I am an early riser. I used to be at may computer before 5:00 a.m. in my faculty office.
In retirement I'm at my computer before 4:00 a.m. in my front porch.
In all seasons I watch the sun rise up over the Presidential, Twin, and Kinsman Mountain Ranges.
Every sunrise is unique, and the best sunrises are aided by ever-changing cloud formations.
I hope that each sunrise in 2008 will bring more peace, sanity, and prosperity to the entire world.

 

Mt. Washington on January 3, 2007 [ Temperature -23.2 F, Winds (NW) 67.8 mph  -72.5 mph, Wind Chill -68.3°F ]

My December 31, 2007 edition of Fraud Updates is now available at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
Links to my other fraud modules can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud.htm

Auntie Bev, an avid Web surfer, forwarded "Fascinating Statistics" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FascinatingStatistics/Statistics.htm

Auntie Bev left one "fascinating statistic" out of the above list --- her age!
But guess what she's holding up in her (home) Florida birthday party picture?
Is she really telling the truth or should I also cross out the second number on the sign?
Zaba says she was born in 1940. I'm still trying to get verification of this from Snopes!
Hundreds of her forwarded humor messages over the past decade are available at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Thank you Bev for all the laughs and cheers you've shared with us via email over the years! Please keep hitting the Send button!

Happy New Year from Auntie Bev --- http://llerrah.com/newyearwishes.htm
Auld Lang Syne --- http://llerrah.com/auldlangsyne.htm
The Seven Ups of Life --- http://llerrah.com/sevenups.htm

 

Tidbits on January 4, 2008
Bob Jensen

Videos From Bob Jensen's Personal Camera (the pictures are clear but some of them lost a bit in the video) ---
http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/EdTech/Video/Personal/
The Tidbits.wmv video is narrated.

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

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


Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm#Presentations   


Bob Jensen's Threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cpa_examination


You can read about Erika's surgeries and see her pictures at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Erika2007.htm
Personal pictures are at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/PictureHistory/
Some personal videos are at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/EdTech/Video/Personal/ 

Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
       (Also scroll down to the table at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ )

Set up free conference calls at http://www.freeconference.com/
Also see http://www.yackpack.com/uc/   

While working on the computer, Bob Jensen mostly listens to (free and without commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/

Google Maps Street View --- http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/

World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php

Six Tips to Protect Your Search Privacy --- http://www.eff.org/wp/six-tips-protect-your-search-privacy

If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  --- http://www.valour-it.blogspot.com/




Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Google, on the heels of a report released this week that says most users—many of them college students—don’t worry about their personal information showing up through search engines, announced a new series of videos meant to educate users on Google’s privacy settings. The series, appearing on YouTube’s Google Privacy Channel, is part of the corporation’s effort to raise awareness about how users can control their personal information when using Google’s products, according to the Official Google Blog. The videos cover different topics, like how users can manage their search histories and adjust cookie preferences, enhancing users’ control over how their personal information is displayed.
Chronicle of Higher Education, December 20, 2007 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/2629/google-teaches-users-about-privacy-by-youtube?at

Jeff Dunham  (watch his eyebrows late in the video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uwOL4rB-go
I WANNA BE LIKE OSAMA --- http://youtube.com/watch?v=eeDDb5VYwbY
Warning: Neither of the above humor videos is politically correct.

Danny Divito Says Amen to Investing More and More in a Shrinking Market --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfL7STmWZ1c
(Link forwarded by the Financial Rounds blog on December 29, 2007 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/  )

Shocking Economics --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJo7GG15kMU
(Link forwarded by the Financial Rounds blog on December 29, 2007 --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/  )

Alternate Ending to the Wizard of Oz --- http://portugueselotus.multiply.com/video/item/50

Partying Accountants (video links forwarded by David Albrecht)

David Letterman's Top Ten Accountant Pick-Up Lines --- http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/top_ten/index/php/19980409.phtml#

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting humor are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#Humor

LocateTV will search over 3 million TV listings across all channels in your area
Type in the name of a TV show, movie, or actor
Locate TV will find channels and times in your locale
http://www.locatetv.com/


Free music downloads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Indiana University Men's Choral Group has a very funny montage of Christmas music --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fe11OlMiz8

409 (Beachboys) --- http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/cw001/409.html

The cars we drove in 1950s and 1960s (video) --- http://oldfortyfives.com/CarsWeDrove.htm

The 45s of 1960s --- http://moreoldfortyfives.com/TakeMeBackToTheSixties.htm

Dion DiMucci used to sing rock 'n' roll hits: That's him on "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer." But he says he's always really been a blues singer. His new CD, Son of Skip James, is his second blues album --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17680145

Hank Williams Sr. --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hank_Williams

Hank Williams Jr. --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hank_Williams%2C_Jr.

Hank Williams III --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hank_Williams_III

I Love It
Hank Williams Jr, and tiny Hunter Hayes (Jambalaya) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQPEsa5e7K0

Bob Jensen listens to music free online (and no commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/ 


Photographs and Art

Photographs to Make You Smile --- Click Here

Photographs to Make You Sad (From Time Magazine)
What the World Eats (and how much it costs) --- http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1626519_1373675,00.html
For those of you who may want to use this in class or in church, I archived the core of this at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Food2007/Food2007.htm

Subway Stations in Moscow --- Click Here

Women's Faces in Paintings (Video) --- http://miraulam.multiply.com/video/item/38

Europe (forwarded by Dan Gheorghe Somnea [dan_somnea@yahoo.com] ) --- http://dansomnea.tripod.com/touristic.html

The Year 2007 in Pictures from The New York Times --- http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/photo/2007_YIP_FEATURE/index.html#

Eye Fetch --- http://www.eyefetch.com/image.aspx?ID=633531

Fine Arts Blog --- http://allfinearts.com/very-beautiful-drawings/

Art Rocks --- http://oksushi.com/

Interactive Tattoo (Type your first name in the top box and any name in the second box. Then click "Visualizer") --- http://www.tatuagemdaboa.com.br/
If you wonder what happened to the last name, you've got to watch until the ending of the video.

 


Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Electronic Literature Directory --- http://directory.eliterature.org/

Million Book Project Reaches 1.5 Million Book Mark
From the Carnegie Mellon newsletter... http://www.cmu.edu/news/archive/2007/November/nov27_ulib.shtml 

Anthology of English Literature --- http://www.luminarium.org/lumina.htm

Book-a-Minute --- http://rinkworks.com/bookaminute/classics.shtml

Famous Quotes --- http://www.citate-celebre.com/famous-quotes/albert-einstein-quotes/

Grandma's Washday Poem --- http://www.snopes.com/glurge/washday.asp

Fascinating Statistics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FascinatingStatistics/Statistics.htm

Pitchfork Media --- http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/

Find over 500 biographies of the most important writers --- http://litweb.net/

Internet Book List --- http://www.iblist.com/list.php?type=book&key=A&by=genre&genre=4

The Internet Classics Archives from MIT --- http://classics.mit.edu/

The Free Library --- http://www.thefreelibrary.com/

Eye on Europe: prints, books & multiples / 1960 to now --- http://www.moma.org/exhibitions/2006/eyeoneurope/

Short Story Classics --- http://shortstory.byethost6.com/




“How many professors does it take to change a light bulb?”
Answer: “Whadaya mean, “change”?”
Bob Zemsky, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review,  December 2007 --- Click Here

No longer master of my fate,
No more the captain of my cash,
Soon I'll pass through the peon's gate,
But until then -- a plastic bash!

Dana Cimilluca, "Debt Poets Society: Credit Crisis Goes From Bad to Verse Financiers Pen Cheeky Odes On the Market's Mayhem; 'I Pass Through Peon's Gate'," The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2007; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119846198807948191.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

In the World War I trenches British and German troops sang Christmas carols to each other during a temporary holiday truce. They also played soccer before returning to their respective gun positions and began, under orders from their generals, to commence shooting at each other
Snopes --- http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/truce.asp
Jensen Comment
One has to wonder if the truce would've been extended if the generals were required to fight hopelessly in the trenches.

The Iowa Scam:  The undemocratic caucuses are a terrible way to choose a presidential candidate
It is quite astonishing to see with what deadpan and neutral a tone our press and television report the open corruption—and the flagrantly anti-democratic character—of the Iowa caucuses. It's not enough that we have to read of inducements openly offered to potential supporters—I almost said "voters"—even if these mini-bribes only take the form of "platters of sandwiches" and "novelty items" (I am quoting from Sunday's New York Times). It's also that campaign aides are showing up at Iowan homes "with DVD's that [explain] how the caucuses work." Nobody needs a DVD to understand one-person-one-vote, a level playing field, and a secret ballot. The DVD and the other gifts and goodies (Sen. Barack Obama is promising free baby-sitting on Thursday) are required precisely because none of those conditions applies in Iowa. In a genuine democratic process, these Tammany tactics would long ago have been declared illegal. But this is not a democratic process, and besides, as my old friend Michael Kinsley used to say about Washington, the scandal is never about what's illegal. It's about what's legal.
Christopher Hitchens, "The Iowa Scam:  The undemocratic caucuses are a terrible way to choose a presidential candidate," Slate, December 31, 2007 ---
http://www.slate.com/id/2181008/
Jensen Comment
Unlike Iowa, New Hampshire has a true primary with a ballot available to every voter. New Hampshire's record is also better for selecting winners than the Corny State. Iowa hasn't voted in a winning candidate since Jimmy Carter in a year (1976) with little competition. Carter later failed in his bid for a second term. In 1980 Ronald Reagan totally ignored the Iowa causes. Reagan lost in Iowa, but ultimately beat the incumbent (Carter.)
Iowa had caucuses in the 1800s even before Iowa became a state in 1846. A Brief History of the Iowa Caucuses --- Click Here
One year, in 1916, Iowa instead held a primary election. Less than 25% of eligible voters bothered to vote. Iowa later returned to the caucus system where even less voters are allowed to  vote.

Normally, when politicians make predictions, events make them look foolish. But there's been one forecast from a politician in the past 12 months which has proved the prediction of the year. At the beginning of 2007, David Miliband was reflecting on the low ratings of then Prime Minister Tony Blair. He suggested that unpopularity was just a feature of incumbency. He predicted that within a year, people would be saying, "Wouldn't it be great to have that Blair back because we can't stand that Gordon Brown." Less than a year later, Mr. Miliband is foreign secretary in Gordon Brown's government. And their administration is so mired in unpopularity that it's actually below the level in the opinion polls Mr. Blair touched at his nadir. What makes this all the more ironic is the casual assumption of so many in the Labour Party that a simple change in personnel at the top, and a new direction in foreign policy, would revive their fortunes. The standard view on the left put Labour's unpopularity down to Mr. Blair's closeness to President Bush, his support for the Iraq war, and his subsequent solidarity with Israel during its war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. From the very moment Mr. Brown took over, he indicated a different foreign policy direction, one that acknowledged the legitimacy of the left's criticism against Mr. Blair.
Michael Gove
, "Down at Downing Street," The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2007; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119906051212458399.html

Barack Obama is a good and inspiring man. What a breath of fresh air! There's no doubting his sincerity or his commitment to trying to straighten things out in this country. But who is he? I mean, other than a guy who gives a great speech? How much do any of us really know about him? I know he was against the war. How do I know that? He gave a speech before the war started. But since he joined the senate, he has voted for the funds for the war, while at the same time saying we should get out. He says he's for the little guy, but then he votes for a corporate-backed bill to make it harder for the little guy to file a class action suit when his kid swallows lead paint from a Chinese-made toy. In fact, Obama doesn't think Wall Street is a bad place. He wants the insurance companies to help us develop a new health care plan -- the same companies who have created the mess in the first place. He's such a feel-good kinda guy, I get the sense that, if elected, the Republicans will eat him for breakfast. He won't even have time to make a good speech about it.
Michael Moore, "Who Do We Vote For This Time Around?" January 2, 2008 --- http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php?id=220

Do you feel the same as me? That the Democratic front-runners are a less-than-stellar group of candidates, and that none of them are the "slam dunk" we wish they were? . . . I am not endorsing anyone at this point. This is simply how I feel in the first week of the process to replace George W. Bush. For months I've been wanting to ask the question, "Where are you, Al Gore?" You can only polish that Oscar for so long. And the Nobel was decided by Scandinavians! I don't blame you for not wanting to enter the viper pit again after you already won. But getting us to change out our incandescent light bulbs for some irritating fluorescent ones isn't going to save the world. All it's going to do is make us more agitated and jumpy and feeling like once we get home we haven't really left the office.
Michael Moore, "Who Do We Vote For This Time Around?" January 2, 2008 --- http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php?id=220
Jensen Comment
To be fair, the Republican front-runners are also a less-than-stellar group of candidates to a point where their campaigns have become down right boring.

After all, he (presidential candidate) John Edwards is one of those white guys who's been running things for far too long.
Michael Moore
, "Who Do We Vote For This Time Around?" January 2, 2008 --- http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php?id=220

Mr. Edwards knows how to use words, and you'll notice that his rhetoric is aimed entirely at "big corporations" -- especially drug, insurance and oil firms -- on which he promises to impose new compensation limits and governance rules. He's promising that no "corporate lobbyist or anyone who has lobbied for a foreign government" will work in his White House. He made his case on our pages yesterday. But given his egalitarian impulses, we also wondered if the former Senator would include billionaire trial lawyers among those who'd have their earnings capped, et cetera. We called the campaign to ask, and a spokesman offered the following: "Entrenched interests are anyone lobbying for their own corporate greed against the best interests of America's middle class." We'll take that as a no.
"Very Special Interest," The Wall Street Journal,  January 3, 2008; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119932655046164015.html

Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair on his way out of office identified a truism for our times: With the rise of the Web, judgment has fallen because less time is available to think. So one was struck during Sen. John McCain's visit to the Journal editorial page a few weeks ago, when he remarked that campaigns aren't adjusted day to day now, but "hour to hour." It may be that a Web-stoked media has demoted the office of the presidency itself as an animating idea and elevated the mechanics, the sport, of elections. The unpopularity of the Bush presidency aside, note how a presidential election, now entering its second year, has become a national obsession, which like most obsessions tends to induce disappointment. We are passing through a largely ideological age, exacerbated by the Web on the left and right. The left doesn't want to do politics with the other side but merely wants to eliminate it, and then run the country. The religious right, by and large, mainly wants someone to pay attention to them and acknowledge their legitimacy. None of this has much to do with finding a candidate who will make more right than wrong calls during four years in the Oval Office.
Daniel Henninger
, "Dr. Freud, What Do Voters Want?" The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2007; Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119872819542352213.html

More than half the 380 students at this unusual school outside Atlanta are refugees from some 40 countries, many torn by war. The other students come from low-income families in Decatur, and from middle- and upper-middle-class families in the area who want to expose their children to other cultures. Together they form an eclectic community of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims, well-off and poor, of established local families and new arrivals who collectively speak about 50 languages . . . Soon this once mostly white suburb on the western side of Stone Mountain, a historical bastion of the Ku Klux Klan, had become one of the more culturally and ethnically diverse areas in the country.
Warren St John, "A School in Georgia as a Laboratory for Getting Along," The New York Times, December 25, 2007 --- Click Here
"You've Got to Be Taught to Hate and Fear" ---  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjWbd2a5FAI

Across [New York City], delis and bodegas are a familiar and vital part of the streetscape, modest places where customers can pick up necessities, a container of milk, a can of soup, a loaf of bread. Amid the goods found in the stores, there is one thing that many owners and employees say they cannot do without: their cats. And it goes beyond cuddly companionship. These cats are workers, tireless and enthusiastic hunters of unwanted vermin, and they typically do a far better job than exterminators and poisons.
Kate Hammer, The New York Times, December 22, 2007 --- Click Here

A group representing U.S. air travelers claimed victory Friday after a New York judge ruled that airlines in the state must provide essential services to passengers stranded for long periods of time. The decision means that from Jan 1, any passengers stuck in planes on runways at New York's airports for more than three hours must be given food, water, fresh air and given access to working toilets. Airlines face fines of up to $1,000 per passenger for not adhering to the new rules. Campaigners urged other states to follow suit, in what they hope will eventually become a nationwide bill of rights for air passengers.
Japan Today, January 26, 2007 --- http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/423436
Jensen Comment
I think this includes weather-related delays. I can't imagine the large airlines doing this for New York airports and refusing to do this at other airports in the U.S. Remember that in airline travel the squeaky (read that knowledgeable) wheels generally get oiled first. But judge's decision does not apply to people stranded inside the terminals such that this really will not be much of a big deal. Generally passengers stranded inside the terminal for non-weather related delays can squeak loudly enough for meal vouchers from the airlines and, if necessary, overnight hotel vouchers.

