Tidbits on October 2, 2006
Bob Jensen

Foliate Network --- http://www.foliagenetwork.com/default.php
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/ )

Zaba Search free database of names, addresses, birth dates, and phone numbers. Social security numbers and background checks are also available for a fee --- http://www.zabasearch.com/




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

Video on How Jiffy Lube Cheats on Car Repairs --- http://mfile.akamai.com/12924/wmv/vod.ibsys.com/2006/0503/9152183.200k.asx

Hoe Down of Hillary and Condi running for president --- http://i.euniverse.com/funpages/cms_content/13180/HillaryCondi_HoDown.swf 

Digital Archives --- http://www.dapcentral.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=MasterList2&file=more

Britain's Elite Universities (a slide show) ---
http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/09/brit_universities/index_01.htm?link_position=link3

Many are willing to bet that media companies will want to share ad revenue with the popular video Web site,
despite questions about piracy.

"YouTube’s Video Poker," by Saul Hansell, The New York Times, September 30, 2006 --- Click Here

How many days, hours, and seconds left until Christmas?  See  http://home.valornet.com/sabruf2/countchr.html

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

 


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

Hearing History in Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6129917

Symphony No. 5:  Hear samples of the music:
* The First Movement * The Second Movement

Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/muther.htm
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.

Hubbard's Path: 'Redneck Mother' to 'Wylie Lama' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6082018
* 'Snake Farm' * 'Old Guitar' * 'Kilowatts'

Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/muther.htm
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.

Tommy Emmanuel, Finger-Picking Good --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6124857

Joe Lovano, Returning to 'The Birth of the Cool' (Jazz) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6161569

Audiotorium (large number of free downloads) --- http://bornpinoy.com/audiotorium.htm

'Rockin' Bones' Celebrates Rockabilly's Rebels --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6099780

Chris Smither, Keeping the Blues Light On --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6083209

A Poppy Rock Band Discovers Hints of Metal --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5783211

New Music Video From David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff - "Jump In My Car" ---
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3382491587979249836&hl=en

2BlogMusic.com --- http://www.2blogmusic.com/?p=47


Photographs and Art

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

NASA's New Cameras: A Photo Essay --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17423&ch=infotech

Norway Coastal Panoramic Photography by Per Lothe --- http://www.lothen.com/

The Getty Art Museum --- http://www.getty.edu/

World Heritage Tour --- http://www.world-heritage-tour.org/asia/cn/beijing/gugong/greatHarmonyCourt.html

Art Renewal Center --- Digital Archives --- http://www.dapcentral.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=MasterList2&file=more 

Amazing Sand Castles --- http://www.funnies.com/sandcastles.htm

Artist and sculptor Bernard M. Deschler --- http://objflicks.com/GladiatorAmericanStyle.htm

Kosta Trimovski - Pitsaman Photographs --- http://www.pbase.com/pitsaman/my_favorites

The Art of Jeremy Lipking --- http://www.lipking.com/

National Archives of Australia: Documenting a Democracy ---  http://www.foundingdocs.gov.au/ 

3M Security Glass --- http://scottrope.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/3mmoneyglass1.jpg

 


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

It's the soul that stands the body up and gets it moving forward. Every body's soul is on a journey.
We Never Go Away, Listen to this poem by Dennis Downey ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6068489

Robert Frost Poem Discovered Tucked Away in Book --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6174131

Famous peoples last words --- http://www.digital-karma.org/culture/quotes/famous-peoples-last-words
Last Words of Real People --- http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/6537/realidx.htm
Last Words of Fictional Characters --- http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/6537/fictidx.htm
Famous Epitaphs --- http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/6537/epitaphs.htm
Other Last Words --- http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/6537/

BBC's World History --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/

Macro History --- http://www.fsmitha.com/

The Golden Bowl by Henry James (1843-1916) --- Click Here

Oskar Schindler --- http://www.oskarschindler.com/

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (1860-1937) --- Click Here

PoetryMagic --- http://www.poetrymagic.co.uk/siteplan.html

Interactive Novel
Introduction to the Quicksilver Wiki by Neal Stephenson --- http://www.metaweb.com/wiki/wiki.phtml

LitWeb --- http://litweb.net/
Find over 500 biographies of the most important writers with our Authors Index, selected bibliographies, and the winners, past and present, of the top literary prizes since they began.




It's a good thing I had a bag of Marijuana instead of a bag of spinach. I'd be dead by now.
Willie Nelson being caught with a bag of Marijuana earlier this week (forwarded by Debbie)

The manner with which we walk through life is each man's most important responsibility, and we should remember this with every new sunrise.
Thomas Yellowtail, CROW as quoted in a recent message from Jeff Hostetler

Friends applaud, the comedy is over.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Purported to be his last words --- Click Here  

Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six.
Leo Tolstoy, (Nikolaevich), Count (1828-1910). Purported to be his last words --- Click Here 

Drink to me!
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Purported to be his last words --- Click Here

The first requirement of a statesman is that he be dull. This is not always easy to achieve.
Dean Acheson (1893-1971) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acheson 

“I believe that most professors aren’t trained to design effective writing assignments or know what it means to evaluate their students’ writing fairly. In other words, most student writing problems identified by faculty are caused by faculty. Sloppy assignments and grading policies lead to sloppy student writing.” “So I would say the long and short of it is that the most effective way to improve student writing is to improve faculty performance.”
Laurence Musgrove, "Just Ask the Students," Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/10/02/musgrove
Laurence Musgrove is an associate professor of English and foreign languages at Saint Xavier University, in Chicago.

Look what President [Hugo] Chavez just said about President Bush. You know, we--and we try to teach our children to get over it. I mean, you've got kids. You know, one of the most important things you can teach a child is that not everything that happens to you will be nice. But you are in control of how you respond to everything that happens to you. You do not have to respond with violence or anger or hatred or bitterness or demeaning conduct, and you cannot be diminished by what someone else says about you.
Bill Clinton --- http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0609/20/lkl.01.html 

Cablevision awarded options to a vice chairman after his 1999 death but backdated them to make it appear they were awarded when he was still alive. Cablevision restated its results as an options probe escalated.
Peter Grant, James Bandler, and Charles Forelle, The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2006; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115884346082669986.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

More than 1,500 people have died in narcotics-related killings in Mexico this year. Dozens of people have been beheaded and tortured as cartels across Mexico fight for the lucrative drug trafficking routes into the U.S.
"Mexico's Drug Wars Leave Rising Death Toll," NPR, September 21, 2006 ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6113878

Those obnoxious hedge fund managers and their super-rich investors think they’ve been trapped in a nightmare this month. They haven’t. They’ve been trapped in a movie. Namely: a 2006 remake of the old Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd classic, “Trading Places.” In the film, two tycoons expect an orange juice shortage and try to corner the market. When it turns out there is no shortage, the price collapses in panic selling and they lose their shirts. This time it’s oil, not OJ. But it works the same way.
Brett Arends, "Hedge fund managers getting burned on oil," Boston Herald, September 26, 2006 --- Click Here

'This woman may have had the voice of an angel in the past but now she has the foul mouth of a sewer rat.' Channel 4's confidential complaints log, seen by this newspaper, shows that the bulk of the protests have been about 20-year-old Miss Church's language.
Martin Beckford and James Tapper, "Viewers' fury at Charlotte's 'sewer rat' mouth," London's Daily Mail, September 23, 2006 --- Click Here

According to the report from Ted Baehr, publisher of MovieGuide, Hollywood movies with strong Christian worldviews make two to seven times as much money as those flicks with explicit sex and nudity. The assessment looked at nearly 2,700 of the top movies at the box office from 1996 through 2005, and said while pundits and advertisers like to believe that sex and nudity sells, nothing could be further from the truth.
"Surprise! Moral movies draw 7 times the fans," WorldNetDaily, September 30, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52221

At least 60 million people regularly consult online maps, and last year 1.2 million cars were sold with built-in navigation systems, a number that has quadrupled over the past three years. Cell phone manufacturers are starting to install GPS, too.
Wilson Rothman, "Map Quest It's geeky data miners vs. old-school drivers in the pitched battle to provide digital driving directions to the likes of Google and Garmin. May the best map win," Wired Magazine, October 2006 --- http://wired.com/wired/archive/14.10/mapquest.html

The world of computer gaming is often associated with "gamers" -- mostly men who invest in special controllers, giant monitors and subwoofers for use with violent action games. But a different type of gaming, "casual gaming," is becoming popular with a different type of user, mainly middle-age women. Casual games include puzzles, card and arcade games and don't require hours of play in order to understand how they work or which computer buttons will do what. The game industry sees the casual gamer as a growing market and believes it mainly consists of women over 35.
Walter S. Mossberg
and Katherine Boehret, Online Games Appeal to 'Casual' Players Violence-Free Web Service Offers Free Trials, Rewards; Log-Ins Can Get Confusing," The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2006; Page D4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/the_mossberg_solution.html




The next president should appoint George W. Bush to be a special envoy to Iraq and charge him with the responsibility to oversee all American interests there, advise the new Iraqi government, and maintain the morale of American troops who are carrying out the war effort.
Bill FergusonSalt Lake Tribune, June 16, 2006

The Gong Show's Game of Gotcha
I was surprised at the media source (The Washington Post) of this admission
Many Democrats act as if that's the end of the discussion: A mismanaged occupation has created a breeding ground for terrorists, so we should withdraw and let the Iraqis sort out the mess. Some extreme war critics are so angry at Bush they seem almost eager for America to lose, to prove a political point. Even among mainstream Democrats, the focus is "gotcha!" rather than "what next?" That is understandable, given the partisanship of Republican attacks, but it isn't right.
"The Big Question Democrats Are Ducking," by David Ignatius, The Washington Post, September 27, 2006 --- Click Here

The issue raised by the National Intelligence Estimate is much grimmer than the domestic political game. Iraq has fostered a new generation of terrorists. The question is what to do about that threat. How can America prevent Iraq from becoming a safe haven where the newly hatched terrorists will plan Sept. 11-scale attacks that could kill thousands of Americans? How do we restabilize a Middle East that today is dangerously unbalanced because of America's blunders in Iraq?

This should be the Democrats' moment, if they can translate the national anger over Iraq into a coherent strategy for that country. But with a few notable exceptions, the Democrats are mostly ducking the hard question of what to do next. They act as if all those America-hating terrorists will evaporate back into the sands of Anbar province if the United States pulls out its troops. Alas, that is not the case. That is the problem with Iraq -- it is not an easy mistake to fix.

An example of the Democrats' fudge on Iraq was highlighted yesterday by Post columnist Dana Milbank in his description of retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste's appearance before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Senators cheered Batiste's evisceration of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld but tuned out Batiste's call for more troops and more patience in Iraq, and his admonition: "We must mobilize our country for a protracted challenge."

Here's a reality check for the Democrats: There is not a single government in the Middle East, with the possible exceptions of Iran and Syria, that favors a rapid U.S. pullout from Iraq. Why? The consensus in the region is that a retreat now would have disastrous consequences for America and its allies. Yet withdrawal is the Iraq strategy you hear from most congressional Democrats, whether they call it "strategic redeployment" or something else.

I wish Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter) were asking this question: How do we prevent Iraq from becoming a failed state? Many critics of the war would argue that the worst has already happened -- Iraq has unraveled. Unfortunately, as bad as things are, they could get considerably worse. Following a rapid American pullout, Iraq could descend into a full-blown civil war, with Sunni-Shiite violence spreading throughout the region. In this chaos, oil supplies could be threatened, sending prices well above $100 a barrel. Turkey, Iran and Jordan would intervene to protect their interests. James Fallows titled his collection of prescient essays warning about the Iraq war "Blind Into Baghdad." We shouldn't compound the error by being "blind out of Baghdad," too.

The Democrat who has tried hardest to think through these problems is Sen. Joseph Biden. He argues that the current government of national unity isn't succeeding in holding Iraq together and that America should instead embrace a policy of "federalism plus" that will devolve power to the Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish regions. Iraqis are already voting for sectarian solutions, Biden argues, and America won't stabilize Iraq unless it aligns its policy with this reality. I disagree with some of the senator's conclusions, but he's asking the right question: How do we fix Iraq?

America needs to reckon with the message of the National Intelligence Estimate. Iraq has compounded Muslim rage and created a dangerous crisis for the United States. The Democrats understandably want to treat Iraq as George Bush's war and wash their hands of it. But the damage of Iraq can be mitigated only if it again becomes the nation's war -- with the whole country invested in finding a way out of the morass that doesn't leave us permanently in greater peril. If the Democrats could lead that kind of debate about security, they would become the nation's governing party. But what you hear from most Democrats these days is: Gotcha.


Europe Slamming the Door on Efforts to Follow Terrorism's Money Trail
A secret U.S. program to monitor millions of international financial transactions for terrorist links violated Belgian and European law and will have to be changed, the Belgian government said Thursday. Leonard H. Schrank, SWIFT's chief executive, said in a telephone interview that the cooperative "believes we complied with everything and respected to the fullest extent possible the privacy law in Belgium. But the trouble is data privacy laws in Europe are quite difficult to follow. They're not drafted for national security issues."
John Ward Anderson, "Belgium Rules Sifting of Bank Data Illegal Prime Minister Says SWIFT Group Wrongly Cooperated With U.S. Anti-Terrorism Effort," The Washington Post, September 29, 2006 --- Click Here


Merkel Slammed the Deutsche Opera
German Chancellor Angela Merkel blasted the Deutsch Oper Berlin for cancelling the performances of Mozart’s "Idomeneo," fearing that some scenes could enrage Muslims and trigger reprisals. "We must take care that we do not retreat out of a fear of potentially violent radicals. Self-censorship out of fear is not tolerable," Merkel was quoted as saying in Hanover’s Neue Presse newspaper. Defending her decision to exclude Mozart’s opera from the opera’s programme, the company’s director, Kirsten Harms, explained that the opera in question could pose an "incalculable" security risk. In one of the disputed scenes, the king of Crete, Idomeneo, carries the severed heads of Prophet Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha and Poseidon on to the stage, placing each on a stool. Politicians in Germany also lambasted the decision taken by the director of the Deutsche Oper, one of Berlins’ three opera houses.
Athina Saloustrou, "Merkel Slammed the Deutsche Oper,"  News.ert, September 27, 2006 --- http://news.ert.gr/en/9/21030.asp 

Also see "Fury as opera cancelled for fear of offending Muslims," by Melissa Eddy, Scotsman, September 27, 2006 --- http://news.scotsman.com/entertainment.cfm?id=1427072006


In all the flap about Bin Laden, the media tends to ignore Clinton's worst deeds --- The Scandalous Pardons

"Clinton Freed Terrorists Who Killed My Father," by Thomas Connor, The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2006; Page A9 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115957111562178660.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

Granted, considering Mr. Clinton's pardons of scores of drug dealers, tax cheats and the like in the final night of his presidency, many Americans lost track that one year earlier that he provided clemency to members of the FALN, a Puerto Rican separatist group that waged a terrorist war against the U.S. in the 1970's and 1980's. During that time the FALN carried out more than 130 bombings, including the January 1975 attack on Fraunces Tavern in Lower Manhattan that killed four people, including my father, Frank, who was 33 years old.

On Sept. 21, 1999, only weeks after 14 of the terrorists walked out of prison courtesy of Mr. Clinton (two rejected the deal), I warned the House Oversight Committee of the impact of being soft on terrorism, saying that "on the eve of the next century, the threat of global terrorism is greater than it has ever been" and "when the next indiscriminate bombing happens, I, unlike Clinton, will feel the pain of the victims and he will be in part responsible for it." Sadly, I was proven right less than two years later.

Continued in article


"To Kill Alan Dershowitz," by Alan Dershowitz, FrontPageMagazine, September 27, 2006 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=24616

Last month I wrote an article called “Norman Finkelstein’s Obscenities,” a response to Finkelstein’s latest screed, “Should Alan Dershowitz Target Himself for Assassination?”  As the title of the article suggests, Finkelstein puts forward in his article what he believes to be a justification for my assassination as a war criminal, based on my support for Israel. 

Nor was this the only obscenity in the article.  Not by a long shot.  As I wrote in my article, Finkelstein piece was accompanied by a: 

cartoon drawn by “Latuff”, a frequent accomplice of Finkelstein.  The cartoon portrayed me as masturbating in rapturous joy while viewing images of dead Lebanese civilians on a TV set labeled “Israel peep show,” with a Jewish Star of David prominently featured. 

Continued in article


Imagine an American president addressing the United Nations and concluding his remarks by praying that God would hasten Christ’s return and unleash the apocalypse. What do you suppose public opinion would be?
Chuck Colson, "It's a mad, mad world," Townhall, September 29, 2006 --- http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ChuckColson/2006/09/29/its_a_mad,_mad_world
Jensen Comment
Certainly a standing ovation would not be anticipated in the U.N.

That “perfect human being” Ahmadinejad prayed for was the Mahdi, a Shiite messianic figure. What made the prayer so scary was that, in Shiite eschatology, the Mahdi’s return will be preceded by an apocalypse that leaves much of the world dead.
Chuck Colson, "It's a mad, mad world," Townhall, September 29, 2006 --- http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ChuckColson/2006/09/29/its_a_mad,_mad_world
Jensen Comment
Ahmadinejad was wildly applauded in the U.S.


The New York Times, has a right, indeed a duty, to print whatever they want about the administration—even if the information compromises national security?
Mark Holtzer, "Indict the New York Times ("The Newspaper Of Record[ed] Treasonous Acts")," Front Page Magazine, September 29, 2006 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1710510/posts
Jensen Comment
Actually the NYT does not have a legal right to print classified information, but it has adopted a policy that it has the right to choose what classified information it will disclose to the public. This gives an unelected body great power to decide our fate.


Things Go Better With Rights
Since Hamas assumed government authority after democratic elections this year, Israel has begun to deny Palestinian Americans the right to enter. We are left to wonder why. This new policy could be another turn of the screw to pressure Hamas. It could be manufactured as a painless concession for future negotiations. It could be one more tactic in Israel's drive -- which began in 1948 with the expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians -- to empty as much land of as many Palestinians as possible. We do not know the reason for denying entry to Palestinian Americans. But we do know the result. In addition to breaking families apart -- for example one spouse with children in the West Bank, and the other unable to return from visits to the U.S. -- it is discouraging investors. It is driving out the very people the U.S. State Department, the World Bank and other international organizations encouraged to return. We are the ones building businesses, creating jobs and inspiring hope for a better future.
"Things Go Better With Rights," by Zahi Khouri, The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2006; Page A8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115957283766178726.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


The 109th Congress has gone home to fight for re-election, and the best testament to its accomplishments is that very few Republicans are running on them. They're running instead against the peril to the country if the Nancy Pelosi Democrats take power.
"The GOP Record:  The roots of Republican failures in Congress," The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009026


"Secretary of Turbulence Condoleezza Rice takes the long view--maybe too long," by Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009020

Condoleezza Rice arrives 10 minutes early for her interview with The Wall Street Journal, dressed in a red suit and a single strand of white pearls. She says "Hi, Condi Rice"--I can't decide if this is good manners or fake modesty--and sits for a breakfast, which she doesn't touch. No coffee or tea, either. She speaks for five minutes and takes questions for the rest of the hour.

The conversation ranges from Bolivian coca to Iranian IEDs to administration leaks. Some of what she says is bland, some of it bunk, some of it smart and some of it revealing. It all takes shape in sentences that flow one from the other, paragraphs that maintain their discipline and logic, arguments that never lose sight of their destination, even when they digress. Ms. Rice is nothing if not a pleasure to listen to, which may explain why even critics who say she's become too much a creature of the State Department would love to see her name on the Republican ticket in 2008.

Which, by the way, isn't going to happen, at least if by "no, no, no" she truly and unambiguously means no. But her refusal is less interesting than her reasoning for the light it sheds on how she sees herself as Secretary of State. The conversation begins with her describing herself as an academic and ends by saying how glad she'll be to return to Stanford "and do something else." She observes that her stint in the administration of George H.W. Bush took place at the end of one "great historic transformation," and that her current stint takes place at the beginning of another. Her goal for the next two years is to put "some fundamentals in place": "I don't think that this is a battle, if you will, or a struggle that's going to be won on George W. Bush's watch," she says of the war on terror. Maybe this accounts for her sang-froid--at times seeming to border on emotional detachment--in the face of all the reversals in Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo and Ramallah: She chooses to read the present as if it were already the past.

There's something to be said for thinking about the world this way, and Ms. Rice is nothing if not clear about the nature of the enemy, the shape of the conflict, the need to rally "moderate democratizing forces" throughout the Middle East as the great antidote to Arab and Islamic radicalism. On the terrorists: "They're not going back into the woodwork. They have to be defeated." On Iraq: "We just have to fight tooth and nail for the victory of the Iraqis who do not want Iranian influence in their daily lives." On Iran: "We've got a chance to resist the Iranian push into the region, but we better get about it. I mean, it's not the sort of thing that you can just let continue in its current form." On Lebanon: "You have to resist Hezbollah . . . [and] try to strengthen the moderate Lebanese forces, which is not an easy matter." On the Palestinians: "You have to resist the Damascus Hamas, creating a situation in the Palestinian territories where moderates can emerge."

On the other hand, there is also a danger in acting as if the conflict we're in is of the long, twilight struggle kind when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Osama bin Laden seem to believe it's Apocalypse Nigh. And there is an even greater danger in acting as if the problems the U.S. has encountered, particularly in the last year, are evidence of "turbulence" (a word she uses repeatedly) and not, say, of loss of altitude or even critical engine failure.

Thus, implicit in much of what Ms. Rice says is the idea that the U.S. has the luxury of time. I ask about the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, which a year ago appeared to be on the point of collapse yet today has reasserted itself in a big way in Lebanon, particularly thanks to Hezbollah's perceived victory in the summer's war against Israel. "This is one of those twists and turns. . . . I started speaking to at the beginning. I don't think you can kind of know today the effect of Syria's isolation from the Arab world." (Pressed on the subject later on, she concedes that "we're going to have to start looking at further sanctions on Syria.")

I also ask about Egypt, where last year she gave a speech demanding that the regime open the door to democracy but has since watched in virtual silence as Hosni Mubarak cancelled elections and cracked down on dissent: "These things also . . . go in waves. I don't think that Egypt is ever going to be the same place again after the competitive presidential elections"--elections which, she neglects to add, were rigged against the primary challenger Ayman Nour, who now sits in a prison cell, serving a five-year sentence (on trumped-up charges of election-related fraud, no less!).

And of course there is Iran. Ms. Rice notes that, until recently, the State Department didn't actually have an Iran desk, which she reads (in an implicit rebuke of her predecessors) as evidence of a blinkered, bureaucratic mindset that thinks of foreign relations as "those with whom you do relations rather than . . . policy." She also says the U.S. will set up an Iran section in Dubai, modeled on the famous "Riga Station" the U.S. maintained in Latvia to monitor the Soviet Union before diplomatic relations were established in the 1930s. "We have to increase our capability to mine resources and intelligence about Iran. And one of the challenges is that we haven't been in the country for 26 years. And you would be surprised what it does to both your diplomatic and intelligence capability to not be in the country."

During another point in the conversation, she observes that the Soviet Union tested an atomic bomb five years before the West thought they would have one. This raises the question of whether the West can afford to take its time with Iran. "Well, the problem is of course that you never know what you don't know," she says.

But that sits somewhat incongruously with her broader approach to the Iranian challenge. "The international system will agree on a level of pressure. I think it will evolve over time." She opposes measures such as barring Iranians from international sports events or a gasoline embargo (to which Iran is particularly vulnerable, since it imports 40% of its refined gas), because of their "bad effect on the Iranian people." Instead, she stresses the benefits of a consensual, U.N.-centered approach, says the Europeans have been "very strong on this," and adds that she's had "very good discussions" with the Chinese and the Russians about what a sanctions resolution would look like if the Iranians don't suspend enrichment. She thinks even a comparatively weak resolution would have "collateral effects on the willingness of private companies, private banks, to do business with Iran." She hopes it will have an effect on Iranian officials who "do not want to endure the kind of isolation that they're headed toward." Do these people even exist? "I do not believe we're going to find Iranian moderates," she says. "The question is, are we going to find Iranian reasonables?"

That's an interesting way of framing the matter, although perhaps not quite in the way Ms. Rice intends. There are, in fact, Iranian moderates: They are the 80% of the people who oppose the regime. The House has just approved the Iran Freedom Act, which says the U.S. should "support peaceful pro-democracy forces in Iran," and mirrors the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act that became a precursor to regime change there. President Bush used the occasion of his speech to the U.N. General Assembly to speak directly to the Iranian people, telling them "the greatest obstacle to [your] future is that your rulers have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation's resources to fund terrorism, and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons." The State Department itself has increased its budget for supporting Voice of America radio and TV broadcasts in Farsi. What's telling is that Ms. Rice mentions none of this: Her primary method for dealing with the Iranian regime, it seems, is to deal with the regime, not to seek to change it.

Ms. Rice is even less persuasive when the subject turns to the Koreas, North and South. The point is made that South Korea has not been especially helpful to the Bush administration in dealing with the North. She demurs. "Go read what [South Korean President] Roh Moo-hyun said" during his recent press conference with President Bush, she says. "It was pretty remarkable."

And what exactly did Mr. Roh do that was so remarkable? "Well, for instance, they have cut fertilizer supply to the North. They have cut, actually, food assistance. They've pulled back some of their basic assistance to the North. They continue their economic relations, but I think the implication is pretty clear that if the North were to go further, maybe even that's at risk."

Tough stuff--or not. South Korea still throws Pyongyang a lifeline through the Kaesong industrial park--where South Korean companies benefit nicely from what amounts to North Korean slave labor. Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Roh even demanded that a church group not send religious leaflets northward on balloons. It's hard to tell here whether Ms. Rice is putting a best face on relations or simply deceiving herself as to what a lackluster ally South Korea has been to the Bush administration.

Something else is disconcerting, albeit so subtle that I only noticed it in the transcript of the interview. Rewind the tape and linger over the words "the Damascus Hamas." What's with the definite article? Ms. Rice circles back to the subject later in the discussion, when the subject of Islamist gains in democratic elections comes up. "Hamas," she says, "has learned a pretty tough lesson. They have not been able to govern. . . . You know, all of the talk about . . . all this Iranian money coming in and they . . . were going to be supported, it hasn't happened. People are on strike, they can't make their peace with the international community, and it's been really tough. And, in fact, it's been especially tough if you are [Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail] Haniyeh in the territories, as opposed to [overall Hamas leader] Khaled Mashal in Damascus."

The lesson here would seem to be that by putting a diplomatic and economic quarantine on Hamas after its victory in January's election, Palestinians have been made to recognize that there is a price to be paid for electing the Martyrs' Party. But the suggestion--which is gaining increasing currency in the foreign-policy establishment--is that Hamas is, or may with encouragement become, two parties: A radical, IRA-type wing led by Mashal in Damascus and a "moderate," Sinn Fein-like one led by Haniyeh in Ramallah. Does Ms. Rice really believe this? I kick myself for not asking, but someone should.

Finally, inevitably, there is Iraq: "The strategic direction is set," she insists. She points to successes, such as the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and military operations in the Euphrates Valley to stop infiltration from Syria, as well as the need to "get some of the militias under control." She acknowledges the possibility of error: "If there are adjustments that you can make, if there are things that are not being pressed hard enough, if there are some alternative ideas, by all means, I think we'd be delighted to have them," she says in reference to former Secretary of State James Baker's Team B-style exercise on Iraq strategy.

