in this respect, and so are boards. “Ultimate power over instruction and curriculum rests with the faculty,” with administrators and trustees paralyzed by “fear of arousing opposition from the faculty that could attract unfavorable publicity, worry potential donors, and even threaten their jobs.” Nor should we expect many college presidents or deans to take up the good fight. I am not aware that Bok himself ever attempted so daring an effort in the twenty years of his presidency—which may explain why he enjoyed so peaceful a time.

    Inaction in the face of declining educational quality is thus guaranteed. There is no upside to reform initiatives, since “success in increasing student learning is seldom rewarded.” There is only a downside: the surest way for a president to get himself fired is to cross the faculty. If nothing else, recent events at Harvard should have driven that lesson home.


    Both Harry Lewis and Derek Bok have entered a devastating judgment on contemporary university leadership—more devastating, and more self-incriminating, than they appear to know. For all their hand-wringing, and for all their veiled criticism of faculty committees and even of professors as a class, neither of these seasoned administrators is prepared to level a direct indictment of the real rulers of colleges and universities today. In this sense, they remain servants of the system whose results they ostentatiously deplore.

    Lewis, in fact, is bitterly critical of Lawrence Summers, who as president of Harvard at least tried to shake things loose. By contrast, he is greatly admiring both of Bok and of Bok’s successor Neil Rudenstine, during whose soothing tenure little occurred to ruffle faculty feathers even as the shortcomings chronicled by Lewis were growing inexorably in number and intensity.

    This is not a battle over the control of academic turf. The turf itself is at stake. The twin purposes of a university are the transmission of learning and the free cultivation of ideas. Both are entrusted to the faculty, and both have been traduced at its hands. An imperial faculty that responds to well-founded complaints about the curriculum by, in Lewis’s words, “relaxing requirements so that students can do what they want to do,” thus leaving professors free to teach only what (and when) they feel like teaching and—though Lewis does not mention this—to select as colleagues only those who share their narrow political perspective, is no longer serving the purposes of higher education. It has instead become an agent of their degradation.

    As things stand now, no president appears capable of taming the imperial faculty; almost none is willing to try; and no one else from inside the world of the universities or infected by its self-serving culture is likely to stand up and say “enough,” or to be followed by anyone if he does. Salvation, if it is to come at all, will have to come from without.

    Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale, is the author of Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy, On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, and, most recently, The Peloponnesian War (2003), drawn from his earlier four-volume history of that conflict. Mr. Kagan served as dean of Yale College from 1989 to 1992.

    The Political Correctness Debate
    "Halting the Race to the Bottom," by John Sexton, Inside Higher Ed, September 18, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/09/18/sexton

    Nevertheless, that having been said, there is a kernel of important truth captured in the popular political correctness debate — one that transcends political categories like left and right. Those who enjoy, in the civil sphere, a certitude of viewpoint that is not open to change by reasoned argument are incapable of contributing or even participating in meaningful dialogue. They cannot contribute because they treat their conclusions as matters of dogma and, therefore, expound their positions in declaratory form; they live in an Alice in Wonderland world — first the conclusion, then the conversation. They can incite responses; they even can create an intellectual adrenaline rush; but they cannot produce insight. So also they cannot participate meaningfully in the dialogue because they will not engage it; for them, the exercise is a serial monologue in which they state, restate, and refute but never revisit or rethink their positions. Thus, the kernel of truth in the political correctness debate: ideological conversation is of little or no value.

    If we are to resist successfully external forces that would impose theological politics and dogmatism on campus, we must take care to resist any tendency toward dogmatism within the walls of our universities. So we must insist on a pervasive, genuine, rigorous, civil dialogue. Silencing of viewpoints cannot be tolerated, and disciplinary dogmatism must be challenged. Even if the political correctness attack is largely baseless (surely, the claim that political correctness rules our universities is undermined by the fact that most major donors and board members at major universities hold views contrary to those allegedly infecting the organizations they control or influence), it is undeniably true that dogmatism is not confined to people of faith. The commentator John Horgan offers one charming example:

    Opposing self-righteousness is easier said than done. How do you denounce dogmatism in others without succumbing to it yourself? No one embodied this pitfall more than the philosopher Karl Popper, who railed against certainty in science, philosophy, religion and politics and yet was notoriously dogmatic. I once asked Popper, who called his stance critical rationalism, about charges that he would not brook criticism of his ideas in his classroom. He replied indignantly that he welcomed students’ criticism; only if they persisted after he pointed out their errors would he banish them from class.

    Dogmatism on campus must be fought if universities are to be a model for society. Silencing any view — in class, on campus, or in civil discourse — must be shamed when it occurs, and those who seek to silence others should be forced to defend their views in forums convened, if necessary, especially for that purpose. Above all, we must not let our universities be transformed into instruments of an imposed ideology. There is instead an urgent agenda to pursue: the genuine incubation, preservation, and creation of knowledge, the nurturing of a respect for complexity, nuance, and genuine dialogue — not only on university campuses, but beyond the campus gates.

    The Research University as Counterforce
    My colleague Richard Foley, a significant scholar in philosophy who now is NYU’s dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, some years ago noted a trend deep in the history of epistemology that suggests that if one is rational enough, one can be assured of not falling into error. Descartes held such a view, and others have followed him in it. He notes that in some ways this is a natural view: One might ask, what is the point of having rational opinions if it does not assure you of the truth? But the big conceptual point of Dick’s book, Working Without a Net, is that however natural, this is a mistake, because there is no way to construct an intellectual system that provides one with non-question begging assurances of its own truth. So, we are, as it were, always working without an intellectual net. As he says:

    Since we can never have non-question begging assurances that our way of viewing things is correct, we can never have assurances that there is no point to further inquiry. The absolute knowledge of the Hegelian system, which requires the knowing mind to be wholly adequate to its objects and to know it is thus, is not a possibility for us. It cannot be our goal, a human goal. For us there can be no such final resting place.

    The last point seems especially significant for universities — for universities have to be places where there is no final intellectual resting place. A “final intellectual resting place” is one that is regarded as so secure and so comprehensive that there is no longer any point to acquiring further evidence or to reevaluating the methods that led to the view. The dogmatic in effect believe that they already have arrived at their final intellectual resting place, which is why they are so at odds with the nature of the university.

    Research universities, by their nature, deal in complexity; it is their stock and trade. Their essence is the testing of existing knowledge and the emergence of new knowledge through a constant, often vigorous but respectful clash of a range of viewpoints, sometimes differentiated from each other only by degrees. In nurturing this process, research universities require an embrace of pluralism, true civility in discourse, a honed cultivation of listening skills, and a genuine willingness to change one’s mind.

    In this way, research universities can offer a powerful reproach to the culture of simplistic dogmatism and caricatured thought in a model of nuanced conversation. Our universities must extend their characteristic internal feature, the meaningful testing of ideas, so that it becomes an “output” that can reach into and reshape a wider civic dialogue. And, they must invite the public into the process of understanding, examining and advancing the most complex and nuanced of issues with an evident commitment to take seriously the iterative and evolutionary encounter of a stated proposition with commentary and criticism about it.

    Of course, in this process, so familiar on our campuses, views are held strongly and defended vigorously. The embrace of the contest of ideas and tolerance of criticism does not mean a surrender of conviction. Informed belief is fundamentally different from dogmatism, just as the search for truth is very different from the quest for certitude. Dogmatism is deeply rooted in its dualistic view of the world as saved/damned, right/wrong, or red/blue — and it claims certainty in defining the borders of these dualistic frames. But, within the university, conviction is tempered: the discovery and development of knowledge require boldness and humility — boldness in thinking the new thought, and humility in subjecting it to review by others. Dialogue within the university is characterized by a commitment to engage and even invite, through reasoned discourse, the most powerful challenges to one’s point of view. This requires attentiveness and mutual respect, accepting what is well founded in the criticisms offered by others, and defending one’s own position, where appropriate, against them; it is both the offer of and the demand for argument and evidence.

    The very notion of the research university presupposes the possibility of creating a hierarchy of ideas, and it goes beyond the simple goal of facilitating an understanding of the positions of others, to achieve genuine progress in thought, the validation of some ideas and the rejection of others. It is a given that, at the heart of the process of ongoing testing which characterizes the university as a sanctuary of thought, is the notion that no humanly conceived “truth” is invulnerable to challenge; still, this axiom need not — and does not — mean that the pursuit of truth requires that all questions must be kept open at all times. In the university, we can and do reach certainty on some propositions, subject of course to the emergence of new evidence. And even the certitudes of faith are subject to new understanding: My Church once condemned Galileo, but now applauds him; it once carried out capital punishment, but now condemns it.

    While the dialogue within our universities is not an expression of agnosticism about truth itself, its very being embodies the realization that a fuller truth is attained only when a proposition is examined and reexamined, debated and reformulated from a range of viewpoints, through a variety of lenses, in differing lights and against opposing ideas or insights. Whether through scholarly research or creative work, conventional knowledge is questioned, reaffirmed, revised, or rejected; new knowledge is generated and articulated, prevailing notions of reality are extended and challenged and insight is expanded. Jonathan Cole described the process in Daedalus:

    The American research university pushes and pulls at the walls of orthodoxy and rejects politically correct thinking. In this process, students and professors may sometimes feel intimidated, overwhelmed, and confused. But it is by working through this process that they learn to think better and more clearly for themselves. Unsettling by nature, the university culture is also highly conservative. It demands evidence before accepting novel challenges to existing theories and methods. The university ought to be viewed in terms of a fundamental interdependence between the liberality of its intellectual life and the conservatism of its methodological demands. Because the university encourages discussion of even the most radical ideas, it must set its standards at a high level. We permit almost any idea to be put forward – but only because we demand arguments and evidence to back up the ideas we debate and because we set the bar of proof at such a high level. These two components — tolerance for unsettling ideas and insistence on rigorous skepticism about all ideas — create an essential tension at the heart of the American research university. It will not thrive without both components operating effectively and simultaneously.

