Click Here to View "Mom Loves You Best" Birds ---


Tidbits on September 18, 2007
Bob Jensen

Videos From Bob Jensen's Personal Camera (the pictures are clear but some of them lost a bit in the video) ---
The Tidbits.wmv video is narrated.

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
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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 ---

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Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
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Send files, including video files, (free) that are too large for email attachments ---

World Clock ---

If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  ---

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 ---

Congressional Recess Explained to Boys and Girls --- Click Here

What could Michelangelo have done with a palate of spray cans?
First look at a
Sistine Chapel video ---
September 16, 2007 message from Cousin Barb:

Hi Bob,
I know how much you enjoy the unusual. This is just for you. Check out the website above. This is the ceiling of a restaurant in downtown Waterloo, Iowa. After watching the video, check out the
Sistine Chapel Project option and opt for the slide show. There are more pictures. Remember - all this with cans of spray paint! Enjoy ---

Illustrations of Inflation and Culture Change (put to music) ---

This week I tested, a Web site that gives users the chance to download independent and international movies from the Web directly to their computers. It also serves as a social networking forum where movie watchers can read one another's reviews, write their own comments that run alongside the film, and join groups with people who have similar tastes in movies. Jaman (pronounced jah-mahn), has 1,800 titles. It charges $1.99 for rentals, which can be watched for up to seven days, and $4.99 to buy a movie outright.
Katherine Boehret, "Cinema Buffs Capture Hard-to-Find Films," The Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2007, Page D7 ---

What's a CPA? Accountants take their show to YouTube
AccountingWeb, September 2007 ---
Linda Kidwell forwarded this link ---
David Albrecht forwarded this link (rap) ---
Helpers for career growth (podcasts)  ---
Bob Jensen's career helpers are at

Comedian Red Buttons -- Last performance! ---

Super Bowl XXXVIII Commercial - Willie N Doll (Tax Advice from Willie) ---
Willie Nelson very nearly went to prison for a $16.7 million tax evasion.

Ode to Juan and Moe (NAFTA & Truckin') ---

Lady Di dancing with John Travolta ---

Johnny Carson in 1963 ---
Johnny Carson's Last Regular Show (Bette Midler's Tribute Part 1 Happy) ---
Johnny Carson's Last Regular Show (Bette Midler's Tribute Part 2 Sad)      ---

Jane Wyman Montage (she died on September 9 at Age 93) ---
Miracle in the Rain ---
Jane Wyman Video Mix  ---
Jane Wyman with Bing Crosby ---
Marlene Dietrich - Laziest Gal In Town (Stage Fright, 1950) ---
NPR's tribute to Jane Wyman ---

Free music downloads ---

One Day at a Time With Messages (forwarded by Auntie Bev) ---

Opera star Maria Callas died 30 years ago Sunday. But you'd hardly know she was gone, judging from the stream of CDs flowing from her record company. ---

 Henry Mancini Video

Days of Wine and Roses (a Mancini movie that should be watched by every young person in high school)

The Carpenters Video (who could ever forget Karen's distinct clear voice)

Bette Midler

Photographs and Art

Missing Van Gogh Discovered ---

My Wonderful World (from National Geographic) ---

Vancouver Art Galley --- 

Heavenly music (JS Bach) with beautiful photos (early mist) ---

Mountains in China Photography ---

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (Waylon Jennings) ---

Southern Ocean 2006 - Brown Bluff, Antarctic Peninsula ---

Cute Animals ---

German car maker BMW on Monday, Sept. 10, 2007 said it has filed a lawsuit to halt the distribution of the Chinese-made 'CEO' sport utility vehicle because it claims that the car looks conspicuous similar to its model X5 ---
Also see

What could Michelangelo have done with a palate of spray cans?
First look at a Sistine Chapel video ---
September 16, 2007 message from Cousin Barb:

Hi Bob,
I know how much you enjoy the unusual. This is just for you. Check out the website above. This is the ceiling of a restaurant in downtown Waterloo, Iowa. After watching the video, check out the
Sistine Chapel Project option and opt for the slide show. There are more pictures. Remember - all this with cans of spray paint! Enjoy ---


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 ---

Favorite Poem Project ---
Includes Hillary Clinton reading The Makers ---

From the University of Pennsylvania PENNsound [audio poetry, literature, and reviews) --- 

Poetry Out Loud [mulitimedia] --- 

Poetry Foundation (a very wealthy foundation) --- 

Tales Of Terror And Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle --- Click Here

The Beast In The Jungle by Henry James --- Click Here

Tono-Bungay by Herbert G. Wells --- Click Here

Ballads by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)  --- Click Here


Russia has delivered a belligerent message of defiance to the West after army generals claimed to have tested "the father of all bombs". Developed in secret, the unchristened bomb, a vacuum device capable of emitting shockwaves as powerful as a nuclear weapon, was unveiled with great theatre on state television's main evening broadcast.
Adrian Blomfield, "Russian army 'tests the father of all bombs'," London Telegraph, September 12, 2007 ---
Also see
Also see
Jensen Comment
Sadly this will lead to a renewed arms race for weapons of mass destruction.
It's definitely time to visit H-Peace ---

Forget Wall Street, sky scrapers, subways, and military bases. Al Qaeda training camps are aiming at school children.
"Mass Slaughter In Our Schools: The Terrorists' Chilling Plan?" by Chuck Remsberg, Killogy Research Group ---

Why schools? Two reasons:
1. Our values. "The most sacred thing to us is our children, our babies," Rassa said. Killing hundreds of them at a time would significantly "boost Islamic morale and lower that of the enemy" (us). In Grossman's words, terrorists see this effort as "an attempt to defile our nation" by leaving it "stunned to its soul."

2. Our lack of preparation. Police agencies "aren't used to this," Rassa said. "We deal with acts of a criminal nature. This is an act of war," but because of our laws "we can't depend on the military to help us," at least at the outset.

Glenn Beck (who commenced a series on this "Perfect Day" for Al Qaeda theme on CNN) adds a third and even more compelling reason for hitting schools, including grade schools.

3. A marginalized Al Qaeda is alienating rather than winning over Muslins around the world at the present time. Al Qaeda hates the way more and more Muslins are being assimilated into our Western culture. The best way to make moderate Muslins become violent Jihadists is to increase non-Muslin hatred and violence toward Muslins in general. Raping and murdering non-Muslin school children, according to Glenn Beck, is the fastest way bifurcate the Muslin versus Non-Muslin world.

Beck's arguments on this make frightening sense to me! What will be your reaction when bloodied and naked little kids are dropped one-by-one from top floor windows? I hope it will not be to seek vengeance on all our Muslin friends. Do we want to lash out at all Roman Catholics because a few pedophile priests molest children?

The worst thing we can do is to seek vengeance on peace-loving Muslins in our midst.

Perhaps it was as easy to uncover the truth as it was to demonstrate the falsehood.
Marcus Tullius Cicero --- Click Here 

There is no great concurrence between learning and wisdom.
Sir Francis Bacon as quoted by Mark Shapiro at

My experience is probably typical and thus the fear of giving "offense" consigns thousands of graduates to incomplete educations. Sort of like proper Victorian sex education. A vicious cycle is created - "safe lectures" beget boredom and this only encourages yet more sleeping and more garbling. This censoring can also have more tragic consequences for those oblivious to awaiting minefields.
Robert Weisberg, "The Hidden Impact Of Political Correctness," Minding The Campus, September 13, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
History of Political Correctness --- Click Here
History of Political Correctness --- Click Here (Video)

To our military personnel, intelligence officers, diplomats, and civilians on the front lines in Iraq: You have done everything America has asked of you. And the progress I have reported tonight is in large part because of your courage and hard effort. You are serving far from home. Our nation is grateful for your sacrifices, and the sacrifices of your families.
George W. Bush, "Text of Bush's Speech," The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2007 --- Click Here

Now that Thompson has finally declared his candidacy, albeit on the Jay Leno show, many are pinning their hopes on him as a later-day Ronald Reagan. But he’s no Ronald Reagan and he’s never going to be viable. Here’s why:  He’s A Political Light Weight and He’s Not Ready For The National Stage In his first week of campaigning, Thompson has shown that he has neither the substance nor the experience that is essential for a serious presidential candidate. One wonders what makes him — and his supporters — think that he is, in any way, up to the job.
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, Fox News, September 17, 2007 ---,2933,296882,00.html?sPage=fnc.foxfan/blogs
Jensen Comment
Now we know why he waited so long to start campaigning. Fred's a little like Calvin Coolidge. They always said that Cal didn't talk much, and when he did he didn't say much.

And, let's face it, if the mothers ruled the war, there would be no (expletive censored on the air) wars in the first place.
Sally Field as quoted by Noel Shepard, " ," Newsbusters, September 17, 2007 --- Click Here
Watch the uncensored version here ---
Jensen Comment
Is this Sally's expletive-deleted way of putting down Hillary Clinton for President?
I think Sally Field overdosed on Boniva or whatever is that makes nuns fly ---

  • Indira Gandhi, a mother who not only supported Bangladesh militarily in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, but also started India's nuclear program presiding over that country's first nuclear test.
  • Israel's Golda Meir, a mother who, as Prime Minister, successfully defeated Syria in 1973's Yom Kippur War.
  • Great Britain's Margaret Thatcher, a mother who was nicknamed "The Iron Lady" in 1976 . . . Once becoming Prime Minister, Thatcher became President Reagan's most important ally in the Cold War against the Soviet Union, and oversaw the 1983 war in the Falklands.
  • More recently, there were a number of Congressional mothers who voted in favor of the October 2002 resolution to invade Iraq, certainly including Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Most of the Qaeda fighters come from Saudi Arabia and other breeding grounds. Now that the Sunni tribes are turning against them, they are more exposed and hunted than ever before. Wars are fluid and unpredictable, but no one can imagine that Al Qaeda is happy with its victories since 9/11. In Afghanistan, they have been on the run since 2003, although the Pakistan border regions continue to supply new recruits. But in Afghanistan they are being destroyed before ever reaching the cities. Add that to a sizable numbers neutralized in Pakistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and more. Add to that the cells pinpointed in Europe and America, the Philippines and Indonesia. We are wiping out the fire ants wherever they can be found.
 James Lewis, American Thinker, September 12, 2007 ---

But Barach Obama, unlike the House and Senate leaders following the General Betray Us hearings, is sticking to his surrender deadlines.  He wants the U.S. Military out of Iraq before he's our new Commander and Chief. After General's Petraeus pleaded for more time and no political deadlines to surrender in Iraq, Senator Obama moved his pullout deadline from March 31, 2008 to December 31, 2008 before he's inaugurated ---

Senator Obama introduced legislation in January 2007 to offer a responsible alternative to President Bush's failed escalation policy. The legislation commences redeployment of U.S. forces no later than May 1, 2007 with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008 -- a date consistent with the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's expectations. The plan allows for a limited number of U.S. troops to remain in Iraq as basic force protection, to engage in counter-terrorism and to continue the training of Iraqi security forces. If the Iraqis are successful in meeting the 13 benchmarks for progress laid out by the Bush Administration, this plan also allows for the temporary suspension of the redeployment, provided Congress agrees that the benchmarks have been met.

That "failed escalation policy" referred to by Senator Obama: the past 8 months, we have considerably reduced the areas in which Al Qaeda enjoyed sanctuary. We have also neutralized 5 media cells, detained the senior Iraqi leader of Al Qaeda-Iraq, and killed or captured nearly 100 other key leaders and some 2,500 rank-and-file fighters. Al Qaeda is certainly not defeated; however, it is off balance and we are pursuing its leaders and operators aggressively.
General Petraeus as quoted by James Lewis, American Thinker, September 12, 2007 ---

But can we believe the words of General Betray Us leading our troops in Iraq?
Feedback on the dysfunctional "General Betray Us" advertisement in The New York Times

They said MoveOn had handed Republicans a fresh talking point to criticize Democrats and turn the focus from Iraq in a critical week in the war debate. Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, said on MSNBC that the advertisement was “simply over the top, and I think it’s inappropriate, period.”  Ms. Pelosi said on “Good Morning America” on ABC that she “would have preferred that they not do such an ad.” Republicans have called on Democratic Congressional leaders and presidential candidates to disavow the advertisement, but they have largely declined.
Michael Luo and Jeff Zeleny,
"Behind an Antiwar Ad, a Powerful Liberal Group," The New York Times, September 15, 2007 --- Click Here
But the ever-defiant GOP-hating NBC commentator Keith Olbermann is certainly ranting his hate for General Petreaus and Condoleza Rice:

General Petreaus is really General Betray Us! (NBC's Keith Olbermann amd MoveOn advocate calls our top general in Iraq an outright liar) --- 

A totally incompetent Condoleza Rice is untrustworthy ((NBC's Keith Olbermann calls our Secretary of State an outright liar) --- 

Important as was yesterday's appearance before Congress by General David Petraeus, the events leading up to his testimony may have been more significant. Members of the Democratic leadership and their supporters have now normalized the practice of accusing their opponents of lying. If other members of the Democratic Party don't move quickly to repudiate this turn, the ability of the U.S. political system to function will be impaired in a way no one would wish for.
"Trashing Petraeus ," The Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2007; Page A18 --- Click Here

In a way, David Petraeus won the day when came forth with its famous "General Petraeus or General Betray Us!" ad. They shot themselves in the foot and deserve to be known by their limp. Republicans enacted fury (Thank you, O political gods, for showing the low nature of our foes!), and Democrats felt it (Embarrassed again by the loons!). No one -- no normal American -- thinks a U.S. Army four-star came back from Iraq to damage our democracy by telling lies. He clearly had a point of view, and it was, not surprisingly, in line with the administration's. But I think the appearance of independence and straight dealing that was necessary to his credibility was lessened by the White House's attempts to associate itself with him in the weeks leading up to his appearance.
Peggy Noonan, "Just the Facts," The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2007 ---

The anger and frustration over Iraq that prompted voters to bounce many Republicans from Congress last November was supposed to give Democrats the momentum they needed to end the war. Instead, 10 months after Election Day, many are conflicted and confused about what to do next. Last week's congressional testimony by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker went better than even their supporters could have expected. Blunders by the left clearly worked in their favor. In a somewhat surprising move, the highly decorated four-star general took the brunt of the fire, leaving the more susceptible Crocker, testifying about the slow political progress in Iraq, unscathed.
Robert Bluey, "Outflanked by a Four-Star General," Town Hall, September 15, 2007 --- Click Here

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, put his own ad in The New York Times on Friday as he demanded that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president, apologize to Petraeus. "You do not honor the troops by attacking their general at a time of war," Giuliani said. McCain, too, has repeatedly called on Clinton to renounce the anti-war group's rhetoric. But as Clinton received the endorsement today of Gen. Wesley Clark, the retired four star general who opposes the Iraq war, she twice refused to do so. . . . Still, her refusal to explicitly say the ad was unfair has provided great fodder for candidates on the Republican side of the presidential race.
Bill Zuckman, The Baltimore-Sun, September 17, 2007 --- Click Here

It was expected that the Petraeus-Crocker hearings would be two days of high drama. They were not. Gen. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker were questioned about Iraq by Democrats on three full committees, including five candidates for the presidency, and the hearings were flat. Could it be the air is going out of Iraq as a hot political issue? If true, it is good news. Good news, first of all, for this country, whose people may have grown tired of the war but are more so with the war's corrosive domestic politics.
Daniel Henninger, "The Remains of That Day:  The Petraeus hearings prove Democrats need to change the subject," The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2007 ---

What happened to the party of Speaker Pelosi and Reid, which was going to end U.S. involvement in the war and not permit Bush to pursue victory the way Richard Nixon pursued it in Vietnam for four years? Answer: Terrified of the possible consequences of the policies they recommend, Democrats lack the courage to impose those policies. When it comes to issues of war, Democrats are an intimidated lot. Sens. Clinton, Edwards, Biden, Dodd and Reid were all stampeded by Bush into voting him a blank check for war in October 2002. Why? Because they feared Bush would declare them weak or unpatriotic if they denied him the authority to go to war, at a time of his choosing, until he had made a more compelling case for war.
Patrick J. Buchanan, "Retreat of the anti-war Democrats," WorldNetDaily, September 11, 2007 ---

Sign in a Gift Shop:  "You Break It, You Own It"
Mike Huckabee, and for this I ♥ Huckabee, shot back that history will judge whether we were right to go in, but for now, "we're there." He echoed Colin Powell: We broke it, now we own it. "Congressman, we are one nation. We can't be divided. . . . If we make a mistake, we make it as a single country, the United States of America, not the divided states of America."

