It snowed about a foot on December 30. I can see a few skiers on Cannon Mountain, although this has not yet been a good snow year for the East coast. The West stole nearly all our fun thus far into the winter. Above is a late autumn (October) photo of Erika cleaning out one of her three flower gardens and not wanting her picture taken. The pond was dominated by a loud bull frog named Jeremiah 2006.  I think he's all croaked out and now packed in solid ice somewhere in our shallow pond. But he left us with a tadpole named Jeremiah 2007 who'll break out in night songs to woo his young ladies next summer.

Erika and I will be out of town in Boston January 9-25 (give or take). I'm hoping for email lite this month! Please help me with the "lite" part.

I delayed sending out a holiday letter this year until after Erika has her heavy-duty spinal surgery on January 10 (which might be delayed if she can't shake her current head cold). Afterwards I will have more important news to put into the letter. We had to search around the nation to find a surgeon that would do this reconstructive operation. Erika even went to Milwaukee to see a specialist (her first back injury happened over 30 years ago while helping him perform a spine surgery).  Following a variety of therapies she had eight previous surgeries on her back in Texas and New Hampshire. Sometimes surgeons put metal in and sometimes they took it back out. Life would be simpler if they just used Velcro instead of sutures.

There are very few surgeons who will do the spine reconstruction that is now planned. The technical name of the operation is Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomity for Fixed Sagittal Imbalance ---

A lot of searching led us finally to Dr. Stephen Parazin in Boston. He operates out of New England Baptist Hospital and does about ten of these complicated surgeries each year. The surgery will last about 10-14 hours after which she will be on a ventilator for about two days in intensive care. Then it will be a couple more weeks in the hospital. A decision is then made by her doctors about a rehab hospital.

Surgeons will realign most of her spine by breaking vertebrae, installing space-age metal, and fusing bone. Afterwards she will stand perfectly upright. However, nobody knows how much her pain will be relieved. She's so looking forward to having a normal life and being able to tend her gardens next spring.

Erika knows the spectrums of good times/hard times, courage/fear, hope/pain, and faith/love. Please keep her in your prayers! You can read her Year 2000 story (with pictures) at

Bob Jensen

Tidbits on January 3, 2007
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to 

The new December 31 edition of New Bookmarks is linked at 

The new December 31 edition of Fraud Updates is linked at

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
       (Also scroll down to the table at )

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 ---

A great helper site for HDTV shoppers ---

Accountant Holiday Party ---

Science from the Poles (science) ---

Spin Around the North Pole (humor) ---

From Walter S. Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal --- Video: Walt reviews wireless earphones

International Spy Museum ---
Also see "A prowl through the Spy Museum, by George Melloan, The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2006 --- Click Here

Education Secretary Margaret M. Spellings is among the stars of a White House video to celebrate Christmas ---

Ashland University holiday greetings ---

Street Accountants ---

Drawing a Woman from Scratch (with a whole lot of erasing) ---

How do I buy online movies and what can I do with them? ---

Auto and Truck Repair and Advice ---
(includes a module on how to listen for problems)

2006 Memorable Moments on NPR (audio) ---

Happy New Year (forwarded by Paula) ---

Free music downloads ---

Happy New Year from PricewaterhouseCoopers ---

Holiday Songs You Love... and Loathe ---

December 22, 2006 message from Cindy Peck [cjpeck@ANDERSON.EDU]

Thanks for sharing the White Christmas with the cute animation. The website was gone when I tried to show it to my husband last night, but I found the Drifters song on under doo wop. Lots of cool stuff on this site if you like a capella music. (Try Go Fish's version of Silent Night.)

Merry Christmas,

Cindy Peck
Falls School of Business
Anderson University

Matisyahu Enlightens Fans with Reggae Hanukkah ---

Best CDs of 2006 ---

NPR Online Concerts ---

Best Classical CDs of 2006, from WGBH ---

2006's Top 10 Classical-Music Discoveries, from WGUC ---

Arkansas Traveler: 'Little House' Music and Tales (One Hour Concert for Children) ---

A Soul-Singing Legend, Reborn in 'Nashville' (Country Music) ---

A Lone Voice, Emulating a Gentle Wind (Isobel Campbell) ---

Sonic Youth's B-Sides Are Worthwhile and Strong (Hard Rock) ---

Musicovery ---

Video: Nuckin Futs 2006 Year in Review Children's Musical ---
This video follows a video commercial.

Photographs and Art

2006 in Photos: From The Wall Street Journal ---

Americans in Paris, 1860-1900 ---

Thomas Eakins' "The Gross Clinic" (1875) is considered an American masterpiece ---

Selections of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Calligraphy ---

You are a Miracle (slide show) ---

International Council of African Museums --- ---

Fantasy Love Hotels in Japan ---

Digital Photography Tutorials ---

CN Tower by Day and by Night ---

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

How many millions of free books were downloaded from the Project Gutenberg online library in the past 30 days?
What were the Top 100 downloads in the past 30 days?

Free Classics (audio books) ---
Bob Jensen's links to free audio books ---

NPR's 2006 Memorable Moments ---
NPE'a End-of-Year Book Selections (not free online) ---

A Collection of the World's Fairy Tales ---

The Diaries of John Quincy Adams ---

Graphic Poetry ---

Stephen Crane. From An English Standpoint by Herbert G. Wells (1866-1946) --- Click Here

I And My Chimney by Herman Melville (1819-1891) --- Click Here 

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937) --- Click Here

The History of the Supreme Court ---

The Best Science Fictions ---

Novel Ideas aids for writers (with audio) ---

Writers Resource Center ---
Also see

Writerisms and other Sins: A Writer's Shortcut to Stronger Writing ---
Also see 

Free Merriam Webster Online Dictionary/Thesaurus --- 

  • The medical term for a hangover is veisalgia. It means, roughly, "the pain that follows debauchery." A look at why hangovers happen and what the best bets are to achieve a cheery and pain-free morning-after.
    NPR, December 28, 2006 ---

    Hard-working coworkers make us work harder. (than do goldbricks)
    Tim Harford, "Undercover Economist: Check this out," December 15, 2006 --- Click Here

    When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all.
    Theodore Roosevelt ---
    As quoted by Mark Shapiro at

    The oldest, shortest words - 'yes' and 'no' - are those which require the most thought.
    Pythagoras (circa 582 BC circa 507 BC) ---

    He said (Iran's) oil production is declining and both gas and oil are being sold domestically at highly subsidized rates. At the same time, Iran is neglecting to reinvest in its oil production. "With an explosive demand at home and poor management, the appeal of nuclear power, financed by Russia, could fill a real need for production of more electricity." Iran produces about 3.7 million barrels a day, about 300,000 barrels below the quota set for Iran by the oil cartel, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The shortfall represents a loss of about $5.5 billion a year, Stern said. In 2004, Iran's oil profits were 65 percent of the government's revenues. "If we look at that shortfall, and failure to rectify leaks in their refineries, that adds up to a loss of about $10 billion to $11 billion a year," he said. "That is a picture of an industry in collapse." If the United States can "hold its breath" for a few years it may find Iran a much more conciliatory country, he said. And that, Stern said, is good reason to belay any instinct to take on Iran militarily. "What they are doing to themselves is much worse than anything we could do," he said. "The one thing that would unite the country right now is to bomb them," Stern said. "Here is one problem that might solve itself."
    Barry Schweid, "Report: Iran's Oil Exports May Disappear," Houston Chronicle, December 25, 2006 ---

    My suggestion for 2006 newsmaker of the year are the Canadians whom we can never thank enough.
    Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun, December 30, 2006 ---

    "We've been here (in a Cedar Rapids, Iowa mosque) for four and now five generations," says Imam Tawil, pointing to a panoramic black-and-white photo of dozens of early settlers; the picture dates to 1936 and shows an imam and priest, both of Middle Eastern descent, proudly shaking hands in the center. "We're as old as the oak trees in Iowa," he continues. "We're part of the fabric of this great state. We're Americans with dreams and aspirations." . . . "Our main goal is to educate the public about Islam," says Imam Tawil. Part of this education process was the founding, in the early 1990s, of the Linn County Inter-Religious Council. "We started the council to promote understanding and respect for all faiths," says Cedric Lofdahl, who retired as the pastor of Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church in 1998. "Taha was very much involved. I'll never forget it. He said, 'It may be too late for our generation but we need to be talking together and understanding each other for the sake of our children.'" That dialogue, says Pastor Lofdahl, helped the residents of Cedar Rapids deal with their grief and better understand the nature of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. "Because we had spent a lot of time together trying to educate the community regarding various faiths, and because we had become acquainted with people from the mosque, our immediate reaction was concern for those people." Imam Tawil agrees. "Our outreach to the community -- because we shared in the community's happiness and sadness -- these things helped us after Sept. 11."
    Michael Judge, "Mother Mosque," The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2006; Page A17 ---

    Rep.-elect Keith Ellison said Thursday he would tell a Virginia congressman who expressed concern about "many more Muslims" being elected that there is nothing to fear about Muslims. "They are our nurses, doctors, husbands, wives, kids who just want to live and prosper in the American way," Ellison, D-Minn., said on CNN. "And that there's really nothing to fear. And that all of us are steadfastly opposed to the same people he's opposed to, which is terrorists, and so there's nothing for him to be afraid of." Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, was responding to a letter that Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., sent this month to hundreds of constituents who had written to him about Ellison's plan to use the Quran at his ceremonial swearing-in. In that letter, Goode wrote that unless immigration is tightened, "many more Muslims" will be elected and follow Ellison's lead.
    Frederick J. Frommer, "Ellison says Muslims pose no threat," Minneapolis-St. Paul Pioneer Press, December 22, 2006 ---

    We looked for the hope of the future:  He/She is Us
    But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

    Lev Grossman, "Person of the Year: You Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world," Time Magazine Cover Story, December 13, 2006 --- Click Here

    Nearly one in four marriages in the Kingdom (Saudi Arabia) ends in divorce, according to a Justice Ministry report published yesterday. For 105,066 marriage contracts registered last year, 24,000 divorce cases were recorded by the ministry, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper said, quoting the ministry report. The statistics come amid intense debate over the surge in divorce rates in the country.
    Arab News, December 24, 2006 --- Click Here

    The deputy leader of al-Qaida said the United States was negotiating with the wrong people in Iraq, implying in a video broadcast Wednesday on Al-Jazeera that Washington should be talking to his group. "I want to tell the Republicans and the Democrats together ... you are trying to negotiate with some parties to secure your withdrawal, but these parties won't find you an exit (from Iraq) and your attempts will yield nothing but failure," Ayman al-Zawahri said on the video. "It seems that you will go through a painful journey of failed negotiations until you will be forced to return to negotiate with the real powers," he said, without elaborating.
    Maggie Michael, "Al-Qaida hints at power status in Iraq," Yahoo News, December 20, 2006 --- 

    Timeline: Saddam's Violent Road to Execution ---

    Only the dead have seen the end of the war.
    Plato ---

    Israeli intelligence sources say Hezbollah is not only funneling Iranian money into Israel, but the group has marketized its terror aid by linking funding to the successful targeting of Qassam rockets from Gaza into Israel, with the payments linked to the number of Israelis killed or wounded.
    "Hezbollah offers pay-per-slay," WorldNetDaily, December 31, 2006 ---

    One upshot is that futurism itself has no future. Once confined to an elite group, the tools and techniques of prognostication are all widely available. As for pundits: The world used to be full of workaday journalists, with just a thin sprinkling of opinion mongers. Now a TypePad account is a license to deliver nose-to-the-pavement perspective with an attitude. The very word futurism is old-fashioned, way too 1960s. Today's Internet-savvy futurist is more likely to describe himself as a strategy consultant or venture capital researcher. That development doesn't surprise me. Frankly, I saw it coming . . . Everything we do has unpredicted consequences. It's good to keep in mind that some outcomes are just fabulous, dumb luck. So mark my last little act of prediction in this space: I don't have a poll or a single shred of evidence to back it up, but I believe more good things are in store, and some are bound to come from the tangled, ubiquitous, personal, and possibly unpredictable Net.
    Bruce Sterling, "Bruce Sterling's Final Prediction," Wired Magazine, December 2006 ---

    In a last-minute dirty trick before the election, The New York Times took a story and twisted it in such a way as to damage the Bush Administration." So says FSM Contributing Editor Roger Aronoff, and his astonishing piece demonstrates that "the New York Times has done...damage to U.S. national security by the disclosure of vital, classified, intelligence programs.
    Roger Arnoff, "Dirty Trick from the New York Times," Family Security, December 21, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    You can find the NYT article itself at

    The world is rightly outraged by an Indonesian court's exoneration of Abu Bakar Bashir, who was implicated in the Bali terror attacks. But the biggest victim of this travesty will likely be Indonesia itself. Bashir is a militant Islamofascist cleric who gave Java-based terrorists his blessing to detonate the huge bombs that killed 202 people on Bali in 2002. He also is a master manipulator of Indonesia's court system. Despite his role in the attacks, he got his already pathetic 2 1/2-year prison sentence overturned . . . By freeing this Islamist terrorist, Indonesia's Supreme Court has handed the nation's worst enemy not only a license to preach new terror, but also a weapon to challenge the state's very existence. Either one has explosive potential — the kind that can bring nations down.
    "Travesty Of Justice," Investor's Business Daily, December 22, 2006 --- Click Here