China is suffering its worst drought in a decade, which has left millions of people short of drinking water and has shrunk reservoirs and rivers, state media said on Friday. Hardest hit are large swathes of the usually humid south, where water levels on several major rivers have plunged to historic lows in recent months.
Reuters, December 21, 2007 --- http://in.news.yahoo.com/071221/137/6oplh.html

The free press has been demolished, elections are canceled and rigged, and then we hear how popular Mr. Putin is. Opposition marches are crushed, and we're told--over and over--how much better off we are today than in the days of the Soviet Union. This week Time magazine named Mr. Putin its 2007 "Person of the Year 2007." Unfortunately, there is no silver lining to Russia's descent into dictatorship. If anything there is a look of iron to it . . . Consider the timing of this announcement, right after the counterfeit parliamentary elections that added to Mr. Putin's record of eradicating democracy across Russia. The Time article will be trumpeted by Kremlin propaganda as an endorsement of Mr. Putin's policies. The man on the street will be told that even America, constantly blasted by the Kremlin as an enemy, has been forced to recognize the president's greatness. Internationally, the focus will be on the myth that Mr. Putin has built a "strong Russia." In fact he and his cronies have hollowed out the state from within. Most of the power now resides in the super-corporations like Gazprom and Rosneft, and among the small group of loyalists who run them. The Putin regime has taken Russia from a frail democracy to an efficient mafia state. It was an impressive balancing act--behaving like a tyrant while at the same time staying in the good graces of the West. After each crackdown, with no significant international reaction forthcoming, Mr. Putin knew it was safe to take another step. As ever, appeasement in the name of realpolitik only encourages would-be dictators. And such moral weakness inevitably leads to very real costs in human life.
Gary Kasparov, "Man of the Year? Vladimir Putin will now use Time magazine's honor to enhance his," The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110011031
Jensen Comment
And if Putin has his way in the rewriting of history, a drunken Joseph Stalin's exterminations of millions of Stalin's political opponents will be erased with white out while new monuments to Stalin will be erected throughout the Mother Country. Visitors may even be required to bow in respect. I hope editors of Time Magazine are invited to be the first to bow on their knees and kiss the newly white washed pavement that erased the stains and stench of Russian blood. Would monuments to Al Capone be erected if Time Magazine had instead honored the U.S. Mafia instead of the Russian Mafia?

If you think Hollywood's idea of a Christmas movie being one about the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan is strange, even stranger is the plot line. "Charlie Wilson's War," which opened Friday, manages to reduce the president who won the Cold War to a background footnote. Charlie Wilson was . . . widely known as "the liberal from Lufkin." To his credit, he did play a role in facilitating support to the Afghan mujahadeen. But it is he who should be the historical footnote. In his book, "Ronald Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime," Lou Cannon notes how Reagan "expressed revulsion of the brutal destruction of Afghan villages and such Soviet policies as the scattering of mines disguised as toys that killed and maimed Afghan children." He did not need much convincing to aid the Afghan resistance. . . . Wilson's chief ally in the film is CIA agent Gust Avrakotos who, like Wilson, is portrayed as a enthusiastic supporter of providing the Stingers. But Ikle says, the CIA bureaucracy initially fought against the idea and that Wilson was lukewarm on the matter. Ikle says both came around only after the rebels actually started bringing down the Soviet helicopter gunships. The movie also perpetuates the left-wing myth that the covert operation funded Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida and ultimately led to the 9/11 attacks. Reagan-era officials such as Ikle say Osama never got funding or weapons from the U.S. and that he didn't launch his terror war until after U.S. involvement and the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. It was Ronald Reagan, not Charlie Wilson, who gave the order to provide the mujahadeen with the Stinger missiles that denied the Soviet air supremacy and turned the tide of battle after 1986. Yet in the movie, the likes of Dan Rather and Diane Sawyer (director Mike Nichol's wife) are more prominently mentioned. To be fair, the movie doesn't mention Jimmy Carter either. It was his naivete about Communist expansion that led the Soviets to invade Afghanistan in the first place. Had Reagan not beaten Carter in 1980 there would have been no Stingers and no victory in the Cold War. But don't expect a (Hollywood) movie about Reagan's victory over communism or Carter's surrender to it.
Investors Daily, December 24, 2007 --- http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=20&artnum=1&view=1&issue=20071224 
Jensen Comment
To his credit Charlie Wilson himself also admits in public that the movie overplays his part in defeating the Russians in Afghanistan. But Tom Hanks makes it a good, albeit phony, yarn.

Between 2000 and 2006 the U.S. Government issued $1.3 trillion of brand new debt. During that same time period U.S. based investors (pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, etc.) lightened their net holdings of U.S. Treasury securities by $300 billion. What these statistics point out is that not only have foreign investors purchased EVERY single dollar of debt that the United States has issued during those six years, but they also bought $300 billion of outstanding debt too. Americans do not appreciate in a robust fashion how dependent the U.S. has gotten on foreign investors lending us money. And it's not just U.S. Treasury debt, but also a host of corporate, mortgage & asset backed products as well as all kinds of structured securities. Without that demand for our debt, prices will fall and long-term interest rates will rise. So the breaking of these subprime obligations will not be free. These foreign investors will demand a higher "risk premium" to invest in U.S. instruments, which will make it more expensive for future borrowers to get loans. And you can be guaranteed that many of them will sue to get the payments they thought they were owed, which will drive up mortgage banks' expenses even further. Moreover, the courts and bureaucrats will be tied up for years in a struggle to define exactly who deserves loan forgiveness. People who are making payments on time will naturally demand to get something out of the deal since why should they essentially suffer for being responsible? As the cost of the bailout goes up, there is little doubt that state and federal governments will float bonds to pay the refinancing fees and, of course, the interest payments on those obligations will be paid by all citizens.
Mike Gasior [michael@afs-seminars.com] , December 10, 2007

Mike Huckabee, one of the most conservative Republicans in the 2008 presidential race, has embraced one of the most radical ideas on the campaign trail: a plan to abolish all federal income and payroll taxes and replace them with a single 23% national sales tax. The idea -- dubbed the "fair tax" by proponents -- has been a political asset for Huckabee; its well-organized backers have helped catapult him from the back of the presidential pack to its top tier . . . Still, the proposal inspires grass-roots passion, in large part because it would replace or abolish the Internal Revenue Service, one of the most hated federal agencies and a symbol of intrusive government in some conservative circles . . . Huckabee and Fairtax.org call for a 23% tax on virtually all purchases in place of federal income taxes, as well as payroll taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare. To ease the effect on the poor, they propose a "prebate" -- a monthly cash payment to every family -- to cover sales taxes on spending up to the federal poverty level.
Janet Hook
, Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2007 --- http://www.latimes.com/la-na-salestax24dec24,0,5286232.story?coll=la-home-center
Jensen Comment
Unless the "fair tax" is accompanied by differential (low) debt interest rate currently enjoyed by schools, towns, counties, and states due to "tax-exempt bond" investment alternatives for income tax purposes, the "fair tax" will be a disaster from the standpoint of massive added  interest costs for such things as K-12 schools, colleges, roads, etc. At the moment, poor people in the U.S. pay no income tax. The poor folks are bound to favor Huckabee's version of the "fair tax" since they will then  receive prebates well in excess of what they pay out. But it will hurt families if the prebates are spent on more booze and gambling rather than the higher prices for food and heat due to the fair tax imposed on goods purchased. There also is the enormous problem regarding a fair tax on services such as doctors' office visits and legal counseling.

"In the United States, every year since 1970, when only 196,429 persons were in state and federal prisons, the prison population has grown. Today there are over 1.5 million in state and federal prisons. Another 750,000 are in the nation’s jails,” said the report. “The growth has been constant—in years of rising crime and falling crime, in good economic times and bad, during wartime and while we were at peace. A generation of growth has produced prison populations that are now eight times what they were in 1970,” it continued. While prisons are overcrowded, crime rates are steady in many cities, but rising in others. Authors of the report, proposed shorter prison terms, and changes to laws that govern probation and parole violations to reduce numbers behind bars.
Nisa Islam Muhammad, "America's Prisons Hold More Than 1.5 Million," New Media, December 18, 2007 --- http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=22da3c94af4d6d140bd1caf903da7967 

Canada has challenged the Iranian government over concerns that weapons and bomb-making equipment are slipping across the border to Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Tuesday. "We're very concerned that weapons are coming in from Iran," MacKay told reporters, while visiting Canadian troops with Gen. Rick Hillier in Kandahar province. "We're very concerned that these weapons are going to the insurgents and are keeping this issue alive. We've certainly made our views to the Iranian government about this known."
Allison Lampert, "Canada accuses Iran of being weapons pipeline," National Post, December 25, 2007 ---
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=196918

Iranian scientists said Monday that the country's first cloned sheep is thriving 15 months after birth, eating well and frolicking among a flock of normal sheep.
Ali Akabar Dareini, PhysOrg, December 31, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news118390006.html
Jensen Comment
Although some Christian fundamentalist groups oppose cloning, Islamic fundamentalists apparently have no objections.

Beyond the elections, Mr. Musharraf needs to move aggressively to confront the jihadists, and not the lawyers and civil-rights activists he has been jailing in recent months. Hundreds of Pakistanis have been murdered in recent months in terrorist acts perpetrated by fellow Muslims, and many of these perpetrators have, in different ways and at different times, been connected to the Pakistani government itself: as beneficiaries of the terrorist war Pakistan has supported over the years in Kashmir, or as beneficiaries of the support Pakistan gave to the Taliban until 9/11, or as beneficiaries of the ill-conceived "truce" Mr. Musharraf signed last year with Taliban- and al Qaeda-connected tribal chiefs in the Waziristan province. Worst of all has been the look-the-other-way approach successive Pakistani governments have taken to the radical, Saudi-funded madrassas throughout the country.
"Target: Pakistan Losing in the West, the jihadis hit Pakistan, with its nuclear prize," The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110011053

As Benazir Bhutto herself observed in The Wall Street Journal http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110011046  --in an op-ed published the week after the earlier attempt on her life:

The attack on me was not totally unexpected. I had received credible information that I was being targeted by elements that wanted to disrupt the democratic process--specifically that Baitul Masood (an Afghan who leads the Taliban forces in North Waziristan), Hamza bin Laden (an Arab), and a Red Mosque militant had been sent to kill me. I also feared that they were being used by their sympathizers, who have infiltrated the security and administration of my country, and who now fear that the return of democracy will thwart their plans.
Also see http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110011053

 

Catholic Church bishops, priests and other Church leaders in Latin America were once a reliably of the left, owing to the influence of "liberation theology," which tries to link the Gospel to the socialist cause. Today the Church is coming to recognize the link between socialism and the loss of freedom, and a shift in thinking is taking place. In a region that is more than 90% Catholic, this change might have enormous implications. A Church that emphasizes liberty could play a role in Latin America similar to that which it played in Eastern Europe in the 1980s, as a counterweight in defense of freedom during a time of rising despotism. For proof of the change I refer to, consider a recent statement from the Catholic Bishops of Venezuela: It blasted the political agenda of President Hugo Chávez for its assault on liberty under the guise of helping the poor. It is morally unacceptable, the statement said, and will drive the country backward in terms of respect for human rights.
Robert A. Sirico, "Liberty Theology," The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2007; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119906274924358629.html

In the contest to be America's most spendthrift state, New York and California are typically ahead of the pack. But here comes the not-so-Golden State charging back in the lead. Last week Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he will declare a "fiscal emergency" in January, which he said has become "a common thing in California." No kidding. This budget crisis comes a mere five years after the last one. The bean counters in Sacramento are now projecting the state's budget deficit at $14 billion, and climbing. That's a big enough hole that if the state were to slash 10% from every public service -- from schools, to courts, to highway patrol units -- it would still be $2 billion in the red. There are lessons for other states in these recurring budget miseries, in case anyone still thinks California is a model to follow. Let's start with the culture of overspending in Sacramento. State outlays have nearly tripled to $142 billion this year from $51 billion in the early 1990s. After the technology bubble burst in 2001, the state's deficit swelled to $20 billion. Voters recalled Gray Davis from the Governor's mansion in favor of Mr. Schwarzenegger, who promised to "cut up the state's credit card." In Arnold's first year, the budget was held in check, but the state still issued $9 billion in "revenue bonds" rather than shrink the size of government.
"The Red Ink State," The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2007; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119880325458954333.html
Jensen Comment
The Terminator terminates whatever was left of the credit standing of the State of California. How much of your savings will the presidential candidates promise these spendthrifts?

To hear the candidates talk, a repeat of 1930s-scale government job creation is dangerously overdue. John Edwards has proposed that government take the lead in creating types of jobs--"green collar" and "stepping stone"--to serve the two goals of protecting the environment and giving lower earners new skills. Dennis Kucinich is calling for a new green version of FDR's Works Progress Administration . . . A related problem was that the New Deal's emergency jobs were short term, lasting months, not years, so people could not settle into them. This led to further disruption. In the very best years of Roosevelt's first two terms, unemployment still stood above 9%. Nine percent is better than horrendous, but it hardly is a figure that induces hope . . . The relevant points for today are simple. The famous "multiplier effect" of public spending may exist. U.S. cities do indeed need new highways, new buildings and new roads, maybe even from government. But these needs should be weighed against damage that comes when officials create projects and jobs for political reasons. An emergency such as a Great Depression, a Sept. 11, a Katrina, can serve as a catalyst for an infrastructure project and for job creation too. But the dire moral quality of that emergency does not guarantee that the project undertaken in its name will be more efficient than your standard earmark. In other words, candidates may want to be careful as they climb onto FDR's shoulders. The New Deal edifice may look solid, but it doesn't form a good basis for the American future.
Amity Shlaes, "The New Deal Jobs Myth:  The candidates keep touting Depression-style public works programs. Why?" The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110011064
Jensen Comment
Most of the success of the WPA in the New Deal era of the Great Depression lies in the valued trade skills of the unemployed that were put to work by the WPA. Most were carpenters, brick layers, plumbers, electricians, farmers, and other workers who brought value added to WPA projects. Workers with these same skills today are not unemployed if they are good workers. In fact employers are desperate to hire good workers with such skills. Today's hard core unemployed are unskilled and/or drug addicted and unmotivated workers who bring little value added to the private sector or to government-financed make-work projects promoted by Edwards and Kucinich. There really is such a thing as the dreaded Industrial Reserve Army of Labour bemoaned by Karl Marx in his dreams for a better working world --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_reserve_army
In the days of Karl Marx alcoholism was the main drag on many poor workers. Today this is expanded to almost every addictive drug imaginable. And there's more money is selling drugs on the streets than in working for "green dollar" and "stepping stone" jobs dreamed up by naive populast presidential candidates grasping at straws for campaign slogans.

"The State of Jihad: 2007," by Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, January 8, 2008 ---
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/01/the_state_of_jihad_2.php

The US and her allies in Europe, the Middle East, and beyond have witnessed both stunning successes and dramatic setbacks in the Long War during 2007. Pakistan has continued its slide towards a failed state, with the government having relinquished control over additional territory to the Taliban and, thus, al Qaeda. Suicide bombings and attacks on all segments of the state plagued Pakistan as the Taliban and al Qaeda cemented their new safe havens. Iraq, which seemed all but lost at the end of 2006 as the US appeared to lose the all-important political will, has turned around with the change in counterinsurgency plan and the surge of troops US and Iraqi troops. Al Qaeda and the Iranian-backed Shia terrorists are losing ground and local support in Iraq. Afghanistan has seen its worst year of violence since the Taliban was defeated in late 2001; suicide bombings and IED attacks skyrocketed due to the problems in Pakistan.

The war also continues in dozens of lesser theaters. India suffered numerous blows from Pakistani-based terrorists. Al Qaeda has revitalized itself in Algeria and greater northern Africa. A brutal insurgency is being waged in Somalia after the Islamic Courts was ousted at the end of 2006. The Philippines saw some progress against Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah in the southern provinces. Thailand's Islamist insurgency ballooned in 2007. Al Qaeda is attempting to revive the jihad in Chechnya and the greater Caucasus. Saudi Arabia and Yemen continue to breed the next generation of al Qaeda fighters.

This link provides a roundup of the major developments in the most active theaters across the globe in the Long War.