What she doesn't repeat, however, is a story I heard her tell at a previous meeting with Journal editors last year, when she said that she had telephoned George W. Bush as she flew out of Baghdad on her (then) most recent visit: "Mr. President," she said (and I quote from memory) "this is going to be a great country."

Perhaps she feels that way still: It would be distressing indeed if she did not.

Mr. Stephens, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, writes the Global View column every Tuesday.


Fox still routinely trounces CNN
With Fox, for many viewers, what you believe is what you get. And many people, it's clear, believe in Fox completely. The network, which celebrates its 10th anniversary Saturday , has risen past the skeptics to dominate cable news ratings. Though its prime-time ratings have slipped of late, Fox still routinely trounces CNN. ``Fox & Friends," the morning show, has ratings so strong that it has set a new goal: to beat the ``Early Show" on CBS . . . ``Sometimes," says Bill Shine, Fox's senior vice president of programming, ``we do that just to annoy the other anchors."
Joanna Weiss, "Fox news at 10: Love it, hate it, but can't ignore it," Boston Globe, October 1, 2006 --- Click Here


"Media Anarchy Has Its Downside," by Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2006; Page P14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115956113004678291.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

We are talking past each other, the left and right in America. I suppose we always did, but I'm noticing it more. We have different intellectual styles (rather too emotive, arguably too linear), start with different assumptions, and recognize different data. We could be speaking different languages. Which is odd, since all half the country does is talk. (The other half puts roofs on houses.) You'd think they'd find a way to break through.

And so I come to Bill Clinton and Fox News Channel. A week after it aired, the interview still dominates the dinner party. Did he rouse his base? I think so. Did he remind everyone else of what they find objectionable in him? I know so.

But in Manhattan this week at gatherings of hungry liberals -- they are feeling frisky, they can smell victory coming, though this is not necessarily indicative of anything, as Manhattan liberals are traditionally the last to know, and occasionally and endearingly concede they are the last -- the conversation wasn't really about Clinton, but Fox News.

One can't exaggerate how large Fox looms in the liberal imagination. They see it as huge and mighty and credit it with almost mythical power. It is a propaganda channel whose mission it is to destroy the Democratic Party. That's part of why Mr. Clinton's performance had such salience. Finally he was standing up to an evil empire.

It is odd that they are so spooked. In October America is set to become a nation of 300 million. What a big country. Fox News's average evening prime-time viewership is less than two million. Its average daytime is less than a million. And if my mail is an indication, they're already Republicans. Fox's power is that it is an alternative to the mainstream media. It did not take its shape by deeply inhaling liberalism and slowly breathing it out.

The left sees Fox as a symptom and promoter of anarchy. The old unity, the old essential unity one used to experience when one turned on the TV in 1950 or 1980, has been fractured, broken up. We are becoming balkanized. Fox, blogs, talk radio, the Internet, citizen reporters -- it's all producing cacophony, and heralds a future of No Compromise. No one trusts the information they're given anymore, as they trusted Uncle Walter. This is bad for the country.

It is an odd thing about modern liberals that they're made anxious by the unsanctioned. A conservative is more likely to see what's happening as freedom. It isn't that honest and impartial news lost its place of respect, it's that establishment liberalism lost its journalistic monopoly. And it was a monopoly.

Not everyone believed Uncle Walter. Uncle Walter, and Chet and David, were all there was. But while they reigned, Americans were buying "Conscience of a Conservative" by Barry Goldwater, and Reagan was quietly rising way out in California, and Spiro Agnew and Bill Safire were issuing mainstream hits like "effete snobs" and "nattering nabobs." In the time liberals think of as the last great unified era, Americans were rising up.

The new media did not divide us. The new media gave voice to our divisions. The result: more points of view, more subjects discussed, more data presented. This, in a great republic, a great democracy, a leader of the world in a dangerous time, is not bad but good.

But nothing comes free. All big changes have unexpected benefits and unanticipated drawbacks. Here is a loss: the man on the train.

Forty and 50 years ago, mainstream liberal media executives -- middle-aged men who fought in Tarawa or Chosin, went to Cornell, and sat next to the man in the gray flannel suit on the train to the city, who hoisted a few in the bar car, and got off at Greenwich or Cos Cob, Conn. -- those great old liberals had some great things in them.

One was a high-minded interest in imposing certain standards of culture on the American people. They actually took it as part of their mission to elevate the country. And from this came..."Omnibus."

When I was a child of 8 or so I looked up at the TV one day and saw a man cry, "My horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse!" He was on a field of battle, surrounded by mud and loss. I was riveted. Later a man came on the screen and said, "Thank you for watching Shakespeare's 'Richard III.'" And I thought, as a little American child: That was something, I gotta find out what a Shakespeare is.

I got that from "Omnibus."

Those old men on the train -- they were strangers, but in the age of media a stranger can change your life.

And because the men on the train had one boss, who shared their vision -- he didn't want to be embarrassed that his legacy was "My Mother the Car" -- and because the networks had limited competition, the pressure to live or die by ratings was not so intense as today. The competition for ad dollars wasn't so killer. They could afford an indulgence. The result was a real public service.

Now the man on the train is a relic, and no one is saying, "As the lucky holders of a broadcast license we have a responsibility to pass on the jewels of our culture to the young." In a competitive environment that would be a ticket to corporate oblivion at every network, including Fox.

TV is still great, in some ways better than ever. Freedom works.

And yet. When we deposed the old guy on the train, it wasn't all gain. No longer would the old liberals get to impose their vision. But what took its place was programming for the lowest common denominator. Things that don't make you reach. Things you don't want to teach. Eating worms on air-crash island with "Jackass."

I spoke with a network producer a few weeks ago, an old warhorse who was trying to explain his frustration at the current ratings race. He wrestled around the subject, and I cut with rude words to what I thought he was saying. "You mean it's gone from the dictatorship of a liberal elite to the dictatorship of the retarded."

Yes, he said. And it's not progress.

When liberals miss something in the media, that's what they should be missing. Not a unity that never existed but standards that were high. When conservatives say there's nothing to miss, they're wrong. We lost some bias, but we lost some standards, too.


The FCC Scandal
Media policy-making, with its overwhelming bias toward corporate consolidation, dumbed-down content and bottom-line decision-making, has been properly described for some time as "scandalous." Now the quotation marks can be removed; the scandal is official. In September came revelations that Federal Communications Commission officials had, since 2003, blocked the release of major reports that showed the danger of allowing a handful of media conglomerates to control communications. The suppression of the reports dramatically illustrates how an agency charged with protecting the public interest instead does the bidding of the telecommunications corporations it should regulate. One report found that locally owned television stations provide 20 percent more local news than stations owned by the broadcast behemoths. Another detailed a 35 percent drop in the number of independently owned radio stations following the removal of most ownership caps by the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Taken together, the reports make a powerful argument against moves by the Bush Administration and the FCC's Republican majority to further undermine ownership limits.
John Nichols, "The FCC Scandal," The Nation, September 28, 2006 ---
http://www.thenation.com/docprem.mhtml?i=20061016&s=nichols


Have you heard about Michael Bérubé’s What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

"A Liberal Dose of Reason," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, September 27, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/09/27/mclemee

If you have not yet heard about Michael Bérubé’s What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? Classroom Politics and “Bias” in Higher Education, recently published by W.W. Norton, then chances are you also haven’t seen the author’s blog, which has been advertising the book heavily for weeks now, albeit with tongue sometimes in cheek. Over the past two or three years, Bérubé’s Web site has turned into a rallying point for those fighting off David Horowitz’s so-called Academic Bill of Rights (perhaps the finest bit of political word-magic since Stalin created the “peoples democratic republics” of Eastern Europe). The blog itself is part of what is now sometimes called the “netroots” of the Democratic Party, although Bérubé himself is slightly more disposed to working out a position on the multivalence of the signifier than on, say, ethanol subsidies.

In other words, What’s Liberal looks, at first, like a book written with a definite constituency in mind. So does Rhetorical Occasions: Essays on Humans and the Humanities, out next month from the University of North Carolina Press — a volume of Bérubé’s pieces that originally appeared in academic journals and popular magazines as well as the blog.

So all the familiar worries about the echo-chamber effect of new (or “niche”) media come to mind. You know what to expect from a certain kind of title that has become very familiar over the past few years: the op-ed in a fat suit, the sermon to the choir, the repetitious but morale-boosting statement of why “we’re right, they’re wrong.” There are right-wing and left-wing versions of such books. You see them glaring at one another across the aisles at the bookstores. Sometimes they even mimic one another’s covers – either to heighten the spirit of antagonism, or just from a lack of originality, not that the distinction matters too much.

A reader of Bérubé’s blog quickly learns that satire is one of his default modes. (Upon being listed by Horowitz as one of the academe’s “dangerous professors,” he announced that his field was “dangeral studies.”) Sitting down to read What’s Liberal, I anticipated that there would be sarcasm, and plenty of it.

Parody and irony have their uses; at times, no other tools will do the trick. But as modes of argument, they tend not to be especially generous toward an opponent. They tend to reinforce the mentality common to the “we’re right, they’re wrong”-type books, for which the line between “us” and “them” is bright and clear. Reading Bérubé, I expected fireworks. Or, more accurately, dynamite — an exercise in cultural and political demolition.

But in fact, no. The relationship between the book and the blog is not straightforward. And while each might be an example of a public intellectual at work, the contrast between them is a reminder that perhaps we should keep in mind the expression C. Wright Mills sometimes used: “publics,” for there is more than one kind.

What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? assumes the existence of a large, smart, but ambivalent (or frankly confused) audience of people who have heard about the arguments over “bias” in higher education, but not taken sides.

The author assumes on the part of the reader both skepticism and an open mind. He is canny enough a rhetorician then implicitly to equate both skepticism and open-mindedness with liberalism itself (properly understood).

There is also a steady effort to dispel fantasies about the university as a place somehow radically different from other scenes of white-collar life. It is true that the ranks of academics includes “our occasional cranks, our poseurs, our bloviators, our pedants, and a couple of those people who are just impossible to work with,” he writes, “but in this respect, we’re very much like any other workplace — except for the pedants, who are relatively more numerous on campus than off.”

And while admitting that, yes, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in institutions of higher learning, the differences don’t automatically correspond to attitudes toward curriculum. “It is not uncommon,” he writes, “to find that the department’s gay, pony-tailed, hemp-wearing poet insists that today’s students simply must be grounded in a series of required ‘core’ courses in British literary history, whereas the lone suit-and-tie Rockefeller Republican is arguing that the English major should have no requirements whatsoever.”

The book covers quite a lot of ground. It debunks some of the more heavily publicized but fact-free accusations regarding the persecution of conservative students; acknowledges the embarrassments of the “Monty Python left” of Ward Churchill and friends; and describes what it’s like to teach The Rise of Silas Lapham to undergraduates who almost never actually like the book. It also offers a pretty compelling and accessible account of what’s at stake in the Habermas-Lyotard debate over the incommensurability of discourses, with special reference to the debate over foot massages in the opening section of Pulp Fiction.

And there’s more besides. None of it seems random or episodic. All of it serves, rather, to show that higher education is much less homogenous — or for that matter, ideology-minded — than certain propagandists make it look. Any informed account of academe must stress on the “variousness, possibility, complexity, and difficulty” it shares with the rest of life in an affluent society. (I borrow that phrase from Lionel Trilling, who was either a liberal or a neoconservative depending on the angle from which you looked at him.)

“Universities,” writes Bérubé in a passage that sums up an important strand of his argument, “even private universities, are thoroughly and complexly interwoven into what remains of the public sector of the United States, and their relative economic health, together with their extraordinary capacity to generate economic wealth (if you’re interested in that kind of thing), provides powerful testimony to the wisdom and the long-term structural soundness of the mixed free-market/welfare state economy. So America’s cultural conservatives may despise us for the obvious reasons — our cosmopolitanism, our secularism, our corrosive attitude of skepticism about every form of received authority — but the economic conservatives, I think, despise us because we work so well.”

That is not a perspective that gets usually expressed when culture warriors go to battle. But I suspect (and, frankly, hope) it may get a hearing among other sorts of people. Newspaper editors, for example, and state legislators. And smart high school students, not to mention their parents.

For more on What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? — as well as a little about Rhetorical Occasions, which covers many of the same issues at a postgraduate level — you might want to listen to this podcast of my recent interview with Michael Bérubé.


"The 50 Habits of Highly Effective Revolutionaries:  The third wave of nonviolent revolt," by Jesse Walker, Reason Magazine, September 21, 2006 --- http://www.reason.com/links/links092106.shtml

Nonviolent Struggle is a guide for dissidents in other countries who would like to replicate Otpor's success. The "crucial points" of the subtitle range from the sources of political power to the importance of time management. The volume is illustrated with photos from Serbian street protests, giving its pages a vaguely leftish flavor, but the text sometimes reads like a business book. (I don't think Che's Guerrilla Warfare includes a chapter called "What is Multilevel Marketing?") It was published with a grant from the United States Institute of Peace, an organization created and funded by Congress, but its authors can be harsh critics of American foreign policy, arguing that nonviolent people-power revolts are preferable to wars and embargos.

"You need to look at the repertoire of sanctions," says Popovic, who served three years in Serbia's parliament after Milosevic was ousted. "If the UN decides to freeze the accounts of a country's leadership or ban them from traveling, that's very useful for the movement. But if they decide to put an oil embargo on the country, it's the people they're sanctioning, not the leadership." The embargo against Serbia, he argues, was "a typical example" of a policy that actually helps the targeted dictator. "The regime had an excuse for the poor economic situation, mafia connected with the regime got loaded with money, and the people were poor, they were unhappy, and they had a great reason to hate the international community."

"Sanctions don't just mean less economic activity," notes Milivojevic, who is now studying history at Berkeley. "They have a real impact on young people. If you were born sometime from the early to the late '70s, you were reaching maturity just as the war was starting. That would be a period when you would start exploring more, through education, through travel, through the simple osmosis of people coming to where you live. That generation didn't have nearly as much access to outside ideas and information."

The isolation has had long-term effects, he argues, not just on the ability to overthrow Milosevic, but on the ideas influencing the country now that Slobo is gone.

And the bombing campaign? "Bombing countries and applying violence helps dictators to maintain power," Popovic argues. "When countries perceive a military threat from the outside, the people rally around the leadership. An obvious example of this is 9/11 in the United States of America. Bush's approval ratings were highest on September the 12th."

Milivojevic thinks the effect of the attacks was more mixed. "After the bombing, there was a marked shift in the Milosevic regime's methods. It just became more repressive. But a part of that repression was turned into increasing support for Otpor." In the short term, he adds, the bombing prevented political action. ("Society essentially shut down. You were principally concerned with self survival.") Afterwards, Otpor was able to adjust. "The movement appeared before the bombing. And it started to grow before the bombing. If it was a different movement, it might have been destroyed by this. Happily, it wasn't."

So the bombs were essentially a condition you had to react to? "Yes," says Milivojevici. "Obviously, all things being equal, it's a condition that most people would rather not react to."

On the face of it, it shouldn't seem surprising that the authors of a book called Nonviolent Struggle would speak so skeptically about war. But this trio—like their publisher, the Belgrade-based Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS)—carefully eschews ethical arguments for avoiding coercion, preferring to stress the practical benefits. Nonviolence makes it harder for the government to demonize you, they argue, and it makes it easier to attract popular support. Besides, the government has greater firepower; if you use violence, you're fighting on its turf. And if you do manage to overthrow the state, it's better to approach the inevitable faction fights that follow with skills honed in nonviolent struggle than skills honed in gunplay.

The past century's advocates of nonviolence have come in three waves, each with a particular style. The first was represented by Mohandas Gandhi, the man who freed India from British rule. Gandhi was a canny strategist, but it was his role as a moral leader that captured the public imagination, to the point where many Americans now seem to believe that India was liberated through the sheer force of Ben Kingsley's personality. At their best, the activists who followed Gandhi fused a strong sense of morality with a sharp understanding of politics and public relations, a combination represented by figures like Lech Walesa and Martin Luther King. At their worst, they became more interested in asserting their moral purity than in actually accomplishing their goals, transforming nonviolence from a form of action to a passive, self-righteous lifestyle.

It was frustration with the latter group that fueled the second wave. The key figure here is Gene Sharp, author of 1973's three-volume study The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Interviewed by Peace magazine in 2003, Sharp complained that "there are many people in peace organizations who don't like conflict. A few years ago, I gave a talk about national defense by prepared nonviolent resistance. Someone in the audience was very shocked, and accused me: 'All you are doing is taking the violence out of war!'" Sharp himself had been a conscientious objector in the Korean War and an associate of the Christian pacifist A.J. Muste, but he was happy to adorn the backs of his books with endorsements by military figures and to draw former soldiers into his circle. When he collected examples of nonviolent tactics that had been used in the struggles of the past, he didn't have trouble, say, interposing examples drawn from the civil rights movement with examples drawn from the movement's segregationist foes. There's no doubt his own sympathies were with the black protesters, but he was happy to borrow tactical insights from forces he disagreed with, too.

Unlike Gandhi, Sharp has never led a revolution of his own—though he has advised dissidents in hotspots ranging from Burma to the West Bank to the Baltic states. But his work attracted attention just as the world saw a series of nonviolent revolutions whose leaders were rarely Gandhian: uprisings against the Shah in Iran, Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, the Soviet puppet states in Eastern Europe. Sharp's more hard-nosed style was ascendant.

Continued in article


Vanderbilt University: 9/11 America's fault...because America is trash... (see the video here) --- http://kevinmccullough.townhall.com/g/17b4daf9-d396-4399-97e1-c18321c68a3a

"America-haters' 9/11 snow job," by Kevin McCollough, WorldNetDaily, September 29, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52204

Evidently, Vanderbilt University's idea of a fair and balanced remembrance of Sept. 11 is to invite nine liberal socialists to bash America for two hours and send everybody home holding their head in shame at being in fact … Americans.

That's how VU marked the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 – seducing students to a meeting titled "After 9/11: A Time for Reflection."

Evidently, the idea of even allowing one mildly right-of-center thinker was too intimidating for the slanted, biased, anti-American carnival barkers that lined up for two hours and told the gathered students why 9/11 was America's fault. Everything from global warming to the treatment of Native Americans was thrown into the mix. Slavery and racism were especially big reasons as stated by one of the weak leftist thinkers.

Summaries of the speakers' messages are provided at 
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52204


Wanted:  Bay Area Police Officers Willing to Tolerate the System
Three Bay Area police departments confronting a spike in violence -- San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond -- are struggling with another vexing problem: finding and training enough officers to do something about it. To recruit officers, departments are going on the road, offering thousands of dollars in incentives, paying for billboard and radio campaigns, and even poaching officers from other departments. San Francisco has the most daunting task -- the city is trying to hire 750 officers over three years. Oakland is hoping to find 100 officers by January. Richmond is trying to fill 48 vacancies, representing nearly a quarter of the Police Department's authorized strength.

Jaxon Van Derbeken and Christopher Heredia, "Region's most wanted: police officers Recruitment tactics include incentives, fairs, even poaching," San Francisco Chronicle, October 1, 2006 ---
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/10/01/MNG9HLGA911.DTL
Jensen Comment
According to a video of San Francisco's Chief of Police, the San Francisco Chronicle and City Supervisors are doing their best to discourage applicants and lower the morale of present officers.  San Francisco is known for its lenient Judges and liberal Supervisors. The S.F. Chief of Police accuses the Judges and Supervisors of having no accountability and calls the San Francisco Chronicle a piece of crap ---http://mfile.akamai.com/12948/wmv/vod.ibsys.com/2006/0728/9591734.300k.asx


Bush is sometimes not as stupid as he pretends
As the (U.N.) General Assembly is a hostile forum, Bush used it as a foil, and to good effect, challenging an Iranian regime that is feared and loathed by Americans more than any other on earth. Indeed, for a Republican president to be attacked on one side by an Iranian radical perceived to be a Holocaust denier, who heads up a terrorist state and wants nuclear weapons, and, on the other, by a Latin leftist dictator, is an enviable position to be in, six weeks out from an off-year election. Democrats are grinding their teeth.
Patrick J. Buchanan, "The real issue behind U.N.'s comic relief," WorldNetDaily, September 22, 2006 --- Click Here

What was transpiring, however, was a global version of the Iowa Straw Poll. The three presidents were playing to their base, using the U.N. forum to solidify their domestic constituencies and appeal to global ones.

Chavez, however, reduced himself to a comic figure. Other than those who already love him and hate America, the devil talk appeals to no one. Even in Latin America, they are tiring of him. Felipe Calderon, the PAN party candidate in Mexico, was running well behind the leftist Lopez Obrador, until his campaign began linking Obrador to Chavez. Obrador's lead vanished, and he lost, dragged down by Hugo.

Ahmadinejad used the forum to burnish his credentials as a devout Shiite, an Iranian nationalist, an implacable foe of Israel and the most defiant of all anti-American Muslims, standing up for Iran's right, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enrich uranium for peaceful nuclear power.

As the General Assembly is a hostile forum, Bush used it as a foil, and to good effect, challenging an Iranian regime that is feared and loathed by Americans more than any other on earth.

Indeed, for a Republican president to be attacked on one side by an Iranian radical perceived to be a Holocaust denier, who heads up a terrorist state and wants nuclear weapons, and, on the other, by a Latin leftist dictator, is an enviable position to be in, six weeks out from an off-year election. Democrats are grinding their teeth.

But comic relief aside, a serious play is under way.

In a startling comment, Bush, after declaring that "Iran must abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions," added, in comments directed to the Iranian people, "Despite what the regime tells you, we have no objection to Iran's pursuit of a truly peaceful nuclear power program."

Hours later, Ahmadinejad declared that Iran's nuclear program is "transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eye" of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog. He further pledged to observe the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Tehran has signed that prohibits any acquisition of nuclear weapons, but entitles Iran to peaceful nuclear power and the working knowledge of the technology of how it is produced.

Between Bush's position – America has no objection to Iran's pursuit of nuclear power – and Ahmadinejad's – Iran's program is for peaceful nuclear power and fully under IAEA inspection – there seems to be common ground on which to stand to avoid a conflict.

If both men are serious, the questions that remain are clear.

Continued in article


Prof. Chomsky is an intelligent man. Not everything he says by way of criticizing his country is wrong. However, he is not valued for his truths but for his rage, which stokes the rage of his admirers. He feeds the self-righteousness of America's enemies, who feed the self-righteousness of Prof. Chomsky. And in the ensuing blaze everything is sacrificed, including the constructive criticism that America so much needs, and that America--unlike its enemies, Prof. Chomsky included--is prepared to listen to.
Roger Scruton, "Who Is Noam Chomsky? Someone who should have stuck to syntax," The Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110008997 
Mr. Scruton, a British writer and philosopher, is the author of
Gentle Regrets




"Good fences make bad legislation," by Ellen Ratner, WorldNetDaily, October 2, 2006 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52238

This week the Senate approved a fence; a seven hundred mile double wall along the border with Mexico. The bill passed easily 80-19 in this election climate and it is identical to the bill that passed the House of Representatives. The Senate and House members who voted for the bill can go home now and proclaim that they have done something to stem the tide of illegal immigration. But will it work?

. . .

The Pew Hispanic Center’s study found that 40 to 50 percent of illegal immigrants entered the United States legally. Sen. Kennedy cited the fact that smugglers would just move their operation to Canada, transporting future illegals via boat or plane and then have them cross the 4,100-mile border with Canada.

. . .

There is only one real and viable solution to the issue of illegal immigration. We need to help our Mexican neighbors create an economy that employs them in non-sweat shop environments. In addition, we must press the Mexican government to allow Americans access to everyday mom and pop businesses that create a viable trade economy. It is very difficult for the average American to own property in Mexico without mounds of paperwork. If we create conditions where Mexicans can come to work in the United States and go back home to Mexico, as well as creating conditions where Americans can work and own property in Mexico, the illegal immigration problem will dissipate. It will not need the billions of dollars for fencing; it will only need some honest politicians to stop posturing and start telling the American people the truth about illegal immigration and what will really work.

Jensen Comment
Given the business reluctance to support the fence bill that restricts a seasonal and lower-paid labor influx, I was surprised at the strength of the Republican senators' support. Democratic support was more predictable due labor union lobbying for this fence.  Although I agree with Ratner's conclusion about the only possible long-term solution to illegal immigration from Mexico, she  fails to address the overwhelming and seemingly paradoxical obstacles for creating a viable economy in Mexico. The biggest  obstacle is corruption in government and the military that stand in the way of significant reforms in Mexico. Attempts by the U.S. to reduce internal corruption in Mexico and to increase investments in Mexican business will be viewed by the world as another dreaded example of U.S. imperialism. At the moment nobody has a practical solution to Mexico's economic, social, and crime problems without U.S. imperialism.




Gore:  Cigarettes a Significant Cause of Global Warming
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore warned hundreds of U.N. diplomats and staff on Thursday evening about the perils of climate change, claiming: Cigarette smoking is a "significant contributor to global warming!" Gore, who was introduced by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said the world faces a "full-scale climate emergency that threatens the future of civilization on earth."
"GORE: CIGARETTE SMOKING 'SIGNIFICANT' CONTRIBUTOR TO GLOBAL WARMING," Drudge Report, September 30, 2006 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/browse
Jensen Comment
I think Gore overlooked the fact that a more significant cause of global warming is overpopulation where more and more people are using more gasoline, heating oil, propane, electricity, and food. Increasing numbers of people are also driving more and more vehicles that pollute the air. To the extent that cigarette smoking kills people and slows the population growth, cigarettes may actually, in balance, help to slow global warming. Let's encourage more lighting up to save the planet.

How do we erase the Medieval Warm Period?
The National Academy of Sciences report reaffirmed the existence of the Medieval Warm Period from about 900 AD to 1300 AD and the Little Ice Age from about 1500 to 1850. Both of these periods occurred long before the invention of the SUV or human industrial activity could have possibly impacted the Earth’s climate. In fact, scientists believe the Earth was warmer than today during the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings grew crops in Greenland. Climate alarmists have been attempting to erase the inconvenient Medieval Warm Period from the Earth’s climate history for at least a decade. David Deming, an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Geosciences, can testify first hand about this effort. Dr. Deming was welcomed into the close-knit group of global warming believers after he published a paper in 1995 that noted some warming in the 20th century. Deming says he was subsequently contacted by a prominent global warming alarmist and told point blank “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.” When the “Hockey Stick” first appeared in 1998, it did just that.
HOT & COLD MEDIA SPIN CYCLE: A CHALLENGE TO JOURNALISTS WHO COVER GLOBAL WARMING SENATOR JAMES INHOFE CHAIRMAN, SENATE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE
September 25, 2006 --- http://epw.senate.gov/speechitem.cfm?party=rep&id=263759

Earth Climate Course --- http://icp.giss.nasa.gov/education/modules/eccm/

Facing Global Warming --- http://www.technologyreview.com/special/oil/index.aspx




"Times Are Booming for CPA Firms," SmartPros, October 2, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x54979.xml

Firms posted a net fee revenue increase of 9.7 percent in 2005, up from 7.0 percent in 2004 and the best since an 11.8 percent increase in 2000. According to the report:

"Business is booming for firms and would be even better if the severe shortage of professional staff wasn't throttling the CPA industry's ability to get the work out," said Marc Rosenberg, CPA, founder and creator of the survey. "Smaller firms throughout the country tell us that they could have obtained more business but that they didn't dare go after it because they wouldn't have anyone to get the work done."