    A U.S. federal judge on Friday ordered the Islamic Republic of Iran to pay $254 million to the family of 17 U.S. servicemen killed in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers residence at a U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia. The default judgment was entered against the Iranian government, its security ministry and the Revolutionary Guards after they failed to respond to the lawsuit, which was initiated more than four years ago. In issuing the $254.4 million judgment in the case, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth concluded that the Khobar Towers attack was carried out by people recruited by Gen. Ahmed Sharifi of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
    "Iran ordered to pay $254 million in Khobar Towers bombing," Reuters, December 22, 2006 --- Click Here 

    The U.S. entertainment industry provides billions of people around the world with their primary impressions of American culture. At the same time, anti-American sentiment is rising. But are those two things linked?
    Jonathan Wellemeyer, "Hollywood and the Spread of Anti-Americanism," NPE, December 20, 2006 ---

    The 2006 midterm elections confirmed once again a truism of American politics: American Jews remain overwhelmingly devoted to the Democratic party. According to exit polling, the tilt this year was, if anything, even more pronounced than it has been in the past. Some 88 percent of Jewish votes went to Democratic candidates, while a mere 12 percent went to the GOP. Along with this lopsided outcome, a historical extreme, comes the news that the number of Jewish representatives in Congress has itself reached an all-time high. Although Jews represent a marginal sliver—a mere 2 percent—of the U.S. population, they now hold 13 seats in the U.S. Senate, all but two of them—Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Norm Coleman of Minnesota—Democratic. (Bernard Sanders of Vermont, elected as an independent, has pledged to vote with the Democratic caucus.) In the House of Representatives, Jews, all but one of them Democrats, now occupy 30 seats.
    Gabriel Schoenfeld, "Jews, Muslims, and the Democrats," Commentary Magazine, January 2007 ---

    Propaganda is that branch of the art of lying which consists in nearly deceiving your friends without quite deceiving your enemies.
    Frances Cornford (1886-1960) ---

    Carter's book has been condemned as "moronic" (Slate), "anti-historical" (The Washington Post), "laughable" (San Francisco Chronicle), and riddled with errors and bias in reviews across the country. Many of the reviews have been written by non-Jewish as well as Jewish critics, and not by "representatives of Jewish organizations" as Carter has claimed. Carter has gone even beyond the errors of his book in interviews, in which he has said that the situation in Israel is worse than the crimes committed in Apartheid South Africa. When asked whether he believed that Israel's "persecution" of Palestinians was "[e]ven worse . . . than a place like Rwanda," Carter answered, "Yes. I think -- yes."
    Alan Dershowitz, "Why won't Carter debate his book?" Boston Globe
    , December 20, 2006 ---

    Jimmy Carter, by publishing his book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, walked straight into the buzz saw that is the Israel lobby. Among the vitriolic attacks on the former President was the claim by Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, that Carter is "outrageous" and "bigoted" and that his book raises "the old canard and conspiracy theory of Jewish control of the media, Congress, and the U.S. government." Many Democratic Party leaders, anxious to keep the Israel lobby's money and support, have hotfooted it out the door, with incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing that Carter "does not speak for the Democratic Party on Israel."
    Chris Hedges, "Get Carter," The Nation, December 20, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    Even though there is probably a great deal of truth in Hedges' conclusions, using Carter's book to support these conclusions destroys Hedges' credibility. The problem with Carter's book is that it's so easy to destroy with so little academic effort. And I personally feel that  hostility toward Israel, especially with the publishing of doctored photos of Jewish bombing horrors and unending media reports of Israel's overreactions in Lebanon, are far from consistent with "Jewish control of the media." Instead there is more credibility to the theory that Saudi Arabia is using its vast wealth to tilt the media against Israel and political supporters of Israel like Senator Lieberman who's now being hammered by the anti-Israel media --- and

    The protests are being portrayed in much of the Western media as a sectarian battle, or a coup attempt--engineered by Hezbollah's two main allies, Syria and Iran--against a US-backed Lebanese government. Those are indeed factors underlying the complex and dangerous political dance happening in Beirut. But the biggest motivator driving many of those camped out in downtown isn't Iran or Syria, or Sunni versus Shiite. It's the economic inequality that has haunted Lebanese Shiites for decades. It's a poor and working-class people's revolt.
    Mohamad Bazzi, "People's Revolt in Lebanon," The Nation, December 20, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    Once Iran has complete military control of the entire populace of Lebanon it will be interesting to see if the poor fare so much better than they did when oil-starved Lebanon was more multicultural, free-speaking, and democratic. Certainly oil-rich Iran has not done much for poverty, free speech, and economic equality in Iran itself. Instead Iran plans to place rocket-charged Lebanon on the front lines of war with either the West or Sunni Islam or both. The mystery to me is the short sightedness of Syria in backing Iran's Hezbollah because of  Bashar Al-Assad's obsession with regaining the Golan Heights. In the short-term process he will have created a long-term monster that threatens the majority of his people and Syria's sovereignty.

    As Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi's choice to be the next Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Texas Democrat Silvestre Reyes will share responsibility for the budgets and oversight of U.S. spy agencies, as well as receive regular briefings on classified intelligence. But it appears he first needs a remedial course on America's terrorist enemies. In an interview with Congressional Quarterly, Mr. Reyes was unable to answer basic questions about the sectarian nature of both al Qaeda and Hezbollah. "Predominantly -- probably Shiite," he responded when asked about the strain of Islam that animates al Qaeda. The truth is that al Qaeda is composed of Sunni extremists who slaughter Iraqi Shiites on a daily basis. And when CQ's reporter turned to Hezbollah, Mr. Reyes said, "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?" Perhaps because he's only had 23 years since the Iranian-backed Shiite terror group blew up the Beirut Marine barracks to figure that one out.
    "Pelosi's Intelligence Man," The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2006; Page A20 --- Click Here

    Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi cited the need to preserve the ''dignity and decorum'' of the House as she rejected a request Friday that C-SPAN operate its own cameras in covering the chamber. The public service network has provided gavel-to-gavel television coverage of House proceedings since 1979. But the House leader has kept control of the cameras, with coverage generally limited to tight shots of the speaker or the podium.
    Drudge Report, December 23, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    Preserving "dignity and decorum." Read that shielding the public from AWOL lawmakers, sleeping lawmakers, and otherwise unattentative lawmakers.

    The United States owes reparations to the people of Iran. How much should be paid for the 1953 coup? How much is a democracy worth? Here's a thought. Suppose the U.S. gave all of its nuclear weapons to Iran. Would that be a win, win, win scenario? The world would be safer because the only nation that had ever used nukes would no longer have any. The people of Iran would be compensated for the 1953 coup. The U.S. taxpayers would be spared a bill for reparations.
    Rosemarie Jackowski (Vermont's Socialist Party USA long-time peace activist), "Reparations for Iran," Selves and Others August 9, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    Last month she was a candidate for Attorney General of Vermont when running as a Liberty Union Party candidate. Her hero is Ward Churchill. She endorses Churchill's support of terrorism (as a last resort) to eliminate the U.S. military and economic power ---

    Unlike the Census Bureau, Messrs. Piketty and Saez measure income per tax unit rather than per family or household. They maintain that income per tax unit is 28% smaller than income per household, on average. But because there are many more two-earner couples sharing a joint tax return among high-income households, estimating income per tax return exaggerates inequality per worker.
    Alan Reynolds, "The Top 1% . . . of What?" The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2006; Page A20 ---

    What do Senator Kerry and the Iranian President have in common?
    Witnesses say Mr Ahmadinejad also tried to ridicule the (Iranian) students by referring to the university disciplinary code, under which those with three penalty points are suspended from studies. 'He joked that he was going to issue a presidential order for those with three stars to be enlisted as sergeants in the army. That made the students really angry,' said Mr Zamanian."
    Robert Tait, The Guardian, December 18, 2006 ---,,1974334,00.html
    Also see "Iran President Facing Revival of Students’ Ire," by Nazilla Fathi, The New York Times, December 21, 2006 ---

    Today a bipartisan commission of high-profile academic, government, business and labor leaders selected by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) will release a report that provides a sobering assessment of our nation's education system: Only 18 out of 100 high-school freshmen will graduate on time, enroll directly in college and earn a two-year degree in three years or a four-year degree in six.
    Michael R. Bloomberg, "Flabby, Inefficient, Outdated," The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2006; Page A20 ---

    U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and 11 other Members of Congress today sent a letter to Secretary’s Michael Chertoff (DHS) and Alberto Gonzales (AG) asking the two cabinet members to pressure foreign governments to accept deportable aliens from the United States. “As you know, dozens of nations around the world routinely refuse to accept their own nationals when the attempts to repatriate them to their country of origin,” wrote Tancredo, member of the House International Relations Committee. “As a result, these aliens are free to remain in the .” . . . The letter notes that the People’s Republic of has refused to accept approximately 40,000 of their nationals who are slated for deportation. The letter added that nations in Central Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Central America also refuse to cooperate with efforts to deport their nationals with excuses ranging from disagreements over asylum policy, to concerns about allowing criminals back into their communities. The outcome of which essentially forces to permit these aliens to remain in the indefinitely.
    December 8, 2006 ---

    He doesn't have an issue, he has a thousand issues, which is the same as having none, in the sense that a speech about everything is a speech about nothing. And on those issues he seems not so much to be guided by philosophy as by impulses, sentiments. From "The Audacity of Hope," his latest book: "[O]ur democracy might work a bit better if we recognized that all of us possess values that are worthy of respect." "I value good manners." When not attempting to elevate the bromidic to the profound, he lapses into the language of political consultants--"our message," "wedge issues," "moral language." Ronald Reagan had "a durable narrative." Parts of the book, the best parts, are warm, anecdotal, human. But much of it pretends to a seriousness that is not borne out. When speaking of the political past he presents false balance and faux fairness. (Reagan, again, despite his "John Wayne, Father Knows Best pose, his policy by anecdote and his gratuitous assaults on the poor" had an "appeal" Sen. Obama "understood." Ronnie would be so pleased.) . . . We'll see what Sen. Obama has, what he is, what he becomes. But right now he seems part of a pattern of lurches and swerves--the man from nowhere, of whom little is known, who will bring us out of the mess. His sudden rise and wild popularity seem more symptom than solution.
    Peggy Noonan, "'The Man From Nowhere':  What does Barack Obama believe in?" The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2006 --- 
    Jensen Comment
    Thus far there have been important commentaries about Senator Obama's white teeth and big ears. He's very sensitive about any mention of his ears and shuns commenting about Congressional earmark frauds. His tactics are diversionary away from such real issues like open borders, immigration amnesty, universal health care coverage, Congressional reforms and earmarks, tariffs to protect workers, taxes, NAFTA, nuclear proliferation, and trade with Asia. It will be interesting to see how long he can sidestep genuine issues that separate voters. He's on record as being against gay marriage, but this is a no-brainer for any serious Presidential candidate. His voting record is somewhat inconsistent. For example, there were two important votes in the Senate with respect to building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Obama voted Nae the first time and Yea on the second vote. However, in an effort to appease labor unions many liberals in the Senate voted for building a border fence knowing full well that they will never support the actual funding of the fence. Some of conservatives did the same thing to appease worried voters. Secretly they will never fund a fence that seriously harms businesses that hire illegal aliens and would not work in any case ---

    SO WHY not Barack Obama? On his swing through New Hampshire last weekend, Obama drew rapturous crowds. But many pundits continue to assume that he'll be just a flash in the pan, sharing the fate of Howard Dean, the one-time Democratic hottie who flamed out before the campaign season ended. Sure, say his detractors, Obama is a symbol of hope to Americans desperate for politics that transcend barriers of race, class and ethnicity. But charisma isn't everything — it can't make up for lack of experience. Obama has never been "tested." Can he withstand the rigors of the campaign trail? When the ads go negative (start looking now for sly insinuations that a man named Barack Hussein Obama can't be trusted!), will he fall apart? Can he handle the challenges of leading the world's last limping superpower through an era fraught with conflict and danger? . . . In the end, when it comes to the question of his relative inexperience, Obama himself offers the best retort: "Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have an awful lot of experience." 'Nuff said.
    Rosa Brooks, "Barack's ready," LA Times, December 15, 2006 --- Click Here
    Jensen Comment
    The issue in my mind is that Obama does not say "Nuff" about his understanding of the economics of entitlements as he flirts with national health care ---
    But then George W. Bush also did not understand economics of entitlements the budgetary disaster of drug coverage for senior citizens, and that has been a long-term disaster for the U.S. and a great windfall to an old guy like me. Nuff said.

    President Bush's legacy is sure to be defined by his wielding of U.S. military power in Afghanistan and Iraq, but there is another, much softer and less-noticed effort by his administration in foreign affairs: a dramatic increase in U.S. aid to Africa. The president has tripled direct humanitarian and development aid to the world's most impoverished continent since taking office and recently vowed to double that increased amount by 2010 -- to nearly $9 billion. The moves have surprised -- and pleased -- longtime supporters of assistance for Africa, who note that because Bush has received little support from African American voters, he has little obvious political incentive for his interest.
    Michael A. Fletcher, "Bush Has Quietly Tripled Aid to Africa," The Washington Post, December 31, 2006 ---

    In effect, the smartest, best-connected money has separated itself from the rest of the stock market, and has gone into the business of trading against that market. It seeks to buy from the stock market cheap, and sell to the stock market dear, and if you need evidence that this is possible you need only look to the returns on private equity, which have been running three times the returns of the public stock market.
    Michael Bloomberg, "Stocks -- Coach Class of Capitalism: Michael Lewis (Update1),", December 11, 2006 ---

    "What Muslim Women Want?" by Geneive Abdo and Dalia Mogahed, The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2006; Page A18 ---

    Shariah literally means "the road to water," and represents the moral compass of a Muslim's personal and public life. Historically, the principles of Shariah could be used to limit the power of the sultan; after all, he would never claim he was above God's law. Therefore, when Muslims call for Shariah and gender equality, both are calls for the rule of law and an end to inequality. In many countries, Muslims are calling for the application of Shariah because even when the constitution states that Shariah is the primary basis of law, in practice, this is not enforced by officially secular governments.