Peggy Noonan, "Off to the Races Surprisingly, the Republican presidential campaign comes into focus," The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2007 ---  --- 

The entire 18-page platform outlines a plan for the long haul. It prescribes the Muslim Brotherhood's comprehensive plan to set down roots in civil society. It begins by both founding and taking control of American Muslim organizations, for the sake of unifying and educating the U.S. Mus . . . The Muslim Brotherhood is an affiliation of at least 70 Islamist organizations around the world, all tracing their heritage to the original cell, founded in Egypt in 1928. Its credo: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Quran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." Sayyid Qutb, hanged by the Egyptian government in 1966 as a revolutionary, remains its ideological godfather. His best-known work, Milestones, calls for Muslims to wage violent holy war until Islamic law governs the entire world.
Rod Dreher, "What the Muslim Brotherhood means for the U.S.." Dallas Morning News, September 9, 2007 --- Click Here
The document (18-page platform), described as an "explanatory memorandum," was seized during a federal raid of an Islamic extremist's home in Virginia in 1991 (ten years before the 9/11 terror in NYC and Washington DC). It details a plan by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood to "conquer the U.S." from within, overturn our Constitution, and replace it with Muslim Sharia law.

It is impossible at this point to predict how and when the battle of Iraq will end. But from the vitriolic debates it has unleashed we can already say for certain that the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, did not do to the Vietnam syndrome what Pearl Harbor did to the old isolationism. The Vietnam syndrome is back and it means to have its way. But is it strong enough in its present incarnation to do what it did to the honor of this country in 1975? Well acquainted though I am with its malignant power, I still believe that it will ultimately be overcome by the forces opposed to it in the war at home. Even so, I cannot deny that this question still hangs ominously in the air and will not be answered before more damage is done to the long struggle against Islamofascism into which we were blasted six years ago and that I persist in calling World War IV.
Norman Podhoretz, "'America the Ugly'," The Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2007; Page A19 --- Click Here
Mr. Podhoretz is editor at large of Commentary. This essay is adapted from his new book, World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism, out on September 11, 2007 from Doubleday.

Going to the Dogs in the U.S. (but not in Iran where they're being wiped off the map)

Michael Vick's cruelty to animals has made him more famous than football alone could have. As a veterinary student who has worked in emergency rooms, I can say that the sight after a fiight is horrific. These dogs are missing ears, are covered in excrement and sawdust and are in a state of shock, with a core body temperature that puts them closer to death than to life. Vick deserves everything he gets and more.
Anya Gambino, Time Magazine, September 17, 2007, Page 9

Last week we noted a bizarre op-ed piece from Kathy Rudy, a professor of "women's studies" at Duke, who described herself as a supporter of animal rights but proceeded to defend erstwhile NFL player Michael Vick's involvement in illegal dogfighting on the ground that he is black . . .
Carol Muller, Opinion Journal, September 6, 2007

Controversy didn't leave "The View" with Rosie O'Donnell. Fifteen minutes into her first day moderating the show, Whoppi Goldberg defended convicted felon Michael Vick, calling dogfighting "part of his cultural upbringing" in the South . . . The President of the Humane Society took issue with Golberg's comments, as did co-host Joy Behar, who saw no cultural relativity in "dog torturing and dog murdering."
Time Magazine, September 17, 2007, Page 22

Iranian officials say that according to Islam, dogs are considered to be dirty animals, and people who own dogs are viewed as being under Western influence. Some conservative clerics have denounced dog ownership as "morally depraved" and say it should be banned. Friday prayer leader Hojatoleslam Gholamreza Hassani, who is known for his hard-line stances, was quoted a few years ago as saying that all dog owners and their dogs should be arrested.
"Tehran Officials Begin Crackdown On Pet Dogs,", September 15, 2007 ---

George Utset, who writes The Real Cuba Web site, says Moore and his group were ushered to the upper floors of the hospital, to rooms reserved for the privileged. "They don't go to the hospital for regular Cubans. They go to hospital for the elite. And it's a very different condition," Utset says.For ordinary Cubans, health care is different. A video, posted by a woman from Venezuela, purports to show the two forms of health care, one for the privileged who pay in dollars and a far inferior one for regular Cubans. Moore claims Cubans live longer than Americans. It's true that a U.N. report claims that. But the United Nations didn't gather any data. "The United Nations simply reports whatever the government in Cuba reports, so we have no objective way to know what the real statistics are," Carro says.Exactly. Communist countries are famous for hiding the truth. Twenty years ago, when I reported from the Soviet Union, officials insisted there were no poor people in Russia, but they refused to let me look for myself.Why would we believe the Cuban government's health statistics?Cuba claims it has low infant mortality, but doctors tell us that Cuban obstetricians abort a fetus when they think there might be a problem. Dr. Julio Alfonso told us he used to do 70-80 abortions a day. And here's an even more devious way of distorting infant-mortality data: Some doctors tell us that if a baby dies within a few hours of birth, Cuban doctors don't count him or her as ever having lived. Moore told me: "All the independent health organizations in the world, and even our own CIA, believe that the Cubans have a pretty good health system. And they do, in fact, live longer than we do."But the CIA does not claim that Cubans live longer than Americans. In fact, the CIA says Americans live longer. When I pressed Moore, he backed away from the claims his movie makes about Cuba. "Let's stick to Canada and Britain," he said, "because I think these are legitimate arguments that are made against the film and against the so-called idea of socialized medicine. And I think you should challenge me on these things, and I'll give you my answer."
John Stossel (Bob Jensen's favorite "Give Us a Break" commentator), "Cuba Has Better Health Care than the United States?" by John Stossel, RealClearPolitics, September 12, 2007 ---
Also Click Here for a great Stossel critique of Michael Moore's Sicko.

The newspaper (London Daily Mail) said Nuttall is off work and taking prescribed daily doses of morphine to dull the pain. He said he has been trying to quit (smoking) but the best he can do is cut back to 10 cigarettes a week. A spokesman for the Royal Cornwall Hospital confirmed Nuttall's operation had been postponed because of "issues relating to nicotine." Britain's health secretary ruled this year that doctors could deny smokers operations unless they give up smoking for at least four weeks.
PhysOrg, September 14, 2007 ---

A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?
Oscar Wilde --- Click Here

A bar fight in Oklahoma left a man sporting a University of Texas at Austin T-shirt nearly castrated and has set off discussion of just how extreme some sports loyalties may be, the Associated Press reported. While the actual events in the bar are disputed, some are concerned by those voicing support for attacking fans. “I’ve actually heard callers on talk radio say that this guy deserved what he got for wearing a Texas T-shirt into a bar in the middle of Sooner country,” one lawyer told the AP.
Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2007 ---

Mining a trove of Danish government data on thousands of businesses, the professors were able to track links between CEO-family deaths and the companies' profitability over a decade . . . Should shareholders in a company care if the chief executive's child dies? What if the mother-in-law passes away?.....slid by about one-fifth, on average, in the two years after the death of a CEO's child, and by about 15 percent after the death of a spouse. As for an executive's mother-in-law, the old jokes seem to hold: The researchers found that profitability, on average, rose slightly after her demise. The study is part of an emerging and controversial area of financial research that delves into the lives and personalities of executives in search of links to stock prices and corporate performance. The trend is an outgrowth of the tendency to lionize CEOs as critical to the businesses they lead. If their performance is so vital, the researchers say, investors should want to know anything that could affect it.
Arizona Republic, September 9, 2007 ---

Paint with higher levels of lead often sells for a third of the cost of paint with low levels, so Chinese factory owners sometimes cut corners and use the cheaper leaded paint.
David Barboza, "Why Lead in Toy Paint? It’s Cheaper," The New York Times, September 11, 2007 --- Click Here

College to alumni: Write checks, and shut up
"Dartmouth Diminished," The Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2007 ---

After Katrina: Legal Justice Washed Away? ---

A third challenge, I think, is a certain dissonance in Mr. Thompson's persona. He seems preoccupied, not full of delight that he's at the party. John McCain has been having sly fun with the idea of Mr. Thompson's sluggishness. When asked why Mr. Thompson didn't come to the debate, Mr. McCain said "Maybe we're up past his bedtime."
Peggy Noonan, "Off to the Races Surprisingly, the Republican presidential campaign comes into focus," The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2007 ---  --- 
Jensen Comment
As I recall the same thing was said about Ronald Regan during his campaign for a second term in office. Only then he was more apt to be napping during the daytime in the Oval Office.

Dianne Feinstein's $4 billion earmark for Beverly Hills comes at the expense of America's veterans. Move over Bridge to Nowhere. Congress is back in town, and clearly back to business even uglier than usual. It takes hard work to come up with an earmark more egregious than that infamous Alaskan bridge, but California's Dianne Feinstein is an industrious gal. Her latest pork--let's call it Rambo's View--deserves to be the poster child for everything wrong with today's greedy earmark process. The senator's $4 billion handout (yes, you read that right) to wealthy West L.A. (yes, you read that right, too) is the ultimate example of how powerful members use earmarks to put their own parochial interests above national ones--in this case the needs of veterans. It's a case study in how Congress uses the appropriations process to substitute its petty wants for the considered judgments of agency professionals.
Kimberly A. Strassel
, "Rambo's View," The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2007 ---

Slowing productivity and rising wages abroad will probably cause U.S. inflation to accelerate in the next quarter century, Greenspan wrote in his book, ``The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World,'' published by Penguin Press. His outlook includes a reversal of many of the trends that aided the success of his own tenure at the Fed.
Craig Torres, "Greenspan Sees Political Pressure on Fed as Inflation Quickens ,", September 14, 2007 ---

Thirty years ago this month, Germany's Red Army Faction--better known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang--kidnapped Hanns-Martin Schleyer, president of the German employers' association, and murdered his driver and three bodyguards. Six weeks later, on Oct. 18, 1977, the RAF murdered Schleyer, too, after the West German government refused to give in to RAF demands for the release of its imprisoned leaders . . . The similarities are also ideological. Islamism is a political doctrine no less than it is a religious one, and in its critique of Western society it is indistinguishable from the rhetoric of radical chic. "The capitalist system seeks to turn the entire world into a fiefdom of the major corporations under the label of 'globalization,' " says bin Laden in his latest sermon. He also manages to cite Noam Chomsky on the subject of "the manufacturing of public opinion," while scolding the Democrats for not putting a stop to the war in Iraq and the Bush administration for "not observing the Kyoto accord." Where have we heard this before? Anti-Americanism is the common thread. The German terror plot of 2007 had as its targets the U.S. Air Force base at Ramstein and the Frankfurt airport, which thousands of Americans pass through on their way home. For its part, Baader-Meinhof detonated car bombs at U.S. military bases in 1972, 1977, 1981 and 1985. In the last of these attacks, RAF cadres Birgit Hogefeld and Eva Haule lured American GI Edward Pimental from a bar, murdered him, and used his ID to park a car bomb at the Rhein-Main air base. The bomb killed American airman Frank Scarton and civilian contractor Becky Bristol and injured 20 others.
Brett Stephens, "Red Terror, Green Terror:  Anti-Americanism is the common thread," The Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2007 ---

The National Association of Scholars issued a new report Tuesday criticizing social work education as a “national academic scandal” because its programs’ mission descriptions and curricular requirements are “chock full of ideological boilerplate and statements of political commitment.” In addition, the report questions the Council on Social Work Education, which accredits colleges based in part on whether the provide “social and economic justice content grounded in an understanding of distributive justice, human and civil rights, and the global interconnections of oppression.” The report issued Tuesday is in many ways similar to a complaint filed by the association with the Education Department in 2005. A spokeswoman for the Council on Social Work Education said that only one person there could respond to questions about the report’s criticism and that person was not available Tuesday.
Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2007 ---

Why don't anti-war activists rally in support to their lone true pacifist in the presidential race?
Willie Nelson supports Kucinich (video) ---
Kucinich condemns U.S. 'occupation' on Syrian TV (Video) ---
In the U.S. Congress, who was the only one voting "NO" on the 9/11 Commemoration Resolution?
"Congress 334, Kucinich 1," Fox News, September 11, 2007 ---

The President, Bashar al-Assad, who Congressman Kuchinh is promising billions in aid, is linked to the murder of the President of Lebanon and portrayed as extremely clever and sinister by the Chairman of the Reform Syrian Party ---
Jensen Comment
Syria is a main artery through which outside weapons and insurgents (suicide bombers, snipers, hostage takers, and roadside bomb makers) flow into Iraq and Lebanon. Congressman Kucinich blames U.S. occupation of Iraq, coupled with U.S. support for Israel, for insurgency and terror in the Middle East. But it's not at all clear that the insurgents will not still fight for an Al Qaeda stronghold in Iraq once U.S. forces are out of the way.  Presidential candidate Kucinich  proposes ending U.S. occupation of Iraq and giving billions or even trillions of dollars to the Iraqi people, the insurgents, and Syria. But if President Kucinich gives billions for Syrian armament while maintaining billions of dollars of support for Israeli armament, it's not at all clear how this will lead to piece in the Middle East. Rather it seems to me that giving billions or trillions more to both sides only magnifies the size future wars. Kucinich, like Jimmy Carter, thinks that pouring money into Israel's enemies will make everybody be friends. How will they stop Israel's enemies from buying more deadly armaments? Even gifts in kind, like food and oil, simply free up money to spend on armaments for Islamic fundamentalists and mercenaries.

Israeli warplanes last week bombed and destroyed a northern Syrian missile base that was financed by Iran, an Arab Israeli newspaper reported on Wednesday. Citing anonymous Israeli sources, the Assennara newspaper said that Israeli jets "bombed in northern Syria a Syrian-Iranian missile base financed by Iran ... It appears that the base was completely destroyed." Syria on Tuesday lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations over the "flagrant violation" of its airspace last Thursday, during which it said its air defenses opened fire on Israeli warplanes flying over the northeast of the country.
"Israel Reportedly Hit Syrian Base Financed by Iran," AFP Jerusalem Newswire, September 12, 2007 --- Click Here
Fox News version ---,2933,296939,00.html
Jensen Question
Note that Israel claims the Syrian  missile sites destroyed were intended nuclear missile sites funded by Iran ---,7340,L-3448829,00.html

So it's more than a little telling that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz chose, in the wake of an Israeli Air Force raid on Syria on Sept. 6 dubbed "Operation Orchard," to give front-page billing to an op-ed by John Bolton that appeared in this newspaper Aug. 31. While the article dealt mainly with the six-party talks with North Korea, Mr. Bolton also noted that "both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched." He went on to wonder whether Pyongyang was using its Middle Eastern allies as safe havens for its nuclear goods while it went through a U.N. inspections process. How plausible is this scenario? The usual suspects in the nonproliferation crowd reject it as some kind of trumped-up neocon plot. Yet based on conversations with Israeli and U.S. sources, along with evidence both positive and negative (that is, what people aren't saying), it seems the likeliest suggested so far. That isn't to say, however, that plenty of gaps and question marks about the operation don't remain.
Bret Stephens (former editor of the Jerusalem Post), "Osirak II?" The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2007 ---
Bret Stephens is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board. He joined the Journal in New York in 1998 as a features editor and moved to Brussels the following year to work as an editorial writer for the paper's European edition. In 2002, Mr. Stephens, then 28, became editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, where he was responsible for its news, editorial, electronic and international divisions, and where he also wrote a weekly column. He returned to his present position in late 2004 and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum the following year.

Between 1996 and 2004, the Republican share of the Hispanic vote doubled to more than 40%, only to fall in last year's midterm election to less than 30%. The most recent polls show Hispanics breaking for Democrats over Republicans by 51% to 21%. What gives? To understand this remarkable erosion of Latino support for Republicans, look no further than the most recent Presidential debates. While GOP candidates debated the urgency of erecting a fence from California to Texas along the Mexican border, Democrats debated in Spanish on Univision.
Lou Dobbs, "Hispanics and the GOP September 15, 2007," The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Democrats may have debated in Spanish, but most of them voted to fence off Mexico. President Bush and leading Republicans speaking in English opposed the fence. Many powerful business leaders oppose the fence. Powerful labor unions support the fence idea, and leading Democrats are voting with the unions.
Here's How Our U.S. Senators Voted on Both Fencing Bills:

Since a majority of Democratic lawmakers are voting for a border fence and Jimmy Carter is calling Israel a modern-day Apartheid, I'm terribly confused by the strength of support for Democrats among Hispanics and Jews. Guess I'll never understand the paradoxes and mysteries of politics.

