Zaba Search free database of names, addresses, birth dates, and
phone numbers. Social security numbers and background checks are also available
for a fee ---
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
Drink to me! Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Purported
to be his last words ---
“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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
'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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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 Ferguson, Salt 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 ---
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
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:
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 ---
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 ---
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.
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
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 ---
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,
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
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
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
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
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
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
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 ---
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
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
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
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.
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 ---
Have you heard about Michael Bérubé’s What’s Liberal About the Liberal
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
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,
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
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
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
this podcast of my recent interview with Michael
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 ---
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 ---
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
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
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
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
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 ---
Mr. Scruton, a British writer and philosopher, is the author of
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.
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.
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
"GORE: CIGARETTE SMOKING 'SIGNIFICANT' CONTRIBUTOR TO GLOBAL WARMING," Drudge
Report, September 30, 2006 ---
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 ---
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:
Revenues of firms with over $10 million in net
fees grew 15.8 percent.
Revenues of firms with net fees of $2 million
to 10 million grew 8.3 percent.
Revenues of firms with net fees under $2
million grew only 4.4 percent
"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
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 "over $10 million" group posted income per
partner of $456,000, up 21.5 percent from last year.
The "$2 million to $10 million" group posted
income per partner of $277,000, up 9.4 percent from last year.
The "under $2 million" group posted income per
partner of $191,000, up 6.7 percent from last year.
The above shows how the disparate growth rates of
the three firm groupings also produced profitability increases that were
Other survey findings:
Industry-wide average annual billable hours
for staff increased to 1,539, up from 1,528 last year and the highest
this figure has been since 1,576 in 2000.
Outsourcing of tax returns continues to be an
activity that is simply not catching on with CPA firms. Only 8 percent
of firms report that they plan to outsource a significant amount of
their returns next year, about the same percentage as last year.
The average valuation of goodwill for internal
buy-out purposes remained unchanged at roughly 80 percent.
4.51 percent of the partners at firms are over
the age of 50.
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.
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
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 ---
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
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
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.
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..
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
“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.”
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 ---
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
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
Eliminating Male Athletes by the Numbers James Madison University on Friday announced that it
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 ---
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
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
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 $3.12.
And they don't give you the butter or the cream cheese. They don't give
it to you. They tell you where it is.
"Oh, you want butter? It's over there. Cream cheese?
Over here. Sugar?
Sugar is here." Now you become your own waiter. You walk around with a
"I'll take the cookie. Where's the butter? The butter's here.
Where's the cream cheese? The cream cheese is there." You walked around
for an hour and a half selecting items, and then the guy at the cash register
has a glass in front of him that says "Tips."
You're waiting on tables for an hour, and you owe him money?
Then there's a sign that says please clean it up when you're finished.
They don't give you a waiter or a busboy. Now you've become the janitor. Now you
have to start cleaning up the place. Old Jews are walking around cleaning up
Starbuck's. "Oh, he's got dirt too? Wait, I'll clean this up." They clean up the
place for an hour and a half. Starbuck's can only get away with it because they
have French titles for everything, %$#%^&*.
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
Robert M. O'Neil, Change Magazine, September/October 2006 Volume 38,
Number 5 ---
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).
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 ---
"Who Needs Harvard Or Yale? U.S. students are discovering the advantages
of elite British universities," Business Week, September 25, 2006 ---
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.
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
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.
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.
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."
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 to ”
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
Elia Powers, "Institutional Leadership 101," Inside Higher Ed, September
25, 2006 ---
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.
"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:
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
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
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.
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
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
Andy Fastow's fine for filing false Enron financial statements:
Andy Fastow's stock sales benefiting from the false reports:
Andy Fastow's estimated looting of Enron
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
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
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.
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
"Yes, your honor," Fastow
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
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
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
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:
Rick Causey's stock sales benefiting from the false reports:
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
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.
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
"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
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:
"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"
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).
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
You can read some of these AECM originals at
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 theBonds 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 ---
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
* * * 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
* * * 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
* * * 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
* * * 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
* * * 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.
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."
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
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
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
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
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).
I wonder if shady accountants also advised this misfit accounting at
(actually the main inspiration came from a NYU professor of law) Partnership With British Bank Moved Liabilities Offshore; Alarmed U.S.
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
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
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."
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?
September 27, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen
I retired this year and am not certain I can even find a copy of that old
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
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
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.
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
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 ---
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.
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
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
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
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
Rutgers Business Schoolin 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.
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”.
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.
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.
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
AD: But the lottery is SO unfair!
PROF: Unfair? Perhaps you should consider a course
Richard C. Sansing
Professor of Accounting
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
100 Tuck Hall Hanover, NH 03755
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.
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, Thanks for the quotes. Hume also had some
observations to make about those who profess theories of exclusively self-
"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
How quaint these sentiments seem to us hardened
denizens of what their Enlightenment project has become.