Evidence of this was the fact that only 3 percent of the "over $10 million" firms had fee increases of less than 4 percent.  By contrast, 28 percent of the "$2 million to $10 million" firms had fee increases of less than 4 percent, and a stunning 48 percent of the "under $2 million" firms experienced growth of less than 4 percent; some of these smaller firms actually experienced revenue declines.

Not surprisingly, the biggest factor fueling the boom in demand for CPA services is Sarbanes-Oxley work. All firms, big and small, are benefiting from what the industry has termed the "trickle-down" effect of Sarbanes-Oxley: The largest firms are enjoying the most benefit from Sarbanes-Oxley, but it limits their ability and desire to go after smaller clients, who trickle down to the next size level below them, and so on down to small firms. Twenty-three percent of the firms in the "over $10 million" group reported that their revenues were significantly impacted by SOX.

A major factor fueling the growth of the largest firms has been some mild success at increasing their staffing levels. No size of firm in the country, from the Big Four on down, has been able to hire the number of staff they need. But the larger firms are able to recruit more effectively because they are more attractive to staff than smaller firms, and their firms are investing substantial amounts of time and money into making the work environment at their firms more enjoyable. The "over $10 million" group experienced a 5 percent to 10 percent increase in their professional staff headcount in 2005.  The "$2 million to 10 million" group was barely able to maintain their overall professional staff level from 2004 to 2005. Firms under $2 million actually suffered a net decline in staff.

The firms in our survey posted excellent increases in profitability, as measured by income per partner:

The above shows how the disparate growth rates of the three firm groupings also produced profitability increases that were quite different.

Other survey findings:

Finally, there seems to be a small movement for firms to change their partner compensation systems from formulas to the compensation committee approach. Though formulas are still the most popular system across the board, for larger firms the compensation committee approach is the system of choice. 

"This trend reflects a growing understanding that in addition to traditional production measures such as business origination and billable hours, intangible contributions such as firm management, mentoring of staff and teamwork also need to be recognized in the compensation system," said Rosenberg.

The survey includes the results of 281 firms, most of which range from $2-15 million in annual fees, and measured nearly 100 MAP statistics. It can be purchased for $300. To order, go to www.rosenbergassoc.com or call (847) 251-7100.


"E&Y, PwC Top Employers for Working Mothers," SmartPros, September 27, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x54886.xml

Big Four accounting firms Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers are recognized as two of the best companies in the U.S. for working mothers, according to an annual survey by Working Mother magazine.

Both firms make an appearance in the magazine's top 10 of "100 Best Companies" list, which celebrates employers who are "head and shoulder above the mainstream" with flextime plans, telecommuting, fitness centers, health insurance for part-timers, and more.

Using five criteria -- flexibility, maternity and paternity leave, elder care, child care and the number of women occupying top jobs -- the top 10 are: Abbott Laboratories; Bon Secours Richmond Health System; Ernst & Young LLP; HSBC USA Inc.; IBM Corp.; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Patagonia Inc.; PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP; Principal Financial Group, and S.C. Johnson & Son Inc.

Continued in article

Women now make up more than 60 percent of all accountants and auditors in the United States, according to the Clarion-Ledger. That is an estimated 843,000 women in the accounting and auditing work force.
AccountingWeb, "Number of Female Accountants Increasing," June 2, 2006 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102218

Bob Jensen's threads on women in accountancy are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers


"Accounting Firms Among BusinessWeek’s 'Best Places to Launch a Career'," AccountingWeb, September 22, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102606

When it comes to launching a career, four accounting firms have made BusinessWeek’s list of best places to start. Only three of the “Big Four” firms, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Ernst & Young and KPMG LLP, are among the top 55 places to launch a career. Grant Thornton LLP is the only non-Big Four firm appearing on the list.

BusinessWeek’s analysis of top employers for recent college graduates is the most comprehensive of its kind, examining feedback from students, college career counselors, and employers themselves, to reveal which companies offer the biggest advantages for entry-level employees, such as the highest pay, the quickest advancement and the best training programs.

Deloitte & Touche, where one-quarter of all partners have been with the firm for more than 20 years, held the highest ranking among accounting firms at number 3. In addition, one-third of experienced hires are “boomerangs” who have left and returned.

The permanent four-day weekends for Labor Day, July 4th and Memorial Day, instituted in 2005, helped Ernst & Young land in the number 12 spot on the BusinessWeek list. The firm is the only one of the ranked accounting firms not offering a management training program.

KPMG’s allotment of 25 paid days off for entry level professionals is among the most generous offerings on the list and good enough to earn the firm a number 15 ranking.

“I am very proud of the fact that so many students, counselors and employees see our firm as one where they can make a professional home – and make a difference,” Ed Nusbaum, Grant Thornton’s chief executive officer (CEO), said in a prepared statement. “Great people are our brand, so I am pleased that we are a coveted place to work.”

In ranking Grant Thornton as number 34, BusinessWeek highlighted the fact that more than four out of five interns become full-time associates. The firm’s most valuable trait is identified as its leadership skills, and LEADS, the leadership development program, was specifically noted.

With four ranked firms, the accounting industry makes a very respectable showing on this year's list. The industry with the most ranked firms was the financial services industry, having nine ranked firms. In second place, with seven ranked firms, is the consulting industry, followed closely by the the consumer goods and government industries, which both had six ranked firms.

Bob Jensen's threads on accountancy careers are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers


PwC's Website for College and University Faculty --- Click Here

Accounting Professional Site Links 
The CPA Team http://www.cpateam.com/  

An E-ssential Site --- http://www.el.com/
CPAs, financial analysts, small business owners, and tax professionals not only can find links to many Web sites in their fields here, but also can use Essential Link’s home page to access online calculators, clocks, e-mail services, encyclopedias and dictionaries. Users can find links to online news, newspaper and television network Web sites in the Headlines area, as well as links to Internet search engines..

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for accounting educators --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm


After selling its consulting practice division to IBM, PwC still earns over a third of its revenues from advisory services.

"PricewaterhouseCoopers Launches U.S. Valuation Services," AccountingWeb, September 26, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102616

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has announced the launch of a U.S. valuation practice that offers a full range of valuation services. The valuation services are organized into two teams, the Transaction Services Accounting and Valuation Advisory practice and the Business Advisory practice. With the U.S. launch, PwC can deliver valuation services through a team of over 1,550 valuation professionals worldwide.

Valuation assessments provide critical input for a variety of corporate initiatives, including evaluating and structuring transactions; managing accounting, financial reporting and tax matters; resolving value-related issues surrounding disputes; and assessing strategic and tactical options supporting business decision making. By finding these issues and embedding applied valuation skills, PricewaterhouseCoopers, a provider of industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stake holders, believes it has created a truly distinctive service for non-audit clients.

Transaction Services Accounting and Valuation Advisory Practice

“As financial reporting moves to a fair value model, companies must deal with fair value issues every day, and nowhere are these issues more complex than when companies do deals,” John Glynn, a New York partner, former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) professional accounting fellow and PwC’s representative to the Appraisal Issues Task Force who has been chosen to lead the Transaction Services Accounting and Valuation Advisory practice, said in a statement announcing the launch of the services. “By getting involved early and considering a company’s clearly defined business needs and goals, we can help clients get valuation right the first time, and think through the financial reporting and tax consequences of transactions and other initiatives. We can offer this because our practice brings together professionals with technical accounting, tax and valuation expertise.”

The Transaction Services Accounting and Valuation Advisory practice offers services that help companies meet financial reporting and tax valuation requirements, especially those related to merger and acquisition transactions. The Transaction Services group of PwC offers a deal process that helps clients bid smarter, close faster, and realize profits sooner on mergers, acquisitions, sales and financing transactions. Dedicated deal teams operate from 16 U.S. cities, as well as 126 locations in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Business Analytics Practice

The Business Analytics team, led by Mark Haller, a Chicago-based partner and leader of PwC’s Economics and Strategy practice, offers applied valuation analysis and advisory services that help companies make business decisions. Business Analytics is part of PwC Advisory which brings together experienced, credentialed valuation specialists, along with a broader group of quantitatively trained, strategically savvy, and industry focused professionals who help clients execute strategy and make decisions on important issues, supported by hard facts and insightful analysis.

“We apply analytical approaches often dependent on value assessment and relative value modeling to help our clients to make important choices on strategic and tactical matters,” Haller said, noting his team specializes in analyses that help companies make better business decisions. “Our work adds quantitative support that refines and sometimes can even alter a client’s assumptions on issues such as new market entry and competitive threats, dispute resolution, changing and emerging business models, internal investment choices, product pricing, product rationalization and extension, and customer value assessment. Our rigorous analysis produces the detailed information companies need to make important decisions with greater speed.”


Question
What is the new Bridge Program of the AACSB?

The Bridge Program is a five-day intensive seminar to help senior business leaders prepare for faculty positions in business schools. The program was developed for AACSB by the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine and the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. To be eligible for the AACSB Bridge Program, business professionals must have a master's degree, as well as professional experience of significant duration and responsibility related to the area of teaching assignment. Candidates with a master's degree in a non-business field, but who have significant work experience in a business teaching area, may also be eligible.
"AICPA Grants $25K to Help Accountants Move to University Teaching," SmartPros, September 28, 2006 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x54926.xml

The Bridge Program currently awards five $5,000 scholarships for doctoral studies --- http://www.aacsb.edu/bridge/AICPAFoundationBridgeProgramScholarship.pdf


October 2, 2006 message from Gerald Trites [gtrites@ZORBA.CA]

A new Blog for XBRL Canada is available at the following link: http://www.zorba.ca/xbrlblog.html. The blog is intended to provide a timely record of events relating to XBRL, particularly in Canada, and also other events of general interest. It also is a forum to enable  members to bring events to the attention of others. 
-------------------------
Gerald D Trites, FCA, CA*CISA/IT
Ph: 416-602-3931
Web Site:
www.zorba.ca
E-Business Blog: www.zorba.ca/blog.html
XBRL Blog: www.zorba.ca/xbrlblog.html
 

Bob Jensen's threads (including video tutorials) on XBRL are linked at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm#TimelineXBRL


Open-Sharing of Video Lectures from Leading Universities Gains Momentum
The University of California at Berkeley announced Tuesday that it would put video of selected courses online — free to all — through a collaboration with Google Video. The move follows a similar move announced a week ago by Yale University.
Inside Higher Ed, September 27, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/27/qt

An Earlier Tidbit About Berkeley:  From the Scout Report on May 19, 2006

Webcast.Berkeley [iTunes, Real Player] http://webcast.berkeley.edu/

Over the past few years, a number of colleges and universities have created initiatives to place some of their course materials online for the general public. MIT was one of the first to do so, and Berkeley has also started to offer a number of webcasts and podcasts of select courses on this website.

Drawing on the strengths of the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center, they have begun to place some of these excellent materials on this site. On their well-designed homepage, visitors can either look at an archive of course webcasts and podcasts or take a gander at the archived webcasts that feature prominent speakers who have visited the campus. The events archive dates back to a January 2002 appearance by Bill Clinton, and includes dozens of interesting talks and lectures. Visitors can learn about each event in the information section, and for some, they have the option to download the audio portion of each event. The course section is equally delightful, as visitors can view webcasts here, and also download podcasts. The range of courses here is quite broad, and includes lectures on general chemistry, wildlife ecology, and surprise, surprise: foundations of American cyberculture. Finally, visitors can also subscribe to event and course podcasts.

"The Next Level of Open Source," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 20, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/20/yale

"UC Berkeley offers courses and symposia through Google Video," PhysOrg, September 27, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news78585742.html

Bob Jensen's Threads
Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Free online textbooks and cases --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks


Eliminating Male Athletes by the Numbers
James Madison University on Friday announced that it would eliminate 10 teams — 7 of them men’s teams — to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. James Madison’s student body is 61 percent female, but without the cuts only 51 percent of athletes are women. After the plan is enacted, the percentages will match.
Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2006

Yet to some observers outside James Madison — including a consultant the university hired to advise it — the situation can be seen as part of a recent trend of scapegoating the federal law barring sex discrimination for cutbacks made as much for financial and other reasons as for equity concerns.
Elizabeth Redden, "Gender Equity or Finances?" Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/10/03/jmu
Jensen Comment
It would seem that if finances were not a problem there would be no need to cut expensive sports programs at all. Of course the problem is financing, especially when football and basketball television revenue is lacking to cover all other sports programs. Aside from the cost of coaching, a huge problem has become the greatly increased cost of traveling meet opposing teams in other cities.


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

BUSINESS MODEL AT STARBUCKS:  JACKIE MASON'S TAKE ON STAR"BUCKS"

 If I said to you, "I have a great idea for a business. I'll open a whole new type of coffee shop. Instead of charging 60 cents for coffee I'll charge $2.50, $3.50, $4.50, and $5.50. Not only that, I'll have no tables, no chairs, no water, no free refills, no waiters, no busboys, serve it in cardboard cups, and have the customer clean it up after they're finished."

Would you say to me, "That's the greatest idea for a business I've ever heard? We can open a chain of these all over the world!"

 No, you would put me right into a sanitarium.

 And it's burnt coffee! It's burnt coffee at Starbuck's, be honest about it.

 If you get burnt coffee in a coffee shop, you'd call a cop. You say, "It's the bottom of the pot. I don't drink from the bottom of the pot. But when it's burnt at Starbuck's, they say, "Oh, it's a special roast. It's a special bean from Argentina....." The bean is in your head!!! I know burnt!

 You want coffee in a coffee shop, that's 60 cents. But at Starbuck's, if it's Cafe Latte: $3.50. Cafe Creamier: $4.50. Caffe Suisse: $9.50. for each!

French word, another four dollars. Why does a little cream in coffee make it worth $3.50? Go into any coffee shop; they'll give you all the cream you want until you're blue in the face. 40 million people are walking around in coffee shops with pitchers of cream: "Here's all the cream you want!"

 And it's still 60 cents. You know why? Because it's called "coffee."

 You want cinnamon in your coffee? Ask for cinnamon in a coffee shop; they'll give you all the cinnamon you want. Do they ask you for more money because it's cinnamon? It's the same price for cinnamon in your coffee as for coffee without cinnamon - 60 cents, that's it. But not in Starbucks. Over there, it's Cinnamonnier -  $9.50.

 You want a refill in a regular coffee shop, they'll give you all the refills you want until you drop dead. You can come in when you're 27 and keep drinking coffee until you're 98. And they'll start begging you: "Here, you want more coffee?" Do you know that you can't get a refill at Starbucks?

 A refill is a dollar fifty, two refills, $4.50. Three refills, $19.50. So,for fourcups of coffee - $35.00.

 And there're no chairs in those Starbucks. Instead, they have these high stools. You ever see these stools? You haven't been on a chair that high since you were two. Seventy-three year old Jews are climbing and climbing to get to the top of the chair. And when they get to the top, they can't even drink the coffee because there's 12 people around one little table, and everybody's saying, "Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me....." Then they can't get off the chair. Old Jews are begging Gentiles, "Mister, could you get me off this?"

 Do you remember what a cafeteria was? In poor neighborhoods all over this country, they went to a cafeteria because there were no waiters and no service.And so poor people could save money on a tip.

 Cafeterias didn't have regular tables or chairs either. They gave coffee to you in a cardboard cup.

 So because of that you paid less for the coffee. You got less, so you paid less.

 It's all the same at Starbucks - no chairs, no service, a cardboard cup for your coffee - except in Starbucks, the less you get, the more it costs.

 By the time they give you nothing, it's worth four times as much!

 Am I exaggerating? Did you ever try to buy a cookie in Starbuck's?

 Buy a cookie in a regular coffee shop. You can tear down a building with that cookie. And the whole cookie is 60 cents. At Starbuck's, you're going to have to hire a detective to find that cookie, and it's $9.50. And you can't put butter on it because they want extra.

 Do you know that if you buy a bagel, you pay extra for cream cheese in Starbuck's? Cream cheese, another 60 Cents. A knife to put it on, 32 cents. If it reaches the bagel, 48 cents. That bagel costs you $3.12.

 And they don't give you the butter or the cream cheese. They don't give it to you. They tell you where it is.

 "Oh, you want butter? It's over there. Cream cheese?

 Over here. Sugar?

 Sugar is here." Now you become your own waiter. You walk around with a tray.

 "I'll take the cookie. Where's the butter? The butter's here.

 Where's the cream cheese? The cream cheese is there." You walked around for an hour and a half selecting items, and then the guy at the cash register has a glass in front of him that says "Tips."

 You're waiting on tables for an hour, and you owe him money?

 Then there's a sign that says please clean it up when you're finished. They don't give you a waiter or a busboy. Now you've become the janitor. Now you have to start cleaning up the place. Old Jews are walking around cleaning up Starbuck's. "Oh, he's got dirt too? Wait, I'll clean this up." They clean up the place for an hour and a half. Starbuck's can only get away with it because they have French titles for everything, %$#%^&*.


Limits of Freedom: The Ward Churchill Case
In "Limits of Freedom: The Ward Churchill Case," Robert M. O'Neil, who directs the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, uses this University of Colorado professor's court case to unpack the controversies surrounding the balance institutions are seeking between academic freedom and the special needs of scholarship and teaching. O'Neil points out that several important questions have been curiously neglected in the current debate.
Robert M. O'Neil, Change Magazine, September/October 2006 Volume 38, Number 5 --- http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/change/

In fact there is no ready substantive standard to determine when a professor forfeits the protections of academic freedom by his extreme statements on matters in or close to his or her discipline. Relevant considerations may actually cut both ways. On one hand, society's expectations in regard to accuracy, respect for the views of others, and sensitivity both to colleagues and community are greater the closer a faculty member gets to speech relating to the core of his or her field of expertise, for it is within that field that "fitness" can best be appraised. On the other hand, a case could be made for offering greater tolerance to a professor who speaks controversially in his or her field of expertise. The advancement of knowledge depends upon the free airing of unpopular views by scholarly experts, and thus societal interests are more clearly served by expression close to the core of one's field. Moreover, such expression reflects the basis on which the speaker has been recruited and supported. Thus one might expect broader latitude to be given to a Churchill speaking of ethnic matters or a Mirecki speaking about religious beliefs. One might insist on tolerating extreme statements within the speaker's discipline that might seem intolerable if made by a stranger to the subject.

Both the Churchill and Mirecki cases raised but failed to resolve yet another issue: how far the protections of academic freedom extend to administrative positions. The issue became moot in Boulder because Churchill resigned his department chairmanship as soon as the controversy broke--although the first Colorado faculty committee's initial report noted with relief that Churchill had voluntarily done so since, had he not, the "outrage" generated by his essay "most likely would have warranted his removal" from the administrative position. The issue of the potentially corrosive effects of highly provocative statements on continuing administrative service was also mooted in the Mirecki case, since he quickly announced that he would step down as department chair--

______________________________

Robert M. O'Neil is a professor of law at the University of Virginia and director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. He previously served as president of the University of Wisconsin System and of the University of Virginia. He is currently the coordinator and program director of the Ford Foundation's Difficult Dialogues project and chairs the Committee on National Security and Academic Freedom in Time of Crisis of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

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


Call for a fundamental redesign of the content of medical education and training in the United States
The directors of Carnegie's study of medical education, Molly Cooke and David Irby, and Senior Scholar Bill Sullivan and Kenneth Ludmerer, summarize the set of challenges facing medical education and physicians-in-training, and call for a fundamental redesign of the content of medical training in the United States in this week's New England Journal of Medicine. This article, "American Medical Education 100 Years after the Flexner Report," lays the groundwork for the Foundation's newest study of medical education to be released in 2008.
"American Medical Education 100 Years after the Flexner Report," by Molly Cooke, M.D., David M. Irby, Ph.D., William Sullivan, Ph.D., and Kenneth M. Ludmerer, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine, September 28, 2006 --- http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/355/13/1339


"Vocational education classes may be poised for comeback in U.S. high schools," MIT's Technology Review, October 2, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17568&ch=infotech


"Who Needs Harvard Or Yale? U.S. students are discovering the advantages of elite British universities," Business Week, September 25, 2006 --- Click Here

If you're into prestige as well as a top-notch education, Oxford is right up there with Harvard. Yet consider this: An incoming freshman at Harvard College is looking at an estimated $185,800 for tuition and room and board over the next four years. The same student can earn a degree at Oxford in just three years for about $112,000 -- and that includes all school expenses, plus travel to and from the States.

The Oxford deal was too good to pass up for Christopher Schuller, a 20-year-old Nashville native who is starting his third year there with a double major in law and German law. "Even with overseas fees and the high exchange rate, Oxford is still cheaper," says Schuller, who found a similar cost advantage in the British school over his top stateside pick, the University of Chicago.

Who needs the Ivies, or any other elite U.S. college, when your kid can hop across the Atlantic for an excellent educational adventure? Besides lower costs, prestigious British universities offer the excitement of living abroad. Plus, they have less stringent entry requirements than Ivy League schools. For example, the University of St. Andrews, Scotland's top-ranked university, expects applicants to have SAT scores of around 1,300, compared with 1,500 for most Ivies. The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) doesn't even use the SAT, instead requiring four advanced placement (AP) tests with scores of 4 or 5.


More U.S. students are noticing such advantages. According to Britain's Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), 2,201 U.S. high school students applied to full-time undergrad programs at British universities last year, a fourfold increase since 1996. Some 948 were accepted. "Students get the chance to engage with a different culture while getting a top-of-the-line academic experience," says Marsha Little, director of college counseling at the Lovett School, a prep school in Atlanta.

COMPETITIVE EDGE 
A degree from a top British university can also offer that extra edge in an increasingly competitive and global job market. Alex Dresner, a 20-year-old sophomore at the LSE from Washington, D.C., believes the experience he's gained while studying overseas helped him land an internship at a communications consulting firm this summer. Shaun Harris, adviser at the LSE career service, thinks the school's pedigree plays well with employers. "We have a pretty good reputation with Goldman Sachs
(GS ) and Morgan Stanley (MS ), as well as the White House and the Pentagon," he says.

The British approach to higher education may not appeal to everyone. Unlike the broad liberal arts curriculum offered by U.S. schools, British universities require students to specialize from their freshman year. For example, a biology major would take only classes related to the degree, and it would be difficult to branch out. Switching majors, in effect, is starting over.

A DIFFERENT WORLD 
The chance to specialize at such an early stage can be a bonus in many professions. When Schuller finishes his degree at Oxford, he will be able to qualify to take the New York State Bar exam upon completing a U.S. law refresher course. That will save him tens of thousands of dollars on the cost of law school, plus he'll have the opportunity to earn money during the three years he would have been in school.


Even though Britain and the U.S. share a language, Americans studying in Britain have to adjust to a different culture, a task harder than it might seem. Class hours, for example, are kept to a minimum, typically less than 10 per week, with students splitting their time between small seminars and larger lectures. Independent study is the name of the game; there is typically no set homework, and students must motivate themselves rather than rely on professors. Most schools start in late September or early October, and run over two or three semesters until mid-June. "American students struggle in the first term with the different type of learning," says Tao Tao Chang, head of Cambridge's international office, who adds that most go on to thrive at the university.

Social life also differs from U.S. schools. With no fraternities, sororities, or large-scale college sports, extracurricular life revolves around student unions: campus-based organizations that run everything from school elections to parties and help students with academic and personal problems. Societies, or student clubs, also play a part. There's usually something for everyone, ranging from sports and charity organizations to drama and political groups.


The application process will be foreign to U.S. students. They apply through UCAS (ucas.ac.uk), not directly to the schools. (The one exception is St. Andrews, which offers a special form similar to those for U.S. colleges.) Early in the fall the application becomes available online, and includes a personal statement and one teacher reference. You can apply to six universities in total for a flat fee of $30. The deadline for Oxford and Cambridge is Oct. 15 because both require an in-person interview. For any other school, the deadline is June 30, with most sending out acceptance letters by mid-August.

British schools have little scholarship money available, so most U.S. students must pay their own way. Those in need of aid can apply to Sallie Mae International for student loans, just as if they were going to a U.S. school
(salliemae.com/international; 877 456-6221).

When it comes to bang for your buck, going abroad for college can be a smart idea. But will a degree from a British university help American students when they go home? For Zahra Nawaz, a 23-year-old LSE graduate from Alexandria, Va., it definitely has. After returning to the U.S. in 2004, she was accepted into a master's program in security studies at Georgetown University and began working part-time at the Homeland Security Institute, a think tank of the U.S. Homeland Security Dept., in Washington. Nawaz has some advice for any student thinking about taking the British path to college. "Be open, consider everything, and don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone," she says. "In the end, the different cultural experience you'll get is an education in itself."

Britain's Elite Universities (a slide show) ---
http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/09/brit_universities/index_01.htm?link_position=link3

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


Many academic presidents have become managers more than visionaries
College presidents should lead boldly, and trustees ought to clearly define their expectations for presidents and provide them with adequate support, according toThe Leadership Imperative,” a 50-page report from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges . . . “Many academic presidents have become managers more than visionaries,” Gerald L. Baliles, a former Virginia governor and chair of the project, said in a statement. “Many faculty are more committed to their disciplines than to their institutions, and state legislatures are focusing less and less on the financial needs and public benefits of higher education.”The report said presidents should seize the bully pulpit and lead with a sense of moral authority. It chides the “arrogant and insensitive” president who doesn’t respect subordinates and gets so involved in institutional micromanagement that the leader fails to articulate and follow long-term goals. Using data from The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2005 Survey of College and University Presidents, the report notes that institutional governance matters – including fund raising and budgeting issues — rank among top issues for which presidents report being unprepared. That survey found that more than half of presidents reported fund raising at least once a day.
Elia Powers, "Institutional Leadership 101," Inside Higher Ed, September 25, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/25/leadership


"Vanderbilt Reins In Lavish Spending By Star Chancellor:  As Schools Tighten Oversight, A $6 Million Renovation Draws Trustees' Scrutiny Marijuana at the Mansion," by Joann S. Lublin and Daniel Golden, The Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2006; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115924190013574035.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

At Vanderbilt University, the board is trying to rein in star chancellor E. Gordon Gee, without running him off.

Since arriving here in 2000, the 62-year-old Mr. Gee has dramatically boosted the 133-year-old school's academic standing and overseen fund raising of more than $1 billion. Mr. Gee's $1.4 million annual compensation is among the highest for U.S. university leaders.

But supervision of Mr. Gee by the university's 44-member Board of Trust has "probably been a little loosey-goosey," says trustee Edward Malloy, a former president of the University of Notre Dame. Vanderbilt paid more than $6 million, never approved by the full board, to renovate and enlarge Braeburn, the Greek-revival university-owned mansion where Mr. Gee and his wife, Constance, live. The university pays for the Gees' frequent parties and personal chef there. The annual tab exceeds $700,000. Some trustees' concern was aroused when they learned that Mrs. Gee was using marijuana at the mansion. The chancellor told some trustees she was using it for an inner-ear ailment.

Now change is afoot. Trustees recently created a subcommittee to monitor Mr. Gee's spending. For the first time, the full board will get reports about his expenditures and pay package. A second new board committee is scrutinizing potential conflicts of interest and likely will look at the university's longtime contract with a parking company in which a trustee holds a big stake.

