Responding to a rumor that McDonalds added moosebergers to the menu.

Adding moose lyrics to Bolero

Too old to cut the mustard anymore ---

You can have her, I don't want her ---

More moose pictures ---

I've not yet taken any pictures of a moose on my camera. Erika did see one feeding under the snow in our yard last week at about 2:00 a.m. when the moon was full. About a month ago, during rutting season, we had to stop for a large male in the middle of the back woods road leading up to our home. The other night there was a moose beside the highway (Route 116) on our way back from a dinner party. Twp years ago, before I retired from teaching and had to catch a plane in Portland, I had to stop for a huge male about 5:00 a.m. on New Hampshire's famous and very beautiful Kancamagus Highway --- .
On average, over 200 cars hit moose each year on New Hampshire roads. Maine has a much larger moose population and more than twice the number of collisions of cars and moose ---
Deer accidents are more common, but moose are harder on cars.

What's a moose? ---
Although the average height of a moose is only about six feet at the shoulders, the head reaches eight feet or higher. Some big bulls reach over ten feet. One of our friends, Anita, at a dinner party said that, while walking alone with her dog in a field, she confronted a huge female moose. Anita laid down off the path while the moose became agitated by her dog. The moose ignored Anita and charged down the path and into the woods. My neighbor had trouble when a moose repeatedly walked right through his electric horse fence (apparently the moose did not get much of a charge out of it).

In the summertime, moose feed mainly on leaves and vegetation in our many shallow ponds in these mountains. They prefer underwater vegetation, which may account for why their legs and head evolved to be so huge. In the wintertime our ponds are frozen over. In order to conserve on energy consumption and a starvation diet, moose stand like statues in the winter while they live on stored fat.

Bull moose have been known, rarely, to fall in love with pastured farm cows. But I don't think the romantic feelings are mutual. In recent years, moose are prone to a brain disease that makes them disoriented. Sometimes they swim endlessly in circles. At other times they wander into town streets and back yards ---

Two Bulls Gently Sparing ---
Bull Moose in Anchorage ---
Moose Babies (the ears are huge for wireless reception) --- 
Woody Allen Shot a Moose ---
It was not Woody Allen that this moose attacked ---
Bear vs. a Moose ---
Face-in-Camera Female Moose ---
Moose and Dog Video (the moose was eating Halloween pumpkins) ---
Speed Painting in Watercolor ---

Moose Sings Da Blues ---
Rocky & Bullwinkle ---


Tidbits on November 29, 2007
Bob Jensen

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

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

You can read about Erika's surgeries and see her pictures at
Personal pictures are at
Some personal videos are at 

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

Set up free conference calls at  

Search for a song or band and play the selection ---
I tried it for Arturo Toscanini, Stan Kenton, and Jim Reeves.
The results were absolutely amazing!

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 ---

The Educational Multimedia Visualization Center (video) ---

BioEd Online: Food and Fitness ---

Small Business Administration: Free Online Courses (video) ---

The New York Times Video (Menu of Available Videos) ---

CNN/YouTube Debate: Submit Your Question Today! ---

Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac (audio) ---

Bored Night ---

This footage was recently released on Russian television. A Nikolaev, Russia businessman tipped off the police that he was about to be hit and/or robbed by the mafia. The police set up cameras inside and outside the businessman's apartment.

David Letterman Performs Naked (full-fronted) ---

MIT's Video Lecture Search Engine for Finding Topics Within Lectures: Watch the video at ---
Researchers at MIT have released a video and audio search tool that solves one of the most challenging problems in the field: how to break up a lengthy academic lecture into manageable chunks, pinpoint the location of keywords, and direct the user to them. Announced last month, the MIT
Lecture Browser website gives the general public detailed access to more than 200 lectures publicly available though the university's OpenCourseWare initiative. The search engine leverages decades' worth of speech-recognition research at MIT and other institutions to
convert audio
into text and make it searchable.
Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, November 26, 2007 ---
Once again, the Lecture Browser link (with video) is at
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

Find free video lectures from free universities at

Bob Jensen's threads on how to capture streaming video ---

From The Washington Post on November 26, 2007

How many DVDs does Netflix ship per day?

A. 500,000
B. 1.2 million
C. 1.6 million
D. 2.3 million
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

Free music downloads ---

Songza --- the best free music database I've ever encountered
Search for a song or band and play the selection ---
I tried it for Arturo Toscanini, Stan Kenton, and Jim Reeves.
The results were absolutely amazing!

Ear Chives ---

A Thanksgiving Feast With Handel
Handel’s Oratorio 'Belshazzar' in Concert in New York City ---

Verdi's 'Aida' From Houston Grand Opera (Act 1) ---
Giuseppe Verdi's 'Falstaff' From Houston Grand Opera ---
Verdi's 'Macbeth' (full concert) ---

An opera dedicated to the trauma of Argentina's Dirty War recently opened in the Argentine town of La Plata, a focus of resistance during the dictatorship that ruled from 1976 to 1983 ---

As a part of Carnegie Hall's first major international festival — Berlin in Lights — conductor Simon Rattle and the revered Berlin Philharmonic have taken up a week's residency at the hall with more than a dozen performances ---

Lyle Lovett and His Big Band Go 'Large' ---

Pepe Romero and the Art of the Spanish Guitar ---

The March King: John Philip Sousa ---

Songs about alcohol and its effects are common currency in country music. But in "Drinkin' Problem," Lori McKenna goes in a different direction, sidestepping the usual moralistic dimension in favor of getting under the skin of someone for whom the issue is an immediate concern ---

Drummer Men and Women ---
Listing of Notable Drummers ---
List of Notable Percussionists ---
Listing of a Few Notable Jazz Band Drummers ---

Drumming Videos from Jazz Bands

Percussion ---

Boston Pops ---

Photographs and Art

Beautiful America ---

NOAA Photo Lab ---

Galeria Foto ---

Photograph Shows Soldiers at Camp Dodge, Iowa in in 1918 forming a huge Statue of Liberty ---

Georges Seurat: The Drawings ---

Travel Photography ---

Modern Day Cave People ---

Pete Turner Photographs ---

"The Price of the Ticket It costs a lot to see a Broadway show. Is it worth the expense?" by Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2007 ---

Time for a pop quiz inspired by the stagehands' strike that shut down most of Broadway. Who said this--and when did he say it?

"It is not for nothing that New York is the place where the critics are the most powerful and the toughest in the world. It is the audience, year after year, that has been forced to elevate simple fallible men into highly priced experts because, as when a collector buys an expensive work, he cannot afford to take the risk alone: the tradition of the expert valuers of works of art, like Duveen, has reached the box office line. So the circle is closed; not only the artists, but also the audience, have to have their protection men--and most of the curious, intelligent, nonconforming individuals stay away."

That quotation is from "The Empty Space," an influential book about theater by Peter Brook, the avant-garde British director whose celebrated version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," set in an all-white space and played by actors who walked on stilts and swung on trapezes, was one of the most admired Shakespeare productions of the '60s. Mr. Brook wrote "The Empty Space" 39 years ago, when the top ticket price on Broadway was $11, $64 in today's dollars. Nowadays it will cost you anywhere between $51.50 and $121.50 to see "Young Frankenstein"--unless you're prepared to fork out $450 for a premium-priced weekend seat.

Speaking as one of the simple, fallible New York critics Mr. Brook had in mind, I feel obliged to ask: Is Broadway really twice as good today as it was in 1968? I recently looked up the theater listings in the "Goings On About Town" section of the Nov. 23, 1968, issue of The New Yorker. Zoe Caldwell was starring in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," Lee J. Cobb in "King Lear," Dustin Hoffman in "Jimmy Shine," James Earl Jones in "The Great White Hope," Lotte Lenya in "Cabaret," Donald Pleasance in "The Man in the Glass Booth" and Maureen Stapleton in "Plaza Suite." You could also see new plays by Brian Friel and Arthur Miller, as well as the long-running original productions of "Fiddler on the Roof," "Hair," "Hello, Dolly," "Mame" and "Man of La Mancha." Case closed? Well, maybe not quite. As I look back over my pre-strike Broadway reviews of the past year or so, I find lurking amid the dross a fair number of memorable shows, including Tom Stoppard's "Coast of Utopia" trilogy and "Rock 'n' Roll," the Manhattan Theatre Club's unforgettable revival of Mr. Friel's "Translations," the Roundabout Theatre Company's "110 in the Shade" and "Pygmalion," John Doyle's perception-changing rethinking of Stephen Sondheim's "Company" and Frank Langella's sensational star turn in "Frost/Nixon." I would gladly have paid a hundred bucks to see any one of these shows--but would I have paid $1,800, not including dinner, to go to all of them with a date?



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 ---

World Wide Words ---

eScholarship Editions ---

The Oscar Wilde Collection ---
Oscar Wilde Collection ---

Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac (audio) ---

Magma Poetry ---

Rogue Scholars ---

The Essays of Francis Bacon ---

"Man Bites Dog," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, November 21, 2007 --- 

Roger Gathman’s “The Academic Presses” debuted on Sunday in The Austin American-Statesman with a discussion of Gregory Clark’s A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World (Princeton University Press) and James Simpson’s Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and Its Reformation Opponents (Harvard University Press). Gathman has contributed to The American Scholar, The New York Observer, and Salon, among other publications. He has lived in Austin since doing graduate work in the philosophy department at the University of Texas in the 1980s; since then, aside from writing, he’s worked as a freelance editor and translator.

His inaugural piece was striking, not just for the kinds of books it covered, but for how it handled them. Academic publishing now includes a wide range of more or less popular nonfiction – not to mention cookbooks, or guides to state bicycle trails, or whatever else must be done to pay the bills. But Gathman took on two specialized (if controversial and widely discussed) works of scholarship; and he engaged with their arguments in as much depth as one humanly can, given the length restrictions of any newspaper other than the New York Review of Books.

Austin is a university town, of course. Still, such a venture as this is simply not supposed to happen nowadays. As everyone knows, book sections are shrinking, when not disappearing entirely. But even pointing out that obvious trend hardly begins to account for what is happening.

A recent commentary by Doug McLellan (founder of Arts Journal and head of the National Arts Journalism Program) stresses a point that has largely been forgotten. The people running newspapers once understood that it was a good thing to serve niches of readers who don’t find their interests met elsewhere. And so it made sense to have a bridge column for people who love bridge, for example, and the comic strip “Nancy” for whoever the hell it is that enjoys that enjoys “Nancy.”

Attract enough such niches, and give them a reason to be loyal to your publication, and you might build up an audience. But start jettisoning “niche content” — and just about any cultural coverage not involving the mental health issues of Hollywood celebrities is going to count as “niche content” — and something bad starts to happen. The audience has ever less reason to remain loyal. Why would anyone go to a newspaper to learn about the meltdowns of the stars? Who would want to read about it, anyway? That’s why YouTube was invented, after all.

This paraphrase of McLennan has been very loose indeed. For his ongoing discussion of mass media and the audience for cultural coverage, check out his blog Diacritical. One implication that may follow from McLennan’s analysis seems counterintuitive: Regular attention to academic titles might make a newspaper far more appealing than reviews of the latest legal thriller or movie novelization — in some markets, anyway.

I wondered how it came to pass that the experiment was tried in Austin. During all my years of residence there, the American-Statesman never seemed like anything but a very stolid and conventional newspaper. Whenever the Butthole Surfers, a local punk band, was listed in an advertisement, they became the B Surfers. Going against the current did not seem in its nature. How did it come to pass that the paper had made such an unexpected departure? It made sense to call Roger Gathman and ask.

He had done a lot of freelance reviewing for the Statesman, Gathman said, but the idea to launch a column on university-press titles had not been his. It came instead from Jeff Salamon, the books editor. “He thought it was a way to liven the section up,” Gathman said, “to give it more of a distinctive identity.” (I later tried to contact Salamon, but he is on leave until mid-December.)

The plan for now is to run “The Academic Presses” every couple of months, focusing on two or three new books that Gathman will choose. “The ones I wrote about for this first column weren’t really related,” he said, “but in the future I’m going to try to make selections that seem more connected.”

When asked if there were any discipline he would rule out as a possible focus, he thought for a moment and said, “Well, I don’t think I would cover ... accounting.” Other than that, the door seems wide open.

His next column, running in late December, will cover two volumes on the history of science. I’ve agreed not to mention the titles, but the odds of another newspaper assigning them for review are roughly equal to those of an asteroid hitting the city in the meantime.

It turned out he has not been following Doug McLennan’s reflections on newspaperdom and niche audiences, but some of Gathman’s remarks during our chat sounded broadly similar in their logic.

“Running articles about books,” he said, “is never going to make money. It’s a loss leader. But it gets people to pay attention. You have to give them something they can’t find on television.”

For newspapers to survive, he said, “the people making decisions have to realize that it is in their interest to encourage reading. They have to start thinking about the need to generate an audience. At that level, it makes no sense for all of your cultural coverage to point to activities that don’t involve reading.”