    Among the women surveyed in our poll, Egyptian women are most likely to believe Shariah should be the primary source of legislation: 62% say it should be the only source of law, and 28% say it should be a source, but not the only source. In nearly every country surveyed, aside from officially secular Turkey, a majority of women say Islamic law should either be the primary source of legislation or a source.

    For decades, the role of women in Islamic societies has provided one of the primary battlegrounds in the cultural war between East and West. As a result, Muslim women have been placed in two artificial and mutually exclusive categories: Modern and secular or religious and traditional -- even backward. The assumption is that, although the numbers of women choosing to veil in Egypt and elsewhere are growing, this trend is a result of either ignorance or women surrendering to pressure from their husbands or fathers.

    In contrast to the popular wisdom that women are content even if they believe they are second-class citizens, Gallup's survey found that women in the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed believe they should have equal legal rights as men, from voting rights to employment opportunities and access to the highest posts in government. Some 83% of Iranian women, for example, say women should be able to hold leadership positions in the cabinet and national council. Still, when the same Iranian women were asked the Shariah question, 66% said Islamic law should be a source, and 14% said the sole source, of legislation.

    Majorities of Muslim women also say that religion is an important part of their daily lives. When asked to associate descriptions with the Islamic world, the most often chosen statement among men and women was "attachment to their spiritual and moral values is crucial to progress." When asked an open-ended question about what they admire most about their own societies the most frequent response was "people's attachment to the teachings of Islam."

    These findings muddy the oversimplified debate that posits religion against modernity, and they reflect a trend in Islamic societies that is gaining momentum: While Muslim women favor gender equality, they do not favor wholesale adoption of Western cultural values. Instead, they want to pick and choose which aspects of the West and the East will form the basis of their lives.

    This trend is evident among the rich and famous Egyptian movie stars who have opted for a veiled life off the screen. Egypt's stars are powerful cultural icons, and it was their recent testimonials of embracing Islam and leaving behind their lives in the fast lane that were a factor in Farouk Hosni's remarks. As more and more prominent women in Egypt have announced publicly their desire to wear headscarves, the public debate in the country has become more heated.

    As Muslim women try to reconcile religion with modernity, a few clerics are helping them along the way. Amr Khaled, arguably the most popular television preacher in the Arab world, has become the guardian for Muslim youth and educated women who are embracing Islam. With the business suits (not clerical robes) he wears for sermons and a London address, Amr Khaled has found a third way between secular liberalism and radical Islam. Through his teaching, he has attracted millions of followers much like Enas, a fashion-conscious member of Egypt's affluent class. After listening to Amr Khaled, she was "awakened spiritually" and then began wearing the hijab. "Our image of Islam used to be that it was only for poor people, old fashioned people who wore white galabyias [long traditional tunics] and had scruffy beards, not the chic upper class," says Enas. "By listening to Amr, I realized how much my life was missing without a focus on God."

    The young Egyptian, who has a doctorate in pharmacy, is now pursuing a degree in Shariah studies. "Because our laws are not based on Shariah today, injustice and corruption are rampant. I wanted to study Shariah," she says, "to teach the young people so the next generation would be better than the current one -- so our country would progress."

    Ms. Abdo and Ms. Mogahed are, respectively, senior analyst at, and executive director of, the Center for Muslim Studies at the Gallup Organization.

    Report on the Taliban's War Against Women Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor November 17, 2001 ---

    Prior to the rise of the Taliban, women in Afghanistan were protected under law and increasingly afforded rights in Afghan society.  Women received the right to vote in the 1920s; and as early as the 1960s, the Afghan constitution provided for equality for women. There was a mood of tolerance and openness as the country began moving toward democracy. Women were making important contributions to national development. In 1977, women comprised over 15% of Afghanistan's highest legislative body. It is estimated that by the early 1990s, 70% of schoolteachers, 50% of government workers and university students, and 40% of doctors in Kabul were women. Afghan women had been active in humanitarian relief organizations until the Taliban imposed severe restrictions on their ability to work. These professional women provide a pool of talent and expertise that will be needed in the reconstruction of post-Taliban Afghanistan.

    Islam has a tradition of protecting the rights of women and children. In fact, Islam has specific provisions which define the rights of women in areas such as marriage, divorce, and property rights. The Taliban's version of Islam is not supported by the world's Muslims. Although the Taliban claimed that it was acting in the best interests of women, the truth is that the Taliban regime cruelly reduced women and girls to poverty, worsened their health, and deprived them of their right to an education, and many times the right to practice their religion. The Taliban is out of step with the Muslim world and with Islam.

    Afghanistan under the Taliban had one of the worst human rights records in the world. The regime systematically repressed all sectors of the population and denied even the most basic individual rights. Yet the Taliban's war against women was particularly appalling.

    Women are imprisoned in their homes, and are denied access to basic health care and education. Food sent to help starving people is stolen by their leaders. The religious monuments of other faiths are destroyed. Children are forbidden to fly kites, or sing songs... A girl of seven is beaten for wearing white shoes.
    -- President George W. Bush, Remarks to the Warsaw Conference on Combating Terrorism, November 6, 2001

    The Taliban first became prominent in 1994 and took over the Afghan capital, Kabul, in 1996. The takeover followed over 20 years of civil war and political instability. Initially, some hoped that the Taliban would provide stability to the country. However, it soon imposed a strict and oppressive order based on its misinterpretation of Islamic law.

    The assault on the status of women began immediately after the Taliban took power in Kabul. The Taliban closed the women's university and forced nearly all women to quit their jobs, closing down an important source of talent and expertise for the country. It restricted access to medical care for women, brutally enforced a restrictive dress code, and limited the ability of women to move about the city.

    The Taliban perpetrated egregious acts of violence against women, including rape, abduction, and forced marriage. Some families resorted to sending their daughters to Pakistan or Iran to protect them.

    Afghan women living under the Taliban virtually had the world of work closed to them. Forced to quit their jobs as teachers, doctors, nurses, and clerical workers when the Taliban took over, women could work only in very limited circumstances. A tremendous asset was lost to a society that desperately needed trained professionals.

    As many as 50,000 women, who had lost husbands and other male relatives during Afghanistan's long civil war, had no source of income. Many were reduced to selling all of their possessions and begging in the streets, or worse, to feed their families.

    Denied Education and Health Care
    Restricting women's access to work is an attack on women today. Eliminating women's access to education is an assault on women tomorrow.

    The Taliban ended, for all practical purposes, education for girls. Since 1998, girls over the age of eight have been prohibited from attending school. Home schooling, while sometimes tolerated, was more often repressed. Last year, the Taliban jailed and then deported a female foreign aid worker who had promoted home-based work for women and home schools for girls. The Taliban prohibited women from studying at Kabul University.

    "The Taliban has clamped down on knowledge and ignorance is ruling instead."
    -- Sadriqa, a 22-year-old woman in Kabul

    As a result of these measures, the Taliban was ensuring that women would continue to sink deeper into poverty and deprivation, thereby guaranteeing that tomorrow's women would have none of the skills needed to function in a modern society.

    Under Taliban rule, women were given only the most rudimentary access to health care and medical care, thereby endangering the health of women, and in turn, their families. In most hospitals, male physicians could only examine a female patient if she were fully clothed, ruling out the possibility of meaningful diagnosis and treatment.

    These Taliban regulations led to a lack of adequate medical care for women and contributed to increased suffering and higher mortality rates. Afghanistan has the world's second worst rate of maternal death during childbirth. About 16 out of every 100 women die giving birth.

    Inadequate medical care for women also meant poor medical care and a high mortality rate for Afghan children. Afghanistan has one of the world's highest rates of infant and child mortality. According to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), 165 of every 1000 babies die before their first birthday.

    Further hampering health, the Taliban destroyed public education posters and other health information. This left many women, in a society already plagued by massive illiteracy, without basic health care information.

    In May 2001, the Taliban raided and temporarily closed a foreign-funded hospital in Kabul because male and female staff allegedly mixed in the dining room and operating wards. It is significant to note that approximately 70% of health services had been provided by international relief organizations -- further highlighting the Taliban's general disregard for the welfare of the Afghan people.

    "The life of Afghan women is so bad.  We are locked at home and cannot see the sun."
    -- Nageeba, a 35-year-old widow in Kabul

    The Taliban also required that windows of houses be painted over to prevent outsiders from possibly seeing women inside homes, further isolating women who once led productive lives and contributing to a rise in mental health problems. Physicians for Human Rights reports high rates of depression and suicide among Afghan women. One European physician reported many cases of burns in the esophagus as the result of women swallowing battery acid or household cleaners--a cheap, if painful, method of suicide.

    Fettered by Restrictions on Movement
    In urban areas, the Taliban brutally enforced a dress code that required women to be covered under a burqa -- a voluminous, tent-like full-body outer garment that covers them from head to toe. One Anglo-Afghan journalist reported that the burqa's veil is so thick that the wearer finds it difficult to breathe; the small mesh panel permitted for seeing allows such limited vision that even crossing the street safely is difficult.

    While the burqa existed prior to the Taliban, its use was not required. As elsewhere in the Muslim world and the United States, women chose to use the burqa as a matter of individual religious or personal preference. In Afghanistan, however, the Taliban enforced the wearing of the burqa with threats, fines, and on-the-spot beatings. Even the accidental showing of the feet or ankles was severely punished. No exceptions were allowed. One woman who became violently carsick was not permitted to take off the garment. When paying for food in the market, a woman's hand could not show when handing over money or receiving the purchase. Even girls as young as eight or nine years old were expected to wear the burqa.

    The fate of women in Afghanistan is infamous and intolerable. The burqa that imprisons them is a cloth prison, but it is above all a moral prison. The torture imposed on little girls who dare to show their ankles or their polished nails is appalling. It is unacceptable and insupportable.
    -- King Mohammed VI of Morocco

    The burqa is not only a physical and psychological burden on some Afghan women, it is a significant economic burden as well. Many women cannot afford the cost of one. In some cases, whole neighborhoods share a single garment, and women must wait days for their turn to go out. For disabled women who need a prosthesis or other aid to walk, the required wearing of the burqa makes them virtually homebound if they cannot get the burqa over the prosthesis or other aid, or use the device effectively when wearing the burqa.

    Restrictions on clothing are matched with other limitations on personal adornment. Makeup and nail polish were prohibited. White socks were also prohibited, as were shoes that make noise as it had been deemed that women should walk silently.

    Even when dressed according to the Taliban rules, women were severely restricted in their movement. Women were permitted to go out only when accompanied by male relatives or risk Taliban beatings. Women could not use public taxis without accompanying male relatives, and taxi drivers risked losing their licenses or beatings if they took unescorted female passengers. Women could only use special buses set aside for their use, and these buses had their windows draped with thick curtains so that no one on the street could see the women passengers.

    One woman who was caught with an unrelated man in the street was publicly flogged with 100 lashes, in a stadium full of people. She was lucky. If she had been married, and found with an unrelated male, the punishment would have been death by stoning. Such is the Taliban's perversion of justice, which also includes swift summary trials, public amputations and executions.

    Violation of Basic Rights
    The Taliban claimed it was trying to ensure a society in which women had a safe and dignified role. But the facts show the opposite. Women were stripped of their dignity under the Taliban. They were made unable to support their families. Girls were deprived of basic health care and of any semblance of schooling. They were even deprived of their childhood under a regime that took away their songs, their dolls, and their stuffed animals -- all banned by the Taliban.

    The Amman Declaration (1996) of the World Health Organization cites strong authority within Islamic law and traditions that support the right to education for both girls and boys as well as the right to earn a living and participate in public life.

    Indeed, the Taliban's discriminatory policies violate many of the basic principles of international human rights law. These rights include the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, the right to work, the right to education, freedom of movement, and the right to health care. What is more, as Human Rights Watch has noted, �the discrimination [that Afghan women face] is cumulative and so overwhelming that it is literally life threatening for many Afghan women.�  This assault on the role of women has not been dictated by the history and social mores of Afghanistan as the Taliban claim.

    Nor are the Taliban's restrictions on women in line with the reality in other Muslim countries. Women are serving as President of Indonesia and Prime Minister of Bangladesh. There are women government ministers in Arab countries and in other Muslim countries. Women have the right to vote in Muslim countries such as Qatar, Iran, and Bahrain. Throughout the Muslim world, women fill countless positions as doctors, teachers, journalists, judges, business people, diplomats, and other professionals.

    A large and increasing number of women students ensures that in the years to come, women will continue to make an important contribution to the development of their societies. In Saudi Arabia, for example, more than half the university student body is female. Although Muslim societies differ among themselves on the status of women and the roles they should play, Islam is a religion that respects women and humanity. The Taliban respects neither.  