"We should not be issuing blank checks to university leaders," says Judson Randolph, a retired Vanderbilt trustee who still attends board meetings.

Yet no one wants Mr. Gee to leave. Despite the board's actions, chairman Martha Ingram says: "I have never had qualms about whether Gordon should stay on as chancellor."

The delicate dance by Vanderbilt trustees reflects a new era of campus governance and the changing role of college heads. Historically, these campus leaders earned modest salaries and enjoyed long tenures. Now, like Mr. Gee, they make more money and move more often. Their higher compensation invites scrutiny from trustees, faculty and students.

Vanderbilt's $2.2 billion annual budget is bigger than the revenues of all but the largest 800 U.S. public companies. But management oversight on campus often hasn't kept pace with changes in the business world. At Vanderbilt, the full Board of Trust didn't approve the university's annual budget, most big-ticket spending projects or debt financing between 2000 and 2005.

Continued in article


What is excessive compensation?

From Jim Mahar's blog on September 26, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

Time to throw a penalty flag

First, the good part: Tuesday Morning QB does a great job of laying out the issue and demonstating one problem with boards setting pay .

From last week's TMQ which appeared on
ESPN.com: Page 2 : The five-month NFL forecast:
 
"Much news and sports commentary focuses on the ever-larger paychecks of professional athletes. But even Peyton Manning is a day laborer compared to the modern Fortune 500 CEO....Over his last five years at the helm, he got $162 million, even as Pfizer earnings faltered. Carol Hymowitz of the Wall Street Journal reported that the head of Pfizer's "compensation committee" defended McKinnell's windfall on grounds of market forces in executive pay -- which in this context appears to mean, "CEOs at other companies are picking shareholders' pockets, too."....McKinnell's pay for his tenure atop Pfizer equates to $130,000 per work day."
 
and slightly later:
 
"...consider that executive income usually is rubber-stamped by boards of directors whose members may be engaged in self-dealings with the firm, or who have a self-interest in rising CEO pay. As Julie Creswell noted in the New York Times, "Five of the six active Home Depot board members are current or former chief executives of public corporations … CEOs benefit from one another's pay increases, because compensation packages are often based on surveys detailing what their peers are making....The board members know the more they inflate CEO pay, the more they themselves will be able to pilfer from their own shareholders"
 
Ignoring the use of the word 'pilfer', this is a well-presented valid point. However, Easterbrook's next point deserves a yellow penalty flag and further review:
 
"Recently the Business Roundtable released a study purporting to show that CEO pay rose 9.6 percent annually from 1995-2005, while stockholder returns rose 9.9 percent in the same period. So things aren't so bad, eh? The Business Roundtable said the study 'sets the record straight.' The Business Roundtable is, by its own description, 'an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies.' As Gretchen Morgenson, dean of Wall Street journalists, laid it out in the New York Times, the study systematically understated the income of CEOs... 'The study counts only the value of the options and restricted stock received by executives on the dates the awards were made.'"
 
Uh, wait, isn't that what we should be doing?

True, we should take into account the non normality of the stock distribution (induced both by rewriting underwater options and by the now famous back dating of options) which causes the Black-Scholes formula to understate the true value of the grant, BUT the value at grant is what we should consider. We can debate whether the Black-Scholes formula is correct or not, but theoretically the value at grant (again presuming a fair grant) is what matters.

Moreover, while it is true that the Business Roundtable is made up of CEOs, that should not be grounds for dismissal. The actual study does have several valid, and overlooked points. Notably that medians should be used, that the media "sometimes summarizes the pay practices for all CEOs from only the very largest companies", and the seemingly inarguable point that "pay statistics should be referenced accurately and applied responsibly".

Like other things, I will take the bad with the good. Overall
Tuesday Morning QB is still my favorite sports article. Its author is Gregg Easterbrook who is a former Buffalo School teacher and who wrote the
Progress Paradox, does a great job weaving many topics together in a funny, witty manner. That said, I guess I can no longer count TMQ as "finance reading". LOL.

Outrageous Executive Compensation Schemes That Reward Failure and Fraud ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#OutrageousCompensation


"The Winding Road to Grasso's Huge Payday," by Landon Thomas, The New York Times, June 25, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/business/yourmoney/25grasso.html

In the spring of 2003, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard A. Grasso, had his eyes on a very rich prize. Although Mr. Grasso's annual compensation at the time was about $12 million, on a par with the salaries of Wall Street titans whose companies the exchange helped regulate, he had accumulated $140 million in pension savings that he wanted to cash in — while still staying on the job.

Now Henry M. Paulson Jr., the chairman of Goldman Sachs and a member of the exchange's compensation committee, was grilling Mr. Grasso about the propriety of drawing down such an enormous amount and suggested that he seek legal advice. So Mr. Grasso said he would call Martin Lipton, a veteran Manhattan lawyer and the Big Board's chief counsel on governance matters. Would it be legal, Mr. Grasso subsequently asked Mr. Lipton, to just withdraw the $140 million if the exchange's board approved it? Mr. Grasso told Mr. Lipton that he worried that a less accommodating board might not support such a move, according to an account of the conversation that Mr. Lipton recently provided to New York State prosecutors. (Mr. Grasso has denied voicing that concern.) Mr. Lipton said he told Mr. Grasso not to worry; as long as directors used their best judgment, Mr. Grasso's request was appropriate.

Mr. Grasso continued to fret. What about possible public distaste for the move? Yes, there would be some resistance from corporate governance activists, Mr. Lipton recalled telling him, but given his unique standing in the business community he was "fully deserving of the compensation."

Then Mr. Lipton, a founding partner of Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and a longtime adviser to chief executives on the hot seat, dangled another, hardball option in front of Mr. Grasso. If a new board resisted a payout, Mr. Lipton advised, Mr. Grasso could just sue the board to get his $140 million. The conversation represented a pivotal moment at the exchange, occurring when corporate governance and executive compensation were already areas of public concern. Mr. Grasso eventually secured his pension funds. But the particulars surrounding the payout later spurred Mr. Paulson to organize a highly publicized palace revolt against Mr. Grasso, leading to the Big Board's most glaring crisis since Richard Whitney, a previous president, went to jail on embezzlement charges in 1938.

An examination of thousands of pages of depositions from participants in the Big Board drama, as well as other recent court filings, highlights the financial spoils available to those in Wall Street's top tier. It also shines a light on deeply flawed governance practices and clashing egos at one of America's most august financial institutions, all of which came into sharp relief as Mr. Grasso jockeyed to secure his $140 million.

ELIOT SPITZER, the New York State attorney general, sued Mr. Grasso in 2004, contending that his Big Board compensation was "unreasonable" and a violation of New York's not-for-profit laws. With a trial looming this fall, prosecutors have closely questioned both Mr. Lipton and Mr. Grasso about their phone call. Prosecutors are likely to highlight Mr. Grasso's own doubts about the propriety of cashing in his pension; on two separate occasions Mr. Grasso withdrew his pension proposal from board consideration before finally going ahead with it.

The depositions paint a portrait of Mr. Grasso as a man who paid meticulous attention to every financial perk, from items like flowers and 99-cent bags of pretzels that he billed to the exchange, to his stubborn determination to corral his $140 million nest egg. While the board ultimately approved his deal, court documents also show a roster of all-star directors, including chief executives of all the major Wall Street firms, often at odds with one another or acting dysfunctionally.

A recent filing by Mr. Spitzer contended that Mr. Grasso's chief advocate, Kenneth G. Langone, a longtime friend and chairman of the Big Board's compensation committee, was less than forthcoming in keeping the exchange's 26-member board in the loop about how Mr. Grasso's rising pay was also inflating his retirement savings.

Continued in article

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

Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#Governance

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

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


I think Fastow's sentence should have been 60 years, one year for each million he stole
He was the worst of the worst corporate criminals and the least liked executive even within his own company.
But he's been clever enough to con the legal system into reducing his sentence to six years. Andy's still laughing at the system!

Why white collar crime pays for Chief Financial Officer: 
Andy Fastow's fine for filing false Enron financial statements:  $30,000,000
Andy Fastow's stock sales benefiting from the false reports:     $33,675,004
Andy Fastow's estimated looting of Enron cash:                          $60,000,000
That averages out to winnings, after his court fines, of $10,612,500 per year for each of the six years he's expected to be in prison.
You can read what others got at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#StockSales 
Nice work if you can get it:  Club Fed's not so bad if you earn $29,075 per day plus all the accrued interest over the past 15 years.

The following is from Kurt Eichenwald's, Conspiracy of Fools (Broadway Books, 2005, pp. 671-672) --- http://www.bookreporter.com/reviews2/0767911784.asp 

Prosecutors informed Fastow that they would shelve plans to charge Lea (Fastow's wife)  if he would plead guilty.  Fastow refused and Lea was indicted.  Suddenly, the Fastows faced the prospect that their two young sons would have to be raised by others while they served lengthy prison terms.  The time had come for Fastow to admit the truth.

"All rise."

At 2:05 on the afternoon of January 14, 2004, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt walked past a marble slab on the wall as he made his way to the bench of courtroom 2025 in Houston's Federal District Courthouse.  Scores of spectators attended, seated in rows of benches.  In front of the bar, Leslie Caldwell, the head of the Enron Task Force, sat quietly watching the proceedings as members of her team readied themselves at the prosecutors' table.

Judge Hoyt looked out into the room.  To his right sat an array of defense lawyers surrounding their client, Andy Fastow, who was there to change his pleas.  Fastow, whose hair had grown markedly grayer in the past year and a half, sat in silence as he waited for the proceedings to begin.

Minutes later, under the high, regal ceiling of the courtroom, Fastow stepped before the bench, standing alongside his lawyers.

"I understand that you will be entering a plea of guilty this afternoon," Judge Hoyt asked.

"Yes, your honor," Fastow replied.

He began answering questions from the judge, giving his age as forty-two and saying that he had a graduate degree in business.  When he said the last word, he whistled slightly on the s, as he often did when his nerves were frayed.  He was taking medication for anxiety, Fastow said; it left him better equipped to deal with the proceedings.

Matt Friedrich, the prosecutor handling the hearing, spelled out the deal.  There were two conspiracy counts, involving wire fraud and securities fraud.  Under the deal, he said, Fastow had agreed to cooperate, serve ten years in prison, and surrender $23.8 million worth of assets.  Lea would be allowed to enter a plea and would eventually be sentenced to a year in prison on a misdemeanor tax charge.

Fastow stayed silent as another prosecutor, John Hemann, described the crimes he was confessing.  In a statement to prosecutors, Fastow acknowledged his roles in the Southampton and Raptor frauds and provided details of the secret Global Galactic agreement that illegally protected his LJM funds against losses in their biggest dealings with Enron.

Hemann finished the summary, and Hoyt looked at Fastow.  "Are those facts true?"

"Yes, your honor," Fastow said, his voice even.

"Did you in fact engage in the conspiratorious conduct as alleged?"

"Yes, your honor."

Fastow was asked for his plea.  Twice he said guilty.

"Based on your pleas," Hoyt said, "the court finds you guilty."

The hearing soon ended.  Fastow returned to his seat at the defense table.  He reached for a paper cup of water and took a sip.  Sitting in silence, he stared off at nothing, suddenly looking very frail.


Why white collar crime pays for Chief Enron Accountant: 
Rick Causey's fine for filing false Enron financial statements:    $1,250,000
Rick Causey's stock sales benefiting from the false reports:     $13,386,896
That averages out to winnings of $2,427,379 per year for each of the five years he's expected to be in prison
You can read what others got at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#StockSales 
Nice work if you can get it:  Club Fed's not so bad if you earn $6,650 per day plus all the accrued interest over the past 15 years.

"Ex-Enron Accountant Pleads Guilty to Fraud," Kristen Hays, Yahoo News, December 28, 2005 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051228/ap_on_bi_ge/enron_causey

A former top accountant at Enron Corp. sealed his plea deal with prosecutors Wednesday, becoming a key potential witness in the upcoming fraud trial of former CEOs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.

Lay and Skilling were granted two extra weeks to adjust to the setback before their much anticipated trial, the last and biggest of a string of corporate scandal cases, starts at the end of January.

The accountant, Richard Causey, pleaded guilty to securities fraud Wednesday in return for a seven-year prison term — which could be shortened to five years if prosecutors are satisfied with his cooperation in the trial. He also must forfeit $1.25 million to the government, according to the plea deal.

Causey's arrangement included a five-page statement of fact in which he admitted that he and other senior Enron managers made various false public filings and statements.

"Did you intend in these false public filings and false public statements, intend to deceive the investing public?" U.S. District Judge Sim Lake asked.

"Yes, your honor," replied Causey, who said little during the short hearing, appearing calm, whispering to his attorneys and answering questions politely.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I forgot to mention the millions that Fastow and Causey will probably make on the lecture circuit after they are released from prison.  Scott alludes to this below:

January 3, 2005 reply from Scott Bonacker [aecm@BONACKER.US]

Was someone asking about ZZZZ Best?

"Morze created 10,000+ phony documents, and no one caught it. He teaches his course Fraud: Taught by the Perpetrator many times each year for the Federal Reserve, bar associations, Institute of Internal Auditors, CPA and law firms.

Public speaking does seem to benefit the speakers. Guys in Gary's group are dealing better than other white-collar criminals, says Mark Morze, one of Mr. Zeune's speakers, who served more than four years in jail for his role in ZZZZ Best Co., the carpet-cleaning enterprise that bilked banks and investors for some $100 million back in the 1980s. Guys who are in denial pay the price forever, Mr. Morze says. Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1999"

See http://www.theprosandthecons.com/cons.htm 

Scott Bonacker, CPA
Springfield, Missouri

You can read the following at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnronQuiz.htm#10

What set Andy Fastow and Michael Kopper apart from most of the other Enron executives prior to the illegal self declarations of bonuses from a secret bank account set up just before Enron declared bankruptcy?

Fastow and Kopper were the most dastardly criminals who repeatedly conspired to steal millions from Enron itself and got away with it due to amazing luck and/or cowardice of other executives, bankers, and auditors who suspected bad things were being engineered by Fastow but were afraid to ask.  In particular, Fastow openly promised Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Enron's entire Board that he would not take fees for managing the SPEs they allowed him to set up for purposes of hedging and keeping debt off the books.  Subsequently, Fastow with the aid of Kopper managed to secretly skim off something over $60 million dollars into their hidden bank accounts.  And much of what they achieved while running the funds was obtained from insider information.  Having Fastow run these funds was a blatant conflict of interest that never should've been allowed by Enron's CEO, Enron's Board, or Enron's auditor (Andersen).

The charges against Fastow are outlined at http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_pjus/is_200210/ai_1616198674

The SEC's complaint is at http://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/comp17762.htm

Michael Kopper eventually confessed.  You can read part of his testimony summarized at http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20040928/news_1b28enron.html

Long-time subscribers to the AECM may remember my quips (years ago) about Michael Kopper ---
These inspired AECMers to write their own quips about Enron and about accounting in general.
You can read some of these AECM originals at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#Humor

And don't forget about the Enron home video starring some of the real players (including Jeff Skilling) befpre they got caught --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#HFV

Tales from the Enron trial got you down? Like Andrew Fastow's testimony of how he laundered $10,000 as a tax-free gift to his own sons? So after work you stumble home, seeking refuge from the workaday sludge in the stark competitive world of Sports Illustrated, which this week is awash in the details of the doping case against Barry Bonds, an Icarus, legend has it, who flew toward baseball heaven on wax wings made from human growth hormone. For perspective on the Bonds myth, I called Gary Wadler, a physician who has seen it all as a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency. "Bonds and Fastow were both into cooking," Dr. Wadler offered. "Bonds cooked the record books and Fastow cooked the financial books."
Daniel Henninger, "Barry Bonds, Meet Andrew Fastow, The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/dhenninger/?id=110008100

At last we hear from the master criminal himself --- Andy Fastow
"Excerpts from Testimony By Former Enron CFO Fastow," The Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114174916581991546.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing 

Former Enron CFO Andy Fastow, the prosecution's star witness, testified at the Lay-Skilling trial that he ran financial partnerships designed to help Enron meet earnings targets and mask huge losses. Mr. Fastow, who hasn't spoken publicly since October 2001, is among the most highly anticipated witnesses in this trial. Following are excerpts from his testimony.

Wednesday, March 8 LAY KNEW: Fastow testified that former chairman Ken Lay was at a meeting in August 2001 in which he heard about a "hole in earnings" at Enron, just days before he gave a BusinessWeek interview claiming Enron was in its "best shape" ever. Fastow said of the Lay interview, "I think most of the statements in there are false."

* * * ON GREED: In a heated cross-examination by Skilling lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, Fastow admitted, "I believe I was extremely greedy, and that I lost my moral compass, and I've done terrible things that I very much regret."

INSIDE-OUT: Steady growth and bright prospects "was the outside view of Enron," Fastow testified. "The inside view of Enron was very different."

* * * RECURRING DREAM: Lay opted to characterize a loss on an investment in the third quarter of 2001 as "nonrecurring," even though a gain on the same holding was earlier characterized as "recurring," Fastow testified, adding, "I thought that was an incorrect accounting treatment."

* * * DEATH SPIRAL: By October 2001, Enron's suppliers refused to trade with the company and Fastow testified that he feared the company would collapse and that he and an aide went to Lay to warn him. "I said I thought this was a death spiral, a serious risk of bankruptcy. I said the majority of trades being done were to unwind positions."

* * * MORE HEROICS: "Within the culture of corruption Enron had, a culture that rewarded financial reporting rather than rewarding economic value, I believed I was being a hero. I was not. It was not a good thing. That's why I'm here today."

Tuesday, March 7 THE PROFIT PROBLEM: One of Enron's off-balance-sheet partnerships, LJM1, was designed to help the company "solve a problem," Fastow testified. "We were doing this to inflate our earnings, and I don't think we wanted to show people what we were doing.''

* * * MORE DEALS: Fastow quoted Skilling as saying, " 'Get me as much of that juice as you can,' '' after Fastow informed him that more money would need to be raised to continue making deals like LJM1. In such deals, these so-called outside entities would purchase underperforming assets from Enron to get debt off its balance sheet and boost earnings.

* * * RISKY BUSINESS: Fastow testified that partnerships like the LJMs were willing to do deals that Enron "just couldn't do with others" because they were too risky or didn't make economic sense.

* * * SKILLING'S WORD: Fastow testified about pressure from Skilling to have one of the LJMs buy a minority stake in a Brazilian power plant owned by Enron because Enron's South American unit was struggling to meet its earnings target. "I told him it was a piece of s--t, and no one would buy it,'' Fastow said, adding that he relented, in part, because Skilling assured him he wouldn't lose money on the deal. Fastow testified that there were many more "bear-hug" guarantees like this from Skilling in mid-2000.

* * * BREAKING THE LAW: Fastow testified that the LJMs were legal and did many legal deals, but "certain things I did as general partner of LJM were illegal."

* * * BELIEVE IT OR NOT: In his first day of testimony, Fastow repeatedly said that he thought he was "a hero for Enron," for coming up with these unique business deals to help the company meet Wall Street targets even when it was financially in trouble. "I thought the foundation was crumbling and we were doing everything we could to prop it up as long as we could … We were in pretty bad shape."

* * * WORRIES ABOUT PUBLICITY: Skilling was concerned, Fastow testified, that off-balance-sheet deals like the LJMs would "attract attention, and if dissected, people would see what the purpose of the partnership was, which was to mask potentially hundreds of millions of dollars of losses."

* * * FALSE TAX RETURN: Fastow tearfully admitted that he "misled" his wife about some of the money the couple earned from Enron-related deals. "She would not, in my opinion, have signed a fraudulent tax return," Fastow said. Lea Fastow served one year in federal prison for filing a false tax return.

* * * A FAMILY AFFAIR: Fastow also admitted that he had one of his top aides send $10,000 checks to each of his sons. The checks were portrayed as gifts to the boys, but really they were proceeds from a business deal. "I shouldn't have. It was the wrong thing to do."

Jensen Comment
It comes as some relief to accountants that Fastow has not yet mentioned collusion with the Andersen Auditors led by David Duncan. CFO Fastow worked in secrecy ripping off Enron itself. CAO Rick Causey worked more closely with Duncan to issue false financial statements. Rick Causey's fine for filing false Enron financial statements was $1,250,000.

Bob Jensen's Enron Updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#EnronUpdates

 

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on September 29, 2006

TITLE: Fastow Gets 6 Years as Judge Cites Need for Mercy
REPORTER: John R. Emshwiller and John M. Biers
DATE: Sep 27, 2006
PAGE: A3
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115927466992074204.html?mod=djem_jiewr_ac 
TOPICS: Accounting, Accounting Fraud, Auditing

SUMMARY: In a Houston federal court, Andrew Fastow received a sentence of 6 years in prison followed by two years of community service, "significantly less than the 10 years of imprisonment that had been envisioned in the 2004 plea agreement between Mr. Fastow and federal prosecutors....'I was very surprised,' said Leslie Caldwell, the original director of the special Justice Department task force that investigated the Enron scandal."

QUESTIONS:
1.) Of what criminal actions did Andrew Fastow plead guilty? What impact did these actions have on shareholders and employees (including both current employment and retirement plans)?

2.) Access the 175 page declaration by Andrew Fastow linked through the on-line version of this article. What two accounting standards are specifically referred to on the bottom of page 2 of the declaration (page 5 of the pdf file itself)? Provide their titles and a brief statement of the topics covered by these standards.

3.) Again refer to Fastow's declaration. What financial ratios were specific targets at Enron? How might transactions that would be subject to the requirements of Statements of Financial Accounting Standards 125 and 140, as well as assistance of investment bankers, contribute to meeting those operational targets?

4.) One Enron employee, Sherron Watkins, initially wrote to Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth Lay in protest of the financing transactions and financial reporting she observed. How difficult do you think it was for her to take an ethical action in the Enron environment at the time? What personal and professional well being did she face losing by taking her stance in the matter?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

 

Bob Jensen's threads on the Enron, Worldcom, and Andersen meltdowns can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on why white collar crime pays big even if you get caught --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#CrimePays


Employment Law  --- http://www.lawmemo.com/ 

Law & Legal Research Center - http://www.cpanet.com/up/s0210.asp?ID=0575

FindLaw - http://www.cpanet.com/up/s0210.asp?ID=0576

Legal Professional Site Links --- http://www.chooselaw.com/

Center for Science in the Public Interest --- http://www.cspinet.org/

Bob Jensen's threads on law and legal studies --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Law

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


Accountants are sought after for business advice more often than lawyers or bankers, according to a new survey of small business owners.

"Survey Shows Accountants Are Most Trusted Advisers," AccountingWeb, September 26, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102608

Accountants were preferred by nearly 82 percent of the small business owners surveyed in August by online payroll service SurePayroll. Preferences for counsel from lawyers (14 percent) and bankers (4 percent) lagged far behind.

The survey also asked small business owners which of those three professionals have been most important to their success, and again, accountants came out on top. The survey said 75 percent of the 550 small business owners surveyed cited accountants, 13 percent chose bankers and 12 percent said lawyers were the key contributors to success.

SurePayroll president Michael Alter said, “The research confirms our belief that most small business owners view their accountants as trusted business advisers who can help them to grow their business.”

The August e-mail survey also revealed that not all business owners were satisfied with their accountant, however. In fact, 17 percent do not use an accountant at all, and one in 20 may change accountants. To improve service, small business owners said they wanted more frequent communication and more business advice.

There may be no better time to get good guidance than now, when small businesses are facing the triple threat of rising interest rates, ever-higher oil prices and skyrocketing health care costs. Alter told Bloomberg TV recently that 11 percent of SurePayroll customers said they may drop health care benefits next year if costs continue to rise.

“It’s a real tough time to run a business,” Alter said. He said two-thirds of small business owners believe that inflation will have a negative impact on their business this year, and that they are “extremely worried” about interest rates continuing to rise.

SurePayroll, the nation’s largest online payroll provider for small businesses, releases economic indicators every month, gathered from employee and contractor paychecks for more than 17,000 small businesses. SurePayroll, based in the Chicago area, also regularly surveys its customers on a variety of topics.

What are some of the top challenges of owning a small business? According to a SurePayroll survey conducted in July: Finding and keeping qualified employees (19.3 percent); balancing business development efforts and current workload (18.3 percent); managing their work time and priorities (14.6 percent); managing employees (11.9 percent); generating expected revenues (11.9 percent); creating a work/life balance (10.8 percent); meeting their income goals (7.3 percent); and acquiring capital to grow (5.7 percent).

"How to Prevent Investment Adviser Fraud," by Brian Carroll, Journal of Accountancy, January 2006 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/jan2006/carroll.htm

Bob Jensen's helpers for finding professional advisors are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fees.htm

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


I wonder if shady accountants also advised this misfit accounting at Merck?
(actually the main inspiration came from a NYU professor of law)
Partnership With British Bank Moved Liabilities Offshore; Alarmed U.S. Cracks Down

"How Merck Saved $1.5 Billion Paying Itself for Drug Patents," by Jesse Drucker, The Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2006; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115940684960776216.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Merck & Co.'s medications Zocor and Mevacor have been used by millions of people to help lower their cholesterol. But Merck also used the drugs to lower something else: its U.S. tax bill.

Thirteen years ago, Merck set up a subsidiary with an address in tax-friendly Bermuda, in partnership with a British bank. Merck quietly transferred patents underlying the blockbuster drugs to the new subsidiary, according to documents and people familiar with the transaction. Merck then paid the subsidiary for use of the patents.

The arrangement in effect allowed some of the profits to disappear into a kind of Bermuda triangle between different tax jurisdictions. The setup helped Merck slash $1.5 billion off its federal tax bills over roughly the next 10 years.

Now, the complicated transaction -- never publicly disclosed -- has sparked one of the largest tax disputes ever involving a U.S. corporation. The Internal Revenue Service is challenging the tax benefits from the arrangement, which the company code-named "Project Ryland," after a fancy restaurant near the company's New Jersey headquarters. Merck anticipates it will be ordered to hand over a total of $2.3 billion in back taxes, interest and penalties, according to its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which give the amounts in dispute but virtually no other details.

Merck says it did nothing wrong and that the deal was simply a way of raising financing for its 1993 acquisition of a pharmacy-benefits management firm, Medco Containment Services Inc. "We believe the partnership transaction is in full compliance with IRS rules and regulations and we vigorously disagree with the proposed IRS adjustments," says Merck spokesman Raymond Kerins, who declines to discuss details of the dispute.

The IRS won't discuss its objection to the Merck partnership. But it is pursuing actions against Dow Chemical Co. and General Electric Co. over similar arrangements they set up within a few months of the Merck deal. Those, federal tax authorities have argued, weren't real partnerships with foreign banks but just well-disguised loan agreements, designed to avoid taxes by maneuvering between the tax laws of different countries, with no economic substance.

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month reversed a trial court and declared that foreign banks in the GE deal were not "bona fide equity partners," a victory for the government in its battle over $62 million in back taxes. GE is seeking a rehearing. Meanwhile, in a little-noticed dispute in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, La., the IRS claimed last year that Dow improperly lowered its tax bill by about $130 million by shifting income, through a partnership, to a consortium of German, Dutch, U.K. and Belgian banks. Dow says the arrangement was legitimate financing and is suing the government to try to keep the money.