So, indeed, have I thought as well, from time to time — usually in the spirit of Sisyphus trying to give himself a pep talk.

Gathman’s points would make perfect sense to anyone who gave the matter two minutes of serious consideration. That implies a very big “if,” however. Two minutes of thought seems hard to come by when the sky is falling, which is how it seems around most newspapers lately.

Whether or not anybody else ever imitates the American-Statesman in this, it is entirely to the paper’s credit that it is willing to take such a chance. But if far-sighted people did follow its example, the pool of possible contributors might be substantial. “There are a lot of people like me,” as Gathman put it, “with loads of cultural capital and no money.” You don’t say!


Which leading U.S. political party most represents the wealthiest people in America?
The latest income data supplied by the Internal Revenue Service said the Democratic Party, which likes to define itself as representing poor and middle-income Americans, has become the party of the rich, The Washington Times reported Friday. A state-by-state, district-by-district comparison of wealth concentrations by the Heritage Foundation shows a majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional districts are represented now by Democrats. The Heritage study based on IRS data found that more than half of the wealthiest U.S. households are concentrated in the 18 states where Democrats hold both Senate seats. Contrary to the Democrats' tendency to define the GOP as the party of the rich, the Heritage study says, "the vast majority of unabashed conservative House members hail from profoundly middle-income districts," The Times reports.
"Democrats Said No Longer Party of the Poor," SmartPros, November 26, 2007 ---

Candace Jennings rescued Anna, an abused stray dog, from the animal shelter. During a Thanksgiving Day fire, Anna returned the favor — twice. Anna, a blond heeler, nudged Jennings about 3:30 a.m., whining and howling. Jennings, who had fallen asleep on the couch, awoke to find her mobile home engulfed in flames. "Anna woke me up," Jennings said. "I had an awful headache. The place was filled with smoke." Jennings and Anna ran outside, but then Jennings remembered items she couldn't let burn. "I'm a janitor in town," she told the Idaho Statesman. "I had everyone's keys in my backpack. I had to go back and get them." She crawled back into her burning home in Idaho City, about 40 miles northeast of Boise. Anna followed her in, keeping close by her side. But Jennings, an artist who has lived in the mountain town since 1975, said she became disoriented and was quickly overcome by smoke. She tried to get back out but crawled in the wrong direction, heading toward the pantry instead of the door. Anna showed the correct way.
"Abused Canine Rescues Owner From Burning Mobile Home Twice," Fox News, November 25, 2007 ---,2933,312764,00.html
Also see
The term "heeler" for a dog refers to a herding dog that nips at the "heels" or hocks. Best known are Australian blue heelers --- 

A dog that nips at the hind legs (heels or hocks rather than the meaty part of the leg). Dogs can be low heelers (below the hocks), moderately low heelers (at the hocks), body-biters, cherry pickers (genital area biters), or tail riders (grabbing the tail).

Heeler Puppies in the Snow (video) ---
In Deeper Snow (fun video) ---
Patti Page (old video) ---

Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho,
Western Civ Has Got to Go

Jesse Jackson ---

The problem is that our students choose very bland, low nourishment diets in our modern day smorgasbord curricula. Their concern is with their grade averages rather than their education. And why not? Grades for students and turf for faculty have become the keys to the kingdom!
Bob Jensen

The title of this week's column was a student protest chant started by Jesse Jackson at Stanford University in the 80's. The idea was to throw out the university's required courses on Western Culture because they were filled with "European and Western male bias" and replace them with courses that teach non-Western cultures and "works by women, minorities, and persons of color." Jackson was successful - today almost all colleges and universities stress A.C.B.W. (Any Culture But Western) courses and ignore the classic teachings of Western civilization's "white men." Looking back now, over two decades later, we can see the results of Jackson's efforts. How do you like it?  . . . So farewell to Plato, Galileo and Isaac Newton. Goodbye to St. Paul, Gutenberg, Columbus, da Vinci and Michelangelo. So long St. Augustine, Homer, Voltaire, Francis Bacon, Beethoven and Johann Bach. See ya, Einstein, Pasteur, Shakespeare and Oliver Cromwell. Adieu to George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Ta,ta Wright brothers, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. And rest in peace Judeo-Christian worldview. "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!" It is. It's going. It's going fast. Jesse Jackson will get his wish. As one of the songs say in the Broadway musical Wicked - "I hope you're happy. I hope your happy now."
Greg Crosby, "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Western Civ Has Got to Go," Jewish World Review, November 23, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
It's at last possible to avoid all these Western Civ classics in the new general education smorgasbord of eligible courses and topics. See Page 20 of Stanford's Course Bulletin at
The debate over smorgasbord collegiate education in the media focused more on Harvard than Stanford, but in reality the general education smorgasbord quickly became reality in most colleges and universities. Tom Brokaw is probably right. Faculties changing the general education requirements were virtually all impacted by the Woodstock Countercultural Generation of the 1960s. For example, read Tom Brokaw's Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today ISBN 1-40006-457-0, hardback). 
You can listen to the NPR account at

Hey, Hey, Political Correctness
PC's Big Brother Decides What's Left for Us

I was distressed to read that the administration (at Brandeis University) is assigning human apparatchiks to monitor Brandeis classrooms to assure linguistic conformity and political orthodoxy. Surely the administration knows that the technology of authoritarian surveillance has advanced far beyond the primitive methods employed by the likes of J. Edgar Hoover and Erich Honecker. A laptop and a webcam can do the job far more cheaply and efficiently. Just position one unit per class in the back of the room, then patch the feed into a mainframe system... This simple expedient would not only provide an accurate audio-visual record of conversational malfeasance by faculty and students, but the real-time administration would allow the administration to dispatch agents immediately into the classroom to stop the utterance of verboten words or ideas
Thomas Doherty
as quoted by UD, "UD Gives Thanks to Thomas Doherty," Inside Higher Ed, November 22, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
This is McCarthyism in reverse. It makes look like free speech. UD envisions this technology used in tandem with a new product called SynchronEyes. While, in the back of the room, the university monitors speech, in the front of the room, the instructor, outfitted with SynchonEyes technology, views the laptop screens of all students who bring computers to class. SynchronEyes lets professors “access thumbnails of every computer screen in the class and block websites” they don’t like. You can read about the cause of all this fuss at
Bob Jensen's threads on political correctness are at

Hey, Hey, New Russian History
Truth Becomes Putin's Mystery
Seventy-five years ago the Ukrainian people fell victim to a crime of unimaginable horror. Usually referred to in the West as the Great Famine or the Terror Famine, it is known to Ukrainians as the Holodomor. It was a state-organized program of mass starvation that in 1932-33 killed an estimated seven million to 10 million Ukrainians, including up to a third of the nation's children. With grotesque understatement the Soviet authorities dismissed this event as a "bad harvest." Their intention was to exonerate themselves of responsibility and suppress knowledge of both the human causes and human consequences of this tragedy. That is reason enough for us to pause and remember . . . The Holodomor was an act of genocide designed to suppress the Ukrainian nation. The fact that it failed and Ukraine today exists as a proud and independent nation does nothing to lessen the gravity of this crime. Nor does it acquit us of the moral responsibility to acknowledge what was done. On the 75th anniversary, we owe it to the victims of the Holodomor and other genocides to be truthful in facing up to the past.

Viktor Yushchenko, "The Holodomor," by  The Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Vladimir Putin recently commissioned the rewriting of Russian history that minimizes Russian genocide and whitewashes Stalin into a pretty nice guy in the new Russian history. The blame for all the evils of the world is placed squarely upon Hitler and the United States. I wonder if Historians will flock to at last discover the real truth in history as blessed by Putin (who supposedly did not even read the doctoral thesis that he plagiarized) ---
Also see
Test yourself in the new Russian history ---

Large parts of an economics thesis written by President Vladimir Putin in the mid-1990s were lifted straight out of a U.S. management textbook published 20 years earlier, The Washington Times reported Saturday, citing researchers at the Brookings Institution. It was unclear, however, whether Putin had even read the thesis, which might have been intended to impress the Western investors who were flooding into St. Petersburg in the mid-1990s, the report said. Putin oversaw the city's foreign economic relations at the time.
"Putin Accused of Plagiarizing Thesis," Moscow Times, March 27, 2006 ---

Harvard's aims and aspirations are in many ways admirable. According to this year's Report of the Task Force on General Education, Harvard understands liberal education as "an education conducted in a spirit of free inquiry undertaken without concern for topical relevance or vocational utility." It prepares for the rest of life by improving students' ability "to assess empirical claims, interpret cultural expression, and confront ethical dilemmas in their personal and professional lives." But instead of concentrating on teaching substantive knowledge, the general education at Harvard will focus on why what students learn is important. To accomplish this, Harvard would require students to take single-semester courses in eight categories: Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding, Culture and Belief, Empirical Reasoning, Ethical Reasoning, Science of Living Systems, Science of the Physical Universe, Societies of the World, and The United States in the World. Unfortunately, the new requirements add up to little more than an attractively packaged evasion of the university's responsibility to provide a coherent core for undergraduate education. For starters, though apparently not part of the general education curriculum, Harvard requires only a year of foreign language study or the equivalent. Yet since it usually takes more than a year of college study to achieve competence in a foreign language -- the ability to hold a conversation and read a newspaper -- doesn't Harvard, by requiring only a single year, denigrate foreign-language study, and with it the serious study of other cultures and societies?
Peter Berkowitz, "Our Compassless Colleges," The Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2007; Page A17 --- 
Also see
Dr. Berkowitz is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

Obviously, students these days wouldn’t use snail mail for an actual letter. But as The New York Times reported, students love to shop online and that has resulted in many college mailrooms receiving unusual items for which the mailrooms were not designed. Among them: car tires, ant farms, pool cues and air conditioners.
Inside Higher Ed, November 21, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Not to mention boats, canoes, bicycles, mattresses, skis, etc.

In 1991, Daniel Tavares Jr. stabbed his mother to death. A plea bargain resulted in a 17-20 year sentence. After 16 years, the Massachusetts prison system released Tavares because he earned "automatic good time" off, according to the Boston Herald. But Tavares was no model prisoner. From behind bars, he threatened to kill then-Gov. Romney and other state officials - and scuffled with prison guards. Immediately upon his release in June, Tavares was re-arrested on two counts of assaulting correctional officers. In July, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman overturned two $50,000 bail orders on Tavares and released him on the condition that he work, live in-state with his sister and call probation officials three times a week. This month, Tavares was arrested in the grisly murder (to which he confessed) of newlyweds Brian and Beverly Mauck in Washington, reportedly after a dispute over a $50 debt. "It's because of the stupidity of Massachusetts that my daughter is dead," . . . Beverly's father, Darrell Slater, told the Herald. Assistant D.A. William Loughlin argued in court that besides killing his mother, Tavares had been charged with robbery and assault. As for the prison assault charges, Loughlin said, "He has a history of crimes of violence, and he committed crimes of violence while he was even serving a crime of violence." Loughlin asked Tuttman to order that Tavares wear a GPS-tracking device. Tavares' attorney had said that his client requested a monitoring device. But, a transcript shows, Tuttman concluded that there was "no indication" Tavares presented a flight risk and refused Loughlin's request.
Debra J. Saunders, "Willie Horton 2008," San Francisco Chronicle, November 27, 2007 --- 

Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney spokesman, said that Judge Kathe M. Tuttman should never have freed Daniel T. Tavares Jr. on personal recognizance in July, after he was charged with assaulting two prison guards. Tavares, 41, was near the end of a 16-year sentence for stabbing his mother to death in 1991 and had threatened in a letter —- intercepted by prison officials in February 2006 — to kill Romney and other state officials, Fehrnstrom said. On Monday, after five months in hiding, Tavares was arrested for allegedly shooting to death Brian Mauck, 30, and Beverly Mauck, 28, newlyweds who lived near him in a rural area south of Tacoma, police said . . . Romney is now seeking the Republican presidential nomination, touting his record as governor. Some of his female supporters have highlighted the number of women he appointed to the judiciary. "‘There was a system-wide failure in this case starting with the judge," Fehrnstrom said in a statement. "Her decision represented an inexplicable lapse in judgment and was inexcusable. Unless there are facts unknown to us, Governor Romney believes Judge Tuttman should resign."
Michael Levenson, "Romney calls on judge to resign after releasing alleged killer Accused of murdering newlyweds, Daniel T. Tavares Jr. threatened to kill former Mass. governor,", November 23, 2007 --- Click Here
Also see,2933,312743,00.html
Jensen Comment
This begs the question about what this former murderer could do to be held without bail? What are the odds that he will return to hiding and/or kill again? I'd bet on it!