Should Higher Ed Should Generate Its Own Rankings to Discredit Abusive
Existing tools and measurements could allow colleges
to develop meaningful rankings to replace widely discredited rankings developed
by magazines, according to
a reportbeing 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
new systemmight 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
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
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
Sexual Health Report Cardis 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 ---
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
. . .
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
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
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
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.
Yes, with tongue still firmly in cheek, but only half kidding.
It is refreshing to see so many recent posts
relating so directly and explicitly to "accounting education using computers
Here is a question for some of the techies on the
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
In response to Bobbi Lee's question about upgrading
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
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,
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
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
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.
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.
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 legislationthat 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
Supporters of the legislation are attacking the new letter. Inside Higher Ed, September 26, 2006 ---
This makes no sense to me, because there are alternative ways to conduct the
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
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
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.
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
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 ---
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,
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) ---
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
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
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
The journal Public Opinion Quarterly has
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
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
Middle of the road
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:
Allied health: The liberal percentage fell
from 22.6 percent to 8.4 percent, while the centrist percentage
increased from 14.3 percent to 26.0 percent.
Biological sciences: A liberal drop from 24.3
percent to 17.9 percent and a centrist gain from 17.0 to 20.9 percent.
Business: A liberal drop from 13.7 percent to
8.7 percent and a centrist gain from 17.8 percent to 19.6. (Business and
technical/vocational fields ended up with larger conservative shares —
48.7 percent and 49.6 percent, respectively — than any other
Computer science: A liberal drop from 13.3
percent to 8.7 percent and a centrist gain from 24.4 percent to 44.6
Psychology: A liberal drop from 28.2 percent
to 25.6 percent and a centrist gain from 15.4 percent to 26.7 percent.
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
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
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
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.”
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
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
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.
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 ---
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
James Surowiecki, "Unsafe at Any Price," The New Yorker, August 8, 2006
Yale Business School's Core Curriculum No Longer Has Traditional Courses
in Functional Areas of Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Management, Finance, and
"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 ---
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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 ---
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
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
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
"Click Fraud: The dark side of online advertising," Business Week
Cover Story, October 2, 2006 ---
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.
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,
"Click Fraud Is Growing on the Web," by Karen J. Bannan, The New York
Times, September 23, 2006 ---
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
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
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
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.
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
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."
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
Two lawsuits have already been filed related
to the current outbreak. The first was filed in District Court in Oregon
and the second in the District Court of the Eastern District of
Wisconsin. Both were filed against Dole.
Earlier this month, a lawsuit alleging food
from the deli department of a Wal-Mart store had been implicated as the
source of a Salmonella food poisoning outbreak was filed in Johnson
Superior Court in Indiana. No estimate of damages was available at time
In June, a recall of more than a million bars
of chocolate by Cadbury Schweppes cost the company $36 million and that
figure could rise if lawsuits are filed, according to Forbes.
The total cost of settling lawsuits filed
against Sheetz in a July 2004 salmonella outbreak affecting nearly 400
people is not available under confidentiality agreements, however,
Sheetz covered the $500,000 deductible by paying some customers. WVNS
reports that Coronet Foods, the supplier of the tomatoes allegedly at
the source of the Sheetz cases, has filed for bankruptcy.
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
Alex Avery of the Center for Global Food Issues
“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
“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
“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
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,
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,
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 ---
"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 ---
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
"How the brain keeps emotions at bay," PhysOrg, September 20, 2006 ---
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, saysJoseph 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 ---
One professor's approaches to living and working with bipolar disorder
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:
Approach me, outline your concerns, and ask
for an explanation.
If, after talking with me, you think it
warranted, make sure that I call my therapist or psychiatrist.
If I fail to do so, that is a bad sign, and
you should ask me to go to the emergency room. My policy in such
instances is to suspend judgment and do as told. This has actually
happened on three occasions and in each case I complied.
If I don’t go to the emergency room, that
means I’m psychotic, and you should treat it as a medical emergency —
call EMT [Emergency Medical Technicians] and have me taken to the ER by
force if necessary. This has never occurred and I don’t expect it to,
but it’s a theoretical possibility that has to be taken into
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:
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
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 ---
Also see "Paul Allen's Digital Brain" by Xeni Jardin, Wired News,
September 26, 2006 ---
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,
From The Washington Post on September 29, 2006
How long has the Mars rover Opportunity
survived on the planet?
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 ---
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.
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
From The Washington Post on September 25, 2006
How long will VeriSign
be the exclusive registry for the .com domain?
"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
did Internet ad revenues in the U.S. grow during the first half of this
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.
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).
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.
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
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
Yes, the first 11 rules are found on the last page
of every issue of the New Accountant magazine.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I like your addition as well.
Wayne M. Tanna, JD, LL.M.
Professor of Accounting NCAA
Compliance Officer Pre-Law Advisor
3140 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
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
Dr. Aaron Delwiche
Department of Communication
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.
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.