    In short, to a large degree the university embodies the ideal in discourse — commitment to scrutiny and the examination of research in the marketplace of ideas. Now it can and must offer even more as the counterforce and the counterexample to the simpleminded certainty of dogmatism and the depleted dialogue of the coliseum culture. It is, of course, conceivable (even plausible) that instead our universities will assume a defensive posture and withdraw into their sheltered walls; such a tendency always exists in the life of the mind, evoking from the cynical the constant reminder that one of the dictionary’s entries for the word “academic” is “beside the point.” In the face of forces around it hostile to the search for knowledge, the temptation for higher education to insulate itself is greater than normal, and perhaps more understandable; but withdrawal, however tempting, would be irresponsible and ultimately destructive for both society and the university. In these times, society cannot cure itself; the university must do its part.

    The core reasons the university can provide an antidote to the malaise that’s afflicting civil discourse arise from some essential features of higher education on the one hand and contemporary politics on the other.

    First, whereas the political domain is now characterized by bipolar interests or, worse yet, disaggregated special interests, which are not even bipolar, in principle the commitment of a university and its citizens is to the common enterprise of advancing understanding; inherently those involved in research and creativity build on the work of others and expand knowledge for all. The university sometimes falls short of this ideal; but now more than ever, it is vital for universities to live it. Internal attention to the university’s defining mission and vigilant adherence to its best attributes must be paramount if it is to function as a force for renewing civil discourse within our society.

    The second feature of the university that differentiates it from the prevailing trend in politics is that the advancement of knowledge and ideas on campus is a fully transparent, absolutely testable process in which all can participate. And today the search for knowledge which is at the core of the university can be uncabined and sometimes even unlocated physically in a particular institution of higher education; in the era of the communications revolution and an internet that spans the globe, participation in the pursuit of knowledge operates on a worldwide network. The advancement of knowledge is of the university, but not always or necessarily on the campus. You cannot bar anyone from the process. If a mathematician in Bombay can disprove a theory conceived in New York, no amount of misplaced elitism or nationalism can change that reality. Or, if a clerk in the patent office in Bern, Switzerland, develops breakthrough theories in physics, it does not matter that there is not yet a “Professor” in front of his name. By contrast, in politics, gerrymandering makes it possible to insulate officeholders from ever having seriously to confront competing ideas, ideologies, and candidates.

    The third feature that distinguishes the university is that the ultimate test for scholars is time. The ultimate reward comes in the long-term durability of one’s work, being remembered by future generations as the father or the mother of an idea. Indeed, those in the research university know that their contributions may be understood only in the very long term. The advancement of knowledge is the driving purpose; it is inherently collegial and intergenerational, even for the solo thinker or artist because each person stands on the foundation of someone else’s work, and successive scholars provide new or higher platforms for the next chapter in the unfolding story of knowledge. By contrast, in the politics of the coliseum culture, politicians view short-term losses as almost apocalyptic.

    Given these distinguishing features, the research university can and must become a place from which we press back against the accelerating trend toward dogmatism I see developing. The university has a dual role in the civic dialogue, as both a rebuke to simplemindedness and as a model of how things can be done differently. And, in preventing the collapse of civil discourse, the university simultaneously will safeguard itself from the concomitant effects of a society that disregards the reflected thought, reduces the interchange of ideas to the exchange of sound bytes or insults, and often shrinks the arena for discussion to a constricted, two dimensional space.

    John Sexton is president of New York University. This essay is adapted from a speech he gave at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

    Only the latter part of the article is quoted above.

    Academic Excellence study by Research Corporation --- http://www.rescorp.org/aca_ex.php

    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

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm

    September 13, 2006 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

    In response to the post about Bok's book on the "dark" prognosis for America's colleges, I'll try to keep this uncharacteristically (for me) brief:

    I believe the problem can be traced to something called "multiplicity of direction". American universities seem to be trying to do two (and maybe even three or four) very different things that, while occasionally synergystic in certain, rare, situations, are more often mutually exclusive and not even symbiotic.

    True research -- at least the way most of it is being performed today by the average institution -- has very little real relationship, let alone synergy, with excellence in teaching. This is especially true for the business professions,

    Likewise, excellence in teaching often has little operational relationship with university service, the way it is frequently defined or operationalized by P&T committees.

    Thus, by having to allocate scarce resources to several diverse goals -- goals which compete far more often than they complement -- the institution suffers an identity crisis. It's like a corporation that wants to manufacture the best light bulbs in the world, but they want their employees to also be the best seamstresses in the world, and at the same time, be famous broadway actors and actresses.

    (Anybody notice that the Oscar only rewards good acting, not good sewing or light-bulb manufacture.... kinda like our research university reward structures!)

    Yes, I know that teaching, research and service are supposed to complement each other. But look closely. Really closely. And be truthful.

    The fact that teaching and research complemented each other in the 1500s is no reason for the institution to continue diluting its efforts today. Perhaps we should call for change in the model to where an institution can engage in all three only if they can demonstrate significant synergy that would justify engaging in all three? I doubt we would have very many institutions engaging in all three if we required as much demonstration of that as we do now for things like ASSurance of learning, and ASSessment stuff and the other requirements of the accreditation bodies.

    Instead of accreditation agencies counting pubs, perhaps they should concentrate on determining which institutions can justify letting their faculty spend (waste?) time on pubs?

    Just a penny's worth, compared to my usual...

    David Fordham
    James Madison University (writing from Antwerp, Belgium at the moment)

    September 13, 2006 reply from Ramsey, Donald [dramsey@UDC.EDU]

    If accreditation requires that the faculty be highly qualified (however that's defined), how does that reconcile with the quality of teaching in those institutions where a large number of student credit hours are taught, not by those highly qualified faculty, but by adjuncts or graduate students?

    Curious in that citadel of logic, the nation's capital,

    Donald D. Ramsey, CPA,
    Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics,
    School of Business and Public Administration,
    University of the District of Columbia,


    The Top Ten College Pranks of All Time --- http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/newsletter/nov2002.html

    #1: The Great Rose Bowl Hoax (Caltech)
    "one of those classic moments when a prank comes together instantly, perfectly, and dramatically"

    #2: Veterans of Future Wars (Princeton)
    "turning the guns of ridicule on the goose-stepping, gun-toting generation which splashed through the biggest blood-bath in history"

    #3: The McDonald's Affair (Caltech)
    "today you will hardly ever find free contests inviting you to enter 'as often as you wish.'"

    #4: Lady Liberty on Lake Mendota (U Wisconsin-Madison)
    "Lady Liberty poked her head above the icy waters of Lake Mendota"

    #5: Theft of the Sacred Cod (Harvard)
    "They decided that they had to possess that cod"

    #6:The Olympic Underwear Relay (Sydney University)
    "The identity of the rogue runner was only revealed years later."

    #7: Arm the Homeless (Ohio State)
    "collecting donations to provide firearms for the homeless of Columbus"

    #8: Hugo N. Frye (Cornell)
    "It is a pleasure to testify to the career of that sturdy patriot who first planted the ideals of our party in this region of the country"

    #9: The Ultimate Lie (Edinburgh College of Art)
    "one can only say that the Donside Paper Company should have known better"

    #10: Bonsai Kittens (MIT)
    "You no longer need be satisfied with a house pet having the same mundane shape as all other members of its species"

    Statistical Lies Catch Up With Former Ruling Party in Sweden
    Mr. Reinfeldt successfully made unemployment a major issue in the campaign. By most measures, Sweden is thriving economically: the economy is growing this year at a projected annual rate of 4.1 percent, and the official unemployment rate is 5.7 percent. But with its generous social services and high unemployment benefits, Mr. Reinfeldt argues, it has encouraged a vast swath of people to fall out of the labor market, a particularly acute problem with an aging population. Taking into account the number of working-age people who are not working or in school — including early retirees, people in job training and those on long-term disability — the unemployment figure is close to 21 percent, he says.
    Sarah Lyall, "Sweden’s Governing Party Voted Out After 12 Years," The New York Times, September 18, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/18/world/europe/18sweden.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    Styling the Moderates “the new labor party,” Mr. Reinfeldt said that in Mr. Persson’s view, “Security is living on subsidies.” By contrast, he said in a recent interview, his party is “saying that security is the ability to work and to stand on your own two feet.”

    Mr. Reinfeldt has pledged to revitalize the economy by cutting payroll taxes for low-income workers, reducing unemployment benefits from the current high of 80 percent of a worker’s last salary, raising educational standards to prepare students for work in a competitive market and encouraging employers with tax credits to hire the long-term unemployed.

    Also see "Thatcherite Sweden," The Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2006 --- Click Here

    Europe's left likes to hold up the "Swedish Model" as the perfect amalgam of capitalism and socialism. But even in its home country, paying punishing taxes to finance a generous welfare state isn't that popular anymore, as Sunday's elections show. The Swedish Social Democrats had their worst result since 1914, as Fredrik Reinfeldt and his four-party center-right Alliance ousted incumbent Prime Minister Göran Persson. The Alliance garnered 47.8% of the votes while the Social Democrats and their allies gained 46.4%.

    Some commentators attribute the Alliance victory to voter fatigue. But whatever the liability of being the eternal incumbent may have been, the Social Democrats' iron grip on the state, developed over decades in power, was also a formidable asset in the campaign. The party's ties to the media and unions gave it an edge over its rivals, which the Alliance still managed to overcome.

    No, if there was voter fatigue, it had at least as much to do with the message as with the messenger. The Social Democrats advocated the further expansion of the country's already expansive welfare state. The Alliance offered reforms. Mr. Reinfeldt didn't suggest abolishing the Swedish Model; rather, he promised to ensure its survival by promoting jobs over government handouts. The Alliance plans to reduce income taxes for Swedes with low salaries, scrap the 1.5% wealth tax, cut unemployment aid, reduce the social charges for employers and sell the state's remaining stakes in listed companies.

    "Never before in modern Swedish history has the center-right managed to win an election when there hasn't been an economic crisis in the country," Dagens Nyheter, Sweden's largest daily, editorialized yesterday. The paper doesn't seem to realize that when you scratch the surface of Sweden's impressive economic data, the country is courting trouble.

    Particularly worrisome is the labor market. Unemployment is officially around 5% but include those on job training programs, early retirement and sick leave, and the figure soars to about 17%, according to McKinsey. Mr. Reinfeldt argued that if you add in Swedes on some form of government handout and those who want to work but can't find a full-time job, the unemployment figure is closer to 40%. If that's not a crisis, then the Dagens Nyheter editors need to leave their offices more often. We recommend a trip to the suburbs of Stockholm, where many unemployed immigrants live under conditions not unlike those that led to weeks of riots in France last year.