Forwarded by Dick Haar


If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free! -P.J. O'Rourke

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. - George Bernard Shaw

If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.... But then I repeat myself. -Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. -Winston Churchill

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -G Gordon Liddy

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. -James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor! countries. -Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. -P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. -Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. -Will Rogers

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. -Voltaire (1764)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you! -Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. -Mark Twain (1866 )

Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it. -Unknown

The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. -Ronald Reagan

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery. -Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. -Mark Twain

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. -Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

There is no distinctly Native American criminal Congress. -Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. -Edward Langley, Artist (1928 - 1995)

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. -Thomas Jefferson

I'm sharing some old (well relatively old) accounting theory quiz and exam material that I added to a folder at

Bob Jensen's Education Technology PowerPoint Files (in development) and Video Samplings ---

A New Blog for Students of Investment Strategies ---

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at

The cinema, like paintings (and Bill Belichick's video), shows the invisible.
Jean-Luc Godard --- Click Here

Bill Belichick School of Forecasting --- "It's All in the Game"
His filming tactic will be debated in thousands of ethics courses throughout the world --- some arguing cheating and others arguing "its all in the game"

"Eric Mangini exposes Bill Belichick's spy games," by Rich Cimini,  NY Daily News, September 12, 2007 --- Click Here 

A former assistant under Bill Belichick, Mangini arrived in New York last year with an insider's knowledge of the Patriots' sign-stealing surveillance tactics and he shared the dirty little secret with members of the Jets' organization, a person with knowledge of the matter informed the Daily News yesterday.

It wasn't until the fifth Mangini-Belichick showdown - last Sunday - that the Jets were able to catch the Patriots. Tipped off by Jets security, an NFL security official confiscated a video camera and tape from a Patriots employee at the Meadowlands, and the evidence is believed to be damning

Jensen Comment
Any of us who played football watched for clues as to what play had been called. Does a linebacker commence to move before the snap when a blitz has been called? Does the quarterback inadvertently lick his fingertips when a pass play is called? Does the fullback tip off when he's next up to get a handoff? Does the left tackle take a difference stance before a line drive versus a pass protection? That's all part of the game. But some things clearly cross the line so to speak. For example, it's been rumored for years that a defensive coordinator for Oklahoma was giving hand signals across the field to Miami coaches in a national title Orange Bowl playoff. Whether true or not, this use of insider private information would be cheating if only Miami coaches had inside knowledge of the signaling code.  But if the Miami coaches were simply studying (without knowing private code) public information from the Oklahoma bench that anybody in the stadium could study, the attribution of "cheating" is more debatable.
I think Eric Mangini is more unethical since he used insider information from about his former employer. He's justified in being a whisle blower only if he's reporting something illegal.

Clearly the debate hinges upon what information is allowed to be used during a game. In securities markets, public information is usually allowed and private information, in most instances, is banned by the SEC if investors not privileged to the private inside information are harmed. This is why insider trading is carefully monitored by the SEC. And this is why insiders in the NFL are not allowed to gamble on NFL football games. Insiders seldom can avoid having inside information. And outsiders should not be allowed to have inside information that is not available to all outsiders. But acting upon information available to all outsiders is not, in general, cheating. Being superior at processing public information is part of the game.

The best strategy for teams is to exploit what they think the opposing side has learned. In the crime world this is best known as a “set up.” That too is part of the game. I wonder if Warren Buffet ever thought of this?

There is no great concurrence between learning and wisdom.
Sir Francis Bacon as quoted by Mark Shapiro at


Great Deal for Students for MS Office Software
Microsoft is running a new student promotion, dubbed The Ultimate Steal, which allows eligible college students to purchase Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 at the discounted price of $60. Office Ultimate includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, InfoPath, Groove, OneNote, Outlook and Publisher. Office Ultimate 2007 carries a list price of $680, though a quick Google search turned up offers as low as $240.The offer comes with a 30 day free trial (which is also available to non-students via the Office website) and the deal expires April 30 2008. The offer is available to students in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Microsoft recently ran a similar promotion (now expired) in Australia, and, judging by the way that one worked, the new deals will likely be limited to select schools and you'll need access to your university .edu e-mail account.
Scott Gilbertson, "Students: Grab Office Ultimate 2007 For $60," Wired News, September 12, 2007 ---

September 12, 2007 reply from a friend

Students can download fully-functional office suite software for FREE at 

and never have to worry about their student licenses to Microsoft expiring.

September 12, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

I don’t think this free software is as full-featured as MS Office or fully compatible when reading and editing MS Office files such as Excel workbooks, although I must admit that Open Office is getting better and better (see below).  Most open source office products (including those from Google) are not full-featured with such things as pivot tables/charts, goal seek, solver, and all the built in math, statistical, and other functions. .

I suspect Microsoft has greater fear of student installation of illegally pirated MS Office software. The relatively low $60 student full-featured version may be Microsoft’s effort to reduce student pirating. I wish Microsoft similarly worried as much about faculty pirating.

It would be a terribly inefficient market if Microsoft could make billions of dollars selling a product when equal or better products are available free to anybody in the world. I doubt that Trinity or most other organizations or most students will abandon MS Office for years to come, although I’m a big fan of open sharing --- 

A problem for most students is that, when they eventually enter the job market, most employers will want them to know or learn MS Office. Becoming familiar with MS Office as a student saves a lot of trouble somewhere down the road.

However, thank you for the link. You might also note the free Google Office alternative.
Google Office --- 

If anybody eventually destroys Microsoft it will probably be Google, although Google claims that it has no such intentions in spite of its occasional facing off against Microsoft in court.

Mac users might also note the recently improved ability to run Windows and MS Office software on a Mac X "Parallels Updates Desktop For Mac, Makes Windows Integration Even Tighter," by Michael Calore, Wired News, September 11, 2007 --- 

Bob Jensen

What is the future outlook for Open Office ---
What is Open Office XML ---   
How seriously do these open sharing initiatives threaten MS Office that is crucial to the survival of Microsoft Corporation?


What is Open Office? ---
This site provides some useful comparisons, many of them are encouraging in terms of compatibility with both MS Office and multiple operating systems, including Linux.

Although Microsoft Office retains 95% of the general market, and StarOffice have secured 14% of the large enterprise market as of 2004[36] and 19% of the small to midsize business market in 2005.[37] The web site reports more than 62.5 million downloads.[38] is the office suite used on the British Army’s Bowman deployable tactical communications system. Other large scale users of include Singapore’s Ministry of Defence, and Bristol City Council in the UK. In France, has attracted the attention of both local and national government administrations who wish to rationalize their software procurement, as well as have stable, standard file formats for archival purposes. It is now the official office suite for the French Gendarmerie.[39] Several government organizations in India, such as IIT Bombay - a reputed technical institute, the Supreme Court of India, the Allahabad High Court[40], which use Linux, completely rely on for their administration.

On October 4, 2005, Sun and Google announced a strategic partnership. As part of this agreement, Sun will add a Google search bar to, Sun and Google will engage in joint marketing activities as well as joint research and development, and Google will help distribute[41]

Besides StarOffice, there are still a number of derived commercial products. Most of them are developed under SISSL license (which is valid up to 2.0 Beta 2). In general they are targeted at local or niche market, with proprietary add-ons such as speech recognition module, automatic database connection, or better CJK support.[42]

In July 2007 Everex, a division of First International Computer and the 9th largest PC supplier in the US, began shipping systems preloaded with 2.2 into Wal-Mart and Sam's Club throughout North America.

Also see

Until I read the above modules, I was not aware how far along software has traveled. I sent an Excel file to a computer scientist who is an avid fan of the Linux operating system. The file I sent him uses Excel's IRR financial function to compute the internal rate of return of a stream of cash flows. His Linux Open Office spreadsheet not only read my Excel file, it computed the IRR when he varied the cash flows.

"Microsoft Office versus Open Office shootout," by George Ou, September 14, 2005 --- 

"New Zealand Automobile Association has just announced that it is dropping Open Office and switching back to MS Office," Computer World, July 16, 2007 ---

Open-source programs step on 235 Microsoft patents, the company said. Free Linux software violates 42 patents. Graphical user interfaces, the way menus and windows look on the screen, breach 65. E-mail programs step on 15, and other programs touch 68 other patents, the company said. The patent figures were first reported by Fortune magazine.
Technology Review, May 15, 2007 ---
This is doubted and disputed, August 7, 2007  --- Click Here

"Desktop Linux Is All About Office," by Joe Wilcox,  eWeek, August 7, 2007 --- Click Here

I'm not convinced that any of these efforts are all that effective on the server, because of where and how Linux is used there. The desktop is another matter because:

Jensen Comment
I would certainly like know about research studies regarding the following:

What is Open Office XML? ---

Open Office XML is extremely important to the future of global financial reporting as the world's financial statements are being marked up (tagged) in the XML-based XBRL ---

Many of the above questions raised about Open Office also are questions for Open Office XML.

The Long and Varied History of Nigerian Scams

September 18, 2007 questions from Robert Blystone []

I have won the British Lottery a number of times now and I seem to have many friends in trouble in Nigeria. But I have seen two new scams over the course of the last week.

Today I have received the Middlesex Masonic Award. I just have to answer the email to receive the 1.5 million dollar Masonic award to do good deeds. Has anyone else seen variants on this Masonic theme? A web site was listed for this one.

Then last week I received an email from an American Iraq veteran who had a Chile email address who wanted me to help him and his buddies move 10.5 million out of Iraq so he could help the daughter of a now deceased comrade. This one had several web sites I was to visit.

How new are these scams and have the rest of you seen these before?

Just curious.

Bob Blystone

September 18, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Bob,

I've not seen the latest scams you mention, although I've probably won the British, Canadian, and German lotteries more often than you've won them.

Sadly, I still could not afford to send payments to clear the taxes on the billions I've now inherited in the U.K., South Africa, etc. Most of these are secretly Nigerian scams. Aside from oil, the largest single sources of foreign currency in Nigeria are those 421 frauds.

Trivia Question Why are the Nigerian scams called "421 Scams?"

Nigerian scams are particularly fascinating because there are so many variations and such a long history (even before the Internet and email) --- 

Especially note the Nigerian Fraud Email Gallery linked above.

Also note how to scam the scammers! (British online vigilante "Shiver Metimbers")

Bob Jensen


"Sprint Nextel rolls out comparison shopping service for wireless phones," MIT's Technology Review, September 14, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's consumer helpers are at

Journal of Accountancy's Fraud Frequency Charts, September 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's links to fraud documents ---

Stanley Zarowin's Technology Q&A in the September 2007 edition of the Journal of Accountancy ---

If you, like me, sometimes forget some of the Windows options (taskbar, systems tray, startup, quick launch, etc.), check out the above link.

Also note his link to a great backup battery power source ---

"Students’ ‘Evolving’ Use of Technology," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, September 17, 2007 ---

Stop the presses: Today’s college students are using more technology than ever.

That may not be the most surprising finding from a report released last week by the Educause Center for Applied Research, the analytical arm of the nonprofit group that promotes effective technology use in higher education. But it certainly provides a jumping-off point for an investigation into how students use information technology in college and how it can be harnessed to improve the learning experience.

In at least one central respect, proponents of technology in the classroom are on to something: Most students (60.9 percent) believe it improves their learning.

The changes in technological habits aren’t revolutionary per se, as the authors point out; rather, students are making “evolutionary” gains in access to the Internet for everyday uses, inside the classroom and out. Perhaps the most visible of these changes is the continuing increase in the proportion of students with laptops, which has grown to 73.7 percent of respondents (while an almost-total 98.4 percent own a computer of some kind). More surprisingly, over half of laptop owners don’t bring them to class at all, with about a quarter carrying them to lectures at least once a week.

The amount of time spent on the Internet also shows no sign of abating, with an average of about 18 hours a week, for any purpose — and, on the extreme end, some 6.6 percent of respondents (mostly male) saying they spend more than a full-time job’s worth of 40 hours online a week. Most students use broadband, more are on wireless connections, and “smart phones” — all-in-one communications and personal data assistants — are also on the rise, with 12 percent owning one.

What they’re doing when they’re online is also changing somewhat, with the rise of Facebook and other social networking sites as the clearest trend this year (to 80.3 percent from 72.3 percent in 2006), along with streaming video and course management software, which 46.1 percent of respondents said they use several times a week or more (compared with 39.6 percent in 2006).

The authors of the study, which surveyed 27,864 students at 103 two- and four-year colleges and universities, note that most undergraduates today are “digital natives” who have grown up immersed in technology in some form. But the “millennials” aren’t necessarily ready to cast off the yoke of human interaction and learn solely within virtual 3-D environments wired directly to the brain. The study finds “themes of skepticism and moderation alongside enthusiasm,” such that 59 percent preferred a “moderate rather than extensive use of IT in courses.”

Instead, students appear to segment different modes of communication for different purposes. E-mail, Web sites, message boards and Blackboard? Viable ways of connecting with professors and peers. Same for chat, instant messaging, Facebook and text messages? Not necessarily, the authors write, because students may “want to protect these tools’ personal nature.”

“They’re using social networking sites like crazy, but they don’t necessarily think those have a place in the classroom,” said Gail Salaway, one of the primary authors and a fellow at ECAR.

In short, as students become more and more connected to each other through various online mediums, they’re also becoming more untethered, with laptops and smart phones keeping them physically apart. As a result, the “emerging Web 2.0 paradigm” of “immersive environments” and dynamic information promise (or threaten?) to upend traditional pedagogies and even the way students learn, the authors conclude.

That could mean that some professors might have to play catch-up, according to the report, “The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2007″ — a sentiment also indicated by some of the students in answers to the survey’s open-ended questions.

How IT Affects Learning

The epigraph to the report’s sixth chapter, from a student’s written comments, goes a long way toward summarizing what the authors say is the place of technology in the college setting today: “IT is not a good substitute for good teaching. Good teachers are good with or without IT and students learn a great deal from them. Poor teachers are poor with or without IT and students learn little from them.”

Seventy percent of the students polled said information technology helps them do research, a finding that is not surprising in light of the continuing popularity of Google and Wikipedia among undergraduates (sometimes to the consternation of their professors). But that finding also encompasses online library research and article databases.

When it comes to engagement, however, responses are more mixed. About two-fifths of students said they were more engaged with courses that had IT components, while a fifth disagreed and the rest didn’t say either way.

So technology’s utility in the classroom comes down to how it is used. The question, then, is: How can educators adapt their teaching methods to emerging technologies? And should they?

Skeptics might point out that even students themselves are ambivalent when it comes to using the Internet and other digital tools for class, as the survey highlights. But the study’s introduction, written by Chris Dede of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, suggests what professors can expect from digital natives’ evolving modes of learning, what he calls “neomillennial learning styles.”

As new methods of interacting with information become more ubiquitous, he suggests, citing Second Life-type virtual immersion environments as an example, students will grow up with different expectations and preferences for acquiring knowledge and skills. The implication is less of an emphasis on the “sage on the stage” and a linear acquisition process focusing on a “single best source,” focusing instead on “active learning” that comes from synthesizing information from multiple types of media.

Noting that traditional ways of thinking and learning are undergoing a “sea change,” Dede encourages a fusion of new and old. But what form that will take, exactly, is not addressed directly in the report.

The problem with predicting the future of learning, suggests Toru Iiyoshi, a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, is that some educators “are against the idea of technology itself transforming their teaching and student learning.” Rather than fit it in with their current methods, he said, they should take the opposite approach.

Encouraging them to “start thinking from different perspectives, how they can teach better or improve student learning is, I think, very important,” he said.

A College That Embraces IT

What does a learning environment that embraces new technologies look like? It’s not clear, but it might resemble a classroom at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Mass. The institution, which opened in 2002, found itself having to start from scratch in every way possible, including in its design of an information architecture. The person in charge of that project was Joanne Kossuth, the chief information officer and vice president for development at the college.