    The long years of war and instability in Afghanistan have resulted in massive numbers of displaced persons internally and in neighboring countries. There are approximately 1.1 million internally displaced persons. An estimated 3.5 million Afghans have fled to Pakistan, 1.5 million to Iran, and hundreds of thousands more scattered throughout the border regions. Moreover, Taliban looting of humanitarian relief organizations contributed to the increased numbers seeking refuge abroad. Afghan women and children make up the overwhelming majority of the refugee population dependent on international assistance.

    Afghan civil society and community-based activists are working hard to begin reconstructing their society in refugee camps, in preparation for the day when they can reclaim and rebuild their own country. Women have played an important role in these efforts, both in refugee settlements and--clandestinely--in communities in Afghanistan. These women and men, says Sima Wali, an Afghan woman who directs the non-profit organization Refugee Women in Development, have already demonstrated remarkable leadership and ability. They are our hope for Afghanistan.

    In Afghanistan ... the disrespect of human rights has acquired extreme dimensions. Overall, women in Afghanistan are basically not treated as people.... To overcome this, one needs to develop specific gender-oriented programs that would include, primarily and first of all, questions related to proper education for women.

    Taliban Rule No. 24 forbids anyone to work as a teacher "under the current puppet regime, because this strengthens the system of the infidels." One rule later, No. 25, says teachers who ignore Taliban warnings will be killed. Taliban militants early Saturday broke into a house in the eastern province of Kunar, killing a family of five, including two sisters who were teachers.
    Jason Straziuso, "New Taliban rules target Afghan teachers," Yahoo News, December 9, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    The Taliban also prohibits teaching females to read and write.

    Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) ---

    Iranian (Persian) Women ---
    Also see "Web Gives Voice to Iranian Women" ---

    Everywoman is a weekly magazine studio based show for women, presented by Shahnaz Pakravan.
    On Everywoman we are uncompromising in our approach and dig deeper to uncover the stories that women want told. Everywoman is the first show of its kind out of this region and is essential viewing to half the world’s population and you men won’t want to miss it either.
    Al Jazeera, December 14, 2006 ---

    In India, abortion is not gender neutral
    Ten million girls have been killed by their parents in India in the past 20 years, either before they were born or immediately after, a government minister said on Thursday, describing it as a "national crisis" . . . A UNICEF report released this week said 7,000 fewer girls are born in the country every day than the global average would suggest, largely because female foetuses are aborted after sex determination tests but also through murder of new borns.
    Palash Kumar, "India has killed 10 mln girls in 20 years," Yahoo News, December 154 2006 ---

    Women Geeks
    A new book showcases the lives of women in science, technology, gaming and other nerdy pursuits.
    "She's Such a Geek!" Wired News, December 15, 2006 ---

    The Amazon Link --- Click Here

    Why Aren’t More Women in Science?

    The year 2006 may be remembered for unprecedented attention given to issues related to women in science. Numerous expert panels — most notably one appointed by the National Academies — examined barriers facing female scientists. A new collection published by the American Psychological Association aims to add to the knowledge base. Why Aren’t More Women in Science: Top Researchers Debate the Evidence, features essays on both biological and societal explanations. The editors Stephen J. Ceci, a professor of developmental psychology at Cornell University, and Wendy M. Williams, a professor of human development at Cornell. Ceci and Williams responded to questions about the new collection.
    Scott Jaschik, "‘Why Aren’t More Women in Science?’" Inside Higher Ed, January 3, 2006 ---

    Screwed:  The Spine as an Insider Profit Center
    But there have been serious questions about how much the surgery actually helps patients with back pain and whether surgeons’ generous fees might motivate them to overuse the procedure. Those concerns are now heightened by a growing trend among some surgeons to profit in yet another way — by investing in companies that make screws and other hardware they install. The parts can be highly profitable. A single screw that goes into the spine, for example, sells for about $1,000 — at least 10 times the cost of making it.
    Reed Abelson, "The Spine as Profit Center," The New York Times, December 30, 2006 ---

    Where were (are) the lawyers in the recent corporate governance and investment scandals?

    Report of the Task Force on the Lawyer's Role in Corporate Governance, New York City Bar, November 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at

    A Dramatic Proposal for Change in Humanities Education
    A panel of some of the top professors of foreign languages has concluded that the programs that train undergraduate majors and new Ph.D.’s are seriously off course, with so much emphasis on literature that broader understanding of cultures and nations has been lost . . . The implications of this call for change are, several panel members said, “revolutionary” and potentially quite controversial. For example, the measures being called for directly challenge the tradition in which first and second-year language instruction is left in many departments to lecturers, who frequently play little role in setting curricular policy. The panel wants to see tenure-track professors more involved in all parts of undergraduate education and — in a challenge to the hierarchy of many departments — wants departments to include lecturers who are off the tenure track in planning the changes and carrying them out.
    Scott Jaschik, "Dramatic Plan for Language Programs," Inside Higher Ed, January 2, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on "Rethinking Tenure, Dissertations, and Scholarship in Humanities" are at

    Microsoft's CALCULATOR + GETS AN F–
    The September column (Journal of Accountancy, page 83) featured an item on Microsoft’s new Calculator Plus, a free product that should have been renamed “Calculator Minus” or “Not Yet Ready for Prime Time.” The idea behind the product is superb: a handy little popup program that contains both a regular and scientific calculator and all sorts of conversion functions such as international currencies, volumes, weights and temperatures. As it turns out, this jack-of-all-tools cannot handle all the jobs it claims it can. An Edit function is suppose to expand the range of tools—for example, add a wide selection of currencies for rate conversion—but it provides more frustration than conversions. I apologize for not investigating the product further before recommending it.
    Stanley Zarowin, Journal of Accountancy, January 2007 ---

    How students can find internships
    Helpers for managing student interns
    Intern Toolkit ---

    Bob Jensen's tools of the trade helpers are at

    A New Law to Encourage Whistle Blowing

    "At Hospitals, Lessons in Detection of Fraud," by Robert Pear, The New York Times, December 24, 2006 ---

    Most of the nation’s hospitals and nursing homes will have to teach their employees how to ferret out fraud and report it to the government under a federal law that takes effect next month.

    The law encourages people in the health care industry to blow the whistle on their employers. Many health care providers said this week that they were unaware of the requirement, and when informed of it, they described it as a burdensome, potentially costly federal mandate.

    But Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who drafted the law, said it would help ensure that “taxpayer dollars are used to provide care for the most vulnerable people and not to line the pockets of those who seek to defraud the government.”

    Starting Jan. 1, companies that do at least $5 million a year in Medicaid business must educate all employees and officers on how to detect fraud, waste and abuse. Moreover, health care providers must tell employees that if they report fraud, they will be protected against retaliation and may be entitled to a share of money recovered by the government.

    Under the federal False Claims Act, some whistle-blowers have received millions of dollars in rewards for disclosing large-scale fraud.

    Health care providers must also establish policies to make sure that their contractors investigate and report fraud. A large hospital system, whether run by a Fortune 500 company or a group of Roman Catholic nuns, typically has hundreds of contracts with doctors, billing agents and other vendors.

    The new requirement will also apply to many pharmacies, health maintenance organizations, home care agencies, suppliers of medical equipment, physician groups and drug manufacturers.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on whistle blowing are at

    Columbia Charges Students With Violating Protest Rules
    Columbia University said yesterday that it had notified students involved in disrupting a program of speakers in early October that they were being charged with violating rules of university conduct governing demonstrations. The university did not disclose the number of students charged with violations. Columbia’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, announced the disciplinary proceedings in a letter to the university community yesterday that was also released publicly. But he said he would not provide further details because of federal rules governing student privacy. The charges will be heard next semester by the deans of the individual schools the students are enrolled in. Possible sanctions include disciplinary warning, censure, suspension and dismissal.
    Karen W. Arenson, "Columbia Charges Students With Violating Protest Rules," The New York Times, December 23, 2006 ---
    Jensen Comment
    Since the protestors who disrupted and frightened the speakers are totally non-repentant, it will be interesting to see how this plays out at Columbia.

    "A Firm Stance:  CU Marine Reservist Targeted In Angry Confrontation; No Disciplinary Action Taken," by Laura Brunts, Columbia Spectator, January 26, 2006 --- Click Here

    At last fall's annual activities fair, Marine reservist Matt Sanchez, GS '07, got into an argument with several members of the International Socialist Organization and later filed a harassment complaint against three students.

    More than three months later, the administration responded with a letter apologizing for the incident but took no disciplinary action. Realizing that he would get no public response from Columbia, Sanchez took his story to the press last week in an interview with FOX News.

    The incident has provoked concern from members of Columbia's military community about what some see as a widespread anti-military attitude, and it raises questions about the University's anti-discrimination policy.

    On Club Day, Zach Zill, CC '06, Monique Dols, GS '06, and Jonah Birch, CC '05, approached the table for the Columbia Military Society-a Student Governing Board-recognized group for Columbia students in Fordham's ROTC program-because they heard it was being used for ROTC recruitment, which is not allowed on campus.

    "We went there to voice our disagreement with the fact that they were there and pick up some of their fliers," Dols said.

    Sanchez stopped by the table soon after and entered the debate. In the course of the argument, Zill asserted that the military "uses minorities as cannon fodder," Sanchez said.

    "My last name is Sanchez. I'm Puerto Rican. I'm a minority. Zach Zill is blonde and blue-eyed. I said, 'Look, I'm a minority. I know I enlisted; I don't feel like I'm being used at all,'" Sanchez said. "[Zill] said, 'Well, you're too stupid to know that you're being used.'"

    Mark Xue, CC '06, a Marine officer candidate and president of the society, was also at the table and confirmed Sanchez's accusations.

    "They were telling him that he was stupid and ignorant, that he was being brainwashed and used for being a minority in the military," Xue said. "Regardless of what you think about military recruiters, those comments were racially motivated."

    Continued in article

    From Columbia University
    Having wreaked havoc onstage, the students unrolled a banner that read, in both Arabic and English, "No one is ever illegal."

    "At Columbia, Students Attack Minuteman Founder," by Eliana Johnson, The New York Sun, October 4, 2006 ---

    Students stormed the stage at Columbia University's Roone auditorium yesterday, knocking over chairs and tables and attacking Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minutemen, a group that patrols the border between America and Mexico.

    Mr. Gilchrist and Marvin Stewart, another member of his group, were in the process of giving a speech at the invitation of the Columbia College Republicans. They were escorted off the stage unharmed and exited the auditorium by a back door.

    Having wreaked havoc onstage, the students unrolled a banner that read, in both Arabic and English, "No one is ever illegal." As security guards closed the curtains and began escorting people from the auditorium, the students jumped from the stage, pumping their fists, chanting victoriously, "Si se pudo, si se pudo," Spanish for "Yes we could!"

    The Minuteman Project, an organization of volunteers founded in 2004 by Mr. Gilchrist, aims to keep illegal immigrants out of America by alerting law enforcement officials when they attempt to cross the border. The group uses fiery language and unorthodox tactics to advance its platform. "Future generations will inherit a tangle of rancorous, unassimilated, squabbling cultures with no common bond to hold them together, and a certain guarantee of the death of this nation as a harmonious ‘melting pot,'" the group's Web site warns.

    The pandemonium that ensued as the evening's keynote speaker took the stage was merely the climax of protest that brewed all week. A number of campus groups, including the Chicano caucus, the African-American student organization, and the International Socialist organization, began planning their protests early this week when they heard that the Minutemen would be arriving on campus.

    The student protesters, who attended the event clad in white as a sign of dissent, booed and shouted the speakers down throughout. They interrupted Mr. Stewart, who is African-American, when he referred to the Declaration of Independence's self-evident truth that "All men are created equal," calling him a racist, a sellout, and a black white supremacist.

    A student's demand that Mr. Stewart speak in Spanish elicited thundering applause and brought the protesters to their feet. The protesters remained standing, turned their backs on Mr. Stewart for the remainder of his remarks, and drowned him out by chanting, "Wrap it up, wrap it up!" Mr. Stewart appeared unfazed by their behavior. He simply smiled and bellowed, "No wonder you don't know what you're talking about."

    "These are racist individuals heading a project that terrorizes immigrants on the U.S.-Mexican border," Ryan Fukumori, a Columbia junior who took part in the protest, told The New York Sun. "They have no right to be able to speak here."

    The student protesters "rush to vindicate themselves with monikers like ‘liberal' and ‘open-minded,' but their actions, their attempt to condemn the Minutemen without even hearing what they have to say, speak otherwise," the president of the Columbia College Republicans, Chris Kulawik, said. On campus, the Republicans' flyers advertising the event were defaced and torn down.

    The College Republicans expressed their concern about the lack of free speech for opposing viewpoints on the Columbia campus in the wake of the evening's events. "We've often feared that there's not freedom of speech at Columbia for more right-wing views — and that was proven tonight," the executive director of the Columbia College Republicans, Lauren Steinberg, said.

    The Minutemen's arrival at Columbia drew protesters from around the city as well. An hour before Messrs. Stewart and Mr. Gilchrist took the stage, rowdy protests began outside the auditorium on Broadway, where activists chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, the Minutemen have got to go!"