As part of that case, the Justice Department says in a court filing it anticipates taking "extensive discovery" from investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which helped structure both the Dow and Merck deals. Goldman spokesman Peter Rose said, "We take enormous efforts to ensure our transactions comply with applicable tax laws."

The cases are part of an attempt by U.S. authorities to crack down on what is often called "tax arbitrage." The usual strategy: lower a company's tax bills by structuring transactions so certain types of income or expenses are classified as one thing by the IRS, but something very different by another country's tax regulators.

Often the strategies are aided by overseas banks or nonprofit organizations that use complex legal structures to effectively share their tax advantages with U.S. companies. U.S. and U.K. banks also have teamed up to devise structures that lower each other's taxes. IRS Commissioner Mark Everson warned a U.S. Senate panel in June that strategies like those are "on the rise."

Mr. Everson named tax arbitrage as among the most significant enforcement problems the agency faces. He said the IRS has formed a team to consider crafting new international treaties, as well as performing tax audits that would simultaneously look at a company's tax obligations in multiple countries.

Proponents of the deals say it's only smart business to take advantage of U.S. loopholes and the differences among tax rules around the world. Technology and pharmaceutical companies, for instance, are aggressively shifting intellectual-property assets to countries with far lower tax rates, such as Singapore and Ireland.

Merck's potentially costly dispute with the IRS comes as the company battles more than 14,000 lawsuits related to its now-withdrawn Vioxx pain reliever, with its projected liability topping $4 billion. Like other big drug makers, Merck's biggest sellers are losing patent protection while its newer drugs are not expected to make up the lost revenue.

Many of the strategies like the ones used by Merck, Dow and GE were inspired by one man.

In 1988, longtime tax attorney and New York University law school professor R. Donald Turlington published an influential article in the proceedings of a tax conference. Subtitled "The Art of Tax Avoidance," the article began with a 1931 quote from the late Chicago Mafia boss Al Capone: "A good lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than ten men with machine guns."

Continued in article

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


Multivariate Data Visualization

September 26, 2006 message from Amanda Barton

I was very interested to find reference to Trinity University, Working paper 232 on the internet and wondered if it would be possible to read the full working paper. All I can download from the internet is the title, abstract and references and wondered if it would be possible for you to email me the document?

Best regards

Amanda Barton

September 27, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Amanda,

I retired this year and am not certain I can even find a copy of that old working paper.

You can find much of the updated material at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/352wpvisual/000datavisualization.htm 

You might also be interested in the following document (in need of updating):

The Five Senses of the Future: Threads on the Networking of the Five Senses (Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch, and Taste) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/senses.htm 

Bob Jensen


Karen's Financial Musings on http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

Google's new Reader is a vast improvement. I think I may give up on Bloglines. I particularly like the ability to flag things I've read to show up in the box on the left (below my profile). I can even set up different sharing lists for each blog (if you're here, you probably don't care about the latest in knitting). What's missing is the ability to search your feeds. And, if you run out of things to read you end up here.

Yesterday I read this
post over at Financial Rounds. Of course, I had to check out the Piled Higher and Deeper archives -- great stuff! Here's one of my favorites. And another.

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm


Jensen Comment
Since lawyers have a worst reputation for lack of integrity later in life, this begs the question of where lawyers go bad if it's not in law school. Any suggestions?

MBAs most likely (among graduate students) to cheat and make their own rules

"MBAs most likely to cheat," India Times, September 22, 2006 --- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2018004.cms

BOSTON: Graduate business students in the United States and Canada are more likely to cheat on their work than their counterparts in other academic fields, the author of a research paper said on Wednesday.

The study of 5,300 graduate students in the United States and Canada found that 56 per cent of graduate business students admitted to cheating in the past year, with many saying they cheated because they believed it was an accepted practice in business.

Following business students, 54 per cent of graduate engineering students admitted to cheating, as did 50 per cent of physical science students, 49 per cent of medical and health-care students, 45 per cent of law students, 43 per cent of liberal arts students and 39 percent of social science and humanities students.

"Students have reached the point where they're making their own rules," said lead author Donald McCabe, professor of management and global business at New Jersey's Rutgers University. "They'll challenge rules that professors have made, because they think they're stupid, basically, or inappropriate."

McCabe said it's likely that more students cheat than admit to it.

September 22, 2006 reply from LISA SHARP [SHARPL@TCC.FL.EDU]

I make sure to integrate ethics and ethics cases in EVERY business and accounting class I teach. There are plenty of real world examples, and the students actually seem to enjoy debating the issues. When we do our one minute papers, at least half the class says that the ethics cases and discussions are the most important things that they have learned in that class meeting.

I also devote at least 3 pages in the syllabus and a major portion of the first class meeting discussing academic honesty, and why it is especially important in business since we are under increased scrutiny and many members of the public think business = unethical. I use turnitin.com with great success - I think it acts as a tool to help discourage dishonesty.

Lisa L. Sharp
Tallahassee, FL 32304

e-mail: sharpl@tcc.fl.edu


A new study says B-schoolers (at the graduate level) are more likely to cheat than other students
Now administrators are fighting back

"A Crooked Path Through B-School?" by Francesca Di Meglio, Business Week, September 24, 2006 --- Click Here

Is cheating a basic part of B-school?

Apparently, in many cases, yes.

A study released this month by researchers found that B-school students were more likely to cheat, or at least to admit to cheating, than students in other graduate programs. And schools are fighting back, with ethics codes, pledges, and, in some cases, a zero-tolerance policy.

It appears that the anti-cheating forces have good reason to worry. The new study, "Academic Dishonesty in Graduate Business Programs: Prevalence, Causes, & Proposed Action," surveyed 5,331 students at 32 graduate schools in the U.S. and Canada between 2002 and 2004.

According to the researchers, 56% of graduate business students admitted to cheating one or more times in the past academic year, compared to 47% of nonbusiness students. The research will be published in an upcoming issue of the Academy of Management Learning & Education.

Why the moral lapses among aspiring business leaders? No one knows for sure, but those who gathered the results are willing to speculate.

For starters, there's probably something different about the kind of people who are attracted to business in the first place. Linda Treviño, Cook Fellow of Business Ethics at the
Smeal College of Business at Penn State University and one of the researchers who worked on the study, says the most likely reason is that business students are more bottom-line driven, which could drive their willingness to cheat.

PEER PRESSURE 
Although this is one of the first studies focusing on graduate students, few people were surprised by the results. Data from the 1960s to today have consistently showed that undergraduate business students were more likely to cheat than their counterparts studying other fields, the researchers say. The reason most business students give for cheating is the perception that their peers are doing it and therefore they must follow suit, according to the latest study.

Donald McCabe, Treviño's partner on the study and a researcher who has analyzed cheating at high schools and universities for 16 years, says the best way to combat the problem is to get students involved in the solution. That means students need to be made accountable for their actions and responsible for the judicial process, he says.

The goal should be to make honesty a true part of the culture by paying more than lip service to it. Putting peer pressure on students to be honest is the key.

In fact, Charlie Vaughters, a second-year MBA student, says part of the reason he chose to enroll in the the University of Virginia's
Darden Graduate School of Business Administration was because of its commitment to its honor code. A tradition that goes back more than 140 years, the honor system boils down to one simple fact: The university and all of its schools, including Darden, have a zero-tolerance policy for cheating.

There's only one punishment if you're found guilty by a jury of your peers at the university: expulsion. Experts say it's one of the most effective university honor systems in the country.

TRADITION OF INTEGRITY 
Few Darden students ever end up getting charged with cheating, and no MBA student has been expelled in the past three or four years, says Vaughters, who is a member of the university Honor Committee and the Darden Student Assn.'s vice-president for honor.

The reputation that this tough policy has bestowed on Virginia students has served Vaughters well. He recently landed a job offer in his field of banking because the boss said he never had to question the integrity of a Darden student. Hard work and dedication is what pays off in the end, says Vaughters.

What separates Virginia from other schools, say educators, is that integrity has become a part of the school's tradition. Students are made aware of the policies and expectations from the moment they apply—and discussions about ethics happen almost on a daily basis until graduation, says Vaughters.

Other schools are developing similar programs. For example, this semester, Penn State, led by Treviño, is creating an Honor Committee of students and faculty to help build academic integrity.

Some B-schools are already on board. At Vanderbilt University's
Owen Graduate School of Management, the Honor Council is committed to educating students about the honor code and ethical values.

Dane Honhart, Owen's Honor Council chairman, says the constant turnover at two-year graduate programs poses a challenge. "Unless the ideas of honor and integrity are reinforced, I believe, those ideas can be washed away in a short time," he says. That's why Honhart and his colleagues prefer to be proactive about cheating.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS? 
The Honor Council reminds students that it's to their benefit to do the right thing. "If you're cheating you're doing a disservice to yourself because you're throwing away your opportunity to learn," says Honhart.

Many students appear to be listening. Only 1.5% of about 400 Owen students end up facing cheating charges in a given year, and they aren't necessarily found guilty, estimates Honhart.

At Vanderbilt, the flagrancy of a student's actions determines the punishment. Few students ever face expulsion. In fact, Treviño and McCabe say they favor a system that chooses to educate students about their mistakes as opposed to expelling them.

The more disturbing possible explanation for cheating is that students think this conduct will be expected of them in the workplace. "They might feel they're emulating behavior that will help them find success in the real world," says McCabe, also a professor of management and global business at the
Rutgers Business School in New Jersey.

That kind of thinking makes many B-school administrators quake. Many of them have been struggling with how to address moral questions since corporate scandals, from Enron to Parmalat, started making headlines in recent years.

LONG-TERM IMPACT 
This summer,
Thunderbird, The Garvin School of International Management proposed a solution. It adopted a Professional Oath of Honor, which is intended to be similar to the doctors' Hippocratic Oath.

Thunderbird Students, upon graduating, sign a pledge promising to, among other things, "strive to act with honesty and integrity" and "respect the rights and dignity of all people." It's an extension of the code of conduct that students are expected to follow while at Thunderbird.

Students and administrators who helped create the oath wanted to put forth the idea that business management should be treated like a true profession with certain obligations, says Gregory Unruh, director of the Lincoln Center for Ethics in Global Management at Thunderbird. "If you don't address ethics at B-school, the lesson is that you support [unethical behavior] or that you can get away with it," says Unruh, who adds that he and his colleagues hope to give students the courage to always take the high road.

Most educators agree that teaching aspiring MBAs to handle ethical dilemmas is fundamental because it will determine future practices in real business. Cheating or corruption in the corporate world might offer great results at first, but it will eventually have a catastrophic impact on the bottom line.

"Without trust, honor, and integrity, business can't function for the long term," says Richard Brownlee, professor of business administration at Darden. And the company's name isn't the only one at stake when you make a poor ethical decision. Whether in B-school or at work, say educators, your reputation is only as good as your actions.


Do you think B-school students cheat more than students in other disciplines? Talk about it in the BusinessWeek.com B-schools forum thread, “Lying and Cheating”.

September 27, 2006 reply from Paul Williams [williamsp@COMFS1.COM.NCSU.EDU]

Bob,
Given the 14 Rules of Life recently shared with AECMers (11 if you only count the Bill Gates dicta), beginning with the profound insight that "life isn't fair," why wouldn't people cheat? The cynicism embedded in those "rules of life" paint a picture of a rather Hobbesian world that makes it quite rational to cheat -- cheat or be cheated. Life may not be fair, but people expect it to be. Considerable research in cognitive psychology, anthropology, philosophy and experimental economics points to a universal principle of distributive fairness shared by all humans. From Marc Hauser's new book, Moral Minds:

"In the same way that all humans share a universal grammar but might speak Chinese, English or French, it appears that all humans share a universal sense of distributive fairness, with cross- cultural differences coupled to local quirks of exchange, justice, power, and resource regulation. The idea here, returning to our analogy with language, is that fairness is a universal principle with the potential for parametric variation and constraints. Cultures set the parameters based on particular details of their social organization and ecology, and these settings constrain what are optional forms of exchange and distribution (p. 83)."

That the first rule of the culture we instruct our youth with is "Life isn't fair" should give us pause as educators, since the rules aren't nature's rules, but ones we make up ourselves. Of course one can always invoke Fields' (W.C.) law: "Everybody has got to believe something ... I believe I'll have another drink." The folks who believe those 14 "rules" are truly aspiration rules for human life should probably have one, too.

September 27, 2006 reply from Richard C. Sansing [Richard.C.Sansing@DARTMOUTH.EDU]

I think there is a useful distinction to be drawn between the notion of "the fairness of life" and whether people treat one another fairly. The unavoidable fact that "life" is often unfair is not a justification for treating others unfairly.

On a not unrelated point, I hope everyone saw Monday's Doonesbury cartoon featuring an exchange between whiny MIT freshman Alex Doonesbury and an MIT professor regarding an oversubscribed class.

AD: You don't understand, professor--I NEED to be in this class! I'm passionate about media studies!

PROF: So are a lot of students. That's why there's a lottery.

AD: But the lottery is SO unfair!

PROF: Unfair? Perhaps you should consider a course in probability.

Richard C. Sansing
Professor of Accounting
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
100 Tuck Hall Hanover, NH 03755

September 27, 2006 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

Since we are talking about fairness of life, let me provide two quotations from David Hume, no bleeding heart liberal:

___________________________
We have naturally no real or universal motive for observing the law of equity , but the very equity and merit of that observance ; and as no action can be equitable or meritorious , where it can not arise from some separate motive , there is here an evident sophistry and reasoning in a circle. Unless, therefore , we will allow that nature has establishd a sophistry , and renderd it necessary and unavoidable , we must allow that the sense of justice and injustice is not derivd from nature , but arises artificially, tho necessarily from education , and human conventions. ___________________________

and

_____________________________
self-interest is the original motivation for the establishment of justice: but a sympathy with the public interest is the source of moral approbation, which attends that virtue . This latter principle of sympathy is too weak to control our passions; but has sufficient force to influence our taste, and give us the sentiments of approbation or blame . ____________________________

Jagdish

September 27, 2006 reply from Paul Williams [williamsp@COMFS1.COM.NCSU.EDU

Jagdish, Thanks for the quotes. Hume also had some observations to make about those who profess theories of exclusively self- interested behavior:

"What heart one must be possessed of who professes such principles, and who feels no internal sentiment that belies so pernicious a theory, it is easy to imagine: And also, what degree of affection and benevolence he can bear to a species, whom he represents under such odious colours, and supposes so little susceptible of gratitude or any return of affection (An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals)." Though not a bleeding heart liberal, he didn't exactly regard highly the neoliberals of his day, either.

And on the topic at hand, none other than Adam Smith, who unfortunately gets the blame for all of the invisible hand nonsense, had this to say:

It is thus that man, who can subsist only in society, was fitted by nature to that situation for which he was made. All the members of human society stand in need of each others assistance, and are likewise exposed to mutual injuries. Where the necessary assistance is reciprocally afforded from love, from gratitude, from friendship, and esteem, the society flourishes, and is happy. All the different members of it are bound together by the agreeable bands of love and affection, and are, as it were, drawn to one common centre of mutual good offices (Theory of Moral Sentiments).

How quaint these sentiments seem to us hardened denizens of what their Enlightenment project has become.

September 27, 2006 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]

Paul,

It is a shame that Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments is all but forgotten, and the Wealth of Nations is accepted as the Gospel, especially when convenient.

Speaking of the enlightenment and the "Age of Reason", it may be that Rousseau was right when he lamented that now that the "learned" men have arrived "honest" men are nowhere to be found.

Regards,

Jagdish

September 27, 2006 reply from Peter Kenyon [pbk1@HUMBOLDT.EDU]

Isn't it strange that we hear little criticism of the study itself?

The study cannot distinguish between the conclusion that MBA's cheated more versus the conclusion that MBA's are more likely to ADMIT to having cheated?

Given rather different implications, I'm surprised we give this report much attention.

Peter Kenyon
Humboldt State

Study says B-schoolers (at the graduate level) are more likely to cheat than other students.
Now administrators are fighting back --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm#MBAs

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

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


Should Higher Ed Should Generate Its Own Rankings to Discredit Abusive Media Rankings?

Existing tools and measurements could allow colleges to develop meaningful rankings to replace widely discredited rankings developed by magazines, according to a report being released today by Education Sector, a think tank. The report repeats criticisms that have been made of the U.S. News & World Report rankings, saying that they are largely based on fame, wealth and exclusivity. A new system might use data from the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Collegiate Learning Assessment as well as considering new approaches to graduation rates and retention, the report says. Current rankings reward colleges that enroll highly prepared, wealthy students who are most likely to graduate on time. But a system that compared predicted and actual retention and graduation rates — based on socioeconomic and other data — would give high marks to colleges with great track records on educating disadvantaged students, even if those rates were lower than those of some colleges that focus only on top students.
Inside Higher Ed, September 22, 2006

Jensen Comment
I don't think this alternative ranking system will ever get off the ground. Colleges will debate endlessly about ranking criteria. Having higher education do its own rankings will badly upset colleges who come out in the lower end of the spectrum, because having higher education do its own rankings lends more legitimacy to the rankings. Lower ranking colleges in a particular set of media/publisher rankings can always claim "lack of legitimacy" under today's ranking systems put in place by the media.

There is an added problem of colleges racing toward the bottom in terms of academic standards. Since "learning" is difficult to measure for ranking purposes and "graduation rates" are easy to measure for ranking purposes, graduation rates will probably be high in terms of higher education's ranking system. One way to improve graduation rates is to virtually eliminate academic standards.

Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings


Speaking of college rankings, I'll bet you've not heard about this ranking that places Yale on top followed closely by the University of Iowa. Schools at the bottom of the list were the University of Nevada (#91), followed by University of Wyoming (#92), University of Louisville (#93), Texas Tech University (#94), Clemson University (#95), University of Memphis (#96), Oklahoma State University (#97), University of Utah (#98), University of Notre Dame (#99), and Brigham Young University (#100).

Move over, U.S. News — the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card is a new ranking, released by the condom company, on colleges’ policies and services. Institutions were judged on such factors as the availability of condoms, other contraceptives, and HIV testing; whether student papers have a sex columnist; and education programs. Yale led the nation, followed by the University of Iowa.
Inside Higher Ed, September 22, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/22/qt


Question
What is "negative learning" in college?

"Letting Students Down:  A new study finds that even top undergraduates are woefully ignorant of history and civic government," by Pat Wingert, MSNBC, September 27, 2006 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15014682/site/newsweek/from/ET/

Does going to college make students better-educated citizens? A new study of more than 14,000 randomly selected college students from across the country concludes that the answer is often no. Not only did many respondents at the 50 participating colleges fail to answer half of the basic civics questions correctly, but at such elite schools as Cornell, Berkeley and Johns Hopkins, the college freshmen scored higher than the college seniors. Josiah Bunting, III, chairman of the National Civic Literacy Board of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), the nonprofit that funded the study, decried “the students’ dismal scores” as providing “high-quality evidence of … nothing less than a coming crisis in American citizenship.” Mike Ratliff, a senior vice president at the ISI spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Pat Wingert about the study’s findings, which were released today.

. . .

How did you pick the participating schools?
We surveyed 14,000 students at 50 schools as part of the largest study ever done on this topic. The University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy picked 25 schools on a random basis. Then we oversampled among the most selective schools, and added 25 schools like Harvard, Yale and Princeton.

What did you find?
Basically, we found that the freshmen arriving on campus were not very well prepared to take on their future responsibility as citizens. They earned a failing grade on our test. [The average participating freshman got 51.7 percent of the questions correct.] But after four to five years in college, we found that seniors, as a group, scored only 1.5 percent better than the entering freshmen.

What was most surprising was the finding that at 16 of the 50 schools, the freshmen did better than the seniors. We were startled by the extent of what we call “negative learning.” When courses are not offered or required, the students forget what they knew when they entered as freshmen, and that 16 included some of the best schools in the country, Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Duke.

Continued in article

September 27, 2006 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

In the nature of Peter Kenyon's response to the "MBA Cheating" thread, it might be pointed out that the "negative learning" study does not study at all what is being claimed by the opening sentence, or even the headline.

(For example, there seems to be a complete lack of a control group of citizens who did not go to college, but who experienced the same four-year time-period as experienced between the freshmen and seniors used in the study.... I'd bet the college seniors out-perform non-college students four years after high-school!)

And if you read the article, notice that the researcher doesn't actually answer a lot of the "sensationalized" questions asked by the reporter. What's more, I'd speculate that even as vague as the answers are, the researcher would complain that "I was misquoted" or "That's not exactly what I said", or "the author re-worded it to sound like something I never meant".

Alas, the "Fordham Files" gain another outstanding article to add to the thousands already in there illustrating the daily lies and corruption of the popular press.

It's a pity the "news" media is so chock full of such falsehood. Pity, pity. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

David Fordham
JMU
Yes, with tongue still firmly in cheek, but only half kidding.

 

"The Real Reasons Students Can’t Write," by Laurence Musgrove, Inside Higher Ed, April 28, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/04/28/musgrove 

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


Question
Should you upgrade your mobile phone for WAP that is popular in Europe but not the U.S.?

September 25, 2006 message from Roberta E. (Bobbi) Lee [relee301@VERIZON.NET]

It is refreshing to see so many recent posts relating so directly and explicitly to "accounting education using computers and multi-media".

Here is a question for some of the techies on the list:

A former student of mine recently told me that I need to upgrade to WAP. What is your opinion? Is it really worth upgrading? What is involved? Any comments would be appreciated, as I am the farthest thing from a leading-edge techie.

R.E. (Bobbi) Lee
Retired (and loving it)

September 25, 2006 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

In response to Bobbi Lee's question about upgrading to WAP:

Bobbi, do you by any chance mean WPA instead of WAP?

Of course, it doesn't really matter. To answer your question, my personal opinion in both cases is: "No. Probably not".

WAP would involve upgrading your cell phone or addding software to a cell-equipped PDA. In contrast, WPA would involve upgrading your wireless Wi-Fi card and/or access point. Which were you thinking of upgrading?

WAP is "Wireless Application Protocol". This is the "HTML"- type markup language intended to enable browsing of "web- type" content on teeny-tiny screens like cell-phone and PDA displays.

WAP has caught on big-time around the world, especially Asia and Europe, but for some unknown reason, is severely lagging in the U.S. It is common to see people in Europe on the trains, on busses, standing on street corners or in the ubiquitous "queues", staring at their cell phone screen. They are browsing web content: downloading sports scores, news headlines, restaurant menus, making reservations for dinner, checking email, train schedules, flight status, etc. from their cell phone. The services are subscription based, and require the content provider to send "web-page- like" content to a WAP server. The user merely dials up the servers, and begins downloading and interacting.

WAP is about eight-years old. And as with any 8-year-old technology, it has already evolved into a new "version", called the OMA "Open Mobile Alliance" standard. OMA is technically an organization, but they are serving the same purposes as the old WAP Forum group: keeping the standards up-to-date and certifying equipment and software. About 200 companies have signed on, so this will be an up-and-coming technology.

If you want WAP, you have to upgrade to a cell phone which has a WAP browser, or install the WAP (now OMA) browser to your blackberry or cell-equipped PDA.

WAP is being challenged by i-Mode, a similar type of application by Nippon. Whereas WAP is dial-up (cell/circuit switched), and requires the user to dial into a server, log- in, and begin browsing and interacting, i-Mode is packet- switched, and thus is "always on" and doesn't require content providers to upload to a special server. i-Mode is essentially limited to Japan right now, but may catch on other places over the next few years.

That's WAP. So to answer your question about WAP, "No", right now I would not spend the money to upgrade.

WPA, by contrast, is Wi-Fi Protected Access. It is an encryption scheme for encrypting wireless 802.11 signals. WPA (and its more current version WPA2) are methods for keeping casual eavesdroppers and war-drivers from using your wireless 802.11 (wi-fi) access point.

Anyone with an 802.11 card can connect to an "open" access point. To avoid war-drivers from eavesdropping on your access point, WEP encryption was developed. The old WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy) encryption method was an IEEE standard which required a "password" (really a pre-shared encryption key) to be programmed into your access point and into every machine you wanted to be able to use your wireless network. The theory was: as long as you kept your key confidential, outsiders couldn't "connect" to your wireless access point. As with all static encryption methods, however, use a single key long enough, and someone can crack it. The early 802.11 equipment even helped this effort by allowing an outsider to "ping" the access point causing it to respond, furnishing LOTS of packets which could be analyzed to help cracking-software break the key. Use the same key for several days, and a determined hacker could break the key. But changing the key meant re- programming all your computers and the access point router.

Almost all modern Wi-Fi gear has been designed to no longer allow such pinging, but still, over the course of several weeks, a determined hacker could accumulate enough packets to be able to crack the key. So it was decided to modify the WEP system so that a new key would be generated each time your computer connected to the access point. This dynamic key generation makes it tremendously difficult to crack the key, thus enhancing security. This dynamic key generation system is known as WPA.

The new WPA2 standard goes even further, and supports the AES-CCMP (Advanced Encryption Standard Counter-Mode Mac Protocol, the NIST national "strong" encryption standard, 802.11i) which combines a number of sophisticated authentication methods over and above the dynamic key assignment.

(It is interesting to note that the Rijndael algorithm used as the basis for most of today's modern encryption was developed by Joan Daemen and Vince Rijmen of the University of Leuven, Belgium.)

WPA/WPA2 is catching on, but currently WEP still is the norm. (I expect this to gradually change over the next 2 to 5 years.) WEP is pretty strong as long as you don't have a determined and very capable hacker within range of your wi- fi transmitter.

So, getting back to your question: is it worth upgrading now? I don't think so.

Bottom line: If you meant WAP, no, there aren't enough content providers in the U.S. to make it worthwhile to get a WAP phone and subscription service. If you were in Belgium, my answer would be different: there are tons of uses for it there, but not in the U.S. ... Yet. Stay tuned, however, because I personally believe in a couple of years, this will change bigtime.

If you meant WPA, again, no, I don't believe it is worth upgrading at the present time. When you do e-commerce, your web content provider (e.g., your bank, your credit card company, etc.) already provides SSL encryption of confidential and sensitive data, so your data is already encrypted before it gets to the wireless link. And most of us saavy users know better than to send our credit card numbers "in the clear" in emails and other text applications. Plus, practically all 802.11 equipment provides for WEP encryption, which should be strong enough for most everyday applications by the rank and file citizenry. So unless you are an attractive target (a bank, a hospital treating Paris Hilton, someone like Glen Beck, CNN or similar celebs), the chances of an eavesdropper catching some sensitive data and being able to use it, is pretty negligible for the everyday citizen. (Being retired, you don't have to worry about a saavy student trying to intercept things like grades or answer keys, either!). I believe WEP is sufficient for now, especially if you are using modern equipment which overcomes the old WEP problems. And by the time WPA is ubiquitous, you'll want new equipment anyway for other reasons.

Again, this is my personal opinion. Others might differ.

David Fordham
James Madison University


"Feminist view of the body," PhysOrg, September 22, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news78071780.html

We do not just have bodies; we are bodies. Dutch researcher Silvia Stoller used this proposition from phenomenology as a basis for studying the theories of three influential feminist philosophies. Her study sheds new light on feminist philosophy and provides a basis for further research. 

Phenomenology, that is the study of experience, assumes the world is as we encounter it. The phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961) is known for his theory of the body and his criticism of the dualism of body and spirit that reduces the body to a physical entity with its own natural laws. Instead he envisioned an embodied spirit, a thought and observation process emanating from the body that is the source of our language and our entry point into the world. Merleau-Ponty refers to that body as the phenomenological or lived body.