Kossuth, who helped implement the Educause study at Olin, said the college is somewhat unusual in that its engineering focus and small classes encourage innovation and collaboration among its students. Where some institutions have had to scramble to adapt to evolving technological needs, Olin did it all at once — from the ground up. The result is a much more integrated, forward-looking approach to IT.

The college has a 24/7 laptop loan program, which allows students to be in constant communication with each other and helps encourage them to work together on projects, so that “you’ll see students that go out and use things like Google Docs,” editing online in real time, she said.

Freshmen come in to the college already well acquainted with social networking and used to course management software, mainly because of its increasing use in high school, Kossuth said. They use a campus-hosted wiki to find rides. They work with administrators to improve software offerings. In other words, the students are at the cutting edge, while some faculty are working to catch up.

“I’m a firm believer that the students that are up and coming are the ones that are driving the adoption, because they’re coming with a set of expectations,” Kossuth explained.

Still, in this tech-savvy environment, some face-to-face interaction is still preferred. At the help desk, she said, proposals for chat and text messaging services met with skepticism because students preferred to e-mail or come in themselves. In general, the ECAR report found a number of negative comments about help desks’ effectiveness, suggesting their importance to a smooth IT operation.

Other Findings

The report also highlighted a number of gaps and trends through longitudinal comparisons of the past three years’ worth of survey data:

  • Leisure devices, such as handheld video and music players (read: iPods), have transcended the gender gap. Where there used to be a difference between males’ and females’ ownership of the players just two years ago, the gap has disappeared, with 83.1 percent of 18- to 19-year-olds owning one.
  • Engineering and business students use more technology, especially for spreadsheets and graphics editing, and males are more likely to spend more extreme amounts of time online.
  • The report also finds challenges in addressing skills gaps for using spreadsheets and CMS software, highlighting the need for colleges to provide instructional technology to bring students up to speed.

Next year, for the first time, the ECAR survey will additionally focus on a specific aspect of IT. The first topic: social networking.

Bob Jensen's Education Technology PowerPoint Files and Video Samplings ---

Bob Jensen's linked to trends in educational technology ---

"Robot maker with a penchant for realism builds artificial boy," MIT's Technology Review, September 12, 2007 ---

Unlike clearly artificial robotic toys, Hanson says he envisions Zeno as an interactive learning companion, a synthetic pal who can engage in conversation and convey human emotion through a face made of a skin-like, patented material Hanson calls frubber.

''It's a representation of robotics as a character animation medium, one that is intelligent,'' Hanson beams. ''It sees you and recognizes your face. It learns your name and can build a relationship with you.''

Jensen Comment
I hope wealthy collector now living outside the U.S. doesn't buy up all the models.

Google is going after Facebook
A leaked video contains details on Google's plans to integrate a number of its offerings (think Picasa, GTalk, Calendar, Reader and more) into what the movie refers to as "activity streams." Activity streams can be subscribed to by friends, creating a way to track and update what you and your friends are up to, à la Facebook's feeds.The information comes from an internal Google video discovered by a reader of Google Blogscoped. The video, which had accidentally been posted publicly, has since been removed, but Google Blogscoped has some details here.
Scott Gilbertson, "Video Leak: Google Going Head-To-Head With Facebook," Wired News, September 12, 2007 --

Sigh!  In my day, men were not allowed to live in sorority houses and vice versa for women headed for fraternity bedrooms
"Big Legal Loss for Fraternities," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, September 14, 2007 ---

The College of Staten Island can deny official recognition to a fraternity because it excludes women, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a lower court judge’s August 2006 ordering the City University of New York campus to recognize a new chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and provide the benefits that go along with that status.

Staten Island officials had argued before the lower court that the fraternity’s denial of membership to women violated the college’s policy barring discrimination on the basis on gender. The fraternity had argued that the college’s denial of recognition prevented it from receiving needed funds, using university facilities and recruiting at student orientations, and restricted its membership because members and potential members had difficulty traveling to off-campus events.

Judge Dora L. Irizarry concluded that the college’s policy improperly infringed on the fraternity’s First Amendment right to freedom of association. Irizarry, citing the fraternity as an “organization that promotes congeniality and a supportive social structure for male students,” found Alpha Epsilon Pi to be an “intimate association” that deserved the First Amendment’s full protection, outweighing Staten Island’s interests in carrying out its nondiscrimination policy. The lower court issued a preliminary injunction — which Staten Island and CUNY officials promptly appealed — that called for the college to recognize the fraternity and to drop a prohibition against the group’s recruitment and “rushing” activities.

The lower court was heralded by advocates for fraternities as an important new legal tool to protect their interests. A 2006 article by the Foundation for Individual Rights, for instance, argued that fraternities have typically only qualified for “expressive” association rights, earned primarily when an organization has “taken positions on issues and actively exercised its members’ right to speak.”

Granting First Amendment protection to fraternities “based on their being a locus of intimate association [between members],” FIRE argued, “would mean that fraternities could garner protection based primarily on the private aspects of their group: their selectivity, size, and seclusion from the public eye. For fraternities and sororities across the country, Judge Irizarry’s order may signal a new means for Greeks to protect their First Amendment freedoms — even their right to exist — from zealous administrators.”

Continued in article

A Clash of Rights," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 17, 2007 ---

Public colleges’ anti-bias policies have been taking a beating in the courts in recent years. Various federal courts have said that the policies can’t be used to deny recognition to Christian student groups — even if those groups explicitly discriminate against those who are gay or who don’t share the faith of the organizations.

Many lawyers who advise colleges, even some who deplore these rulings, have urged colleges to recognize that the force of their anti-bias policies has been severely weakened. Students’ First Amendment rights of freedom of religion and expression will end up trumping strong anti-bias principles, or so the emerging conventional wisdom has gone.

But an unusual decision from a federal appeals court on Thursday is challenging that conventional wisdom. The decision upheld the right of a public college — the College of Staten Island, of the City University of New York — to deny recognition to a fraternity because it doesn’t let women become members. In ruling as it did, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that the college’s anti-bias rules served an important state function — and a function that was more important than the limits faced by a fraternity not being recognized.

In a statement that some educators view as long overdue from the courts, the Second Circuit said that a public college “has a substantial interest in making sure that its resources are available to all its students.”

Further, and this is important because many college anti-bias policies go beyond federal requirements, the court said that it didn’t matter that federal law has exceptions for fraternities and sororities from gender bias claims. “The state’s interest in prohibiting sex discrimination is no less compelling because federal anti-discrimination statutes exempt fraternities,” the court said.

Some legal experts view last week’s ruling as a blip — a result perhaps of unusual circumstances in the case, or a trio of judges who happened to see the issue in a different way. An appeal is almost certain. But rulings by federal appeals courts become law in their regions and precedents that can be cited everywhere. And some lawyers, especially those trying to defend college anti-bias laws, say that the decision could be significant.

In the new ruling, “the court is saying there’s no question but that the government has a substantial interest in eradicating discrimination and it recognizes that non-discrimination policies that condition funding interfere [with students’ rights] only to a limited degree, and that’s exactly the issue in our case,” said Ethan P. Schulman, a lawyer for the University of California Hastings College of Law.

A federal judge ruled last year that Hastings was within its rights to deny recognition to the campus chapter of the Christian Legal Society, which barred from the group students who engage in “unrepentant homosexual conduct.” Based on other rulings, the Christian group has appealed, but Schulman said that the Second Circuit’s finding showed that colleges should not abandon tough anti-bias policies (as many have, when faced with similar legal challenges).

“Ultimately it may well be that the U.S. Supreme Court is going to have to decide these issues,” Schulman said. “But right now I think it’s a mistake for colleges and universities to assume that they should abandon strongly held policies of non-discrimination.”

Continued in article

Whenever I get news about increased interest in business (especially economics and finance) professors on Wall Street, I think back to "The Trillion Dollar Bet" (Nova on PBS Video) a bond trader, two Nobel Laureates, and their doctoral students who very nearly brought down all of Wall Street and the U.S. banking system in the crash of a hedge fund known as Long Term Capital Management where the biggest and most prestigious firms lost an unimaginable amount of money ---

"Hedge funds lure business school profs," CNN Money,"September 10, 2007 ---

The growing and lightly regulated hedge fund industry is attracting new players -- business school professors eager to test their theories in a field known for big risks and occasionally bigger rewards.

Hedge funds are becoming a tempting tool for faculty members looking to sharpen research and giving a Wall Street perspective to their students, all while making some extra money.

'MBAs and, to a less extent, Ph.D.'s have taken over the financial world,' said Roger Ibbotson, a professor at the Yale University School of Management and co-founder of a hedge fund. 'What we study is what people in finance know and use.' Hedge funds are a $1.1 trillion industry, largely unregulated and traditionally used by institutions and wealthy investors. Hedge funds profit by using unconventional techniques, such as short-selling, or betting on falling markets to make a profit during market downturns. They typically are active traders and can use techniques off limits to mutual funds.

While hedge funds frequently outperform more traditional investments, some have failed spectacularly. Last year, Connecticut-based Amaranth Advisors wrongly guessed that tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico would cause natural gas prices to spike. The storms didn't develop and Amarath lost billions within a week, prompting lawsuits and congressional hearings.

Economic consultant Peter Bernstein said the link between academic theory and Wall Street is not new, but the interest among professors to run a hedge fund is.

'Wall Street does not know very much about theory,' Bernstein said. 'The whole notion of risk is something people didn't think about in a systematic sense. Academics come with a structure about how to compose a portfolio.' Ibbotson and Yale finance professor Zhiwu Chen founded Zebra Capital Management in 2001. Housed in an out-of-the-way office park in nearby Milford and staffed by analysts and computer technicians, Zebra has grown into a $265 million fund by using mathematical and economic models to develop investment strategy.

Its 18.2 percent return for the year through July outpaced the Standard & Poor's (NYSE:MHP) 500 Index, which gained about 3.5 percent in the same period.

Links between university research and hedge funds are good for both, said William Goetzmann, a Yale business professor who is Ibbotson's research partner.

Hedge funds are part of a 'new frontier of finance,' boosting universities that draw students who are interested in the industry, he said.

'It helps a school attract the best and the brightest of students,' Goetzmann said.

Bernstein said many professors are drawn to hedge funds by the lure of money and little regulation.

'A lot more in fees, and a lot less constrained,' he said.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I'm also reminded of two instructors in a valuation workshop I attended (courtesy of Virginia Tech). These instructors were in the business of valuing firms. What they stressed is that the best advice they could give is to stay away from valuation researchers in academe. One problem in academe is that researchers generally limit themselves to the information content contained in databases that lack the subjective insights on the experts in the trenches. Academic models are limited to the generally insufficient relevant data in their databases. As Yogi Berra stated:  "It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future"

True valuation experts would rather study at the Bill Belichick School of Forecasting --- cheat if you can get away with it:, but watch out for whistleblowers.


A former assistant under Bill Belichick, Mangini arrived in New York last year with an insider's knowledge of the Patriots' sign-stealing surveillance tactics and he shared the dirty little secret with members of the Jets' organization, a person with knowledge of the matter informed the Daily News yesterday.

It wasn't until the fifth Mangini-Belichick showdown - last Sunday - that the Jets were able to catch the Patriots. Tipped off by Jets security, an NFL security official confiscated a video camera and tape from a Patriots employee at the Meadowlands, and the evidence is believed to be damning
 Rich Cimini, "Eric Mangini exposes Bill Belichick's spy games," NY Daily News, September 12, 2007 --- Click Here 


You can read a more about valuation in the following links:

From the Journal of Accountancy Smart Stops on the Web, September 2007 ---



This site from the Institute of Business Appraisers hosts a discussion group between its members and Rand M. Curtiss, FIBA, MCBA, ASA, chairman of the American Business Appraisers National Network. Its question-and-answer format covers a range of topics relating to the appraisal of closely held businesses, which, according to the IBA, make up 90% of U.S. businesses and employ two out of every three taxpayers. Posts include “Investment Profiles and Valuation Discounts,” “Financial Forecasts and Willing Buyers and Sellers,” and “Investigating Investment Value,” as well as quizzes to test your valuation knowledge.


This e-stop is the source for standards and appraiser qualifications established by the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Have record-keeping or ethics questions regarding appraisals? Click on the “USPAP/Standards” tab for access to their extensive archive of monthly Q&A documents or to read and submit comments about ASB exposure drafts. Also, keep an eye out for updates and news about the organization’s ongoing study of valuation fraud and the relationship between appraisals and mortgage fraud.


Hip Hop Research Returns to Harvard University
One of the major grievances of many professors against Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard president, was his reported skepticism of multicultural research — and one prominent example was his denial of tenure to Marcyliena Morgan, a scholar of hip hop. After the denial, Morgan — along with her husband, Lawrence Bobo, who had tenure — left Harvard’s African and African-American studies program for positions at Stanford University. Now both are returning, with tenure, to Harvard. The Associated Press reported that Derek Bok, then interim president, approved the tenured offer, in May, with the backing of Drew Faust, who is now president.
Inside Higher Ed, September 14, 2007 --- 

At the same time, health care benefits are denied other part-time workers such as adjunct professors
The trustees argue that providing health benefits to members of the board — many of whom are retired and most of whom have other part-time jobs or are self-employed — is essential for attracting candidates whenever a seat opens up. Those opposing the expansion of health coverage, who say they are against any benefits for board members, believe that being a trustee should be a privilege in itself rather than a collection of perks. They also disagree, citing recent elections with multiple candidates, that benefits are necessary to entice candidates. Members of the board currently receive $240 a month plus reimbursements for work-related travel, in addition to the health benefits that five of the trustees have. In California, community college districts are unusual in that they are authorized by the state (in section 53201 of the government code) to offer benefits to board members. “That clearly is different from most other states,” said J. Noah Brown, president of the Association of Community College Trustees.
Andy Guess, "Helping the College, or Just Themselves?" Inside Higher Ed, September 14, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on financial accountability in higher education are at

Borrowers Hoodwinked by Deceptive Ads
Many borrowers in trouble were pulled in by deceptive ads such as The ads featured dancing figures, apparently happy about low-loan rates. One ad claimed a "$145,000 mortgage for under $499 a month!" Scroll to the bottom to see payments actually double over time.
NPR (audio), September 13, 2007 --- 

Moral Hazard in Mortgage Brokering
In the old days, most homeowners obtained mortgages from their local bank or credit union, which adhered to strict lending rules. Nowadays, the lion's share of homebuyers' business (70 percent) goes to independent mortgage brokers — some of whom get bonuses for steering borrowers to higher-interest loans. Experts say many recent borrowers were put into ARMs that are likely to cost far more over the life of the loan than if they'd chosen a fixed-rate option. Often, consumers could have locked in fixed-rate loans at low interest rates, but lenders downplayed the advantages of these loans.
Chris Arnold, "Mass. Homeowners Rally Against Foreclosures," NPR, April 27, 2007 ---

Subprime Mortgages: A Primer
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are demanding answers from regulators and lenders about subprime mortgages. Many worry that rising mortgage defaults and lender failures could hurt America's overall banking system. Already, the subprime crisis has been blamed for steep declines in the stock market. But just what is a subprime loan — and why should you care? Here, a primer:
"Subprime Mortgages: A Primer," NPR, March 23, 2007 ---

Also see

Bob Jensen's mortgage borrowing helpers and tutorials are at

Is your email address being sold?

This was forwarded by one of one of Trinity University’s truly high tech technicians (Steve Curry) in the IT department.

Dr. Jensen,

I received the following. Given the distribution of your bookmarks newsletter, I thought your readers might find this interesting. There is a web site called (don’t use the www prefix, just that traces the registered owner (or sometimes the company that sells the registration) of a given domain name or even an IP address. In this case,  traces to:


Whois Privacy Protection Services, Inc.

PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th Street – F1

Bellvue, Washington

(425) 274-0657 


I am going to send an email to this company requesting that my e-mail address not be sold. Perhaps one or two (thousand) of your readers would care to do the same.


From: []
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007 8:58 AM
Subject: Emails from all World Countries


To get email contacts from all World Countries please go to




ALL Emails Packages Together















Central & South Americas









Middle East Arab






Top Extensions  - .com  .net ...