Rudy Giuliani can play a little rough at times, but there are some moments when an inner light turns on and he turns downright idealistic. One of those moments came on Oct. 10, 1996, as he stepped on the podium at the Kennedy School of Government to deliver a speech on immigration. “I’m pleased to be with you this evening to talk about the anti-immigrant movement in America,” he said, “and why I believe this movement endangers the single most important reason for American greatness, namely, the renewal, reformation and reawakening that’s provided by the continuous flow of immigrants.” Giuliani continued: “I believe the anti-immigrant movement in America is one of our most serious public problems.” It can “be seen in legislation passed by Congress and the president.” (Republicans had just passed a welfare reform law that restricted benefits to legal immigrants.) “It can be seen in the negative attitudes being expressed by many of the politicians.” Giuliani said, somewhat unfairly, that the anti-immigrant movement at that time continued the fear-mongering and discrimination of the nativist movements of the 1920s and the Know-Nothing movement of the 19th century. He celebrated Abraham Lincoln for having the courage to take on the anti-immigrant forces. He detailed the many ways immigration benefits the nation. Then he turned to the subject of illegal immigration: “The United States has to do a lot better job of patrolling our borders.” But, he continued, “The reality is, people will always get in.”
David Brooks, "The Real Rudy," The New York Times, November 23, 2007 ---

To hear the candidates tell it -- especially those on the stump in Iowa -- ethanol is the answer to America's energy-security woes. And back in Washington, politicians since 1978 have been putting your money where their mouths are: Ethanol is currently subsidized to the tune of 51 cents per gallon when blended with gasoline. To make sure foreigners don't share the ride on the ethanol gravy train, moreover, Congress has imposed a 54-cent tariff on imported ethanol. President Bush, for his part, has targeted a 20% reduction in gasoline use, mostly by substituting the renewable fuel . . . But the emphasis here should be on the word "little." In 2005, the ethanol program used about 15% of U.S. corn supplies but displaced less than 2% of gasoline use. Even if all corn produced in the U.S. were devoted to distilling ethanol, the renewable fuel would amount to about 12% of the gasoline demand in 2005. And the more corn used to make alcohol, the greater the potential for collateral damage. Beef producers, not to mention Mexico's tortilla makers, are already upset with high corn prices. Environmentalists, too, seem to be waking up to the fact that ethanol from corn is no panacea . . . Congress might never have bet so much of the taxpayers' money on corn-based ethanol if an unbiased accounting of the consequences had been available early on. We could use a separate agency, shielded in part from political considerations, whose sole mission would be to analyze the costs and benefits of regulations and government programs. Without such an agency, interest-group logrolling will continue to trump science and economics in major policy choices.
Robert Hahn, "Ethanol's Bottom Line," The Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2007; Page A10 ---
Mr. Hahn is executive director of the AEI-Brookings Joint Center and was co-chair of the U.S. Alternative Fuels Council under President George H.W. Bush.

The park, in a shallow sound between Sweden and Denmark, testifies to the remarkable rise of wind energy — no longer a quirky alternative favored by environmentalists in Denmark and Germany, but a mainstream power source used in 26 nations, including the United States. Yet Sweden’s gleaming wind park is entering service at a time when wind energy is coming under sharper scrutiny, not just from hostile neighbors, who complain that the towers are a blot on the landscape, but from energy experts who question its reliability as a source of power . . . For starters, the wind does not blow all the time. When it does, it does not necessarily do so during periods of high demand for electricity. That makes wind a shaky replacement for more dependable, if polluting, energy sources like oil, coal and natural gas. Moreover, to capture the best breezes, wind farms are often built far from where the demand for electricity is highest. The power they generate must then be carried over long distances on high-voltage lines, which in Germany and other countries are strained and prone to breakdowns .
Mark Landler, "Sweden Turns to a Promising Power Source, With Flaws," The New York Times, November 24, 2007 --- Click Here

One week after a Chinese subcontractor manufacturing computer hard drives for sale in America was discovered to have been placing a Trojan horse on them that would upload users' passwords to a website in Beijing, the manufacturer says it doesn't believe the Chinese government was involved . . . The report first surfaced in Asia in a story by the Taipei Times, which said some 1,800 Maxtor Basics 3200 hard drives manufactured in China contained two Trojan horses programmed to upload secretly to websites in Beijing anything the computer saves on the drive. defines "Trojan horse" as "a destructive program that masquerades as a benign application." Unlike viruses, the site says, Trojan horses do not replicate themselves "but they can be just as destructive."
WorldNetDaily, November 22, 2007 ---

Thanks to lax background checks, even after 9/11, the Hezbollah spy who managed to obtain sensitive jobs at the FBI and CIA is not the first terrorist supporter to infiltrate the U.S. government. An alleged al-Qaida operative also infiltrated the Environmental Protection Agency, according to federal investigators and court documents obtained by WND. The case, details of which are revealed here for the first time, involves Waheeda Tehseen, a Pakistani national who obtained a sensitive position with the EPA in Washington as a toxicologist even though she was not a U.S. citizen. Like the Lebanese national suspected of passing secrets to Hezbollah, Tehseen lied about her citizenship on her government application, a falsehood that the government failed – in both cases – to catch in its security background investigation.
"Is U.S. gov't infested with terrorist moles? Intelligence official: 'FBI might as well put out a sign – Double agents wanted'," WorldNetDaily, November 20, 2007 ---

To activists concerned about AIDS and prisoners' rights, it's an urgent, commonsense step that should already be nationwide policy — letting inmates have condoms to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases behind bars. Yet their efforts have run headlong into a stronger political force: Authorities' desire not to encourage inmates who flout prison rules against sex. Only one state, Vermont, and five cities regularly hand out condoms to inmates. Mississippi does so only for inmates receiving conjugal visits from their spouses. Left out are the vast majority of America's 2.2 million prisoners — many held in facilities where sex between men is common and the risk of STDs is far higher than in the general population.
David Crary, Yahoo News, November 19, 2007 ---

Al Qaeda in Iraq may be down, but it is not out. While al Qaeda has suffered a major setback after US and Iraqi forces launched multiple offensives throughout Iraq, the terror group still retains some capacity to conduct attacks. Today, al Qaeda attacked the Awakening movement two villages north and south of Baghdad. The battles resulted in scores killed on both sides, including 10 al Qaeda fighters. Meanwhile, Iraqi and Coalition forces have killed or captured several senior al Qaeda leaders over the past week . . . As al Qaeda attempts to bring down the Awakening movements, US and Iraqi Security forces continue to target al Qaeda's leadership network nationwide. Over the past week, US and Iraqi forces killed or captured three senior leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq's network. The most senior leader captured this week was Saadi Ibrahim, the oil minister in al Qaeda in Iraq's Islamic State. Iraq police captured Ibrahim and "found several plans for attacking Iraqi oil pipelines and fields in his possession." Ibrahim is the second senior Islamic State of Iraq leader captured over the past five months. In July, US forces captured Khalid Abdul Fatah Da’ud Mahmud Al Mashadani, also known as Abu Shaeed, the media emir for the Islamic State of Iraq.
Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, November 22, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
By all means let's get out of Iraq as soon as possible so al Qaeda can have all the oil and undo all the progress being made to date. It's is very difficult to impatiently fight an enemy that hides among innocent civilians and never surrenders just to have a better life for himself and those around him. His ignorance and trusting in false promises of the pleasures that martyrdom sustain his willingness to fight on. Fortunately, many in al Qaeda leaders are in it for the money rather than  religious fanaticism.

Patience is the support of weakness; impatience is the ruin of strength.
Charles Caleb Colton

Patience, that blending of moral courage with physical timidity.
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles

We shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.
Abraham Lincoln, White House speech 11 April 1865

Our patience will achieve more than our force.
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

Patience is a bitter plant but it has sweet fruit.
German proverb

To be sure, Baghdad and the surrounding belts are not yet safe. But culminating points are psychological events. What I witnessed firsthand in Iraq was a shift in opinions and a transfer of will among Iraqis, not a classic military takedown. This change was palpable and unmistakable. Whether this military culminating point can translate into a political and economic culminating point remains to be seen. But the campaign that took place from spring until late summer reinforces the classic tenet of warfare, that success on the ground sets the conditions for diplomatic and political success. Gens. Petraeus and Ray Odierno have achieved success on the ground at an unprecedented speed in the history of counterinsurgency warfare. Now it's time to apply the same sense of urgency and commitment to the task of reuniting the tragically fractured nation and bring it back from the brink of annihilation.
"Petraeus's Iraq," Retired General Robert H. Scales, The Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2007; Page A18 --- Click Here 
Jensen Comment
Progress toward peace in Iraq comes at a very bad time before the 2008 election.

From the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal on November 21, 2007

Could it be that we are watching the same phenomenon with the whole global-warmest hysteria? Our bet would be yes.
One Cheer for
(Bush/GOP hating) New York Times 

So far as we know, pigs have not flown, and hell has not frozen over. But something almost as unusual happened: The lead story in today's New York Times--stretching two-thirds of the way across the front page--is about Baghdad, and it's good news:

*** QUOTE ***

The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real. Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad's streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer and down sharply from a recent peak of 59 in March, the American military says.

As a result, for the first time in nearly two years, people are moving with freedom around much of this city. In more than 50 interviews across Baghdad, it became clear that while there were still no-go zones, more Iraqis now drive between Sunni and Shiite areas for work, shopping or school, a few even after dark. In the most stable neighborhoods of Baghdad, some secular women are also dressing as they wish. Wedding bands are playing in public again, and at a handful of once shuttered liquor stores customers now line up outside in a collective rebuke to religious vigilantes from the Shiite Mahdi Army.

Iraqis are clearly surprised and relieved to see commerce and movement finally increase, five months after an extra 30,000 American troops arrived in the country.

Just two months ago, the paper gave MoveOn a price break to run an ad that accused General David Petraeus of treason and perjury even before he testified about the security improvements. The editorial board called Petraeus' testimony " empty calories   and complained of his "broken promises and false claims of success" and asserted that Petraeus had not given an "honest accounting" in his Congressional briefings.

The Times waited until the success of Petraeus could no longer be denied to publish the truth.

But pigs will fly and hell will freeze over before liberal commentator NBC Keith Oberman will give any credit for progress in Iraq (video) ---

And pigs will fly and hell will freeze over before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stops trying to pull the plug on funding of military in Iraq even if all the recent progress to date is wiped out by being too impatient for our surrender to the retreating insurgents.
And what is the reaction of the war critics? Nancy Pelosi stoutly maintains her state of denial, saying this about the war just two weeks ago: "This is not working. . . . We must reverse it." A euphemism for "abandon the field," which is what every Democratic presidential candidate is promising, with variations only in how precipitous to make the retreat.
Charles Krauthammer, "On Iraq, a State of Denial," Washington Post, November 23, 2007, Page A39 ---
See the Bush impeachment promotion video at

Campaigning in northwestern Iowa on Saturday, Hillary Rodham Clinton told voters that a Senate resolution on Iran she supported has helped bring that country to the negotiating table while stemming the violence in Iraq. Clinton said tougher economic sanctions have been "a contributing factor to Iranians' backing off." Though brief, Clinton's remarks were also a rare acknowledgment of progress in Iraq.
Louise Roug, "Iran sanctions are getting results, Clinton tells Iowans," Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2007 ---,0,5128065.story?coll=la-politics-campaign

Abu Nawall, a captured al-Qaeda in Iraq leader, said he didn't join the Sunni insurgent group here to kill Americans or to form a Muslim caliphate. He signed up for the cash. "I was out of work and needed the money," said Abu Nawall, the nom de guerre of an unemployed metal worker who was paid as much as $1,300 a month as an insurgent. He spoke in a phone interview from an Iraqi military base where he is being detained. "How else could I support my family?"
Amit R. Paley, "Iraqis Joining Insurgency Less for Cause Than Cash," Washington Post, November 20, 2007 ---

More than 40% of the foreign fighters who entered Iraq to join the insurgency in the past year were citizens of Saudi Arabia, America's key partner in the Middle East, according to detailed information seized from a camp used by them. Documents and computers found by the US army at Sinjar, on the Iraqi-Syrian border, revealed that the other single largest group came from Libya, which is now being rehabilitated as a reliable western ally. Overall, US officials reported that the number of foreign fighters entering Iraq this year dropped from 80-110 a month in the first half of the year to around 40 in October, partly due to the Sinjar raid. After the raid the number of suicide bombings in Iraq fell to 16 in October - half the number seen during the summer months and down from a peak of 59 in March. US military officials believe that 90% of such bombings are by foreigners.
Guardian, November 23, 2007 ---,,2215798,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront
Where Boys Grow Up to Be Jihadis ---

Overwhelmingly, with one exception, Democrats supported the war in Afghanistan. We continue to support the war in Afghanistan.
Barnie Frank in a speech in the House of Representatives (video) ---