    So in the end, tax cuts and jobs turned out more appealing to Swedes -- albeit narrowly -- than more government largesse. The Alliance scored particularly well among the young, whose unemployment rate is 25.9%. It appears that the prospect of spending one's life on the dole, no matter how generous those welfare payments may be, is not every young Swede's dream. If those actually living under the much-vaunted Swedish Model opt for change, there is hope for the rest of Europe.

    Belief in God: A Baylor Study Compares Nations

    "America is revealed as one nation under four faces of God," London Times, September 13, 2006 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,11069-2355486,00.html

    The study also suggests that America is more religious than previously thought, with only 5.2 per cent of respondents calling themselves atheist and 91.8 per cent saying that they believed in God.

    In Britain, by contrast, 20 per cent say that they hold no belief in a higher power and only 38 per cent claim to believe in a traditional God, according to a 2005 survey.

    The American survey, conducted by Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion in Texas, broke new ground in asking respondents how they viewed God’s personality.

    Researchers found that Americans hold four distinct views, and these “Four Gods” are remarkably accurate diviners of how an American thinks about everything from politics, abortion, taxation and marriage. “You learn more about people’s moral and political behaviour if you know their image of God than almost any other measure,” said Christopher Bader, one of the researchers.

    Nearly a third of Americans, 31.4 per cent, believe in an Authoritarian God, angry at earthly sin and willing to inflict divine retribution — including tsunamis and hurricanes.

    People who see God this way are religiously and politically the most conservative. They are more likely to be less educated and have lower incomes, come from the South and be white evangelicals or black Protestants.

    At the other end of the scale is the Distant God, seen by 24.4 per cent as a faceless, cosmic force that launched the world but leaves it alone. This is seen more by liberals, moral relativists and those who don’t attend church. This God has most believers on the West Coast.

    The Benevolent God, popular in America’s Midwest among mainstream Protestants, Catholics and Jews, is one that sets absolute standards for man, but is also forgiving — engaged but not so angry. Caring for the sick is high on the list of priorities for these 23 per cent of believers.

    The Critical God, at 16 per cent, is viewed as the classic bearded old man, judgmental but not going to intervene or punish, and is popular on the East Coast.

    African Americans believe overwhelmingly (53.4 per cent) in an Authoritarian God.

    Women tend towards very engaged images of God — Authoritarian and Benevolent — while men tend toward the Distant God, and are more likely to be atheist.

    More than 80 per cent of those who see an Authoritarian God believe gay marriage is wrong, compared with only 30 per cent who view their God as distant.

    Only 12 per cent of Authoritarians want to abolish the death penalty, compared with 27 per cent of those who see a Distant God. On Iraq, 63 per cent of Authoritarians see the war as justified, compared with 47 for Benevolent, 37 for Critical and 29 for Distant.

    Nearly 54 per cent of Authoritarians believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks, compared with 23 per cent of those who believe in a Distant God.

    “This is a very powerful tool to understand core differences in the United States,” said Paul Froese, a professor at Baylor. “If I know your image of God, I can tell all kind of things about you. It’s a central part of your world view.”

    Continued in article

    Stanford's Medical School Faculty May Not Accept Gifts from Drug Companies
    The Stanford University Medical Center on Tuesday announced that it would ban all gifts from drug companies to physicians affiliated with the university. The policy comes amid growing concern about ethics experts that these gifts inappropriately influence medical care and research.
    Inside Higher Ed, September 13, 2006
    For details Click Here

    Jensen Comment
    This poses very serious dilemmas. How far should this go from free coffee to travel expenses to a corporate-funded conference to an endowed chair? I think the Stanford ban is still pretty low level, but it does raise questions as to how far these bans should go.

    Should there be any KPMG Professors, Ernst & Young Professors, IBM Scholar Faculty, and yes even BMW Professors (the most highly endowed chairs in the nation)? Clemson University now has an entire BMW research and education engineering program! Should computer science programs be denied free software from Apple Corporation or free hardware from Hewlett-Packard?

    Should humanities professors accept personal royalties from publishing firms?

    Should business schools also ban research money and hardware/software from corporations and accounting firms and the entire finance/banking industry? Should law schools ban research funding from law firms? Should engineering schools ban corporate research grants? Should social science researchers be denied research funding and hardware/software tools from corporate foundations? Or is this just a unique problem in medical schools? An even in the latter case, will this impede technological progress in medical research? Will it drive top medical researchers out of universities and into industry? There could be serious losses to medical education in the latter case if the top scholars bail out of faculty positions!

    At the moment I think Stanford's medical faculty may not drink coffee at a student reception hosted by Pfizer, but I suspect the Medical School would willingly accept a $500 million gift for a new Pfizer Building filled with Pfizer Teaching and Research Faculty.

    Now that free Pfizer cup of coffee --- that's just, well, too dangerous to research independence!

    When Professors Accept Research Money from Questionable Sources
    Last week, news reports surfaced that Patrick J. Michaels, a research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, and Virginia’s state climatologist, is receiving money from coal-burning utility companies pleased with his public skepticism about global warming.
    David Epstein, "Helping a Global Warming Skeptic," Inside Higher Ed, July 31, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/07/31/warming

    Study finds tea more healthy than water, but was this a truly independent study?
    "Tea seen as healthier than water," PhysOrg, August 25, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news75646716.html


    Bob Jensen's threads on "Appearance Versus the Reality of Research Independence and Freedom" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#ResearchIndependence

    September 13, 2006 reply from Ed Scribner [escribne@NMSU.EDU]


    The institutions claim that high-profile gifts like endowed chairs and research grants are already regulated. What they’re getting at, in the interest of “reclaiming the high ground,” is the unregulated stuff we all get (SWAG). Howard Davia, in Fraud 101 (Wiley), recommends a zero-tolerance policy for what he calls “unilateral gratuities” to persons with any kind of decision influence in the area of procurement.

    To assist you in reclaiming the high ground, Dave Albrecht and I are willing to make the sacrifice of inviting AECMers to ship their KPMG briefcases, PricewaterhouseCoopers pens, Ernst & Young T-shirts, Deloitte business card holders, and similar items to us. We’re particularly interested in articles with the Andersen logo.

    Ed Scribner
    New Mexico State University
    Las Cruces, NM, USA

    September 11, 2006 message from  Dennis Beresford [dberesfo@TERRY.UGA.EDU]

    Last Saturday's edition of the New York Times included an article about Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, who is a finance/political science major and a fine student in addition to being the early favorite for the Heisman Trophy. It included some comments from his professors about his positive contributions in the classroom in addition to the gridiron. I enjoyed the following two paragraphs.

    Edward Hums, an instructor of accountancy, had Quinn, then a sophomore, in a class and said he enjoyed Quinn’s demeanor. “Something that he always brought to class was a smile and an upbeat attitude,” Hums said. “When you’re teaching financial accounting, the material is often less than exciting. To see a student who somewhat enjoys himself is a plus.”

    I tell my students at the beginning of each semester that I love accounting and the class will be more enjoyable for both them and me if they at least pretend to like the subject too.


    Jensen Comment
    The above module from Denny is a marked contrast to the following NYT module.

    "College Life 101: Dramatically Stark Orientation," by Karen W. Arenson, The New York Times, September 11, 2006 --- Click Here

    Many colleges around the country feel obliged to caution entering students about what to expect and what to avoid, but few offer more hard-hitting warnings than New York University’s theatrical orientation created by the New York playwright and director Elizabeth Swados.

    The musical “The Reality Show: NYU,” which has already played to nearly 5,000 incoming students at the university and will be shown twice more this month, tells of drugs and date rape, drinking and anorexia, depression and suicide.

    It is not a pretty picture, but it is not far from the reality of a large urban university. And N.Y.U. feels more pressure than most because of the spate of student suicides during the 2003-4 school year.

    “This production came out of that terrible year,” said Marc Wais, N.Y.U.’s vice president for student affairs. “There was a sense of urgency.”

    In the fall of 2004 the university used an outside theater group to tell new students about a telephone hot line and counseling and referral program it created after the suicides. But N.Y.U. officials decided that a production by students, for students, might be even more effective, and turned to their Tisch School of the Arts. Arthur Bartow, chairman of the undergraduate drama program at the time, recommended Ms. Swados, 55, who first gained fame with her 1978 Broadway musical “Runaways,” and had just become a full-time teacher at the school.

    “I knew Liz had a way of working with students to get them to tell the truth rather than some adult’s version,” he said in a recent interview. “They produce something that is much more stark, much more real, much more shocking than adults would allow themselves to write.”

    Suicide and depression are topics Ms. Swados knows well. Her mother and brother took their own lives, and, as she explained in “My Depression: A Picture Book,” published last year by Hyperion, she contemplated doing the same.

    But Linda Mills, senior vice provost for undergraduate education and university life at N.Y.U., who commissioned Ms. Swados, said her personal history was not an issue. Ms. Swados was being brought in as “a creative talent and director, not a clinician or therapist,” Ms. Mills said.

    And Ms. Swados, whose teachers and mentors included Joseph Papp, Peter Brook, Ellen Stewart and Andrei Serban, said she did not want to put too much of a spotlight on suicide “because it’s so easily romanticized by young people.” She added, “The N.Y.U. kids have no relationship to the darkness of my past.”

    The students, chosen from Tisch after several rounds of auditions by Ms. Swados, provided their own darkness.

    Vella Lovell, a senior, said that while at times the students did portray themselves, other times they were portraying “someone far removed from them.”

    “To do this piece we all had to be willing to play the most outrageous characters because to at least one person in the audience it’s not so outrageous,” she said. “If we were playing ourselves, we tried to make it as big as possible — all extremes.”