Top Mail Servers  -  .hotmail  .msn ...



United States






Kind regards
Bakonley Cogezze


Those of You Who Want to Spread Your Business Cards Around the World

Go go

What is the Mechanical Turk from

Aviation adventurer Steve Fossett went missing while flying over Nevada a week ago Monday. The cops can't find him. The Air Force can't find him. (They did spot 6 other previously unknown wrecks, though.) But maybe, just maybe, a geek sitting at his computer succeeded where the government failed. Using an service called Mechanical Turk, web users have been scouring massive amounts of satellite imagery in an effort to assist rescue workers. And one of them may have spotted Fossett's plane, according to AVweb (registration required).
David Axe, "Geeks Spot Fossett?" Wired News, September 12, 2007 ---

Satellite Image Searching ---

Sky Video ---

"Parallels Updates Desktop For Mac, Makes Windows Integration Even Tighter," by Michael Calore, Wired News, September 11, 2007 ---

Virtualization company SWSoft released a "feature update" today for its Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0. Along with competitor VMWare Fusion, it's one of the two most widely used utilities for running Windows applications under Mac OS X.

The new Parallels build improves 3.0's already tight integration of Windows apps into the Mac desktop experience. For example, the new build makes Windows apps running in Coherence mode on the OS X desktop behave much more like real Mac apps. Individual windows can be minimized in the Dock, and Windows and Mac app windows can be stacked and tiled any way you want. Their behavior under Expose has been improved (you can see detailed contents of Windows apps when you shuffle windows in Expose), and the Windows apps even throw drop shadows just like Mac apps, as well.

This update also adds the ability to mirror your Desktop, documents, music, pictures and movies folders on either desktop. For example, when you're on the Mac desktop and you click your Documents folder, you see the documents stored in your My Documents folder under Windows listed along side the documents on your Mac. Save something to your Mac desktop and it will show up on your Windows desktop as well.

Continued in article

"Majoring in Credit-Card Debt:  Aggressive on-campus marketing by credit-card companies is coming under fire. What should be done to educate students about the dangers of plastic?" by Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Business Week, September 4, 2007 --- Click Here

This story is the first in a series examining the increasing use of credit cards by college students.

Seth Woodworth stood paralyzed by fear in his parents' driveway in Moses Lake, Wash. It was two years ago, during his sophomore year at Central Washington University, and on this visit, he was bringing home far more than laundry. He was carrying more than $3,000 in credit-card debt. "I was pretty terrified of listening to my voice mail because of all the messages about the money I owed," says Woodworth. He did get some help from his parents but still had to drop out of school to pay down his debts.

Over the next month, as 17 million college students flood the nation's campuses, they will be greeted by swarms of credit-card marketers. Frisbees, T-shirts, and even iPods will be used as enticements to sign up, and marketing on the Web will reinforce the message. Many kids will go for it. Some 75% of college students have credit cards now, up from 67% in 1998. Just a generation earlier, a credit card on campus was a great rarity.

For many of the students now, the cards they get will simply be an easier way to pay for groceries or books, with no long-term negative consequences. But for Seth Woodworth and a growing number like him, easy access to credit will lead to spending beyond their means and debts that will compromise their futures. The freshman 15, a fleshy souvenir of beer and late-night pizza, is now taking on a new meaning, with some freshman racking up more than $15,000 in credit-card debt before they can legally drink. "It's astonishing to me to see college students coming out of school with staggering amounts of debt and credit scores so abominable that they couldn't rent a car," says Representative Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).

Congressional Oversight Weighed

The role of credit-card companies in helping to build these mountains of debt is coming under great scrutiny. Critics say that as the companies compete for this important growth market, they offer credit lines far out of proportion to students' financial means, reaching $10,000 or more for youngsters without jobs. The cards often come with little or no financial education, leaving some unsophisticated students with no idea what their obligations will be. Then when students build up balances on their cards, they find themselves trapped in a maze of jargon and baffling fees, with annual interest rates shooting up to more than 30%. "No industry in America is more deserving of oversight by Congress," says Travis Plunkett, legislative director for Consumer Federation of America, a consumer advocacy group.

The oversight may be coming soon. With Democrats in control of Congress and the debt problems for college kids only growing worse, the chances of a crackdown have increased substantially. The Senate is expected to hold hearings on the credit-card industry's practices this fall. Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has pledged to introduce tough legislation. And Slaughter introduced a bill in August to limit the amount of credit that could be extended to students to 20% of their income or $500 if their parents co-sign for the card.

The major credit-card companies take great issue with the criticisms. Bank of America (BAC), Citibank (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), American Express (AXP), and others say they are providing a valuable service to students and they work hard to ensure that their credit cards are used responsibly. Citibank and JPMorgan both offer extensive financial literacy materials for college students. Citibank, for instance, says it distributed more than 5 million credit-education pieces to students, parents, and administrators last year for free. At JPMorgan Chase, bank representative Paul Hartwick says: "Our overall approach toward college students is to help them build good financial habits and a credit history that prepares them for a lifetime of successful credit use."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the dirty secrets of credit card companies are at

Free Online Science and Engineering Tutorials

My Wonderful World (from National Geographic) ---

Human Genome Project Education Resources ---

USGS Learning Age: Geologic Age (teaching materials) ---

TeachEngineering: Design a Bicycle Helmet (Engineering Tutorial) url=

Bob Jensen's links to free science and engineering tutorials are at

Creating Mathlets with Open Source Tools ---

Bob Jensen's links to free mathematics and statistics tutorials are at

Search for Free Patents ---

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

BlackPast: Remembered and Reclaimed (African American History) ---

From the University of Oregon
CultureWork ---

Bob Jensen's links to history tutorials are at the following two sites:

Counter-Terrorism Training and Resources for Law Enforcement ---

Bob Jensen's links to free online law and legal resources are at

Why doesn't Section 401 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act apply to attestation of internal controls in the World Bank?

"World Bank Reckoning," The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2007; Page A16 ---

Since we're talking about the world's second most out-of-control international bureaucracy -- no prizes for guessing the first -- we shouldn't get our hopes up. But in the past week some prominent outsiders have been forcing the World Bank to reckon with the alien concept of accountability. Now it's up to new bank President Robert Zoellick to see that their efforts bear fruit.

First up is former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. For the past five months, Mr. Volcker and a panel of international experts have been conducting an independent review of the Department of Institutional Integrity, the bank's anticorruption unit known internally as the INT. Their report, which readers can find on, is being released to the public today.

In sober and measured terms, Mr. Volcker's report provides a devastating indictment of what it calls the bank's "ambivalence" toward both corruption and its own anticorruption unit. "There was then, and remains now, resistance among important parts of the Bank staff and some of its leadership to the work of INT," the report says (our emphasis).

It goes on to say that, "Some resistance is more parochial. There is a natural discomfort among some line staff, who are generally encouraged by the pay and performance evaluation system to make loans for promising projects, to have those projects investigated ex post, exposed as rife with corruption, creating an awkward problem in relations with borrowing clients." To put it more plainly, the report is saying that every incentive at the bank is to push more money out the door, and bank employees hate the anticorruption effort because it interferes with that imperative.

The report endorses the work of the INT, which was created a mere six years ago and which has been under what it calls a "particularly strong" institutional attack ever since. The INT, the Volcker panel says, "is staffed by competent and dedicated investigators who work hard and long hours with professionalism" and deploy "advanced investigative methods to detect and substantiate allegations of fraud and corruption." And it goes on to recommend that the anticorruption crusaders "should be nurtured and maintained as an exemplary investigative organization" within the bank.

In a phone interview yesterday, Mr. Volcker added that he gives "high marks" to current INT director Suzanne Rich Folsom. Mr. Volcker's endorsement should stop cold the recent attempts by some in the bank's entrenched bureaucracy to run Ms. Folsom out of the bank, as they did Paul Wolfowitz.

The bank is also being put on notice by the U.S. Senate through provisions in its foreign operations appropriations bill. The provision threatens to withhold 20% of U.S. funds to the bank's International Development Association arm (which provides interest-free loans to the world's poorest countries) until it is assured that the bank "has adequately staffed and sufficiently funded the Department of Institutional Integrity." The bill also demands that the bank provide "financial disclosure forms of all senior World bank personnel." Now, that will get the bureaucracy's attention.

Notably, it's a Democrat -- Evan Bayh of Indiana -- who's taken the lead on this issue. Mr. Bayh has ordered a Government Accountability Office report on the effectiveness of IDA loans and their susceptibility to corruption, the bank's procurement procedures, as well as the legendary pay packages enjoyed by its senior management. "There's a tendency [at the bank] to say 'just give us the money and go away,'" the Senator told us by phone yesterday. "Until there are some tangible consequences, they won't take us seriously. We shouldn't let that happen."

Continued in article

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

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

Note that there's a pretty good summary of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act at

Say What?
Civil Rights Groups Protest in Favor of Standardized Testing

"Teachers and Rights Groups Oppose Education Measure ," by Diana Jean Schemo, The New York Times, September 11, 2007 ---

The draft House bill to renew the federal No Child Left Behind law came under sharp attack on Monday from civil rights groups and the nation’s largest teachers unions, the latest sign of how difficult it may be for Congress to pass the law this fall.

At a marathon hearing of the House Education Committee, legislators heard from an array of civil rights groups, including the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, the National Urban League, the Center for American Progress and Achieve Inc., a group that works with states to raise academic standards.

All protested that a proposal in the bill for a pilot program that would allow districts to devise their own measures of student progress, rather than using statewide tests, would gut the law’s intent of demanding that schools teach all children, regardless of poverty, race or other factors, to the same standard.

Dianne M. Piché, executive director of the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, said the bill had “the potential to set back accountability by years, if not decades,” and would lead to lower standards for children in urban and high poverty schools.

“It strikes me as not unlike allowing my teenage son and his friends to score their own driver’s license tests,” Ms. Piché said, adding, “We’ll have one set of standards for the Bronx and one for Westchester County, one for Baltimore and one for Bethesda.”

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at

Stanford Salaries versus UC-Berkeley Salaries

In an effort to keep some of its top talent and attract others, the University of California at Berkeley announced this week that the largest private gift in its history — a $113 million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation — will go toward creating 100 endowed chairs. Through a matching program, the university hopes private gifts can bring the total to $220 million in new endowments . . . For instance, in the 2006 fiscal year, Berkeley’s endowment was nearly $2.5 billion. By comparison, in the same period, the endowment at Stanford University, the elite private institution in Berkeley’s backyard, was $14 billion. Berkeley also falls short on faculty salaries. The most recent salary data from the American Association of University Professors found that Berkeley was third in terms of average salary at public universities for full professors, and Stanford was third on the list of private universities. But Berkeley’s average was $131,300 while Stanford’s was $164,300.
Elia Powers, "A Prominent Public Targets Faculty Retention," Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Both Stanford and UC Berkeley are also in two of the highest priced living areas in the nation, particularly in terms of astronomical housing costs. Of course housing prices surrounding most major universities are typically higher than housing prices outside a short commuting radius. The exception might be campuses that are hanging on in urban blight areas.

For a summary of salary data of faculty, go to

Gender Differences and Salaries ---

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Is there gender bias in top-ranked departments of philosophy?
Sally Haslanger’s latest paper won’t appear until next year, in the journal Hypatia, but a version she posted online is attracting considerable attention by pointing out the limits of progress for women in philosophy. Haslanger studied the gender breakdowns in the top 20 departments (based on The Philosophical Gourmet Report) and found that the percentage of women in tenure track positions was 18.7 percent, with two departments under 10 percent. She also looked at who published in top philosophy journals for the last five years and found that only 12.36 percent of articles were by women. Figures like that might not shock in some disciplines, but they stand out in the humanities. In history, for examples, a 2005 report found women making up 18 percent of full professors and 39 percent of assistant professors.
Scott Jaschik, "Philosophy and Sexism," Inside Higher Ed, August 10, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action controversies in higher education are at

I like the way this professor writes about his office
But when it comes right down to it, I am here because of The Office. No, not television’s dysfunctional cubicle comedy. What drew me to academic life was the academic office, that combination of personal library and intellectual lair. To my impressionable undergraduate eyes, the academic office not only conveyed the prestige that professors enjoy, but was a window into the academic mind. My adviser’s office was a prime specimen, crowded with obscure German texts on aesthetics, a noisy drip coffeemaker surrounded by a motley collection of mismatched mugs, and stacks of manila folders neatly labeled to indicate their cryptic contents (CURRIC IMPLEMENTATION PLAN 86-87 read one). I felt confident that behind each locked office door was a mirror of each professor’s intellectual universe, a hive buzzing with colliding ideas. For me, to enter as a student was to ever-so-briefly be orbited by knowledge itself . . . Unlike executive offices in the corporate world, the accoutrements of a typical academic office tend to run toward the utilitarian. Oak or cherry are rarely found, just austere metal and sturdy concrete. The one “natural” touch in my office is not even natural: A single wall covered in artificial dark wood paneling apparently salvaged from a late ‘60’s Ford LTD station wagon. If only I had shag carpet and a Hi-Fi to match.
Michael J. Cholbi, "An Office of His Own," Inside Higher Ed, September 10, 2007 ---

Student Partying Controversies
How should administrators handle student-sponsored events that feature alcohol?
Or, for that matter, half-naked partygoers dressed in caution tape?

"Fighting for Your Right to Party," Inside Higher Ed, by Andy Guess, September 12, 2007 ---

It isn’t just an academic issue for justifiably cautious student life coordinators and campus safety officials, who have not only substance-related injuries to worry about, but the potential for sexual abuse as well. A number of campus parties known for risqué themes have ended in multiple hospitalizations in recent years, causing a swift response from administrators. Brown University’s notorious “Sex Power God,” for one, has historically been a metaphorical (at least) orgy of partially clad or costumed students sponsored by the Queer Alliance student group. It was temporarily placed on probation when the event ended with 24 hospitalizations in 2005.

“The university concentrates its education and outreach efforts on behavior that threatens student health and safety — alcohol and substance abuse, vandalism, threatening behavior, physical violence — and intervenes when student health and safety are at risk,” Margaret Klawunn, Brown’s associate vice president of campus life and dean for student life, said in a prepared statement.

Students tend not to appreciate official incursions into their social lives; there was grumbling at Columbia University this week about an alleged crackdown on dorm parties.

But crackdowns pose some vexing issues for campus administrators, too: the knowledge that overstepping their bounds could send more students into closed dorm rooms or unlisted parties off campus.

Just last week, Brandeis University informed a student group that its “Wear Anything But Clothes” fund raising dance — in which students were to pay $1 to $4 for admission based on how creatively they covered themselves without actually donning clothes — could not take place as planned this weekend. The administration claims that concerns over drinking or sexuality were not the reason for the decision, although an earlier event held by the same group, Liquid Latex, allowed the least-clad students to pay the lowest entrance fees and ended with three cases of alcohol intoxication.

A chief concern for administrators is how to attract students to on-campus events while keeping the themes relevant and worthwhile. Since students can always go to parties not under the supervision of the university, “we work hard to have students be attracted to on-campus events, and to have those events have sound social, educational and recreational value to them,” said Rick Sawyer, the vice president for student affairs and dean of student life at Brandeis, in an e-mail.