Nowadays, this region of what is today northwest Pakistan is variously called "Al Qaedastan," "Talibanistan" or, more properly, the "Islamic Emirate of Waziristan." Pakistan gave up South Waziristan to the Taliban in spring 2006, after taking heavy casualties in a failed four-year campaign to consolidate control of this fierce tribal region. By the fall, Pakistan had effectively abandoned North Waziristan. The nominal truce--actually closer to a surrender--was signed in a soccer stadium, beneath al Qaeda's black flag . . . Muslim society will have to reform far more profoundly than Akbar Ahmed concedes if the worst is to be avoided. Our best option may be to reintroduce somehow the Aligarh University tradition of liberal learning and merit-based employment (independent of kinship ties) to the Muslim world. With our strategy in Iraq now reinforcing tribalism, the obvious front to try this is Europe, where concerted efforts must be made to assimilate Muslims to Western values. Globalization may then work for us, as cultural changes bounce back to the Middle East. Even in the best case, we face a long-term struggle. Simmering tensions between modernity and Muslim social life are coming to a head. Yet all our present recent schemes are patchwork. And someday, perhaps at the peak of a post-emergency civil war between the army and the Islamists in Pakistan, the military steamroller may be called upon to settle the Waziristan problem once and for all. Who knows if, even then, it will work.
"Tribes of Terror:  A guide to the wilds of northwest Pakistan," by Stanley Kurtz, The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2008 ---
http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110011067 .

From Opinion Journal on December 31, 2007

Best of the Web Today - December 31, 2007 By JAMES TARANTO

Liberals Against Diversity http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/30/business/30kristol.html

The New York Times op-ed page is trying to go from bad to diverse. The page has hired William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, as a weekly columnist, starting next Monday. The Politico http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1207/7613.html reports that word of the hiring "caused a frenzy in the liberal blogosphere Friday night, with threats of canceling subscriptions and claims that the Gray Lady had been hijacked by neo-cons":

*** QUOTE ***

But Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal sees things differently.

Rosenthal told Politico shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand "this weird fear of opposing views."

"The idea that The New York Times is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual--and somehow that's a bad thing," Rosenthal added. "How intolerant is that?"

*** END QUOTE ***

It is tempting to make fun of Rosenthal for discovering liberal intolerance at this late date, but we're bigger than that. Instead, we'd like to chew over one particular liberal plaint about Kristol's hiring, from Katha Pollitt http://www.thenation.com/blogs/anotherthing?bid=25&pid=263993 of The Nation:

*** QUOTE ***

What ever happened to meritocracy? For Kristol to get a Times column--after being fired from Time magazine no less--is as meritocratic as, um, George W. Bush becoming the leader of the free world. A pundit, even a highly ideological one like Kristol, has to be (or seem) right at least some of the time. But what's striking about Kristol is that he's has been wrong about everything! . . . And it's not as if he's a great prose stylist, either. At least David Brooks can occasionally turn a phrase. Kristol just churns out whatever the argument of the moment happens to be, adds jeers, and knocks off for lunch.

What this hire demonstrates is how successfully the right has intimidated the mainstream media. Their constant demonizing of the New York Times as the tool of the liberal elite worked. (Maybe it also demonstrates that the people in charge of the decision aren't so liberal.) I'm sure we'll hear a lot about the need for balance at the paper--funny how the Wall Street Journal doesn't feel the need to have even one resident liberal, but fine, let's have balance. Let's have a true leftist on the oped page--someone as far to the left as Kristol is to the right. Noam Chomsky, anyone? (and why does he seem just totally out of bounds but Kristol does not?) Barbara Ehrenreich? Naomi Klein? Susan Faludi? Gary Younge? me?

*** END QUOTE ***

So Pollitt's gripe is (in part) that she didn't get the gig! We'll give her points for candor, but doesn't she sound for all the world like one of those dead white males complaining about being passed over in favor of an affirmative-action hire?

Don't get us wrong. We don't mean to suggest that conservatives qua conservatives have civil rights. If the Times had a policy of refusing to hire conservative columnists, we might criticize or mock the paper for it, but we would never argue that the law should compel it to treat right-leaning job applicants equally.

Yet Pollitt's complaint runs directly counter to the standard liberal argument for affirmative action. In his influential split-the-difference opinion in University of California v. Bakke http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=438&invol=265 (1978), Justice Lewis Powell opined that racial preferences in college admissions could be justified in the interest of "the attainment of a diverse student body." In Grutter v. Bollinger http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=438&invol=265 (2003), a 5-4 Supreme Court majority endorsed Powell's view. Writing for the majority in Grutter, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor noted that corporate America had embraced the diversity rationale:

*** QUOTE ***

The [University of Michigan] Law School's claim of a compelling interest is further bolstered by its amici ["friends of the court" who filed briefs in support of the university's position], who point to the educational benefits that flow from student body diversity. In addition to the expert studies and reports entered into evidence at trial, numerous studies show that student body diversity promotes learning outcomes, and "better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce and society, and better prepares them as professionals." . . .

These benefits are not theoretical but real, as major American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in today's increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints.

*** END QUOTE ***

If we define "affirmative action" broadly as the pursuit of diversity, almost everyone can support it, even those who reject racial preferences as a means to that end. In this sense, then, the Times's hiring of Kristol is an instance of affirmative action that no one should find invidious. He was hired without regard to race or other suspect classifications, evidently because his viewpoint is underrepresented on the Times op-ed page

Yet Pollitt objects to Kristol's hiring precisely because it promotes diversity. She would rather his slot had gone to her or someone else who would have been the Times's eighth or ninth liberal rather than its second conservative. Look at this column http://www.thenation.com/doc/20061106/pollitt or this online debate http://www.slate.com/id/2000105/entry/1000998/ , and you'll see that she approves of racial preferences. When it comes to affirmative action, then, she favors questionable means so long as they do not further the worthy end.

You will never catch NBC hiring a conservative or even allowing a conservative point of view to be aired. Alternative points of view are worse than Al Qaeda.

40 Most Obnoxious Quotations in 2007 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1947682/posts 

16) "Al Qaeda really hurt us, but not as much as Rupert Murdoch has hurt us, particularly in the case of Fox News. Fox News is worse than Al Qaeda — worse for our society. It’s as dangerous as the Ku Klux Klan ever was." --
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann hoping that Congress will declare war on Fox News.

 

Jensen Comment
Particular departments in universities often have the same problem with such a extreme lack of diversity in politics and scholarship that reflects a great fear of exposing students to conservative points of view.

Not Even One Conservative for Tokenism:  Duke is for Democrats and so is the University of Iowa
The University of Iowa's history department and Duke's history department have a couple of things in common. Both have made national news because neither has a Republican faculty member. And both rejected the application of Mark Moyar, a highly qualified historian and a Republican, for a faculty appointment. Moyar graduated first in the history department at Harvard; his revised senior thesis was published as a book and sold more copies than an average history professor ever sells. After earning a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in England, he published his dissertation as "Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965" with Cambridge University Press, which has received even more attention and praise. Moyar's views of Vietnam are controversial and have garnered scorn and abuse from liberal historians, including the department chair at the University of Iowa, Colin Gordon. Moyar revealed on his resume that he is a member of the National Association of Scholars, a group generally to the right of the normal academic organization. Gordon and his colleagues at Iowa were undoubtedly aware of Moyar's conservative leaning and historical view. Moyar is undoubtedly qualified. He is unquestionably diverse; his views are antithetical to many of the Iowa professors' views. Yet the Iowa department hired someone who had neither received degrees from institutions similar to Cambridge and Harvard nor published a book despite having completed graduate school eight years earlier (history scholars are expected to publish books within approximately six years of finishing their doctorates). In the Iowa history department there are 27 Democrats and zero Republicans. The Iowa hiring guidelines mandate that search committees "assess ways the applicants will bring rich experiences, diverse backgrounds and ideology to the university community." After seeking a freedom of information disclosure, Moyar learned that the Iowa history department had, in fact, not complied with the hiring manual. It seemed that Moyar was rejected for his political and historical stands. Maybe it was an unlikely aberration. But Moyar told the Duke College Republicans earlier this fall that he is skeptical because an application of his a few years ago at Duke for a history professorship progressed in much the same way it proceeded in Iowa.
The Duke Chronicle, November 1, 2007 --- Click Here

"The Liberal Skew in Higher Education," by Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, December 30, 2007 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

It is no secret that professors at American colleges and universities are much more liberal on average than the American people as a whole. A recent paper by two sociology professors contains a useful history of scholarship on the issue and, more important, reports the results of the most careful survey yet conducted of the ideology of American academics. See Neal Gross and Solon Simmons, “The Social and Political Views of American Professors,” Sept. 24, 2007, available at http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~ngross/lounsbery_9-25.pdf (visited Dec. 29. 2007); and for a useful summary, with comments, including some by Larry Summers, see “The Liberal (and Moderating) Professoriate,” Inside Higher Ed, Oct. 8, 2007, available at www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/08/politics (visited Dec. 29. 2007).) More than 1,400 full-time professors at a wide variety of institutions of higher education, including community colleges, responded to the survey, representing a 51 percent response rate; and analysis of non-responders indicates that the responders were not a biased sample of the professors surveyed.

In the sample as a whole, 44 percent of professors are liberal, 46 percent moderate or centrist, and only 9 percent conservative. (These are self-descriptions.) The corresponding figures for the American population as a whole, according to public opinion polls, are 18 percent, 49 percent, and 33 percent, suggesting that professors are on average more than twice as liberal, and only half as conservative, as the average American. There are interesting differences within the professoriat, however. The most liberal disciplines are the humanities and the social sciences; only 6 percent of the social-science professors and 15 percent of the humanities professors in the survey voted for Bush in 2004. In contrast, business, medicine and other health sciences, and engineering are much less liberal, and the natural sciences somewhat less so, but they are still more liberal than the nation as a whole; only 32 percent of the business professors voted for Bush--though 52 percent of the health-sciences professors did. In the entire sample, 78 percent voted for Kerry and only 20 percent for Bush.

. . .

My last point is what might be called the institutionalization of liberal skew by virtue of affirmative action in college admissions. Affirmative action brings in its train political correctness, sensitivity training, multiculturalism, and other attitudes or practices that make a college an uncongenial environment for many conservatives.

"The Liberal Skew in Higher Education," by Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, December 30, 2007 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

The study by Gross and Simmons discussed by Posner in part confirms what has been found in earlier studies about the greater liberalism of American professors than of the American population as a whole. Their study goes further than previous ones by having an apparently representative sample of professors in all types of colleges and universities, and by giving nuanced and detailed information about attitudes and voting of professors by field of expertise, age, gender, type of college or university, and other useful characteristics. I will try to add to Posner's valuable discussion by concentrating on the effects on academic political attitudes of events in the world, and of their fields of specialization. I also consider whether college teachers have long-lasting influences on the views of their students.

. . .

Given the indisputable evidence that professors are liberal, how much influence does that have on the long run attitudes of college students? This is especially relevant since some of the most liberal academic disciplines, like the social sciences and English, have close contact with younger undergraduates. The evidence strongly indicates that whatever the short-term effects of college teachers on the opinions of their students, the long run influence appears to be modest. For example, college graduates, like the rest of the voting population, split their voting evenly between Bush and Kerry. The influence of high incomes (college graduates earn on average much more than others), the more conservative family backgrounds of the typical college student (but less conservative for students at elite colleges), and other life experiences far dominate the mainly forgotten influence of their college teachers.

This evidence does not mean that the liberal bias of professors is of no concern, but rather that professors are much less important in influencing opinions than they like to believe, or then is apparently believed by the many critics on the right of the liberality of professors.

 

One of the least diverse (politically) academic associations is the highly liberal Modern Language Association. However, even the MLA could not muster up a vote critical of the firing of Ward Churchill by the University of Colorado.
While material distributed by those seeking to condemn Churchill’s firing portrayed him favorably, and as a victim of the right wing, some of those who criticized the pro-Churchill effort at the meeting are long-time experts in Native American studies and decidedly not conservative.
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, December 31, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/12/31/mla
Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HypocrisyChurchill.htm

Hypocrisy in Academia and the Media --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Hypocrisy.htm 
 




40 Most Obnoxious Quotations in 2007 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1947682/posts 


Fraud Alert on Purchasing/Selling Carbon Offsets

"Carbon Offsets: Government Warns of Fraud Risk," by Christopher Joyce, NPR, January 3, 2008 ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17814838

There is something new to feel guilty about: carbon.

This new form of remorse is found among people who think that their lifestyle — driving, plane trips or maybe just leaf-blowing — adds too much climate-warming carbon dioxide to the air.

The guilty can now buy something called a "carbon offset." Essentially, you pay someone else to reduce or "offset" carbon emissions equal to your own.

It's a booming new trade, but the federal government is worried that consumers are getting ripped off. The Federal Trade Commission has announced it will investigate the offset business.

For the consumer, buying an offset is pretty straightforward. You go to a broker and pay a few bucks for every ton of CO2 you want to offset. The average amount each American adds to the air is about 20 tons annually.

The broker promises that your money will pay for a project somewhere that will reduce carbon emissions, say, by growing trees that soak up that CO2 or building a solar energy plant.

Pankaj Bhatia of the World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank, says the business is hot. In fact, trade in this offset market is figured to be about $100 million a year and growing fast.

Bhatia's job is to assess carbon footprints — how much carbon you or your business emits. He says he's been very busy.

"Today, I got a phone call from a group that is managing concerts," he says, "and they wanted to know how they could quantify emissions from the transportation by helicopters of their equipment." The concert promoters wanted to buy offsets to neutralize the CO2 their concert produced.

How Much and For What?

But how do people know they are getting what they are paying for? After all, this is a market that trades in a gas, or more accurately, units of a gas that are not produced.

In the United States, the trading is voluntary and nobody is in charge. That worries people whose job it is to protect consumers.

"Our concern is that because these claims are very hard to substantiate and consumers can't easily tell they're getting what they pay for, there is the real possibility of fraud in this market," says Jim Kohm of the FTC's enforcement division.

Kohm says he does not know yet if there is much fraudulent carbon trading. But he is suspicious. "There's been an explosion in green marketing," he says. "There are claims that we didn't see in the market 10 years ago. Carbon offsets are one of those new claims."

There is a raft of new "carbon-neutral" products. For instance, there are potato chips and rock concerts that are advertised as "clean" because their makers or sponsors have bought offsets to counterbalance their emissions.

What the FTC Is Looking For

One of the things the FTC will investigate is "double selling," Kohm says. "So, for example, if I have solar panels on top of my store and then I sell somebody else the right to claim that carbon scrubbing, I can't then claim the carbon scrubbing for myself, as well."

"And if somebody were selling that two or three times, then that would be a deceptive practice that the FTC would need to take action on."

Another hangup is whether the carbon savings you are buying would have happened anyway. For example, what if a company cuts back on the electricity it uses simply to save money? Can that company then claim it has created an offset and then sell it? Climate experts say no. The offset market, they say, is meant to pay for carbon reductions that would not have happened otherwise.

Some environmental groups say that instead of buying carbon offsets, Americans should do the hard work themselves: use less electricity, switch from coal to wind power, drive less.

Continued in article

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


"Novel mechanism for long-term learning identified by Carnegie Mellon researchers," PhysOrg, January 3, 2008 ---
http://physorg.com/news118592975.html 

Practice makes perfect — or at least that’s what we’re told as we struggle through endless rounds of multiplication tables, goal kicks and piano scales — and it seems, based on the personal experience of many, to be true. That’s why neuroscientists have been perplexed by data showing that at the level of individual synapses, or connections between neurons, increased, repetitive stimulation might actually reverse early gains in synaptic strength. Now, neuroscientists from Carnegie Mellon University and the Max Planck Institute have discovered the mechanism that resolves this apparent paradox. The findings are published in the Jan. 4 issue of Science.

The mechanism further explains how brain synapses strengthen in response to new experiences. Previous research by Carnegie Mellon researcher and lead author of the study Alison Barth has shown that there is a connection between synaptic plasticity, or changes, and learning and memory. However, little was known about the mechanisms that underlie learning that occurs over longer timeframes, with continuing training or practice.

Scientists have shown that N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are required to initiate synaptic plasticity in this mechanism, a fact that holds true in many areas of the brain. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that these receptors are required for the kind of synaptic strengthening that occurs during learning.

Barth and colleagues discovered that the NMDA receptors undergo a sort of Jekyll-and-Hyde transition after an initial phase of learning. Instead of helping synapses get stronger, they actually begin to weaken the synapses and impair further learning. According to Barth, scientists knew that logically, after an initial learning or training experience, this change in receptor function and resulting synapse deterioration would mean that learning would stop, and perhaps with continued stimulation neural processes might even degrade – but experience showed that that wasn’t the case.

“We know intuitively that the more we practice something, the better we get, so there had to be something that happened after the NMDA receptors switched function which helped synapses to continue to strengthen,” said Barth, an assistant professor of biological sciences at the university’s Mellon College of Science.