    Continued in article

    On the Dark Side of the Higher Education Academy: Generation Gaps, Collegial Apathy or Hostility, and Loneliness --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#DarkSide

    "MBA Networking Do's…and Don'ts:  Ten tips for making an impression while keeping that recruiting cocktail party from turning into a disaster," Business Week --- Click Here

    Rutgers May Become a Very Wealthy University
    Rutgers University is suing General Motors, charging that its OnStar service for connecting drivers with emergency help violates a university patent, the Associated Press reported. GM is not commenting on the suit, but OnStar is used by millions of drivers.
    Inside Higher Ed, September 11, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/11/qt

    From Gallaudet University
    Deaf Education Information Center from the Clerc Center --- http://clerccenter.gallaudet.edu/

    American Sign Language University --- http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/

    Bob Jensen's threads on aids for learning by persons with special challenges --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Handicapped

    Sharing Professor of the Week:  Bravo Professor Gary Kaiser for "The Grapes of Staph"
    The Grapes of Staph: Microbiology --- http://student.ccbcmd.edu/~gkaiser/goshp.html

    Art Fraud Report from NPR --- Thomas Kinkade
    Federal investigators are contemplating a case against painter Thomas Kinkade and his company
    "Complaints Rise Against Kinkade Art Company," NPR, August 30, 2006 ---

    How to Lie With Accounting
    The Federal Government Steal's from the Battered Social Security Trust Fund to Cover Up the Trade Deficit

    "D.C.'s Deficit Math Doesn't Add Up," by Alan Sloan, Newsweek, September 18, 2006, Page 24 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14756403/site/newsweek/

    Next month the White House and its congressional allies will be taking victory laps when the deficit for fiscal 2006 is announced. The stated deficit for the year, which ends Sept. 30, will be $260 billion or so. That will be down $58 billion from 2005 and a whopping $77 billion below what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted in January. The White House says this is happening largely because tax revenues have surged—which they have. It sure sounds great.

    But let me share a dirty little secret with you: the real federal deficit isn't $260 billion. It's more than double that. And when you calculate what I consider the real deficit—hold on to your hats, it's $558 billion—you come out with slightly more than last year's real deficit, which I put at $551 billion. Revenue surge, shmevenue surge. Things are getting worse, not better.

    To be sure, that $558 billion is better than the $635 billion implied by January's CBO numbers. But it's nothing to crow about, considering that not long from now, baby boomers will begin to retire en masse and put huge pressure on the budget.

    We know that numbers in Washington tend to be big and sometimes murky. But how can the official deficit be only $260 billion while mine is $558 billion? Am I taking strange pills? Drinking funny water? Nope. It's the difference between Washington Math—the unique way that the federal government accounts for itself—and real-world math.

    Here's the deal. The stated deficit is the difference between the cash that the government takes in and the cash it spends. That's $260 billion—the number most analysts use to measure the deficit. But Uncle Sam will also borrow almost $300 billion from federal trust funds: $177 billion from Social Security, and an additional $121 billion from "other government accounts" such as federal-employee pension funds. Some $78 billion of this total comes from the Treasury's taking Social Security's cash surplus this year and spending it. Most of the rest comes from the government's paying what it owes the trust funds—primarily for interest on their $3.6 trillion of Treasury securities—with I.O.U.s, not cash. (All my numbers, by the way, are based on public budget documents.)

    If a company tried to keep books this way, its accountants would scream faster than you can say Sarbanes-Oxley. But we're playing by the rules of Washington Math.

    Continued in the article


    Suspected Fraud:  Attorneys, Auditors, Others Getting Attention In Options Timing Affair
    "It's hard to believe ... that the executives did this all by themselves," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said at a hearing Wednesday. "And to be honest, the idea that all executives at different companies came up with this idea at the same time stretches the imagination." Grassley said he planned to write to "several major corporations" that have engaged in backdating of stock options, asking them to provide the minutes of board meetings in which directors discussed the matter as well as documents from attorneys, accountants and consultants who assisted. In backdating, options are issued retroactively to coincide with low points in a company's share price, a practice that can fatten profits for options recipients when they sell their shares at higher market prices. Backdating options can be legal as long as the practice is disclosed to investors and properly approved by the company's board. In some cases, however, the practice can run afoul of federal accounting and tax laws. "We need to understand and bring enforcement action against all the actors who were involved with this abusive scandal," Grassley declared.
    "Attorneys, Auditors, Others Getting Attention In Options Timing Affair," SmartPros, September 11, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x54672.xml

    Geometry --- http://mathworld.wolfram.com/topics/Geometry.html

    Mathcasts.org --- http://www.mathcasts.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

    Teaching Quantitative Skills in the Geosciences --- http://serc.carleton.edu/quantskills/

    Bob Jensen's threads on online math helpers are at

    Debating Skills
    National Forensic League --- http://www.nflonline.org/Main/HomePage

    Banking Fraud Whistleblower:  Overcharging for Student Loans
    A former U.S. Education Department researcher climbed out of the shadows Monday and identified himself as the whistle blower behind revelations in 2004 that some providers of student loans were taking advantage of a loophole in federal law that allowed them to continue to make loans for which they were guaranteed an interest rate return of 9.5 percent. At a news event Monday at the New America Foundation, Jon H. Oberg, a former chief fiscal officer for the State of Nebraska, aide to former Sen. J. James Exon (R-Neb.), and staff member at the Institute of Education Sciences, said he had done research on the practice before his superiors at the department reassigned him; he continued the work on his own time, providing information to Congress and to the department’s inspector general. The event came as the inspector general prepares to release an audit that is expected to show that Nelnet, a Nebraska-based lender, received many millions of dollars in overpayments of federal funds, charges that Nelnet disputes.
    Inside Higher Ed, September 19, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/19/qt

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

    Suspected Graft in the U.N.

    "AP Exclusive: Annan refuses to fill out financial disclosure form despite urging from top aides," International Herald Tribune, September 15, 2006 --- http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/14/news/UN_GEN_UN_Financial_Disclosure.php

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan has refused to fill out a newly minted U.N. financial disclosure form, rejecting advice of his inner circle that doing so would send a good signal as the U.N. seeks to counter allegations that it is closed to public scrutiny, U.N. officials said Thursday.

    The U.N. unveiled new rules last year that tightened staff financial disclosure requirements in effect since 1999. Annan is not required to fill out the form because he is technically not a staff member.

    Nonetheless, two U.N. officials told The Associated Press that several of Annan's top aides had recently urged him to disclose his finances. They argued that even though he is not a staff member, he is the chief of the organization and should embody its reform ideals.

    Annan, whose second five-year term ends on Dec. 31, has so far rejected thee advice from Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, Undersecretary-General Christopher Burnham and others, said the officials, who spoke anonymously because the discussions were private.

    Annan's refusal is awkward because Malloch Brown and Annan's chief spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, had both promised that he would fill out the form. Annan has been a leading advocate of reforms aimed at cleaning up the U.N. and its image in the wake of corruption claims in its procurement division and the oil-for-food program.

    At a news conference Wednesday, Annan was asked if he had filled out the form and responded: "I honor all my obligations to the U.N., and I think that is as I've always done," he told reporters.

    The new financial disclosure rules require more U.N. staff to fill out the forms and lowered the value of gifts that U.N. staff must disclose from US$10,000 (€7,860) to US$250 (€197). The information would not be made public.

    Burnham, the architect of the new financial disclosure policy, refused to comment directly on Annan's decision.

    "I believe that we all should fill out annual financial reports and I encourage everyone to do so in a timely fashion," he said Thursday.

    Burnham spoke at a news conference in which he unveiled a report that compiled annual financial information about the U.N. in one place. In a forward to that report, Annan said the U.N. was making strides toward "greater transparency and clearer accountability."

    It is not the first time Annan has been in the spotlight over his finances. Last year, he accepted a US$500,000 (€392,989) environmental prize funded primarily by the United Arab Emirates, despite criticism that it could be seen as a gift.

    Annan initially said he would use the money to start a foundation in Africa for agriculture and girls' education, but later agreed to donate the money for U.N. relief efforts in Darfur.

    UNITED NATIONS Secretary-General Kofi Annan has refused to fill out a newly minted U.N. financial disclosure form, rejecting advice of his inner circle that doing so would send a good signal as the U.N. seeks to counter allegations that it is closed to public scrutiny, U.N. officials said Thursday.

    The U.N. unveiled new rules last year that tightened staff financial disclosure requirements in effect since 1999. Annan is not required to fill out the form because he is technically not a staff member.

    Nonetheless, two U.N. officials told The Associated Press that several of Annan's top aides had recently urged him to disclose his finances. They argued that even though he is not a staff member, he is the chief of the organization and should embody its reform ideals.

    Annan, whose second five-year term ends on Dec. 31, has so far rejected thee advice from Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, Undersecretary-General Christopher Burnham and others, said the officials, who spoke anonymously because the discussions were private.

    Annan's refusal is awkward because Malloch Brown and Annan's chief spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, had both promised that he would fill out the form. Annan has been a leading advocate of reforms aimed at cleaning up the U.N. and its image in the wake of corruption claims in its procurement division and the oil-for-food program.

    At a news conference Wednesday, Annan was asked if he had filled out the form and responded: "I honor all my obligations to the U.N., and I think that is as I've always done," he told reporters.

    The new financial disclosure rules require more U.N. staff to fill out the forms and lowered the value of gifts that U.N. staff must disclose from US$10,000 (€7,860) to US$250 (€197). The information would not be made public.

    Burnham, the architect of the new financial disclosure policy, refused to comment directly on Annan's decision.

    "I believe that we all should fill out annual financial reports and I encourage everyone to do so in a timely fashion," he said Thursday.

    Burnham spoke at a news conference in which he unveiled a report that compiled annual financial information about the U.N. in one place. In a forward to that report, Annan said the U.N. was making strides toward "greater transparency and clearer accountability."

    It is not the first time Annan has been in the spotlight over his finances. Last year, he accepted a US$500,000 (€392,989) environmental prize funded primarily by the United Arab Emirates, despite criticism that it could be seen as a gift.

    Annan initially said he would use the money to start a foundation in Africa for agriculture and girls' education, but later agreed to donate the money for U.N. relief efforts in Darfur.

    UNITED NATIONS Secretary-General Kofi Annan has refused to fill out a newly minted U.N. financial disclosure form, rejecting advice of his inner circle that doing so would send a good signal as the U.N. seeks to counter allegations that it is closed to public scrutiny, U.N. officials said Thursday.

    The U.N. unveiled new rules last year that tightened staff financial disclosure requirements in effect since 1999. Annan is not required to fill out the form because he is technically not a staff member.

    Nonetheless, two U.N. officials told The Associated Press that several of Annan's top aides had recently urged him to disclose his finances. They argued that even though he is not a staff member, he is the chief of the organization and should embody its reform ideals.

    Continued in article

    From Walt Mossberg's Mailbox on September 14, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/mossberg_mailbox.html

    Q: In your review of the new T-Mobile BlackBerry Pearl, you said Cingular Wireless has a data network that is much faster than the EDGE network that T-Mobile uses. But I have a BlackBerry from Cingular and it, too, uses EDGE. So how is Cingular faster?