Continued in article

Also see "Calling the Folks About Campus Drinking," by Samuel G. Friedman, The New York Times, September 12, 2007 --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Rather than attempting to perform mind-numbing exercises like this one, we might take a step back and begin to (really) evaluate college experiences, beginning with such basic questions as how many writing courses do we require? What do we have in place to help students who are struggling in first year classes? What do our particular students need? What weaknesses are consistently apparent in student performance? How can we best remedy those problems? Which of our existing programs and courses are the most successful? Why and how? Is there a balance between academic divisions and departments? Do we make promises that we can't keep? Is there a pattern of short-term "fixes" for both students and the college in general that have proven to be no help in the long run? What sorts of questions are we asking in our exit interviews, are we asking them clearly, and are we following up on those answers, or simply filing them away to satisfy a quota of paperwork? In addition to Peter Berger's piece mentioned above, two Chronicle Review essays offer further commentary: see Steven J. Tepper, "The Creative Campus. Who’s Number 1?" The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1 October 2004, B6-8, and George D. Kuh, "How to Help Students Achieve," The Chronicle of Higher Education, 15 June 2007, B12-13.
Carolyn Segal, The Irascible Professor, September 9, 2007 ---

Has the salary advantage of Historically Black Colleges and Universities declined?
An April working paper finding that the economic gains associated with attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in comparison to traditionally white institutions have shifted dramatically since the 1970s — and not in the HBCUs’ favor — came under heavy scrutiny Monday during a session at the National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference in Washington. . . . The study, conducted by Harvard University’s Roland G. Fryer and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Michael Greenstone, found that graduates of HBCUs in the 1970s benefited from a 10 to 12 percent wage gain relative to those who attended traditionally white institutions. However, by the 1990s, and despite gains on measures of pre-college academic preparedness among students at black colleges, HBCU graduates had a 12 to 14 percent lower wage on average than graduates of traditionally white colleges — accounting for a swing of roughly 20 percent.
Elizabeth Redden, "Heated Debate About HBCUs," Inside Higher Ed, September 11, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action in admissions can be found at

My experience is probably typical and thus the fear of giving "offense" consigns thousands of graduates to incomplete educations. Sort of like proper Victorian sex education. A vicious cycle is created - "safe lectures" beget boredom and this only encourages yet more sleeping and more garbling. This censoring can also have more tragic consequences for those oblivious to awaiting minefields.
Robert Weisberg, "The Hidden Impact Of Political Correctness," Minding The Campus, September 13, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
History of Political Correctness --- Click Here
History of Political Correctness --- Click Here (Video)

"Reframing the Debate About What Professors Say," Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 11, 2007 ---

From a legislative perspective, the movement for the Academic Bill of Rights” hasn’t led to the enactments of bills that many professors feared. Hearings have been held, and bills introduced — and some have even advanced. But the movement hasn’t produced new laws. That’s not to say, though, that it hasn’t had an impact. Plenty of legislators, talk radio hosts, bloggers and others have picked up the arguments put forth by David Horowitz and other proponents of the measure — namely that many professors are not only liberal, but are committed to indoctrinating students and punishing those who don’t accept their views.

With the public debate having been influenced more than the law, the American Association of University Professors is today trying to reframe the debate. It is releasing today a new statement on “Freedom in the Classroom,” taking on arguments about indoctrination, the need for measurable “balance” in courses, and the idea that professors need to stay close to an agreed upon syllabus and avoid political references unless directly and clearly related to course content.

“We want to help stiffen the spine of the professoriate,” said Cary Nelson, president of the AAUP, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a member of the committee that drafted the new statement. “This is really, more than anything else, a statement directed at the higher education community,” said Nelson, who added that he worried that too many professors are censoring themselves because they don’t want to find themselves answering questions about why they made some political reference or assigned a certain book and not another.

Starting this week, the AAUP will be e-mailing the statement to 350,000 American academics, and similar e-mail campaigns will take place in Canada (a French translation has been provided for those Quebec) and possibly elsewhere. “We want to give faculty members arguments that are really clear and that they can use with administrations,” Nelson said. (A podcast interview from this summer features Nelson discussing his goals for the statement.)

The statement says that answering the charges of widespread abuse of classroom discussions is vital to preventing the kind of legislation and regulation academics fear. “Modern critics of the university seek to impose on university classrooms mandatory and ill-conceived standards of ‘balance,’ ‘diversity,’ and ‘respect.’ We ought to learn from history that the vitality of institutions of higher learning has been damaged far more by efforts to correct abuses of freedom than by those alleged abuses,” the statement says. “We ought to learn from history that education cannot possibly thrive in an atmosphere of state-encouraged suspicion and surveillance.”

Continued in article

Every time college professors enter their classrooms — any one of the thousands of classrooms on the thousands of campuses across the United States — they know they are presiding over an extraordinary and potentially volatile space. Not all classrooms are charged with drama, of course; some contain students sitting in remote corners of the lecture hall, catching up on some much-needed sleep. But classrooms that depend on student discussion, commentary, and debate are quite another thing — and seasoned teachers know what every inexperienced teacher dreads: Class discussion can go in any direction whatsoever. Students can pick up on a professor’s analogy — for example, my slightly facetious comparison of Silas Lapham to the Beverly Hillbillies, or my more serious comparision between two characters’ discussion of American literary figures and our own sense of the “canon” of American directors — and run with it anywhere they like; every day, they bring to the classroom their own analogies, obsessions, fully-formed arguments, and passing concerns, as well as the ideas that just popped into their heads a few minutes ago. And in response, professors can pick up on students’ responses and take them wherever on the syllabus — or wherever in the world — seems most pedagogically promising.
Michael Bérubé, "Freedom to Teach," Inside Higher Ed, September 11, 2007 --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on "Debates over the Limits of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech" are at

What is really happening in the European Union?

EU Reform: A New Treaty or an Old Constitution? ---

Debates over the Limits of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech

The National Association of Scholars issued a new report Tuesday criticizing social work education as a “national academic scandal” because its programs’ mission descriptions and curricular requirements are “chock full of ideological boilerplate and statements of political commitment.” In addition, the report questions the Council on Social Work Education, which accredits colleges based in part on whether the provide “social and economic justice content grounded in an understanding of distributive justice, human and civil rights, and the global interconnections of oppression.” The report issued Tuesday is in many ways similar to a complaint filed by the association with the Education Department in 2005. A spokeswoman for the Council on Social Work Education said that only one person there could respond to questions about the report’s criticism and that person was not available Tuesday.
Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2007 ---

“I’ve been a liberal law professor for 28 years,” Chemerinsky told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday. “I write lots of op-eds and articles, I argue high-profile cases.”Apparently, though, the details of Chemerinsky’s background eluded some of those charged with choosing a founding dean for the University of California at Irvine’s new law school. After being selected last week for the job — in what was widely described as a remarkable “coup” for a startup law school — Chemerinsky was informed Tuesday by Irvine’s chancellor, Michael V. Drake, that the university was revoking the offer because Drake had not been fully aware of the extent to which there were “conservatives out to get me,” Chemerinsky told the Times.
Doug Lederman, "Law School Deanship Rescinded; Politics Blamed," Inside Higher Ed, September 13, 2007 ---

The University of Michigan Resumes Distribution of Anti-Israel Book ---
Academe vigorously hangs on to its freedom of speech prerogatives..

Bob Jensen's threads on "Debates over the Limits of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech" are at

Controversies over the limits of free speech in student-run campus newspapers
The student-run newspaper at Central Connecticut State University is under fire for publishing a cartoon this week that critics called racist and sexist. The three-frame comic, titled “Polydongs,” features two characters who mention locking a “14-year-old Latino girl” in a closet and urinating on her. It was published in Wednesday’s issue of The Recorder, a weekly newspaper distributed free on campus. The university’s president vowed on Friday to cut off advertising in the paper, and its critics have planned a protest on Monday on campus to push for reforms, including the ouster of the paper’s editor, Mark Rowan“We believe the climate here at Central is one that fosters this kind of behavior,” said Francisco Donis, a psychology professor and president of the university’s Latin American Association, “so we want more systematic changes to create a welcoming environment for everyone to feel safe and secure.” About 5 percent of the 9,600 undergraduates are Hispanic, according to university figures. The campus is in New Britain, a racially diverse city of 71,000 about 12 miles southwest of Hartford.
"Cartoon in Student-Run Newspaper Elicits Criticism," The New York Times, September 15, 2007 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on freedom of speech in academe are at

The Postsecondary Picture for Minority Students (and Men)

The newest report from the National Center for Education Statistics is, as its title (”Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities“) suggests, designed to provide a comprehensive look at how members of minority groups are faring in the American educational system, from top to bottom. But while the data it offers on that subject are decidedly mixed — showing significant progress over time for all groups, but wide gaps remaining in access to and success in college — the report’s most provocative (and potentially troubling) numbers may be about gender, not race.

Most of the data in the report from the Education Department’s statistical arm have been released in earlier or narrower reports. But by bringing together reams of statistics over 30 years on the full gamut of educational measures, from pre-primary enrollment of 3- to 5-year-olds to median incomes for adults over 25, the study aims to provide a broad-based look at “the educational progress and challenges that racial and ethnic minorities face in the United States.”

Progress and challenges are both evident; virtually every category contains good news and bad news. In the higher education realm, for instance, the report shows that where black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native students made up 17 percent of college undergraduates in 1976, their share of that total had risen to 32 percent by 2004. And each of those groups saw their raw numbers at least double over that time, with some groups showing significantly greater proportional increases, as seen in the table below:

  1976 2004 % Change
Black 943,355 1,918,465 103%
Hispanic 352,893 1,666,859 372%
Asian/Pacific Islander 169,291 949,882 461%
American Indian/Alaska Native 69,729 160,318 130%

Representation in graduate education changed along roughly the same lines, the study finds, with minority group members making up 25 percent of the graduate school population in 2004, up from 11 percent in 1976.

In addition, the proportion of all 18- to 24-year-old Americans who were enrolled in college rose sharply for all racial groups between 1980 and 2004, in most cases increasing by at least 50 percent.

But those positive developments aside, the research shows that members of underrepresented minority groups badly lag their white and Asian peers in college going. By 2004, 60.3 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in college, as were 41.7 of white Americans in that age group. The numbers were lower for other groups: 31.8 for black Americans, 24.7 for Hispanics, and 24.4 percent for American Indian/Alaska Natives.

Similarly, the proportion of degrees awarded to most racial minority groups fell well short of their representation in the population. Slightly less than 10 percent of all college degrees awarded by U.S. degree-granting institutions in 2003-4 — and 9.3 percent of bachelor’s degrees, and 6 percent of doctorates — went to African-Americans, who make up 12 percent of the population. Hispanics fared worse, earning 7.3 of all degrees, 6.8 percent of baccalaureate degrees, and 3.4 percent of doctorates, despite making up 14 percent of the U.S. populace.

Concerning as those numbers might be to advocates for minority education, the most striking data in the report are probably those related to the educational outcomes of men, of all races and ethnicities.

By virtually every measure used in the report, male students have fallen far behind their female counterparts. That development isn’t new, but the federal report lays out the situation starkly. For instance, the study finds that the gender gap in undergraduate enrollments expanded generally and for all races between 1976 and 2004, as seen in the table below:

The Gender Gap in Undergraduate Enrollments, 1976 to 2004

  Proportion of undergraduates
who were male, 1976
Proportion of Undergraduates
Who Were Male, 2004
% Difference Between Female
and Male Enrollment, 2004
All 52.0% 42.9% 14.2%  
White 52.4% 44.1% 11.8%  
Black 45.7% 35.7% 28.6%  
Hispanic 54.3% 41.4% 17.1%  
Asian/Pacific Islander 53.8% 46.2% 7.5%  
American Indian/Alaska Native 49.9% 39.1% 21.8%  

Similarly, the proportion of male 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college in 2004 had fallen to 34.7 percent, compared to 41.2 percent for women. Six to 10 percent gaps existed for all racial groups, too, with the exception of Asian/Pacific Islanders; for them, men were more likely to be enrolled in college by a 63 to 58 percent margin.

Women are also outperforming men as degree recipients, as seen in the table below:

Degrees Conferred by Gender and Race, 2003-4

Demographic Group All degrees
White men 818,690
White women 1,121,646
Black men 87,728
Black women 184,183
Hispanic men 78,775
Hispanic women 122,784
Asian/Pacific Islander men 75,435
Asian/Pacific Islander women 93,335
American Indian/Alaska Native men 8,476
American Indian/Alaska Native women 14,255

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action in admissions is at

Former U.S. Senator Larry Craig read the writing on the wall

"Wide-Stance Sociology," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2007 --- 

Rarely does a political scandal inspire anyone to discuss sociological research done 40 years earlier. But whatever else Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) may have contributed to public life, he certainly deserves credit for renewing interest in Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places, by Laud Humphreys, first published in 1970.
Humphreys, who was for many years a professor of sociology at Pitzer College, in Claremont, California, died in 1988. But his analysis of the protocols of anonymous encounters in men’s rooms — “tearooms,” in gay slang — has been cited quite a bit in recent weeks. In particular, reporters have been interested in his findings about the demographics of the cruising scene at the public restrooms he studied. (This research took place at a public park in St. Louis, Missouri during the mid-1960s.) Most patrons visiting the facilities for sexual activity tended to be married, middle-class suburbanites; they often professed strongly conservative social and political views.
So you can see where the book might prove topical. But the rediscovery of Humphrey’s work is not just a product of the power of Google combined with the force of the news cycle. It is an echo of the discussions that his work once stirred up in the classroom.

Tearoom Trade was, in its day, among the more prominent monographs in the social sciences – an interesting and unusual example of ethnographic practice that was featured in many textbooks, at least for a while. I recall reading a chapter from Humphreys in an introductory social-science anthology in the early 1980s and thinking that every single subculture in the world would eventually have a sociologist standing in the corner, taking notes.

The book was also widely discussed because of the ethical questions raised by Humphreys’s methodology. It would be an overstatement to call Tearoom Trade the main catalyst for the creation of institutional review boards, but debates over the book certainly played their part.

At issue was not the sexual activity itself but how the sociologist (then a graduate student) investigated it. Posing as a voyeur, and never revealing that he was there for research, Humphreys was accepted as “watchqueen” by the social circle hanging out at the restroom. He was entrusted with giving a signal if the police came around. He took notes on the activity taking place – including the license plates numbers of men who came around for fellatio. Through a contact in the police department, he was able to get their home addresses.

After a year, and having disguised himself to some degree, he visited them under the pretense of doing a survey for an insurance company to gather more data about their circumstances and opinions. Humphreys states that he was never recognized during these interviews. He kept all the documents generated during this research in a lockbox and destroyed them after his dissertation was accepted by Washington University in St. Louis.

He received his Ph.D. that June 1968 – exactly one year before the patrons of the Stonewall, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, got tired of being harassed by the police and decided to fight back. So when the dissertation appeared as a book in 1970 (issued by a social-science press called Aldine, now an imprint of Transaction Publishers, which keeps it in print) the timing was excellent. The main public-policy implication of Humphreys’s work was that police could just as well ignore the restroom shenanigans: the activity that Humphrey reported was consensual and low-risk for spreading sexually-transmitted disease, and it did not involve “luring” minors. The book won that year’s C. Wright Mills Award for the outstanding book on a critical social issue.

But concerns about how the data had been collected were expressed by Humphreys’s colleagues almost as soon as he received his degree, and the debate continued into the 1970s. (When the book was reprinted in 1975, it included a postscript covering some of the discussion.)

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on "Debates over the Limits of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech" are at

Trojan(R) Ranks U.S. Colleges and Universities in Second Annual Sexual Health Report Card --- Click Here

The makers of Trojan brand condoms today released their 2007 Sexual Health Report Card, the second annual ranking of sexual health resources at American colleges and universities. The study, conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces on behalf of Trojan, finds a lack of access to information and resources may prevent some students from being sexually healthy.

This year's report card arrives in the wake of Trojan's "Evolve" campaign ( ), a multimedia effort aimed at redefining the national dialogue on sexual health with an emphasis on responsible behavior and partners' respect for one another.

In total, 139 colleges and universities representing each state and major NCAA Division I athletic conference were reviewed. Placing first and second, the University of Minnesota and University of Wyoming demonstrated "well- evolved" sexual health programs and were the most sexually healthy schools according to the study. While Ohio State and the University of Florida may have recently triumphed in sports, the Trojan Report Card indicates their sexual health programs have room to improve, as OSU and UF ranked 26th and 43rd, respectively.

Yale University, which topped the rankings in 2006, came in at number 16 this year. Access to sexual health information and resources, including the schools annual Sex Week at Yale (SWAY), continue to be highly rated; however, the school's lower ranking is a result of the expanded categories and schools considered. The 2007 Sexual Health Report Card examined 139 schools, nearly 50 percent more than last year, and judged several categories not taken into consideration last year, resulting in different rankings.

    Highest- and Lowest-Ranked Schools
    1. University of Minnesota (GPA 3.91)
    2. University of Wyoming (GPA 3.91)
    3. University of Washington (GPA 3.73)
    4. Rutgers University (GPA 3.68)
    5. Purdue University (GPA 3.64)

    135. Villanova University (GPA 1.45)
    136. University of Arkansas (GPA 1.36)
    137. Arkansas State University (GPA 1.14)
    138. University of Louisiana (GPA 0.91)
    139. Louisiana Tech University (GPA 0.82)

For the first time, researchers allowed students to weigh in with an online survey that generated more than 3,300 responses. This opinion poll did not factor into the rankings, but does point to the opportunity for health centers on campus to evolve how they meet the needs of their students.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking controversies are at

Most colleges are better ranked on sex education than government education
Do we need radical changes in Government 101?