    Continued in article

    Also see

    Mr. Bollinger (President of Columbia University), a legal scholar whose specialty is free speech and the First Amendment, quickly condemned this week’s disruption. “Students and faculty have rights to invite speakers to the campus,” he said yesterday in an interview. “Others have rights to hear them. Those who wish to protest have rights to do so. No one, however, shall have the right or the power to use the cover of protest to silence speakers.” He added, “There is a vast difference between reasonable protest that allows a speaker to continue, and protest that makes it impossible for speech to continue.”
    Karen W. Arenson and Damien Cave, "Silencing of a Speech Causes a Furor," The New York Times, October 7, 2006 ---

    With Columbia University again under fire over speech issues, the president is condemning anyone who prevents another’s speech from taking place. On Wednesday, protesters stormed a stage where Jim Gilchrist, head of the Minuteman Project, a “vigilance operation” opposing illegal immigration, was speaking, forcing him to stop his talk. Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia’s president, pledged that the university would investigate the incident and procedures for making sure that speakers can give their talks. In a statement, he said: “This is not a complicated issue. Students and faculty have rights to invite speakers to the campus. Others have rights to hear them. Those who wish to protest have rights to do so. No one, however, shall have the right or the power to use the cover of protest to silence speakers. This is a sacrosanct and inviolable principle.”
    Inside Higher Ed, October 9, 2006
    Jensen Comment
    There was also another incident where

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

    A Year's Worth of Memorable Moments on NPR ---

    A nice article about foliage colors, art, and writing
    Like light refracted in a prism, separated into the different lengths of colored beams, delving into the visual is a way I can refract creativity. The long blue beam of my writing is complimented by the array of other colors, other expressions of creativity that balance and enhance my work by allowing me to explore new ways of seeing and re-creating the world in which I live. To enhance their art, painters might dance, musicians might paint, writers might sculpt, and then bring all those shades of creativity back to the art of their choosing. After my winter play, my words are strong and vibrant, rested and basking in the return of the strengthening sun, ready for the work of writing, but my crayons also stand ready.
    Amy Wink, "Comprehending the Light," Inside Higher Ed, December 21, 2006 ---

    Free Merriam Webster Online Dictionary/Thesaurus ---

    New words of the year

    Words banashed from the Queen's English
    Continuing a New Year’s Day tradition, Lake Superior State University has issued a new list of Words Banished From the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness. Among this year’s banned words and phrases: Combined celebrity names (TomKat, Bragelina and so forth), awesome, truthiness ("The Colbert Report” word may have once had meaning, but it’s been used up, the university concluded), and i-anything.
    Inside Higher Ed, January 2, 2007 ---

    Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

    Controversies over the limits of free speech on campus
    Sixty British academics have issued a public letter calling for a change in the law to explicitly protect academic freedom and to give complete freedom of speech to those who teach at universities,
    The Guardian reported. The professors cite incidents in which colleagues with controversial views have been attacked or the self-censorship of some who wish to avoid controversy. An official of the main faculty union in Britain expressed some caution about the new movement, telling the newspaper: “We should distinguish between the crucial right of an academic to question and test received wisdom and any suggestions that this is the same as an unlimited right of a university academic to express, for example, anti-Semitic, homophobic or misogynist abuse where they were using a position of authority to bully students or staff, or potentially breach the duty of care that universities have towards students or staff.”
    Inside Higher Ed, December 22, 2006 ---

    "Kicked Out," by Cary Nelson, Inside Higher Ed, December 22, 2006 ---

    Reverend: “Not here. I decide what gets taught. I approve what they read. I’m ordering you to leave the building.”

    Since it was a private facility I left as ordered. But the program is to be funded with public money, and the Illinois Humanities Council was assured free speech was guaranteed in the classes. It is not. Indeed others have suggested the students were under pressure not to disagree with church doctrine. This is precisely why the separation of church and state is established in the United States Constitution, though there is reason to doubt President Bush is comfortable with the concept.

    Continued in article

    Cary Nelson is president of the American Association of University Professors and a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Bob Jensen's threads on academic freedom are at 
    Also see

    Comparing George Bailey and Howard Roark
    My purpose, however, is not to defend the genius of these creators but to compare two of their protagonists, The Fountainhead’s Howard Roark and Wonderful Life’s George Bailey. To anyone familiar with both works it would seem that the two characters could not be more different. I contend, however, that they are not only similar but a variation on a common archetype.
    Joe Carter, "The Fountainhead of Bedford Falls: Comparing George Bailey and Howard Roark," The Evangelical Outpost, December 20, 2006 ---

    Time for a Change:  We're Losing the War on Drugs

    Saul Becker, a famous sociologist who currently resides in U.S. proposed a very interesting, although controversial, perspective to the approach of the drug problem in his recent article "Drugs: what are they?" The goal of this short research essay is to explore and analyze his proposal under the concept of sociological imagination. A clear summary and evaluation will provide a better picture to his standpoint and allow people to see that he is indeed right on the button on many of the issues surrounding the current drug policy.
    Lawrence Ding, "A Critical Evaluation of Current Drug Policy of United States," DefenceTalk, December 17, 2006 ---
    Click Here

    We will greatly miss Bob Anthony

    December 20, 2006 message from Bill McCarthy []

    The following appeared on
    Headline: Robert Anthony; reshaped Pentagon budget process

    Date: December 20, 2006

    "At the behest of Robert S. McNamara, his longtime friend, Robert N.

    Anthony set aside scholarly pursuits at Harvard Business School in the mid-1960s to take a key role reshaping the budget process for the Defense Department."


    To see this recommendation, click on the link below or cut and paste it into a Web browser:

    December 20, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

    Hi Bill,

    Thank you! Bob has been a longtime great friend. His obituary is at
    What is really amazing is the wide range of long-time service to at very high levels, including serving on the FASB as well as being Defense Department's Assistant Secretary (Comptroller) during the Viet Nam War. He also received the Defense Department's Medal for Distinguished Public Service. The FASB requested that Bob focus on accounting for nonprofit organizations. He also served as President of the American Accounting Association.

    Bob was one of the most distinguished professors of the Harvard Business School It saddens me greatly to see him pass on. His Hall of Fame link is at 

    Or Click Here

     I don't know if you were present when Bob Anthony gave his 1989 Outstanding Educator Award Address to the American Accounting Association. It was one of the harshest indictments I've ever heard concerning the sad state of academic research in serving the accounting profession. Bob never held back on his punches.

    Bob Jensen

    December 20, 2006 reply from Denny Beresford [DBeresfo@TERRY.UGA.EDU]


    Yesterday's New York Times also included an obituary for Bob Anthony . . .  Bob wasn't the easiest person to get along with, but I considered him to be one of the very brightest people I ever associated with. He was a wonderful writer and I always enjoyed the letters and other things he sent me at the FASB and later - even when I disagreed completely with his ideas. His work with the government made him one of the most generally influential accountants of the 20th century, I believe.


    His accounting concepts ranged from the global to the provincial. In a 1970 letter to The New York Times, he proposed that the United States create a tax surcharge to cover damages to the Soviet Union in the event of an accidental American nuclear strike. The tax burden would be “the smallest consequence of maintaining a nuclear arsenal,” he wrote. “An all-out nuclear exchange would probably mean the end of civilization.” In the late 1980s, Professor Anthony moved to Waterville Valley, N.H., where for 10 years he was the town’s elected auditor. “I got 24 votes last year; that’s all there were,” he once said.

    Electronic Journal of Sociology ---

    Stop Child Poverty ---

    USDA: Food & Nutrition Service ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on social science and philosophy learning helpers ---

    How to Track Current Happenings in the World

    The World ---

    Tools for Understanding (Math) ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on helpers for learning mathematics ---

    Violin Instruction:  The American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens
    Point: the Suzuki Method in Action ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on online music instruction ---

    Teaching Geology ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on science learning helpers ---

    Introduction to Electronics, Signals, and Measurement --- Click Here

    National Eye Institute: Photos, Images, and Videos --- 

    Introduction to Microbiology ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on science learning helpers ---

    Digital Photography Tutorials ---

    What Can You Find at Google Patent Search?
    Look up the Wright Brothers' airplane drawings or investigate Tesla's electrical innovation proposals and Tom Edison's incandescent patents. Send us results of your favorite searches.
    "What Can You Find at Google Patent Search?" Wired News, December 15, 2006 ---

    "Lesson Plan for Education Reform:  A study group issues an education plan for keeping the U.S. competitive globally, calling for a radical transformation of American schools," by Jane Porter, Business Week, December 14, 2006 ---
    Click Here

    With the release of a new report Dec. 14 on the future of the U.S. educational system, the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce has created a controversial blueprint for school reform that it says is crucial if the U.S. is to maintain its competitiveness. With India and China churning out highly skilled, low-cost workers, the group says the U.S. must train the next generation of college graduates to produce the next big wave of money-making ideas. If it can be done at all, it will take 15 years and cost billions in new and reallocated funds, but the U.S. has no choice, according to the report. "There is a real sense of urgency at this point," says Caroline Hoxby, Harvard economist and director for the National Bureau of Economic Research's Economics of Education Program. "We don't have any time to waste."

    If implemented, the commission's recommendations—signed by 26 members from all corners of the corporate, nonprofit, education, and political worlds—would revolutionize the way children are educated in this country. Among the ideas: a set of Board Examinations allowing all 10th graders to place into college; improved compensation and incentives to attract better quality teachers; an overhaul of the American testing industry; contract-run schools instead of schools run by school boards; improved education for all three- and four-year-olds; standards for state-run funding instead of local funding; legislation for continued education for adults; a new GI Bill; and regionally focused job training.

    Staying Ahead

    Skeptics question the new testing proposal, the dangers of state-regulated standards supporting an inadvertently top-down system and the actual feasibility and effect such changes would have in a global context. Iris Rotberg, research professor of education policy at George Washington University, who has examined education reform across 16 countries, says the country's problems are not unique. "The fact is we are all struggling with pretty much the same problems, including an achievement gap based on socioeconomic status," she says, noting that countries in Europe and Asia face similar dilemmas.

    But if experts in the field of education don't agree with one of the commission's recommendations, they are likely to agree with a slew of others. Educators agree that the report will serve as a necessary tool for policy makers thinking about future education reform. How feasible all of the 10 recommendations will be—considering the strong interest groups that would resist such a radical rethinking of American education—is at this point not entirely clear. But economists and scholars would agree that the report does a better job than any other attempt so far at re-envisioning an education system that produces the kinds of entrepreneurial thinkers the U.S. needs to stay afloat in a global market.

    The commission is not just concerned with keeping up, but with staying ahead globally. This is not the first time the commission has come together to offer a reexamination of the education system. In 1990, the group released a report, America's Choice: High Skills or Low Wages, that recommended focusing on high-skill labor and allowing low-skill work to go to the countries with the lowest wages. Its impact spanned federal legislation from the National Skill Standards Board Act, to the Workforce Investment Act, to the Goals 2000 Act that established higher education standards.


    Today the global market paints a very different picture. With China and India producing highly skilled engineers who work for a fraction of the cost of their American counterparts, combined with the rampant outsourcing of labor, the American middle class is gradually shrinking and the standard of living is at risk. An engineer making $45,000 in the U.S. can easily be replaced by one in India making $7,500 a year (see, 11/15/06, "Keeping America Competitive").

    The dubious Pacific Western distance education "university" is at it again
    lan Contreras, an administrator with the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization, noted that Pacific Western grants many of its degrees to people in Asia, where the distinction between the “University of California” and “California University” will be lost in translation. “It’s a perfectly rational business decision,” he said of the move by PWU to change its name. “Because people who see this are going to think it is the UC.” Contreras added that California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education will have to approve the switch in title . . . Meanwhile, newspapers in Korea report that lawmakers and police have opened an inquiry into more than 150 high-ranking national figures who have received degrees at unauthorized foreign colleges. The Korea Times reported that 34 of those individuals received doctorates from Pacific Western. Those officials currently work at the education ministry and an agency affiliated with the Ministry of Science and Technology.
    Paul D. Thacker, "What’s in a Name?" Inside Higher Ed, December 15, 2006 ---

    Guess who's buying fake diplomas?
    Lawyers defending those accused in a federal court of running a diploma mill revealed on October 11 that 135 federal employees, including a White House official, purchased degrees from the operation, the Associated Press reported. The names of the federal officials were not revealed.
    Inside Higher Ed, October 13, 2006
    Jensen Comment
    The largest market for fake diplomas is among K-12 teachers who benefit from automatic pay raises when receiving graduate degrees.

    Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mills are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on non-traditional doctoral degree programs are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on legitimate distance education and training alternatives are at

    Suit Challenges Warm Gasoline
    Seventeen oil companies and gasoline service stations have been named in a class-action suit accusing them of overcharging customers at the pump by failing to compensate for changes in gasoline volumes when temperatures rise. The consumer fraud suit contends that oil companies fail to take into account the fact that gasoline expands when the temperature exceeds 60 degrees. Therefore, the suit says, consumers get less energy for each gallon they buy.
    "Suit Challenges Warm Gasoline," The New York Times, December 15, 2006 ---

    Cellular and satellite service for obtaining fast Internet capability for on a PC

    From Walt Mossberg's Mailbox, The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2006; Page B3 ---

    Q: I have a house beyond the range of DSL or cable-modem service. Dial-up Internet is all that is available, and that is S-L-O-W. There is, however, a cellular tower in plain sight on the horizon which provides excellent BlackBerry and cellphone service, through which Internet access is much faster than dial-up. Is there any way for me to take advantage of this cellular service for obtaining fast Internet capability for my PC?

    A: Almost certainly. Figure out which cellphone carrier operates the tower and purchase a data card from the company, with an accompanying monthly plan. These cards, which are essentially cellular modems for PCs, plug into laptops via their external card slots and connect them to the high-speed cellphone networks for the purpose of accessing the Internet.

    If you don't have a laptop, you can buy an adapter for a desktop computer that will allow you to plug in such a card, and there are even a few base stations for homes with a slot for such a card. Some cellphone carriers offer a data modem that plugs in via USB, instead of via the card slot.