    A: In 80 cities, Cingular has now rolled out a new network based on a technology called HSDPA that, in my tests, can be 10 times as fast as EDGE. However, most of its phones and digital devices haven't been updated in new versions that can use the new, faster network. So far, only a few regular phones and laptop data cards from Cingular can use HSDPA. Its data-centric hand-helds, like BlackBerrys and Treos, are still stuck on EDGE, which Cingular continues to maintain alongside the new faster network.

    But Cingular plans to offer new versions of the data devices in the coming months that can take advantage of the new, higher speeds. By contrast, T-Mobile has nothing faster than EDGE. Verizon Wireless and Sprint also have networks that are much faster than EDGE, based on a technology called EVDO. They are way ahead of Cingular in both the number of cities deployed and in the variety of devices that can use the highest speeds. For instance, the Verizon Treo I carry uses EVDO and can download Web pages and email attachments much more quickly than any EDGE device can.

    There is a catch. With Verizon, Sprint and Cingular, even if your phone or data device can use the highest-speed networks the carriers offer, they will drop down to a lower-speed network if you enter an area where the higher-speed coverage isn't available.

    Q: I bought a Compaq laptop in January 2005. Now in August it will not turn on. Naturally I only had a one-year warranty. The Geek Squad tells me I need a mother board, and that will cost more than a new laptop. Does Compaq have a history of only lasting a little over a year, or did I get a lemon?

    A: Neither my email from readers nor anything I have read suggests that Compaq computers typically last only a year or so. However, reader surveys published by Consumer Reports and PC Magazine rank the Compaq brand (which is now owned by Hewlett-Packard) at or near the bottom in categories like how often its laptops need repairs and how reliable they are.

    In general, I believe that as the factories in China (where nearly all laptops are made) jam more powerful and numerous components into slender laptops, quality and reliability are falling. Even Apple, which ranks at or near the top on the surveys I mentioned, is having problems with some of its newest laptops (and I am not referring here to the burning batteries Apple and Dell purchased from Sony).

    Q: Are there any good, effective options for getting an Apple iPod to work with a home speaker system? I guess I'm envisioning a "receiver" that allows an iPod to dock with it.

    A: There are lots of products on the market that allow you to connect an iPod to a home audio system, or even just speakers. They range from simple audio cables you can buy at Radio Shack to iPod docks that connect to speakers or an audio receiver, and even wireless approaches. Apple itself makes a $19 cable and a $39 dock for this purpose and also sells a complete kit, with dock, cables and remote, for $99. But other companies sell similar products as well as self-contained docks.

    There are way too many of these to list here, but there are some Web sites that can help you. Apple has a Web page listing some accessories, at www.apple.com/ipod/accessories.html. More are listed at Apple's online store, at store.apple.com, under iPod Accessories -- "Cables & Docks." Another good source for information about this topic is ilounge.com.


    How to Lie in With Statistics in the Media

    "Ranking of 'Drunkest Cities' Wouldn't Pass a Sobriety Test," by Carl Bialik, The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/numbers_guy.html

    Magazines and Web sites love to compile "top cities" lists – the best small towns, best places to retire, most vibrant arts scenes, and so on. Such reports are easy for readers to digest, and can often lead to some free publicity when local news outlets pick up the lists to highlight (or dispute) them.

    But while such rankings may make for interesting headlines, they're often arbitrary, and a far cry from scientific research.

    Consider a recent report by Forbes.com on "America's Drunkest Cities," part of a broader look at the business of nightlife. The financial magazine's Web site (a competitor to the Online Journal) determined that Milwaukee is the heaviest-drinking metropolitan area out of the 35 it ranked in the U.S. Second-place honors went to Minneapolis-St. Paul, with Columbus, Ohio, third.

    The study got wide media attention, with some newspapers soberly reflecting on the implications of their hometowns' apparent drinking problems, while others lamented low rankings. (That fit the tone of the Forbes.com report, which juxtaposed warnings about the health costs of drinking with images of a man with a lampshade over his head and attractive young people drinking in chic bars.) "Columbus chugs its way up list of 'drunkest cities,' " was the headline in the Columbus Dispatch. The St. Paul Pioneer Press went with "Twin Cities rank second on -- hic! -- drinking survey." A Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist was sad to see Milwaukee and Columbus above his city, though he took solace that Cleveland topped Las Vegas, New York and Miami. The Chicago Sun-Times interviewed local drinkers and bartenders upset by the Windy City's lowly No. 6 spot.

    How did Forbes.com come up with the rankings? The site relied on a mix of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and its own criteria for quantifying the drunkenness of a city. But the methodology has problems, beginning with the government data.

    The CDC numbers are compiled from telephone surveys conducted by individual states. The states all asked the same questions about drinking habits: whether the respondents had a drink in the last 30 days, whether they regularly consume enough to meet the CDC's definition of "heavy drinking," and whether respondents had ever had five or more drinks on one occasion ("binge drinking," according to the CDC). States then broke out data for metropolitan areas.

    Though the survey questions were standard, it was up to the states to decide on their own how to conduct the surveys – in particular, how many people to poll. That can lead to wild variations in the statistical reliability of the results, and make comparisons between different states largely meaningless. "We cannot vouch for the scientific accuracy of those surveys," CDC spokeswoman Karen Hunter told me. "The states have vastly different sample sizes. That's one of the reasons why it's really not a good way to rank [different cities.]" Ms. Hunter said the survey is designed to give states a broad overview of their public health problems, not serve as a measuring stick against others.

    In some cities, limited polling led to a big margin of error. For example, fewer than 600 Austin, Texas-area residents responded to the first drinking question. Some 61% of adults said they had consumed at least one drink in the last month, ranking Austin 10th in that category. But its margin of error – five percentage points -- was so large that Austin was statistically indistinguishable from both the No. 4 city on that question (Providence, R.I.) and No. 21 (New York). In contrast, in the Providence area – with a population similar to Austin's – nearly 5,000 people responded to the question, providing a much tighter margin of error of two percentage points.

    There are also big swings in some of the survey results from year to year. Indianapolis said that 3.5% of survey respondents met the definition of "heavy drinkers" in 2004 (the most recent data available), down sharply from 6.6% a year earlier. It's impossible to know whether the drop was due to a big decline in drinking or inconsistent sampling.

    Forbes.com could have mitigated this problem by assigning scores to cities, rather than ranking them, and by omitting cities with the biggest margins of error.

    The survey questions were the basis for three of Forbes.com's five criteria. Another was the number of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings held in a particular area, relative to the size of the drinking-age population. (A spokeswoman at AA's main office in New York declined to comment on the survey.) The fifth criteria was Forbes.com's own analysis of local laws regulating drinking, on the (perhaps questionable) assumption that stricter laws mean less drinking.

    It's notable to look at what wasn't included in the rankings. Forbes.com didn't look at factors I'd consider to be particularly insightful, such as emergency-room admissions, drunk-driving stats or alcohol sales (though alcohol companies are notorious for guarding local sales figures.)

    A Forbes.com spokeswoman put me in touch with Dave Ewalt, the Forbes.com staff writer who designed the rankings and wrote the accompanying article. He told me in a telephone interview that he initially contacted the CDC to seek localized liver-damage statistics, and was told the agency didn't have those figures. He said the CDC directed him to the telephone survey of drinking habits. (When I told Mr. Ewalt a CDC spokeswoman said the numbers shouldn't be used for a ranking, he said, "I never got that impression.")

    Mr. Ewalt said the CDC numbers were the best data for his purpose. "I think the CDC numbers are great," he said, adding that the survey "directly addresses the issue of how much people drink." Mr. Ewalt said the standards imposed by the CDC's supervision made the data more reliable: "It gives us a data quality that we couldn't get using 35 different, unsupervised local health studies," he said.

    Continued in article

    Business Week's Special Reports on Computer Security --- http://www.businessweek.com/technology/tc_special/tc_060402computersecurity.htm?link_position=link16

    Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security are at

    "'Pretexting' is common in business world," by Peter Svensson, Yahoo News, September 13, 2006 --- Click Here

    Although the boardroom scandal at Hewlett-Packard Co. made the practice more widely known, buying phone records or other personal information obtained by "pretext" calls appears to have been common in parts of the business world. ADVERTISEMENT

    In a letter to the House Energy and Commerce committee, which was investigating the issue this year, data broker PDJ Investigative Services described its customers as "law offices, repossession companies, financial institutions, collection agencies, bail enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies and various private investigation and research companies."

    "Those businesses have a common need. That need is to be able to locate individuals, who do not wish to be found," another data broker, Universal Communications Co., wrote to the committee.

    For example, banks sought to find debtors who defaulted on loan payments, and car finance companies traced people who stopped paying their auto loans and disappeared, Universal Communications said.

    PDJ sold records of local and long-distance calls as well as non-published phone numbers and home addresses, according to an old price list submitted to the House committee.

    In its letter, PDJ said it did not perform pretext calls itself, but paid independent vendors for the information, or searched public databases and the Internet.

    Robert Douglas, a privacy consultant in Colorado who closely follows pretexting and other investigatory techniques, said such independent vendors use sophisticated methods to fool customer service representatives into giving out information.

    However, the attention given to pretexting in the past two years — the HP scandal is just the latest in a series of revelations — has made data brokers restrict sales of certain kinds of information. Cell phone companies, one of the major targets of pretexters, also have fought back by launching lawsuits.

    Continued in article

    "Protect Yourself From Pretexting," by Kim Zetter, Wired News, September 13, 2006 --- Click Here

    Pretexting has long been a tactic used by private investigators and others to obtain personal information and records about people. Also known as "social engineering" in the hacker realm, it involves using ploys to obtain data and documents.

    The ploys range from the creative to the straightforward. In the Hewlett-Packard case, outside investigators hired by the company simply posed as the victims -- HP board members and journalists -- to obtain their phone records from phone companies.

    On the more inventive side, Verizon Wireless last year accused online data brokers of making hundreds of thousands of calls to the company's customer service lines posing as fellow Verizon employees with the company's "special needs group," a nonexistent department. The callers obtained customer account information by claiming to be making the requests on behalf of voice-impaired customers.