Barth chose to look at the cortex, an area of the brain responsible for a slower form of learning that can improve with additional training, or experience. She notes that this brain area may use very different molecular mechanisms than other forms of short-term, episodic memory like those that may occur in the hippocampus.

In a series of experiments the researchers blocked different receptors, including NMDA, to see the receptors’ effect on long-term neural stimulation. They found that while the NMDA receptor is required to begin neural strengthening, a second neurotransmitter receptor — the metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptor — comes into play after this first phase of cellular learning. Using an NMDA antagonist to block NMDA receptors after the initiation of plasticity resulted in enhanced synaptic strengthening, while blocking mGlu receptors caused strengthening to stop.

The Carnegie Mellon researchers tracked the changes in the neurons by using a transgenic mouse model that Barth created. In the model, a mild sensory imbalance is created by allowing the mouse to sense its surrounding through only one whisker. Whiskers are useful in studying sensory plasticity because, like human fingers, each whisker is linked to its own unique area of the brain’s cortex, making it easy to monitor activity and changes. Limiting the mouse’s ability to sense its surroundings through only one whisker causes a sensory imbalance leading to increased plasticity in the cortex.

“The neural mechanisms of learning and memory have been poorly understood,” said Barth. “Establishing the relationship between NMDA and mGlu receptors will allow us to better understand how we learn and perhaps may help us better understand diseases where learning and memory is lost, as in Alzheimer’s disease.”

Bob Jensen's threads on technology, learning, and memory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm


Look for a Year of E-Textbooks in 2008
Over the past year, a consortium of major textbook publishers and several competing ventures have been getting ready for a new push in what is becoming a small but steadily growing fraction of the overall market for college students. “Those efforts are starting to crack the surface of digital content being a serious growing enterprise in higher education,” said Evan Schnittman, vice president of business development and rights for Oxford University Press’s academic and U.S. divisions. McGraw-Hill Education, for example, offers almost 95 percent of its textbooks as e-books, and the publisher has seen a steady growth in interest over the past several years, albeit from a small base. Their logic seems unassailable: With laptops now an ubiquitous presence on college campuses and textbook prices ever on the rise and suddenly a hot issue, technologically inclined students seem poised to change their study habits — and save a lot of money — by forgoing scribbles in the margin and trading in their highlighters for cursors.
"E-Textbooks — for Real This Time?" Inside Higher Ed, January 3, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/03/ebooks 

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ebooks.htm

Bob Jensen's links to free online textbooks and other electronic literature --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

January 3, 2008 reply from Don Ramsey [dramsey@UDC.EDU]

Students may have access to computers, but not all have laptops. I used an e-book for a year, hoping to pioneer the cost savings (free, at freeloadpress.com), but found that students would not bring their books (laptops) to class. They could not follow the problems being demonstrated, nor others picked spontaneously, not to mention various illustrations. In a class of perhaps 25, I would see 3 or 4 laptops in use. At first I tried printing handouts for the classroom problems, but that got to be a real chore very quickly.

A related problem was that they could not study or do homework anywhere but where their computer is located; e.g., between classes, at lunch, etc.

Some would print the chapters. This got to be a lot of work and fairly expensive. (A real hoot: The free textbook is supported financially by internal advertising. Some students would go to Kinko's to print. Kinko's software absolutely would not print the text legibly. Letters would be run together, etc., etc. I checked with a Kinko's technician who had several years experience with .pdf files, and he could not make it work. So, guess who is one of the major advertisers within the book? Bingo--Kinko's, naturally! And I doubt they have fixed the problem.)

There were other problems less significant individually, but more so in the aggregate. Students would fail to make the download promptly. We reproduced Part I on disks, but some still procrastinated or had last-minute (i.e., pre-exam) installation problems. Downloads are long for those with dial-up access. University labs can suffice for those not having their own computers, but there are limitations of location away from home (all our students are commuters) plus administrative approval for installation.

A major issue arose in that other sections did not use the same textbook; so I have decided to rejoin my colleagues with their conventional textbook. This is particularly important in standardizing chapter coverage for assessment purposes.

So, I am back to the good old portable textbook. The half-year version, which at least weighs less than the complete boat anchor.

I still have a major issue with every textbook I have seen, in that the question banks (which I believe tend to validate performance on a national level) are woefully inadequate. There ought to be a plenitude of objective questions on every subtopic, so that the question bank can be used for quizzes and examinations without duplication. Some publishers' question banks are barely adequate; some are downright spotty as to topical coverage. To expect sufficient questions for two semesters without duplication is apparently utterly unrealistic. I have a strong suspicion that neither the "editors" (marketers) nor the authors pay attention to the content supplied by the contractors who write the question banks.

The software houses that provide generic exam software would do well to add a feature that allows the instructor to keep track of which questions have already been used, so as to avoid using the same question on an exam that had already been used in a quiz. (Actually I used to give two quizzes per chapter, pre- and post-.)

Of course, when we reach saturation, or nearly so, of laptop ownership, the whole picture would change. Publishers who anticipate that situation are to be congratulated. The price of conventional textbooks is outrageous. (But at e-book prices, would authors be motivated to write?) Perhaps our school is behind the curve, laptop-wise. Clearly the market for distance courses, at least, is made to order for the e-book.

Finally, there is the problem of students who are determined to avoid the textbook entirely, electronic or not. I have one colleague who says his course gets easier every time the student takes it.

Wishing you all an excellent 2008!

Cheers,

Don Ramsey


"Top 10 Gadgets of the Year," by Rob Beschizza, Wired News, December 21, 2007 --- http://www.wired.com/gadgets/gadgetreviews/multimedia/2007/12/YE_gallery_gadgets_top10gadgets


"The Year in Energy:  Advanced biofuels, more-efficient vehicles, and solar power top the most notable energy stories of 2007," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, December 27, 2007 ---
http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/19981/?nlid=773


"The Year in Hardware:  The past 12 months have featured touch screens, context-aware gadgets, autonomous vehicles, and brain-computer interfaces," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, December 26, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19976/?nlid=770&a=f


From Business Week on November 28, 2007
This Year's Tech Pioneers ---
Click Here


The 2007 Economy in Review (Audio)," by Jim Zaroli, NPR, December 31, 2007 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17716248


From WebMD on January 2, 2008 --- http://www.webmd.com/


Top Ten Stupid Criminals of 2007 --- http://www.neatorama.com/2007/12/18/the-top-ten-stupid-criminals-of-2007/
(One stole a car in order to turn himself in. Wouldn't a phone call to the police have been easier?)


"Record Data Breaches in 2007," by Mark Jewell, PhysOrg, December 31, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news118300607.html

The loss or theft of personal data such as credit card and Social Security numbers soared to unprecedented levels in 2007, and the trend isn't expected to turn around anytime soon as hackers stay a step ahead of security and laptops disappear with sensitive information.

And while companies, government agencies, schools and other institutions are spending more to protect ever-increasing volumes of data with more sophisticated firewalls and encryption, the investment often is too little too late.

"More of them are experiencing data breaches, and they're responding to them in a reactive way, rather than proactively looking at the company's security and seeing where the holes might be," said Linda Foley, who founded the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center after becoming an identity theft victim herself.

Foley's group lists more than 79 million records reported compromised in the United States through Dec. 18. That's a nearly fourfold increase from the nearly 20 million records reported in all of 2006.

Another group, Attrition.org, estimates more than 162 million records compromised through Dec. 21 - both in the U.S. and overseas, unlike the other group's U.S.-only list. Attrition reported 49 million last year.

"It's just the nature of business, that moving forward, more companies are going to have more records, so there will be more records compromised each year," said Attrition's Brian Martin. "I imagine the total records compromised will steadily climb."

But the biggest difference between the groups' record-loss counts is Attrition.org's estimate that 94 million records were exposed in a theft of credit card data at TJX Cos., the owner of discount stores including T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. The TJX breach accounts for more than half the total records reported lost this year on both groups' lists.

The Identity Theft Resource Center counts about 46 million - the number of records TJX acknowledged in March were potentially compromised. Attrition's figure is based on estimates from Visa and MasterCard officials who were deposed in a lawsuit banks filed against TJX.

The breach is believed to have started when hackers intercepted wireless transfers of customer information at two Marshalls stores in Miami - an entry point that led the hackers to eventually break into TJX's central databases.

TJX has said that before the breach, which was revealed in January, it invested "millions of dollars on computer security, and believes our security was comparable to many major retailers."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on computer and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


"2007 a Year of Weather Records in U.S.," by Seth Borenstein, PhysOrg, December 31, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news118241280.html

When the calendar turned to 2007, the heat went on and the weather just got weirder. January was the warmest first month on record worldwide - 1.53 degrees above normal. It was the first time since record-keeping began in 1880 that the globe's average temperature has been so far above the norm for any month of the year.

And as 2007 drew to a close, it was also shaping up to be the hottest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere.

U.S. weather stations broke or tied 263 all-time high temperature records, according to an Associated Press analysis of U.S. weather data. England had the warmest April in 348 years of record-keeping there, shattering the record set in 1865 by more than 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

It wasn't just the temperature. There were other oddball weather events. A tornado struck New York City in August, inspiring the tabloid headline: "This ain't Kansas!"

In the Middle East, an equally rare cyclone spun up in June, hitting Oman and Iran. Major U.S. lakes shrank; Atlanta had to worry about its drinking water supply. South Africa got its first significant snowfall in 25 years. And on Reunion Island, 400 miles east of Africa, nearly 155 inches of rain fell in three days - a world record for the most rain in 72 hours.

Individual weather extremes can't be attributed to global warming, scientists always say. However, "it's the run of them and the different locations" that have the mark of man-made climate change, said top European climate expert Phil Jones, director of the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia in England.

Worst of all - at least according to climate scientists - the Arctic, which serves as the world's refrigerator, dramatically warmed in 2007, shattering records for the amount of melting ice.

2007 seemed to be the year that climate change shook the thermometers, and those who warned that it was beginning to happen were suddenly honored. Former Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" won an Oscar and he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international group of thousands of scientists. The climate panel, organized by the United Nations, released four major reports in 2007 saying man-made global warming was incontrovertible and an urgent threat to millions of lives.

Through the first 10 months, it was the hottest year recorded on land and the third hottest when ocean temperatures are included.

Smashing records was common, especially in August. At U.S. weather stations, more than 8,000 new heat records were set or tied for specific August dates.

More remarkably that same month, more than 100 all-time temperature records were tied or broken - regardless of the date - either for the highest reading or the warmest low temperature at night. By comparison only 14 all-time low temperatures were set or tied all year long, as of early December, according to records kept by the National Climatic Data Center.

For example, on Aug. 10, the town of Portland, Tenn., reached 102 degrees, tying a record for the hottest it ever had been. On Aug. 16, it hit 103 and Portland had a new all-time record. But that record was broken again the next day when the mercury reached 105.

Daily triple-digit temperatures took a toll on everybody, public safety director George West recalled. The state had 15 heat-related deaths in August.

Continued in article


"Predictions for 2008:  The un-parodiable state of civil liberties in America," by Radley Balko, Reason Magazine, December 21, 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/124055.html 


"Common blunders: Personal finance resolutions for 2008," by Carrie Schwab Pomerantz, Town Hall, January 1, 2008 --- Click Here

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


From Time Magazine
What the World Eats (and how much it costs) --- http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1626519_1373675,00.html
For those of you who may want to use this in class or in church, I temporarily archived the core of this at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Food2007/Food2007.htm


Seventh Annual Numby Awards (Scroll down to December 17, 2007 )--- http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2007 December.htm#Numby


"A Year-End List of Puzzlements," by Dan Greenberg, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 2007 ---
http://chronicle.com/review/brainstorm/greenberg/a-year-end-list-of-puzzlements?utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

1. What is a hedge fund and why aren’t they in jail?

2. How can the busiest travel day of the year be Labor Day, Memorial Day, July 4, and also the day before Thanksgiving?

3. How does the AAA know that 57 million cars will be on the road, 6 percent more than last year?

4. Has any woman ever become “a new you by Christmas,” lost 30 pounds in 30 days, or cleaned up household clutter, on the basis of magazine advice?

5. Why do people give money to Harvard when it has $35-billion in the bank? Same for lesser endowed but still very rich Yale, Stanford, U. of Texas, etc.

6. Why don’t the feds deny money to any university whose investment income exceeds its operating costs?

7. Is Bill Gates’s philanthropy sufficient penance for inflicting the Microsoft operating system on a trusting public?

8. Why do economists say consumer spending is the key to prosperity, and also warn that the nation’s savings rate is dangerously low?

9. Among the innumerable medals and honors annually awarded by learned organizations, has any ever been withheld because nothing much happened in the previous year?

10. How long will the public put up with the turmoils of Brad, Angelina, Paris, Nick, and Jessica? And what’s happened to J-Lo? She’s gone from the supermarket tabs. I miss her.

Jensen Comment
The history of Harvard University is briefly summarized at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_University
A faculty of about 2,400 professors serve as of school year 2006-2007, with 6,715 undergraduate and 12,424 graduate students.
Rounding off to 20,000 students in total, the endowment per student is $ 1,750,000 = $35,000,000,000/20,000
Invested at 6%, that $1,750,000 earns $105,000 per student (actually Harvard earns a much higher rate of return on its endowment)
Why does Harvard charge any tuition to any student?

We all understand that being a rich white kid puts one at a disadvantage in the college-admissions process. But it is worth pausing to savor the irony of an institution that charges as much as $45,000 a year asking its applicants to demonstrate their proletarian credentials. What's a privileged kid to do? Ms. Hernández, a former admissions officer at Dartmouth, offers a couple of options. "Be vague" about your parents' occupations: "If your mom is the chief neurosurgeon for a New York hospital, try 'medical.' " Or you could get yourself a job, "the less exalted the better," Ms. Hernández advises, citing one boarding-school student who improved his admissions chances by baling hay every summer (on his family's farm).
Naomi Schaefer Riley, "A Desperate Need for Acceptance:  How to get into college despite the disadvantage of privilege," The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2007 --- http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110011074

Jensen Comment
Actually the top private universities now offer free education to low income students, but many fail to meet admissions criteria. Admissions of low income students to top universities has actually been declining in recent years according to the Chronicle of Higher Education Blog on January 2. 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/news/article/3693/most-top-colleges-enroll-fewer-low-income-students?at
Also see http://www.jbhe.com/features/57_pellgrants.html


Lake Superior University's 2008 List of Banned Words and Phrases ---
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071231/ap_on_re_us/banned_words_list

The 2007 Idiot of the Year Awards (includes attention-grabbing words) ---
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/offbeat/2007/12/the_2007_idiot_of_the_year_awa.html

Droopy pants at mall leads to family jailed Sheriff's office sends 20 deputies, 2 dogs, 1 helicopter after clothing dispute erupts --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59455


Question
Are young people making more use or less use of libraries?

Many librarians and others in higher education have worried that undergraduates, having learned to find information (accurate and otherwise) online, would lose interest in libraries. Actually Americans in the so-called Generation Y (ages 18-30) turn out to be more likely to visit libraries than are other adults — both for problem solving and for general use. That is a key finding of a study released Sunday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Inside Higher Ed, December 31, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/12/31/qt

Jensen Comment
But this does not mean that students are reading more or would make use of traditional library services like wandering the stacks or checking out books. Libraries have changed with the times and now offer computers, wireless connections to the Internet, and archives of multimedia other than books.


Searchable Database
2005/2006 Compensation of Presidents of Private Institutions
--- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/12/31/qt

Searchable Database
Compensation of Presidents of Higher Education Institutions ---
http://chronicle.com/stats/990/

How to check on a charity or church or college before you donate:
You can begin with IRS Form 990 disclosures, but these sometimes may be more misleading than helpful. 
You can access them from Guidestar at http://www.guidestar.org/index.jsp  
One problem is that reported "compensation" for executives may not include free houses, free cars, and free services like lawn care and catering.
Another problem is that rich alumni may provide college executives with free condo use, airline tickets, and club memberships.
Guidestar also provides salary disclosures for top executives in the non-profit organization. 
However, funds can (such as charity crooks) can be diverted by cheats in other ways.
Research Tools 
Analyst Reports 
Charity Check 
Grant Explorer 
Data Services 
Nonprofit Compensation Reports 
Salary Search 

"7 Steps to Get Your New Computer Running Right," by Rob Pegoraro, The Washington Post, December 20, 2007 --- Click Here

Step 1
Your first order of business has to be securing the machine from online attack. The Internet abounds with crooks looking to hijack your computer with some virus, worm or Trojan horse program.

Protecting a Windows machine involves activating any security software bundled with the PC so it can download updates to spot new viruses. You may need to register an e-mail address with the security vendor. No matter how annoying this is, get it done first.