"Top-flight colleges fail civics, study says Cal and Stanford seniors test poorly," by Tanya Schevitz, San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2007 ---

Seniors at UC Berkeley, the nation's premier public university, got an F in their basic knowledge of American history, government and politics in a new national survey, and students at Stanford University didn't do much better, getting a D.

Out of 50 schools surveyed, Cal ranked 49th and Stanford 31st in how well they are increasing student knowledge about American history and civics between the freshman and senior years. And they're not alone among major universities in being fitted for a civics dunce cap.

Other poor performers in the study were Yale, Duke, Brown and Cornell universities. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore was the tail-ender behind Cal, ranking 50th. The No. 1 ranking went to unpretentious Rhodes College in Memphis.

The study was conducted by the University of Connecticut's department of public policy and the nonprofit education organization Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Researchers sampled 14,000 students at 50 schools, large and small.

The aim was to determine how well the colleges are teaching their students the basics of government, politics and history -- the bedrocks of good citizenship.

Beyond the rankings, the study found that across the board -- from elite universities to less-selective colleges -- the typical senior did poorly on the civics literacy exam, scoring below 70 percent. This would be a D or F on a basic test using a conventional grading scale.

That shows, the researchers said, that the students don't have -- and the universities generally aren't teaching -- the basic understanding of America's history and founding principles that they need to be good citizens.

It is a crisis, the report warns.

"It is at a point in history in this country where it has probably never been more important," said Eugene Hickok, a former U.S. deputy secretary of education and a member of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. "The study tells us we have a rising generation of bright, intelligent citizens that won't have the knowledge they need to be informed citizens. We are really only a generation or two away from a republic in pretty big trouble."

The study was conducted in 2005 by asking freshmen and seniors to answer 60 multiple-choice questions in the subject areas of American history, government, America and the world, and the market economy.

It then compared the averages from the two classes at each school to determine how much more seniors knew than freshmen -- indicating how well the university was doing in increasing student knowledge.

The survey found that more than half of students could not correctly identify the century (the 17th) when the first American colony was established at Jamestown.

A majority of students also could not identify the Baath party as the main source of Saddam Hussein's political support in Iraq.

At UC Berkeley, the results showed freshmen knew more than soon-to-graduate seniors. Freshmen scored an average of 60.4, and seniors scored an average of 54.8. That earned Cal a failing grade, the researchers said.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

More Evidence of Alleged Market Inefficiency
How likely is "hosing?"

From Unknown's Financial Rounds Blog on September 11, 2007 ---

What's the Return to Shorting Naked Puts?

We're talking (briefly) about option payoffs in class this week. So, I was excited when I came across this piece titled "Why are Put Options So Expensive?", by Oleg Bondarenko of the University if Illinois at Chicago. In it, he provides some very interesting figures. First off, the abstract:
This paper studies the "overpriced puts puzzle" - the finding that historical prices of the S&P 500 put options have been too high and incompatible with the canonical asset-pricing models, such as CAPM and Rubinstein (1976) model. Simple trading strategies that involve selling at-the-money and out-of-the-money puts would have earned extraordinary profits. To investigate whether put returns could be rationalized by another, possibly nonstandard equilibrium model, we implement a new methodology. The methodology is "model-free" in the sense that it requires no parametric assumptions on investors' preferences. Furthermore, the methodology can be applied even when the sample is affected by certain selection biases (such as the Peso problem) and when investors' beliefs are incorrect.

We find that no model within a fairly broad class of models can possibly explain the put anomaly.
Writing put options should make consistent small profits,. but with a chance that the option writer will occasionally get really hosed. But by Bondareknko's analysis, markets consistently overvalue at the money (ATM) and out of the money options (OTM) that are "close" (i.e. within 6% of ATM). In fact, writing options seems to result in average returns of 39% per month, with returns for deep OTM options of almost double that. That's right - almost 40% per month.

So, how likely is the "hosing"? Does this merely reflect the risk of large losses? By his estimates, there would have to be a meltdown like the one in October 1987 1.3 times a year for the option writer to lose money.

So, why are put options so apparently overvalued? There are at least two possible explanations (other than something really funky/wrong with the data): one is that investors systematically overestimate the chance or severity of large market declines. The other is that option buyers have a utility function that is extremely risk averse. In either case, there's apparently an excess demand for insurance that option writers can benefit from (if they're willing to bear the risk).

HT: CXO Advisory group

September 13, 2007 reply from Sue P. Ravenscroft [ACCT] [sueraven@IASTATE.EDU]

For another explanation, I would suggest people read Chapter 7 of a book titled An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets. Actually the entire book is terrific, but if you are short of time, that chapter will suffice. The author (Donald MacKenzie) makes a very convincing case that options and option futures have been skewed since the stock market crash of October 1987. While traders realize there is this unused profit opportunity, they also believe that taking advantage of it would make the market less stable.


Bob Jensen's PowerPoint file on options is amongst the JensenPowerPoint files at

Bob Jensen's tutorials on accounting for derivative financial instruments and hedging activities are linked at

"How to Control China's "Export" of Air Pollution," Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, September 9, 2007 ---

Global warming affects the entire earth, though unequally, but Chinese air pollution is "exported" mainly to a few nations, mainly Korea, Japan, and the western United States. Other differences between the carbon-emission and conventional air-pollution phenomena are that there is far more uncertainty about the magnitude of the threat posed by global warming, and far greater costs to arresting global warming, than in the case of China's external air pollution, and this enables one to see the problem of international control of air pollution in rather clearer terms than that of controlling carbon emissions.

It is a problem of externalities. The costs of Chinese air pollution to Koreans, Japanese, and Americans are not costs to China, and the benefits of abating this external pollution would not be benefits to China. But this description of the problem ignores the Coase theorem, one version of which is that if transaction costs are low, the market itself will internalize externalities and thus solve the externalities problem. We might think of the present legal regime as one in which China has a property right in the activities that give rise to pollution, or stated more precisely that its ownership of coal-fired power plants, gasoline-powered vehicles, and so forth carries with it a right to pollute. If so, then Korea, Japan, and the United States (assuming they are the only countries seriously affected by Chinese pollution) could persuade China to reduce its pollution by paying China an amount of money just slightly above what it would cost China to reduce its pollution "exports" to these countries to the level desired by the "victim" nations. This assumes that the cost of the negotiations, both among the victim nations and with China, would not be so great as to prevent a deal that made all the parties involved better off; but it is not clear why those costs should be particularly high. Nor is there a serious danger that China would increase its polluting activities in order to extort more money from the other nations, since pollution hurts the people of China far more than it hurts any other population (the pollution described in the Times article is grotesque in its magnitude and lethality).

The transaction would be efficient, but it would also bring about a transfer of wealth from what I am calling the victim nations to China. But this is a common kind of market event. A real estate developer who wanted to create a residential community on land adjacent to a funeral home, and feared that the funeral home's presence would depress house values by giving the occupants of the houses an unwelcome reminder of their mortality, could pay the funeral home to relocate.

And if buying off a polluter seems crass--"Greens" would denounce it for conveying the message that pollution is a legitimate byproduct of economic activity (a "commodity" for the victims of air pollution to buy from the polluter)--there are other means of inducing China to reduce air pollution. There are things that China wants from Korea, Japan, and the United States, and these countries can give China some of those things in barter for China's strengthening its enforcement of its existing pollution controls or adopting and enforcing newer, more stringent ones.

An alternative would be to negotiate an international agreement by which China and all other nations surrendered control over their pollution to an international environmental protection agency. But the transaction costs would be prohibitive, in part because of extreme uncertainty about the policies that the agency would adopt. Nations do not surrender their sovereignty lightly.

Continued in article

The Kuznets Curve
"How to Control China's "Export" of Air Pollution," Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, September 9, 2007 ---

The result typically is that air, water, and other kinds of pollution at first rise sharply with economic development, and then fall about equally sharply as development proceeds still further. This inverted U-shaped relation between a country's level of pollution and its level of GDP per capita is called the "Environmental Kuznets Curve" after the Nobel prize-winning economist, Simon Kuznets. He had established such an inverted U-shaped relation between income inequality within a country and its level of per capita GDP, and researchers discovered about 20 years ago that the same type of inverted U relation holds for environmental damage, such as particulates in the air. In fact, the two Kuznets relations are not independent since one way to reduce inequality in measures of full income that include environmental damage is to reduce the degree of pollution.

Prior to the discovery of this U-shaped environmental relation, the general opinion was that environments were inevitably damaged more as industrialization increased and economies developed. That is still a common view among those unfamiliar with the evidence. To be sure, the full evidence indicates that no single relation between environmental effects and economic development fits all pollutants in all countries. For example, theory predicts that domestic opposition would make governments more responsive to local pollutants of air and water, and less responsive to global pollution, such as emission of greenhouse gases. In fact, the U-shaped relation does seem to hold better for local pollutants.

These Kuznets-type relations are beginning to take hold in China, as judged from the growing complaints about various types of pollution, and discussions by scientists and government officials about steps to take to respond positively to these complaints. This reaction to internal complaints may not be sufficient to satisfy its neighbors in Asia and in the Western hemisphere since as I mentioned, different types of pollution operate within and between countries. Moreover, China's richer neighbors would be more sensitive to pollution than the poorer Chinese are. However, as China continues to develop, the complaints due to "internal" externalities will begin to interact more with the complaints due to the "external" externalities imposed on other countries. The combination of internal and external complaints should push China even faster along reductions in environmental damage than has been typical in the past when countries responded mainly only to internal complaints about pollution levels.

Continued in article

From the Scout Report on September 14, 2007

Acoo Browser 1.70.798 --- 

This latest version of Acoo Browser contains some rather nice new features, and visitors who haven't tried this Internet browser may wish to do so. The browser has dockable panel groups, along with advanced features that include a built-in calculator, easy access to RSS feeds, and integrated search engine support. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer and Internet Explorer 5.0 and newer.

DoBeDo 3.0  --- 

Sure enough, Old Blue Eyes was known to throw a "do-be-do" around near the end of a choice lyric, but this particular "do-be-do" happens to be a timely widget. DoBeDo 3.0 integrates up with iCal to allow users to easily view, add, edit, and delete "to-do" items. This particular version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4, Dashboard, and iCal 2.0.5.

From The Washington Post on September 11, 2007

What type of software does Moodle provide?

A. E-mail system
B. Information security management
C. Word processing
D. Course-management system

Moodle ---
Moodle's expensive competitor ---

From The Washington Post on September 10, 2007

What is the name of News Corp. and NBC Universal's new online video venture?

A. LaLa
B. Joost
C. Hulu
D. Viva

From The Washington Post on September 13, 2007

When was the first personal computer virus created?

A. 1999
B. 1994
C. 1989
D. 1982

Updates from WebMD ---

How do medical students improve memory?

September 12, 2007 message from Linda A. Kidwell []

Dear Bob,

In teaching the new set of audit standards, I was trying to come up with new mnemonic devices to replace the old standby PERCV. What can you do with OCACC? As far as my internet searches could find, no one else has come up with new ones either. However, I did find this fun site to help medical students with memorization, and the site works perfectly well with non-medical terms too. 

Linda A. Kidwell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Accounting, College of Business
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3275, 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071

Somehow I find this hard to believe!
Soft drinks (in excess) alone do not affect children's weight

Soft drink consumption has increased in both the USA and the UK over the years and this has often been blamed for a rise in childhood body mass index (BMI). However, many of the review methodologies investigating the alleged links have been flawed. A recent scientific analysis of a nationally representative sample of children’s diets and lifestyles found no link between the amount of soft drinks children consume and their body weight. . . . Despite having a greater overall calorie intake (especially from fat and protein), overweight children consumed a similar amount of soft drinks to their leaner contemporaries. Importantly, the study used estimates of the subjects’ energy expenditure and basal metabolic rate to screen out those who were likely to be under-reporting their intakes.
PhysOrg, September 11, 2007 ---

Taking the contraceptive pill may reduce the risk of developing cancer
The study recruited 46,000 women, with an average age of 29. Approximately half were using oral contraceptives; the other half had never taken it. Every six months their GP provided the study with information on the women's health. In addition, three quarters of the women were 'flagged' at the NHS central registries so that deaths and cancers were notified to the study even if women had left their recruitment GP. Professor Philip Hannaford and colleagues used the data to calculate the risk of developing any type of cancer and the main gynaecological cancers combined. They also considered the effects of variables such as age, smoking and social class.
PhysOrg, September 12, 2007 ---

An experimental tool could help illuminate Parkinson's disease.
There are no cures for debilitating neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, and researchers still don't understand what causes brain cells to die in patients suffering from these diseases. But MIT researchers hope to speed up the quest for answers and the search for therapies in an unlikely test subject: worms. Mehmet Fatih Yanik, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, is developing microfluidic devices that could greatly facilitate experiments, including whole-genome screening and drug testing, on small nematode worms called C. elegans. They are a favorite subject of biologists and medical researchers because the worms are tiny and transparent, and researchers can do experiments with them that are not possible with larger animals.
MIT's Technology Review, September 14, 2007 ---

More Evidence Linking Diabetes Drug (Avandia) to Heart Attacks
The analysis, reported in the Sept. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is one of the first to evaluate how long-term use of Avandia affects risk of heart attacks, heart failure and mortality. It involved studies that followed patients for at least a year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently required that Avandia and another drug in the same class carry the agency’s toughest “black-box” warning because of an increased risk of heart failure. The agency is currently evaluating whether a warning about heart attack risk should also be included for Avandia. Earlier this year, an analysis of 42 short-term studies found an increased risk of heart attacks.
PhysOrg, September 11, 2007 ---
Also see
Also see

Why can't I have coffee or tea without a cookie or related snack?
A chocolate cookie a day puts 20 pounds on an energetically-balanced kid in 4 years

After summer holidays, miracle-diet adherents stick to these diets to lose the weight gained in the last months in record time. Gyms also become overcrowded with people making a final sprint of sacrifice whose results do not exactly match previous expectations and with few benefits for health.
PhysOrg, September 10, 2007 ---

Worms found in every glass of water in Oban, Scotland
Residents of Oban, Scotland, are finding midge larvae floating in their drinking water -- and they don't like it. Customers of Scottish Water say two or three of the tiny larvae, known as bloodworms, are coming out of the tap into every glass of water, the BBC reported Tuesday.
PhysOrg, September 11, 2007 --- 

Jensen Comment
Not to worry. Tequila drinkers have been looking at a fuzzy worm in every bottle of Mezcal for years ---
There might even be a market for bottled water with a Scottish worm in each bottle or bottled scotch whiskey with a visible worm.