Although recent feminist theories often neglect the starting point of the experience, feminist theories of the body in particular, can benefit from Merleau-Ponty's theory, according to Stoller. She explains this using the work of the French writer and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), the French-Belgian philosopher and linguist Luce Irigaray (about 1930) and the American philosopher Judith Butler (1956). All three of them examined Merleau-Ponty's work.

Gender differences

According to Beauvoir women are mainly identified by their body and men by their spirit. Stoller uses Merleau-Ponty's theory of the body to further explain this analysis of how we experience gender in daily life. Irigaray proposes that there are a range of fundamental gender differences between men and women, which Merleau-Ponty failed to consider. Stoller shows that Irigaray still used many of Merleau-Ponty's theoretical insights and with this she clarifies many important aspects of Irigaray's theory of sexual difference.

Finally, the constructivist Judith Butler considers gender and sex as constructions and proposes that language consists of imposed rules and standards. Stoller demonstrates that constructivism and phenomenology have more in common than has been assumed and that they compliment and clarify each other.

Stoller's study is the first to initiate a dialogue between the work of Merleau-Ponty and Butler, Beauvoir and Irigaray. According to Stoller, phenomenology provides feminist philosophy with an indispensable methodology and Merleau-Ponty's theory of the body fills a gap in feminist philosophy and gender theory. Further knowledge about the phenomenological background of the three philosophers should lead to a better understanding of their work and greater insight into the feminist acceptance of phenomenology.

Source: NWO


Could this be a conflict of interest because some of these scholars get paid to review submissions?
Several groups of provosts — some from liberal arts colleges, others from research universities — have been endorsing federal legislation that would require most federally backed research to be made available online, free within six months of publication elsewhere. Now a group of academic leaders is coming out against the legislation, saying that it would harm scholarly journals and hurt the peer review process. This letter features endorsements from senior officials at the State University of New York, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Chicago and elsewhere. Supporters of the legislation are attacking the new letter.
Inside Higher Ed, September 26, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/26/qt
Jensen Comment
This makes no sense to me, because there are alternative ways to conduct the refereeing process.

Also see http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

Bob Jensen's threads on price gouging by scholarly journals are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals


Putting Education Competition to the Test in South Carolina?

"Change Comes to a Carolina," The Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2006; Page A18 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115931719266075030.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

What's going on here?
Fed-up South Carolina Democrats are blowing the whistle on the state's public-school system, one of the nation's worst. A recent study published by Education Week found that South Carolina has the highest drop-out rate of any state; half of its students fail to graduate from high school in four years. The state ranks 49th in both SAT and ACT scores. State achievement tests released this month show that fewer than 30% of eighth graders are proficient in English, math, science or social studies. Among African-American eighth graders, only 13% were proficient in English and less than 9% in math. These kids aren't being left behind; they're never making it to the starting line.

The state's return on educational investment is appalling. Over two decades it has increased education spending 137% -- the third largest increase in the nation -- and now spends more than $10,000 per student (including capital costs). It's of little comfort to parents that the state masks its underperformance by claiming that nearly 73% of eighth graders meet what it considers a "basic standard" in English. The state only reaches that inflated number by defining its standard as something less than "proficient."

The good news is that the Palmetto State may be reaching a tipping point that could upend the public education establishment. Reform advocates have been building grassroots support for vouchers, tax credits, charter schools -- almost anything that will give parents more options on where to send their children. Governor Mark Sanford, a Republican, is already a supporter of broad-based school choice. The problem has been the Republican-controlled legislature. A handful of GOP members (many from districts with good schools) have lined up with Democrats to oppose anything that might empower parents over the system's bureaucrats.

That is starting to change. Under intense pressure, the legislature this year passed two school-choice bills. One made it easier to open charter schools. The other created vouchers for a new early-kindergarten pilot program to allow some low-income parents to send their four-year-old children to almost any public or private school. That's left parents wondering why they don't have the same options for primary and secondary education.

The state's reformist residents are also sending a message in the one way pols can't duck -- at the ballot box. In June, three incumbent state legislators were defeated in primaries for opposing school choice. Several other incumbents, including House Education Committee Chairman Ronny Townsend, decided to retire rather than risk being turned out of office. South Carolinians for Responsible Government, a non-profit advocacy group in Columbia, estimates that in November reformers could pick up the seats they need in the house to pass education scholarships and tax credits for parents with kids in failing schools. These reforms failed this year by seven votes.

Continued in article


"The Art of the Possible:  Can Eric Bonabeau's Hunch Engine expand your mind?" by Wade Roush, MIT's Technology Review, September 25, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17397&ch=infotech

I am a low S trapped in a high S's body.

S is for steadiness in the DISC personality-profiling system, outlined in 1928 by psychologist William Moulton Marston (also the creator of Wonder Woman). Assessing colleagues and customers according to their need for dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance is a skill still taught in many corporations. My outwardly high S means that if you ask me whether I would like to vacation in Italy or India, I will say Italy, because I've already been there, and I know what it's like. If I were on Deal or No Deal with Howie Mandel, I'd choose the cash I knew I'd won over the next briefcase every time.

Yet in my secret heart I am a low S. The best things in my life have turned up by surprise. If I let my boyfriend plan our vacations, we end up in exotic places like Shanghai or Belize, and I have a great time. I love new things when I encounter them; I just can't remember that beforehand.

So when I heard about the Hunch Engine, my reaction was predictably dismissive. I'd been assigned to write about the design and search tool for this special TR35 issue of Technology Review because it had just been unveiled as the latest brainchild of theoretical physicist Eric Bonabeau, whom the magazine had named four years earlier as one of our top young innovators (see "TR100/2002," June 2002). In 2000, Bonabeau had founded a company called Icosystem to commercialize his ideas about the "swarm intelligence" that emerges from systems, such as ant colonies, whose individual parts are not themselves intelligent.

According to the company's publicity materials, the Hunch Engine is software that uses evolutionary algorithms to breed solutions to science, engineering, business, or design problems--solutions that no human mind could have predicted. Icosystem claims that evolutionary algorithms expose ideas to a kind of natural selection, allowing users to "reach beyond the limits of their imagination." But the notion that serendipity might produce better results than thinking and planning left me suspicious. That was before I heard about the French letter carriers.

In June, I spent an afternoon with Bonabeau at his company's headquarters in Cambridge, MA. Bonabeau, who has degrees from Paris-Sud University, the École Polytechnique, and the École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications and was a research fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, is a very low S--and an almost negligible C. Over tea, we talked about the menu at El Bulli, a notoriously experimental restaurant north of Barcelona where reservations must ordinarily be made a year in advance but where Bonabeau had, the week before, won a table after a relentless series of e-mails to the ­maître d'. It sounded like exactly the kind of place I would never try on my own but that I in fact enjoy.

Designing efficient mail-delivery routes, Bonabeau explained to me after our tea, is an age-old headache for post-office bureaucrats. The route that's shortest in distance or fastest in time may be unfeasible for the most illogical of reasons, such as the belief among postal carriers that it's inefficient for any two mail routes to cross. Or the mailman may simply dislike his new route. A large percentage of the mail-route reorganizations attempted by post offices around the world lead to labor-management tensions and strikes, Bonabeau says.

 


"Hi Dad" versus "No Dad":  These Appear to Be the Choices
British clinics treating couples with fertility problems are suffering from a major sperm shortage after the authorities lifted donor anonymity in April last year. A BBC television investigation said that 50 of the 74 clinics which responded to questioning had either insufficient sperm or none at all. The country as a whole has about 85 such clinics. Donors of frozen sperm, eggs and embryos were stripped of their anonymity in April 2005. Now a child born thanks to a donation is able to discover the identity of the donor once they reach the age of 18.
"British sperm banks near empty after donor anonymity lifted," PhysOrg, September 25, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news78369161.html


Return of the Hunters and Gatherers:  Wal-Mart's experiment with $4 pricing of some generic medications
If you get prescriptions paid for by government what's the incentive to help the government out?
But Christa Calamas, secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, said the state would probably save money only on those Medicaid consumers who already fill prescriptions at Wal-Mart. Since most Florida Medicaid users pay nothing for their prescriptions, they are likely to choose convenient pharmacy locations over lower prices, experts said.
Michael Barbaro and Reed Abelson, "Relief for Some but Maybe Not Many in Wal-Mart Plan for $4 Generic Drugs," The New York Times, September 22, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/22/business/22generic.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Jensen Comment
Without making the extrapolation, Christa Calamas provides an illustration where "primitive" communism in its purist form is doomed to failure in the distribution of scarce commodities and services. As primitive societies multiplied in population there just was not enough free food readily available to be easily gathered (much the same as when the deer population explodes beyond the available food grazing supply) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_communism

Life for the earliest humans was marked by a constant need to obtain food. In a primitive communist society, all able bodied persons would have worked, and everyone would share in what was produced by hunting and gathering. There would be almost no property, other than articles of clothing and similar personal items, because primitive society produced almost no surplus; what was produced was quickly consumed. The few things that existed for any length of time (tools, housing) were held communally. There would have been no state.

So what's the solution? If the Wal-Mart savings to government are estimated at $1 per prescription, the savings might be shared half with consumers and half with the government. However, this encourages over-consumption to a point where it pays consumers to flush prescriptions down the toilet if they are paid to consume.

This also illustrates the classic cost-profit-volume (CPV) analysis studied in every managerial-cost accounting course in college. If demand is price elastic (as it is for most products and services), it often is more profitable to reduce price in an effort to increase sales volume. However, in the case of Wal-Mart (high volume) versus One-Store Pharmacy (low volume), Wal-Mart pricing tends to force the local competition out of business. The economy always walks on quicksand when a surviving firm has no competitors --- which was Standard Oil's predatory pricing strategy in the previous century under robber baron John D. Rockefeller.  See  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Rockefeller


"Political Shocker: Faculty Moderates," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 19, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/19/politics

The journal Public Opinion Quarterly has just published an analysis of professorial politics that offers a dramatically different picture. To be sure, this study does say that there are more liberals than conservatives on college faculties, although the propoportions (while still significant) aren’t as large as those found in some other reports. But most significant, the new study suggests that the most dramatic trend among the professoriate in recent years has been a shift toward the middle of the road. And the trend is particularly pronounced in some of the disciplines that enroll the greatest numbers of students.

“There are disciplines where conservatives are in the majority, and there is a healthy middle overall,” said John F. Zipp, chair of sociology at the University of Akron, and the author of the study, with Rudy Fenwick, associate professor of sociology at the University of Arizona.

Zipp and Fenwick based their analysis on two broad studies of the American professoriate by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The studies — in 1989 and 1997 — found a shift toward the middle, while conservative professors — a distinct minority — did not lose ground.

Political Ideology of Professors

Ideology 1989 1997
Liberal 24.6% 23.3%
Moderately liberal 31.0% 32.6%
Middle of the road 16.5% 19.6%
Moderately conservative 21.2% 17.7%
Conservative 6.7% 6.7%

Then the authors looked at changes within disciplines. As they expected, humanities faculty members are liberal and don’t show signs of changing. From 1989 to 1997, the percentage of humanities faculty members who classify themselves as liberal increased to 40.9 percent, from 40.3 percent.

But many other disciplines — including those that attract some of the largest enrollments these days — showed decreases in the percentages identifying themselves as liberal and increases in the percentages identifying themselves as middle of the road:

Zipp — who describes himself as liberal — said he wasn’t trying to deny that more faculty members are liberal than conservative, and that some disciplines are quite lopsided. But he said that when one looks at the disciplines, it becomes impossible to accept the conservative critique of higher education as one that is dominated by some sort of fringe left.

“If one says, ‘look at all those liberal humanities professors,’ well that’s inevitable. It’s been that way for a long time,” he said. “But look at the relative position of the humanities in the university over the last 20 or 30 years.” The departments into which resources are flowing, he said, are ideologically diverse. And anyone taking a range of courses in a range of departments is going to be exposed to diverse views — however liberal one department or area may be, he said.

Zipp said that he hoped his analysis would prompt people to recognize the current attack on alleged liberal bias as part of a historic pattern. As his paper says, “hunting for subversives in the academy has been a favorite sport of conservatives for at least a century.”

Some of the scholars who have noted ideological imbalance in the academy said that they were not impressed with the new study.

Daniel Klein, a professor of economics at George Mason University, has studied ideological leanings in the social sciences, and published his research in Critical Review. His research was not based on asking people if they are liberal or conservative, but about party registration and stands on a variety of issues. He was critical of the Carnegie surveys for relying on general descriptions that people selected. Terms like “middle of the road” and “liberal” can “mean very different things to different people,” he said.

In contrast, his questions about party registration yielded clear evidence about lopsided ratios and the questions he asked about various policy questions identified “generally statist views” in many disciplines.

Klein identifies himself as “a small-l libertarian,” and said that he opposes the Academic Bill of Rights and other efforts to apply outside force to changing the make-up of faculties. He’d like to see change from within. The new study, he said, “leaves unchallenged” the evidence he and others have produced about imbalance in humanities and social science departments.

Anne Colby, a senior scholar at the Carnegie foundation (who didn’t work on the analysis published in Public Opinion Quarterly), is currently working on a book about political engagement in higher education. She said the new article had much more perspective — about disciplines as a whole, about the disciplines where students are taking the most courses, and about trends over time — than the studies that have alleged liberal bias. “I think this article is very much on target and the earlier ones were not,” she said.

“If you look at the number of students who go to different institutional types, and their majors, the great majority of students are going to the most conservative kinds of institutions and the more conservative majors,” she said. Further, she said that more research is finding that peer influence more than professorial influence results in shifts in students’ political views, making the emphasis on professorial politics misplaced.

Colby said she hoped the new analysis would get people off the issue of ideological bias. “I hope this gets a lot of attention,” she said. “I think this changes the picture.”


"'Michael & Me'," by Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily, October 7, 2005 ---
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46707

It's called "Michael & Me," and, as you might imagine, it emulates the style of Michael Moore's documentaries and turns the tables on the filmmaker responsible for "Bowling for Columbine."

This time it's Moore who is hunted down for an ambush interview the way he famously stalked Roger Smith, the chief executive officer of General Motors, in "Roger & Me," and an ailing Charlton Heston in "Columbine."

This time it's Elder scoring all the propaganda points – with the truth and facts, rather than distortions and cinematic gimmicks.

Continued in article


"Antipork Progress," The Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2006; Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115922994443573729.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

As Republicans lurch toward November, they're trying to reclaim their birthright as fiscal conservatives. So far they're moved up to a D from an F, with a chance to still grab a gentleman's C.

In the small favors department, the House this month passed an "earmark" reform to bring more transparency to the runaway process of sticking pork into appropriations bills. Give House Majority Leader John Boehner credit for staring down his party's Appropriations Committee barons on this one; that's more than Tom DeLay or Roy Blunt ever did when they ran the majority.

Lawmakers will now have to sign their names to earmark requests, although the loopholes in this requirement are still large. The rule applies only to non-federal earmark recipients, which means that pet projects aimed at, say, the Department of Defense will still be secret. The definition of a "tax earmark" was also deliberately kept narrow, shielding many of those expensive giveaways.

It's also no accident that the new transparency rule won't apply to the 10 spending bills the House has already passed this year. Meanwhile, the Senate has yet to act, and the new House rule expires at the end of this Congress. GOP appropriators figure that they can block its renewal in January, when the election heat is off, assuming their bad spending habits haven't cost Republicans their majority.

In a better sign of progress, President Bush will today sign the "Federal Transparency Act," which will create a searchable public database of some $1 trillion worth of federal grants, contracts and loans. The brainchild of Senators Tom Coburn (R., Oklahoma) and Barack Obama (D., Illinois), the database will help the public identify the lawmakers who sponsor these provisions. The idea is to expose these favors to public scrutiny and force their authors to defend them.

The next test of GOP spending sincerity is whether the Senate will force an up-or-down vote on the "legislative" line-item veto. This would let a President strike out individual spending items from larger legislation, sending them back to Congress for an override vote within 14 legislative days. A simple majority vote would be enough to override, so this item veto isn't as powerful as the one that Republicans gave to Bill Clinton in the 1990s and was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. But it would still give the President more leverage to kill the most egregious earmarks.

The House passed the item veto in June, but the Senate has failed to act. By our count, some 65 current Senators have voted for a version of the line-item veto at some point in the past. Eleven Democrats voted to give it to Mr. Clinton, and four more Democrats voted for a version of it while in the House.

Majority Leader Bill Frist should give Senators the opportunity to pass a bill designed to end the secret earmarking that has helped produce some of the corruption scandals in this Congress. Win or lose on the floor, Republicans would at least show they're trying to swear off their own worst spending excesses.

There's no fraud like U.S. Government fraud
"Limo letter is found at Homeland Security," by Dean Calbreath, The San Diego Union-Tribune, June 17, 2006 --- http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060617/news_1n17letter.html

Question
Could there possibly be fraud in U.S. Government accounting?

The State Department agency in charge of $1.4 billion in reconstruction money in Iraq used an accounting shell game to hide ballooning cost overruns on its projects there and knowingly withheld information on schedule delays from Congress, a federal audit released late Friday has found. The agency hid construction overruns by listing them as overhead or administrative costs, according to the audit, written by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent office that reports to Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. Called the United States Agency for International Development, or A.I.D., the agency administers foreign aid projects around the world. It has been working in Iraq on reconstruction since shortly after the 2003 invasion. The report by the inspector general’s office does not give a full accounting of all projects financed by the agency’s $1.4 billion budget, but cites several examples.
"Audit Finds U.S. Hid Cost of Iraq Projects," by James Glanz, The New York Times, July 29, 2006 --- Click Here


Military Spending Fraud on an Unfathomable Scale
Of course, people have been decrying Pentagon waste and inefficiency for decades. But things have got significantly worse over the past five years, because Congress and the Bush Administration have thrown so much money at the Defense Department so fast. Studies of corporate behavior show that when companies are flush with cash they are more likely to make acquisitions that reduce their over-all value. The defense industry today, in fact, is much like Silicon Valley in the late nineties—when you give lots of money to an industry with no audits and no supervision, people lose discipline. They spend on bad ideas, gild every surface, and cheat. Is it really a surprise that billions of dollars meant for private contractors in Iraq seems to have been stolen?
James Surowiecki, "Unsafe at Any Price," The New Yorker, August 8, 2006 --- http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/060807ta_talk_surowiecki

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


Yale Business School's Core Curriculum No Longer Has Traditional Courses in Functional Areas of Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Management, Finance, and Economics

"Breaking Down Silos at Yale:  Dean Joel Podolny talks about how the B-school is putting old paradigms out to pasture with its new curriculum," by Kerry Miller, Business Week, September 12, 2006 --- Click Here

Since taking office last year, Dean Joel Podolny has announced plans for far-reaching changes aimed at pushing the Yale School of Management into the top tier of the nation's business schools (see BusinessWeek.com, 4/28/05, "A Fresh Face for Yale"). The most significant change to come to fruition so far is the school's radically redesigned curriculum, implemented with this fall's entering class.

What are the core elements of the new curriculum?
The most important part of the curriculum is that we're replacing the disciplinary courses that mapped onto the functional silos in organizations with new courses that are actually organized around the key constituencies that a manager needs to engage in order to be effective.

We now offer a course on the customer rather than a course in marketing, a course on the investor rather than a course in finance. All of them are multidisciplinary in both their design and their delivery. And then we have a course called the integrated leadership perspective at the end which sort of brings together all the different perspectives.

Why were these changes are necessary? Do you feel that the standard MBA is outdated?
When I talked to CEOs, to our alumni, to recruiters, it became clear that the demands for managers, for leaders, are very different today than they were in the past century. Effective leaders need to be able to own and frame problems and take real responsibility for solving those problems, and then work across organizational boundaries in order to solve those problems. The curriculum in the past was broken down by these disciplinary silos and because of that, got in the way of effective management and leadership.

I think, not just at Yale, but at any of the curricula that you would look at any of the major business schools, they were broken down by functional silos: a course in marketing, a course in accounting, a course in organizational behavior. But if you talk to any leader of a major corporation, they will tell you that the real value to be added is in working across those silos, and the disciplinary delivery got in the way of educating students in a way that could maximize their ability to add value to the organizations of which they are a part.

Who were the major architects of the curriculum?
We started our curriculum reform last year in the fall, and we had over two-thirds of the senior faculty involved on various committees. We also had the students involved. It was really kind of faculty-led, but it was led through engagement with all the constituencies of the school. Our faculty talked to recruiters. They talked with alumni. They talked with current students, in addition to the students that were on the committee.

You don't usually use words like courage to sort of talk about faculty initiatives, but I actually think that that word is quite appropriate for talking about this curriculum reform on the part of the faculty because it required them to really give up on their comfort zone in order to embrace a new model of management education. This is a faculty that's stepping up and saying, "We're ready to meet the challenge and we're going to do it now. We're going to make the investment in time and energy."

Over the summer, it has been remarkable to see that investment. In addition to having multi-disciplinary teams working on the various courses, the faculty has been meeting once a week in a large group. When the faculty in one area are presenting syllabi, the faculty from all the areas come and make comments. That requires trust, and it requires courage, but that's what's going to make this new curriculum successful.

How does the curriculum fit into your long-term goals for the school?
What attracted me to this school was the school's mission of educating leaders for business and society. And my belief after meeting the alumni on the search committee is that they aren't just words, but that the school actually lives it.

We create graduates who are looking to make a positive difference in the world, whether they aspire to be a Fortune 100 CEO or run a major nonprofit or to have influence on policy and government. We have put in place a curriculum that helps to further foster that aspiration of our students and that feature of our culture.

To the degree to which we actually put in place a curriculum that executes on that mission to the maximum degree, I believe we don't just create a great school but we raise the bar of management education. I felt coming here that because of that mission, because of the commitment of the faculty and the community to that mission, and because of the willingness of people to put the time and the energy into developing a curriculum that's consistent with that mission, that this is the place that actually can rise to that challenge.

So far, how is the new curriculum resonating?
The response has been wildly enthusiastic on all sides. We announced the new curriculum in March, which was before the Class of 2008 had to make their decisions. Our yield increased about 21% from the previous year. The employers and the alumni that we speak to are extremely enthusiastic about the curriculum as well. We have had those recruiters and alumni say to us that they feel we really have designed a curriculum that does meet the challenges of management and leadership today.

What are the other pressing issues for Yale SOM today?
We're going to build a new campus, and for the school that's a major issue that we're excited about. We're also going to be growing the school slightly. We're the smallest of the major business schools, and in a lot of ways that's great. That gives us a tremendous advantage in terms of reforming the curriculum in a way that works across disciplinary boundaries because being small, we have faculty who've grown very comfortable working across disciplinary boundaries.

Over the long run, we'll be increasing our size to about 300 students per class [from 220]. The campus is part of that growth, but it also means growing the faculty, and so those are two other issues, but the curriculum reform is all-encompassing. It touches on everything that we do, and so that will continue to remain front and center in terms of our efforts for some time.


Yale isn't the only school to announce a curriculum overhaul of late (see BusinessWeek.com, 6/6/06, "Stanford's New Look MBA") How does Yale's new curriculum fit into that overall landscape?
To the best of my knowledge, we were the first school to announce a major overhaul of its curriculum. We did so in March. I obviously am not in a position to comment on the details of other curricula. I haven't seen any in particular detail. I do know, I was at a conference with 40 deans in Toronto in March, and it is a topic that's on everybody's mind.

I think everybody is wrestling with this challenge of, O.K., how do you break out of the disciplinary silos in order to deliver a curriculum that meets the demands of management as a profession today? My own view is that the more schools that are embracing this challenge, the better off we all are. To the degree to which any of us succeed, we all succeed in raising the standards of management education and meeting the challenges of educating and professionalizing management. I'm excited to see, though, what everybody else is doing.

Jensen Comment
The Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas broke down the functional silos several years ago. You can read the following tidbit at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book05q1.htm

February 17, 2005 message from Bob Jensen

I call your attention to Page 4 of the Spring 2005 newsletter called “The Accounting Educator” from the Teaching and Curriculum Section of the American Accounting Association --- http://aaahq.org/TeachCurr/newsletters/index.htm 

The current Chair (Tomas Calderon) has a piece about “reflection” which is nice to reflect upon. There are abstracts of papers in other journals that relate to education, and an assortment of teaching cases.

Marinus Bouman has a nice piece entitled “Using Technology To Integrate Accounting Into The Business Curriculum.” Interestingly, the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas no longer has courses in Principles of Accounting (or Marketing or Finance). You should read Bouman’s article to find out what took the place of these principles courses in a daring curriculum experiment.

Bob Jensen's threads on how students tend to take the easiest way out with customized curricula (like that of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard's totally carte blanche undergraduate curriculum) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#CustomizedCurricula

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


Interactive Dig Black Sea: The Pisa Wreck --- http://www.archaeology.org/interactive/blacksea/index.html


How to Teach a Dirty Book
At Penn State, they used to take it to the laundromat. While their undies thrashed about and everyone around them was struggling with Principles of Accounting and Introduction to Physics, my students would be turning page after page — laughing, crying, panting. They still do, though now most of my Louisiana State University students also have full-time jobs. They take it with them to offices, beauty parlors, and fast food joints — and they leave their greasy thumbprints on the best pages.
"How to Teach a Dirty Book," by Emily Toth, Inside Higher Ed, September 22, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/09/22/toth

Related stories


"'The Pocketbook Conservative Is Up for Grabs'." by Dick Armey, The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2006; Page A6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115896771393771865.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Suspicious of big government promises and irresponsible spending, pocketbook conservatives feel the real pain of taxes. They don't want bureaucrats to pick winners and losers in the market, and they resent the power of special interests seeking favors at the expense of everyone else. Pocketbook conservatives are concerned with their family's personal finances and about the health of the American economy as a whole. They value thrift, hard work, ownership and individual responsibility -- both in their personal lives and in their elected officials. They expect the same from their neighbors, and generally respect the work ethic and economic contributions of new immigrants.

. . .

George H.W. Bush lost the pocketbook conservatives when he broke his promise and raised taxes. Higher taxes and new spending delayed the economic recovery, further ballooned the deficit and created a political window for Ross Perot.

In 1994, one of the major factors in the Republican's dramatic takeover of Congress, for the first time in 40 years, was the willingness to commit to a serious economic agenda. The Contract with America directly connected with pocketbook conservatives. It was a clear vision promoting economic liberty, personal freedom and a commitment to reducing the size of a bloated government. Republicans realigned with the Reagan legacy, and stood in stark contrast to the Clinton administration's agenda of higher taxes and government health-care schemes. In that election, a record nine million new voters turned up for Republicans.

Today, the pocketbook conservative is up for grabs once again. Since 2002, federal spending has increased by 47%, earmarking abuse is rampant, and the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit has created $18.2 trillion in new unfunded liabilities on future taxpayers. And while GDP growth has been good and unemployment remains low, there are a number of American households who have seen their real income remain flat for the past five years. These families feel the brunt of the softening housing market, higher energy prices and rising health-care costs. They feel less secure about their retirement, knowing that they can no longer depend on empty government promises.

This anxiety presents a real political opportunity, but Republicans, lacking credibility on fiscal reforms, seem more intent on pandering to the extreme fringes of their base. The national representatives of the social conservative movement used to be sophisticated and tolerant. Today, they are sophomoric and angry. It's an embarrassing spectacle seeing leaders bullied around by the likes of James Dobson, or watching the Christian Coalition team up with MoveOn.org in support of bigger government.