You can always switch to a better security program after the first month or two at no cost because most new PCs come with three months of free security updates.

Apple's Mac OS X has seen only a handful of malware attacks, none successful, so you don't need to buy a security-software suite. (Really. Download the free ClamXav program -- http://clamxav.com-- if you want, but so far it has only helped stop Mac users from forwarding Windows viruses by mistake.)

But Macs do arrive with an important line of defense left open: firewall software to block online worms. To activate it, click the "System Preferences" icon in the dock at the bottom of the screen, click its "Security" icon, click the "Firewall" heading and then click the button next to "Set access for specific services and applications."

Step 2
The next step is to download any available security updates. In Windows Vista, click on the "Start" menu, click "Control Panel" and then click the "Check for updates" link. On a Mac, go to the Apple-icon menu in the top left corner and select "Software Update." Leave the computer alone until it installs these patches.

Step 3
But wait, there's more! On a Mac or a PC, the Adobe Flash software that displays those nifty animated elements on many Web sites most likely needs updates. Go to Adobe's site for the latest version: http://adobe.com/flashplayer. Windows users will also need to hit http://java.com and http://apple.com/quicktime for updates to the Java and QuickTime software many Web sites employ.

Step 4
After you've added all these updates, you can get rid of some unnecessary programs. Most Windows machines arrive loaded with junk programs that mostly waste space.

Open "Control Panel" again, then click the "Uninstall a program" link to boot these unwanted items. The 60-day trial copy of Microsoft Office on most new PCs should be among them -- it's cheaper to add Office by buying the "Home and Student Edition." Also consider evicting copies of AOL and, if you're a Dell or Toshiba user, the third-rate Yahoo Music Jukebox.

Macs ship with far less junk, but their trial copies of Microsoft Office and Apple's iWork '08 can also be tossed once they expire or you've bought one or the other. To dump Office, open the Office 2004 folder inside the Applications folder and double-click "Remove Office." To do the same with iWork, drag its folder from the Applications folder to the Trash.

Step 5
You can then make some selective upgrades. The free Mozilla Firefox browser
( http://mozilla.com) works better than Internet Explorer in Windows; on a Mac, it's a useful backup to Apple's Safari. Apple's iTunes ( http://apple.com/itunes), in turn, beats Microsoft's Windows Media Player. And either Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft's Windows Live Mail ( http://live.com/wlmail/overview) provides better e-mail tools than Vista's Windows Mail.

Step 6
As you're moving over your old files and settings with Vista's Windows Easy Transfer or a Mac's Migration Assistant, you shouldn't rush to reinstall old programs. Some may not work with the new machine's operating system; others may seem redundant next to software already on the machine. But first, see if you actually miss these applications.

Never reinstall one type of software from the original CDs -- the "drivers" that let the computer talk to add-ons like printers. Download the latest versions from the vendor's Web site instead.

Step 7
If you're not sick of computer setup, picking up some inexpensive hardware can spare you vast amounts of trouble down the road. For a laptop or a desktop, a hard drive or flash drive that plugs into the computer will greatly ease backing up your files. And if you own a desktop machine, plugging into an uninterruptible power supply will stop you from losing work whenever the lights flicker.

Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm


The schism between academic research and the business world: 
The outside world has little interest in research of the business school professors
If our research findings were important, there would be more demand for replication of findings

"Business Education Under the Microscope:  Amid growing charges of irrelevancy, business schools launch a study of their impact on business,"
Business Week
, December 26, 2007 --- http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/dec2007/bs20071223_173004.htm 

The business-school world has been besieged by criticism in the past few months, with prominent professors and writers taking bold swipes at management education. Authors such as management expert Gary Hamel and Harvard Business School Professor Rakesh Khurana have published books this fall expressing skepticism about the direction in which business schools are headed and the purported value of an MBA degree. The December/January issue of the Academy of Management Journal includes a special section in which 10 scholars question the value of business-school research.

B-school deans may soon be able to counter that criticism, following the launch of an ambitious study that seeks to examine the overall impact of business schools on society. A new Impact of Business Schools task force convened by the the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)—the main organization of business schools—will mull over this question next year, conducting research that will look at management education through a variety of lenses, from examining the link between business schools and economic growth in the U.S. and other countries, to how management ideas stemming from business-school research have affected business practices. Most of the research will be new, though it will build upon the work of past AACSB studies, organizers said.

The committee is being chaired by Robert Sullivan of the University of California at San Diego's Rady School of Management, and includes a number of prominent business-school deans including Robert Dolan of the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business, Linda Livingstone of Pepperdine University's Graziado School of Business & Management, and AACSB Chair Judy Olian, who is also the dean of UCLA's Anderson School of Management. Representatives from Google (GOOG) and the Educational Testing Service will also participate. The committee, which was formed this summer, expects to have the report ready by January, 2009.

BusinessWeek.com reporter Alison Damast recently spoke with Olian about the committee and the potential impact of its findings on the business-school community.

There has been a rising tide of criticism against business schools recently, some of it from within the B-school world. For example, Professor Rakesh Khurana implied in his book From Higher Aims to Hired Hands (BusinessWeek.com, 11/5/07) that management education needs to reinvent itself. Did this have any effect on the AACSB's decision to create the Impact of Business Schools committee?

I think that is probably somewhere in the background, but I certainly don't view that as in any way the primary driver or particularly relevant to what we are thinking about here. What we are looking at is a variety of ways of commenting on what the impact of business schools is. The fact is, it hasn't been documented and as a field we haven't really asked those questions and we need to. I don't think a study like this has ever been done before.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the growing irrelevance of academic accounting research are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms

The dearth of research findings replications --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#Replication

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

January 2, 2008 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

Bob,

AACSB chair Judy Olian (dean, UCLA school of biz) is quoted as saying that 39% of Fortune 500 CEOs are graduates of a businesss school.

I am surprised that this is such a low number. Why shouldn't this number be very much higher? Given that corporations are run by professional managers, why wouldn't the college degree that prepares professional managers show up with greater frequency in the profile of the top professional managers?

I don't know how it is possible for this group of deans to design a research study to show the relevance of business school education. Well, I don't know how it would be possible for anyone to design it. Isn't relevance a judgment call?

David Albrecht

January 2, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

CEOs rise up from many walks of life, especially engineering, economics, law, and the specialties of an industry such as chemistry, medicine, agriculture, etc. CFOs and CAOs are another matter entirely.

As far as research impacts are determined, subjective judgment is certainly a huge factor but there are other indicators. Can executives recall a single article published in The Accounting Review or other leading academic accounting journal upon which academic reputations are built? Can executives name one author who received the AAA Seminal Contributions Award or any other academic award of major academic associations?

One indicator in accounting is practitioner membership in the American Accounting Association. The AAA started out as primarily an association for accounting practitioners and teachers of accounting. For four decades practitioners were heavily involved in the AAA and the longest-running editor of The Accounting Review was a practitioner (Kohler) --- http://snipurl.com/aohkohler 

All this changed with what Jean Heck and I call the "perfect storm" of the 1960s. Since then, practitioner membership steadily declined in the AAA and readership of academic accounting research journals plummeted to virtually zero. Practitioners still send us their money and their recruiters, but leading academic researchers like Joel Demski warn against accounting researchers catching a "vocational virus" and cringe at aiming our research talent toward practical problems of the profession for which we seemingly have no comparative advantage due to our rather useless accountics skills.

You can read much of the history of this schism at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#AcademicsVersusProfession 

The schism is probably greatest in accounting and the smallest in finance where there practitioners have relied more on research findings and fads in economics and finance journals.

Some universities are more focused on industry than others. Harvard certainly has tried very hard in this regard, but Harvard's case method research just cannot pass the hurdles of the journal referees of our leading accounting research journals.

And even accounting academics are bored with the (yawn) articles appearing in our academic research journals. Ron Dye is probably one of our most esoteric accountics researchers (his degrees are in mathematics and economics even though he's an "accounting professor"). Ron stated the following at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#AcademicsVersusProfession 

Begin Quote from Ron Dye***************

About the question: by and large, I think it is a mistake for someone interested in pursuing an academic career in accounting not to get a phd in accounting. If you look at the "success" stories, there aren't many: most of the people who make a post-phd transition fail. I think that happens for a couple reasons. 1. I think some of the people that transfer late do it for the money, and aren't really all that interested in accounting. While the $ are nice, it is impossible to think about $ when you are trying to come up with an idea, and anyway, you're unlikely to come up with an idea unless you're really interested in the subject. 2. I think, almost independent of the field, unless you get involved in the field at an early age, for some reason it becomes very hard to develop good intuition for the area - which is a second reason good problems are often not generated by "crossovers."

The bigger thing - not related to the question you raise - but maybe you could add to the discussion is that there are, as far as I can tell, not a lot of new ideas being put forth by anyone in accounting nowadays (with the possible exception of John Dickhaut's neuro stuff). In most fields, the youngsters are supposed to come up with the new problems, techniques, etc., but I see a lot more mimicry than innovation among newly minted phds now.

Anyway, for what it's worth....

Ron
End Quote from Ron Dye****************

_________________

Perhaps the AACSB can make some progress toward bridging the schism. But I leave you with a forthcoming quote in the January 6 edition of Tidbits:

Question "How many professors does it take to change a light bulb?"

Answer "Whadaya mean, "change"?" Bob Zemsky, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, December 2007



No Fair Preparing for Class
Only Scabs Read the Fine Print on Their Shirt Cuffs

"Strike Price," The Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2007; Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119888737184356659.html

Next week, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart and a host of others will resume their programs without support from their striking writers. We guess this means we'll finally learn the answer to how many comedians it takes to screw in a Dick Cheney joke.

The deal the late-night comics struck with the unionized writers sounds like a bizarre Letterman routine. The hosts agreed to abide by rules that prohibit them from writing anything. If they physically write something, that makes them scabs. But it's OK if they just show up and ad lib their way into the New Year. We can't wait.

Continued in article

Letterman later worked out a deal and returned with writers.

Jensen Comment
And it's no fair remembering an old joke seen or heard somewhere sometime. Man this has to be original stuff off the wall at all times. I wonder if this also applies to guests. Are they warned not to remember anything funny in their lives? It'll probably be a whole lot more fun trying to make babies until the writers' strike ends.

Second best might be to watch accountants party.

Partying Accountants (video links forwarded by David Albrecht)

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting humor are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#Humor

And if accounting jokes don't suffice, think up conversations between numbers:

What did 0 say to 8?
"Nice girdle."

What did 1 say to 9?
"Hello Dolly!"

What did 1 ask 6?
"Why didn't you listen when I said FibreCon works better than Benefiber?"

What did 1 say to 2?
"It's high time you straightened out."

What did 8 say to 3?
"I didn't know you went to Pakistan last week."

Others?
 


Shopping Malls Past and Present:  Why they are Dying --- http://www.deadmalls.com/
Also see the Retail History Blog at http://www.Labelscar.com/
Also see "Birth and Death of Shopping," The Economist, December 22, 2007, pp. 102-103 ---

By the early 1980s indoor shopping centres were woven tightly into American culture. New cuisines (the term is perhaps too grand) emerged in them, thanks to chains like Cinnabon and Panda Express, which did not exist outside malls. They began to swell to the point of absurdity. Canada's West Edmonton Mall, which opened in 1982, has an ice-skating rink, a pool with sea-lions and an indoor bungee jump. The Mall of America, in Minnesota, has three rollercoasters and more than 500 shops arranged in “streets” designed to appeal to different age groups. Every morning it opens early to accommodate a group of “mall walkers” who trudge around its 0.57-mile perimeter for exercise.

Artists and urban anthropologists began to note the appearance of mall-based tribes. Most celebrated—and lampooned—were the Valley girls who congregated in California's Glendale Galleria. Frank Zappa's then-teenage daughter, Moon Unit, wrote a hit song that captured their argot (“ohmigod!”, “no biggie”, “grody to the max”, “total space cadet”) and praised the Galleria for having “like, all these, like, really great shoe stores”. Mall-oriented films followed, spreading the Valley girls' culture like spores in the wind.

Just as the onward march of malls began to seem unstoppable, though, things began to go wrong. In just a few years they turned from temples of consumption to receptacles for social problems. The changing attitude to shopping malls can be seen in two films, both of which, appropriately, are to cinema what Panda Express is to the Chinese culinary tradition.

George Romero's “Dawn of the Dead”, released in 1978, is ostensibly a story about a group of people struggling to survive in a world taken over by flesh-eating zombies. But it is also a commentary on the lurid appeal of shopping malls, which were then multiplying quickly. That becomes clear a third of the way through the film, when the humans must decide where to take refuge. They rule out the cities, which are thick with monsters. Yet they need food, water and fuel, which are hard to find in the wilderness. They decide to head for a suburban shopping mall.

. . .

By the 1990s malls were in trouble

Having bred too quickly, they began to cannibalise each other. (Turn left out of Southdale's car park and the first building you pass is another shopping mall.) Discount shops, factory-outlet stores and category killers like Toys “R” Us ate into their profits. As middle-aged shoppers began to disappear, the teenagers who had inhabited malls from the beginning became more noticeable, which only made things worse. In 1998 Good Housekeeping ran a story entitled “Danger at the Mall”. Indoor shopping malls are now so out of favour that not one will be built in America before 2009 at the earliest, according to the International Council of Shopping Centres.

One reason for the malls' problems is that the suburbs have changed. When the Southdale shopping centre opened on the outskirts of Minneapolis, the suburbs were almost entirely white and middle-class. Whites were fleeing a wave of new arrivals from the South (the black population of Minneapolis rose by 155% between 1940 and 1960). Although Gruen could not bear to admit it, his invention appealed to those who wanted downtown's shops without its purported dangers. These days, in Minneapolis as in much of America, the ethnic drift is in the opposite direction. The suburbs are becoming much more racially mixed while the cities fill up with hip, affluent whites. As a result, suburban malls no longer provide a refuge from diversity.

So many malls have died or are dying that a new hobby has appeared: amateur shopping-mall history. Like many esoteric pursuits, this has been facilitated by the internet. Websites such as Deadmalls.com and Labelscar.com collect pictures of weedy car parks and empty food courts and try to explain how once-thriving shopping centres began to spiral downward. Some of the recollections are faintly ironic or gloating. Yet the strongest note is anguish. Implausibly, these online histories reveal the deep emotional connections that people can establish with malls.

One of the most touching is a website devoted to Lakehurst mall near Chicago, which was demolished in 2004. Prodded by a local journalist, women and a few men write in with memories of back-to-school shopping trips, ear piercings, first jobs at Cinnabon and Orange Julius, early dates and even marriage proposals. Many are bereft at the mall's demolition, as though suffering the death of a pet. “You don't realise how much you miss something until it is gone,” writes one. Others are almost apologetic: “If only we knew what we had, we would never have strayed to other malls.”

As shopping malls decline, they sometimes come to resemble the civic centres that Gruen intended them to be. Attracted by cheap rents, community groups and police stations move in. On a trip to one of Gruen's creations, the now-desolate Carousel Mall in San Bernardino, your correspondent encountered a group of middle-aged Mexicans studying for the American citizenship test.

Not all malls have suffered from competition and the suburbs' transformation. Some have prospered by appealing to growing ethnic-minority groups. American malls are courting middle-class Latinos by adding butchers' shops and, in some cases, by decking themselves out to resemble Mexican villages. La Gran Plaza, in the Texas town of Fort Worth, lays on mariachi and reggaeton acts and is building a rodeo. Other malls changed their clientele without adjusting their look. Brent Cross shopping centre, one of Britain's earliest malls, now contains shops staffed by second- and third-generation Asians selling to new arrivals from eastern Europe.

The mall goes downtown

Yet without white, middle-aged women few British or American shopping centres could survive. One bold attempt to lure them back can be seen at the corner of Third Street and Fairfax Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Grove shopping centre, which opened in 2002, performs all the functions of a mall without looking at all like one. Like Southdale, it has fountains, flowers, piped music and a good selection of underwear. But the Grove is open to the elements, the plants are real and, rather than vaguely evoking a town centre, it is actually done up to look like one. Or rather (this being Los Angeles) a fantasy amalgam of several town centres.

Continued in Article


Philosophers Look Toward Artificial Intelligence and Learning

"Upgrading to Philosophy 2.0," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, December 31, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/12/31/apa

There was no theorizing about ghosts in the machine at an annual meeting of philosophers last Friday. Instead, they embraced technology’s implications for their field, both within the classroom and beyond.

. . .

The reason for those misconceptions, Croy argued, is that adaptive learning techniques require AI, and good AI algorithms require long-term empirical research into how students learn and which methods predict classroom success. Moreover, he said, if a computer program that employs AI increases the range of students being taught, any economy of scale would be counterbalanced by the greater diversity of learning approaches reached — and that would require further development into more sophisticated processes to encompass them (and more money).