    Against that kind of initiative, it seems like there's little an ordinary consumer, Silicon Valley director or tech journalist can do. But there are some options.

    Buy a TracFone. There's a reason law enforcement agencies hate disposable cell phones: They don't keep a call detail record. This solution isn't convenient or desirable for everyone, but if you're concerned about your phone records being obtained fraudulently by third parties, or subpoenaed by authorities, a prepaid phone service offers the best privacy.

    Prepaid phones range in cost from $20 to $80 and usually come with a set number of minutes to start, which can be augmented by purchasing prepaid calling cards for $20 to $100.

    Naturally, your prepaid phone number will still appear on the calling records of people you call, and who call you. But because the prepaid services don't require you to provide your name, the phone number alone will be of limited use to snoops. Be sure to pay for your phone and prepaid phone cards with cash, and only add minutes through the phone's built-in interface -- don't use the service provider's website, which could track your IP address.

    Don't Tell on Yourself. A little bit of information can help scammers get a lot more; in the HP case, the investigators used the last four digits of their targets' Social Security numbers to authenticate themselves to the phone companies they tricked.

    That's why the FTC advises consumers to guard personal information such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, account numbers and passwords to prevent someone from using the information to impersonate you and obtain your records. To that end, don't provide personal information over the phone, in an e-mail or in person to anyone unless you initiated the contact. Even then, be guarded about providing legitimate agencies with more information than they need.

    Choose Your Own Passwords. Companies love using Social Security numbers and dates of birth as authentication, despite the fact that neither bit of info is very private. Insist that your health insurance provider and phone companies allow you to use a customer-designated password or a unique identifying number instead. Don't let them bully you into using your Social Security number, and use different passwords for different accounts.

    Shred It. Cross-shred documents that contain personal information before discarding them, and do not leave such documents lying around where maintenance workers and visitors can see them.

    Leave Your Vital Stats Offline. Do not publish your birth date or other personally identifiable information about you or your children on your MySpace or Facebook page. It's obvious, but worth repeating.

    Don't Pay Bills Online. Yes, we know it's convenient, and we know that banks and utility companies pressure customers to establish online billing accounts to eliminate the cost of paper records. But resist the urge. Online accounts put you at risk no matter what businesses say.

    Websites are seldom as secure as companies insist they are. Even when they are secure, smart people like you can sometimes still get tricked into using a spoof site that looks exactly like the real thing, or wind up with malicious software that records every keystroke on their computer and passes the info on to a hacker.

    While we're on the subject, don't file your taxes online either. Yes, it's convenient. No, it's not secure. It's possible that hackers can obtain the same information by hacking a vulnerable data server or stealing an employee laptop, but that's out of your control. How you file is in your control.

    See If You've Already Been Hit. In an internal investigation of pretexted records, AT&T identified about 2,500 of its customers as possible victims. And that's just one phone company. To find out if you've already been a victim of phone record pretexting, contact your telephone company in writing to determine if anyone has requested your records. If you've pissed off HP recently, do it today.

    Lobby for Change. Pressure your congressional representatives and the FCC into forcing phone companies to improve the security of customer records. The Electronic Privacy Information Center offers a number of suggestions for boosting security, include forcing carriers to maintain an audit trail to track whenever a customer's records are accessed, and by whom.

    EPIC also suggests that phone companies be required to notify customers when someone has breached their records. Phone companies, in recent lawsuits against pretexters, have admitted being duped hundreds of thousands of times into handing over customer records to unauthorized people. Yet current breach-notification laws don't cover these records, since they're not considered personally identifiable information.

    Additionally, phone companies should be forced to notify customers of changes to their account, such as when someone establishes a new online billing account for their phone number. Many banks already send written verification to customers by mail if the customer or someone else requests a change to their account password or contact information. Had AT&T done this, HP board member Tom Perkins and others caught in the HP investigation would have been alerted back in January that someone was trying to access their records online.

    Bob Jensen's helpers for preventing consumer fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm

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

    MIT's Technology Review Highlights 2006 Leading Young Innovators Under 35 ---

    Since 1999, the editors of Technology Review have honored the young innovators whose inventions and research we find most exciting; today that collection is the TR35, a list of technologists and scientists, all under the age of 35. Their work--spanning medicine, computing, communications, electronics, nanotechnology, and more--is changing our world.

    2006 Innovator of the Year: Joshua Schachter ---

    2006 Humanitarian of the Year: Christina Galitsky ---

    MIT's Technology Review Highlights "Facing Global Warming" ---
    (There are also links to related articles.)

    The Forthcoming MS Office (MS Word, Excel, etc.) Upgrade That's Difficult to Set Up

    "Office Accounting Adds Power at a Price:   Free public beta of Microsoft Office Accounting 2007 delivers powerful online services but adds complexity, especially in setup. by Richard Morochove, PC World via The Washington Post, September 5, 2006 --- Click Here

    Microsoft on Monday released a public beta of the next version of its small business accounting software, adding useful integration with the popular online selling, payment, and credit advisory services eBay, PayPal, and Equifax. You can download the beta of Microsoft Office Accounting 2007 from Microsoft's site . Be prepared to wait, even if you're on broadband, and don't bother if you're on dial-up: It's a 370MB file.

    The program has undergone numerous modifications, including a name change, since its formal debut last year as Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006. I took a look at the beta before it was released.

    In addition to the aforementioned integration with several online services, you can now customize the layout and labels on accounting forms and add and track the results of new data fields. Security is more flexible, and it's easier to share data with your CPA, who can make adjustments while you continue to work on your books. The program also adds new capabilities such as fixed asset management.

    Continued in article (with emphasis on the technical difficulties of setting up the new version)

    We can always hope it's a one-way ticket
    The Russian Space Agency has no objections to Madonna's plans for a space flight, but the American pop diva could make a space trip no earlier than 2009, the agency's spokesperson said Wednesday.
    "Madonna could be sent into space in 2009 - Russian Space Agency," RIA Novosti, September 14, 2006 --- http://en.rian.ru/russia/20060913/53845036.html

    Selected Papers Presented at Seventh Annual Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World, First Monday, August 2006 --- http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_8/

    Wednesday, 15 February 2006
    Pre–Conference session — Assessing the Use of Digital Resources

    Disciplining Search/Searching Disciplines: Perspectives from Academic Communities on Metasearch Quality Indicators by Rohit Chopra, Emory University and Aaron Krowne, Emory University and PlanetMath.org

    Thursday, 16 February 2006

    Keynote address Scholarship and Academic Libraries (and their kin) in the World of Google by Paul N. Courant, University of Michigan

    Project Demonstrations

    IN Harmony: Sheet Music from Indiana by Kristine R. Brancolini, Stacy Kowalczyk, and Jenn Riley, Indiana University

    Session — Library/Museum Approaches to Discovery Thomas Clareson (Chair of session), PALINET

    Automated Indexing by Douglas Holland, Missouri Botanical Garden

    Machine–assisted Metadata Generation and New Resource Discovery: Software and Services by Steve Mitchell, University of California, Riverside

    Organizing Chaos: Integrated Finding Aids and Interoperability of Metadata by Katherine Walter, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

    Session — The Metadata is the Message: Issues and Challenges for Digital Projects Murtha Baca (Chair of Session), Getty Research Institute

    Getting the Word Out: Making Digital Project Metadata Available to Aggregators by Diane I. Hillmann, Cornell University

    Negotiating Metadata: Catalogers, Vendors, and, Oh Yes, Users by Elisa Lanzi, Smith College

    Moving towards shareable metadata by Sarah L. Shreeves, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Jenn Riley, Indiana University, and Liz Milewicz, Emory University

    Examining MARC Records as Artifacts That Reflect Metadata Utilization Decisions by William E. Moen, University of North Texas

    Session — News Media Discovery: A Model for Deep Resource Discovery Taylor Surface (Chair of Session), OCLC

    The Vanderbilt Television News Archive: Our Accessible Video History by Paul M. Gherman, Vanderbilt University

    Developing Thematic Access to a Video Based Digital Library by Karen Cariani, WGBH Educational Foundation

    Online Access to Newspapers: From Promise to Practicality by Victoria McCargar, McCargar Consulting

    Bringing the Threads Together by Holly Witchey, Cleveland Museum of Art

    Friday, 17 February 2006

    Plenary address Can We Talk? Business Decisions and Legal Constraints by Kenneth Hamma, J. Paul Getty Trust

    Session — Advances in Discovery: New Research Liz Bishoff (Chair of Session), University of Colorado, Boulder

    FictionFinder: Don Quixote to Graphic Novels by Diane Vizine–Goetz, OCLC Office of Research

    Advances in Discovery: The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative Experience by Michael K. Buckland, University of California, Berkeley and Lewis R. Lancaster, University of California, Berkeley and University of the West

    Sharing Collections Information: A Distributed Approach by Jay Hoffman, Gallery Systems

    Session — Inspiring Discovery — Reducing Barriers: Copyright, Intellectual Property, and Related Issues Kenneth Hamma (Chair of Session), J. Paul Getty Trust

    Considerations for Cultural and Natural History Museums by James R. Gilson, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and Maureen Whalen, J. Paul Getty Trust

    Archives on the Web: Unlocking Collections While Safeguarding Privacy by Sara S. Hodson, Huntington Library

    What Have We Learned Today? Stuart L. Weibel, OCLC Office of Research

    Map and Geographic Information Center: University of Connecticut --- http://magic.lib.uconn.edu/

    How to Better Forecast the Sale of New Products
    Two Wharton researchers have developed a mathematical model that they say will allow companies, for the first time, to predict at what pace new products will gain acceptance in markets where purchasing decisions by knowledgeable, influential customers sway the buying habits of others. Wharton marketing professor Christophe Van den Bulte and doctoral student Yogesh V. Joshi say their model can be put to use in industries as diverse as movies, music, pharmaceuticals and high-technology. Their findings are presented in a paper titled, "New Product Diffusion with Influentials and Imitators."
    "'Influentials' and 'Imitators': How to Better Forecast the Sale of New Products," Knowledge@wharton, September 6, 2006 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1550&CFID=573338&CFTOKEN=40531958

    From The Washington Post on September 12, 2006

    For which technology did a professor receive this year's Millennium Technology Prize?