Even more embarrassing is Tom Tancredo and his hot, hateful rhetoric against immigrants. Such demagoguery feeds the worst instincts of nativists and blocks a serious solution to our nation's border security problems. Reagan, conversely, understood that America is a country of immigrants, and he famously demanded that big government's walls be torn down.

Perhaps the only thing more embarrassing than being a loyal Republican in this election season is being a loyal Democrat. Although the party has offered no proposal to fix Social Security, the aspiring House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate majority leader hopeful, Harry Reid, held yet another press conference recently denouncing the secret Republican plan to "privatize" the failing entitlement. While Democrat pollsters are no doubt telling their candidates that the P-word will effectively scare seniors and other swing constituencies to the polls, this strategy has consistently failed in past election cycles. This year, however, some Republicans may accommodate these efforts by failing to define their own position.

The only solution to collapsing pension and health-insurance programs consistent with individual dignity and real financial security is a system based on personal retirement accounts, but it looks unlikely that voters will hear much about real solutions to the retirement security crisis this fall. The same is true on the other important fiscal and economic issues facing the nation. All candidates for public office should be debating the need for new spending discipline to balance the federal budget, reforms to simplify the Byzantine tax code and boost economic savings and investment, and regulatory changes that would unleash new innovation. Instead, we have been treated to political theater.

There is still some time left in this Congress, and Republicans would benefit by completing unfinished legislative work. To their credit, the House Republicans, under John Boehner's leadership, have taken a good step in instituting earmark reforms. But extending tax relief, enacting the Pence/Hutchinson border security legislation based on a robust, free market guest worker program, and overhauling telecommunications rules to break up outdated cable monopolies are all substantive economic reforms that could appeal to pocketbook conservatives.

Win or lose, if Republicans hope to maintain the political support of a voting majority in the future, they will need to rediscover their fiscally conservative roots, and govern accordingly.

Mr. Armey, House majority leader between 1995 and 2002, is chairman of FreedomWorks, a national grassroots advocacy organization.


National Archives of Australia: Documenting a Democracy ---  http://www.foundingdocs.gov.au/ 


The Fabulous Fifties --- http://www.fiftiesweb.com/fifties.htm 

From the Pew Research Center
Looking Backward and Forward, Americans See Less Progress In Their Lives
--- http://pewresearch.org/assets/social/pdf/Ladder.pdf


"Powerful people take more risks," PhysOrg, September 21, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news78072784.html

Powerful people view life through rose-colored glasses, with their more optimistic outlook ultimately leading them to engage in riskier behavior.

So says Cameron Anderson, an associate professor at the Haas School of Business. Anderson and his co-author, Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University, in an article published in the July/August issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology demonstrate how a sense of power leads individuals to risk-seeking behavior.

The article, "Power, Optimism, and Risk-Taking," is based on five separate studies the researchers conducted. Although the studies involved students, Anderson and Galinsky's findings apply more broadly to a range of powerful individuals, from heads of state to CEOs to prominent community leaders.

In the business world, the authors note, risky behavior can be beneficial, helping individuals maintain or even increase their power. By engaging in risky behavior, the powerful may take advantage of high-upside opportunities that others avoid, the authors write.

But the business world also is littered with examples of powerful executives taking risks that ultimately hurt them, whether it's the latest scandal over backdating stock options or an unsuccessful merger or acquisition.

Anderson notes, for instance, that when he and Galinsky began their research, former President Clinton was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. "It's a good example of someone who was feeling so powerful that he was totally blind to the possibility that he was going to get caught," says Anderson.

A member of the Haas Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations Group, Anderson advises that business leaders should be aware of this bias toward riskier behavior and protect against it by more carefully weighing the risks and benefits of their actions and decisions.

Experts have speculated that one's prior success or sense of power can lead to disastrous mistakes, but until now there's been little research that establishes such a link, Anderson notes.

In fact, some psychologists have argued the opposite, suggesting that low-power people, with less to lose by risky behavior, are willing to do anything to get out of their disadvantaged situation. Conversely, those in power might act more conservatively because they have more to lose, some have argued.

However, Anderson and Galinsky's cumulative results from five experiments contradicted that theory and instead found a link between power and risky behavior:

Continued in article


Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/arts_lit.htm

Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/health.htm

Teacher Source: Math --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/math.htm

Teacher Source:  Science --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/sci_tech.htm

Teacher Source:  PreK2 --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/prek2.htm

Teacher Source:  Library Media ---  http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/library.htm

Teoria (interactive music learning tutorials) ---  http://www.teoria.com/

Bob Jensen's links to free textbooks and other learning materials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks

Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Yale, Berkeley, and Other Sharing Universities --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI


Question
How is Fox Network television trying to beat fast forwarding over commercials?

Fox is running a 30-second television spot with just one static image in an effort to reach viewers who fast forward through ads using digital video recorders like TiVos. U.K. advertisements for Fox's new drama, "Brotherhood," which premieres in Britain in October, simply shows an image of Providence, R.I., where the show is set, and the program's logo. Viewers fast-forwarding through the ad would see the image for a few seconds; those watching it normally would hear dialogue from the show in the background.
"Fox Tries to Thwart DVR Fast-Forwarding," PhysOrg, September 21, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news78075048.html


More Questions About Research Independence

"Does Tobacco Money Taint Research?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 21, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/21/tobacco

The University of California receives more than $4 billion a year in grants and contracts for research. On Wednesday, the Board of Regents took the unusual move of focusing on the source of less than $2 million of that total — the tobacco industry.

One regent, Lieut. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, has called on his colleagues to consider barring the university system from accepting grants or contracts from the tobacco industry. Under the regents’ rules, the issue could only be discussed Wednesday, so there was no vote — and it’s unclear that one could take place any time soon. But with the backing of anti-smoking groups and many professors, Bustamante has focused additional attention on the issue.

The argument he is making isn’t that the smoking industry promotes harmful products (although he believes that), but that it uses university research to deceive the public to such an extent that the research harms the university system.

“The tobacco companies use academic research to promote misunderstanding and confusion,” said Stanton A. Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California at San Francisco, who has worked with Bustamante on the proposal. “The university is about the seeking and discovery of truth — and the protections of academic freedom are to protect that process,” he said, not the right to get tobacco money. “Academic freedom isn’t about money. It’s about free speech and free thought.”

On the other side, professors who receive tobacco money (and many who don’t) say that any blanket ban on support from the industry would violate their academic freedom and set the university on an impossible and unwise path of picking which sources of funds are acceptable and which aren’t.

“This is absolutely an academic freedom issue,” said James E. Enstrom, a University of California at Los Angeles cancer researcher who takes tobacco money and has questioned the health impact of second-hand smoke. “The whole purpose of a university is to provide an environment where people can pursue the truth. To dictate what research is done at a university destroys the objectivity of a university.”

The idea of rejecting tobacco money is not new. For several years, groups have encouraged universities to do so. And they have had the most success in medical schools and schools of public health. Harvard University’s medical school adopted a policy in 2004. Some University of California units have banned tobacco grants. Berkeley’s public health school, for example, has such a ban. Public health schools, of course, don’t necessarily attract many people who want tobacco money — and the push now is for a universitywide (or in the California case, for a systemwide) ban on tobacco funds.

In materials prepared for regents, Glantz outlined a series of reasons why he and others want a ban. Glantz, who has made a career of studying the history of the tobacco industry, traced the way companies have used research — and the way that research has been used to hurt anti-smoking efforts.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Threads
Appearance Versus the Reality of Research Independence and Freedom ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#ResearchIndependence


Political Correctness Bias of the Media
How to lie in the media with statistics

"Reuters' Global Megaphone Slurs America," The American Thinker, September 20, 2006 --- http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=5872

One curious element to the Reuters article is that entire sections are taken verbatim from a University of Illinois-Chicago press release announcing the study’s findings issued a few days before the Reuters article appeared. For instance, compare these two paragraphs, the first taken from the UIC press release; the second from Wulfhorst’s Reuters article:

[UIC] The study measured changes in wages of first- and second-generation immigrants from countries with predominantly Arab or Muslim populations between September 1997 and September 2005 and compared them to changes in wages of first- and second-generation immigrants with similar skills from other countries.

[Reuters] The study measured changes in wages of first- and second-generation immigrants, from countries with predominantly Arab or Muslim populations from September 1997 to September 2005. It then compared them to changes in the wages of immigrants with similar skills from other countries.

A quick review of both sources indicates that these nearly identical paragraphs are only one example of several that could be cited. Needless to say, in academia this would be called plagiarism; at Reuters, evidently it is considered reporting.

If Ms. Wulfhorst had actually researched the article, rather than cutting and pasting it together from the press release issued by one of the study author’s university public affairs office, she might have discovered that there are problematic elements to the methodology of the study that can be discerned just from the limited information released thus far.

A Flawed Study

Perhaps the most glaring flaw of the present study, which attempts to link the prevalence of hate crimes with the decrease in American Muslim wages, is that according to the UIC press release it uses only one year’s worth of hate crime data – 2001. Since the authors used wage data up to September 2005, it is more than odd that the readily available FBI hate crime data for the years 2002-2004 – three additional years worth – was left out of the study altogether. This can hardly be accidental.

The most reasonable explanation for this oversight is that after 2001, anti-Muslim hate crimes plummeted rapidly and has stayed at comparatively low levels ever since, as the FBI figures demonstrate:

2001 481 incidents

2002 155 incidents

2003 149 incidents

2004 156 incidents

By using this one year’s stats (2001) to the exclusion of additional and more recent hate crime data automatically calls into question the authors’ findings. In statistical jargon, the 2001 FBI hate crime figure is called an outlier. The singular use of this data point severely skews the study and makes the conclusions highly questionable.


Digital Library for Earth Science Education --- http://dlese.org/library/index.jsp


The Home Energy Saver --- http://hes.lbl.gov/


"Poor-Mouthing Prosperity:  Does today's free market create too much insecurity?" by Brink Lindsey, The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110008971

Out of the stagflation and malaise of the 1970s emerged a new and improved American economic system--less regulated and unionized, more globalized and entrepreneurial than the old triumvirate of Big Government, Big Business and Big Labor that preceded it. And ever since, a considerable portion of the political left's intellectual energy has been spent in poor-mouthing the ensuing prosperity.

Complaints about increasing inequality and a supposedly declining middle class have formed a familiar litany since the days of Ronald Reagan. Now Jacob Hacker, a political science professor at Yale, seeks in "The Great Risk Shift" to call attention to another alleged failing of the new, more market-oriented economy: rising levels of risk and insecurity. "Over the last generation," he writes, "we have witnessed a massive transfer of economic risk from broad structures of insurance, including those sponsored by the corporate sector as well as by government, onto the fragile balance sheets of American families."

As evidence, Mr. Hacker cites the growing volatility of family incomes, escalating bankruptcy and foreclosure rates, the collapse of defined-benefit corporate pensions, and the swelling ranks of Americans without health insurance. And where does the primary blame for these ills reside?

He points the finger at "America's sweeping transformation away from an all-in-the-same-boat philosophy of shared risk toward a go-it-alone vision of personal responsibility." The consequences of this "Personal Responsibility Crusade" can be seen in the rapid rise of 401(k) plans, the creation of Health Savings Accounts and the proposal to replace traditional Social Security benefits with personal retirement accounts.

What to make of Mr. Hacker's case? It is true that intensified competitive pressures have increased the tempo of "creative destruction." Turnover in the ranks of Fortune 500 companies and elsewhere has accelerated, and layoff rates (especially for white-collar workers) are up. If the slippery term "economic security" means security from potentially disruptive change, we probably do have less of it than before. One sign of heightened anxiety: Polls show a sizable increase over recent decades in the number of people worried about losing their jobs.

But if we're talking about security from material deprivation, that's a different story. Let's start with the biggest risk of all: that of premature death. Back in 1970, during Mr. Hacker's golden age of economic stability and risk-sharing, the age-adjusted death rate stood at 12.2 deaths per 1,000 people. By 2002, it had fallen more than 30%, to 8.5 per 1,000. In particular, infant mortality plummeted to 7.0 from 20.0, while the number of Americans killed on the job dropped to three per 100,000 workers from 18.

Next, look at the two main indicators of middle-class status: a home of one's own and a college degree. Between 1970 and 2004, the homeownership rate climbed to 69% from 63%, even as the physical size of the median new home grew by nearly 60%. Back in 1970, 11% of Americans 25 years of age or older had a college or higher degree. By 2004, the figure had risen to 28%.

As to consumer possessions, the following comparison should suffice to make the point. In 1971, 45% of American households had clothes dryers, 19% had dishwashers, 83% had refrigerators, 32% had air conditioning, and 43% had color televisions. By the mid-1990s all of these ownership rates were exceeded even by Americans below the poverty line.

No matter how the doom-and-gloomers torture the data, the fact is that Americans have made huge strides in material welfare over the past generation. And with greater wealth, as well as improved access to consumer credit and home equity loans, they are much better prepared to deal with the downside of increased economic dynamism.

Mr. Hacker leans heavily on his findings that fluctuations in family income are much greater now than in the 1970s. But research by economists Dirk Krueger and Fabrizio Perri has shown that big increases in the dispersion of income have not translated into equivalent increases in consumption inequality. In other words, most Americans are able to use savings and borrowing to maintain stable living standards even in the face of economic ups and downs. And those standards are much higher than those of the all-in-the-same-boat era.

Mr. Hacker, however, shows little interest in providing such context or balance. Fully committed to what could be called a "free market bad, big government good" narrative, he simply ignores data that point in the other direction. Thus he lambastes reforms such as Health Savings Accounts and Social Security privatization for shifting risks onto individuals while failing to mention that the policy status quo imposes massive risks of its own.

Specifically, if no changes are made to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, spending on those programs will increase from under 9% of GDP today to roughly 15% in 2030. Unless bold reforms are made sooner rather than later, we face the prospect of either draconian benefit cuts or massive, growth-crippling tax increases. What kind of economic security is that? Yet Mr. Hacker actually proposes expanding Medicare to include people under the age of 65, which would only make the grim fiscal outlook even grimmer.

Mr. Hacker gets this much right: America's highly dynamic economy does carry increased risks along at least some dimensions. And to his credit, he advances some interesting proposals for making safety-net programs more responsive to contemporary economic hazards. In particular, his idea for "Universal Insurance" that would protect against sudden income drops is deserving of serious debate. Too bad that he chose ideological posturing over an effort to launch that serious debate himself.

Mr. Lindsey, vice president for research at the Cato Institute, is the author of "Against the Dead Hand: The Uncertain Struggle for Global Capitalism" (2002).


"Click Fraud: The dark side of online advertising," Business Week Cover Story, October 2, 2006 --- Click Here

Martin Fleischmann put his faith in online advertising. He used it to build his Atlanta company, MostChoice.com, which offers consumers rate quotes and other information on insurance and mortgages. Last year he paid Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO )and Google Inc. (GOOG ) a total of $2 million in advertising fees. The 40-year-old entrepreneur believed the celebrated promise of Internet marketing: You pay only when prospective customers click on your ads.

Now, Fleischmann's faith has been shaken. Over the past three years, he has noticed a growing number of puzzling clicks coming from such places as Botswana, Mongolia, and Syria. This seemed strange, since MostChoice steers customers to insurance and mortgage brokers only in the U.S. Fleischmann, who has an economics degree from Yale University and an MBA from Wharton, has used specially designed software to discover that the MostChoice ads being clicked from distant shores had appeared not on pages of Google or Yahoo but on curious Web sites with names like insurance1472.com and insurance060.com. He smelled a swindle, and he calculates it has cost his business more than $100,000 since 2003.

Fleischmann is a victim of click fraud: a dizzying collection of scams and deceptions that inflate advertising bills for thousands of companies of all sizes. The spreading scourge poses the single biggest threat to the Internet's advertising gold mine and is the most nettlesome question facing Google and Yahoo, whose digital empires depend on all that gold.

The growing ranks of businesspeople worried about click fraud typically have no complaint about versions of their ads that appear on actual Google or Yahoo Web pages, often next to search results. The trouble arises when the Internet giants boost their profits by recycling ads to millions of other sites, ranging from the familiar, such as cnn.com, to dummy Web addresses like insurance1472.com, which display lists of ads and little if anything else. When somebody clicks on these recycled ads, marketers such as MostChoice get billed, sometimes even if the clicks appear to come from Mongolia. Google or Yahoo then share the revenue with a daisy chain of Web site hosts and operators. A penny or so even trickles down to the lowly clickers. That means Google and Yahoo at times passively profit from click fraud and, in theory, have an incentive to tolerate it. So do smaller search engines and marketing networks that similarly recycle ads.

SLIPPING CONFIDENCE
Google and Yahoo say they filter out most questionable clicks and either don't charge for them or reimburse advertisers that have been wrongly billed. Determined to prevent a backlash, the Internet ad titans say the extent of click chicanery has been exaggerated, and they stress that they combat the problem vigorously. "We think click fraud is a serious but manageable issue," says John Slade, Yahoo's senior director for global product management. "Google strives to detect every invalid click that passes through its system," says Shuman Ghosemajumder, the search engine's manager for trust and safety. "It's absolutely in our best interest for advertisers to have confidence in this industry."

That confidence may be slipping. A BusinessWeek investigation has revealed a thriving click-fraud underground populated by swarms of small-time players, making detection difficult. "Paid to read" rings with hundreds or thousands of members each, all of them pressing PC mice over and over in living rooms and dens around the world. In some cases, "clickbot" software generates page hits automatically and anonymously. Participants from Kentucky to China speak of making from $25 to several thousand dollars a month apiece, cash they wouldn't receive if Google and Yahoo were as successful at blocking fraud as they claim.

"It's not that much different from someone coming up and taking money out of your wallet," says David Struck. He and his wife, Renee, both 35, say they dabbled in click fraud last year, making more than $5,000 in four months. Employing a common scheme, the McGregor (Minn.) couple set up dummy Web sites filled with nothing but recycled Google and Yahoo advertisements. Then they paid others small amounts to visit the sites, where it was understood they would click away on the ads, says David Struck. It was "way too easy," he adds. Gradually, he says, he and his wife began to realize they were cheating unwitting advertisers, so they stopped. "Whatever Google and Yahoo are doing [to stop fraud], it's not having much of an effect," he says.

Spending on Internet ads is growing faster than any other sector of the advertising industry and is expected to surge from $12.5 billion last year to $29 billion in 2010 in the U.S. alone, according to researcher eMarketer Inc. About half of these dollars are going into deals requiring advertisers to pay by the click. Most other Internet ads are priced according to "impressions," or how many people view them. Yahoo executives warned on Sept. 19 that weak ad spending by auto and financial-services companies would hurt its third-quarter revenue. Share prices of Yahoo and Google tumbled on the news.

Google and Yahoo are grabbing billions of dollars once collected by traditional print and broadcast outlets, based partly on the assumption that clicks are a reliable, quantifiable measure of consumer interest that the older media simply can't match. But the huge influx of cash for online ads has attracted armies of con artists whose activities are eroding that crucial assumption and could eat into the optimistic expectations for online advertising. (Advertisers generally don't grumble about fraudulent clicks coming from the Web sites of traditional media outlets. But there are growing concerns about these media sites exaggerating how many visitors they have -- the online version of inflating circulation.)

Continued in article

Click Fraud Gets Smarter
Internet ad-traffic scams could be ripping off as much as $1 billion annually. Are Web companies like Google doing enough to foil them?

"Click Fraud Gets Smarter," by Burt Helm, Business Week, February 27, 2006 --- Click Here 

"Click Fraud Is Growing on the Web," by Karen J. Bannan, The New York Times, September 23, 2006 ---
Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on click fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#ClickFraud

 


Question
What two nations in the European side of the world have the sickest economies?

"The Sickest Men of Europe," by George Kopits, The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2006 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115878824617669283.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Italy and Hungary have much more in common than a love of opera and football. Both countries also share the title of the sickest men of Europe. They suffer from a chronic case of fiscal alcoholism, accompanied by the familiar symptoms: denial, postponed treatment, etc.

Hungary's budget deficit, expected to be some 10% of GDP this year, is the highest in Europe. Its public debt is rising well above 60% of GDP -- the benchmark for euro membership. Maybe the leaked recording of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admitting that he has been deceiving the public about the true state of public finances, leading to riots in the streets of Budapest, means at least that the denial phase of Hungary's fiscal alcoholism is finally over.

In Italy, the budget deficit is about 4% of GDP -- comparable to Hungary's deficit if it were not for the disappearance of currency risk under the euro. If Italy still had the lira, interest rates and therefore the deficit would be much higher. Total debt remains stubbornly above 100% of GDP.

In both countries, recently elected center-left governments face a major challenge in shifting their budgets toward a sustainable path. This task is complicated by the fact that, following bitterly polarizing election campaigns, neither government is exactly on speaking terms with the opposition, whose parliamentary support would be a great asset in pushing through painful reforms.

There are, however, differences in the approaches adopted by Budapest and Rome. The new Italian government is composed of a loose coalition of divergent political parties holding only a razor-thin majority. Any initiative to reduce the budget gap through spending cuts (as the government is rightly committed not to raise taxes but even to trim payroll taxes) requires painstaking consultations and negotiations with individual coalition partners. To strengthen his hand, Prime Minister Romano Prodi appointed internationally respected Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, a former member of the European Central Bank's executive board, as finance minister. Mr. Prodi also named an independent commission headed by a respected civil servant, Riccardo Faini, to shed light on the public sector accounts. In addition, the government quickly passed a supplementary budget to contain this year's deficit and started to deregulate some domestic services. Laudable as they might be, these initiatives are only the beginning of a genuine adjustment effort. It remains to be seen whether the structural reforms the government announced in July will in fact be implemented. The immediate challenge for Rome is to resist calls to water down spending-cut plans for next year, given that revenues are expected to surge due to higher economic growth than previously anticipated.

The re-elected Hungarian government, on the other hand, enjoys a commanding legislative majority. But it needs to overcome an enormous credibility gap, having missed its budget targets by a long stretch five years in a row. Whether the prime minister's leaked confession will boost his credibility or further undermine it remains to be seen. Having contributed significantly to the budget imbalance with a large dosage of creative accounting, the government has yet to persuade financial markets and EU institutions that it will undertake the necessary fiscal reforms. The medium-term budget plan that Budapest submitted two weeks ago to Brussels is frontloaded with a number of apparently improvised measures, mainly tax hikes and one-off spending cuts. And yet, it could provide the starting ground for restoring fiscal sustainability -- if it is beefed up with far-reaching reforms, including an overhaul of generous entitlement schemes.

Clearly, in both countries, the budget programs need to be subject to close outside surveillance. In Hungary, the recently appointed independent "convergence council" should not only issue a candid assessment of the budget program but also play an active role in monitoring its execution. In addition, the European Commission and EU finance ministers should exercise effective peer review of each country's performance. The strict enforcement of the Stability and Growth Pact's fiscal criteria would serve the long-term welfare of these member countries, as well as the interest of the entire EU.

Failure to bring the budgets of these countries under control could have dire consequences. Italy's economy would experience a lengthy period of stagnation, bogged down by a further erosion of its competitiveness. That's because large public deficits tend to crowd out private investments, while distortions from generous welfare payments and high taxes dampen labor force participation and productivity. Prolonged stagnation in Italy would weaken the entire euro zone just when economic growth in the U.S. is about to slow down.

In Hungary, the immediate stakes are far higher. The country could lose EU cohesion funds and its euro accession could be postponed indefinitely. More importantly, Hungary ranks among the countries most vulnerable to a financial crisis if investors decided to pull out en masse. Contagion from a crisis in Hungary to other emerging-market economies (notably Poland and Turkey) would, in turn, be difficult to avoid.

Ultimately, the fiscal drinking habit can be kicked only if the political elites show conviction and manage to garner public support for unpopular measures.

In Italy, fiscal reforms, accompanied by the liberalization of the labor and commodity markets, would help jump-start productivity growth and competitiveness and reduce unemployment. Similarly, in Hungary, strong commitment to fiscal discipline would confer multiple benefits, including entry into the euro zone. Above all, restoring credibility would encourage investment and accelerate real convergence in income levels toward the rest of Europe.

Mr. Kopits is a member of the monetary council of the National Bank of Hungary and former assistant director at the fiscal affairs department of the International Monetary Fund.

 


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

Latest Headlines on September 25, 2006

Latest Headlines on September 26, 2006

Latest Headlines on September 27, 2006

Latest Headlines on September 28, 2006

Latest Headlines on September 29, 2006


Bagged or Not Bagged, That is the Question

When my wife asked me to buy some salad material, she said to avoid bagged lettuce. I then informed her of the following tidbit scheduled for a future date.

"Health Mailbox,"  Columnist Tara Parker-Pope answers readers' questions, The Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2006; Page D4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115922667498273671.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

Q: Is the risk of E. coli higher for prewashed bagged veggies than whole salad vegetables? Don't restaurants pretty much all use the prepacked veggies?

A: The recent E. coli outbreak in bagged spinach has caused a lot of confusion about the safety of fresh produce. Normally, the risk of contamination is lower with bagged and prewashed produce products than with bunched or whole produce, says Richard Linton, professor of food safety at Purdue University. Most bagged produce products have been triple washed, and a lightly chlorinated sanitizing bath is used for extra protection. Once the food is bagged, the packaging protects the produce from contamination while it's on its way to consumers.

Unbagged products face contamination risk not only from the farm and processing facility, but from the trucks that transport it to handlers at the supermarket. Dr. Linton says he still buys bagged produce despite the current spinach scare. "I've seen the process for washing produce that goes into the bag, and from what I've observed it typically seems to be better," says Dr. Linton. "When I go to the supermarket I like to know the product I'm buying hasn't been touched by several hands in a supermarket -- people picking up a product and putting it back down."

Consumers should look for bags that say the product has been "triple washed." Although bunched leafy products and whole products -- like heads of lettuce or fruit -- should be thoroughly washed at home, it's not necessary to rewash bagged products that have already been cleaned, says Dr. Linton. Most restaurants also used bagged produce in an effort to further reduce contamination risk, he says. Unfortunately, the prewashing process didn't protect consumers in this current outbreak, but Dr. Linton notes the problem is likely at the farm level or at the processing plant, so there is very little consumers could do to protect themselves.

The only option would be to cook the vegetables to completely eliminate risk, but in the case of lettuce, it's not an option to cook it.

"I bought three bags of bagged lettuce yesterday and felt quite comfortable about it," says Dr. Linton. "We had a discussion about it at the dinner table. If I'm going to serve salad, [bagged, washed lettuce] is the food product that has the least risk associated with it."


"Thinking About Food: The Price of Healthy Eating," AccountingWeb, September 21, 2006 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=102603

On September 14, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning against spinach consumption in the United States as a result of more than 100 cases of E. coli being reported across 20 states and linked to uncooked spinach. This is the latest of the health-related blows that periodically rock the food industry and have an extensive financial impact.

Consider:
 

While the food supply in the U.S. is one of the safest in the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 76 million people get sick, more than 300,000 are hospitalized, and 5,000 Americans die each year from foodborne illness. Preventing foodborne illness and death remains a major public health challenge, as well as a challenge to the financial stability and growth of the food service and agriculture industries.

"We closed the bakery and deli Friday the 25th and had outside workers along with our associates in to deep clean everything. In addition, all prepared and open foods were discarded," Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley told IndyStar.com, adding that the deli and bakery have been reopened. "Our customers can feel totally confident that the food they purchase is safe."