    Another option: some high-end cellphones can be used as data modems, connecting via either a cable, or a wireless Bluetooth connection.

    December 15, 2006 reply from David Coy [dcoy@ADRIAN.EDU]

    Another option is satellite-based internet.  I'm thinking seriously about Hughes Net.  I don't care for the cable provider or the DSL provider in my area.

    David Coy
    Adrian College

    December 16, 2006 reply from Bob Jensen

    If only the uploading speeds could be improved via satellite. For uploaders (big mouths) like me, fast uploading is important. For lurkers satellite receptors are good options.

    A good reference for satellite Internet is at 

    Although uploading is impossible for satellite Internet (thus requiring slow phone service for uploading), uploading speeds are generally not as fast as downloading speeds even on DSL Internet services.
    See "Slower uploads are the result of mostly technical constraints," MIT's Technology Review, December 18, 2006 ---

    Bob Jensen

    December 16, 2006 reply from Peter Kenyon [pbk1@HUMBOLDT.EDU]

    In rural, northern California where I live the major fibre optic trunk line is one mile away yet we have no broadband option at our home other than satellite ... no cable and no phone line option due to decrepit local lines. Furhtermore, we get no watchable through-the-air TV service due to local terrain.

    We solved the broadband problem by subscribing to WILDBLUE satellite internet service. There were a few initial glitches but their service has proven reliable and fast, overall. I installed a router at our desktop workstation, so I can now use my HP notebook out in the barn or in my farm shop ... just don't get chicken feed or crankcase oil in the keyboard.

    We've had DISH NETWORK STV since moving to the farm seven years ago. It works great but we were "assigned" the network affiliate feeds from Los Angeles (700 miles away) rather than from San Francisco (300 miles away). When I complained to DISH they claimed the assignment was by regulation and was not possible to change. We did enjoy the additional network feeds from New York City because we could watch the movie promotions on DAVE, JAY, and CONAN's shows and still get to bed early.

    Now, as most of you probably know, a Florida judge has found DISH to be in violation of a key regulation or law and has ordered DISH to shut down ALL OUT OF AREA network feeds ... nationwide. We do not even have all four networks in our local broadcast area and none of the ones we do are fed to the big birds in the sky. That meant we were likely to LOSE ALL ACCESS to network programming ... something that would probably improve our intellectual life but which seemed too Grinch-like for the holidays.

    The solution appears to be that we will be able to purchase out-of-area-network feeds (Atlanta and San Francisco) from another vendor (ALL AMERICAN DIRECT) that will be received through our DISH NETWORK antenna and will appear on our DISH NETWORK menu. The only "catch" here is that we have to obtain WAIVERS (permission) from our local affiliates before All AMERICAN can beam down the network trash we love so much.

    Sorry for rambling (whining) on so long. My question for the group is this ... will we see the day when we can select (pay for) programming from ANY NETWORK AFFILIATE, regardless of location? Surely Bob would like to sit on his snowbound mountaintop and check out the San Antonio news from time to time. Will mini-market TV affiliates go the way of AM radio programming?

    Peter Kenyon
    Humboldt State and Riverbar Farm

    "IBM and Yahoo try to challenge Google with free data-search tool for businesses," MIT's Technology Review, December 13, 2006 ---

    IBM Corp. and Yahoo Inc. are teaming up to offer a free data-search tool for businesses, a quirky move challenging Google Inc. and other corporate-search specialists in a blossoming market.

    IBM already sells a business-focused search product, OmniFind, that lets organizations comb through internal documents. This free new edition of OmniFind will be limited in the number of documents it can query, but it will combine the results with Web searches powered by Yahoo.

    IBM hopes the service, being announced Wednesday, bolsters its overall efforts to improve its dealings with small companies.

    More broadly, though, Yahoo and IBM expect their partnership to shake up the field of ''enterprise search,'' in which leading providers such as Google, Autonomy Corp. and Norway-based FAST are seeing forays from business software giants such as Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and SAP AG.

    Google has been dominant at the lower end of the market selling ''search appliances'' that begin at $2,000 and range up to $30,000. The top-of-the-line version can comb through 500,000 documents. Not coincidentally, that is the same limit that IBM and Yahoo have set for their free software -- although Google's product includes hardware that operates the search service.

    ''They're going to create a real headache for Google at that tier,'' said Forrester Research analyst Matthew Brown.

    Of course, whatever pain Google feels ought to be put in context -- it gets 99 percent of its revenue from advertising, not from selling search appliances.

    While Yahoo and IBM may eventually expand their partnership, Yahoo will focus on the Web-search aspect of the equation and not venture into enterprise search, said Eckart Walther, Yahoo's vice president of product management for search. That would be in keeping with Yahoo's recent pledge to stay focused on its consumer audience and advertising network -- a step aimed at resolving internal strife over a muddled strategy.

    Indeed, Forrester's Brown said it appears that Yahoo is most interested in using the IBM deal to strengthen its brand in corporate environments and get people using Yahoo Web search at work more often.

    Jensen Comment
    The IBM-Yahoo edition of OmniFind can be downloaded from

    December 14, 2006 reply from Scott Bonacker [aecm@BONACKER.US]

    All that is great, but I've had great success with X1 Search, and it has been free for a while. It is a much more comprehensive search product than Google Desktop,

    Scott Bonacker

    Jensen Comment
    You can download X1 Enterprise Search from

    Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

    Onsite rounds give way to PowerPoint for medical interns
    Socratic Dialogue Gives Way to PowerPoint

    "Socratic Dialogue Gives Way to PowerPoint," by Lawrence K. Altman, MD., The New York Times, December 12, 2006 --- Click Here

    Grand rounds are not so grand anymore.

    For at least a century at many teaching and community hospitals, properly dressed doctors in ties and white coats have assembled each week, usually in an auditorium, for a master class in the art and science of medicine from the best clinicians. Before us was often a patient who sat in a chair or rested on a gurney and two doctors, one in training and the other a professor or senior doctor at the hospital. In a Socratic dialogue, they often led the audience in a step-by-step deciphering of the ailment.

    But in recent years, grand rounds have become didactic lectures focusing on technical aspects of the newest biomedical research. Patients have disappeared. If a case history is presented, it is usually as a brief synopsis and the discussant rarely makes even a passing reference to it.

    Now grand rounds are often led by visiting professors from distant hospitals and medical schools. Sometimes, manufacturers of drugs and devices pay the visitor an honorarium and expenses, a practice that has drawn criticism. And the Socratic dialogue has given way to PowerPoint. These rounds are often useful, but certainly not grand.

    Precisely when and where grand rounds began is not known. There are many types of rounds where doctors learn from patients. For example, there are the daily working rounds as doctors walk through a hospital to visit and examine patients. In teaching rounds, more senior doctors supervise the work of residents, or house officers, at a patient’s bedside or in a clinic.

    Grand rounds were showcases featuring the best clinicians, and the practice thrived in an era when doctors knew little more than what they observed at the bedside. Professors often demonstrated characteristics of physical findings like an enlarged thyroid, a belly swollen with fluid or another grotesque disfigurement that the audience could see. Those with a flair for showmanship were often the best teachers, adapting the predictable structure to their needs and talents.

    Grand rounds usually began with a younger doctor’s reciting the medical history of a patient with an unusual disease, physical finding or symptom. Sometimes the professor knew about the case, other times he did not. The professor would then ask the patient what was wrong. The more compassionate professors gave reassurance by placing their hands on the patients.

    The professor would conduct the interview much like a journalist. When did the fever begin? How high was it? Did you notice a rash? Did you have pain? Where did you feel it? What relieved it?

    Each major specialty, like internal medicine and surgery, held separate grand rounds. Pediatrics had a different style. A child unable to relate the events involved in his or her medical history often sat on a parent’s lap. The format promoted direct dialogue and emotional reaction between the pediatrician and the family in a way that would not come across if a doctor coldly presented the child’s case.

    After arriving at a diagnosis, the professor related the current state of medical knowledge to the patient’s case. The emphasis was on diagnosis, treatment and the management of a patient, not on research.

    In those earlier days, the patient stayed for part or all of the session, which usually lasted an hour. Sometimes doctors in the audience asked questions of the patient and professor. Humor trickled into some sessions. So did personal attacks among faculty members.

    As a student at the Tufts Medical School in Boston beginning in 1958, I joined the throngs of doctors on grand rounds when Dr. Louis Weinstein spoke about infectious diseases.

    Usually, the patient’s pertinent information was on a blackboard. Dr. Weinstein would study the fever chart, seeking clues in the pattern to help identify a particular infection. Then he would regale the crowd with anecdotes from his vast experience in caring for patients with typhoid fever, diphtheria, polio and many other infectious diseases.

    Before the Medicare and Medicaid plans were enacted in 1965, many patients treated in teaching hospitals received charity care. In those days, when costs were less of an obstacle, professors sometimes hospitalized patients a few extra days so they could be presented at grand rounds. In other cases, many patients returned after discharge in gratitude for their free care.

    Even the smartest experts had to be on their toes, because younger doctors often selected a case intended to tax their brains. Another intention was to have the experts explain their thinking as they matched wits against colleagues and the illness itself.

    In San Francisco in 1987, I heard a visiting expert discuss the possible reasons that a woman in her 80s, who complained of weakness and muscle spasms in her back, had a severe loss of potassium.

    After the resident gave a detailed account of her illness, the discussant, Dr. Donald W. Seldin, then the chief physician at the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center in Dallas, went to a blackboard to highlight the crucial elements and list possible causes.

    Continued in article

    Knowledge Media Laboratory ---
    The Carnegie Foundation

    Bob Jensen's threads education technologies are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of the trade are at

    The Dark Side of the 21st Century: Concerns About Technologies in Education ---

  • A rose by any other name is , ... , ah er , ... a required supplemental enhancement charge

    "A Fee That Is Not a Fee," by Paul D. Thacker, Inside Higher Ed, November 9, 2006 ---

    But the University of Florida is quite careful to not call the $1,000 yearly hit to students “tuition” or a “fee.” The creative wording is causing some giggles. “The Board of Governors supports this third category of charges,” said Danaya Wright, professor of law and chair of the Faculty Senate. She then laughed. “I was going to say ‘fee,’ but it’s an additional charge.”

    Wright said that the need to create this third category arose because the Legislature is loathe to raise tuition and fees. Florida funds the Bright Futures Scholarship Program which pays for 100 percent of tuition and fees for high school students who apply with a grade point average of 3.5 and 75 percent of that for students with a G.P.A. of 3.0. Around 95 percent of in-state students at Florida are Bright Futures Scholars, and to control the cost of the program, Wright said, the Legislature has effectively frozen tuition and fees, leaving the university in a budget bind. By creating this new charge that is not “tuition” nor a “fee,” the university can raise funds without affecting the budget for Bright Futures — because the students won’t be able to expect the state program to cover the costs.

    Jensen Comment
    My daughter went to the University of Texas. I discovered that Texas is most clever about charging hidden and disguised fees. It turns out that tuition is the cheapest of all the billings of students at UT or so it seems.

  • "Public Universities Chase Excellence, at a Price," by Tamar Lewin, The New York Times, December 21, 2006 ---

    If there is any goal that the University of Florida has pursued as fervently as a national football championship for the Gators, it is a place among the nation’s highest-ranked public universities.

    “We need a top-10 university, so our kids can get the same education they would get at Harvard or Yale,” said J. Bernard Machen, the university president.

    To upgrade the university, Dr. Machen is seeking a $1,000 tuition surcharge that would be used mostly to hire more professors and lower the student-faculty ratio, not coincidentally one of the factors in the much-watched college rankings published annually by U.S. News & World Report. This year, that list ranked Florida 13th among public universities in the United States.

    Like Florida, more leading public universities are striving for national status and drawing increasingly impressive and increasingly affluent students, sometimes using financial aid to lure them. In the process, critics say, many are losing force as engines of social mobility, shortchanging low-income and minority students, who are seriously underrepresented on their campuses.

    “Public universities were created to make excellence available to all qualified students,” said Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust, an advocacy group, “but that commitment appears to have diminished over time, as they choose to use their resources to try to push up their rankings. It’s all about reputation, selectivity and ranking, instead of about the mission of finding and educating future leaders from their state.”

    While a handful of public universities have long stood among the nation’s top institutions — the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan among them — many have only recently joined their ranks.

    Continued in article

    "Where To Invest 2007," Business Week Cover Story, December 25, 2006 --- Click Here

    Bob Jensen's investment helpers ---

    Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office

    From the University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication Blog on December 13, 2006 ---

    Microsoft has created a free add-in that enables you to embed a Creative Commons copyright license into a document that you create using the Microsoft application Word, PowerPoint, or Excel. With a Creative Commons license, authors can express their intentions regarding how their works may be used by others.

    To learn more about Creative Commons, please visit its web site, To learn more about the choices among the Creative Commons licenses, see

    Download the Creative Commons Microsoft Office add-in from the Microsoft website. For a short URL to this resource, use this tinyURL:

    Installation of the Creative Commons Microsoft Office add-in will add an option to your File menu whereby you can easily add the CC logo and usage statement to your document.

    Bob Jensen's threads on tools of the trade are at

    Bob Jensen's threads on copyright law are at

    From the Scout Report on December 15, 2006

    iRemindU 2.0.2 --- 

    As the calendar year winds down, many Scout Report readers may find themselves with more and more tasks to complete. Time is, of course, of the essence, and a gentle reminder while performing tasks while online can be most helpful. iRemindU 2.0.02 allows users to create alerts with this tiny popup timer. Additionally, users can also use the application to remind them of important tasks when they log on. This version is compatible with all computers running Mac OS X 10.2 and newer.