    A. Random access memory
    B. Blue light-emitting diode
    C. World Wide Web
    D. Charge-coupled device

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

    Latest Headlines on September 12, 2006

    Latest Headlines on September 13, 2006

    Latest Headlines on September 15

    Latest Headlines on September 16, 2006

    Latest Headlines on September 19, 2006

    Calcium supplements useless for strengthening bones: study
    Calcium supplements fail to provide long-term strengthening of bones, according to a study published on Friday that touches on osteoporosis, a disease commonly facing woman after the menopause.
    "Calcium supplements useless for strengthening bones: study," PhysOrg, September 15, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news77512617.html

    Calcium supplements fail to provide long-term strengthening of bones, according to a study published on Friday that touches on osteoporosis, a disease commonly facing woman after the menopause.

    The paper, published online by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is a review of 19 major studies that involved nearly 2,900 healthy children aged between three and 18.

    They included children who were given calcium supplements for at least three months and whose bone health was then monitored more than six months afterwards.

    Children taking the supplements only had 1.7-percent better bone density in their upper limbs compared to counterparts who did not take the extra calcium.

    This small benefit did persist in the upper limbs, but there was no significant effect on the rest of body, particularly at sites such as the hip and lower spine that are prone to fracture later in life.

    Bone density diminishes among women after the menopause, so doctors are keen to boost bone mass early in life through diet and exercise.

    "The small effect of calcium supplementation on bone mineral density in the upper limb is unlikely to reduce the risk of fracture, either in childhood or later life, to a degree of major public health importance," the paper says.

    It suggests other dietary paths, such as taking more vitamin D -- produced naturally by the skin's exposure to the Sun and present in oily fish -- and eating more fruit and vegetables.

    Lead author is Tania Winzenberg of Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania, Australia.

    Drug 'Avandia' May Prevent Diabetes --- http://www.webmd.com/content/article/127/116708

    "Researchers find hope in diabetes battle," PhysOrg, September 16, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news77597798.html

    Canadian researchers have found what they hope is a magic bullet in combating diabetes.

    McMasters University scientists are crediting extra use by the commonly prescribed Rosiglitazone for the hope of cutting the diabetes epidemic in half, the Hamilton Spectator said.

    Widely used to treat type 2 diabetes, Rosiglitazone has been found effective for those at highest risk because of genetics, age or obesity, making it what researchers call the first line of defense for diabetes.

    The results of the $25 million study were presented Friday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Copenhagen.

    Glaxo's Avandia ( Rosiglitazone) cuts risk of developing diabetes --- Click Here

    Poor Sleep, Poor Blood Sugar Control May Go Together
    "Got Type 2 Diabetes? Get Better Sleep: Poor Sleep, Poor Blood Sugar Control May Go Together, Study Shows," by Miranda Hitti, WebMD, September 18, 2006 --- http://www.webmd.com/content/article/127/116734


    "A plastic pill for periodontal problems," PhysOrg, September 14, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news77452852.html

    Rutgers scientists announced a revolutionary new treatment for killing the bacteria that attack gum tissue during periodontal disease, while also promoting healing and the regeneration of tissue and bone around the teeth.

    Eight to 12 percent of Americans have periodontal disease serious enough to require some type of advanced treatment, such as surgery. Left untreated, the condition can lead to tooth loss.

    The breakthrough technology – a polymer-based drug delivery system that may be implanted in pockets between the teeth and the gum – developed at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, was presented at the 232nd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco by Michelle Johnson, a graduate student in the research group of paper co-author Kathryn Uhrich, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers.

    "There has never been anything like this available to clinicians and it will certainly find a very prominent role in periodontal therapy in the future," said Mark Reynolds, chair of the department of periodontics at the University of Maryland Dental School, who collaborates with Uhrich on the research.

    The new polymer or "plastic" material, when inserted between tooth and diseased gum, treats the bacterial infection, inflammation and pain with pharmaceuticals incorporated into the material itself, Johnson explained. It employs salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin, for the swelling and discomfort, and three antimicrobials each with a different release rate – compounds of clindamycin, chlorhexidrine and minocycline.

    Once implanted, the polymer gradually breaks down to release the salicylic acid, which relieves pain and reduces inflammation, and the antimicrobials which inhibit infection at a sustained pace, Uhrich added.

    Periodontal disease occurs when plaque that forms on the tooth surface spreads and grows below the gum line. The plaque carries with it bacteria that can irritate, inflame and eventually destroy the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Spaces or pockets form between the teeth and gums and become sites of infection which can damage the supporting structures of the teeth.

    Reynolds explained that after removing the damaged tissue, periodontists often try to separate the gum tissue from the bone and tooth structure using barrier materials that remain in place for about six weeks to facilitate healing and tissue regeneration.

    "The polymers that Kathryn Uhrich and her team have pioneered and developed are unique in that they can serve as barriers while also repressing any inflammatory response, setting the stage for nature to not only heal these areas, but also to regenerate the tissues that have been lost to the disease," Reynolds said.

    Reynolds is testing the new biomaterial in a number of animal systems to assess tissue reactions and better define the timeline of its decomposition and drug release. He says that human clinical trials may be two or more years away depending on approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    Source: State University of New Jersey

    Aspirin, Ibuprofen Don't Mix
    A new report says the heart-related benefits of taking aspirin can be offset if you take it too closely to when you take ibuprofen. The Food and Drug Administration paper says people taking a low dose of aspirin each day for long-term protection against heart attacks and strokes can wipe out that protection if they take ibuprofen less than a half-hour after taking aspirin. It says the desired effect from aspirin also won't happen if you take it less than eight hours after taking ibuprofen.
    Emily Senay, "Aspirin, Ibuprofen Don't Mix FDA: Timing Of Doses Key To Keeping Aspirin's Heart Protection," CBS News, September 13, 2006 --- http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/12/earlyshow/contributors/emilysenay/main1999894.shtml

    "Detecting the Earliest Signs of Alzheimer's:  Improved imaging methods could help identify those most at risk for developing memory disorders," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, September 12, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17484&ch=biotech

    The End of Aging? I'm always skeptical!

    "The End of Aging," by Amy Ellis Nutt, Readers Digest, November 2003, pp. 71-75 ---

    You needn't get the pill from Juvenon. The pill contains two nutrients that can be bought at any health food store: 200 millgrams of alpha lipoic acid and 500 milligrams of acetyl-L carnitine taken twice per day so you can easily find it and try it for yourself --- http://www.ondemandaccess.com/article_read.asp?id=56

    Bacteria Yak and Yak to Each Other
    Every young scientist dreams of doing an experiment that changes the world. A remarkable biologist at Princeton University has done just that. Bonnie Bassler's discovery about how bacteria talk to one another has led to a whole new field of research -- and maybe someday drugs that would be effective against all bacteria.
    Richard Harris, "A Biologist's Listening Guide to Bacteria ," NPR, September 14, 2006 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6061852

    Does ZIP Code Affect Your Life Span?
    Asian-American women living in Bergen County, N.J., lead the nation in longevity, typically reaching their 91st birthdays. Worst off are American Indian men in swaths of South Dakota, who die around age 58 — three decades sooner. Where you live, combined with race and income, plays a huge role in the nation's health disparities — differences so stark that a report issued Monday contends it's as if there are eight separate Americas instead of one. Millions of the worst-off Americans have life expectancies typical of developing countries, concluded Dr. Christopher Murray of the Harvard School of Public Health. Asian-American women can expect to live 13 years longer than low-income black women in the rural South, for example. That's like comparing women in wealthy Japan to those in poverty-ridden Nicaragua.
    "Does ZIP Code Affect Your Life Span? Report: Location, Race, Income Play Big Role In Nation's Health Disparities," CBS News, September 11, 2006 --- http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/11/health/main1999188.shtml

    Also see the NPR take on this at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6057076

    "Brown seaweed contains promising fat fighter, weight reducer," PhysOrg, September 11, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news77201733.html

    Chemists in Japan have found that brown seaweed, a flavor component used in many Asian soups and salads, contains a compound that appears in animal studies to promote weight loss by reducing the accumulation of fat. Called fucoxanthin, the compound achieved a 5 percent to 10 percent weight reduction in test animals and could be developed into a natural extract or drug to help fight obesity, the researchers say.

    The compound targets abdominal fat, in particular, and may help reduce oversized guts, the scientists say. Their study was presented today at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

    Fucoxanthin is a brownish pigment that gives brown seaweed its characteristic color and also conducts photosynthesis (the conversion of light to energy). It is found at high levels in several different types of brown seaweed, including a type of kelp that is used in traditional Japanese miso soup. But fucoxanthin is not found in abundance in green and red seaweed, which also are used in many Asian foods, the researchers say.

    Continued in article

    Indiana University Health Center: Coping with Starting College

    "When Choice of a Doctor Drives Up Other Bills," RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA, The New York Times, September 11, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/11/nyregion/11oxford.html

    Mayo Clinic: Tradition and Heritage --- http://www.mayoclinic.org/tradition-heritage/

    "DDT's New Friend," The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2006; Page A18 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115853443509765807.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

    The World Health Organization announced Friday that it will begin actively promoting use of the pesticide DDT to combat malaria in developing nations. Do you believe in miracles?

    Malaria is the number one killer of pregnant women and children in Africa and among the top killers in Asia and South America. It's long been known that DDT is the cheapest and most effective way to contain the disease, which is spread by infected mosquitoes. But United Nations health agencies and others have for decades resisted employing DDT under pressure from anti-pesticide environmentalists. After tens of millions of preventable malarial deaths in these poor countries, it's nice to see WHO finally come to its senses.

    The agency's malaria chief, Arata Kochi, told reporters that "one of the best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual spraying. Of the dozen or so insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house spraying, the most effective is DDT." He also said, "We must take a position based on the science and the data."

    Mr. Kochi's intellectual honesty is commendable and all too rare among public health officials in this debate. For decades, the science and empirical data about DDT's effectiveness have been distorted or suppressed. Nevertheless, and Rachel Carson's scare-mongering notwithstanding, there is no evidence that DDT use in the amounts necessary to ward off malarial mosquitoes is harmful to humans, wildlife or the environment. Period.

    By contrast, there's plenty of evidence -- from the U.S. and Europe to Australia, India, Sri Lanka and Brazil -- that spraying DDT is the best intervention. According to Pierre Guillet, another WHO official at Friday's press conference, South Africa temporarily stopped using DDT in 1996 because green groups were opposed, not because it wasn't working. Malaria takes a heavy toll on a country's economy by discouraging foreign investment and incapacitating otherwise productive people, so these anti-DDT alarmists have been helping to impoverish those they don't kill. There is something other-worldly, or worse, about well-heeled greens trying to deny the world's poorest people the very tool used by rich nations to eradicate this disease.