Bypassing that vicious cycle requires some brains, and not just the human kind. The problem becomes: How can a program learn how an individual student thinks, and use that insight to offer constructive suggestions as he or she works online?

One of Croy’s attempts to solve that problem involves a system designed to provide intelligent help to students constructing deductive proofs. As they graphically map out the steps from a given initial proposition to the provided end point, the software ideally provides helpful suggestions to students who can be working both forward and backward at the same time.

In looking for an algorithm that can offer hints “in a way that doesn’t cost us an arm and a leg,” Croy noted, the software employs a mathematical model called a Markov decision process that can map students’ steps toward the solution and “learn” the chosen path as they work. Such proofs can be solved in varying sequences, so the possibilities are numerous.

“They do stuff that I wouldn’t have expected them to do,” Croy said of the students. By anticipating the logical direction of the students’ reasoning, the program can ideally guide them along the way.

To see if such techniques are empirically useful, Croy also tested to see if he could predict students’ performance in his class early on, based on results from a computerized test of “justified thought” — for example, choosing from a multiple-choice list whether a given logical sequence was an example of modus ponens, modus tollens or neither. By dividing one class of 50 into two groups, one whose grades were below 65 percent and those with 65 or higher, Croy found that the test predicted their performance “fairly well.”

This being a meeting of philosophers, he touched on a few of the ethical implications of his work, such as the potential of conflicting roles as both a teacher and a researcher within the same classroom. “It does put you in a very strange position,” he admitted, since students could be both pupils and subjects at the same time. One clear solution, he said, was to seek informed consent. At the same time, Croy raised the question of whether technology should seek to replace or supplement student-teacher interactions.

In his own experience, he said, “the class is a lot better today than it used to be a year ago.”

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Cognitive Processes and Artificial Intelligence are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#CognitiveProcesses


A ‘Radical’ Rethinking of Scholarly Publishing

"Upgrading to Philosophy 2.0," by Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed, December 31, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/12/31/apa

There was no theorizing about ghosts in the machine at an annual meeting of philosophers last Friday. Instead, they embraced technology’s implications for their field, both within the classroom and beyond.

. . .

Harriet E. Baber of the University of San Diego thinks scholars should try to make their work as accessible as possible, forget about the financial rewards of publishing and find alternative ways to referee each other’s work. In short, they should ditch the current system of paper-based academic journals that persists, she said, by “creating scarcity,” “screening” valuable work and providing scholars with entries in their CVs.

“Now why would it be a bad thing if people didn’t pay for the information that we produce?” she asked, going over the traditional justifications for the current order — an incentive-based rationale she dubbed a “right wing, free marketeer, Republican argument.”

Instead, she argued, scholars (and in particular, philosophers) should accept that much of their work has little market value ("we’re lucky if we could give away this stuff for free") and embrace the intrinsic rewards of the work itself. After all, she said, they’re salaried, and “we don’t need incentives external [to] what we do.”

That doesn’t include only journal articles, she said; class notes fit into the paradigm just as easily. “I want any prospective student to see this and I want all the world to see” classroom materials, she added.

Responding to questions from the audience, she noted that journals’ current function of refereeing content wouldn’t get lost, since the “middlemen” merely provide a venue for peer review, which would still happen within her model.

“What’s going to happen pragmatically is the paper journals will morph into online journals,” she said.

Part of the purpose of holding the session, she implied, was to nudge the APA into playing a greater role in any such transition: “I’m hoping that the APA will organize things a little better.”

Bob Jensen's threads on rethinking tenure are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#MLA


Lawyers Don't Like Being Ranked
It's a sunny day in Seattle when two lawyers can bring a class action suit on their own behalf -- and then see it rejected on First Amendment grounds. That's what happened last week in the Emerald City, when Federal District Judge Robert S. Lasnik ruled that there was no basis for cracking down on a lawyer-rating Web site merely because some of its ratees didn't like how they were portrayed. The site, called Avvo, does for lawyers what any number of magazines and Web sites have been doing for other professions for years. Magazines regularly publish stories that rank an area's doctors and dentists. There are rating sites and blogs for the "best" hairstylists, manicurists, restaurants and movie theaters. Almost any consumer product or service these days is sorted and ranked.
"Judging Lawyers," The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2007; Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119846335960848261.html
Avvo Lawyer Ratings --- http://www.avvo.com/

Jensen Comment
In fairness most of these ranking systems are misleading. For example, physicians and lawyers who lose more often may also be willing to take on the tougher cases having low probabilities of success.  Especially note "Challenging Measures of Success" at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings

And some professionals that win a lot may do so because they do so in unethical ways. And lawyers, like physicians, have different specialties such that in the realm of a particular specialty, maybe one that rarely call out,  from over 100 specialties, they may be outstanding.

Bob Jensen's threads assessment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Assess.htm

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


Lawyers Like the Subprime Litigation Cash Cow

"The finger of suspicion," The Economist, December 19, 2007 --- http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10337884

FINANCIAL firms have already been drenched by mortgage-related losses. Now a wave of litigation threatens to assail them. According to RiskMetrics, a consulting firm, between August and October federal securities class-action lawsuits were filed in America at an annualised pace of around 270—more than double last year's total and well above the historical average. At this rate, claims could easily exceed those of the dotcom bust and options-backdating scandal combined.

At most risk are banks that peddled mortgages or mortgage-backed securities. Investors have handed several writs to Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. Bear Stearns has received dozens over the collapse of two leveraged hedge funds. A typical complaint accuses it of failing to make adequate reserves or to explain the risks of its subprime investments, and of dubious related-party transactions with the funds. Several firms, including E*Trade, a discount broker with a banking arm sitting on a radioactive pile of mortgage debt, are being sued for allegedly failing to disclose problems as they became apparent to managers.

But one thing that sets the subprime litigation wave apart from that of the 2001-03 bear market is its breadth. After the collapses of Enron and WorldCom, lawsuits were targeted at a fairly narrow range of parties: bust internet firms, their accountants and some banks. This time, investors are aiming not only at mortgage lenders, brokers and investment banks but also insurers (American International Group), bond funds (State Street, Morgan Keegan), rating agencies (Moody's and Standard & Poor's) and homebuilders (Beazer Homes, Toll Brothers et al).

Borrowers, too, are suing both their lenders and the Wall Street firms that wrapped up their loans. Several groups of employees and pension-fund participants have filed so-called ERISA/401(k) suits against their own firms. Local councils in Australia are threatening to sue a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers over the sale of collateralised-debt obligations (CDOs), the Financial Times has reported. Lenders are even turning on each other; Deutsche Bank has filed large numbers of lawsuits against mortgage firms, claiming they owe money for failing to buy back loans that soured within months of being made.

“It seems that everyone is suing everyone,” says Adam Savett of RiskMetrics' securities-litigation group. “It surely can't be long before we get the legal equivalent of man bites dog, where a lender sues its borrowers for some breach of contract.”

Continued in article

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


Lawyers Love Asbestos Fraud

"DJ's Free Pass for Tort Fraud," by Lester Brickman, The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2007; Page A11 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119863054713149915.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries
 

The defects of the U.S. Department of Justice have been the subject of much commentary. But the allegations of incompetence or worse pale when compared to the free pass it has given to doctors and lawyers to commit mass tort fraud, exceeding $30 billion in the past 15 years.

Over one million potential litigants have been screened by agents for tort lawyers in asbestos, silica, silicone breast implant and diet drug (fen-phen) litigation. The lawyers sponsoring these screenings have paid over $100 million for medical reports to support the 700,000 or more claims generated by these screenings. There is compelling evidence, much of it reviewed in my published writings, that the vast majority of these medical reports, including chest X-ray readings, echocardiograms, pulmonary function tests and diagnoses are bogus.

U.S. District Court Judge Janis Jack, appointed by President Bill Clinton, blew the whistle on this type of fraud two years ago. It was, she stated, "clear that lawyers, doctors and screening companies were all willing participants . . . [in a scheme to] manufacture . . . [diagnoses] for money."

For a while, it appeared that Judge Jack's extensively documented findings would spur law enforcement to curb mass tort fraud. Indeed, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which launched an investigation of fraudulent asbestos claims more than three years ago, was invigorated by Judge Jack's findings to empanel a grand jury.

But it now appears as if neither this U.S. Attorney's Office nor the parent Department of Justice is going to prosecute mass tort fraud. Six months ago there were signs that Justice was moving forward on some key cases involving one or more of the litigation doctors. Now, unfortunately, that activity appears to have all but ceased.

The dimensions of this fraud are stunning. An asbestos screening of 1,000 potential litigants generates about 500-600 diagnoses of asbestosis. If these same occupationally exposed workers were examined in clinical settings, approximately 30-50 would be diagnosed with asbestosis. The total take for "excess" asbestos diagnoses is more than $25 billion, of which $10 billion has gone to the lawyers. More billions for bogus claims in the diet drug (fen-phen) and silicone breast implant litigations can be added to this bill.

A comparative handful of doctors and technicians are responsible for the vast majority of bogus medical tests and diagnoses. To indict and prosecute those responsible would require testimony from other doctors that the mass-produced diagnoses cannot have been rendered in good faith.

To be sure, doctors can differ in reading X-rays or making a diagnosis. But when a doctor has been paid millions of dollars to produce 5,000 or even 50,000 diagnoses in the course of mass-tort screenings -- and when panels of experts have found the vast majority of these to be in error -- the most compelling conclusion is that the diagnoses were "manufactured for money."

Prosecutors on the federal and state level are nonetheless concerned that such a "battle of the experts" will raise reasonable doubt in the minds of juries, and so they decline to prosecute these doctors, let alone the lawyers who hired them. This decision, however, gives the doctors a special dispensation to commit fraud.

Asbestos litigation screenings ceased about four years ago when it appeared that the Congress would create an administrative resolution of asbestos claims, and Judge Jack's findings attracted prosecutorial interest. But now that it has become clear that this Department of Justice has retired from the mass-tort fray, temptations are proving too powerful to resist.

A few weeks ago, a full-scale asbestos litigation screening was held in Bartlesville, Okla. Lawyers may be dipping their toes in the water to see if prosecutors will respond.

If so, they will find that the tepid response of this Justice Department is just what their doctors ordered. We can then expect a resumption of the generation of bogus claims on a mass scale. This would indeed be a shameful reflection on this or any Department of Justice.

Mr. Brickman is a professor of law at the Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University.

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


"Yale Professor at Peking U. Assails Widespread Plagiarism in China," Chronicle of Higher Education, December 21, 2007 --- http://chronicle.com/news/article/3678/yale-professor-at-peking-u-assails-widespread-plagiarism-in-china 

A Yale University professor has written a stern letter expressing concern about widespread plagiarism by students he taught at Peking University this fall.

“The fact that I have encountered this much plagiarism … tells me something about the behavior of other professors and administrators here,” Stephen Stearns, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, wrote to his students. “They must tolerate a lot of it, and when they detect it, they cover it up without serious punishment, probably because they do not want to lose face. If they did punish it, it would not be this frequent.”

Plagiarism and other forms of academic corruption have been common in Chinese higher education for years, even as the authorities try to raise academic standards.

Mr. Stearns went on to attack the lack of protection for intellectual-property rights in China, even citing the pirating of his own textbook by Peking University itself, a premier Chinese institution that is often called Beida. “Disturbingly, plagiarism fits into a larger pattern of behavior in China,” he wrote. “China ignores international intellectual-property rights. Beida sees nothing wrong in copying my textbook, for example, in complete violation of international copyright agreements, causing me to lose income, stealing from me quite directly.”

Chinese translations of the strongly worded letter, titled “To My Students in Beijing, Fall 2007,” quickly spread around the Chinese-language Internet. It was also published on New Threads, a Chinese Web site that reports cases of plagiarism in China. (The English original follows the Chinese translation.)

Continued in article

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


Following on the heels of Stanford University's MBA smorgasbord of courses, Columbia University revamps its MBA curriculum --- http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/dec2007/bs20071220_496099.htm

Miami University makes an even more dramatic revamping, internationalizing, and shortening of MBA curriculum (with a 2.5-month boot camp)
Watch the Video --- Click Here


Making a Killing in Country Music
"Someone's killing country music stars:  13 brutal murders in last 18 months bear signs of underworld executions," WebNetDaily, December 23, 2007 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59343


Where are the speed traps in your community?
Forwarded by Auntie Bev

This is interesting... When you get to the website, click on a state.

Then in the next window is a listing of all the cities in that state.

Click on your city, and the speed traps will be listed!!!

The Speed Traps!

I had no idea this was available to everyone... click on the main link below.

http://www.speedtrap.org/speedtraps/stetlist.asp 

Bob Jensen's travel helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Travel


At Long Last
Open Source Public Access Mandate Now Law

From the University of Illinois Issues in Scholarly Communication, December 27, 2007 --- http://www.library.uiuc.edu/blog/scholcomm/

Yesterday, President Bush signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (H.R. 2764), which includes a provision directing the National Institutes of Health to provide the public with open online access to findings from its funded research. This is the first time the U.S. government has mandated public access to research funded by a major agency.

Readers may recall that the NIH's existing public access policy was implemented as a voluntary measure in 2005. With the enactment of this new law, researchers will be required to deposit electronic copies of their peer-reviewed manuscripts into PubMed Central, the National Library of Medicine's online repository, no later than 12 months after publication in a journal.

Many leading scientists, patient advocates, librarians, and others had lobbied for years to make research funded by tax dollars accessible to the public. This new mandate now will provide unfettered access to scientific findings for everyone seeking them.

Bob Jensen's threads on scholarly journal publishing oligopolies and frauds are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI


Million Book Project Reaches 1.5 Million Book Mark
From the Carnegie Mellon newsletter... http://www.cmu.edu/news/archive/2007/November/nov27_ulib.shtml 

Bob Jensen's threads on free electronic literature are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm


"The Subprime Housing Crisis," by Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, December 23, 2007 ---
http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

The United States housing market is riddled with subsidies and regulations, including among many others, insurance by the Federal Housing authority of mortgages to first time and low income homeowners, tax deductibility of interest payments on mortgages –to families that itemize their deductions- and the quasi-governmental Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac Corporations that channel billions of dollars to the mortgage market. Nevertheless, both the White House and leading Congressional Democrats have proposed additional rules to help borrowers who may have difficulty avoiding foreclosure under present conditions. Treasury Secretary Paulson has been negotiating "voluntary" agreements with mortgage lenders to freeze the low introductory rates for five years on some subprime home loans, and to offer borrowers the right to refinance their loans into more affordable mortgages. The Democrats want to go much further than the administration, and have proposed, for example, to help homeowners renegotiate terms of their mortgages if forced into bankruptcy.

I am skeptical of additional government interventions into a housing market that already has too much. To be sure, homeowners who only temporarily have trouble meeting repayment schedules on their mortgages should not have to go into foreclosure. But lenders already have strong incentives to help these borrowers since lenders are also hurt by foreclosures, especially in the current weak housing market where it is not possible to sell repossessed homes at reasonable prices in poorer neighborhoods. Lenders also have much better evidence and experience than governments can ever have regarding which borrowers have a reasonable chance of handling their mortgages if given some temporary help, such as allowing selected borrowers to be in arrears on payments for a while, permitting some borrowers to renegotiate terms, and making other adjustments that raise the likelihood of eventual repayment. Lenders also are better informed about which borrowers are hopelessly in debt, and are better off going into bankruptcy rather than trying to sacrifice savings or consumption to meet their mortgage payments.

A counterargument to this skepticism is that the government should intervene further in the housing market because the Fed is partly responsible for the crisis by keeping interest rates artificially low. Perhaps the Fed did keep the federal funds rate too low for a couple of years preceding the onset of the crisis, but low interest rates were found worldwide. The main reason for the low rates was not the Fed, but the high savings rates in China and other rapidly developing nations that put pressure on interest rates all over the world.

Instead, the Fed, Treasury, and Congress should concentrate on using monetary and possibly taxl policies to help maintain the strength of the American economy that has so far done well despite the housing crisis. If these policies can help promote continued growth of GDP, probably for several months at a slower pace than during the past few years, with a robust labor market and low unemployment, borrowers in reasonably good economic shape will likely keep their homes as they navigate through the housing crisis.