    Winamp 5.3.2 --- 

    Winamp has functioned as a well-tuned media player for years, and this most recently released version contains some notable new features. These new features include the ability to search for live concert footage and other forms of streaming media, coupled with some rather delightful visualizations. Finally, this version of Winamp also syncs up with a number of portable audio devices, including various iPod models. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98, 2000, and XP.

    "Microsoft makes Windows more secure, but how much does that matter?" MIT's Technology Review, December 11, 2006 ---

    Microsoft Corp. took great pains to improve security in its newly released computer operating system, Windows Vista, redesigning it to reduce users' exposure to destructive programs from the Internet. Outside researchers commend the retooled approach -- yet they also say the changes won't make online life much safer than it is now.

    Why not? Partly because of security progress that Microsoft already had made in its last operating system, Windows XP. Also because a complex product like Vista is bound to have holes yet to be discovered. And mainly because of the rapidly changing nature of online threats.

    Sure, Microsoft appears to have fixed the glitches that used to make it easy for viruses, worms and other problems to wreck PCs. But other avenues for attack are always evolving.

    ''Microsoft has made the core of the operating system more secure, but they've really solved, by and large, yesterday's problems,'' said Oliver Friedrichs, director of emerging technologies at antivirus vendor Symantec Corp.

    That claim would not please Microsoft, which touts Vista's improved security as a big reason why companies and consumers will want to upgrade to the new operating system.

    In fact, Microsoft's effort to tighten security in Vista was one reason the software was delayed past the crucial holiday shopping season. It's now available for businesses and will be available to consumers Jan. 30.

    ''It is an incremental improvement -- it is a reasonably large increment,'' said Jon Callas, chief technology officer at PGP Corp., a maker of encryption software. ''I don't think it's a game-changer.''

    Some of Vista's security enhancements require computers with the latest microprocessors -- which are known as 64-bit chips, in reference to how much data they process at once. That won't improve things on today's standard 32-bit computers, which will stick around for a long time.

    However, most of the improvements are available in all editions of Vista, including a stronger firewall and a built-in program known as Defender that alerts users if Vista believes spyware is being installed.

    ''Windows is going to talk to you a lot more and make sure you're a lot more aware of what you're doing,'' said Adrien Robinson, a director in Windows' security technology unit. ''It's going to help consumers be more savvy.''

    One of Vista's biggest changes is more control over computer management. With previous versions of Windows, users were given by default great control over the computer's settings -- a situation that opened the door to nefarious manipulation by outsiders. In Vista, users are prompted to supply a password when they make significant changes -- a security feature long available on Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh and computers running the Linux operating system.

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


    "Researchers developing tool to combat Internet auction fraud," MIT's Technology Review, December 11, 2006 ---

    Carnegie Mellon University researchers are relying on an old adage to develop anti-fraud software for Internet auction sites: It is not what you know, it is who you know.

    At sites like eBay, users warn each other if they have a bad experience with a seller by rating their transactions. But the CMU researchers said savvy fraudsters get around that by conducting transactions with friends or even themselves, using alternate user names to give themselves high satisfaction ratings -- so unsuspecting customers will still try to buy from them.

    The CMU software looks for patterns of users who have repeated dealings with one another, and alerts other users that there is a higher probability of having a fraudulent transaction with them.

    ''There's a lot of commonsense solutions out there, like being more careful about how you screen the sellers,'' said Duen Horng ''Polo'' Chau, the research associate who developed the software with computer science professor Christos Faloutsos and two other students. ''But because I'm an engineering student, I wanted to come up with a systematic approach'' to identify those likely to commit fraud.

    The researchers analyzed about 1 million transactions involving 66,000 eBay users to develop graphs -- known in statistical circles as bipartite cores -- that identify users interacting with unusual frequency. They plan to publish a paper on their findings early next year and, perhaps, market their software to eBay or otherwise make it available to people who shop online.

    Catherine England, an eBay spokeswoman, said the company was not aware of the research and would not comment on it. But England said protecting the company's more than 200 million users from fraud was a top priority.

    Online auction fraud -- when a seller does not deliver goods or sells a defective product -- accounted for 12 percent of the 431,000 computer fraud complaints received last year by Consumer Sentinel, the Federal Trade Commission's consumer fraud and identity theft database. Auction fraud was the most commonly reported computer-related fraud in the database.

    And the scams run the gamut.

    Last year, a federal grand jury indicted an Ohio man on charges he sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen Lego merchandise on the Internet. Earlier this year, a New Mexico woman was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for selling forged hunting licenses on eBay, over the phone and by e-mail, and then not delivering trips paid for by out-of-state hunters.

    Earlier this month, a man who failed to deliver tickets to the 2005 Ohio State-Michigan football game to 250 online auction customers was sentenced to 34 months in federal prison.

    Johannes Ullrich, an Internet fraud expert with the SANS Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, said the CMU research ''sounds like a credible way to detect fraud.''

    ''Essentially, what they're trying to do is find these extended circles of friends who make positive recommendations to each other,'' said Ullrich, the chief technology officer of SANS' Internet Storm Center, which tracks viruses and other Internet problems.

    But Ullrich said the CMU researchers must find a way to screen out false positives. He said a small group of users -- such as baseball card collectors -- might repeatedly buy from one another and could be flagged as high-risk.

    Faloutsos said the researchers have thought of that in developing the software called NetProbe -- short for Network Detection via Propagation of Beliefs.

    ''We're not just looking at your neighbors (on the auction site),'' Faloutsos said. ''We're looking at the neighbors of your neighbors, and the neighbors of your neighbors' neighbors.''

    Bob Jensen's threads on how to prevent eBay fraud are at

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

    From The Washington Post on December 14, 2006

    What percent of all e-mail is spam?

    A. 25 percent
    B. 55 percent
    C. 70 percent
    D. 90 percent

    From the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

    In 1998, Microsoft executive John Wood decided to take a rare and hard-won vacation. He started out trekking in Nepal and ended up establishing a foundation, Room to Read, that has created nearly 3,000 libraries in the developing world and stocked them with more than one million books. His experiences are chronicled in a recently-published book that offers his corporate-based perspective on how to raise money, market the product, leverage relationships and, ultimately, maximize results.
    "How John Wood Left Microsoft to Change the World -- through Books (Including His Own)," Knowledge@Wharton, December 13, 2006 --- Click Here

    Adobe Acrobat Update

    December 12, 2006 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU]

    Perhaps the most significant new "feature" in the new release is the hook that Adobe is providing to other revenue-enhancing products like Acrobat Connect, which provides web-conferencing capabilities within Reader for a competitive price to (which I use). Incidentally, I personally believe that such a web conferencing product is an indispensable feature of any Internet-delivered accounting course.

    One intriguing new development in the new Acrobat PROFESSIONAL version ( the pdf creation tool), is the ability to create forms that can be filled out and saved by users who have the free Reader. This is a departure from prior practice for Adobe, because they were trying to sell more expensive server software to facilitate that task.



    "Video-game review: 'Sonic the Hedgehog' a big dud on next-gen consoles," MIT's Technology Review, December 13, 2006 ---


    Food Stamp Frauds Are Rampant: Recipients take 50 cents on the dollar for drugs and booze money

    L.A.'s skid row has become a magnet for fraud schemes that use the area's homeless population to rip off the federal government, authorities said this week as they launched a crackdown on the activities. In just the last few months, state and federal investigators have broken up two food stamp scams, one of which involved a merchant who allegedly gave homeless people 50 cents on the dollar for their stamps, then charged the entire value — $6 million — to the government.
    Richard Winton, "Skid row scams cost taxpayers millions," LA Times, December 15, 2006 --- Click Here


    Updates from WebMD ---



  • Latest Headlines on December 16, 2006

    Latest Headlines on December 21, 2006

    Latest Headlines on December 22, 2006

    Latest Headlines on December 24, 2006

    Latest Headlines on December 31, 2006



    "Essay:  What’s Making Us Sick Is an Epidemic of Diagnoses," by H. GILBERT WELCH, LISA SCHWARTZ and STEVEN WOLOSHIN, The New York Times, January 2, 2007 ---


    For most Americans, the biggest health threat is not avian flu, West Nile or mad cow disease. It’s our health-care system.

    You might think this is because doctors make mistakes (we do make mistakes). But you can’t be a victim of medical error if you are not in the system. The larger threat posed by American medicine is that more and more of us are being drawn into the system not because of an epidemic of disease, but because of an epidemic of diagnoses.

    Americans live longer than ever, yet more of us are told we are sick.

    How can this be? One reason is that we devote more resources to medical care than any other country. Some of this investment is productive, curing disease and alleviating suffering. But it also leads to more diagnoses, a trend that has become an epidemic.

    This epidemic is a threat to your health. It has two distinct sources. One is the medicalization of everyday life. Most of us experience physical or emotional sensations we don’t like, and in the past, this was considered a part of life. Increasingly, however, such sensations are considered symptoms of disease. Everyday experiences like insomnia, sadness, twitchy legs and impaired sex drive now become diagnoses: sleep disorder, depression, restless leg syndrome and sexual dysfunction.

    Perhaps most worrisome is the medicalization of childhood. If children cough after exercising, they have asthma; if they have trouble reading, they are dyslexic; if they are unhappy, they are depressed; and if they alternate between unhappiness and liveliness, they have bipolar disorder. While these diagnoses may benefit the few with severe symptoms, one has to wonder about the effect on the many whose symptoms are mild, intermittent or transient.

    The other source is the drive to find disease early. While diagnoses used to be reserved for serious illness, we now diagnose illness in people who have no symptoms at all, those with so-called predisease or those “at risk.”

    Two developments accelerate this process. First, advanced technology allows doctors to look really hard for things to be wrong. We can detect trace molecules in the blood. We can direct fiber-optic devices into every orifice. And CT scans, ultrasounds, M.R.I. and PET scans let doctors define subtle structural defects deep inside the body. These technologies make it possible to give a diagnosis to just about everybody: arthritis in people without joint pain, stomach damage in people without heartburn and prostate cancer in over a million people who, but for testing, would have lived as long without being a cancer patient.

    Second, the rules are changing. Expert panels constantly expand what constitutes disease: thresholds for diagnosing diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and obesity have all fallen in the last few years. The criterion for normal cholesterol has dropped multiple times. With these changes, disease can now be diagnosed in more than half the population.

    Continued in article


    Uninsured U.S. patients head to India for lifesaving health care on the cheap.
    It's not just nose jobs and breast implants anymore: Uninsured U.S. patients head to India for lifesaving health care on the cheap.
    Scott Carney, "Medical Refugees Flee to India," Wired News, December 12, 2006 ---,72213-0.html?tw=wn_index_35


    Are wireless networks dangerous to your health?
    Sufferers of electromagnetic field sensitivity claim that the growing pervasiveness of wireless networks only exacerbates their condition. Skeptics discount their fears -- and their symptoms -- and the battle is joined.
    Rob Beschizza,"Wi-Fi as a Health Hazard," Wired News, December 12, 2006 ---,72265-0.html?tw=wn_index_36


    Time past, time future intricately connected in the brain: study
    Our ability to daydream about our future is closely related to our ability to recall our past, and may even depend on it, according to a study released Monday which may explain a little-known quirk of the amnesiac's condition. The findings come from a small study in which researchers compared the brain activity of volunteers as they alternately reminisced about past personal events such as a birthday, or getting lost, and then conjured up images of similar scenarios in the future.
    "Time past, time future intricately connected in the brain: study," PhysOrg, January 2, 2007 --- 


    Bristol-Myers Squibb illegal marketing proves costly
    Bristol-Myers Squibb has reached a tentative agreement to pay $499 million to settle a federal investigation into illegal sales and marketing activities from the late 1990s through 2005, the company said yesterday. That settlement, and separate special charges the company also announced yesterday, would wipe out Bristol-Myers fourth-quarter profit. But its shares rose on the indication that the company was resolving a big legal issue and tidying up its books, making it a more viable takeover candidate. The United States attorney’s office in Boston, which first subpoenaed the records of Bristol-Myers in the matter in 2003, declined to confirm the announcement, saying it did not comment on such negotiations unless a final settlement has been signed.
    Barnaby J. Feder, "Bristol Says U.S. Inquiry Is Settled," The New York Times, December 22, 2003 --- Click Here

    Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at


    Study: Teens Use Medicines to Get High

    Teens increasingly are getting high with legal drugs like painkillers and mood stimulants, and they're turning to cough syrup as well, says a government survey released Thursday. The annual study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, conducted by the University of Michigan, showed mixed results in the nation's longtime campaign against teen drug abuse. It found that while fewer teens overall drank alcohol or used illegal drugs in the last year, a small but growing number were popping prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin and stimulants like Ritalin. As many as one in every 14 high school seniors said they used cold medicine "fairly recently" to get high, the study found. It was the first year that the government tracked the frequency of teens who reported getting high from over-the-counter medicine for coughs and colds. "It's bad that kids are buying cough syrup and using it this way - it's not good for them," said John P. Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    "Study: Teens Use Medicines to Get High," PhysOrg, December 21, 2006 ---



    Unprotected' Sexual freedom is damaging to students:  But health officials must not judge
    Thus the danger of sexually transmitted diseases is too often overlooked in the lifestyle choices of the young women at the unnamed college where the author works. But the dangers go far beyond the biological. A girl named Heather, for instance, has succumbed to an intense bout of depression. The doctor presses her to think of possible causes. She can't think of anything. Then she says: "Well, I can think of one thing: since Thanksgiving, I've had a 'friend with benefits.' And actually I'm kind of confused about that." Heather continues: "I want to spend more time with him, and do stuff like go shopping or see a movie. That would make it a friendship for me. But he says no, because if we do those things, then in his opinion we'd have a relationship--and that's more than he wants. And I'm confused, because it seems like I don't get the 'friend' part, but he still gets the 'benefits.'" It finally dawns on her: "I'm really unhappy about that. It's hard to be with him and then go home and be alone."
    Danielle Crittenden, "'Unprotected' Sexual freedom is damaging to students:  But health officials must not judge," The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2006 --- .