How vitamin C stops the big 'C'
Nearly 30 years after Nobel laureate Linus Pauling famously and controversially suggested that vitamin C supplements can prevent cancer, a team of Johns Hopkins scientists have shown that in mice at least, vitamin C - and potentially other antioxidants - can indeed inhibit the growth of some tumors -- just not in the manner suggested by years of investigation.
PhysOrg, September 10, 2007 ---

Drug-free treatments offer hope for older people in pain
Mind-body therapies, which focus on the interactions between the mind, body and behavior, and the ways in which emotional, mental, social and behavioral factors can affect health, may be of particular benefit to elderly chronic pain sufferers. A new study published in Pain Medicine provides a structured review of eight mind-body interventions for older people, including progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, hypnosis, tai chi and yoga.
PhysOrg, September 10, 2007 ---

Implantable device designed to detect, stop seizures under study
A small device implanted in the skull that detects oncoming seizures, then delivers a brief electrical stimulus to the brain to stop them is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.
PhysOrg, September 10, 2007 ---

A primary mystery puzzling neuroscientists -- where in the brain lies intelligence" -- just may have a unified answer
In a review of 37 imaging studies related to intelligence, including their own, Richard Haier of the University of California, Irvine and Rex Jung of the University of New Mexico have uncovered evidence of a distinct neurobiology of human intelligence. Their Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory (P-FIT) identifies a brain network related to intelligence, one that primarily involves areas in the frontal and the parietal lobes. Their report includes peer commentary from 19 researchers and appears online in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences. “Recent neuroscience studies suggest that intelligence is related to how well information travels throughout the brain,” said Haier, a professor of psychology in the School of Medicine and longtime human intelligence researcher. “Our review of imaging studies identifies the stations along the routes intelligent information processing takes. Once we know where the stations are, we can study how they relate to intelligence.”
"Brain network related to intelligence identified," PhysOrg, September 11, 2007 ---

New approach to fighting obesity and diabetes
PhysOrg, September 11, 2007 ---

An economist argues that raising taxes on gasoline could have an unexpected benefit: a less obese population
"The Skinny on the Gas Tax," MIT's Technology Review, September 13, 2007 ---

In a recent research paper, Charles Courtemanche, an economist at the University of Washington, St. Louis, provides the empirical support. He writes,

"A causal relationship between gasoline prices and obesity is possible through mechanisms of increased exercise and decreased eating in restaurants. I use a fixed effects model to explore whether this theory has empirical support, finding that an additional $1 in real gasoline prices would reduce obesity in the U.S. by 15% after five years, and that 13% of the rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling real gas prices during this period. I also provide evidence that the effect occurs both by increasing exercise and by lowering the frequency with which people eat at restaurants."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
In terms of attributing causality from correlation, this is slightly better than Yate's correlations of Danish birthrates with numbers of stork's nests, but only slightly.

Sad Sicko Stories from my favorite (Give Us a Break) reporter!

"Sick Sob Stories," by John Stossel, The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2007; Page A16 ---

In Michael Moore's movie "Sicko," a widow named Julie Pierce tells a tearful story: Her husband died of kidney cancer after their health-insurance company denied payment for a bone-marrow transplant that might have saved his life. Ms. Pierce's rage is palpable as she repeats the word her insurers used in response to her husband's request. "They denied it," she sneers. "Said it was 'experimental.'"

Viewers of the documentary are meant to understand that "experimental" is health-insurance code for "expensive," and that Ms. Pierce's husband was left to die for the sake of profit. According to Mr. Moore's movie, "Any payment for a claim is referred to as a medical loss," and when a claim is denied, "it's a savings to the company."

But Mr. Moore is so busy following the money that he doesn't take the time to follow the science. Treating cancer patients with bone-marrow transplants has a dubious history.

Twenty years ago, many oncologists believed that bone-marrow transplants, along with high doses of chemotherapy, might offer a cure for breast cancer. Insurance companies refused to pay, calling the treatment experimental and unproven. Breast-cancer sufferers went to court: In one case, a jury awarded $77 million to the family of a woman who was denied payment for the treatment. Wives and mothers told heart-rending stories in newspapers and on TV. Politicians quickly moved to guarantee the treatment to all breast-cancer patients. Ten state legislatures mandated that every insurance policy cover bone-marrow transplantation for breast-cancer patients. Amid the media circus and political self-congratulation, the question of whether bone-marrow transplants are medically effective faded into the background.

The sad truth is that the treatment isn't effective. When researchers released the results of their clinical trials to the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 1999, they showed that the treatment offered no benefit. Worse, it often killed women faster than their cancer, and caused them unnecessary pain. At a time when their health was at its greatest risk, more than 30,000 women were exposed to an invasive, harmful and ultimately useless treatment that the National Institutes of Health no longer recommends. But only one state legislature has repealed its law requiring insurance companies to pay for the treatment. Some doctors believe bone-marrow transplants might help kidney cancer patients, and the NIH is conducting clinical trials to find out. Until the treatment has been shown to do more good than harm, insurers are reluctant to pay for it.

Mr. Moore claims that because private insurance companies are driven by profit, they will always deny care to deserving patients. For this reason, he argues, profit-making health-insurance companies should be abolished, our health- care dollars turned over to the government, and the U.S. should institute a health-care system like the ones in Canada, Britain or France. But does Mr. Moore think, even for a second, that any of the government systems he touts in his movie would have provided a bone-marrow transplant to Ms. Pierce's husband? Fat chance.

When government is in charge of health care, the result is not that everyone gets access to experimental treatments, but that people get less of the care that is absolutely necessary. At any given time, just under a million Canadians are on waiting lists to receive care, and one in eight British patients must wait more than a year for hospital treatment. Canadian Karen Jepp, who gave birth to quadruplets last month, had to fly to Montana for the delivery: neonatal units in her own country had no room.

Rationing in Britain is so severe that one hospital recently tried saving money by not changing bed-sheets between patients. Instead of washing sheets, the staff was encouraged to just turn them over, British papers report. The wait for an appointment with a dentist is so long that people are using pliers to pull out their own rotting teeth.

Patients in countries with government-run health care can't get timely access to many basic medical treatments, never mind experimental treatments. That's why, if you suffer from cancer, you're better off in the U.S., which is home to the newest treatments and where patients have access to the best diagnostic equipment. People diagnosed with cancer in America have a better chance of living a full life than people in countries with socialized systems. Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, only one-quarter die in the U.S., compared to one-third in France and nearly half in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Moore thinks that profit is the enemy and government is the answer. The opposite is true. Profit is what has created the amazing scientific innovations that the U.S. offers to the world. If government takes over, innovation slows, health care is rationed, and spending is controlled by politicians more influenced by the sob story of the moment than by medical science.

Mr. Stossel is co-anchor of "20/20." ABC News will air his TV special on health care at 10 p.m. EST Friday.

George Utset, who writes The Real Cuba Web site, says Moore and his group were ushered to the upper floors of the hospital, to rooms reserved for the privileged. "They don't go to the hospital for regular Cubans. They go to hospital for the elite. And it's a very different condition," Utset says.For ordinary Cubans, health care is different. A video, posted by a woman from Venezuela, purports to show the two forms of health care, one for the privileged who pay in dollars and a far inferior one for regular Cubans. Moore claims Cubans live longer than Americans. It's true that a U.N. report claims that. But the United Nations didn't gather any data. "The United Nations simply reports whatever the government in Cuba reports, so we have no objective way to know what the real statistics are," Carro says.Exactly. Communist countries are famous for hiding the truth. Twenty years ago, when I reported from the Soviet Union, officials insisted there were no poor people in Russia, but they refused to let me look for myself.Why would we believe the Cuban government's health statistics?Cuba claims it has low infant mortality, but doctors tell us that Cuban obstetricians abort a fetus when they think there might be a problem. Dr. Julio Alfonso told us he used to do 70-80 abortions a day. And here's an even more devious way of distorting infant-mortality data: Some doctors tell us that if a baby dies within a few hours of birth, Cuban doctors don't count him or her as ever having lived. Moore told me: "All the independent health organizations in the world, and even our own CIA, believe that the Cubans have a pretty good health system. And they do, in fact, live longer than we do."But the CIA does not claim that Cubans live longer than Americans. In fact, the CIA says Americans live longer. When I pressed Moore, he backed away from the claims his movie makes about Cuba. "Let's stick to Canada and Britain," he said, "because I think these are legitimate arguments that are made against the film and against the so-called idea of socialized medicine. And I think you should challenge me on these things, and I'll give you my answer."
John Stossel (my favorite "Give Us a Break" commentator), "Cuba Has Better Health Care than the United States?" by John Stossel, RealClearPolitics, September 12, 2007 ---

To view more of John Stossel's quest for truth and justice, search for "John Stossel" at

Here's Sicko for You:  Michael Moore would be more respected if he hammered on this legal loophole
One patient's four-year journey through the Byzantine U.S. health-care system is emblematic of how thousands of women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer are denied coverage because of a loophole in a little-known law.

"Legal Loophole Ensnares Breast-Cancer Patients," by John Carreyrou, The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2007; Page A1 ---

Ms. Loewe is one of thousands of women who get caught in a loophole in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act each year. Under the little-known law passed by Congress in 2000, uninsured women under age 65 who are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer can have their treatment covered by Medicaid, the government-funded health program for the poor, even if they don't meet all of its eligibility criteria.

But the law gives states an escape hatch. Rather than provide coverage to all comers, states can choose to cover only those diagnosed at clinics that get funding from a federal cancer-detection program. Texas chose the more restrictive option.

After cancer activist groups lobbied its legislature, Texas recently changed its version of the law to cover women diagnosed by any health provider starting Sept. 1. But 21 states continue to exclude patients diagnosed outside the federal cancer-detection program.

The Treatment Act loophole is just one of a number of cracks in the patchwork of laws and regulations that govern the U.S. health-care system. Crafted by lawmakers to save money, these coverage gaps can turn the quest for care into a daunting obstacle course for the country's 45 million uninsured when serious illness strikes. Perhaps nowhere is the problem as stark as in Texas, where one in four residents lacks health insurance -- the highest proportion of uninsured in the nation.

A California native, Ms. Loewe was a free spirit. In the 1970s, she lived in a cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains with her husband and her two children, a boy and a girl. Tragedy befell the family when the boy died from croup, a respiratory illness that afflicts young children. Ms. Loewe later divorced and moved to East Texas, settling in this small, working-class city. She worked long hours at Today's Cuts, a local hair salon, to make ends meet. Like many uninsured Americans, she went without health insurance because her employer didn't offer any and she couldn't afford it on her own.

Fear and Denial

Ms. Loewe first noticed a nickel-sized mass in her left breast in early 2003, according to her medical records. But she was distracted by the death of her father that spring. Her lack of insurance, combined with the fear and denial experienced by many cancer patients, also made her put off a doctor visit. By the time she showed up in late June at the emergency room at Good Shepherd, one of two hospitals in Longview, the mass had grown to nearly four inches in diameter.

Ms. Loewe earned too much to get Medicaid in Texas the regular way, but she would have qualified for it under the Treatment Act had she been diagnosed by the Wellness Center, a nearby clinic that participates in the federal cancer-detection program. Good Shepherd could have referred her there, but instead it sent her to Byron Cook, a staff surgeon. Dr. Cook diagnosed Ms. Loewe with inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive cancer that is often fatal, and referred her to a local oncology clinic, the Longview Cancer Center.

A Good Shepherd executive says the hospital didn't know about the Treatment Act. A spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services says it relies on participating clinics to get the word out. "I don't want to get into a game of finger-pointing because that's not useful to anyone," the Texas spokesman says.

Michelle Trich, the Wellness Center's executive director, says the clinic does community outreach, but doesn't know of any specific effort to get neighboring Good Shepherd to refer patients to the clinic.

With no means to pay for medical bills, Ms. Loewe went to her county's indigent clinic. The only assets she listed were $40 in cash and $60 in a checking account, but her application was rejected. Her most recent paycheck showed she had earned $7,096.02 in the first 5½ months of the year. That translated into an annual income far higher than the $8,980-a-year limit imposed by the county's charity guidelines for a single adult.

So Ms. Loewe cut back her hours to reduce her income. No longer able to afford her rent of $400 a month, she moved out of her apartment and rented a travel trailer from a friend for $200 a month.

Meanwhile, Lewis Duncan, an oncologist at the Longview Cancer Center, started Ms. Loewe on a classic treatment regimen of chemotherapy drugs, provided free by the drug makers' patient-assistance programs. On Aug. 4, 2003, she reapplied for charity assistance at the county clinic. With her lower wages, Ms. Loewe was approved, and the county began to pay for her treatment.

The county also agreed to pay for an antidepressant. Family members say Ms. Loewe felt helpless and afraid. Her daughter, Niko Ferguson, who lives in Denver, says her mother would often cry when they talked on the phone.

Ms. Loewe's sister, Tonna Day, who lives in the neighboring town of Gladewater, says Ms. Loewe desperately wanted to be treated at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the world-renowned cancer hospital in Houston. Mrs. Day says Ms. Loewe thought she would stand a better chance there.

She may have been right. Last year, M.D. Anderson opened the world's first dedicated clinic for inflammatory breast cancer. The hospital's five-year survival rate for the disease is over 40%. The national five-year survival rate is a little above 30%.

Ms. Loewe called M.D. Anderson but was told she needed a referral from her oncologist. She asked Dr. Duncan for the referral, but he refused, Mrs. Day says.

Dr. Duncan says he knew from experience that M.D. Anderson didn't take charity-case referrals unless the patient's diagnosis was unusual and the treatment couldn't be handled locally. Contacting it about Ms. Loewe "would have been a waste of time," he says.

A spokesman for M.D. Anderson says the cancer hospital does accept in-state referrals of charity cases regardless of the type of diagnosis. Had Ms. Loewe been covered by Medicaid, she would have stood an even better chance of admission; M.D. Anderson treats Medicaid patients no differently than those who are covered by private insurance.

Frustrated and confused, Ms. Loewe searched on the Internet and contacted an advocacy group called Native American Cancer Research, which fights cancer among Indian tribes. From her mother Ms. Loewe had inherited membership in the Oklahoma-based Chickasaw tribe.

Linda Burhansstipanov, NACR's president, says she first tried to requalify Ms. Loewe for Medicaid through the Treatment Act by suggesting she get screened at a program clinic for cervical cancer. But the effort was rejected by the Texas health department. The department spokesman says that would be tantamount to Medicaid fraud.

Later, as NACR was trying other avenues of help, Ms. Loewe phoned in tears because the county indigent clinic suspended its assistance, alleging she had ramped up her working hours, Ms. Burhansstipanov says. NACR intervened and got her reinstated. A supervisor at the county clinic says there's no record of Ms. Loewe being dropped from the county welfare rolls during that time.

Mrs. Day recalls visiting her sister around this time and being shocked by Ms. Loewe's living conditions. The 24-foot trailer was leaking gas and Ms. Loewe was complaining about a violent headache, which Mrs. Day figured was caused by the leak. "I told her: 'For Pete's sake, come live with us,' " Mrs. Day remembers. At first, Ms. Loewe wouldn't hear of it. But she wept, relented and moved in with her sister and brother-in-law that night.

After four months of chemotherapy, Ms. Loewe's tumor had shrunk by half but wouldn't get any smaller. Her doctors decided it was time for a mastectomy. Dr. Cook's office repeatedly asked Ms. Loewe how the operation would be paid for, according to Mrs. Day and Ms. Burhansstipanov. He finally scheduled the surgery in early November 2003 after receiving a consent fax from the county saying it would cover the costs.

Ms. Loewe's daughter, Mrs. Ferguson, flew in from Colorado to be with her mother for the operation. Mrs. Ferguson, who works as a nurse, noticed her mother and the surgeon weren't getting along, and became alarmed when Dr. Cook referred to removing the wrong breast the day before the surgery.

Dr. Cook says he doesn't remember the incident. He says Ms. Loewe got first-rate care and that she simply waited too long before getting the lump in her breast checked out. "She didn't exactly seek what you call early attention," he says.

The surgery went smoothly. Ms. Loewe underwent radiation therapy for five months until April 2004, when she went into remission. She returned to work full-time at Today's Cuts and moved back into an apartment next to the one she had once lived in.

The reprieve was short-lived. Three months later, Mrs. Ferguson noticed her mother was having trouble talking when they were on the phone. Mrs. Day took her sister back to Good Shepherd. The news wasn't good: Ms. Loewe's cancer had returned and metastasized to the brain, where it had spawned a tumor. The hospital gave Ms. Loewe only a few months to live.

Convinced Ms. Loewe wasn't receiving top-quality care, Mrs. Ferguson decided to bring her mother to Denver. Ms. Loewe moved in with her daughter's family in a Denver suburb. She slept on a donated mattress on the floor of her grandson's room.

But the move brought new complications. Ms. Loewe applied for Medicaid coverage in Colorado, but she was told the process could take as long as a year because she needed to establish residency in the state, her daughter and Ms. Burhansstipanov say.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing, which administers the state's Medicaid program, says she has no idea why Ms. Loewe was told that. States are required by federal law to act on a patient's application within 45 days and there is no time delay to establish residency.

Continued in article

Julie Andrews & Blake Edwards Comedy (Video) ---

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Did I read that sign right?


In a Laundromat:

In a London department store:

In an office:

In an office:

Outside a secondhand shop:

Notice in health food shop window:

Spotted in a safari park:

Seen during a conference:

Notic e in a farmer's field:

Message on a leaflet:

On a repair shop door:


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Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
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