Of course, customers probably felt that way before the outbreak as well, so the question remains, how do customers know the food they purchase at the deli, grocery store, convenience store, or restaurant is safe?

In an open letter to the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association, Robert Greene, General Manager of Magna Medical, a provider of drug testing and screening products, addressed the importance of empowering deli managers with the tools needed to conduct spot checks of food products and machinery in order to prevent cross contamination. According to Greene, a $3.25 test strip could have identified foods containing the bacteria, thus reducing the risk of public ingestion and illness.

Alex Avery of the Center for Global Food Issues disagrees.

“These tests still provide zero insurance against getting sick,” Avery told AccountingWEB. “The expense of the tests offers little practical assurance that all the food from a certain place is safe, only that the portion tested is. Irradiation, which will work on fresh greens, is a much surer method of reducing the risk of illnesses such as E. coli or Salmonella, however, consumer groups will never accept that it doesn't make food dangerous.”

In the present E.coli scare, the entire spinach industry is affected. Two major spinach producers, Natural Selection Foods LLC and River Ranch Fresh Foods, have recalled their spinach-containing products.

“There will be a considerable impact in the heart of the salad bowl [California],” Avery says.

The outbreak has been traced back to fresh spinach pre-packaged for salads from the Salinas Valley in California. Seventy-four percent of the country’s fresh spinach crop comes from California. The Salinas Valley accounts for almost 75 percent of that.

“It’s too early in the game to quantify losses,” Michael Briley, CPA and a Partner, Hayashi & Wayland Accounting and Consulting in Salinas, Calif., told AccountingWEB. “This is a small community. Many people work in or around the produce industry so it will have a significant impact and right now we’re waiting for the dust to settle.

“Most growers are diversified and so hopefully they will survive,” Briley continued. “Any company found to be directly responsible will be impacted significantly.”

The Los Angeles Times is not so sure, saying “a whirlwind of health warnings and media reports has tarnished the reputation of its growers and processors so severely that experts predict some farms with large spinach crops may fail.”

Spinach accounts for only a small fraction of sales among the nation’s grocers. Some observers, however, fear the outbreak may eat away at consumer confidence in the bagged salad market. Bagged salads represent a significant portion of a $2.8 billion-a-year industry founded on healthy eating and convenience.

“The FDA and the fresh produce industry have been working to resolve the issue of E. coli contamination for a number of years,” said William Marler, the attorney representing the complainant in both lawsuits against Dole. “It is unfortunate that outbreaks continue to happen and that consumers continue to be injured as a result.”

“Food safety is a significant issue for these folks.” Briley states.

As the most recent outbreak demonstrates “Food companies are being held to a perfect standard that isn't attainable,” Avery adds.

Failure to meet that standard affects not only the consumers who become ill but also food producers and food service providers of all sizes.


Too much testosterone kills brain cells
Too much testosterone can kill brain cells, researchers said on Tuesday in a finding that may help explain why steroid abuse can cause behavior changes like aggressiveness and suicidal tendencies. Tests on brain cells in lab dishes showed that while a little of the male hormone is good, too much of it causes cells to self-destruct in a process similar to that seen in brain illnesses such as Alzheimer's.
Maggie Fox, "Too much testosterone kills brain cells," Reuters, September 26, 2006 --- Click Here 


Shortage of Family Doctors Predicted
A doctors group expects a serious shortfall of family physicians in at least five states by 2020. Population growth and rising numbers of elderly people in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Texas and Idaho will make the need in those states most critical, said Dr. Perry Pugno of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
"Shortage Of Family Doctors Predicted," ClickOnDetroit, September 27, 2006 --- http://www.clickondetroit.com/health/9944155/detail.html


Surgery hope for the paralyzed
A NEW treatment to repair damaged nerves could help thousands of patients regain movement in their arms and legs. Using a finely woven plastic tube, surgeons will regrow and reconnect severed nerves in road and work accident victims. The neural prosthesis is attached to the ends of the damaged nerve and acts as a scaffold to aid repair. Victorian doctors say the advanced surgical technique is more effective than nerve grafts and will restore sensation in the limbs of victims.
Kate Jones, "Surgery hope for paralysed," Herald Sun (Australia), September 21, 2006 --- http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0%2C21985%2C20448680-662%2C00.html


"Stem Cells Stop Vision Loss in Rats with Degenerative Eye Disease: The findings could one day help with macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 in the United States," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, September 21, 2006 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/posts.aspx?id=17415

Also see "Stem Cells Fix Rat Retinas," Wired News, September 21, 2006 ---
http://blog.wired.com/biotech/index.blog?entry_id=1560604


How the brain keeps emotions at bay
Daily life requires that people cope with distracting emotions--from the basketball player who must make a crucial shot amidst a screaming crowd, to a salesman under pressure delivering an important pitch to a client. Researchers have now discovered that the brain is able to prevent emotions from interfering with mental functioning by having a specific "executive processing" area of the cortex inhibit activity of the emotion-processing region. The findings also offer insight into how sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression are unable to control emotional intrusion into their thoughts, said the researchers, Amit Etkin, Joy Hirsch, and colleagues, who reported the discovery. They published their findings in the September 21, 2006, issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.
"How the brain keeps emotions at bay," PhysOrg, September 20, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news77976810.html


Psychos Need a Little Sympathy
At its core, he argues, psychopathy is a learning disability that makes it difficult for psychopaths to stop themselves from pursuing harmful behavior.Many psychopaths end up in jail, where they comprise up to 25 percent of the incarcerated population. Outside of prison, just 1 percent is diagnosed with the disorder.The incidence of psychopathy is about the same as schizophrenia, but a clear differential exists when it comes to studying the former, says Joseph Newman, chairman of the psychology department at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Suzanne Leigh, "Psychos Need a Little Sympathy," Wired News, September 27, 2006 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/medtech/0%2C71819-0.html?tw=wn_index_1


One professor's approaches to living and working with bipolar disorder

"An Inappropriate Illness," by Mark Grimsley, Inside Higher Ed, September 26, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2006/09/26/grimsley

My department has a new chair, and a couple of days ago I sent him a memorandum similar to one I’ve given every incoming chair for the past nine years. The memo gives an overview of bipolar disorder, details the symptomology, and lays out a suggested course of action to pursue if he ever has concerns that I might be having a manic episode:

For potential hypomanic and depressive episodes, the first and second steps should suffice. If you still have concerns, contact one or the other of these people in the following order....

I then supplied complete contact information for my therapist (a clinical psychologist) and psychiatrist.

People often think that because I’m so up front about having bipolar disorder, that being candid about the illness must be an easy thing for me to do. In fact, it scares me. I’m up front about it only because I’m convinced that candor is better than the alternative. Being open with my colleagues, for example, populates the department with observers who have a decent chance of identifying unusual behavior as an artifact of the illness rather than erroneously attributing it to something else: simple high spirits instead of hypomania, for example. It enables me to ask for help when necessary without having to explain the illness from scratch. And it gives me a chance to combat, in a small way, the stigma that still attaches to mental illness. If a professor protected by tenure cannot summon the modest courage required for such an act, I do not know who can.

Because it’s a biochemical illness, no different than any other chronic ailment, and because my department has a long track record of being supportive, one might wonder why I feel any trepidation about discussing bipolar disorder. After all, aren’t the groves of the academy a place of unusual enlightenment, free of the prejudice one might find in other walks of life?

Well, no, not exactly. In the academy, nearly everyone knows better than to talk or act as if I ought to be chained up in an attic, but people have their own way of reflecting the age-old stigma concerning mental illness:

It’s inappropriate.

Sure, Grimsley can’t help having manic depression, but does he have to talk about it?

I first encountered this perspective about 10 years ago when a friendly senior colleague urged me to keep quiet about the illness. He had been around the academy long enough to fear that two things might happen. First, he worried people within my university would be publicly supportive but would privately tell one another, “He’s bonkers, you know.” Second, he feared that it would cripple my chances of ever landing a position elsewhere were I inclined to apply. “His books and teaching are solid, his letters of recommendation strong. But did you know he’s nuts?”

Of course, “bonkers” and “nuts” probably would not be the terms they would use. Academics are nothing if not clever in conveying their prejudices. And in this instance they could use my very candor against me. Such openness is inappropriate. He doesn’t show a sense of proper boundaries.

Continued in article

Mark Grimsley is an associate professor of history at Ohio State University, where he specializes in military history. He is the author of several books, including The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865, which received the Lincoln Prize in 1996. He has won three teaching awards, including the Ohio State Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, the university’s highest award for excellence in the classroom.


A Complete Map of the Brain of a Mouse
Scientists have gained a new window for peering into the brain, courtesy of a $41 million project financed by Paul G. Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft. The project is an electronic atlas that shows which genes are switched on in neurons throughout the brain of a mouse.
Nicholas Wade, "Atlas Squeaked: A Complete Map of the Brain of a Mouse," The New York Times, September 26, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/26/science/26brain.html

Also see "Paul Allen's Digital Brain" by Xeni Jardin, Wired News, September 26, 2006  --- Click Here


Winnie the Pooh Goes Fishing
A teddy bear has been implicated in 2,500 deaths. Of trout, that is. State officials say a teddy bear dropped into a pool at a Fish and Game Department hatchery earlier this month clogged a drain. The clog blocked the flow of oxygen to the pool and suffocated the fish.
"Killer teddy bear behind deaths of 2,500 fish," MSNBC, September 26, 2006 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15004927/from/ET/


From The Washington Post on September 29, 2006

How long has the Mars rover Opportunity survived on the planet?

A. Less than 100 days
B. About six months
C. About two years
D. More than 900 days


Will Public Lose Confidence in the Census?
Mazur, a 29-year-old lawyer in Chicago, said she was happy to answer. But after hearing that Census Bureau workers have lost 672 laptop computers since 2001, including 246 that contained personal data, she's not sure she'd do it again. "You hear stories about people, schemers pretending to be a bank employee," Mazur said. "Knowing there have been problems (at the Census Bureau), I would be less willing to do it if somebody I didn't know called me." The Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, this week became the latest federal agency to acknowledge losing laptop computers containing sensitive information. Overall, the department has lost or had stolen 1,137 laptops since 2001 - the largest number of computers that any agency has publicly acknowledged losing.
"Will Public Lose Confidence in Census?" PhysOrg, September 25, 2006 --- http://physorg.com/news78420836.html


From the Scout Report on September 22, 2006

Free Download Manager 2.1 http://www.freedownloadmanager.org/ 

It seems like every organization has a manager, that unsung person who is responsible for getting things organized, maintaining order, and keeping everyone else on task. It makes sense then that computer downloads might need their own equivalent application to keep important files in order. This application helps speed up the download process and also offers previews of files along the way. Additionally, Free Download Manager 2.1 functions with a wide range of browsers. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 95 and newer.


Capture Me 1.3 http://www.chimoosoft.com/captureme.html 

Cameras can capture a moment forever, but what can help astute Mac OS X users capture a screen image? One potential answer would be Capture Me 1.3, an application that will allow those users to save screens of interest in a variety of formats and also, in some instances, also capture sounds as well. One other nice little feature allows users to use a floating sizable window to merely capture whatever is covered within the window. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer.

 


From The Washington Post on September 25, 2006

How long will VeriSign be the exclusive registry for the .com domain?

A. January 2007
B. November 2007
C. December 2008
D. April 2009
 


Question
What does an NBA superstar like to eat?

From Jim Mahar's blog on September 22, 2006 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

Basketball superstar meets superstar investor

I'd guess it was a pretty big tip for the waitress!

LeBron shoots the breeze with Letterman, Buffett - NBA - Yahoo! Sports:
"A few days earlier, James had lunch in Omaha, Neb., with billionaire Warren Buffett. ...James, who signed a three-year, $60 million contract extension with the Cavaliers in July, may have been seeking some off-the-court business advice from Buffett, the self-made billionaire investor.

Last year, in an interview with The Associated Press, James said one of his primary goals was to 'be the richest man in the world.' James, who will turn 22 in December, already has endorsement deals worth an estimated $150 million.

Buffett sported a full Cavaliers uniform, complete with a jersey bearing his name, during his lunch with James....James ordered a bacon cheeseburger, french fries and an Arnold Palmer, a drink concocted of lemonade and iced tea. Bubarek said he topped off his meal with an Oreo cookie milkshake delivered by a Buffett staffer."


From The Washington Post on September 26, 2006

How much did Internet ad revenues in the U.S. grow during the first half of this year?

A. 5 percent
B. 19 percent
C. 28 percent
D. 37 percent
 


"On the Move:  My favorite books on travel," by Simon Winchester, The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2006 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/weekend/fivebest/?id=110008988

1. "Oxford" by James Morris (Faber, 1965).

Insofar as "Oxford" was the first real travel book I ever read, it had an enormous, maybe a disproportionate, influence on me. Its quirkiness, its ceaseless rain of curiosities, its endlessly entertaining diversions--the amazing patchwork and pointillist portrait of what it fast convinced me was one of the world's most interesting small cities--all astonished me. I had no idea that writing could have such understated force and charm, and it led to my reading, a year later, a second Morris book, "Coronation Everest," that became an instant catalyst for a total change in my life. I turned from geology to journalism there and then, and James--turned into Jan since the gender change of 1974--remains today as important a person to me as Oxford remains an important city. The happy combination of author and subject in this one remarkable volume stands on my shelf as a constant reminder of the debt of gratitude I owe to both.

2. "Eothen" by Alexander Kinglake (1844).

For any connoisseur of the terror occasioned by the prospect of venturing into the faraway, there can be no finer or more gripping start to a travel story than in Kinglake's classic adventure, which he titled after the Greek for "from the east"--eothen. By passing, against all official advice, through an infection quarantine-barrier into the plague-ridden frontiers of the Ottoman Empire, this 25-year old, short and short-sighted Etonian committed himself to months of wandering, forbidden to return until the infection had burned itself out. He ventured to many still curious and unfamiliar territories (Cyprus, Beirut, the Holy Land, Damascus), describing them in an account, written a decade later, best termed impressionistic rather than reportorial. And all the better for it: "Eothen" remains the primus inter pares of all travel literature--Winston Churchill claiming that it above all was the book that taught him how to write.

3. "The Impossible Journey" by Michael Asher (Morrow, 1988).

In 1986, Michael Asher and his wife, the silkily named Mariantonietta Peru, succeeded in traveling across the Sahara by camel from Nouakchott, in Mauritania on Africa's Atlantic coast, eastward to the Nile--the first such trip ever made by non-Arabs. I have always found the gem of a book that resulted, "The Impossible Journey," truly inspirational. The Arab proverb that "two can do together what is impossible for one" has guided me into a firm belief that the richest traveling is that accomplished with a single companion, as this book most splendidly demonstrates.

4. "Travels With a Donkey" by Robert Louis Stevenson (1879).

The goading restlessness that impelled Robert Louis Stevenson all his life--which began in Edinburgh and ended "under a wide and starry sky" in Samoa--is wonderfully displayed in this simple story of 12 days spent trekking in the Cevennes Mountains in France with Modestine, the single companion of his choice. The donkey "loved to eat out of my hand. She was patient, elegant in form, the colour of an ideal mouse, and inimitably small. Her faults were those of her race and sex; her virtues were her own." Readers came to love little Modestine, just as they came to love RLS.

5. "Vagrant Viking" by Peter Freuchen (Messner, 1953).

It is axiomatic that a vast number of travel writers tell fibs, but Peter Freuchen, the great Arctic explorer, wrote the tallest of tales. We can never be wholly sure how much or how little to believe. But most indisputably memorable was the account in "Vagrant Viking" of his becoming trapped in a Greenland ice cave and only rescuing himself from certain death by passing--there is no more delicate way of saying this--a motion, fashioning it into a semblance of a blade as it froze solid, and then cutting himself free. A fib it may well be: but it is quite unforgettable and somehow distills the perils of high-latitude wandering into, for me, a perfect morsel of the writer's art.

Mr. Winchester is the author of "A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906" and "The Professor and the Madman," about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.

 




Rules of Life:  Something Teachers Might Paste on Their Office Doors
Forwarded by Aaron Konstam

Rule 01: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 02: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 03: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with backdated stock options until you earn both.

Rule 04: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 05: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 06: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 07: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 08: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 09: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Added by Jensen
Rule 12:  Faking Disability is About as Low as It Gets
Don't fake disability in order to live out the rest of your life without working. Some who tried went to jail and paid heavy fines according to Michael Crowley, "Faking It:  We all pay the price when 'disabled' scam artists collect big benefit bucks," Readers Digest, October 2006, pp. 27-29. One of the scammers named Denise Hendersen conned the system for while becoming a winner the 2001 Mrs. International pageant which later entailed over 200 public appearances. She got caught toting heavy shopping bags and diving on a Hawaiian vacation. She not only had to repay the $190,000 of disability benefits collected, she received a 46-month prison sentence. She's now thinking she's not so clever.

September 23, 2006 reply from Ganesh M. Pandit, DBA, CPA, CMA [profgmp@HOTMAIL.COM]

Yes, the first 11 rules are found on the last page of every issue of the New Accountant magazine.

GMP

After receiving several message claiming that the first eleven rules above were in a high school commencement address given by Bill Gates, I received the following message form Wayne Tanna:
September 23, 2006  reply from Wayne Tanna [wtanna@netserver05.chaminade.edu]

I am set to read posts only so I am sending this directly to you, hope it is okay. The rules have been attributed to Bill Gates as being part of a high school graduation speach he gave at one time, Seems that he may never have given the speach and that Charles J. Sykes, author of the book Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, Or Add. was the author, furthermore, there are 14 rules to the original manuscript:

14 Real Life Rules About 10 years ago, Charles J. Sykes wrote an article for the San Diego Union-Tribune in the September 19, 1996 issue. In it he gave advice to high school students on the reality of life. He discussed what life after high school is really like. Fourteen rules were summarized from his writing.

These 14 rules have been on different sites on the internet. Several times they have been attributed to a speech Bill Gates gave at a graduation. But according to the Snopes and the Urban Legends websites Bill Gates is not the originator of the list. Charles J. Sykes is also the author of "Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good about Themselves, but Can't Read, Write, or Add".

Some of the list is dated when it refers to car phones, the Gap brand label, and the sitcom Friends but it still contains alot of practical information that teenagers may not realize.

Rule No. 01: Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase "It's not fair" 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.

Rule No. 02: The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it's not fair. (See Rule No. 1)

Rule No. 03: Sorry, you won't make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won't be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.

Rule No. 04: If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it.

Rule No. 05: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule No. 06: It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of "It's my life," and "You're not the boss of me," and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it's on your dime. Don't whine about it, or you'll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule No. 07: Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule No. 08: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4.)

Rule No. 09: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don't get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we're at it, very few jobs are interested in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization. (See Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2.)

Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule No. 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule No. 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You're welcome.

I like your addition as well.

Aloha,

Wayne

Wayne M. Tanna, JD, LL.M.
Professor of Accounting NCAA
Compliance Officer Pre-Law Advisor
Chaminade University
3140 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
 
email wtanna@chaminade.edu

September 22, 2006 reply from Aaron Delwiche [aaron.delwiche@trinity.edu]

If I were a student, and not a 39-year old Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, I might say something like this:

Rule 1. We live in a consumer society, and so do you. We pay exorbitant tuition rates to attend this institution. In many cases, our parents pay these fees. Yet, more often than you might think, we ourselves contract massive amounts of debt to attend Trinity. At the end of our college career, we might easily have spent more than $100,000. What does that make us, if not consumers?

Rule 2. For many of us, the relationships we form during college *will* be more important than what happens in the classroom. The possibility that we might go home from the big party with the guy/girl of our dreams is far more meaningful to us than your stirring lecture on 19th Century precursors to silent film. Does this make us lazy slackers who lack the work ethic of previous generations? No. It means that we’re human beings. Just like you.

Rule 3. We are not expecting teachers or administrators to shower us with esteem-enhancing praise. If you say something to us just to make us feel good, we will lose respect for you and for ourselves. However, we always appreciate genuine respect.

Rule 4. Some of us have come to school because we want to compete in sports and other extra-curricular activities. As far as we’re concerned, this might be the most important thing that we ever do in our lives. Does this mean that our priorities are flawed? No. It means that you are attempting to impose your own priorities upon us.

Rule 5. Citing the bogeyman of “political correctness,” some suggest that teachers hesitate to evaluate and place personal responsibility upon students. Let’s turn this around. What do most professors think about students evaluating the teaching techniques of their instructors? What about the faculty outcry that erupted when Rate My Professor emerged on the scene?

Rule 6. When we are working in the so-called “real world,” we might find ourselves in a situation in which three projects are due on the same day. In that case, we will talk to the various stakeholders and our employers about which tasks we can delay for a day or two. Because this is common practice within industry, our colleagues will understand. And, because we’ve carved out extra time for sleep and reflection, we will produce much better work.

Rule 7. Some of us *will* make $60,000 a year immediately after college. Some of us will do this because we have skills that are in high demand, because we are entrepreneurial, and because we are willing to work extremely long hours. Others have family connections.

Rule 8. Our grandparents' love of manual labor is a nostalgic myth. Why do you think they worked so hard to pull themselves out of low-skilled and low-wage jobs? When comparing today’s students to the "Great Generation," we might want to remind ourselves of the extensive sexism and racism that characterized this country for much of the 20th Century. (And, yes, our generation continues to strive for civil rights but most teachers don’t bother to attend our campus events.)

Rule 9. Anyone who exhorts members of our generation to go flip burgers for a living lacks all credibility unless they are willing to quit their job to do the same thing. (Note: This also applies to serving in the Iraq war.)

Rule 10. Sometimes, people whine and unfairly blame their parents for things that are completely within their own control. Yet, for others, neuroses and dysfunctions stem from childhood experiences. Sometimes, it really is our parents’ fault, and we could use your understanding and support.

Rule 11. The current crop of high school and college students is not blaming “generational parasites” for environmental destruction. If you look at the messages distributed by young activists at Trinity and elsewhere, you will notice a far more inclusive and reasoned approach to social change. In fact, this tendency to pit generations against one another is a relic of the 1960s and 1980s. Heck. Many of us actively participate in on-line game guilds alongside men and women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. They are our friends and peers.

Rule 12. Ironically, some boomers who were youthful revolutionaries in the 1960s and 1970s have turned into the elder reactionaries of this decade.

Rule 13. The notion of a "zero sum game" populated by winners and losers is a counter-productive approach to social dynamics. It is very 20th Century. Our generation is more interested in win-win politics and synergistic opportunities.

Rule 14. For the person who sent "Rules for Students" to the list *and* for the person writing "17 Rules for Teachers," life is in fact divided into semesters and summer vacation.

Rule 15. The best employers are concerned with the personal and professional growth of their employees. Microsoft, Apple, and Google are just a few examples of successful companies that take this innovative approach to their workforce.

Rule 16. What's television? Is that like Youtube?

Rule 17. You’re right about one thing. The nerds are cool.

Dr. Aaron Delwiche
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication
Trinity University

September 22, 2006 reply from Lawrence, Michael [Michael.Lawrence@Trinity.edu]

I’ve been trying to resist, but I must share in the Rules discussion with some brief memories. I agree with and laughed at some of the original rules for students, and now with some of the rules for teachers. Some of the best lessons I learned as a Trinity student from 1967-71 were the hard ones. And the best professors were sometimes the ones who pulled us up short with comments like the one from Dr. Detweiler in History who handed back our low test scores and said “Sooner or later, you will have to realize that college is more than four years smeared with suntan oil at The University in the Sun (Trinity’s old motto).” Also, my class watched TV to see which of our birthdays were drawn out of a fishbowl for low draft numbers to head for Vietnam and be killed. There were no internships or career counseling except to take a test and get back a bar graph showing that we should do something “persuasive” versus “mechanical.” A common senior joke was to try to decide whether to apply to serve salads at Luby’s or work behind a desk at USAA processing claims. When I finally actually got a job in my “field” (BA in psychology) at the San Antonio State Hospital, I was happy to turn down two other minimum wage offers, one demonstrating pianos and the other selling furniture.





He doth protest too much, methinks

"Wood County supervisor accused of soliciting woman for sex in La Crosse," by Dan Springer, La Crosse Tribune, September 20, 2006 --- http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2006/09/20/news/01official20.txt

A Wood County supervisor resigned Tuesday after he was accused of trying to hire an exotic dancer for sex while attending a government convention in La Crosse.

. . .

Gignac, who was in La Crosse for the Wisconsin Counties Association annual convention, reportedly paid Vangeertruy $200 to have sex, but she insisted on a condom and left to buy one, according to the police report. When she did not return, Gignac called police.

Continued in article

 


 

How to write a paper in college/university --- http://asil.logicalinsanity.ca/300college paper.html 

1. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a well lit place in front of your computer.

2. Log onto MSN and ICQ (be sure to go on away!). Check your email.

3. Read over the assignment carefully, to make certain you understand it.

4. Walk down to the vending machines and buy some chocolate to help you concentrate.

5. Check your email.

6. Call up a friend and ask if he/she wants to go to grab a coffee. Just to get settled down and ready to work.

7. When you get back to your room, sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lit place.

8. Read over the assignment again to make absolutely certain you understand it.

9. Check your email.

10. You know, you haven't written to that kid you met at camp since fourth grade. You'd better write that letter now and get it out of the way so you can concentrate.

11. Look at your teeth in the bathroom mirror.

12. Grab some mp3z off of kazaa.

13. Check your email. ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR YET?!

14. MSN chat with one of your friends about the future. (ie summer plans).

15. Check your email.

16. Listen to your new mp3z and download some more.

17. Phone your friend on the other floor and ask if she's started writing yet. Exchange derogatory emarks about your prof, the course, the college, the world at large.

18. Walk to the store and buy a pack of gum. You've probably run out.

19. While you've got the gum you may as well buy a magazine and read it.

20. Check your email.

21. Check the newspaper listings to make sure you aren't missing something truly worthwhile on TV.

22. Play some solitare (or age of legends!).

23. Check out bored.com.

24. Wash your hands.

25. Call up a friend to see how much they have done, probably haven't started either.

26. Look through your housemate's book of pictures from home. Ask who everyone is.

27. Sit down and do some serious thinking about your plans for the future.

28. Check to see if bored.com has been updated yet.

29. Check your email and listen to your new mp3z.

30. You should be rebooting by now, assuming that windows is crashing on schedule.

31. Read over the assignment one more time, just for heck of it.

32. Scoot your chair across the room to the window and watch the sunrise.

33. Lie face down on the floor and moan.

34. Punch the wall and break something.

35. Check your email.

36. Mumble obscenities.

37. 5am - start hacking on the paper without stopping. 6am -paper is finished.

38. Complain to everyone that you didn't get any sleep because you had to write that stupid paper.

39. Go to class, hand in paper, and leave right away so you can take a nap.

 

 


Forwarded by Paula

A husband and wife go to a counselor after 15 years of marriage.

The counselor asks them what the problem is and the wife goes into a tirade listing every problem they have ever had in the 15 years they've been married. She goes on and on and on.

Finally, the counselor gets up, walks around the desk, embraces the wife and kisses her passionately.

The woman shuts up and sits quietly in a daze.

The counselor turns to the husband and says, "This is what your wife needs at least three times a week. Can you do this?"

The husband thinks for a moment and replies:

"Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I ride my Harley "




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