    Mesenchymal Stem Cells Show Promise
    Stem cell therapy with bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells appears promising to treat graft versus host disease (GvHD), researchers said at the 48th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Katarina Le Blanc, MD, PhD, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues transfused mesenchymal stem cells into the gut and liver of a small boy with severe, refractory, life-threatening GvHD as a "last resort" treatment. To their delight, the researchers saw a "remarkable" anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory response, Dr. Le Blank said in a presentation on December 12th.
    "Mesenchymal Stem Cells Show Promise for Severe Graft Versus Host Disease: Presented at ASH," Doctor's Guide, December 14, 2006 ---



    In a discovery that could lead to better painkillers, scientists have identified a genetic defect in children who cannot feel pain. Sound like a blessed way to live? It's not.

    In Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, scientists who found the defect describe six related children who have never felt physical pain because of the very rare disorder. The children come from three families with roots in northern Pakistan. Their experience illustrates that pain is an important warning of injury, disease or danger that signals people to save themselves from further injury. Life without that signal, the report shows, is dangerous. Because the children felt no pain from biting themselves, for example, all six had injuries to their lips, some requiring later plastic surgery. Two had lost one-third of their tongues. Most had suffered fractures or bone infections that were diagnosed only later on because of limping or lack of using a limb. Some also had been scalded by boiling liquids or steam, or burned from sitting on radiators, said C. Geoffrey Woods, a geneticist at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research in England. He and colleagues wrote the Nature report.
    "For Unlucky Few, Life Is Painless," PhysOrg, December 14, 2006 ---



    "More U.S. Kids Developing Kidney Stones," Health Day News via Forbes, December 28, 2006 --- Click Here



  • Kidney stones are becoming increasingly common in children, according to pediatricians at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.

    "More and more children with kidney stones are coming to us," said kidney specialist Dr. Alicia Neu, co-director of the kidney stone clinic at the Children's Center, in a prepared statement. "While this is somewhat unexpected, it is not totally surprising given that so many other conditions are on the rise in children due to poor diet, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity to name a few," she said.

    Pediatricians believe that the main culprits of the increasing trend of kidney stones in children are probably too much salt and too little drinking water.

    The best ways to prevent the most common types of kidney stones or slow their growth is to limit salt in the diet and drink plenty of water.

    To reduce sodium intake, consume no more than 2.4 grams of sodium -- or 1 teaspoon of table salt -- per day. Also stay away from salty snacks, processed foods, and sodas, and rinse canned foods under running water to reduce their sodium content. Look for products that have labels that say "no salt added" or "low sodium."

    Tea, coffee, dark chocolate, spinach, nuts and wheat bran can increase the risk of certain types of kidney stones.

    Children should aim to drink at least two liters (64 ounces) of water per day. Sugar-laden juices and sodas are no substitute for water.

    A child can tell if he or she is drinking enough water if there is an urge to urinate every three hours. Less frequent urination may be a sign of dehydration.

    Intense pain in the lower back and/or in the sides, frequent and painful urination, blood in the urine, cloudy urine, and urinary tract infections accompanied by fever may be signs of kidney stones.

    More information

    The Nemours Foundation has more about children and kidney problems ---



    "Carter's Arab financiers," by Rachel Ehrenfeld, The Washington Times, December 21, 2006 --- 

    To understand what feeds former president Jimmy Carter's anti-Israeli frenzy, look at his early links to Arab business.

        Between 1976-1977, the Carter family peanut business received a bailout in the form of a $4.6 million, "poorly managed" and highly irregular loan from the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). According to a July 29, 1980 Jack Anderson expose in The Washington Post, the bank's biggest borrower was Mr. Carter, and its chairman at that time was Mr. Carter's confidant, and later his director of the Office of Management and Budget, Bert Lance.

        At that time, Mr. Lance's mismanagement of the NBG got him and the bank into trouble. Agha Hasan Abedi, the Pakistani founder of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), known as the bank "which would bribe God," came to Mr. Lance's rescue making him a $100,000-a-year consultant. Abedi then declared: "we would never talk about exploiting his relationship with the president." Next, he introduced Mr. Lance to Saudi billionaire Gaith Pharaon, who fronted for BCCI and the Saudi royal family. In January 1978, Abedi paid off Mr. Lance's $3.5 million debt to the NBG, and Pharaon secretly gained control over the bank.

        Mr. Anderson wrote: "Of course, the Saudis remained discretely silent... kept quiet about Carter's irregularities... [and] renegotiated the loan to Carter's advantage."

        There is no evidence that the former president received direct payment from the Saudis. But "according to... the bank files, [it] renegotiated the repayment terms... savings... $60,000 for the Carter family... The President owned 62% of the business and therefore was the largest beneficiary." Pharaon later contributed generously to the former president's library and center.

        When Mr. Lance introduced Mr. Carter to Abedi, the latter gave $500,000 to help the former president establish his center at Emory University. Later, Abedi contributed more than $10 million to Mr. Carter's different projects. Even after BCCI was indicted — and convicted -— for drug money laundering, Mr. Carter accepted $1.5 million from Abedi, his "good friend."

        A quick survey of the major contributors to the Carter Center reveals hundreds of millions of dollars from Saudi and Gulf contributors. But it was BCCI that helped Mr. Carter established his center.

        BCCI's origins were primarily ideological. Abedi wanted the bank to reflect the supra-national Muslim credo and "the best bridge to help the world of Islam, and the best way to fight the evil influence of the Zionists."
        Shortly after assuming office, in March 1977, Mr. Carter made his first public statement regarding a Palestinian "homeland." Since then, he has devoted much of his time to denouncing Israel's self-defense against Palestinian terrorism, which he claims is not only "abominable oppression and persecution" of the Palestinians, but also damages U.S. interests in the region.

        By the time BCCI was shut down in July1991, it operated in 73 countries with a deficit of $12 billion, which it had managed to hide with wealthy Arab shareholders and Western luminaries. Among them Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan of Abu Dhabi, who gave hundreds of millions of dollars to Yasser Arafat and Palestinian terrorist groups, and who branded the United States: "our enemy number one"; Former head of Saudi foreign intelligence service, and King Faisal's brother-in-law, Kamal Adham — who with another Saudi, the banker of the royal family, Khaled bin Mahfouz, staged BCCI's attempt to illegally purchase the Washington-based First American bank, in the early 1980s.

        True to its agenda, BCCI assisted in spreading and strengthening the Islamic message; they enabled Pakistan's nuclear ambitions, and helped the Palestinian leadership to amass a $10 billion-plus fortune, used to further terrorist activities and to buy more influence in the West.

        BCCI founders also supported the Islamic fundamentalist opposition to the Shah of Iran, and saw it as an opportunity to undermine Western influence in the Gulf. They assisted the revolution financially, reinforcing their position within the leadership of the Iranian revolution. Ironically, the success of that revolution cost Mr. Carter his presidency.



    "Off Camera:  Here is the sharpest satire on what some people do to make it in Hollywood," by Joe Keenan, The Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2006 --- 

    1. "What Makes Sammy Run?" by Budd Schulberg (Random House, 1941).

    With Sammy Glick, Budd Schulberg created the prototype for a character whose vile progeny would swagger through many a movie-world satire to come: the Ruthlessly Ambitious Hollywood Heel. A young man as unburdened by talent as by scruples, Sammy lies, back-stabs and plagiarizes his way from uncouth copy boy to mansion-dwelling mogul. His progress is charted by Al Manheim, a newspaper columnist turned screenwriter, who is by turns Sammy's benefactor, friend and victim (categories that in Sammy's sphere seldom fail to overlap). The most depressing thing about the book, as Schulberg himself has noted, is that generations of young Hollywood Turks have viewed it less as a cautionary tale than as a how-to manual.

    2. "The Player" by Michael Tolkin (Atlantic Monthly, 1988).

    Not having moved to Los Angeles until my 30s, I find that certain novels that might once have struck me as scalding satires of Hollywood amorality now read more like restrained journalism. Michael Tolkin's book is a meticulous dissection of studio politics, with a protagonist worthy of a Patricia Highsmith thriller. High- but not top-level exec Griffin Mill spends his days crushing the dreams of aspiring screenwriters. When one of his victims begins sending threatening postcards, Griffin--hoping to settle his karmic debt--resolves to apologize just this once. But the writer mocks the apology, prompting the enraged Griffin to strangle him. The exec proceeds to woo the deceased's girlfriend even as his career jitters are compounded by fears of discovery and downfall. Tolkin understands that the primary emotion driving Hollywood is neither egotism nor greed, but dread: Even those riding high fear that they're has-beens in waiting.

    3. "The Deal" by Peter Lefcourt (Random House, 1991).

    Those who prefer their satires more rompish than blistering will enjoy Peter Lefcourt's agreeably heightened depiction of Hollywood chicanery. Washed-up producer Charlie Berns is on the brink of suicide when his nephew arrives, bearing an unfilmable 200-page screenplay about Benjamin Disraeli. Luckily for Charlie, the black martial-arts megastar Bobby Mason has just converted to Judaism. Charlie pitches the project to Bobby through his rabbi (who, of course, demands a producer credit), then sells it to a struggling studio. The Disraeli epic soon morphs into an explosion-drenched action film titled "Lev Disraeli, Freedom Fighter." The book contains as apt a summary of the casting process as I've ever read: "After the A- and B-list names had been checked out and all of them had either passed or been unavailable, they moved from 'She'd be terrific' to 'She won't hurt us' to 'We can live with her' to 'Oh, Jesus, her?' "

    4. "Artistic Differences" by Charlie Hauck (William Morrow, 1993).

    This dry comedy is one of the relatively few Hollywood novels set in the world I know best, that of the half-hour network sitcom. Charlie Hauck's narrator, veteran writer Jimmy Hoy, charts with deadpan drollery the vicissitudes of creating, casting and producing a hit sitcom. It's a tricky endeavor, made trickier still for Hoy by his leading lady, a tyrannical narcissist named Geneva Holloway. Geneva is full of grisly ideas to make her character more lovable, and she lives in constant fear that her co-stars will undermine her--i.e., that the audience will laugh at something they say or even avert its gaze from her when they're speaking their lines.

    5. "Little Me" by Patrick Dennis (Dutton, 1961).

    In this stratospherically high-camp send-up of the Hollywood memoir, the narrator, Belle Poitrine, describes her rise to fame with the mock humility and absurd affectations of intellect that remain to this day the classic hallmarks of the Hollywood belletrist. The book's wittiest running joke is the way Belle's account of her life is patently riddled with wild inaccuracies. Most of these inaccuracies stem from the actress's transparent attempts to whitewash her booze- and sex-fueled ascent; the rest arise from her breathtaking obtuseness. Patrick Dennis is best known for creating the character Auntie Mame, but, for my money, this is his funniest book.

    Mr. Keenan, whose television credits as a writer and producer include "Desperate Housewives" and "Frasier," is the author of "My Lucky Star" (Little, Brown).





    Neal Hannon wrote the following poem for Erika

    Being you, being me

    Could I be you
    And you be me?

    Could I feel your pain
    Take your weaknesses
    And make them strong?

    Could you fill me
    In a way that has never
    Been seen before?

    Inspiration, love and desire
    Drive and define us
    Give us life and breath
    As we face the insanity
    Of a life with and without

    With thoughts and prayers
    ( Neal Hannon [] )

    Forwarded by Team Carper


    1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

    2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

    3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

    4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

    5. Manic - Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

    6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

    7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

    8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

    9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

    10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells , Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells....



    The whole thing sounds dumb to me
    A Harvard University economics department recruiting video for new Ph.D. students that could be described as spectacularly stodgy and stereotypically self-important has inspired considerable creativity in the department — in the form of parody videos now making their way to YouTube. “Ed Glaeser and I made the video in a misguided attempt to make the Harvard economics department’s Ph.D. admissions Web site more personal. Of course, if you have seen the video you know that the effect is rather different — pompous I would say,” John Campbell, an economics professor and a co-star star of the official show, wrote in an e-mail . . . Two video parodies – shown at a department holiday skit party – have received thousands of YouTube hits each. In one, partially set to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On,” the creators open the video by citing declining female enrollment in the economics Ph.D. program and suggest that, “In an effort to reverse this trend, Harvard has recruited two Professors skilled in the art of seduction.” Offering a sneak peek of next year’s video, the creators splice the original to turn the merely serious into the sexually suggestive. In a second “outtakes video,” a student posing as one of the professors describes the decision to come to Harvard as “a trivial model of compensating differentials.”
    Elizabeth Redden, "Remedial Recruiting — at Harvard," Inside Higher Ed, December 18, 2006 ---


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