"The Subprime Housing Crisis Reply," by Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, December 23, 2007 ---
http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/ "

What Is to Be Done? In my opinion, nothing. There have always been bubbles. There will always be bubbles because of the factors that I have been discussing. The Federal Reserve Board, though ably led and staffed, missed the mortgage bubble just as it missed the tech-stock bubble that exploded in 2000. The proposals now on the table for resolving the subprime mortgage "crisis" or preventing future such fiascos include, first, requiring that more information be given to prospective borrowers and, second, that mortgage interest adjustments be frozen or other measures taken to reduce foreclosures. Information is not the problem, as I have argued; and bailing out the borrowers, which is to say truncating downside risk, will set the stage for a future housing bubble. Nor is it a good excuse for the second class of measures that we must at all costs avoid a recession. A major depression, such as we last experienced in the 1930s, imposes immense social costs in the form of lost output. A recession involving some temporary unemployment may impose lower social costs than governmental interventions designed to head it off.


"Foreign Texts Can Get Lost in Translation," by Armad Ali, The Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2007; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119811828316841433.html

As the need for global communication increases, online translation services are in greater demand. Users are attracted to the breakneck speed at which online translation is done and the price. Those that aren't free are still fairly inexpensive.

New languages have been added to the traditional lists and Arabic, in particular, has been in demand recently. I spent the past few weeks tinkering with four free online services, translating various texts from English to Arabic and vice versa to test their speed and accuracy. I tested Google's Language Tools and services from Applied Language Solutions, WorldLingo Translations and Systran.

Customers who have been waiting for such services to be perfected will find improvements are slow in coming. Overall, I found the Arabic-English translations rife with syntactic and semantic errors -- from the merely too-literal to the laughably bad.

For the purposes of my test, I selected different texts: conversation, news stories, and legal and scientific documents. First, I picked an Associated Press story that started with the sentence: "A wintry storm caked the center of the nation with a thick layer of ice Monday..."

I got a variety of imprecise translations into Arabic (which I'm interpreting below).

Applied Language and WorldLingo offered identical translations, which were slightly better than the other two: "A storm covered the center's storm from the nation with a thick layer snow Monday."

Systran: "A stormy storm covered the center for the mother with a thick layer snow Monday."

Language Tools: "The storm grilled bloc in the middle of the nation with a thick layer of snow Monday."

The translations would have been nearly impossible to understand were I not fluent in both languages. It's worse in Arabic than it seems above. Arabic has masculine and feminine nouns, verbs and adjectives that have to agree in a sentence; otherwise, the sentence makes a native speaker wince.

Next, I processed some longer news stories. Only Language Tools didn't set text limits. WorldLingo and Applied Language each had a 150-word limit. Systran didn't specify a limit, but it rendered only a short part of the text.

Language Tools came out ahead this time. It was the only one to translate the word "Taliban" from Arabic to English contextually correct, as a movement. The other services translated it literally from the Arabic as "two students."

The services were better at translating everyday phrases, but even these sometimes came out missing a word, or were scrambled.

In this category, I again found translations by Google's Language Tools closest to the original texts. Still, there is much room for improvement. Google, for example, translated from Arabic to English the simple question, "Do you speak English?" as "Do they speak English?"

Other services got the pronoun right but botched other parts of the sentence. With the exception of Google, all three services, oddly, attempted to write the Arabic word for "English" in the Roman alphabet (aalaanklyzyh) in the middle of an Arabic sentence.

All the services did a terrible job with metaphors and other figurative uses of the language, whether Arabic or English.

The weakest performance by all the services was the translation of legal and scientific texts. Only Language Tools correctly translated the word "noncompliance" in a legal text, for example. Instead of using the proper word in Arabic, the other services transliterated it phonetically into a meaningless word.

All four services have an interface that is easy to use, with a pull-down menu listing several languages. Each has two text boxes, one for the original language and the other for the desired translation. They also translate entire Web sites, but the translation again tended to be awkwardly verbatim.

Google also has a feature that lets you translate search results free. (It also offers users an option to send in a better translation.) The others require you to become a paid subscriber. English and Arabic results appeared side-by-side.

I also liked WorldLingo and Applied Language's email-translation feature. After clicking the email button, a window with two text boxes pops up. You enter your name and email address, and the recipient's name and address. When you send the message with WorldLingo, both recipient and sender see the message in both languages. Neither Google nor Systran has this feature.

Systran has a convenient swap button that lets users easily flip the source and target languages. This saves time when going back-and-forth between two languages. The other services have you use pull-down menus. Systran's interface also allows prompt translation of a text as soon as it's pasted in a text box, without the need to click a "translate" button.

Free online translation tools help travelers or those curious about languages, but I found them unreliable for important documents. Use with caution.

Bob Jensen's threads on foreign language translation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#ForeignLanguage


"Flunking Free Speech The persistent threat to liberty on college campuses," by Michael C. Moynihan, Reason Magazine, December 24, 2007 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/124072.html

In 1995, the liberal New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis advised his young readers—a constituency he mistakenly assumed existed—that if they felt wounded, were abnormally thin-skinned, or desirous of professorial protection against a delicate sensibility, they might consider enrolling at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an institution possessing rigorous safeguards against various forms of "harassment." This was all rather surprising to Lewis because, as he noted, "Speech codes at universities had seemed to be on the decline. Several were held unconstitutional. So it is of more than parochial interest that an extraordinarily sweeping code should be proposed in this supposedly liberal-minded state."

It is distressing then that, 12 years hence, these Stakhanovite commissars of sensitivity are still laboring against nature. The virus of teenage insensitivity has proven stubbornly resistant to social engineering schemes. According to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an indefatigable organization devoted to protecting free speech on campus, Lewis's decade-old advice has sadly gone unheeded.

FIRE's "Spotlight on Speech Codes 2007" (PDF) found that a full 75 percent of the 346 colleges surveyed "continue to explicitly prohibit various forms of expression that are protected by the First Amendment." To qualify as a "red light" violator—the worst of three designated classifications-a school must have "at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech." These include overly restrictive anti-harassment policies and broadly worded prohibitions against "degrading comments" and "hostile" learning environments. It found further that only 4 percent—yes, 4 percent—of schools surveyed had "no policies that seriously imperil speech."

As reason contributing editor Cathy Young
observed in 2004, and as both critical observers and wounded veterans of the previous decade's campus culture wars clearly misunderstood, political correctness, despite a concerted campaign to counter it, has proved surprisingly resilient. And it is doubtless true that FIRE's findings will be all too familiar to those currently enrolled in an American university.

After a period of sustained news coverage in the early 1990s, P.C. outrages went from shocking to de rigueur, with only the truly bizarre, the shocking and outrageous, escaping from the pages of student newspapers into the national-or even regional-press. Thanks to the intercession of FIRE, a recent case at the University of Delaware is a rare exception.

According to a dossier compiled by FIRE, incoming freshman were required to undergo "treatment" (the university's word) by residence hall apparatchiks, and forced "to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism." These young scholar-scamps in Wilmington are told solemnly that they are, according to the precepts of the university, carriers of racist original sin: "[A] racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality." After pressure from FIRE, the university dumped the program, reluctantly releasing the little Ivan Denisovichs, still tainted by white skin privilege, into a vulnerable academic community.

That university administrators persist in their attempts to indoctrinate students is mystifying, says University of Massachusetts at Amherst professor and FIRE board member Daphne Patai. "What's amazing is that the universities aren't smart enough—and don't care enough about the liberal American tradition and respect for free speech—to, on their own, wise up and not put students through" these programs, she observes.

It should be noted that FIRE isn't, as some of its partisan critics contend, a conservative organization or a legal cudgel for the political right. Indeed, a look through its recent case load shows that while the attempted silencing of conservative viewpoints are overrepresented on campus, the group has defended protesters and political activists on both sides of the ideological divide.

. . .

When Lewis warned of speech codes and the Zamyatin-like atmosphere on campuses like UMass, my erstwhile comrades harrumphed that fiddling with the Constitution was a necessary evil, one that civil libertarians need accept in favor of a more tolerant society. Alas, both predictions were correct. Lewis's fears proved prescient, as the FIRE report demonstrates. The radical activists have, in the short term, been largely successful, presiding over a deeply unfortunate shift in campus values. 

Thankfully there exist organizations such as FIRE who have assumed the role of protector of the First Amendment on campus, forcing universities, however incrementally, to roll back policies that violate student's rights. 



"S
chool Rankings That Matter," by Cameron Stracher, The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2007; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119906294615158517.html

The publication this year of U.S. News & World Report's first ranking of high schools has parents in a twitter, worrying that their property taxes are too high (or too low), or that public education has failed them entirely. But leaving aside the merits and methodology of these particular rankings, we might wonder whether rankings matter at all and, more importantly, if they should.

In fact, there are some numbers that really matter. Getting them is the rub.

To understand this problem, consider another set of rankings, released about the same time as the high-school rankings, that didn't garner as much attention: bar-exam passage rates. The school at which I teach -- New York Law School -- jumped to fifth on the list of New York area law schools (with an all-time high passage rate of 90%), while Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University leapfrogged to third, behind only NYU and Columbia.

Cardozo, however, is ranked 52nd by U.S. News among all law schools (fourth in New York), while New York Law School is ranked in the "third tier" of law schools (along with Albany, Hofstra, Pace and Syracuse). So which ranking matters?

On the one hand, the U.S. News ranking would seem to be more comprehensive, because bar passage rate is only one of many factors it considers. On the other hand, what good is a law degree if a graduate can't practice because he doesn't pass the licensing exam?

Moreover, if the bar exam measures a student's fitness to practice law (as the bar examiners claim), a school's bar passage rate should be a pretty good indication of how the school is doing in turning out graduates who know how to practice law.

Nevertheless, according to a paper commissioned by the Association of American Law Schools, bar passage rate accounts for only 2% of a school's overall rank in the U.S. News survey. This doesn't seem right.

Of course there are other things that matter to law-school graduates -- like getting a job. Although the U.S. News rankings purport to measure a school's success at placing its graduates into gainful employment, the rankings do not distinguish between success at placing students at high-paying corporate law jobs versus low-paying paralegal-type jobs. Nor do they distinguish between jobs that graduates want and the jobs that graduates get. Students who assume that going to a more highly ranked school is more likely to get them a good job are essentially being misled by lazy reporting.

The U.S. News rankings are also heavily weighted toward reputation, which would seem to have some real world significance. But again, "reputation" is misleading, and often irrelevant. Beyond the top 20 or so law schools, law firms care less about the ranking of a school when making hiring decision and more about the ranking of the students at the schools.

Put a different way, there are really two kinds of law schools: those at which students decide where they want to interview, and those where firms decide. The large majority of law schools belong to the latter group. Hiring partners admit that they use GPA or other bright-line criteria (like law review membership) to interview at Tier 2, 3, and 4 schools, while taking resumes from nearly everyone at Tier 1 schools.

In short: The difference between the 55th-ranked law school and the 105th law school is of little significance in determining which students are more likely to get a good job. At both schools, unless a student is in the top 15% or 20% of his class, he has little chance of getting a high-paying job directly upon graduation. Students might be better served by going to a lower-ranked law school and doing better, rather than going to middling law school and not doing as well.

Students and parents are led astray by U.S. News because in putting a simple number on something that is incredibly complex, they are missing the nuances that are likely to be more important. But schools themselves -- high schools and law schools -- are partly to blame, because they resist fully disclosing important information.

Just as law schools would better serve their constituencies by releasing accurate information about numbers that matter -- bar results, jobs, and average salaries -- high schools should make more of an effort to fully disclose test scores, college admissions, class sizes and other important data. More information may put some schools under a harsh light. But it will help students and parents decide whether those high taxes and tuition rates are worth it. The alternative is letting U.S. News decide for us.

Mr. Stracher is publisher of the New York Law School Law Review and author of "Dinner with Dad: How I Found My Way Back to the Family Table" (Random House, 2007).

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


Question
What is Wikia Search?

"Wikipedia Founder Brings Search Project," by Anick Jesdanun, The Washington Post, January 2, 2007 --- Click Here

The founder of Wikipedia says taking the online encyclopedia's collaborative approach into the field of search won't dethrone Google Inc. or another major search engine _ at least not soon.

After months of talk and a few weeks of invitation-only testing, Wikia Search is to open to the general public next week.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says his goal is to let volunteers improve search technology collectively, the way Wikipedia lets anyone add or change entries, regardless of expertise.

"That reduces the sort of bottleneck of two or three firms really controlling the flow of search traffic," said Wales, chairman of Wikia Inc., the for-profit venture behind the search project.

Engineers at Google and other search companies continually tweak their complex software algorithms to improve results and fight spammers _ those who try to artificially boost the rankings of their own sites. Search companies have not disclosed many details to avoid tipping off competitors and spammers.

Wales' approach would open that process. Initially, participants will help make such decisions as whether a site on "Paris Hilton" refers to the celebrity or a French hotel.

Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of the industry Web site Search Engine Land, has his doubts. Finding all the Web sites to index and staying ahead of spammers are huge undertakings, Sullivan said.

"I think he doesn't really understand the scale of what Google has to handle in terms of the queries from around the world and the amount of traffic that flows to it and the attempts that are made to try to manipulate it," Sullivan said.

Wales said the project would launch with about 50 million to 100 million Web pages indexed, a fraction of the billions available with major search engines.

Even as Wales tries to challenge search, Google has announced a project that could challenge Wikipedia. Google's version, called knol, will differ from Wikipedia by identifying who wrote each article and giving authors a chance to share in Google's advertising revenue.


Education Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#EducationResearch


Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on free online science, engineering, and medicine tutorials are at --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science


Social Science and Economics Tutorials

 

Bob Jensen's threads on Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Philosophy tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social


Math Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics


History Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#History
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm  


Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Languages


Writing Tutorials

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries


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

 


Why fish oil is good for you
It's good news that we are living longer, but bad news that the longer we live, the better our odds of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Many Alzheimer's researchers have long touted fish oil, by pill or diet, as an accessible and inexpensive "weapon" that may delay or prevent this debilitating disease. Now, UCLA scientists have confirmed that fish oil is indeed a deterrent against Alzheimer's, and they have identified the reasons why. Reporting in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, now online, Greg Cole, professor of medicine and neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and associate director of UCLA's Alzheimer Disease Research Center, and his colleagues report that the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil increases the production of LR11, a protein that is found at reduced levels in Alzheimer's patients and which is known to destroy the protein that forms the "plaques" associated with the disease. The plaques are deposits of a protein called beta amyloid that is thought to be toxic to neurons in the brain, leading to Alzheimer's. Since having high levels of LR11 prevents the toxic plaques from being made, low levels in patients are believed to be a factor in causing the disease.
PhysOrg, December 26, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news117861619.html


Some types of temporary neurological problems associated with increased risk for stroke, dementia
Patients who experience symptoms described as transient neurological attacks, such as temporary amnesia or confusion, may have a higher risk for stroke and dementia, according to a study in the December 26 issue of JAMA. Transient neurological attacks (TNAs) are episodes involving temporary (less than 24 hours) neurological symptoms. These symptoms can be nonfocal (that can include nonlocalizing cerebral symptoms), focal (known as transient ischemic attacks [TIAs], similar to ischemic stroke, except for duration [commonly 2-15 minutes, maximum 24 hours]), or a mixture of both focal and nonfocal. Although it has been well-documented that patients with TIA are at high risk of major vascular disease, few studies have examined whether nonfocal TNAs are a serious health threat, according to background information in the article. Michiel J. Bos, M.D., M.Sc., of Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues studied the incidence and prognosis of focal, nonfocal and mixed TNAs. The study included 6,062 participants who were age 55 years or older and free from stroke, heart attack, and dementia when they entered the study (1990-1993), and were followed-up until January 2005. During the study a TNA occurred in 548 participants; 282 of these were classified as focal, 228 as nonfocal, and 38 as mixed. In both men and women, the incidence rates for nonfocal TNAs were almost as frequent as focal TNAs, and for both types of events the incidence rates strongly increased with increasing age. Mixed TNAs were less frequent.
PhysOrg, December 26, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news117861765.html


Aspirin Limits Prostate Cancer Therapy
Daily Aspirin May Make Prostate Cancer Hormone Treatment Intolerable. Men with prostate cancer may have to quit hormone therapy -- upping their death risk -- if they take aspirin, a small study suggests. Regular aspirin helps many men avoid heart attacks and stroke. But it also takes a toll on the liver for some. That's not a problem for most men. But men with prostate cancer often need hormone therapy to suppress the male hormones that speed the growth of their cancers. The powerful drugs used to suppress male hormones include the anti-androgen drug Eulexin. Eulexin can be toxic to the liver. Doctors discontinue treatment if patients have abnormal liver-function tests.
Daniel J. DeNoon, WebMD, December 29, 2007 --- http://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/news/20071226/aspirin-limits-prostate-cancer-therapy


Top 10 Parenting Pitfalls
Experts offer advice that will help you raise a well-behaved child -- instead of a brat.
Dulce Zamora WebMD, December 2007 --- http://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/top-10-parenting-pitfalls


"Inside college parties: surprising findings about drinking behavior," PhysOrg, January 3, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news118598891.html 

“Most studies use survey methods that require people to recall their drinking behavior – days, weeks or months prior – and such recall is not always accurate,” noted J.D. Clapp, director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Studies and Services at San Diego State University and corresponding author for the study.