The conflict in Afghanistan has reached "crisis proportions," with the resurgent Taliban present in more than half the country and closing in on Kabul, a report said on Wednesday. If NATO, the lead force operating in Afghanistan, is to have any impact against the insurgency, troop numbers will have to be doubled to at least 80,000, the report said. "The Taliban has shown itself to be a truly resurgent force," the Senlis Council, an independent think-tank with a permanent presence in Afghanistan, wrote in a study entitled "Stumbling into Chaos: Afghanistan on the brink."
"Resurgent Taliban closing in on Kabul: report," Yahoo News, November 21, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
This confirms what most leading Democrats have contended all along. Powerful Democrats like Barnie Frank and Barach Obama have been arguing all along that we should pull out of Iraq and take more troops into Afghanistan. Obama even made an unpopular suggestion that troops be attack parts of Pakistan that hide terrorists (video) ---

We are thankful for the Washington Post, which reminds us that a newspaper can be liberal without being as dreadful as the New York Times has lately become. Today Post columnist Ruth Marcus devastates Times columnist adviser Paul Krugman, whom she actually mentions by name. Marcus notes a Krugman column from last week in which the former Enron adviser pooh-poohs concerns about the solvency of Social Security.
Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal, November 21, 2007

If you are very lucky and honored, you may penetrate the Kumsusan Memorial Palace. This was the home of the Great Leader when he was ordinarily alive, kept going in his later years by a special diet of extra-long dog penises. Today, it is his mausoleum, where he lives forever in the extraordinary fashion devised for him by whoever actually controls this country. This is no mere Lenin’s Tomb but a temple of awe, where devotees must have the dust blasted from their clothes and shoes before approaching the sacred body and bowing deeply . . . North Korea is a small, isolated, stagnant pond left over from the flood of Marxism-Leninism, which long ago receded. But it has nowhere to drain away. Far too many people, not all of them in Pyongyang, have an interest in keeping it as it is. It still has the capacity to do terrible things but mainly to its own citizens. A serious policy would aim to find a way to help it escape from the political and economic trap in which it finds itself. Threats, name-calling, and the pretence that this shambles of a country is a serious world power are unlikely to achieve this. It is more to be pitied than to be feared.
Peter Hitchens, "
Prisoners in Camp Kim:  Strange, secretive, and desperately poor, North Korea tests the limits of social control," American Conservative, November 19, 2007 ---

“It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put it back together — Iraq, for example.” In the interview in Emel, a Muslim lifestyle magazine, Williams makes only mild criticisms of the Islamic world. He said the Muslim world must acknowledge that its “political solutions were not the most impressive”. He commends the Muslim practice of praying five times a day, which he says allows the remembrance of God to be “built in deeply in their daily rhythm”.
London Times, November 25, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
No mention is made of U.S. efforts to stop genocide in Bosnia, Saddam's atrocities, 9/11 infernos, terror attacks in Britain subways and elsewhere, boycotting of Jews in U.K. academia, or Tony Blair's recent abandonment of the Archbishop in favor of Roman Catholicism. Rowan Williams consistently leans to the far left on virtually every issue. He's criticized for being
"loathsome with Jews, complacent with Muslims" --- 

When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush. He answered by saying that, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return." It became very quiet in the room.
Discussion at

Several hundred activists of the radical Islamic group Hizb ut Tahrir staged protests here before the arrival of two ships of the US Navy for distributing relief supplies among cyclone-affected people. Two warships, USS Essex and USS Kearsarge -- each carrying 20 helicopters and 3,500 marines on board with emergency relief supplies, medical and emergency evacuation teams -- are scheduled to enter Bangladesh waters Saturday and Tuesday. The protesters Friday carried a banner reading 'Prevent American ships from entering the Bay of Bengal in the name of distributing relief' and chanted slogans 'Go back to America'...
"Islamists protest US naval presence for cyclone relief," Earth Times, November 24, 2007 ---

Vicious Mexican-based gangs are increasing their attacks on outmanned and outgunned law-enforcement authorities along the border. And The Washington Times reports the enemy arsenal includes assault rifles, high-tech radios, computers, cell phones, Global Positioning Systems and low-tech Molotov cocktails. Since the agents are mired in a no-man's land, a free-fire zone with little help from either side of the border -- yet continue to soldier on -- Congress should mandate they be treated as active duty military personnel and given all military benefits.
"Border wars," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 24, 2007 ---

It is one of Emory University's most environmentally friendly buildings, a hallmark of the institution's efforts to "go green." To hear John Wegner describe it, it's also a slaughterhouse. The soaring glass windows in Emory's Mathematics and Science Center reflect the woodsy view, confusing hapless birds who smash into it at full speed. "The building killed 60 birds in the first year," said Wegner, Emory's chief environmental officer. "It was the wall of death." Wegner, a professor in Emory's Department of Environmental Studies, began documenting the deaths shortly after the building opened in 2002. He found an average of two birds a day were losing their lives during the height of the migration season. Magnolia warblers, Swainson's thrushes, ovenbirds — no species was safe. After getting the brush-off from the administration and architects, Wegner stuffed a couple of dead birds into his pockets and whipped them out during a meeting with his boss. Suddenly, he had an audience. Now Emory drapes parts of the $40 million building with black mesh netting for about three months each fall, and migrating birds bounce off safely.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 23, 2007 ---

Much is being made of the fact that, in accepting the administration's invitation, Syria apparently reversed a previous decision, coordinated with Iran, to boycott the conference. This plays into the view that Syria can be persuaded to abandon its 25-year-old ties to Iran and return to the Arab fold, thereby severing the encircling chain that links Tehran to Damascus to southern Lebanon to the Gaza Strip. High-profile ridicule of the conference by Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who called it "useless") and spokesmen for Hezbollah and Hamas add to the impression that Mr. Assad may be prepared to chart an independent course--all for the modest price of the U.S. agreeing (with Israel's consent) to put the issue of the Golan Heights on the conference's agenda. It really would be something if the Syrian delegation could find their own road to Damascus on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. But that would require something approximating good faith. The Syrians' decision to be represented at Annapolis by their deputy foreign minister--his bosses evidently having more important things to do--is one indication of the lack of it. So is the Assad regime's declaration (via an editorial in state newspaper Teshreen) that their goal at Annapolis is "to foil [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert's plan to force Arab countries to recognize Israel as a Jewish state." And lest the point hadn't been driven home forcefully enough, the Syrian information minister told Al Jazeera that Syria's attendance would have no effect on its relations with Iran or its role as host to the leadership of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.
Bret Stephens, "Condi's Road to Damascus:  The price America will pay for her Syrian photo-op," The Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2007 ---

The Audrey Underwear company in Taizhong city named November 21 Camisole Day to celebrate record sales. All 500 women working in the firm’s headquarters were encouraged to wear only camisoles and knickers - much to the excitement of their male colleagues. More than 90% of female workers reportedly went along with the spirit of the day and worked in their underwear. Huang Bihui, PR manager of the company, explained: “We introduced eight new camisoles into market and sold more than 20,000 in less than two months so we named the 21st as Camisole Day.” Employment lawyers said there was nothing illegal in the move so long as it was voluntary but it had its critics. Wu Juanyu complained: “Some women may feel forced to join in because of peer pressure and job competition. I don’t know if the company is selling underwear or women’s bodies.”
Daily Times, November 24, 2007 ---

Wife's at a loss to find husband after he wins the lottery
A former beauty queen is suing her airline-mechanic husband, claiming he tried to hide his lottery jackpot from her.
Miami Herald, November 12, 2007 --- 

Econometric Haiku
From econometrician Keisuke Hirano (as linked by the Unknown Professor on November 18, 2007) ---

T-stat looks too good.
Use robust standard errors--
significance gone.

The bonds ($3 billion worth issued in January 2006), which mature in 2028 and until then pay 2.9 percent on their face value twice a year, so almost 6 percent per annum, are trading at a steep discount (currently about a 40 percent discount, which jacks up the yield to almost 10 percent--almost $6 for a bond that costs $60). This means that purchasers of the bonds (which are actively traded) are demanding compensation for bearing a substantial risk of default. The most interesting conclusion in Greenstone's study is that, after correction for other factors, the surge is correlated with a 40 percent increase in the bond market's estimate of default . . . There are two general questions that Greenstone's interesting study raises. The first is the relation between default risk and U.S. failure. . . The second general question raised by Greenstone's paper is whether financial markets are better predictors of the outcome of wars and other political crises than experts are, including the experts who staff intelligence agencies.
Richard Posner, "Is the Bond Market the Best Predictor of the Outcome of a War?" The Becker-Posner Blog, November 18, 2007 ---
Richard Posner was a highly regarded plenary speaker at the 2007 Annual Meetings of the American Accounting Association Meetings in Chicago.

I agree with Greenstone and Posner that prices of these bonds offer a valuable way to determine expectations about the stability of the Iraqi government held by the savvy investors in the international bond market who are placing substantial financial resources at risk. This does not mean that these investors are never wrong, or do not change their views as the evidence unfolds, but rather that bonds prices offers relevant information about the assessments of Iraq's future by persons who have an important financial stake in whether they are right or not . . . Whatever the final conclusions about the evidence on the political future of Iraq provided by its bonds, financial markets are an underutilized source of information about the expectations of investors about political outcomes. To be sure, financial expectations can be very wrong. For example, Eugene Lerner has shown that the Confederate currency did not depreciate very rapidly (relative to the growth of the money supply) until only a few months before the end of the Civil War, even though historians are unanimous that the South had effectively lost the war long before that. Still, I generally would have more confidence in the accuracy of the expectations of persons with a serious financial stake in outcomes than in the forecasts of most others who express their views on future political outcomes.
Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, "Is the Bond Market the Best Predictor of the Outcome of a War?" The Becker-Posner Blog, November 18, 2007 ---

Where have all the top teams gone,
Long time passing?
Notre Dame, one of the most storied programs in college football history, set a team record for losses in going 3-9. Why is this happening? After Stanford, a 41-point underdog, defeated the perennial power Southern California, the question was asked. After the third time a No. 1 team lost to an unranked opponent, the question was asked again. Scholarship limits have prevented programs from stockpiling talented players, leaving plenty of players for previously overlooked teams. Spread offenses have neutralized larger programs’ speed and size advantages. Increased coverage on television and the Internet has created more interest among more teams and players. And more universities have committed millions to enhancing their programs.
Pete Thamel, "Missouri, No. 1? College Football Surprises Again," The New York Times, November 26, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Just proves the obvious --- academic standards are hazardous your competitive edge.

MIT's Video Lecture Search Engine for Finding Topics Within Lectures: Watch the video at  --- 
Watch the video demo at

"Searching Video Lectures A tool from MIT finds keywords so that students can efficiently review lectures," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, November 26, 2007 ---

Researchers at MIT have released a video and audio search tool that solves one of the most challenging problems in the field: how to break up a lengthy academic lecture into manageable chunks, pinpoint the location of keywords, and direct the user to them. Announced last month, the MIT Lecture Browser website gives the general public detailed access to more than 200 lectures publicly available though the university's OpenCourseWare initiative. The search engine leverages decades' worth of speech-recognition research at MIT and other institutions to convert audio into text and make it searchable.

The Lecture Browser arrives at a time when more and more universities, including Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California, Berkeley, are posting videos and podcasts of lectures online. While this content is useful, locating specific information within lectures can be difficult, frustrating students who are accustomed to finding what they need in less than a second with Google.

"This is a growing issue for universities around the country as it becomes easier to record classroom lectures," says Jim Glass, research scientist at MIT. "It's a real challenge to know how to disseminate them and make it easier for students to get access to parts of the lecture they might be interested in. It's like finding a needle in a haystack."

The fundamental elements of the Lecture Browser have been kicking around research labs at MIT and places such as BBN Technologies in Boston, Carnegie Mellon, SRI International in Palo Alto, CA, and the University of Southern California for more than 30 years. Their efforts have produced software that's finally good enough to find its way to the average person, says Premkumar Natarajan, scientist at BBN. "There's about three decades of work where many fundamental problems were addressed," he says. "The technology is mature enough now that there's a growing sense in the community that it's time [to test applications in the real world]. We've done all we can in the lab."

A handful of companies, such as online audio and video search engines Blinkx and EveryZing (which has licensed technology from BBN) are making use of software that converts audio speech into searchable text. (See "Surfing TV on the Internet" and "More-Accurate Video Search".) But the MIT researchers faced particular challenges with academic lectures. For one, many lecturers are not native English speakers, which makes automatic transcription tricky for systems trained on American English accents. Second, the words favored in science lectures can be rather obscure. Finally, says Regina Barzilay, professor of computer Science at MIT, lectures have very little discernable structure, making them difficult to break up and organize for easy searching. "Topical transitions are very subtle," she says. "Lectures aren't organized like normal text."

To tackle these problems, the researchers first configured the software that converts the audio to text. They trained the software to understand particular accents using accurate transcriptions of short snippets of recorded speech. To help the software identify uncommon words--anything from "drosophila" to "closed-loop integrals"--the researchers provided it with additional data, such as text from books and lecture notes, which assists the software in accurately transcribing as many as four out of five words. If the system is used with a nonnative English speaker whose accent and vocabulary it hasn't been trained to recognize, the accuracy can drop to 50 percent. (Such a low accuracy would not be useful for direct transcription but can still be useful for keyword searches.)

Once again, the Lecture Browser link (with a video demo) is at

Find free video lectures from leading universities at

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of education technology ---

Bob Jensen's threads on how to capture streaming video ---

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at

Watch for this Jury Duty Scam

November 27, 2007 message from Georgia Lotz


This has been verified by the FBI (their link is included below). Please pass this on to everyone in your email address book. It is spreading fast so be prepared should you get this call. Most of us take summons for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of scam has surfaced. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and bingo; your identity just got stolen. The scam has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois, and Colorado. This (scam) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into g iving information by pretending they're with the court system. The FBI and the federal courts system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud. Check it out here: 

"Americans Are Reading Less," University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communications Blog, November 19, 2007 ---

The National Endowment for the Arts today released an interesting and disturbing report of American reading today. Gathering and collating available data, it reports that the data are simple, consistent, and alarming. Although there has been measurable progress in recent years in reading ability at the elementary school level, all progress seems to stop as children enter their teens. There is a general decline in reading among teenagers and adults and both reading ability and the habit of regular reading have greatly declined among college graduates.

The report reaches three conclusions:
* Americans are spending less time reading.
* Reading comprehension skills are eroding
* These declines have serious civic, social, cultural, and economic implications.

These conclusions are, as the report notes, "unsettling." Clearly, more research is needed to explore factors that might contribute to this trend and to weigh the relative effectiveness and costs and benefits of programs to foster lifelong reading and skills development.

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic literature are at


Read This First
Amazon Kindle, an electronic device that he hopes will leapfrog over previous attempts at e-readers and become the turning point in a transformation toward Book 2.0

Then watch this video ---
Other Videos

$399 Amazon Kindle --- Click Here

Read This Next
The Future of Reading (beyond mere hard copy and electronic books as we know them)

"Amazon's Jeff Bezos already built a better bookstore. Now he believes he can improve upon one of humankind's most divine creations: the book itself.," Newsweek Cover Story, November 26, 2007 ---

"Technology," computer pioneer Alan Kay once said, "is anything that was invented after you were born." So it's not surprising, when making mental lists of the most whiz-bangy technological creations in our lives, that we may overlook an object that is superbly designed, wickedly functional, infinitely useful and beloved more passionately than any gadget in a Best Buy: the book. It is a more reliable storage device than a hard disk drive, and it sports a killer user interface. (No instruction manual or "For Dummies" guide needed.) And, it is instant-on and requires no batteries. Many people think it is so perfect an invention that it can't be improved upon, and react with indignation at any implication to the contrary.

"The book," says Jeff Bezos, 43, the CEO of Internet commerce giant, "just turns out to be an incredible device." Then he uncorks one of his trademark laughs.

Books have been very good to Jeff Bezos. When he sought to make his mark in the nascent days of the Web, he chose to open an online store for books, a decision that led to billionaire status for him, dotcom glory for his company and countless hours wasted by authors checking their Amazon sales ratings. But as much as Bezos loves books professionally and personally—he's a big reader, and his wife is a novelist—he also understands that the surge of technology will engulf all media. "Books are the last bastion of analog," he says, in a conference room overlooking the Seattle skyline. We're in the former VA hospital that is the physical headquarters for the world's largest virtual store. "Music and video have been digital for a long time, and short-form reading has been digitized, beginning with the early Web. But long-form reading really hasn't." Yet. This week Bezos is releasing the Amazon Kindle, an electronic device that he hopes will leapfrog over previous attempts at e-readers and become the turning point in a transformation toward Book 2.0. That's shorthand for a revolution (already in progress) that will change the way readers read, writers write and publishers publish. The Kindle represents a milestone in a time of transition, when a challenged publishing industry is competing with television, Guitar Hero and time burned on the BlackBerry; literary critics are bemoaning a possible demise of print culture, and Norman Mailer's recent death underlined the dearth of novelists who cast giant shadows. On the other hand, there are vibrant pockets of book lovers on the Internet who are waiting for a chance to refurbish the dusty halls of literacy.

As well placed as Amazon was to jump into this scrum and maybe move things forward, it was not something the company took lightly. After all, this is the book we're talking about. "If you're going to do something like this, you have to be as good as the book in a lot of respects," says Bezos. "But we also have to look for things that ordinary books can't do." Bounding to a whiteboard in the conference room, he ticks off a number of attributes that a book-reading device—yet another computer-powered gadget in an ever more crowded backpack full of them—must have. First, it must project an aura of bookishness; it should be less of a whizzy gizmo than an austere vessel of culture. Therefore the Kindle (named to evoke the crackling ignition of knowledge) has the dimensions of a paperback, with a tapering of its width that emulates the bulge toward a book's binding. It weighs but 10.3 ounces, and unlike a laptop computer it does not run hot or make intrusive beeps. A reading device must be sharp and durable, Bezos says, and with the use of E Ink, a breakthrough technology of several years ago that mimes the clarity of a printed book, the Kindle's six-inch screen posts readable pages. The battery has to last for a while, he adds, since there's nothing sadder than a book you can't read because of electile dysfunction. (The Kindle gets as many as 30 hours of reading on a charge, and recharges in two hours.) And, to soothe the anxieties of print-culture stalwarts, in sleep mode the Kindle displays retro images of ancient texts, early printing presses and beloved authors like Emily Dickinson and Jane Austen.

But then comes the features that your mom's copy of "Gone With the Wind" can't match. E-book devices like the Kindle allow you to change the font size: aging baby boomers will appreciate that every book can instantly be a large-type edition. The handheld device can also hold several shelves' worth of books: 200 of them onboard, hundreds more on a memory card and a limitless amount in virtual library stacks maintained by Amazon. Also, the Kindle allows you to search within the book for a phrase or name.

Some of those features have been available on previous e-book devices, notably the Sony Reader. The Kindle's real breakthrough springs from a feature that its predecessors never offered: wireless connectivity, via a system called Whispernet. (It's based on the EVDO broadband service offered by cell-phone carriers, allowing it to work anywhere, not just Wi-Fi hotspots.) As a result, says Bezos, "This isn't a device, it's a service."

Specifically, it's an extension of the familiar Amazon store (where, of course, Kindles will be sold). Amazon has designed the Kindle to operate totally independent of a computer: you can use it to go to the store, browse for books, check out your personalized recommendations, and read reader reviews and post new ones, tapping out the words on a thumb-friendly keyboard. Buying a book with a Kindle is a one-touch process. And once you buy, the Kindle does its neatest trick: it downloads the book and installs it in your library, ready to be devoured. "The vision is that you should be able to get any book—not just any book in print, but any book that's ever been in print—on this device in less than a minute," says Bezos.

Amazon has worked hard to get publishers to step up efforts to release digital versions of new books and backlists, and more than 88,000 will be on sale at the Kindle store on launch. (Though Bezos won't get terribly specific, Amazon itself is also involved in scanning books, many of which it captured as part of its groundbreaking Search Inside the Book program. But most are done by the publishers themselves, at a cost of about $200 for each book converted to digital. New titles routinely go through the process, but many backlist titles are still waiting. "It's a real chokepoint," says Penguin CEO David Shanks.) Amazon prices Kindle editions of New York Times best sellers and new releases in hardback at $9.99. The first chapter of almost any book is available as a free sample.

The Kindle is not just for books. Via the Amazon store, you can subscribe to newspapers (the Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Le Monde) and magazines (The Atlantic). When issues go to press, the virtual publications are automatically beamed into your Kindle. (It's much closer to a virtual newsboy tossing the publication on your doorstep than accessing the contents a piece at a time on the Web.) You can also subscribe to selected blogs, which cost either 99 cents or $1.99 a month per blog.

Continued in article

"Review: Amazon Reader Needs More Juice," by Peter Svensson, PhysOrg, November 21, 2007 ---

Business Week's review --- Click Here

November 21, 2007 reply from Amy Dunbar [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]

Here’s a Chronicle of Higher Education link on e-book readers. 

Amy Dunbar

November 22, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Amy,

The first electronic book reader I ever purchased was the Rocket eBook in July 1999 ---  I plugged it into my desktop computer and downloaded mostly free books, but it was also possible to purchase new books and download them into the reader.

The reader held about thirty books. I found it the most useful on very long flights such as flights to Asia. At home I didn’t use it much, and now I’d have to really hunt just to find the reader and charger. I tend to read downloaded books on my laptop rather than my Rocket eBook. Some of the reasons are mentioned below.

My Rocket eBook weighed well over a pound mostly because the battery weight. But the weight really did not bother me as much as critics are finding fault with Amazon’s new Kindle weighing about ten ounces. My reader would not display color and did a poor job with graphics because of low resolution and screen size.

I do not yet have either of the two new state-of-the-art eBook readers --- the Sony Reader and the Amazon Kindle. You can read more about these and other earlier versions of electronic book readers (many of which are now history) at 

Do critics miss the main point? It’s hard to predict the future of eBook readers. Certainly the Amazon Kindle stands the best chance to date because it will have the largest library to choose from. I think the critics of eBook readers miss the main point. They tend to dwell on such matters as weight and used book markets. The Amazon Kindle weighs not much more and in many cases less than hardcover books. I’d rather pay less for a new electronic book than pay more for traditional book and worry about selling it later on.

Battery life is a problem, but serious users can purchase spare batteries.

The main point overlooked by critics is competition. Customers already have video-playing laptop computers with larger screens, gigabytes of hard drive, and screen capture capabilities from great software like Snag It. Increasingly new releases of books can be downloaded in PDF format. Most textbook publishers now offer electronic versions for laptop and desktop computers.

Google and Microsoft are now putting hundreds of millions of books free online from the major libraries of the world. For example, it astounds me how much is already available for downloading free of charge --- 

Since so much new and old literature is available (fee and free) for our laptops, selling alternative electronic book readers (eBooks) is a hard sell from get go. Most of us already carry laptops on airplanes. Why burden ourselves with other reading devices (actually I mostly read paper back books and journal article photocopies while in flight)?

Electronic book readers (eBooks) would be almost as common as cell phones if they were the only alternative for downloading new and old electronic literature. But they’re not the only alternative except for very new releases from some publishers who refuse to allow electronic versions in PDF format for laptop downloading. Some, but certainly not all, of those publishers will allow eBook downloading since copying from eBooks is virtually impossible (while hardcopy can be photocopied and transcribed).

I would not invest in companies forging ahead in eBooks. If any company stands a chance, however, it will be Amazon. Amazon stands the best chance of building the largest library of electronic literature that cannot be downloaded into anything other than eBooks. But I’m not crazed by purchasing the newest of the new releases. If necessary I browse in the downtown or university library and check out the latest and greatest new editions.

I am crazed with reading latest news on some Websites like those of selected newspapers and magazines. I scan my favorites every day. Many of these sites allow free reading of today’s news and charge for older editions. So I scan today’s news like crazy and copy excerpts into my computer while the reading is still free. For example, I will scan today’s New York Times and copy what interests me into my computer before downloadings of articles are no longer free (actually the NYT just made archives free but this is not yet common for other newspapers and magazines).

I thus have two choices. I can read today’s newspapers on my laptop or my eBook. For my laptop, hundreds of newspapers are available each morning, and I can cut and paste items of interest into my own files. Only a few newspapers are available for my eBook, and I can’t copy anything from my eBook into my computer files. The choice for me is a no-brainer, and I think the critics of eBooks miss this main point. It’s legal to copy entire articles into my laptop for personal use just like it is legal to copy entire television shows and movies into my VCR. It’s not legal for me to distribute my entire copies to the world, but I can distribute excerpts like I often distribute quotations in my newsletters/blogs. I could not easily do this if I downloaded literature into my eBook rather than my laptop.

Hence critics miss the point about why I prefer downloading into my laptop as opposed to my eBook. I, for one, am not rushing out to “Kindle” my library.

Bob Jensen


Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic literature are at

"Termite Guts Could Boost Ethanol Efficiency:  A metagenomic study could suggest ways to make cellulosic ethanol," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, November 23, 2007 --- 

A massive genomic study of the microbes living within the termite gut has identified close to 1,000 possible enzymes that break down wood. The plethora of cellulose-digesting proteins could shed light on the insects' renowned wood-eating capacity and suggest cheaper, more efficient methods for generating cellulosic ethanol.

"The hard part [in producing cellulosic ethanol] is obtaining the metabolic intermediates from things like wood, but that's the problem the termites have solved," says Frances Arnold, a scientist at Caltech in Pasadena who was not involved in the research. "This paper provides an explosion of information about the genes involved in wood degradation in the termite."

Continued in article

"The Paperless Map Is the Killer App:  Forget media downloads. Cell customers really want GPS and navigation features," Business Week, November 26, 2007 --- Click Here

First, cell phones made the streetcorner pay phone obsolete. Now they're doing away with the need to ask for directions. A surge in phones with built-in satellite navigation capability has sparked a wave of creative mapping and locating services. And it has set off a multibillion-dollar scramble by companies to buy up digital navigation technologies.

The number of navigation-ready cell phones will hit 162 million this year, or more than seven times the number of such devices sold for use in cars or other nonphone gadgets, says researcher iSuppli. You only have to scan phone company ads to see how they are touting navigational features: The new N95 smartphone from Nokia (NOK ) plays music and videos, but it also has a chip that receives signals from the government's Global Positioning System satellites, enabling the phone to display maps. Research In Motion (RIMM ) is already putting navigation features into its BlackBerry smartphones. Other big phonemakers including Motorola (MOT ) and Samsung are doing the same. Apple (AAPL ), having put a version of Google (GOOG ) Maps on its iPhone, is widely expected to add GPS chips and live mapping in 2008.

Continued in article

Looming Online Security Threats in 2008
Web-based services, including social networks MySpace and Facebook, are becoming prime targets for hackers seeking your personal information. It's nearly enough to make you long for the days of typo-ridden e-mails pretending to come from your bank. As Internet users display more of their personal information on social networking Web sites, and office workers upload more sensitive data to online software programs, computer hackers are employing increasingly sophisticated methods to pry that information loose. In many cases, they're devising small attacks that can fly under the radar of traditional security software, while exploiting the trust users place in popular business and consumer Web sites.
Aaron Ricadela, Business Week, November 12, 2007 ---

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

Singing a New Zune:  Microsoft's Retooled Player Marks a Vast Improvement; However, It's Still No iPod," by Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2007; Page D1 ---

Last year, when Microsoft Corp. introduced its Zune music player to take on Apple's iPod juggernaut, the software giant struck out. While the Zune had a good user interface and a larger screen than the iPod, it was bigger and boxier, with clumsier controls, weaker battery life and more complex software. Its companion online music store had a much smaller catalog, a more complicated purchase process and no videos for sale. And the Zune's most innovative feature, built-in Wi-Fi networking, was nearly useless and added little value to the players, which sold so poorly that Apple barely noticed.

But Microsoft is nothing if not persistent, and this week, the company is back with a second, improved round of Zunes. The chunky, older 30-gigabyte model remains in the lineup, but it's joined by a slimmed-down full-size Zune that holds 80 gigabytes, and by a much smaller model that holds four or eight gigabytes. Prices range from $150 to $250. The 80-gigabyte Zune is available only in black, and the others come in red, green, black and pink.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, Apple hasn't been standing still, either. It now has its own large-screen, wireless model, the iPod Touch, with a radical "multi-touch" interface like the iPhone's. The screen on the Touch is larger than the one on the bigger Zunes and is much sharper. Its Wi-Fi allows you to browse the Web, watch YouTube videos and even buy music without a PC -- none of which is possible on a Zune -- though the Touch is $50 more and holds much less content than the new full-size Zune.

Microsoft's new Zunes are directly aimed at the iPod Classic, Apple's full-size, high-capacity model, and the iPod nano, its compact version. But, here again, Apple has been on the move. The 80-gigabyte Classic, which costs the same as the 80-gigabyte Zune, is slimmer than the Zune and has a flashy new interface, if a smaller screen. And the eight-gigabyte nano, which costs the same as the eight-gigabyte Zune, now plays videos and is much smaller -- yet has a larger screen. Neither of these iPods includes Wi-Fi.

In addition, Apple has spiffed up its iTunes software, adding various features, including the addictive Cover Flow, which allows you to flip through all your albums with just a flick of the mouse. Cover Flow also shows up on the nano, the Classic and the Touch. Even the new Zune PC software has no interface as compelling.

And Apple still trounces Microsoft in the selection of media it sells. The iTunes store offers more than six million songs, about double what the Zune Marketplace offers, and dwarfs Microsoft's selection of Podcasts and music videos, as well. Plus, Zune Marketplace still doesn't sell any TV shows, movies or audiobooks, while iTunes does.

Radio Feature

Overall, we still don't think the Zune line beats the iPods and iTunes. However, one of the Zunes, the full-size Zune 80, could give the iPod some competition, especially among new digital-player buyers who aren't invested in the iTunes ecosystem. For the same price, it offers a significantly larger screen (albeit with the same resolution), wireless syncing and sharing, and a built-in FM radio -- an existing Zune feature that the iPod lacks.

We tested the $249.99 80-gigabyte Zune 80 against Apple's iPod Classic with the same capacity and price and then did the same for the $199.99 eight-gigabyte Zune 8 compared with the iPod nano equivalent.

We didn't get a chance to test the battery life on the new Zune models or that of the iPod Classic and nano. But Microsoft concedes that unless you turn off Wi-Fi -- one of the Zune's key advantages -- its claimed battery life is lower than Apple's claims. Microsoft estimates as many as 19 and 24 hours of music playback with Wi-Fi on for the eight- and 80-gigabyte, respectfully. Apple claims as many as 24 hours and 30 hours, respectively, on the competitive models, which lack Wi-Fi. In the past, Apple has generally understated its battery claims, while last year, Microsoft overstated its claims.

Easier Navigating

On both Zunes, the front hosts just three buttons: the Zune Pad, a back button and a Play/Pause button. Its menus are divided into Music, Videos, Pictures, Social, Radio, Podcasts and Settings; navigating through this menu list and hundreds of songs is made easier with the Zune Pad's touch functions. To zip through a list, we flicked a finger up or down. The top, bottom, right and left sides each work as individual buttons, as does the center of the Zune Pad.

The user interface is mainly unchanged from last year and still works very well, requiring an economical number of steps for each action.

Zune's black, red and green colors are fine, but rather masculine -- the latter reminded us of camouflage. But the pink was a glaring shade more appropriate for My Little Pony; it looks like an afterthought.

We initiated wireless syncs with the Zune software program, plugging the player into our PC the first time but leaving it disconnected each time after that. Wireless syncing took a little longer than with a cord and must be initiated by the user from within the player's settings. One frustration: Presumably to save battery life, the Zune disconnects from the network periodically and then must reconnect the next time you want to use the Wi-Fi. Also, the Zune can't wirelessly sync if you're at a public hot spot that requires you to log in or pay.

Intelligent Syncing

This year's Zunes also introduce a concept Microsoft intends to build on: intelligent, or automated, syncing. If you have your Zune set to sync only some of your music, not all, and drag an artist's name onto the Zune icon in the PC software, the software will thereafter automatically sync every song you add to the PC from that artist. Microsoft believes many people would welcome such automation.

Continued in Article


Education Tutorials

Over 30,000 Free Academic Literature and Multimedia Items from EServer (including some "Bad Subjects") --- 

The Educational Multimedia Visualization Center (video) ---

Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age --- 

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Flowering plants evolved very quickly into 5 groups
University of Florida and University of Texas at Austin scientists have shed light on what Charles Darwin called the “abominable mystery” of early plant evolution.
PhysOrg, November 26, 2007 ---

Science NOW: The Latest News Headlines from the Scientific World ---

The Internet as a Resource for News and Information about Science ---

Interactives: The Periodic Table ---

The Educational Multimedia Visualization Center (video) ---

Illuminating Study Reveals How Plants Respond to Light ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free online science, engineering, and medicine tutorials are at ---

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

AllPsych Online: The Virtual Psychology Classroom ---

States in the U.S. Rated by Population and Poverty ---

eScholarship Editions ---

BioEd Online: Food and Fitness ---

From the University of Chicago
The Harris School of Public Policy: Working Papers Series ---

BBC: Archaeology ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Philosophy tutorials are at

Math Tutorials

From Texas A&M University
College Algebra Online Tutorials ---

Online Mathematics Textbooks ---

Math Teaching and Learning Center --- 

Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching 

Mathematics for Economics: Enhancing Teaching and Learning (includes video tutorials) --- 

Gizmo: Developmental Math --- Click Here 

Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at

History Tutorials

History on the Year You Were Born ---

The Oscar Wilde Collection ---

The Battle of the Somme ---

Henry M. Jackson

Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at
Also see  

Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Writing Tutorials

World Wide Words ---

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (many helpers here) ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Small Business Administration: Free Online Courses (video) ---

A Government Website for Helpers in Personal Finance is the U.S. government's website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are planning to buy a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401k, the resources on can help you do it better. Throughout the site, you will find important information from 20 federal agencies government wide.
My ---

The AICPA's Financial Literacy Helper Site ---  

Bob Jensen's personal finance/investment helpers are at

Illustrated Cash Flow For Dummies ---
Link forwarded by Jim Mahar

Bob Jensen's small business helpers are at

President of Evangelical University Resigns
Facing accusations that he misspent university money to support a lavish lifestyle, the president of Oral Roberts University has resigned, officials said Friday . . . Mr. Roberts, the son of the televangelist and university founder Oral Roberts, came under fire with the university after three former professors filed a lawsuit last month that included accusations of a $39,000 shopping tab for Mr. Robert’s wife, Lindsay, at one store; a $29,411 senior trip to the Bahamas on the university jet for one of Mr. Roberts’s daughters; and a stable of horses for the Roberts children . . . Mr. Roberts received a vote of no confidence last week from the university’s tenured faculty.
The New York Times, November 24, 2007 ---

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

"U.S. Doctoral Awards in Science and Engineering Continue Upward Trend ," National Science Foundation, November 2007 ---

U.S. institutions awarded 29,854 science and engineering (S&E) doctorates in 2006, a record high. The 2006 rise in S&E doctoral awards, 6.7% over 2005, is the fourth consecutive increase (figure 1, table 1). S&E fields reaching all-time high counts in 2006 were biological sciences, computer sciences, mathematics, chemistry, social sciences, and engineering . . . the increase in Ph.D. production in the sciences was driven largely by growth in the biological sciences, chemistry, computer sciences, and electrical engineering, all of which experienced growth of at least 200 doctorates (mathematics and mechanical engineering also fared well). Psychology and agricultural sciences suffered small declines.


Is the disparity between liberals versus conservatives in academe due, in part, to self selection by undergraduates to pursue doctoral degrees?
Is the shortage of doctoral graduates in some professions (e.g., accounting and finance) due in part to tendencies of graduates in these professions to not seek out academic careers?

"The Conservative Pipeline Problem," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, November 16, 2007 ---

Colleges have been increasingly competing to offer “family friendly” policies — in the hopes of attracting the best academic talent from a pool of Ph.D.’s that includes both more women than ever before as well as many men who take parenting responsibilities seriously. A new study suggests that such policies may be important for another group that believes its needs aren’t fully addressed in academe: conservatives.


The authors of the study do not dispute that conservatives are a distinct minority in academe and that the imbalance is problematic. They also hold open the possibility — much proclaimed by other authors at the conference of the American Enterprise Institute where all of the work was presented — that there may be bias against conservatives (although they question whether this has been proven). But the authors of the work on the pipeline say there is considerable evidence that could show conservative self-selection out of academic careers.


The husband-and-wife social science team based their findings on analysis they did from national surveys of freshmen and seniors conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles’s Higher Education Research Institute. They found that in both choices of majors and in personal values, conservatives seem to be taking themselves off the track for academic careers well before graduate school. The authors did not find evidence of statistically significant differences in grades or measures of academic performance, so most of the report is based on the premise that interests and experiences are at play, not aptitude.

For starters, the paper finds that conservatives are much more likely to pick majors in professional fields — areas that tend to put students on the fast track for an M.B.A. (or for a job) more than a Ph.D. Only 9 percent of students on the far left and 18 percent of liberals major in professional fields, compared to 33 percent of conservatives and 37 percent of those who identify as being on the far right.

Further, the study finds that not only (as has been reported many times previously) do students who identify as liberal outnumber those who identify as conservative, but that those who are liberal are much more likely to consider a Ph.D. The UCLA survey of seniors found that only 13 percent of all students were considering a Ph.D. But the numbers were significantly higher for those on the left (24 percent of the far left and 18 percent of liberals) than on the right (11 percent of the far right and 9 percent of conservatives).

The study also finds significant differences among colleges seniors in values that they care about — including values that might make someone more or less likely to enter a Ph.D. program. For instance, in a values study, the seniors were asked to rank certain experiences on a four-point scale (with 1 as not important, 2 as somewhat important, 3 as very important, and 4 as essential). The results show a divide.

Student Values and Ideology

  Raising a Family Being Well Off Financially Writing Original Works Developing Meaningful Philosophy of Life
Far left 2.58 2.05 2.19 3.03
Liberal 2.98 2.50 1.81 2.75
Moderate 3.22 2.73 1.60 2.51
Conservative 3.40 2.55 1.53 2.55
Far right 3.39 2.79 1.63 2.53

It’s not that conservatives don’t care about philosophy or that liberals don’t like kids, the paper suggests, but different underlying values that may frame decisions.

“Conservatives appear to be very practically oriented,” said Woessner.

Kelly-Woessner said that for many who want to raise a family, academic life may be daunting — what with both graduate school’s relative poverty and the long hours and stress of the tenure track. “The path up to tenure is perceived as very hostile to family,” she said, adding that colleges would do well — for all kinds of reasons — to become more family friendly.

In keeping with the overall paper, Kelly-Woessner suggested that a cumulative effect may be visible in explaining lopsidedly liberal departments. “You are just starting with the choice of majors,” she said, and then go on to what students value at the point of graduation.

In terms of suggestions, the paper argues both for family-friendly policies and for less politics in the classroom, expressing hope that the latter might attract more conservatives to the social sciences and humanities.

But the authors stress that — to the extent liberals and conservatives finishing colleges have different values — imbalances among college faculties may be permanent.

“Ideology represents far more than a collection of abstract political values,” they write. “Liberalism is more closely associated with a desire for excitement, an interest in creative outlets and an aversion to a structured work environment. Conservatives express greater interest in financial success and strong desires to raise families. From this perspective, the ideological imbalance that permeates much of academia may be somewhat intractable.”

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the shortage of accounting doctoral students are at

Bob Jensen's threads on the liberal side of academe are at


From the Scout Report on November 21. 2007

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 7.5.503 --- 

While some things come and go in the world of computers, viruses are pretty much guaranteed to be around forever. Anti-virus programs are a "must have" in today's online world, and this helpful free edition of the AVG Anti-Virus program is worth a look. The features of this latest release include real- time protection as files are opened and programs are run, along with free virus updates. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, and Vista.

TAMS Analyzer 3.50b14 --- 

Anyone who has tried to perform qualitative analyses of various texts, interviews, and other documents knows how difficult it can be. Researchers who do this type of work will be glad to learn about the Text Analysis Markup System (TAMS) Analyzer 3.50b14. With this program, users can assign ethnographic codes to text passages by selecting the relevant text and double clicking the name of the code of a list. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer.

Call for prison reform draws attention from policy makers and members of the law enforcement community U.S. Prison system a costly and harmful failure  

California a leader in number of youths in prison for life --- Click Here

Crack cocaine sentence cut is stalled by retroactivity 

NPR: Should Sentencing Reform Be Retroactive? [Real Player] 

Unlocking America [pdf] 

Bureau of Justice Statistics [pdf] 

From The Washington Post on November 26, 2007

How many DVDs does Netflix ship per day?

A. 500,000
B. 1.2 million
C. 1.6 million
D. 2.3 million
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

Updates from WebMD ---


This is probably a good case to study in ethics courses!
Radioactivity's danger overstated?

Studies of some of the worst radiation incidents show effects on workers and residents aren't nearly as severe as commonly thought, a German newspaper said. From the dropping of U.S. atomic bombs on Japan in World War II to a 1957 accident at a secret nuclear facility in Siberia to German uranium mines to the nuclear radiation release at Chernobyl in 1987, researchers are finding long-term dangers seem overblown, Der Spiegel reported Friday. Instead of tens of thousands of deaths from those incidents, documented cancer and other radiation-related deaths have been only in the hundreds, the German newspaper said. Research shows health-related problems, including genetic deformities, also were overstated. The research includes work done by GSF Research Center for Health and the Environment in Neuherberg, Germany -- Europe's largest radiation protection institute -- for the European Union's Southern Urals Radiation Risk Research project, and by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, as well as a U.S.-Japanese epidemiological study. "For commendable reasons, many critics have greatly exaggerated the health risks of radioactivity," Albrecht Kellerer, a Munich radiation biologist, told the newspaper. "But contrary to widespread opinion, the number of victims is by no means in the tens of thousands."
PhysOrg, November 24, 2007 ---

Question about calories and what it has to do with managerial accounting!
What are the nine most fattening foods (and drink) that are popular around the Oktoberfest, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah Holidays?
See if you can name them before looking up the answers. Why are some of these foods more of a problem in the autumn?
Hint:  Don't dwell on meats and most other fatty foods that are problems 365 days a year. Think more in terms of autumn, although a few winners are not unique to autumn and winter.
Remember, it's not exactly what you eat as it is how much you eat of it. My problem is that if it tastes really good, I want more!
Advice:  Put a few more miles on the treadmill every day. And is quantity of life really more important than quality of life?

"9 Frighteningly Fattening Fall Foods:  Avoiding these rich fall favorites can help you make it to Thanksgiving without gaining a pound," by Kathleen M. Zelman, WebMD, November 2007 ---

Fall offers all kinds of delicious and nutritious foods, from apples to root vegetables, but we have a knack for taking healthy foods (think sweet potatoes) and making them decadently rich. When simmered in cream, baked in pie crust, sautéed in butter, or topped with cheese, these foods go from good to bad.

"Foods like apples, squash, nuts, and pumpkin are super nutritious, but the nutritional goodness is masked when you add lots of extra calories," says Tara Gidus, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

And don’t forget those game-day favorites, served on a tailgate or in front of the television. If you're a typical sports fan, you could find yourself seated on the couch for hours at a time on college football Saturday, professional football Sunday, and again on Monday night. Not only is that a big chunk of time to be sitting, but you could easily devour a mountain of chips, nachos, hot dogs, pizza, wings, ribs, sausages, and let’s not forget the beer.

"Eating and drinking for hours at a time coupled with little physical activity is a perfect formula for weight gain," says Gidus.

Oktoberfest adds another opportunity to celebrate, with calorie-laden beer, sausages, and potato salads.

The Most Fattening Foods of Fall

So what exactly are the diet-spoilers to watch out for this season? Here are nine fall foods that can really pack a caloric punch:

  1. Halloween candy. Long before Halloween arrives, bowls of fun-size candy bars are all over the office. And then there are those tempting bags stashed in the back of the pantry.  "When 3 p.m. rolls around, it is easy to get enticed by those bite-size candies. But one usually turns into more, and before you know it, you have eaten the equivalent of a full-size candy bar," says Gidus. Her advice: Stash sweets out of sight, and be prepared to satisfy your midday hunger pangs with something more nutritious. If you must have something sweet, chew a piece of sugarless gum.
  2. Cream soups and hearty stews. Cream of baked potato and broccoli cheese soups and beef stroganoff may seem like perfect fall foods, but beware. "Warm soups and stews feel so nutritious, but if they are loaded with cream, cheese, or meat, they are also loaded with calories," says Farrell. Serving them in a bread bowl, atop rice, or noodles, or dunking big portions of bread into them can put even healthy soups or stews over the top, in terms of calories, she says. So avoid these options, and be sure to choose broth and vegetable based soups and stews to fill you up for fewer calories.
  3. Root vegetables. While many are super-nutritious, root vegetables can quadruple in calories when you cream them, fry them, or mix them with cheese, cream, butter, canned soups, or crispy bacon. A sweet potato casserole can easily have 500 calories per serving -- 400 more than a simple roasted sweet potato.  Shave calories by eating root veggies oven-roasted or grilled. If you just can’t pass on the mashed potatoes, skip the gravy and keep the portion to 1/2 cup.
  4. Seasonal beverages.  Hot toddies may keep you warm at night, but these hot drinks, along with hot chocolate, pumpkin-spice lattes, eggnog, and apple cider are a quick and easy way to take in lots of extra calories. A 16-oz. Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte with 2% milk and whipped cream packs 380 calories, while the same size caramel apple cider has 410 calories. "Be careful with hot, cold, or alcoholic beverages because they are additional calories and don’t affect how much you eat," says Farrell. One regular 12-ounce beer has 150 calories, and you can multiply that by however many you drink. So try a hot cup of green or flavored tea, rich with antioxidants and calorie-free. When you choose to drink alcohol, opt for light beer or wine spritzers, and limit yourself to one or two.
  5. Apples dipped in caramel. An afternoon snack of apples with a thick layer of caramel and coated with nuts can total more than 500 calories, says Gidus. Enjoy crisp apple slices with a small container of low-fat caramel dip (McDonald’s version has 70 calories) for the same great taste with a fraction of the fat and calories.
  6. Apple, pecan, and sweet potato pies. These fall favorites start with healthy ingredients such as heart-healthy nuts or antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables -- but they also include high-calorie ingredients. "Rich, buttery pie crusts, sweet fillings, and the customary whipped cream or ice cream topping make these pies decadent and full of calories," says Farrell. Skip the crust, add a dollop of light whipped topping, and serve yourself only a sliver to enjoy these yummy desserts without lots of extra calories.
  7. Stuffing. There are so many versions of stuffing, most containing high-fat ingredients such as sausage and butter. And the calories keep coming when the stuffing is served with a ladle or two of gravy. "You can make a low-fat stuffing using fruits, vegetables, and stock, but you still need to keep the portion small and try to avoid smothering it in gravy," says Gidus. 
  8. Macaroni and cheese. It's an all-time favorite comfort food for both kids and adults, but it can wreak havoc with your diet. At Boston Market, a 7.8 ounce serving of mac and cheese has 320 calories. To make it worse, many recipes call for extra ingredients such as high-fat meats or sausage.  "Modify the recipe by using a low-fat cheese, low-fat milk and add in some veggies instead of meat to improve the nutritional profile and still taste great," says Liz Weiss, author of The Mom’s Guide to Meal Makeovers.
  9. Pumpkin desserts. Pumpkin layer cake, cheesecake, bread pudding -- there are so many ways to take the vitamin A-rich pumpkin and turn it into a decadently rich dessert. "Be careful, because if you add tons of cream and sugar, you negate the health benefits of pumpkin," says Gidus. Instead, she says, "lighten the other ingredients, try a crustless, low-fat pumpkin custard or low-fat pumpkin muffins, so you can enjoy the pumpkin without sabotaging your waistline."

Continued in article

As an aside, what state in the U.S. has the highest consumption of beer per capita (the answer surprised me)?
Answer ---
Color Coded Map of the U.S. ---
Note that the map can be changed to wine consumption across the states.
Note the other data that can be visualized ---

Jensen Comment
My New Hampshire makes it look like we're a bunch of drunks on wine and beer. However, I have some questions about the data. Because of low prices and taxes, out-of-state non-residents flock to New Hampshire and take huge hauls back to their homes and sometimes businesses. For example, if the data concerns wine sales, then much of wine sold in New Hampshire State Liquor stores is not consumed in the State of New Hampshire. Instead it is headed for cellars in Canada, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New York and other points west and south. Somewhere along the way, New Hampshire's bureaucrats remembered that module in college managerial accounting courses dealing with "Cost, Profit, Volume Analysis" ---
Also watch the video ---
Also see

Advice:  Instead of eating all those extra calories watch the YouTube "Managerial Accounting" tutorials instead of doing all that eating and drinking during the autumn holidays? Right! What is it I said about quality versus quantity of life?

New Hampshire may be the only state in the union that has Interstate exits that only go to liquor stores and not anywhere else (without getting back on Interstates 93 and 95).

"If You Overeat, Get Back on Track Fast," by Cheryl Wittenauer, PhysOrg, November 21, 2007 ---

It would take 27 minutes of walking to burn the 97 calories in an 8-ounce serving of cola. A really fast mile would burn 125 calories, Popkin notes.

But that barely dents the 2,000 to 3,000 calories in an average Thanksgiving meal.

Three ounces of white turkey meat is only 130 calories, but a serving of sweet potato casserole is 330 calories; stuffing is 107; a slice of pumpkin pie is more than 300, while a piece of pecan pie is 500 calories.

On previous Thanksgivings, Patty Wade, 61, would have helped herself to a piece of that pecan pie, along with a large serving of corn casserole and potatoes. But things are different this year.

Wade, a senior analyst for a St. Louis hospital, has lost 55 pounds since March, and doesn't plan to regain any of it despite dealing with three Thanksgiving celebrations and four family birthdays this month.

Now, she restricts herself to a reasonable portion of meat, vegetables without high-calorie sauces, and a few bites of dessert. She's bringing dessert to Thursday's feast, a "really good yellow cake that doesn't require icing."

Dr. Robert Kushner, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, recommends having a plan of action like Wade's, and visualizing the meal beforehand.

He suggests deciding ahead of time what can and cannot be eaten, eating while sitting rather than standing and talking, and from a plate not off a tray to keep things in proportion.

Take small bites and eat slowly. And, don't get stuck in guilt if you've eaten too much.

"Feeling guilty just leads to 'I blew my diet, so I won't start again until January,'" he said. "That's the worse thing you can do."

For Amy Lottes, her plan includes a three-hour walk when she takes her kids to the Saint Louis Zoo on Thanksgiving. Exercise and portion control have helped the St. Louis-area mom keep off the 20 pounds she lost four years ago with the help of a nutritionist and personal trainer.

This Thanksgiving, the 41-year-old will forfeit dessert and second helpings and have a second glass of wine instead.

Personal trainer Gina Pona-Norton said it's important to stay active - not just busy - over the holidays. And don't deprive yourself, just use moderation.

"If you get off track, get back on as soon as possible," she said. "If you have a bad Thursday, Friday is the day of eating perfect. Let it go. Let Thanksgiving go."

Working mums and overweight kids: is there a link?
New research from the University of Bristol shows that children aged between 5 and 7, whose mothers work full time, are more likely to be overweight at age 16. The impact on their weight is not immediate; rather, children become more obese as they get older. There is no evidence that children younger than 5 or older than 7 are more likely to be overweight at age 16 if their mothers work either part time or full time.
PhysOrg, November 22, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
Maybe its because babysitting dads in front of the TV share their beer and snacks with the kids. But the fact is that working mothers of overweight children tend to be overweight themselves. Hence genetic flaws are more apt to be the underlying problems according to the study.

What happens when dad looks after the kids?
According to new research from the University of Bristol, some fathers do not provide their young sons with the same quality of intellectual stimulation as mothers do. Boys who spend at least 15 hours a week in their father’s care as toddlers perform worse in academic assessments when they start school . . . There is evidence that boys – but not girls – who spent at least 15 hours a week in paternal care when they were toddlers performed worse on academic assessments when they started school. This cannot be explained by parents’ economic or psychological characteristics, nor by the characteristics of the child. This raises concerns that, on average, fathers do not provide the same degree of mental stimulation to sons as mothers do. When in charge, fathers may be more inclined to see their role as monitoring the child and seeing to its physical needs and less inclined to devise creative activities that develop a child’s intellectual skills.
PhysOrg, November 23, 2007 ---

Cigarette smoke, alcohol damage hearts worse as combo
Tobacco smoke-filled air is bad for cardiovascular health, and drinking alcohol at the same time only makes it worse, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Testing the theory that moderate alcohol consumption provides some heart-protection benefits, the UAB team said it wanted to take the idea further and look at the effects of smoking and breathing second-hand smoke along with drinking. They reported that mice exposed to smoky air in a laboratory enclosure and fed a liquid diet containing ethanol, the intoxicating ingredient in alcohol, had a 4.7-fold increase in artery lesions. That compares to mice who breathed filtered air and ate a normal solid diet. Artery lesions are a common problem in heavy smokers and a key sign of advancing cardiovascular disease. The results are published in the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine.
PhysOrg, November 21, 2007 ---

Even minute levels of lead cause brain damage in children
Even very small amounts of lead in children's blood -- amounts well below the current federal standard -- are associated with reduced IQ scores, finds a new six-year Cornell study. The study examined the effect of lead exposure on cognitive function in children whose blood-lead levels (BLLs) were below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standard of 10 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dl) -- about 100 parts per billion. The researchers compared children whose BLLs were between 0 and 5 mcg/dl with children in the 5-10 mcg/dl range. "Even after taking into consideration family and environmental factors known to affect a child's cognitive performance, blood lead played a significant role in predicting nonverbal IQ scores," says Richard Canfield, a senior researcher in Cornell's Division of Nutritional Sciences and senior author of the study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. "We found that the average IQ scores of children with BLLs of only 5 to 10 mcg/dl were about 5 points lower than the IQ scores of children with BLLs less than 5 mcg/dl. This indicates an adverse effect on children who have a BLL substantially below the CDC standard, suggesting the need for more stringent regulations," he said.
PhysOrg, November 7, 2007 ---

Drugs may not delay onset of dementia; and more
Researchers have examined the evidence in favour of giving people considered to be close to developing dementia the drugs that are most commonly used to treat the condition itself. They have concluded that these drugs (cholinesterase inhibitors) do not seem to delay the appearance of Alzheimer disease or other forms of dementia.
PhysOrg, November 27, 2007 ---

BioEd Online: Food and Fitness ---

Three Strikes (Surgeries) on the Wrong Side of the Brain, But the Hospital's Not Out
Rhode Island Hospital has been fined $50,000 and reprimanded by the state Department of Health after its third instance this year of a doctor performing brain surgery in the wrong side of a patient's head. "We are extremely concerned about this continuing pattern," health department director David R. Gifford said in a statement Monday. The hospital issued a statement saying it was re-evaluating its training and policies, providing more oversight, giving nursing staff the power to ensure procedures are followed, among other steps. The most recent case happened Friday when the chief resident started operating on the...
"Hospital fined after 3rd wrong-side brain surgery this year," Houston Chronicle, November 27, 2007 ---
Also see

What does a surgeon tell a recovering patient with wrong-side brain surgery?

My wife used to work as a surgical technician (for over 20 years) mostly assisting neurosurgeons. Once when there was a wrong-side brain surgery, the surgeon immediately opened the other side of the brain and properly finished the operation. Afterwards he told the patient the following:

"I've got good news and good news! We operated and removed the tumor. And just to be sure, we opened up the other side to check for tumors. We think you’re clean."

Jensen Comment
I wonder if the insurance company paid for all the extra “checking-it-out” surgery.

From the AccountingWeb, November 2007

Making the right health care choices during open enrollment
The benefits packages have been delivered and may still be lying on your desk at home or in the office along with the cover letter saying that if you do nothing you will have the same health benefits as last year. Many employees, looking for any excuse to procrastinate, may be asking themselves, "How much could have changed from last year and do I really have to read this?"

High health-care costs may result in fewer doctor's visits
As health care costs go nowhere but up, workers can expect employers to shift more of the burden on them - again. Costs are expected to increase in two ways: in the amount deducted from paychecks for monthly premiums (an 8.7 percent increase is projected by Hewitt Associates) and in out-of-pocket expenses as deductibles rise. Many employees are getting this bad news now, during open enrollment season for next year's benefits elections.

Workers may see new insurance option: HSAs
While the end of the year brings a flurry of shopping decisions (Can I get away with buying Uncle Charlie another tie?), some choices are even more daunting: health care plans. Fall is usually open-enrollment time, and workers may see an option called a Health Savings Account, or HSA, for the first time.

HSAs pave way for first-dollar preventive care coverage
Most health savings account plans cover recommended preventive benefits on a first-dollar basis, according to a new survey released this week by America's Health Insurance Plans.

Wellness programs: Well-intentioned, but too intrusive for some
Wellness programs have been popular with companies looking to lower their health care costs for years, but some observers are starting to question just how far these programs should go.

The Number of Special Education students in the U.S. increased by 46% to over six million since 1989 ---

First disabled students were segregated or not allowed in schools. Then came the pressures and legislation to mainstream, with obvious exceptions, in classrooms with regular students. Now a movement is underfoot to once again segregate them, including autistic children, into their own classes.
"Parents of Disabled Students Push for Separate Classes," by Robert Tomsho, The Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2007; Page A1---

"Great Scots:  The first minister of Scotland chooses works that reflect the spirit of his native land," by Alex Salmond, The Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2007 ---

1. "The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith (1776).

With its espousal of freedom, industry and self-determination, "The Wealth of Nations" is considered a founding document of the Scottish Enlightenment, which deeply influenced the great political and philosophical movements of the modern era. I prefer to think of Adam Smith's seminal work as an economist's treasure trove. I have spent countless hours delving into its arguments about taxation, trade, public works and the division of labor, pausing for classic passages such as: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

2. "How the Scots Invented the Modern World" by Arthur Herman (Crown, 2001).

To understand the central truths of Scottish character and culture, from their origins to today, you could do no better than to look into "How the Scots Invented the Modern World." Arthur Herman covers it all: Scotland's contributions to democracy, capitalism and banking, as well as to literature and the arts. From the Scottish Reformation of the 1600s to David Hume and the Enlightenment in the 1700s, from Robert Louis Stevenson in the 1800s to the devolution of 1997 that restored the Scottish Parliament for the first time in nearly 300 years, Herman conjures the spirit of a people rooted in education and reason. His description of the opening of Edinburgh's first medical school in 1726 is particularly telling: "Edinburgh taught its doctors to be hands-on generalists, who could spot a problem, make a diagnosis, and apply treatment themselves."

3. "Sunset Song" by Lewis Grassic Gibbon (Jarrolds, 1932)

We Scots have our share of historical and literary warrior-characters like William Wallace, the medieval Scottish patriot who still stirs a fierce pride in his latter-day countrymen. My favorite Scottish "warrior," however, is Chris Guthrie, a farmer's daughter in the early years of the 20th century and the heroine of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's "Sunset Song." In this first novel of Gibbon's "A Scots Quair" trilogy, Chris's heart belongs to her family's farm, but the modern world has begun to encroach on the nearby village of Kinraddie. Her husband dies in World War I, and in the postwar years the sun begins to set on agrarian life in a country that Chris has "loved and hated in a breath." But her ultimate devotion to her land--her Scotland--transcends family, love, war and death.

4. "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame (Scribner, 1908).

Edinburgh native Kenneth Grahame truly captures the spirit of Scotland in this quintessential children's story about a lovable animal quartet. The adventures begin when Mole warily accepts an invitation from a water rat--Ratty--to join him in his row boat. "Believe me, my young friend," Ratty says, "there is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." A friendship is born, and soon the circle expands to include Mr. Badger and Mr. Toad, who likes nothing half so much as messing about in motor cars. As the story unfolds, the animals display their loyalty, humility, dedication, generosity and a fighting spirit when confronted--all virtues esteemed in Scottish culture and brought charmingly to life by Grahame.

5. "The Works of Robert Burns" (Wordsworth Poetry Library, 1994).

For auld lang syne, I must pay tribute to Robbie Burns (1759-96), who put those words into poetry and song. A Scots country lad whose writing led him to the salons of Edinburgh, Burns took his love of Scotland, its dialect and traditions and shared it with the world. Our national bard may be most remembered around the globe on Hogmanay (New Year), but we in Scotland recall his wit, his humor and his devotion to his country every day, whether we stand in Parliament "gath'rin votes" or worrying over the progress of "time or tide."

Mr. Salmond, a former economist for the Royal Bank of Scotland, is the leader of the Scottish National Party


Forwarded by Dick Haar

We rarely get a chance to see another country's editorial about the USA.

Read this excerpt from a Romanian Newspaper. The article was written by Mr. Cornel Nistorescu and published under the title 'C'ntarea Americii, meaning 'Ode To America' in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentulzilei 'The Daily Event' or 'News of the Day' & nbsp;

~An Ode to America~

Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even if you painted them all one color! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious beliefs.

Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the Army, or the Secret Service that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape about. Instead the Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.

After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a government official or the president was passing. On every occasion, they started singing:'God Bless America!'

I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.

How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being? Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put into a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy.

What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their history? Their economic Power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding commonplace, I thought things over, I reached but only one conclusion... Only freedom can work such miracles.

Cornel Nistorescu

“It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put it back together — Iraq, for example.” In the interview in Emel, a Muslim lifestyle magazine, Williams makes only mild criticisms of the Islamic world. He said the Muslim world must acknowledge that its “political solutions were not the most impressive”. He commends the Muslim practice of praying five times a day, which he says allows the remembrance of God to be “built in deeply in their daily rhythm”.
London Times, November 25, 2007 ---
Jensen Comment
No mention is made of U.S. efforts to stop genocide in Bosnia, Saddam's atrocities, 9/11 infernos, terror attacks in Britain subways and elsewhere, boycotting of Jews in U.K. academia, or Tony Blair's recent abandonment of the Archbishop in favor of Roman Catholicism. Rowan Williams consistently leans to the far left on virtually every issue. He's criticized for being
"loathsome with Jews, complacent with Muslims" --- 

When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush. He answered by saying that, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return." It became very quiet in the room.
Discussion at

Several hundred activists of the radical Islamic group Hizb ut Tahrir staged protests here before the arrival of two ships of the US Navy for distributing relief supplies among cyclone-affected people. Two warships, USS Essex and USS Kearsarge -- each carrying 20 helicopters and 3,500 marines on board with emergency relief supplies, medical and emergency evacuation teams -- are scheduled to enter Bangladesh waters Saturday and Tuesday. The protesters Friday carried a banner reading 'Prevent American ships from entering the Bay of Bengal in the name of distributing relief' and chanted slogans 'Go back to America'...
"Islamists protest US naval presence for cyclone relief," Earth Times, November 24, 2007 ---

Forwarded by Paula

Forget Rednecks, here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about folks from Texas ...

You May Live In Texas IF:

If someone in a Lowe's store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you may live in Texas

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Texas .

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Texas .

If "Vacation" means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend, you may live in Texas .

If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Texas

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Texas .

If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you may live in Texas .

If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Texas .

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -- you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Texas

If you find 60 degrees "a little chilly", you may live in Texas .

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