    Even if WHO's decision won't change those minds, its stamp of approval on pesticide use matters in the public health world. Other organizations, ranging from the World Bank to Aid for International Development to Doctors Without Borders, look to WHO for guidance and will now likely reassess their own guidelines. The U.S. is typically the largest donor to these international agencies, and the recent efforts of Republican Senators Sam Brownback of Kansas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who have called for DDT intervention and more responsible allocation of aid dollars generally, no doubt played a role in WHO's decision.

    One insecticide won't end malaria, and DDT's proponents don't claim it will. But by keeping more people alive and healthy, DDT can help create the conditions for the only lasting solution, which is economic growth and development. It's encouraging that even a U.N. health agency seems to have figured that out.

    I suspect there's a bit of lying with statistics in claims that happy hour drinking adds to earnings
    Remember that you can drink non-alcoholic beverages at a happy hour

    "Happy hour for drinkers' wages: New study reveals that those who enjoy a tipple now and then earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers," CNN Money, September 14, 2006 --- http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/14/news/funny/drinking_earnings/

    If you thought swigging beer or indulging in a glass of chardonnay was putting your career on a fast-track to nowhere, think again.

    In fact, a study conducted by two economists and published Thursday by the Reason Foundation and in the latest edition of The Journal of Labor Research, says that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than those who refrain from drinking.

    "Instead of earning less money than nondrinkers, drinkers earn more," authors of the study, Bethany Peters and Edward Stringham, wrote. More specifically, the study found that workers who drank in a social setting earned more than those who tipped a glass at home.

    The study contends that social capital, which entails everything from a person's charisma to the size of their social network, can be enhanced by drinking.

    Those who drink socially, for example, may have an easier time finding a new job if they had made more business contacts, the authors claim, or they might strengthen relationships with co-workers or clients that could ultimately affect their salary.

    While earnings for both men and women benefited from drinking, the study discovered a few noteworthy differences between the two groups.

    Female drinkers earned 14 percent more than non-drinkers, while males who drank earned 10 percent more than their teetotaler counterparts.

    At the same time, men who went to a bar at least once a month earned an additional 7 percent on top of the 10 percent drinking premium. But women who engaged in similar behavior did not experience any effect on their earnings.

    Continued in article

    I won't raise my glass to this one!
    Alcohol consumption accounted for 1,715 deaths among traditional-age college students in 2001, according to a study released Thursday by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  That represents an increase of about 6 percent (after being adjusted for the rise in the number of college-age people) from the 1,575 alcohol-related deaths three years earlier, in 1998, according to the study, which was published in the latest edition of the Annual Review of Public Health.  The study also found a sharp rise in the proportion of students aged 18 to 24 who acknowledged driving drunk, to 31.4 percent in 2001 from 26.5 percent in 1998. That represents an increase in the number of students who drove drunk over that three-year period to 2.8 million, from 2.3 million.
    Doug Lederman, "Death by Drinking," Inside Higher Ed, March 18, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/03/18/alcohol 

    Also remember that alcohol is more dangerous for women
    "Women Become Dependent at Lower Levels of Use" ---

    Those Pesky Missing Variables

    "MIND GAMES:  What neuroeconomics tells us about money and the brain" by John Cassidy, The New Yorker, September 9, 2006 --- http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060918fa_fact

    The modified theories to which Laibson referred assume that people have two warring sides: the first deliberative and forward-looking, the second impulsive and myopic. Under certain circumstances, the impulsive side prevails, and people succumb to things like drug addiction, overeating, and taking wild gambles in the stock market. For now, the new models await empirical verification, but neuroeconomists are convinced that they’re onto something. “We are not going to falsify all of traditional economics,” Colin Camerer said. “But we are going to point to a whole range of biological variables that traditionally have not been included in the analysis. In economics, that is a big change.”

    Small Business Administration: Managing --- http://www.sba.gov/managing/index.html

    Bob Jensen's helpers for small business are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#SmallBusiness

    ReligionLink --- http://www.religionlink.org/

    From The Washington Post on September 14, 2006

    How many records does the Library of Congress's online catalog hold?

    A. 2 million
    B. 14 million
    C. 50 million
    D. 130 million

    Tomorrow's ministers with a deep-seated hatred of our culture
    When I go speak to my class at a seminary at one of the top ten universities in the United States, I find that most of the students seeking ordination, even the smartest and most gracious ones, have a deep-seated hatred for their own culture. They hate white males, Christianity and Western Civilization. Entitled “The Enemies in Their Midst,” The Los Angeles Times had a front page article on Sept. 1 talking about Britain's (and Europe’s) homegrown problem – Muslim militants converts "with British passports and the accompanying resources and western ways, as well as links to lethal [terrorist] networks in Pakistan." The article stressed that homegrown Muslim radicals in Europe result from "open borders, tolerant laws and social alienation." Who would have thought that the Los Angeles Times would perceive the source of the politically correct problem facing Christendom today.
    Ted Baehr, "Breeding Self-Hatred and Self-Destruction," Movie Guide, September 13, 2006 ---

    "Literary Wealth:  My favorite novels about the pursuit of money," by Ward Just, The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110008954

    1. "The Gilded Age" by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner (1873).

    The very first eye-to-the-keyhole look at the carnal embrace of American politics and American capitalism; no writer before Twain had thought to notice. The novel was written in the first year of the second scandalous Grant administration and concerns, yes, what's now called an earmark--the effort by two con men to secure federal funds for a scheme to dredge and widen the fictitious Columbia River to bring the benefits of navigation to the Missouri hinterland, where the boys not coincidentally have options on land. Where the river goes, the towns are sure to follow and property values to rise. Perhaps the government might find it convenient also to purchase land for a Negro university, a noble project in the heroic effort at post-Civil War Reconstruction. The heart of the novel is the successful passage of these twin swindles through the House and the Senate as the members put themselves out for a bid. Twain and his newspaperman collaborator, Warner, called their book "A Tale for To-Day." And how.

    2. "The Financier" by Theodore Dreiser (Harper, 1912).

    Dreiser's "Trilogy of Desire" ("The Financier," followed by "The Titan" and "The Stoic") is the Iliad of American capitalism, a war of the bourses that contains much beauty, and occasional justice, along with the carnage. Dreiser's command of the facts of commercial life--streetcar franchises, for example--is as complete as Homer's of war, and his characters as large. The trilogy is the story of Frank Cowperwood, aspirant tycoon, a man of intelligence and appetite, a predator both ruthless and appealing. Dreiser's prose, alas, is as brutish as his subject--repetitious and ungainly, but also as furious and hypnotizing as a turbine. With the exception of Balzac, no other writer saw so far or so deeply into the mechanics of money-making.

    3. "Something Happened" by Joseph Heller (Knopf, 1974).

    Inside the belly of the beast: "I get the willies when I see closed doors. Even at work, where I am doing so well now, the sight of a closed door is sometimes enough to make me dread that something horrible is happening behind it, something that is going to affect me adversely." Bob Slocum is a middle- management man for whom the office is a kind of purgatory. Most days he is terrified, in an existential dread: He is uncertain of his place in the scheme of things. Beautifully written, often to the rhythm of a metronome, "Something Happened" ends with a sentence as honed as a knife's blade: "Everyone seems pleased with the way I've taken command."

    4. "Babbitt" by Sinclair Lewis (Harcourt, Brace, 1922).

    The small-town saga of real-estate agent George F. Babbitt--good Republican, conscientious husband and father--prospering nicely in Zenith until, obeying a sudden anarchic urge, he slips into a twilight of cocktails at roadhouses with dubious women and unconventional friends. The contemporary reader must navigate some antique slang ("...but gosh all fishhooks, that's the trouble with women!"), but Lewis is a virtuoso of Midwestern civic rhythms of the early 20th century, where the rules were as rigid as the dimensions of a dollar bill, and the consequences most profound when you stepped out of line. A hint of Lewis's intentions is given in the novel's dedication: "To Edith Wharton."

    5. "American Pastoral" by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, 1997).

    Getting and spending has never been a salient feature of Philip Roth's books. Most of his characters have jobs, as writers or university professors or advertising men, but capitalism--its recklessness, its restraints and its rewards--has never been a main concern. That changed with "American Pastoral," a great work of fiction that summons the life of Seymour "Swede" Levov, a play-by-the-rules businessman with all the blessings that hard work and good luck can bestow: a beautiful wife, an adorable daughter, robust good health, abundance. Swede lives in a kind of paradise, America in the Eisenhower years. Then the 1960s arrive, and the adorable daughter becomes a vicious revolutionary-terrorist whose specific aim is to turn daddy's paradise upside down; and she succeeds.

    Mr. Just's latest novel, "Forgetfulness," has just been published by Houghton Mifflin.

    Forwarded by Auntie Bev

    If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won't survive the week.

    If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 20 million people around the world.

    If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.

    If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

    If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

    If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, especially in the United States.

    If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

    If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer God's healing touch.

    If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read anything at all.

    You are so blessed in ways you may never even know.

    Reach out an touch someone in Texas ---


    Forwarded by Paula

    The Oops List (photographs) --- http://www.micom.net/oops/

    Paddy staggered home very late after another evening with his drinking Buddy, Mick. He took off his shoes to avoid waking his wife, Brigid. He tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading to their Upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step. As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed heavily on his rump. A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful.

    Managing not to yell, Paddy sprung up, pulled down his pants, and looked in the hall mirror to see that his butt cheeks were cut and bleeding. He managed to quietly find a full box of band-Aids and began putting a Band-Aid as best he could on each place he saw blood. He then hid the now almost empty Band-Aid box and shuffled and stumbled his way to bed.

    In the morning, Paddy woke up with searing pain in both his head and butt and Brigid staring at him from across the room. She said, "You were drunk again last night weren't you Paddy?" Paddy said, "Why would you say such a mean thing?" "Well," Brigid said, "it could be the open front door, it could be the broken glass at the bottom of the stairs, it could be the drops of blood trailing through the house, it could be your bloodshot eyes, but mostly....... it's all those Band-Aids stuck on the hall mirror."

    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