“By going out into the field and doing observations and surveys, including breath tests for alcohol concentrations, we were able to mitigate many of the problems associated with recall of behavior and complex settings.”

“In addition,” said James A. Cranford, research assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, “this study is unique in its focus on both individual- and environmental-level predictors of alcohol involvement. Rather than relying on students' reports of the environment, researchers actually gained access to college-student parties and made detailed observations about the characteristics of these parties.”

For three academic semesters, researchers conducted a multi-level examination of 1,304 young adults (751 males, 553females) who were attending 66 college parties in private residences located close to an urban public university in southern California. Measures included observations of party environments, self-administered questionnaires, and collection of blood-alcohol concentrations (BrACs).

“Both individual behavior and the environment matter when it comes to student-drinking behavior,” said Clapp. “At the individual level, playing drinking games and having a history of binge drinking predicted higher BrACs. At the environmental level, having a lot of intoxicated people at a party and themed events predicted higher BrACs. One of the more interesting findings was that young women drank more heavily than males at themed events. It is rare to find any situation where women drink more than men, and these events tended to have sexualized themes and costumes.”

“Conversely,” added Cranford, “students who attended parties in order to socialize had lower levels of drinking. Interestingly, larger parties were associated with less drinking. Dr. Clapp and colleagues speculate that there may simply be less alcohol available at larger parties, and I suspect this may be the case.”

Both Clapp and Cranford hope this study’s design will help future research look at “the whole picture.”

“From a methodological standpoint, our study illustrates that is possible and important to examine drinking behavior in real-world settings,” noted Clapp. “It is more difficult than doing web surveys and the like, but provides a much richer data set. Secondly, environmental factors are important. Much of the current research on drinking behavior focuses on individual characteristics and ignores contextual factors. Yet both are important to our understanding of drinking behavior and problems.”

On a more practical level, Clapp urged caution on the part of party hosts as well as guests. “Hosts should not allow drinking games and students should avoid playing them,” he said. “Such games typically result in large amounts of alcohol being consumed very quickly - a dangerous combination.” He and his colleagues are currently testing party-host interventions that may help, and also plan to further examine themed parties in greater detail, other alcohol-related problems occurring at all types of parties, and drinking in a bar environment.

For more on collegiate drinking behavior, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#StudentPartying


Scottish Doctor Recommends Sex Education at Age 5
Scotland's senior public health official recommended sex education begin at age 5 to combat rising sexually transmitted disease and teenage pregnancy rates. "It needs to start at quite an early age, because if you leave it until they are 12 it is too late because some are already experimenting. It probably needs to be started off when children start school," said Dr. Charles Saunders, chairman of the British Medical Association's Scottish consultants' committee, Scotland on Sunday reported. "You need to start laying the groundwork to help them and empower them to make decisions and turn things down," Saunders said. Students should have access to contraception starting at age 13, he said. Parents' groups gave the proposal tentative approval, but the Catholic Church vowed to oppose it.
PhysOrg, December 31, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news118328266.html

Simply advocating condoms can get you fired as the U.S. Surgeon General --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joycelyn_Elders


I know a strong smell when I see it
Animals and insects communicate through an invisible world of scents. By exploiting infrared technology, researchers at Rockefeller University just made that world visible. With the ability to see smells, these scientists now show that when fly larvae detect smells with both olfactory organs they find their way toward a scented target more accurately than when they detect them with one. “Having two eyes allows us to have depth perception and two ears allows us to pinpoint a noise precisely,” says Leslie Vosshall, head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior. “Sensing odors in stereo is equally important.” In research to be published in the December 23 online issue of Nature Neuroscience, Vosshall and her colleagues show that odor information is easier to perceive when it is smelled with both olfactory organs. By genetically manipulating flies to express odorant receptors in one olfactory organ or both, they show that the brains of Drosophila melanogaster larvae not only make use of stereo cues to locate odors but also to navigate toward them — a behavior called chemotaxis. To study this behavior, Vosshall and her colleagues had to figure out which direction the larvae move with respect to the source of the odor. But since odors are invisible, the researchers could neither predict how the flies would move in relation to these scents nor guess whether the odors were concentrated in patches or along a gradient. To complicate matters, odors whisk to and fro at the mercy of the slightest stir, making it impossible to determine their concentrations at particular locations.
"New method enables scientists to see smells," PhysOrg, December 24, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news117725070.html




December 26, 2007 message from a friend

School 1960 vs. School 2007


Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.
1960 - Vice principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his own shotgun to show Jack.
2007 - School goes into lockdown, the FBI is called, Jack is hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors are called in to assist traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school
1960 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2007 - Police are called, SWAT team arrives and arrests Johnny and Mark. They are charged with assault and both are expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario: Jeffrey won't sit still in class, disrupts other students.
1960 - Jeffrey is sent to the principal's office and given a good paddling. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2007 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra state funding because Jeffrey has a disability.
 
Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping on the backside.
1960 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some Aspirin to school
1960 - Mark shares Aspirin with the school principal out on the smoking dock.
2007 - Police are called and Mark is expelled from School for drug violations. His car is searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high-school English.
1960 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.
2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by local human rights group. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that making English a requirement for graduation is racist. US Civil Liberties Association files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover Independence Day firecrackers, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up an anthill.
1960 - Ants die.
2007 - Homeland Security and the FBI are called and Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. teams investigate parents, siblings are removed from the home, computers are confiscated, and Johnny's dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls during recess and scrapes his knee. His teacher, Mary, finds him crying, and gives him a hug to comfort him.
1960 - Johnny soon feels better and goes back to playing.
2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in federal prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.

December 27, 2007  reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Bev,

I suspect these are taken out of context and greatly exaggerated. A SWAT team is probably called to school once per every million scuffles between students.

As much as I often disagree with the ACLU and its tactics, the ACLU is not going to sue a school teacher because she hugged a hurt child unless the touching itself was inappropriate.

Much of the trouble lies not with the ACLU and the NEA. The real problem lies with school administration paranoia caused by our litigious society (blame the lawyers). Indeed many schools have now banned all touching between employees and employees and students. This is out of fear of lawsuits. Indeed there is moral hazard in that parents and students may actually bait teachers hoping to generate a lawsuit.

Actually so many people fail to appropriately wash hands that replacing handshaking with bowing is probably not a bad idea.

What I find ironic is the new law in California regarding transgendering. All a horny young boy has to do in California is declare that he’s female-oriented (no surgery required). He can thereby use female locker rooms and bathrooms. In other words he can stand naked in a state of arousal while watching the girls undress as long as he does not try to shake hands with them.

The 1960s and the pill gave rise to free love. The 21st Century gave rise to free peeks in locker rooms. Did I grow up in the wrong generation? Actually I don’t think so!

Have a happy New Year!




Five Best Cold War Books

"Five Best:  As the new year starts with a resurgent Russia, author Ernest Lefever cites Cold War classics," The Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2007; Page W8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119887752073556309.html?mod=todays_us_weekend_journal

1. The Twenty Years' Crisis: 1919-1939
By E.H. Carr
Macmillan, 1939

Published in 1939 just before Hitler invaded Poland, "The Twenty Years' Crisis: 1919-1939" was one of the first modern books on world politics in the classic tradition of Thucydides and Machiavelli. During the long weekend between the two world wars, says British scholar E.H. Carr (1892-1982), there was in the English-speaking world an almost "total neglect of the factor of power." Like Reinhold Niebuhr, whom he often quotes, Carr believes that a balance of power among states is the starting point in foreign policy but that morality is an essential consideration. Utopian "superstructures such as the League of Nations," he said, were not the answer. Carr's critics point to his early pro-Nazi stance and his muddled thinking about communist Russia. He once wrote that "the Russian Revolution gave me a sense of history" and it "turned me into a historian." That said, this book remains a seminal work on the realism that instructed U.S. and British Cold War statesmen.

2. Darkness at Noon
By Arthur Koestler
Macmillan, 1941

Born into a learned Jewish family in Budapest, Arthur Koestler (1905-83) was educated in pre-Nazi Germany. He became a Communist, served as a journalist in the Spanish Civil War and later visited the Soviet Union -- experiences that led him to conclude that both fascism and Marxism were evil political religions. Fluent in five languages, he wrote the novel "Darkness at Noon," one of the 20th century's most stirring anticommunist works, in English. He said that his characters in "Darkness at Noon" were fictitious but that "their actions are real," a composite of Stalin's "so-called Moscow Trials" and its victims, several of whom he knew personally. This intimacy with real victims enabled Koestler to make vivid the torture, brainwashing and forced confessions of uncommitted crimes. With consummate skill he underscored the vital moral issues of the Cold War, indeed of the human drama.

3. The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness
By Reinhold Niebuhr
Scribner, 1944

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), born in St. Louis of German parents, was the best-known American moral philosopher of his time. Following his pioneering "Moral Man and Immoral Society" (1932) and his monumental "Nature and Destiny of Man" (1942), this slim volume, with its primer-like title, may seem like a trivial afterthought. But it is a profound analysis of man and history, and of democracy, then under siege by Hitler and Stalin. Calling his book "a vindication of democracy and a critique of its traditional defense," Niebuhr argues that "man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary."

4. The Super-Powers
By William T.R. Fox
Harcourt, 1944

William T.R. Fox (1912-88), a Yale scholar, is generally credited with coining the word "superpower" with the publication of this book. Writing even as World War II rages, he invokes classic concepts such as the balance of power to explain the dynamics of the coming postwar world. A morally sensitive realist, Fox castigates dreamers like the Federal Council of Churches executive who in 1942 declared bluntly that "alliances and balances of power . . . are destructive of world peace," and he disabused his readers of any thought that the nascent United Nations would be able to maintain peace and order.

5. The True Believer
By Erich Hoffer
Harper & Row, 1951

Six years after Hiroshima, as the Cold War was revving up, this slender volume by self-educated longshoreman Eric Hoffer (1902-83) came off the presses to immediate acclaim. In idiosyncratic prose, Hoffer offers his "thoughts on the nature of mass movements," from early Christianity to the rise of modern totalitarian states. He condemns with equal fervor Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia and Western intellectuals seduced by their own guilt-ridden longings for utopia. Throughout his days as a blue-collar worker, Hoffer said, he "read indiscriminately everything within reach," and he quotes just as freely, from the Bible, Milton, Dostoevsky, Tocqueville, Thomas a Kempis and Yeats. Hoffer, an unabashed American patriot, championed honesty, integrity and the work ethic.

Mr. Lefever, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is the author of "The Irony of Virtue: Ethics and American Power" (1998) and "America's Imperial Burden" (1999).

 




"Conservatives vs. Liberals:  For those that don't know much about history," Yahoo Message Boards, December 23, 2007 --- Click Here 

Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

1. Liberals
2. Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery.

That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement.

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girlie-men or wussies. Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

Over the years Conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth; the elephant.

Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

A few modern liberals like Mexican light beer (with lime added), but most prefer a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc,with passion fruit and kiwi aromas which are marked by grassy notes, then rounded out on the midpalate by peach flavors. Crisp and refreshing, with a hint of chalky minerality on the finish; or Perrier bottled water. They eat raw fish but dislike beef. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare.

Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, Ivy League professors, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated-hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink Sam Adams, Harpoon IPA or Yuengling Lager. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, con struction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, Marines, and generally anyone who works productively.

Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America . They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history: It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it. A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers and to more liberals just to piss them off.

Barbara Sindlinger
Mall Accountant
Sierra Vista Mall




From Stetson University
Math Humor (some may seem insensitive) --- http://www.stetson.edu/~efriedma/mathhumor.html


The year is 1907.  One hundred years ago.  What a difference a century makes! 
Here are some statistics for the Year 1907 :
************ ********* ********* ******
 The average life expectancy was 47 years.
 Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
 Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
 There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.
 The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
 The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
 The average wage in 1907 was 22 cents per hour.
 The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year .
 A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,  A dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME .
Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which  were condemned in the press AND the government as "substandard. "
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used
Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
 
Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza  2. Tuberculosis  3. Diarrhea  4. Heart disease  5. Stroke
 
The American flag had 45 stars.
The population of Las Vegas , Nevada, was only 30!!!!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn't been invented yet.
There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

 Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health." ( Shocking? DUH! )

Eighteen percent of U.S. households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE ! U.S.A. !
 
Now I forwarded this from someone else without typing it myself, and sent it to you and others all over Canada & U.S.A
Possibly the world, in a matter of seconds!
Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.
Will it be for the better? I think I prefer graduating from high school in 1956 rather than 2056! People 100 years old probably prefer being born in 1907.




Forwarded by Dick Haar

Only in America ......do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in America .......do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in America ......do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

Only in America ......do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

Only in America ......do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America ......do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

EVER WONDER ....

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin ?

Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why don't you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

Why is "abbreviated" such a long word?

Why is it that doctors call what they do "practice"?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?

Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?


Grandma's Washday Poem --- http://www.snopes.com/glurge/washday.asp



Forwarded by Paula

(On September 17, 1994, Alabama's Heather Whitestone was selected as Miss America 1995.)
Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?

Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever," --
Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest .

``````````````````````````````````

"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff." --
Mariah Carey

````````````

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life," --
Brooke Shields, during an interview to become Spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign .

`````````````````````````````````````````````````

"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body," --
Winston Bennett, University? of Kentucky basketball forward .

`````````````````````````````````````````````

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country," --
Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC .

````` ``````````````````````

"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president." --
Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents.

````````````````````````````````````````````````````

"That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it," --A congressional candidate in Texas .

````````````````````````````

"Half this game is ninety percent mental." --Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark

``````````````````````````````````

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." --
Al Gore, Vice President

And ...

"We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur." -- Al Gore, VP

```````````````````

"I love California . I practically grew up in Phoenix ." --
Dan Quayle

``````````

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need ?" --
Lee Iacocca

```````````

"The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." ---
Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst.

````````````````````````````````````````````

"We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people." --
Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instrutor .

````````````````````````````````

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." --
Bill Clinton, President

````````````````

"Traditionally, most of Australia 's imports come from overseas." --
Keppel Enderbery

````````````````

"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances." --
Department of Social Services, Greenville , South Carolina

````````````````````````````````````````````

"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record." --
Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman


Forwarded by Paula

Sometimes newspaper editors state the obvious

Grammar often botches other headlines 

Some become unintentionally suggestive




Humor Between December 1 and December 31, 2007  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book07q4.htm#Humor123107  

Humor Between November 1 and November 30, 2007 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book07q4.htm#Humor113007 

Humor Between October 1 and October 31, 2007        --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book07q4.htm#Humor103107  

Humor Between September 1 and September 30, 2007 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book07q3.htm#Humor093007 




Tidbits Archives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

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

World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php
Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar --- http://home.tiscali.nl/annejan/swf/timeline.swf
Time by Time Zones --- http://timeticker.com/
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm
         Also see http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Populations.html
        
Facts about population growth (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U
Projected U.S. Population Growth --- http://www.carryingcapacity.org/projections75.html
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons --- http://zipskinny.com/
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Three Finance Blogs

Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
FinancialRounds Blog --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) --- http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

Some Accounting Blogs

Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL Blogs --- http://www.zorba.ca/
AccountingWeb --- http://www.accountingweb.com/   
SmartPros --- http://www.smartpros.com/

Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

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

Free Textbooks and Cases --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

Free Science and Medicine Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

Free Education Discipline Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

VYOM eBooks Directory --- http://www.vyomebooks.com/

From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department --- http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/

Online Mathematics Textbooks --- http://www.math.gatech.edu/~cain/textbooks/onlinebooks.html 

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives --- http://enlvm.usu.edu/ma/nav/doc/intro.jsp

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

The word moodle is an acronym for "modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment", which is quite a mouthful. The Scout Report stated the following about Moodle 1.7. It is a tremendously helpful opens-source e-learning platform. With Moodle, educators can create a wide range of online courses with features that include forums, quizzes, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and surveys. On the Moodle website, visitors can also learn about other features and read about recent updates to the program. This application is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer.

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a ListServ (usually for free) go to   http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
AECM (Educators)  http://pacioli.loyola.edu/aecm/ 
AECM is an email Listserv list which provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets, multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc

Roles of a ListServ --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
 

CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/ 
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
Yahoo (Practitioners)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
Business Valuation Group BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM

 

 

Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482 
Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu