I posted a brief description of Erika's January 25 heart attack at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Erika2007.htm#HeartAttack2008
She's home now and doing better, although she's still very weak.


What does the FBI consider its most successful operation in the FBI's 100-year history?

On January 27, 2008 the ever-popular television show Sixty Minutes on CBS had the most interesting television module I've ever watched. It's about the long-term interrogation of Saddam Hussein. What is most important in my viewpoint is the illustration of the trade-off between physical torture versus long-term interrogation where the interrogator becomes viewed as a friend by a prisoner who probably reveals far more over the course of time than could ever be elicited by torture, including the form of torture known as sleep deprivation. The FBI (in contrast to the CIA) claims to have never engaged in torture, although in the case of Saddam it might have been a different situation if Saddam posed an imminent threat of dire harm such using weapons of mass destruction in a matter of days on U.S. forces or cities, Israel, Iran, or other "enemies" of Saddam. Although the show does not mention this, torture is often used when time is of the essence and/or in a rage of vengeance.

There was only one interrogator across the many months of interrogation in Saddam's cell. His name was George Piro. Mr. Piro is a young and relatively inexperienced (five years) FBI agent who was chosen largely because of his fluency in the Arabic language. However, Mr. Piro turned out to be far more than an interrogator. He slowly and patiently became Saddam's friend to a point where Saddam pleaded to have Mr. Piro brought to the cell for long periods of time. Indeed Saddam became closer to George Piro than he did with his own sons.

Slowly over the course of many months bits and pieces of extremely revealing information leaked out to George Piro in long and rambling conversations. For example, we've always assumed that Saddam invaded Kuwait in order to control the vast oil fields of Kuwait. This of course is largely true, but the spark that set off the invasion was one short insult to the women of Iraq by the Emir of Kuwait. Saddam had a legendary and in retrospect a suicidal temper.

George Piro patiently waited over five months of interrogation before cleverly introducing a question about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Eventually Saddam claimed that he destroyed most of his WMDs that the United Nations inspectors had not already destroyed. But he did not seriously own up to this because it would be a sign of weakness, especially in the face of his dire enemy --- Iran.

There were many, many more important facts that emerged from these many months of interrogation. It turns out that most of what Saddam knew about the United States came from watching old Hollywood movies. He had almost zero knowledge of U.S. politics, governance, media, and power structures. What little he knew always amazed him because those in power were in power for such a short period of time.

Saddam considered Osama Bin Ladin to be a dangerous fanatic. He apparently wanted no relationship with Osama.

My friend Steve Zeff at Rice University raised a question Piro's use during the trial. But the trial was a farce anyway. Did anybody expect Saddam to be found innocent?

In any case, Saddam increasingly begged for more and longer visits with Piro. An interesting part of the module deals with the potential disaster of Saddam's hunger strike during the trial.

First note that Saddam thought Piro reported directly to Bush and never suspected Piro was a mere FBI agent.

Guess what induced Saddam to end his hunger strike during the trial? Piro convinced Saddam that he (Piro) was in big trouble with Bush if Saddam continued the hunger strike. Saddam viewed his friendship with Piro as very solid. Without Piro during the trial Saddam may well have raised much more trouble in and out of court.

For a few days, you may be able to watch the CBS module from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/24/60minutes/main3749494.shtml
The transcript will probably be available for a longer period of time. My hat is off to a very articulate, intelligent, and likeable Agent George Piro.

"A Painful History:  Why have modern democracies been such important innovators of torture?"
by Darious Rejali, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, Volume 54, Issue 20, Page B7, January 25, 2008 ---

Americans were shocked at the photographs of tortured Iraqi prisoners incarcerated at Abu Ghraib. They were horrified by the assault on Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant molested with the broken end of a broomstick by New York City police officers in August 1997. A decade earlier, they were horrified by revelations that New York police officers had used stun guns to coerce confessions from young Hispanic and African-American suspects in 1985 and 1986.

Our outrage is predictable because we reject the idea that democracies engage in torture. That's something authoritarian states do — in the words of a World War II poster, "the method of the enemy." But torture has been documented in many modern democracies, not just our own.

So why is torture still occurring in democracies? Just bad people in power? Sadists in the police? Human nature? Think again: Whenever we ask ourselves why something is still happening, it's a sign that something's wrong with the way we understand our past.

It is tempting to think of democracies as inherently less likely to torture than authoritarian states are. After all, the people elect democratic governments, and the people don't want to be tortured themselves. Even if we view democracy cynically, as a game in which elites take turns running things, we believe that it has a quiet gentleman's agreement — we don't torture you when we are in power, you don't torture us, and we'll keep it all tidy. However you cut it, we think that democracies are bargains in leniency, and that until recently they had little to do with torture.

But that view is incorrect as a matter of historical record. Indeed, democracies often set the pace in torture innovation. Legalized torture was a standard part of Greek and Roman republics, our ancient models of democracy. Roman judges used various tortures, most famously the short whips, ferula and scutica, to coerce confessions and get information. Torture was also a standard part of Italian republics like Venice and Florence, our other historical models of democracy. Those city-states adopted some of the same techniques as the inquisitors of the Roman Catholic Church. They often used the strappado, a technique in which guards tied a victim's hands behind his back, hoisted him from the ground by means of a hook and pulley, and repeatedly dropped him to the floor. The political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli was subjected to that process thrice. Before World War II, the British, the Americans, and the French all practiced torture: the French in Vietnam, the British in their mandate of Palestine, the Americans in the Philippines, not to mention what our police were doing in cities large and small. Police in democratic states used electrotorture, water torture, painful stress positions, drugs, and beatings. They did so sometimes on their own, sometimes in collusion with local citizens, and sometimes with the quiet approval, if not explicit authorization, of their governments. All this before the Central Intelligence Agency ever existed.

Our memory, however, usually starts with World War II. Torture was something done by the Nazis and then the Stalinists. The good news is that we made sincere and often effective efforts to prevent torture at home and to encourage human rights abroad — the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. The bad news is that we came to believe that no one on our side was ever a torturer. Never had been. Being a winner was all about being morally pure.

By torture I mean the systematic infliction of physical torment on detained, helpless individuals by state officials for police purposes: that is, for confession, information, or intimidation. No doubt one could slice torture in other ways, but whatever you want to call these practices, they have a long history in the world's democracies.

Let me be clear: The democratic record of torture is not as bad as that of authoritarian states. Nevertheless, from a scholar's perspective, the relation of torture to democracy requires an explanation. The question is not, Is torture compatible with democracy? Obviously it has been for some time. The questions are: Under what circumstances is torture compatible with democracy? Why were democracies such powerful innovators of torture?

This isn't just an academic exercise. Torture represents a powerful danger to democracies: It creates conditions in which one human being gains absolute power over another, and democrats know that no society can tolerate giving anyone that power, legally or tacitly, without setting loose corruption. Torture destroys the lives of victims and torturers alike, and it sets into motion powerful corrupting forces that destroy the judicial, intelligence, and military institutions that use it. Entire organizations can operate as a state within a state, unaccountable to democratic oversight. When that happens, the slide to authoritarianism is almost inevitable.

But a people that can speak intelligently about cruelty can take steps to protect itself against tyranny. The first step is to recognize that torture has a demand side and a supply side. Consider the demand side first. What circumstances prompt the demand for torture in democracies? National emergencies are probably your first thought. It is easy to imagine that, in war or in the face of terrorism, an imminent threat might lead some people to endorse torture and many others to turn a blind eye. Numerous famous cases fit that pattern. The French turned to torture in a bitter war with Algerian nationalists in the 1950s; the British as they fought to retain control of Northern Ireland in the 1970s. And the Israelis turned to torture in their conflict with Palestinian organizations in the 1970s.

But there are many cases of persistent torture in democracies that don't fit the national-security model, because they occur in the absence of an objective or perceived national threat. Sometimes torture is a local arrangement, usually between the police and businessmen or property holders. The latter two want safer streets, so they don't look too closely at what the police do. Between 1973 and 1991, for example, the Chicago police used torture to extract confessions in high-publicity cases, like when they were hunting for the killer of a policeman. Police techniques included electrotorture, asphyxiation, suspension, and beating. Indeed, in 2006 two special prosecutors, who had spent millions on a report into the activities of the Chicago police, identified the torture of African-Americans, some of whom had confessed and been sentenced to be executed. Most alleged incidents implicated Commander Jon Burge, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, and the detectives he supervised.

Another factor that triggers torture is a permissive judicial system. In the 1980s, for example, investigators for the Japanese Federation Bar Associations uncovered numerous cases of torture in Japan, in which police coerced confessions by beating suspects, punching them in the stomach, banging their heads against tables, and slapping them in the face. Many of the Japanese suspects had been accused of ordinary crimes and not held in emergency conditions. But wherever police have the power to detain suspects for long periods without justifying incarceration before a judge, torture will soon follow. And it is especially likely in a judicial system in which judges and juries value confessions. (In the Japanese case, human-rights investigators found that 86 percent of all convictions were based on confessions.)

Decommissioned soldiers can carry torture techniques to civilian jobs as policemen, just as police practices can find their way into military interrogation. That kind of transfer happened twice in American history in the last century. After the Philippine insurgency that followed the Spanish-American War, in the early 20th century, torture techniques used in the islands appeared in police stations throughout the United States, especially in the South, as well as in military prisons for conscientious objectors during World War I. Techniques that first appeared in the hands of soldiers in Vietnam later appeared in the hands of Chicago police. The world is a messy place, and the demands for torture can overlap.

Thus there is nothing special about American history. Torture occurs in old democracies and new, in New York in the 1920s and Johannesburg and São Paulo in the 1990s. The techniques of the current "war on terror" may yet appear in a neighborhood near you in the next 20 years. (As near as I can tell, such transference casts a 20-year shadow.)

While the factors I have described are not always sufficient to lead to torture in democracies, they also are not factors that democracies can do without — so democracies are always potentially vulnerable to torture. It would be difficult to imagine modern democracies without juries of the people. Nor could modern democracies function without bureaucracies to run elections and put laws into effect, and defend them against external threats. But relying on the judgment of ordinary citizens for justice has its dangers. Psychologists tell us that juries believe confessions, even when they know the confessions have been coerced. And bureaucracies are closed organizations of experts: When experts decide that legislatures don't have sufficient will or expertise to do the right thing during a political emergency, they may turn to torture.

Similarly, for various reasons, modern democracies give more weight to property holders, and not just because such states have free-market economies. A traditional argument heard in democracies is that homeowners care more about their neighborhood than renters and homeless people do. If the police use torture to protect them, the good citizens often don't want to hear about it. Indeed, in two trials in the 1980s, the citizens of Chicago failed to convict police officers accused of using torture.

All that tells us why the state, the judge, or the citizen may demand torture, but it doesn't explain what kind of techniques democracies use — call it the supply side of torture. I want to connect that to the second question I asked early in this essay: Why have modern democracies been such important innovators of torture?

We often think that the technique a torturer reaches for has something to do with his or her abnormal psychology. But most torturers are not sadomasochists — organizations try to weed out abnormal individuals who are likely to be disciplinary problems. What is crucial to understand is that most torturers have styles, and they pass those on to the next generation, just like tailors and massage therapists do. Torture is a craft, and, like all craftsmen who work with bodies, torturers are creatures of habit. They combine tortures in predictable ways, and every combination, every style, has a history.

Twelve years ago, I started the difficult project of mapping how torture technology spread around the globe over the course of the last 200 years. I mapped each technique as it changed over the decades, noting who used it, when, how it spread, and its effects. To be sure, it was unpleasant to map how leg clamps and other pressing devices used to squeeze muscles until bones broke appeared in Gestapo interrogations in the early 1940s, then spread in a broad arc from northern France, through Belgium, Holland, and northern Germany to Denmark and Norway, but didn't appear elsewhere in Nazi-occupied Europe. Tracking that kind of trajectory is slow work, but the truth is that social scientists know more about how hybrid corn spreads in Iowa than about how torture techniques spread.

Tracking torture over 200 years yields a surprising conclusion: With some exceptions, very few modern techniques originated with the Nazis, the Stalinists, or the Inquisition. The pattern is weird and unexpected. What has driven torture technology turns out to be something that no one usually considers having anything to do with torture — namely, international monitoring and democracy.

Mapping torture techniques, one can immediately distinguish two kinds of intensely painful physical tortures: those that leave marks and those that do not. All the evidence suggests that the more-scarring techniques started to disappear over the course of the 20th century, as human-rights monitoring increased. Leg clamps, for example, are virtually unknown today.

On the other hand, "clean techniques" are spreading. Of those, the main styles are what I call French Modern and Anglo-Saxon Modern. French Modern is the classic combination of electricity and water; used properly, it leaves few marks. It appeared in French colonies in 1931 and spread across the world. (The Nazis picked it up from the Vichy police.)

Anglo-Saxon Modern is older, a combination of sleep deprivation, exhaustion exercises, and forced standing and other positional tortures, sometimes called "stress and duress" techniques. It has varied origins — some techniques came out of old (illegal) British and French military punishments, others from American police and prison practices, and yet others from the global slave trade. Most of the techniques used by American forces today, either at Abu Ghraib or elsewhere in Afghanistan or Iraq are part of this tradition.

These are painful forms of torture. Sleep deprivation isn't simply depriving Taliban of their naps. It reduces people's ability to tolerate musculoskeletal pain. It causes deep aches first in the legs and then in the upper body. Animal tests suggest that it makes people more sensitive to pain caused by heat, electricity, and punches. That makes it ideal as a supplement to other painful techniques. Clean torture is not simply a psychological tool, just because it does not leave marks. The history of modern torture tells us one more important point: Whenever we watch, torturers become sneaky. When the news media, the public, or politicians monitor what police are doing during interrogations, the interrogators literally pull their punches.

That makes clean techniques valuable: Allegations of torture are simply less credible when there is nothing to show. In the absence of visible wounds or photographs of actual torture, who is one to believe? Clean torture breaks down the ability to communicate between the victim and the wider community. Stealth tortures are unlike other tortures because they are calculated to subvert that relationship. And frankly, people judge more by what they see than by what they only hear about. Would Americans have been so outraged by Abu Ghraib without the pictures? In fact, the army released information to the news media and public about the abuses before the famous pictures became available, but the public barely took notice.

That is why clean coercive techniques typically show up in democratic states, where inquisitive reporters, active church groups, and human-rights organizations tend to exist in large numbers. And that is also why, as global human-rights monitoring developed in the 1960s, authoritarian states learned to use cleaner techniques.

Electrotorture, for example, was relatively unknown for much of the 20th century, and when it appeared, it was used first by democracies, especially in the United States between 1900 and 1930 and by France in Vietnam in the 1930s. It did not start spreading country to country until the 60s. The contagion effect was staggering after that, with the number of countries using electrotorture doubling almost every decade. The surge began in Latin America and soon spread to the Middle East and Asia, as prisoner reports indicate. In the 1980s, electrotorture reached Africa, and in the 1990s, Southern and, especially, Eastern Europe.

As the shift to clean styles reveals, torturers do pay attention to human-rights monitoring. If they did not, the shift to clean styles would be inexplicable. As would a few other things. Why, for example, do torturers often single out and kill doctors today? Maybe hunting doctors makes better sport than hunting lawyers, but it is more likely that those engaging in torture care about medical monitoring. Since the 1970s, doctors have been on the front line of deciphering how clean techniques work. And so doctors are a threat.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
It's fate that I should read the above article the morning after re-watching the movie Guarding Tess starring Shirley McLaine as the widow (Tess Carlisle) of a past U.S. President and Nicholas Cage as the Secret Service Agent (Doug Chesnic) assigned to protecting her. This is a wonderful movie mixed with comedy and terror. The widow is eventually kidnapped and buried underground on an abandoned farm. She will surely die if one of the captured kidnappers does not talk. He's lawyered up and refuses to reveal her whereabouts. Tess will surely die within a day. Agent Chenic in desperation tells that captured kidnapper (in a hospital bed) that he's going to shoot off one toe at a time until the kidnapper talks. The kidnapper scoffs at the idea and says that the Federal agents do not torture in such a manner. So Agent Chesnic shoots off the first toe. The kidnapper in a panic tells Agent Cage where to find the buried widow and all ends happily thereafter.

My point from Guarding Tess is that torture in democracies sometimes arises from a sense of urgency where there are only a few hours to save a child, a soldier, a company of soldiers, a battalion, a city, a nation, or the entire world. This urgency is compounded by fear of weapons of mass destruction such as biological poison, nerve gas, or nuclear radiation. In such instances rational people must weight the moral benefits against the moral costs in times of dire urgency. In my viewpoint the acceptability of torture depends upon the cost scale --- most of us who despise torture would condone torture if it's almost certain that torture is the only means of saving the entire world?

But at the same time there's human temperament that may interact in a negative way. At the critical moment in the movie Guarding Tess viewers sense that the urgency of the situation is compounded by Agent Chesnic's growing frustration and anger. It may well be that he would've shot off a toe or two even if he knew the buried kidnapping victim was already dead. This is the kind of torture that underlies Abu Ghraib and other instances of anger and vengeance. This is the kind of torture that arises when murders, sex offenders, and/or torturers show absolutely no remorse and even taunt the courts and the prison guards. This is the torture that the democratic state is morally bound to prevent whenever possible because such torture serves no higher purpose.

But how does the abhorred idea of torture as an act of vengeance differ from virtually every policy in nuclear-armed nations to retaliate if their nations are destroyed by an act of holocaust? Our nuclear submarine commanders are given some discretion if the U.S. is bombed to oblivion by the Soviets, but the general idea is that cheering throngs on Moscow streets are doomed as well. The justification of such a policy ex ante is that this vengeance policy is a deterrent preventing a nuclear power from initiating a first strike. The problem with this policy is that the first strike might be initiated by a madman (a raving mad Hitler or Saddam or Kim Jong Il) who is acting alone relative to the will of his people. The people on the streets of Moscow may not really be cheering. Instead they might be rising up in their own anger at the madman who pushed the red button entrusted to him.

Perhaps this is why nuclear submarine commanders are given an ounce of discretion under a retaliation policy.

More on torture and world efforts to prevent torture --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture


Tidbits on January 28, 2008
Bob Jensen

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

On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/NHcottage/NHcottage.htm

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/ )

Global Incident Map --- http://www.globalincidentmap.com/home.php

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

Free Online Tutorials in Multiple Disciplines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials

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

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

Tips on computer and networking security --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm

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

Frontline: On Our Watch (Darfur Video) --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/darfur/

Stanford Humanities Lab (includes video) http://shl.stanford.edu/

Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York (video in the multimedia section)  --- http://futureofny.org/home

Immigration Gumballs --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7WJeqxuOfQ

Wall Street Journal Video
Jon Friedman says Slate's Ron Rosenbaum is the classiest Web writer today. He says it would be nice if all Web writers cared about their readers as much as he does ---

Fifty Years of History in Three Minutes --- http://yeli.us/Flash/Fire.html

Many of the workers on California's Mexican border fence were undocumented workers ---

Bobby Fisher died in Iceland on January 17, 2008 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Fischer
Also see http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18212968
In spite of his Jewish heritage, Fischer was openly anti-Semitic and paranoid. He viewed himself as a victim of an international Jewish conspiracy.

The latest prodigy of the chess world is a fourteen-year-old Brooklyn boy named Robert Fischer, who a few weeks ago, at a tournament held in Cleveland, upset some two hundred of his elders and putative betters, including a number of the country’s top-ranking players, to win the United States Open Chess Championship. There have been chess prodigies in this country who flashed to prominence when considerably younger than Fischer, but none has ever captured a major title at such an early age. Honors are beginning to pile up for Robert. The United States Chess Federation has elevated him to the rank of master (some of the wits among his teen-age friends now address him as Master Master Fischer); he has been invited to be one of the ten distinguished players, from all over the world, who will participate in the highly regarded invitation tournament at Hastings, in England, this Christmas; and shortly after that he is scheduled, if the Chess Federation’s present plans work out, to visit the Soviet Union and show off his prowess before the world’s most discriminating mass audience, the Russians having been notorious chess addicts for centuries.
Bernard Taper, "Prodigy," The New Yorker, September 7, 1957 ---

Burns and Allen Humor and Nostalgia
George Burns --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Burns
Gracie Allen --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gracie_Allen

Carol Burnett Show- Bubba's Teacher (With Maggie Smith)
Carol Burnett --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Burnett

Liza sings "I'm glad I'm not young anymore" on the David Letterman Show ---

Accounting and finance professors should use this video every semester in class!
The best explanation ever of the sub-prime (meaning lending to borrowers with much less than prime credit ratings) mortgage greed and fraud.
The best explanation ever about securitized financial instruments and worldwide banding frauds using such instruments.
The best explanation ever about how greedy employees will cheat on their employers and their customers.
"House Of Cards: The Mortgage Mess Steve Kroft Reports How The Mortgage Meltdown Is Shaking Markets Worldwide," Sixty Minutes Television on CBS, January 27, 2008 --- http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/25/60minutes/main3752515.shtml
For a few days the video may be available free.
The transcript will probably be available for a longer period of time.
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

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

Classical pianist Jon Nakamatsu and clarinetist Jon Manasse perform in-studio --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17994676

Back to the Sixties (video) --- http://objflicks.com/TakeMeBackToTheSixties.htm

Her musical imagination is boundless,' said Juilliard dean Stephen Clapp, who described her as 'a musical artist with qualities of maturity far beyond her age.'
Sirena Huang: Dazzling set by 11-year-old violinist --- http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/45

I’m grateful I haven’t smoked since I tried corn silks in cigarette paper when I was about eight years old. And why didn’t I take up smoking in high school or college?
I thought it would make my breath smell when I kissed.
 “Here’s to all the girls I’ve loved” (Willie and Julio) ---

Jazz Old Time Online --- http://www.jazz-on-line.com/index.htm
There's a vast collection here. Some choices are free; Others are not free.

Maria Elena Holly insists Peggy Sue Gerron's "Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?" is unauthorised and will harm Holly's name, her reputation and that of her company. "It's very interesting that this woman makes up all these stories," Mrs Holly said from her home in Dallas, US. He never, never considered Peggy Sue a friend."
"Buddy Holly's Widow May Sue Peggy Sue," Sky News, January 12, 2008 --- http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0%2C%2C30200-1300355%2C00.html
Buddy Holly and The Crickets --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_Holly
(Remember "Happiness is Lubbock in my rear view mirror.")
In 1955 Bob Jensen wore horn-rimmed glasses that had no prescription (clear glass).
Buddy Holly's plane crashed in Mason City  about 50 miles from my hometown in Algona, Iowa.

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

Photographs and Art

Curtis Brown (Philosophy Professor at Trinity University) forwarded the link to Peter Callesen's great works of art --- http://www.petercallesen.com/

The Council of Independent Colleges: Historic Campus Architecture Project --- http://hcap.artstor.org/cgi-bin/library

Sand Hill Crane in Florida (with great music) --- http://groverphoto.phanfare.com/slideshow.aspx?username=groverphoto&album_id=304621&section_id=-1

Doolittle's Raiders (1942) --- Click Here
(Click on the Right Arrow Button)

International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (note Galleria area) --- http://www.icsid.org/

Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits --- http://www.npg.si.edu/exhibit/motto/index.html

Picture History --- http://www.picturehistory.com/

Irish Blessing --- http://www.e-water.net/viewflash.php?flash=irishblessing_en
My favorite is still the one from Jesse
The Irish Blessing --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/blessing.htm 
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on. Then scroll back to the top for the Irish countryside slide show.
Also found at http://www.barb-coolwaters.com/c001/thebend.html 
Also see http://www.e-water.net/viewflash.php?flash=irishblessing_en 

Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design --- http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1384_leonardo/

The Mind of Leonardo: The Universal Genius at Work --- http://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/menteleonardo/

From the Scout Report on January 18, 2008

True identity of Mona Lisa (re)affirmed Da Vinci's Lisa revealed --- http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2008/01/16/da_vincis_lisa_revealed/

Mona Lisa descendant just grins and bears it --- http://www.thestar.com/News/article/294443

A closer look at the Mona Lisa [Macromedia Flash Player]

Mona: Exploratorium Exhibit [Quick Time] http://www.exploratorium.edu/exhibits/mona/mona.html

Leonardo da Vinci: Master Draftsman [Real Player] http://www.metmuseum.org/special/Leonardo_Master_Draftsman/draftsman_splash.htm

Theft of Mona Lisa --- http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/mona_nav/main_monafrm.html


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

Free Library (in topic categories) --- http://www.thefreelibrary.com/

Powell's Books --- http://www.powells.com/picks

Famous Quotes --- http://www.citate-celebre.com/famous-quotes/best-quotes-by-famous-people/

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest --- http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/

Digital Library Books Page --- http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/

East of the Web Short Stories --- http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/

East of the Web Interactive --- http://www.eastoftheweb.com/hyperfiction/index.html

George Burn's Creative Quotations (Video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwvYYlhJ29o

Links by Logos --- http://www.allmyfaves.com/

Global Incident Map --- http://www.globalincidentmap.com/home.php

The map itself has a running default setting for the "last eight days." This may be an issue since even the many terror-prone parts of the world do not have reported incidents every week. Also in Africa many crimes like rape go unreported. I think the database depends heavily on police reports. Police reporting and record keeping in many corrupt parts of the world, especially in Africa, are highly limited and politically corrupted.

It is possible underneath the map to change the reporting period. The Sudan and Nigeria are not ignored entirely in longer time frames, but once again I think the police reporting problem is an issue in these nations. Chad in particular appears to be problematic.

I did find the map useful for certain levels of detail in nations with better police reporting. For example, I had no idea that on January 20, 2008 animal rights activists in Wellington, New Zealand are suspected of lethally poisoning the milk of two medical research workers.

Bob Jensen

One of Liberia's most notorious rebel commanders, known as Gen. Butt Naked, has returned to the nation his troops terrorized to confess, saying he is responsible for 20,000 deaths. Joshua Milton Blahyi, who now lives in Ghana, returned this week to face his homeland's truth and reconciliation commission, this time wearing a suit and tie. His nom de guerre is derived from his platoon's practice of charging naked into battle, a technique meant to terrify the enemy. Other warlords, though, have refused to ask forgiveness, dismissing a commission many in Liberia see as toothless.
"Ex-warlord Confesses to 20,000 Deaths," CNN, January 21, 2008 --- http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/01/21/liberia.general.ap/index.html

"It's mostly a choice between Clinton and the other one --- Omega. I intend to vote for Clinton."
Nevada voter in Los Vegas in an interview with an ABC News crew, January 18, 2008. His statement was aired on ABC News that night. It appears that he seriously could not think of Obama's name. He planned to vote for Clinton.

A senior British diplomat has admitted that Polish immigration to Britain has spun out of control. Paul Fox, who is consul general at the British Embassy in Warsaw, said that the influx of Poles in the last three years was "one of the largest immigrations Britain has ever seen, in such a short time". . . More than two million Poles have left Poland since it joined the European Union in 2004, with up to one million heading to Britain and Ireland.
Harry de Quetteville, London Telegraph, January 19, 2008 --- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml

I'm sorry," Reyes said. "There is much that I regret. If I could turn back the clock, I would."
As pointed out in the Opinion Journal, January 18, 2008 Reyes' choice of words is truly ironic since he was convicted of options "backdating." When he committed the fraud he truly did turn the clock back. Now he would like to turn it back again since he got caught.

The antiquated Securities and Exchange Commission's computer system prevents investigators from safeguarding U.S. market integrity. "It's like working with one hand tied behind their backs," Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley commented about the Dec. 17 release of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report he'd initiated — "SEC: Opportunities Exist to Improve Oversight of Self-Regulatory Organizations." Why can't the government with the world's most advanced computer technology and capabilities equip its agencies with state-of-the-art systems allowing them to better monitor markets and transactions, including illegal activities? In response to the GAO criticism, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox acknowledged, "additional information-technology changes such as these may help the [SEC] enforcement staff to effectively analyze trends, manage current caseloads and focus areas of investigation." But all federal officials — not just at the SEC — should worry about much more than insider trading. Take terror financing. So far, no U.S. official at any level, including presidential candidates from both parties, has publicly addressed how radical Muslim groups and Islamic terror organizations raise major sums to facilitate the murder of Americans in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, among other things.
Rachel Ehrenfeld & Alyssa A. Lappen, "Terror's Financiers," The Washington Times via The New Media Journal, January 19, 2008 --- http://www.newmediajournal.us/staff/ehrenfeld/2008/01192008.htm

Time Magazine's Person of the Year --- http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/personoftheyear/
Time Magazine's account does not jive with the facts!
Many of Putin's defenders . . . contend that Russia's democratic retreat has enhanced the state's ability to provide for its citizens. The myth of Putinism is that Russians are safer, more secure, and generally living better than in the 1990s -- and that Putin himself deserves the credit. . . . [But] in terms of public safety, health, corruption, and the security of property rights, Russians are actually worse off today than they were a decade ago. The murder rate has . . . increased under Putin, according to data from Russia's Federal State Statistics Service. In the "anarchic" years of 1995-99, the average annual number of murders was 30,200; in the "orderly" years of 2000-2004, the number was 32,200. The death rate from fires is around 40 a day in Russia, roughly 10 times the average rate in western Europe. Nor has public health improved in the last eight years. Despite all the money in the Kremlin's coffers, health spending averaged 6% of GDP from 2000 to 2005, compared with 6.4% from 1996 to 1999. Russia's population has been shrinking since 1990, thanks to decreasing fertility and increasing mortality rates, but the decline has worsened since 1998. Noncommunicable diseases have become the leading cause of death (cardiovascular disease accounts for 52% of deaths, three times the figure for the United States), and alcoholism now accounts for 18% of deaths for men between the ages of 25 and 54. At the end of the 1990s, annual alcohol consumption per adult was 10.7 liters (compared with 8.6 liters in the United States and 9.7 in the United Kingdom); in 2004, this figure had increased to 14.5 liters. . . . Life expectancy in Russia rose between 1995 and 1998. Since 1999, however, it has declined to 59 years for Russian men and 72 for Russian women. At the same time that Russian society has become less secure and less healthy under Putin, Russia's international rankings for economic competitiveness, business friendliness, and transparency and corruption all have fallen. . . .
Michael McFaul and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss in the January/February 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2008, Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120062520244399763.html

The makers of antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil never published the results of about a third of the drug trials that they conducted to win government approval, misleading doctors and consumers about the drugs’ true effectiveness, a new analysis has found. In published trials, about 60 percent of people taking the drugs report significant relief from depression, compared with roughly 40 percent of those on placebo pills. But when the less positive, unpublished trials are included, the advantage shrinks: the drugs outperform placebos, but by a modest margin, concludes the new report, which appears Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine. Previous research had found a similar bias toward reporting positive results for a variety of medications; and many researchers have questioned the reported effectiveness of antidepressants. But the new analysis, reviewing data from 74 trials involving 12 drugs, is the most thorough to date. And it documents a large difference: while 94 percent of the positive studies found their way into print, just 14 percent of those with disappointing or uncertain results did.
Benedict Carey, "Antidepressant Studies Unpublished ," The New York Times, January 20, 2008 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/17/health/17depress.html 

Lawyer and women's rights activist Seyran Ates told me it is very difficult to reach women isolated behind their walls of silence. Contact is usually made only with the few who are brave enough to scale those walls and seek refuge in a woman's shelter. For Muslims in Europe, the main issues — discrimination by host societies, difficulty in finding jobs, and family conflicts — have remained more or less the same since I first started looking at immigrant communities in Europe. But with regard to Muslim women, I've seen changes — albeit in different directions and at different paces. It is still hard to say where these changes will lead. But at a time when Europeans are beginning to question the notion of multiculturalism that often leads to separate, parallel societies, authorities are now looking to Muslim women in the belief that their empowerment can facilitate their communities' integration into mainstream societies. And Muslim women themselves, better-educated and more experienced than their mothers and grandmothers, are beginning to grapple with the obstacles and abuse facing women in both their communities and in the broader society.
Sylvia Poggioli, "Issues for Muslim Women in Europe Evolve," NPR, January http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18226044

Have you been in an airport recently and maybe seen a gaggle of America's heroes returning from Iraq? And you've probably thought, "Ah, what a marvelous sight. Remind me to straighten up the old 'Support Our Troops' fridge magnet, which seems to have slipped down below the reminder to reschedule my acupuncturist. Maybe I should go over and thank them for their service." No, no, no, under no account approach them. Instead, try to avoid making eye contact and back away slowly toward the sign for the parking garage. You're in the presence of mentally damaged violent killers who could snap at any moment. You hadn't heard that? Well, it's in the New York Times: "a series of articles" – that's right, a whole series – "about veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have committed killings, or been charged with them, after coming home." It's an epidemic, folks. As the Times put it: "Town by town across the country, headlines have been telling similar stories. Lakewood, Wash.: 'Family Blames Iraq After Son Kills Wife.' Pierre, S.D.: 'Soldier Charged With Murder Testifies About Postwar Stress.' Colorado Springs: 'Iraq War Vets Suspected in Two Slayings, Crime Ring.'"
Mark Steyn, "Some fictional horrors of war," Orange County Register, January 19, 2008 --- http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/war-times-iraq-1962198-one-home

There is this whole business of the new politics. Well I got a taste of the new politics today. We need a new politics where we all love each other. You’ve heard all that. There’s a radio ad up in the northern part of Nevada telling Republicans that they ought to just register as Democrats for a day so they can beat Hillary and go out and be Republicans next week and vote in the primary. Doesn’t sound like the new politics to me. Today when my daughter and I were wandering through the hotel, and all these culinary workers were mobbing us telling us they didn’t care what the union told them to do, they were gonna caucus for Hillary. There was a representative of the organization following along behind us going up to everybody who said that, saying 'if you’re not gonna vote for our guy were gonna give you a schedule tomorrow so you can’t be there.' So, is this the new politics? I haven’t seen anything like that in America in 35 years. So I will say it again – they think they're better than you.
Bill Clinton complaining of Culinary Workers Union intimidation in the Nevada caucuses, as quoted by Ben Smith, Politico, January 19, 2008 ---  http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0108/Bill_Clinton_claims_he_witnessed_voter_suppression.html  

Bill Clinton today accused the union backing Barack Obama of illegally blocking its workers from backing his wife in an orchestrated campaign of "voter suppression" in Nevada's Democratic caucuses. Mr Clinton, who spent 90 minutes at the Mirage Casino in Las Vegas today shaking voters' hands, was told by several workers that their union, which has backed Mr Obama, has told them they could not register to vote unless they supported the Illinois senator.
"Bill Clinton accuses Obama-backed union of vote rigging," London Times, January 19, 2008 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article3217097.ece

In American pop culture, the face of abortion is often a frightened teenager, nervously choosing to terminate an unexpected pregnancy. The numbers tell a far more complex story in which financial stress can play a pivotal role. Half of the roughly 1.2 million U.S. women who have abortions each year are 25 or older. Only about 17 percent are teens. About 60 percent have given birth to at least one child before getting an abortion. A disproportionately high number are black or Hispanic. And regardless of race, high abortion rates are linked to hard times.
David Crary, "Most women who abort are mothers Ability to care for kids a key factor," Seattlepi.com, January 18, 2008 --- http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/348000_abortion19.html

Barack Obama's real thinking about Israel and the Middle East continues to be an enigma. The words he chose  in an address to AIPAC create a different impression than the composition of his foreign policy advisory teamSeveral advisors have evidenced a history of suspicion and worse toward Israel. One of his advisors in particular, Robert Malley, clearly warrants attention, as does the reasoning that led him to being chosen by Barack Obama . . . Simon Malley loathed Israel and anti-Israel activism became a crusade for him-as an internet search would easily show. He spent countless hours with Yasser Arafat and became a close friend of Arafat. He was, according to Daniel Pipes, a sympathizer of the Palestinian Liberation Organization --- and this was when it was at the height of its terrorism wave against the West . His efforts were so damaging to France that President Valerie d'Estaing expelled him from the country. Malley has seemingly followed in his father's footsteps: he represents the next generation of anti-Israel activism. Through his writings he has served as a willing propagandist, bending the truth (and more) to serve an agenda that is marked by anti-Israel bias; he heads a group of Middle East policy advisers for a think-tank funded (in part) by anti-Israel billionaire activist George Soros; and now is on the foreign policy staff of a leading Presidential contender. Each step up the ladder seems to be a step closer towards his goal of empowering radicals and weakening the ties between American and our ally Israel.
Ed Lasky, American Thinker, January 23, 2008 --- http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/01/barack_obamas_middle_east_expe.html

Eight years ago, in her first campaign for the Senate, Hillary Rodham Clinton was scrambling to put out fires with a troublesome New York minority: Jewish voters. Now, she's emerged as the candidate with the bulk of establishment Jewish support as the presidential campaign moves to Nevada, home to Las Vegas and the fastest-growing Jewish community in the country.
Ben Smith, "Clinton besting Obama in bid for Jewish vote:  Six years of fence-mending begins to pay off," Twin Cities, January 18, 2008 --- http://www.twincities.com/ci_8015135?source=rss&nclick_check=1

Spain arrests 14 terror suspects Spain is still haunted by the Madrid bombings - carried out by Islamists Bomb-related material has been found during raids in Barcelona which led to the arrest of 14 people suspected of links with an Islamist terror network. Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the suspects included 12 from Pakistan and two from India. Local media reports that the Spanish intelligence agency had warned France, the UK and Portugal that a terror cell was preparing an imminent attack . . . Bomb-related material has been found during raids in Barcelona which led to the arrest of 14 people suspected of links with an Islamist terror network. Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the suspects included 12 from Pakistan and two from India. Local media reports that the Spanish intelligence agency had warned France, the UK and Portugal that a terror cell was preparing an imminent attack.
"Spain arrests 14 terror suspects," BBC News, January 19, 2008 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7197562.stm

Pakistani police have arrested a teenager who was allegedly part of a five-man squad in the plot to kill opposition leader Benazir Bhutto last month, security officials said Saturday. The suspect, 15-year-old Aitezaz Shah, was arrested from the northwestern city of Dera Ismail Khan on Friday while planning a suicide bombing over the Muslim festival of Ashura, they said on condition of anonymity. Shah told interrogators he had been part of a back-up team of three bombers who were tasked with killing former premier Bhutto if the original December 27 attack by two men had failed, the officials added. ... He allegedly said the attackers in the team that killed Bhutto were called Bilal and Ikramullah -- the same names mentioned in an alleged telephone conversation between Mehsud and another militant the day after Bhutto's death.
Edward Morrisey, The Captain's Quarters, January 19, 2008 --- http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/016681.php 

Picture this: the electric plant which supplies 70% of electricity to the Palestinians in Gaza is in Ashkelon. The Palestinians in Gaza have been shooting kassam rockets at the plant ever since the "disengagement" i.e. the abandonment of Gush Katif. Now, Palestinians are crying that they don't have enough electricity. They are complaining about Israeli sanctions against them. They are going to the U.N. The truth is, Israel has not stopped supplying electricity to Gaza. Not only that, but Israeli electric company employees are risking their lives to do so.
January 20, 2008 email from naomiragen@mail-list.com

al Qaeda Hires Yale Law School Lawyers
War is a continuation of politics by other means, the German strategist Carl von Clausewitz famously observed in his 19th-century treatise, "On War." Clausewitz surely could never have imagined that politics, pursued through our own courts, would be the continuation of war. Last week, I (a former Bush administration official) was sued by José Padilla -- a 37-year-old al Qaeda operative convicted last summer of setting up a terrorist cell in Miami. Padilla wants a declaration that his detention by the U.S. government was unconstitutional, $1 in damages, and all of the fees charged by his own attorneys. The lawsuit by Padilla and his Yale Law School lawyers is an effort to open another front against U.S. anti-terrorism policies. If he succeeds, it won't be long before opponents of the war on terror use the courtroom to reverse the wartime measures needed to defeat those responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on 9/11 . . . Padilla's complaints mirror the left's campaign against the war. To them, the 9/11 attacks did not start a war, but instead were simply a catastrophe, like a crime or even a natural disaster. They would limit the U.S. response only to criminal law enforcement managed by courts, not the military. Every terrorist captured away from the Afghanistan battlefield would have the right to counsel, Miranda warnings, and a criminal trial that could force the government to reveal its vital intelligence secrets.
John Yoo, "Terrorist Tort Travesty," The Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2008; Page A13 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120070333580301911.html

Biased Media:  At the last minute in 1998 NEWSWEEK magazine killed a story that was destined to shake official Washington to its foundation:
A White House intern carried on a sexual affair with the President of the United States! The DRUDGE REPORT has learned that reporter Michael Isikoff developed the story of his career, only to have it spiked by top NEWSWEEK suits hours before publication. A young woman, 23, sexually involved with the love of her life, the President of the United States, since she was a 21-year-old intern at the White House. She was a frequent visitor to a small study just off the Oval Office where she claims to have indulged the president's sexual preference. Reports of the relationship spread in White House quarters and she was moved to a job at the Pentagon, where she worked until last month.
"NEWSWEEK KILLS STORY ON WHITE HOUSE INTERN, Drudge Report, January 17, 1998 --- http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/data/2002/01/17/20020117_175502_ml.htm
Jensen Comment
I doubt that Newsweek would've killed this had it be President Bush. I've never seen a favorable article about President Bush in NBC's Newsweek Magazine. This is consistent with NBC's liberal bias. The DRUDGE REPORT has learned that tapes of intimate phone conversations exist. I doubt that you will find these tapes for the historical record in the Clinton Library.

The following day, Drudge named the intern as Monica Lewinsky, and a few days after that, the story was all over the mainstream media. It looked for a while as if President Clinton might not serve out his term. Even his dutiful wife commented http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110009782#vast on the "Today" show that if true, "that would be a very serious offense." But, insisted Hillary Clinton, it was not true. The real story "is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president." One participant in that "conspiracy" was Attorney General Janet Reno, who had petitioned to expand Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr's mandate to include the investigation of possible obstruction of justice in a sexual-harassment suit filed by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas employee who alleged that then-Gov. Clinton had dropped his pants and issued a demand that she "kiss it." Clinton's denials were politically expedient. By the time he owned up to his shenanigans with the youthful Miss Lewinsky, his supporters had accustomed themselves to the idea of presidential droit de seigneur, and they defended Clinton's conduct as being "only about sex." Because Clinton had issued false denials under oath, however, as a legal matter it no longer was only about sex but about perjury and obstruction of justice. Starr presented a report to Congress, which impeached him. In February 1999 the Senate found him not guilty. Clinton survived the scandal by brazenly lying. Had he acknowledged the affair at the outset, he surely would have been forced to resign. This centrist president became the hero of the left, which actually believed that "right-wing conspiracy" talk. The impending impeachment produced a backlash against Republicans, who lost House seats in 1998, countering a historic trend in which the president's party almost always suffers big congressional losses in the sixth year of his term (cf 1986 and 2006) . . . Organized feminism lost much of its moral authority, as no less a personage than Gloria Steinem--in a famous op-ed that is mysteriously missing from the New York Times archives but we found here http://www2.edc.org/WomensEquity/edequity98/0561.html --explained away treatment of women that she never would have tolerated from a Republican or a private-sector boss.
Opinion Journal,
January 18, 2008

As reported earlier this week, the freshest outrage to come out of the land claim by the Six Nations band in southwestern Ontario amounts to an extortion racket. Members of an entity calling itself the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI), which apparently has the official blessing of the Six Nations council, have been confronting developers along a 10-kilometre swath on either side of the Grand River --a tract potentially almost 300,000 square kilometres in size -- demanding exorbitant development fees and "royalties." Even just to "apply" for a permit to operate on land the band claims as its own can cost up to $7,000. Businesses that don't pay up are threatened with blockades and standoffs of the kind that have paralyzed the Douglas Creek Estates development at Caledonia, southwest of Hamilton, for the past two years. Were a motorcycle gang or organized crime family shaking down the same entrepreneurs for protection money, the Ontario government and the province's police force -- the OPP -- would move swiftly to identify the guilty parties and lay charges. But because the culprits this time are members of a politically correct minority -- aboriginals -- and because the government of Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty is deathly afraid of any and all confrontations with natives, which they fear might summon memories of the Ipperwash standoff in 1995, the best it can bring itself to do is advise business owners not to pay.
"The Coward at Queen's Park," National Post (Canada), January 19, 2008 --- http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=248281

Foreign hackers, primarily from Russia and China, are increasingly seeking to steal Americans’ health care records, according to a Department of Homeland Security analyst. Mark Walker, who works in DHS’ Critical Infrastructure Protection Division, told a workshop audience at the National Institute of Standards and Technology that the hackers’ primary motive seems to be espionage. “They’ve been focused on the [Department of Defense] – the military – but now are spreading out into the health care private sector,” Walker said. Early in 2007, a virus was placed on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, he said, and in April a Military Health System server holding Tricare records was hacked. Walker said the hackers are seeking to exfiltrate health care data. “We don’t know why,” he added. “We want to know why.” At the same time, he said, it’s clear that “medical information can be used against us from a national security standpoint.”
Nancy Ferris, Federal Computer Week, January 17, 2008 --- http://www.fcw.com/online/news/151334-1.html

In a preview of what is ahead, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt says the administration will work to limit the government's role in the delivery of health care. That goal is at odds with several Democratic proposals, such as giving the health chief the power to negotiate drug prices and greatly increasing enrollment in federally sponsored health insurance for children. Leavitt sees the philosophical divide playing out in numerous ways before the November elections. The year, he predicted, "will be replete with the kind of conflict this town is famous for." Most policy analysts see little chance for compromise on almost all the major health issues before Congress - a view shared by the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees most health issues.
Kevin Freking
, "Key Health Issues Divide Both Parties," PhysOrg, January 20, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news120051209.html

We've tried tax rebates before. They don't work. With remarkable speed, Congress, the White House, Republicans, Democrats and even the Federal Reserve have come to a consensus on the need for economic stimulus to moderate and perhaps forestall a recession. It seems certain that the final stimulus package will contain a tax rebate. The underlying theory for the rebate idea traces back to the British economist John Maynard Keynes. He believed that spending was the driving force in the economy. It didn't matter whether the spending was done by businesses on capital equipment, by governments on public works, or by consumers -- spending is spending in the Keynesian model, and all of it is stimulative . . . Thus Friedman predicted that the $100 to $200 checks disbursed by the Treasury Department in the spring of 1975 would have a minimal impact on spending, because they did not alter peoples' permanent income. Most likely, people would save the money or pay down debt, which is the same thing. Very little of the rebate would cause consumers to buy things they wouldn't otherwise have bought in the near term. Subsequent studies by MIT economists Franco Modigliani and Charles Steindel, and Alan Blinder of Princeton, showed that Friedman's prediction was correct. The 1975 rebate had very little impact on spending and much less than a permanent tax cut -- which would change peoples' concept of their permanent income -- of similar magnitude.
Bruce Bartlett, "Feel-Good Economics," The Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2008; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120070786488902199.html

Britney Spears isn't just a pop icon and tabloid regular. According to Portfolio magazine, she may also be a major economic engine. Portfolio magazine's Duff McDonald discusses "the Britney economy."
Duff McDonald, "The Economics of Britney Spears," NPR, January 21, 2008 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18255087

All Princeton faculty members who have given to 2008 presidential candidates so far have donated to Democrats, according to federal records of donations to presidential campaigns from Princeton University employees. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is the runaway favorite candidate among those donors, having received $12,050 from Princeton employees. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) drew the second-highest total contributions from Princeton faculty and staff with $5,600. Other donations have gone to candidates including former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).
Michael Juel-Larsen and Josh Oppenheimer, Daily Princetonian, January 21, 2008 --- http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2008/01/21/news/19886.shtml
Jensen Comment
So much for diversity at Princeton. Not even a buck for the conservative side of policy.

It’s that background that explains why many long-time followers of higher education and politics were stunned to learn that Bernie Machen, president of the University of Florida, has endorsed Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid. While the endorsement, released by the McCain campaign, included the expected “should in no way be construed as an endorsement by the University of Florida” line at the end of the announcement, the headline was pretty clear: “University of Florida President Bernie Machen Endorses John McCain for President.”
Inside Higher Ed, January 23, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/23/endorse

My colleague at the University of Chicago, Derek Neal, has documented many aspects of this slowdown in black progress (see his "Why has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?" in Handbook of the Economics of Education, Vol 1, 2006). He shows that the racial gap in average years of schooling for men in their late twenties was about 2 1/4 years in 1965, declined to less than a year in the 1980's, and basically remained at that level into this century. The schooling gap between young black and white women has been smaller than that for men, it also fell a lot until the mid-1980's, but if anything the gap has increased since then to become similar to the gap for young men. Related trends of considerable progress and then stagnation are found in racial gaps for high school and college graduation rates, and in teenager reading and math tests scores. Earnings of blacks and whites with the same years of schooling show similar patterns: convergence until the late 1980's, and mainly stable since then, although there are increased racial gaps in some education groups.  . . . Yet it may be possible to overcome to a considerable degree this intergenerational transmission of low status. The most promising approaches in my opinion involve self-help programs that encourage better choices in black communities, the legalization of drugs, personalized medicine that recognizes differences in vulnerabilities to disease between blacks and whites, head start type school programs, and school vouchers and charter schools that widen school choice and stimulate education innovations, On the whole, I am optimistic that some of these changes will be made, and hence that the convergence between blacks and whites will resume after the hiatus during the past 20 years, although it will probably be many decades before blacks achieve anything close to full parity with whites.
Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, January 20, 2008 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

Probably the focus of reform should not be on the black-white income gap as such but on the social pathologies that are responsible (at least in part) for it. The best approach might simply be to remove obstacles to labor mobility and to competition more generally; Becker mentions school vouchers and charter schools. In addition, reducing or eliminating the minimum wage would expand employment opportunities for blacks. Measures can also be taken to reduce the out-of-wedlock birth rate of blacks; in this regard the Administration's effort to stress abstinence, rather than contraception, as a means of limiting teenage pregnancy is misguided. But there seems to be little political pressure for such reforms. The costs of the social disorders that afflict poor blacks are incurred mainly by poor blacks themselves, and poor blacks do not vote very much. Moreover, blacks support the Democratic Party so overwhelmingly that Democrat politicians have little incentive to expend their necessarily limited political capital on policies that might benefit blacks at the expense of groups that are in play between the two parties, such as public school teachers. A step in the right direction might be to allow (as many states already do) felons who have completed their sentence to vote.
Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, January 20, 2008 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

Hillary Clinton has proposed a package that includes money to help homeowners pay mortgages they should not have taken out, as well as funds for "alternative energy investments" that might fail the cost-benefit test on their strict merits, and possibly direct rebates, too. Barack Obama wants to provide immediate tax cuts of $250 per person, while encouraging jobless workers to remain jobless by extending the time they can collect unemployment benefits. John Edwards' plan includes many of the same elements. But skepticism is in order. Any money that the government lays out, after all, will not drop miraculously from the sky. Since the federal budget is already running a deficit, those funds will have to be obtained the old-fashioned way—by borrowing. More money would be spent by those who get the help, but less would be spent by those who provide it. So the whole transaction may add up to not much more than zero.
Steve Chapman
, "We're From the Government and We're Here to Help"  The folly of fiscal stimulus packages," Reason Magazine, January 17, 2008 ---

"The Panic Stage," The Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2008; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120070247843301883.html

In his book "Manias, Panics and Crashes," the economic historian Charles Kindleberger describes the stages of financial boom and bust. Students of the good professor will recognize where we now are in the current credit crisis: the panic stage. It isn't a pretty sight, but a crash is far from inevitable if political and economic leaders keep their wits about them and focus on the proper remedies.

Amid the daily market turmoil, and to help prevent a crash, it helps to step back and remember how we got here. With the benefit of hindsight, everyone can see that the U.S. economy built up an enormous credit bubble that has now popped. Our own view -- which we warned about going back to 2003 -- is that this bubble was created principally by a Federal Reserve that kept real interest rates too low for too long.

In doing so the Fed created a subsidy for debt and a commodity price spike. The price spike contributed to "excess savings" in countries with a low propensity to consume and which channeled that money back to the U.S. That capital flow and debt subsidy, in turn, became fuel for smart people in mortgage companies, investment banks and elsewhere to exploit. In a sense they created a new financial system -- subprime loans, SIVs, CDOs, etc. -- that is enormously efficient and brought capital to new places. But thanks to low interest rates and human enthusiasm, this debt spree also got carried away. This was the mania phase.

Thus we were told that rising housing prices were no problem, even as they climbed by 20% or more a year in some markets. Demographics and immigration could explain the boom. Credit spreads narrowed to unheard-of levels, but neither lenders nor investors seemed to mind. The rating agencies added their AAA blessing, and financial CEOs basked in rising earnings from investments they little understood.

The political class now attributes this to greed and fraud, and there is some of that in any mania. But most was the product of creative Americans responding to the incentives for debt that the Fed created. The politicians also enjoyed the boom while it lasted, spending the tax revenues, feasting off Fannie Mae campaign dollars, and celebrating the spread of home ownership. No one wanted it to end, which is why there was so much caterwauling once the Fed did begin to remove the debt-subsidy punch.

This does not mean that this decade's growth has been illusionary, any more than the 2000 bursting of the dot-com bubble means growth in the 1990s was fake. Enormous wealth was created in both periods, new industries have developed, and in the current decade there has been a genuine global boom. The excesses have been based mainly in housing and finance, and that is what now threatens the larger economy.

Enter the panic stage. The desire for debt has turned into a stampede to quality, especially Treasury bills. The same folks who never predicted the economy would recover in 2003 are now cheerleading recession. Any bank writedown or deal to raise capital -- no matter that it is part of the healing process -- is taken as a sign that there is more bad news to come.

Meanwhile, the politicians plot to "stimulate" the economy by dropping dollars from the Capitol dome. We are also told the Fed funds rate must chase the 90-day T-bill rate down to the levels it reached when we had negative real interest rates -- never mind the anemic dollar and soaring commodity prices. The danger now is that this panic becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy and talks us into a crash.

There are two ways in which a crash could happen. The first is insolvency of one or more financial institutions that triggers a systemic failure. The second is a loss of global confidence in U.S. financial management and the dollar. Neither has to happen.

On the first, progress is already being made. Banks and mortgage companies are taking back their off-balance sheet assets, writing off losses, and seeking new capital. There seems to be no shortage of such capital available, and this is a healthy sign. Meanwhile, the Fed has been making creative use of its discount window, with new auctions and accepting different collateral to help ailing institutions that need to borrow. This outlet has already helped to reduce the credit spreads that ballooned late last year, and is calming lending markets.

We are only in the early stages of this repair operation, and no doubt some companies will fail. The task for regulators is to avoid surprises that cause more panic and above all to prevent systemic contagion. Warren Buffett's recent entry into the troubled bond insurance market is another sign of the marketplace helping to heal itself. In cases where there is real systemic risk, the government through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation may have to rescue some institutions. In those cases, the equity holders need to be zeroed out and the management replaced. The overriding goal is to keep the banking system functioning.

As for the other crash scenario, we wish the Fed hadn't squandered so much credibility this decade. Then it might be better placed to reduce interest rates as fast and as far as Wall Street and Donald Trump are demanding. But with prices rising and the dollar as weak as it's been since the 1970s, the Fed has less room to maneuver.

Expectations of further easing have already caused oil and other commodity prices to surge in a way that robs much of the stimulus from lower rates. Higher food and gas prices have hit consumers hard and are part of the reason for reduced consumer spending. The worst case would be a global run on the dollar that left the Fed no choice but to tighten money dramatically.

So what to do?
Pass a tax cut that is immediate, marginal and permanent. In the "stimulus" grab bag that President Bush is contemplating, the only growth driver is bonus depreciation. Congress will be worse. As for the Fed, continue with the regulatory triage, but ease as little as it can get away with and slowly restore the monetary credibility that was so painfully earned in the 1980s.

This recipe may or may not prevent a recession, though we'd note that so far the underlying economic indicators suggest slower growth rather than a contraction. What these policies would do is prevent today's panic from becoming something much worse.

"Running Numbers," by James Surowiecki, The New Yorker, January 24, 2008 --- http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2008/01/21/080121ta_talk_surowiecki 

American investors began 2008 with a simple New Year’s resolution: sell. The result was the worst start of a year in the S. & P. 500’s history, with the index falling more than five per cent over the first five days of trading. Explaining market moves is usually a mug’s game, but it’s clear that one of the main causes of the sell-off was this month’s labor-market report, which showed job growth in December at a virtual standstill and unemployment jumping to five per cent. For many investors, that news seemed to confirm their deepest anxiety: a recession—or at least a stagnation—is at hand.

This may well be so, but the decisiveness of Wall Street’s response to the numbers was still puzzling, since employment statistics are notoriously muddy. To begin with, the two numbers that the government reports each month—one measuring the unemployment rate and the other job growth—are based on very different surveys, and they frequently offer conflicting snapshots of the economy. The employment, or household, survey looks at sixty thousand households, and last month it saw a sharp increase in the number of people without jobs. The payroll report, by contrast, surveys four hundred thousand business and government establishments, and last month it said that the economy actually added eighteen thousand new jobs. Furthermore, both estimates are significantly imprecise: the payroll report has a sampling error of as much as plus or minus a hundred thousand jobs (which means that, instead of gaining eighteen thousand jobs last month, we may have lost eighty-two thousand), while the household survey’s error margin is even bigger, at plus or minus four hundred thousand jobs. The payroll numbers are also subject to big revisions: in September, the government reported that the economy had lost four thousand jobs the previous month, but a later update said that eighty-nine thousand jobs had been created.

This uncertainty has made job numbers a favorite target of pundits, who dismiss them as “meaningless” and “irrelevant,” and accuse the Bureau of Labor Statistics of numerical flimflammery. The payroll report has also become a flash point for political arguments. A few years ago, when the report showed the creation of surprisingly few jobs despite brisk economic growth, Republicans attacked it for missing the boom in self-employment and new-business growth, insisting that the household survey, which showed very low unemployment, was a better indicator.

Flawed as they are, though, the employment numbers represent a dramatic and valuable economic innovation. The idea that the government can and should give the public a reliable picture of the economy is a surprisingly recent one. It wasn’t until the Great Depression that the government began calculating a national employment rate, and it’s only in the postwar era that employment data have been systematically and rigorously collected. And if the results are imperfect, that’s because collecting up-to-date, accurate information about the U.S. economy, where millions of jobs are created and lost every year, is remarkably difficult. Imagine that you’re expected to track every job that has been created or lost this month. The new coffee shop that opened up in Baton Rouge, the guy who just got fired from your local auto-repair shop, and that kid who left his job to go to law school—you need to account for all of them. And you have to do this without much enforcement power or surveillance ability. Most respondents aren’t obliged to get back to you in a timely fashion—a major reason for the job-number revisions is that only two-thirds of surveyed businesses answer promptly—and there’s no monthly registry for new companies or for businesses that go under. Good luck.

. . .

The paradoxical truth about the jobs numbers is that they are much better than their critics say they are but nowhere near as good as investors believe them to be. As many studies have shown, people don’t have an intuitive understanding of things like margins of error and random sampling; they prefer to focus on a single number, even if it’s falsely precise, and so end up overemphasizing the report’s headline number. Investors are also subject to the so-called “salience bias”—high-profile information is weighted heavily even if it’s flawed. That’s why market moves in response to government reports are often surprisingly big—especially when, as now, they seem to substantiate investors’ worst fears. At this point, the market is locked in a hard-to-break feedback loop: the fact that traders act as if the jobs report were definitive makes it so. A little information can be a dangerous thing.

Bernanke, who came to the job with a refreshing humility — a desire to be less an oracle like Greenspan than a plain-speaking technocrat —faces exactly this sort of crisis now. Ever since last summer, a meltdown in financial markets has led to daunting losses in the banking industry and throughout Wall Street. Despite having written extensively on how to deal with such episodes, Bernanke has thus far been unable to reinstill a sense of confidence. His faith in modern forecasting models notwithstanding, he failed to foresee that the sudden rise in homeowner defaults, which triggered the crisis, would have such far-reaching effects. And the monetary medicine that he has prescribed, including some of the very tools that he lovingly detailed in his research, have yet to produce a turnaround.
Roger Lowenstein, "The Education of Ben Bernanke," The New York Times Magazine, January 20, 2008 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/magazine/20Ben-Bernanke-t.html

A real recession may have started, although in the fourth quarter of 2007, aggregate hours worked increased, as they did in the third quarter, and oil prices have declined. Economic fears can, however, become self-fulfilling by paralyzing decisions to consume and invest. Often, the wise response to an economic correction is "Don't just do something, stand there," because the market is doing the right things. But corrections provoke political competition to provide relief. And when government "fine-tunes" the economy with "demand management," it responds to economic conditions as they were, not as they have become. The ameliorative measures Congress will legislate, perhaps by March, will be responsive to economic conditions indicated by statistics collected many months before the measures will begin to affect economic behavior, if they do affect it.
George F. Will, "Stimulating Talk, Redux," Newsweek Magazine, January 28, 2008 --- http://www.newsweek.com/id/96369

Forget the glitzy restaurants of New York and London: only in Zimbabwe would a hamburger actually cost millions of dollars. The central bank of the southern African country has a issued a 10million Zimbabwe dollar note. The move increases the denomination of the nation's highest bank note more than tenfold. Even so, a hamburger in an ordinary cafe in Zimbabwe costs 15 million Zimbabwe dollars.
"Zimbabwe bank issues $10million bill - but it won't even buy you a hamburger in Harare," London Daily Mail, January 19, 2008 --- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=508840
Jensen Comment
You chuckle, but the day is coming when the U.S. will print a $10 million U.S. dollar bill that won't buy a hamburger, because U.S. politicians from both parties no longer can say no to doomsday entitlements --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm 

Accounting and finance professors should use this video every semester in class!
The best explanation ever of the sub-prime (meaning lending to borrowers with much less than prime credit ratings) mortgage greed and fraud.
The best explanation ever about securitized financial instruments and worldwide banding frauds using such instruments.
The best explanation ever about how greedy employees will cheat on their employers and their customers.

"House Of Cards: The Mortgage Mess Steve Kroft Reports How The Mortgage Meltdown Is Shaking Markets Worldwide," Sixty Minutes Television on CBS, January 27, 2008 --- http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/25/60minutes/main3752515.shtml
For a few days the video may be available free.
The transcript will probably be available for a longer period of time.

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

January 29, 2008 reply from Jim Fuehrmeyer [jfuehrme@nd.edu]

Bob, you don’t know me, but I’m new to academia – I took early retirement from Deloitte & Touche in Chicago to teach accounting & auditing. I replied to the email, but it was rejected so I’m going to send you my two cents. It’s probably a bit naïve, but what the heck.

Two things:

First, when do we start asking “the question” about sub-prime lending in the first place? People who make the loans, sell the loans and invest in the loans are making money (and now losing money) off of folks who have no business being placed in a position to get easy credit to begin with. I’m sorry, but I find it disgusting. I have no sympathy for investors in these instruments and no sympathy for the lenders who originated the loans.

Second, whether the (SPE) standard is 10% or 3% or 0.01% so long as there’s a political process around that allows for the banks that have “no continuing involvement” with the loans to be in a position to amend them, we’re going to continue to live with the fiction that these financial instruments can be off balance sheet. If the QSPE purchaser of the loans doesn’t have the ability to amend them, I find it difficult to understand how one argues it truly owns them; that it has the risks and rewards of ownership. These securitized loans should be on balance sheet – and I think that would put the breaks on sub-prime lending.

Jim Fuehrmeyer

January 29, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Jim,

Thank you for the reply. May I share it with the AECM and in my SPE module?

Actually the Sixty Minutes show is very, very good with respect to your first question. The two main problems were as follows:

  1. Too many employees all along the way wanted to make a quick buck even if it screwed their employers and customers.
  2. Real estate valuation for lending purposes has always be ridden with fraud (remember the S&L fiasco back in the 1980s). The fraud simply heated up in the sub-prime bubble to a point where appraisers were valuing houses at 125% or more of any realistic market value. Buyers loved it because they could borrow more than value. Some borrowers took out second and third mortgages and pocketed the cash. Then when the real estate market took a nose dive, borrowers discovered that the value of their homes was way below what they owed on their property. They walked away from their homes rather than continue to pay off the debt.

What the Sixty Minutes show did not stress is the inadequate accounting internal controls all along this lending chain from a house in Stockton to a bundled securitized financial instrument sold to a European bank. Internal controls were either not put in place or ignored all along the chain. And the auditors themselves signed off on these bad internal controls just like they did in the S&L bubble.

Did the perpetrators all along the chain know the risks of these poor internal controls? Absolutely, at least up to the point where the final buyers of the financial instruments that thought mortgaged-backed securities had more value than the collateral itself. Was Merrill Lynch and the NYC banks parties to the fraud just as much as the crooks that originally brokered the fraudulent mortgages in Stockton --- Absolutely!!!!

Bob Jensen


"Creative Class, Dismissed:  Students take the arts' nobility as gospel until they meet a heretic named Jean-Jacques,"
by Laurie Fendich,
Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, Volume 54, Issue 20, Page B10, January 25, 2008 ---

Recently I've been teaching, in a couple of undergraduate seminars, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Letter to d'Alembert on the Theatre (1758), the most provocative essay on the arts ever written. It is about the unintended effects of theater — which, for Rousseau, stands in for all of the arts — on an audience. The essay is an impassioned rebuttal to the 1757 entry on Geneva, written by Jean Le Rond d'Alembert, in the huge Enlightenment project, Encyclopédie, in which d'Alembert says that Geneva would be an even finer city if only it didn't have laws banning theater. Rousseau says that, au contraire, theater would actually be harmful to the citizens of Calvinist Geneva and tries to prove that the prohibition is a good thing.

To my students, Rousseau's astonishing position collides head-on with the TV-drenched, movie-dependent, iPodified, grind-dancing world in which many of them spend a good part of their lives. The idea that their world of stories and entertainment — even in its more respectable precincts such as Masterpiece Theatre and U2 benefit concerts — could possibly be harmful to them is the furthest thing from their minds. In studying Rousseau's essay, my students directly confront their stormy love affair with mass culture. They learn the extent to which their youthful values are already in deep conflict with one another. They experience — albeit in fitful spasms — a sense of urgency about their lives, realizing with a kind of awe that their college years mark one of the most significant life passages they will ever face.

In the Letter, Rousseau's preoccupation is with how to sustain "virtue" in the face of modernity. "Virtue" is a word that nearly all of my students initially choke on, as its contemporary meaning applies mostly to anachronistic notions of female chastity. None of them have ever thought much about virtue, but Rousseau, drawing inspiration from ancient Greek political philosophy, is deeply attached to the idea. For him, virtue existed only in communities whose citizens knew how to put aside self-interest for the sake of the whole. The places where Rousseau could find virtue, alas, were confined to a few small, free republics scattered through history, such as ancient Sparta or 18th-century Geneva, and not in freewheeling metropolises such as Paris, awash in urban luxury. Rousseau's essay argues that the twin vices of vanity and competition, born when man left the "state of nature" and formed societies, inevitably destroy virtue and happiness.

Rousseau, the Enlightenment's party pooper, shocks college students by trashing education and reason, science and art, and the advancement of knowledge in general. Most students have come to college at least partly to "make themselves better." Rousseau seems to be telling them not to fool themselves. Their real motives, he implies, are vanity and ambition. And nothing fuels those two vices, Rousseau says, like the arts.

Such a counterintuitive attack on the arts jolts my art students in particular. Since their early childhoods, they've been taught that by making and showing off their finger paintings, class plays, and rhythm-band performances, they're somehow doing a very nice thing for themselves and everyone around them. Although my students readily concede Rousseau's initial premises that theater's purpose is to entertain (that is, to give pleasure) and that it's a luxury rather than a necessity, they have a hard time accepting the possibility that it might be truly deleterious.

Continued in article

"Blog Comments and Peer Review Go Head to Head to See Which Makes a Book Better," by Jeffrey Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 22, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/free/2008/01/1322n.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

What if scholarly books were peer reviewed by anonymous blog comments rather than by traditional, selected peer reviewers?

That's the question being posed by an unusual experiment that begins today. It involves a scholar studying video games, a popular academic blog with the playful name Grand Text Auto, a nonprofit group designing blog tools for scholars, and MIT Press.

The idea took shape when Noah Wardrip-Fruin, an assistant professor of communication at the University of California at San Diego, was talking with his editor at the press about peer reviewers for the book he was finishing, The book, with the not-so-playful title Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies, examines the importance of using both software design and traditional media-studies methods in the study of video games.

One group of reviewers jumped to his mind: "I immediately thought, you know it's the people on Grand Text Auto." The blog, which takes its moniker from the controversial video game Grand Theft Auto, is run by Mr. Wardrip-Fruin and five colleagues. It offers an academic take on interactive fiction and video games.

Inviting More Critics

The blog is read by many of the same scholars he sees at academic conferences, and also attracts readers from the video-game industry and teenagers who are hard-core video-game players. At its peak, the blog has had more than 200,000 visitors per month, he says.

"This is the community whose response I want, not just the small circle of academics," Mr. Wardrip-Fruin says.

So he called up the folks at the Institute for the Future of the Book, who developed CommentPress, a tool for adding digital margin notes to blogs (The Chronicle, September 28, 2007). Would they help out? He wondered if he could post sections of his book on Grand Text Auto and allow readers, using CommentPress, to add critiques right in the margins.

The idea was to tap the wisdom of his crowd. Visitors to the blog might not read the whole manuscript, as traditional reviewers do, but they might weigh in on a section in which they have some expertise.

The institute, an unusual academic center run by the University of Southern California but based in Brooklyn, N.Y., was game. So was Mr. Wardrip-Fruin's editor at MIT Press, Doug Sery, but with one important caveat. He insisted on running the manuscript through the traditional peer-review process as well. "We are a peer-review press—we're always going to want to have an honest peer review," says Mr. Sery, senior editor for new media and game studies. "The reputation of MIT Press, or any good academic press, is based on a peer-review model."

So the experiment will provide a side-by-side comparison of reviewing—old school versus new blog. Mr. Wardrip-Fruin calls the new method "blog-based peer review."

Each day he will post a new chunk of his draft to the blog, and readers will be invited to comment. That should open the floodgates of input, possibly generating thousands of responses by the time all 300-plus pages of the book are posted. "My plan is to respond to everything that seems substantial," says the author.

The institute is modifying its CommentPress software for the project, with the help of a $10,000 grant from San Diego's Academic Senate, to create a version that bloggers can more easily add to their existing academic blogs.

A Cautious Look Forward

Mr. Wardrip-Fruin's friends have warned him that sorting through all those comments will take over his life, or at least take far more time than he expects. "It's been said to me enough times by people who are not just naysayers that it is in the back of my mind," he acknowledges. Still, the book's review process "will pale in comparison to the work of writing it."

He expects the blog-based review to be more helpful than the traditional peer review because of the variety of voices contributing. "I am dead certain it will make the book better," he says.

Mr. Sery isn't so sure. "I don't know how this general peer review is going to help," the editor says, except maybe to catch small errors that have slipped through the cracks. Traditional peer review involves carefully chosen experts in the same subject area, who can point to big-picture issues as well as nitpick details. He bets that the blog reviews might merely spark flame wars or other unhelpful arguments about minor points. "I'm curious to see what kind of comments we get back," he says.

That probably "depends on what you're writing about," says Clifford A. Lynch, executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information, a group that supports the use of technology in scholarly communication. "If, God help you, you're writing about current religious or political issues, you're going to get a lot of people with agendas who aren't interested in having a rational discussion. Some of them are just psychos."

Even without flame wars, Mr. Sery equates the blog review with the kind of informal sharing of drafts that many academics do with close friends. It's useful, but it's still not formal peer review, he argues. Carefully choosing reviewers "really allows for the expression of their ideas on the book," he says. Scholars can say with authority, for instance, that a book just isn't worth publishing.

Ben Vershbow, editorial director at the Institute for the Future of the Book, concedes that comments on blogs are unlikely to fully replace peer review. But he says academic blogging can play a role in the publishing process.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This is one of those experiments that is impossible to extrapolate. Blog comments are totally voluntary and impulsive such that blog comments are going to be highly variable with respect to topics, errors in the original document, and extent of the readership in the blog. Few blog activists are going to give time and attention to reviews that are not going to be widely read.

Peer reviews are likely to be less impulsive since the reviewer generally agrees ahead of time to conduct a review. But they are more variable than blog comments. The reason is that peer reviewers spend less time reviewing manuscripts that are outliers (i.e., those that are so good that there are few recommendations for change or those that are so bad that there's little hope for a future positive recommendation to publish). More time may be spend on manuscripts that need a lot of repair but have high hopes.

The main problem with peer reviews is that there are so few reviewers. Much depends upon which two or three reviewers are assigned to review the manuscript. Three reviewers' garbage may be another three reviewers' treasure. Another problem is that peer reviews are seldom published in the name of the anonymous reviewers. Blog commentators generally do so in their own names and get some reputation enhancement among their blog peers, especially if their are praiseworthy replies on the blog to the blog review. Anonymous reviewers get little incremental reputation enhancement for their unpublished reviews.

Still another problem with peer reviews is that editors and their hand picked reviewers may be a biased subset of a scholarly community. Others in the community may be shut out, which is now a raging problem in academic accountancy --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms

January 23, 2008 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

Bob, I agree with you entirely, on numerous points. Reviewers usually take more care, and not only have some credentialed background/knowledge/experience, they also often have a stake (even if merely altruistic) which serves as an incentive for contributing a constructuve effect and arriving at a positive end result. All of these can be (and frequently are) completely lacking in open blogging and other totally-anonymous contributory-type sites.

And I agree that the downside is the limited (and potentially biased) input from "credentialed" reviewers.

But all in all, I agree that the credentialed reviewer is probably preferable.

Some day perhaps educated individuals will come to their senses and realize that pure anonymity has very little going for it. Even anonymous reviewers aren't truly anonymous -- someone somewhere knows who they are and has passed judgment that they are credentialed enough to serve in that capacity. I doubt seriously that the 14-year-old juvenile delinquent down the street from me would be allowed to review a paper submitted to the (*insert your favorite refereed pub here*), so why should he be able to pose anonymously online as someone whose comments would carry the same weight? And I agree entirely that those with axes to grind are probably more likely to contribute to open blogging but be barred from credentialed reviews.

The movie "Being There" starring Peter Sellers is my recommended viewing along these lines. (And Samuel Adams was my favorite founding father. I like his writings far more than Ghandi, Jefferson, or even Plato.)

As I read more and more stuff on Wikipedia, I become more and more convinced that allowing any yahoo (no offense intended to VaTech fans) regardless of qualifications (or lack thereof) the privilege of pretending to share "knowledge" ultimately decreases the quality of the product. I am starting to keep a list of the dozens of inaccuracies and blatant errors (falsehoods) in this supposedly-refereed-by-the-masses-and-therefore-reliable resource.

Just last night, for instance, less that 12 hours ago, I was mindlessly surfing around on the internet while on the phone to my daughter in Alaska. Our conversation about bush pilots wound its way over to my memories of a TV show named "Sky King" back in the late 1950's. For fun, I went to Wikipedia to look up Kirby Grant, star of the show. Under the "Kirby Grant" entry, it says, and I quote word for word, "Although it is often reported that Kirby Grant was an accomplished pilot in real life, he was not. ... no pilot's license was ever issued to him. The Cessna T-50 used in the first episodes of the series was provided by Paul Mantz Air Services and flown by several pilots, and the Cessna 310B used in later episodes was provided at no cost by Cessna and flown by Cessna employee Bill Fergusson."

Yet, under the "Sky King" entry in this same Wikipedia resource, under the production notes section, it says, and again I quote, "There were four of these aircraft. ... The Cessna T-50 and one of the 310Bs belonged to Kirby Grant, who did much of the flying himself. Legendary Hollywood pilot Paul Mantz flew the Songbird in other flying scenes." It also says that much of the show's budget went for aircraft.

I have no idea whether Kirby Grant flew or not, or owned airplanes or not, or whether Mantz flew or he had pilots that did, or whether Cessna provided the aircraft for free or whether the show had to pay for them. And in my particular case, it doesn't really matter to me. But the real important thing is that one of those two entries has to be incorrect. Yet if you looked at one entry and didn't stumble across the other, you have a 50% chance of getting a load of incorrect information from Wikipedia.

I am finding more and more of these as more and more people are allowed to drop their garbage into "open" resources.

Not to say that qualified peer review is blemish-free in this respect, just that I expect a higher quality product from non-anonymous (or even partially-anonymous) reviewers who have been credentialed than I will ever expect from completely open commentary by any anonymous and uncredentialed ...um, ... whatever.

David "I hate incompetent reviews as much as anybody"

James Madison University

January 25, 2006 message from Dennis Beresford [dberesfo@terry.uga.edu]


FYI. Congratulations on the publication of your very interesting paper.


January 27 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Denny,

 This December 2007 publication is receiving kudos from all over the world, including the latest from Lee Parker in Australia.

What's interesting to me is the flat out rejection of the paper by the editor of The Accounting Review and the referees who stated that it should never be published. One referee would not even put his rejection in writing.

The Journal of Accounting Historians reviews were quite helpful and encouraging, and the JAH editor Dick Fleischman was positive and very encouraging all the way --- http://accounting.rutgers.edu/raw/aah/
(The December 2007 table of contents is not yet posted)

My conclusion is that accountics enthusiasts are not very open to criticism and almost never are open to debate. They live in their own well-paid artificial world immunizing their journals from that "vocational virus."

More importantly this is another illustration of the inequity of the journal refereeing process upon which careers must be built in today's world.
I'm glad I'm not young anymore ---



Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing are at

Bob Jensen's threads on oligopoly abuse of scholarly publishing are at

Potential Roles of ListServs and Blogs
Getting More Than We Give --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm

Report on the Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer 2007 ---



Figure 1. Demands for bribery, by region 3

Table 1. Countries most affected by bribery 4

Figure 2. Experience of bribery worldwide, selected services 5

Table 2. Percentage of respondents reporting that they paid a bribe to obtain a service 5

Figure 3. Experience with bribery, by service 6

Figure 4. Selected Services: Percentage of respondents who paid a bribe, by region 7

Figure 5. Comparing Bribery: 2006 and 2007 8


LEGISLATURE VIEWED AS MOST CORRUPT............................................................8

Figure 6. Perceived levels of corruption in key institutions, worldwide 9

Figure 7. Perceived levels of corruption in key institutions, comparing 2004 and 2007 10


Figure 8. Corruption Perceptions Index v. citizens’ experience with bribery 11


Figure 9. Corruption will get worse, worldwide 11

Figure 10. Expectations about the future: Comparing 2003 and 2007 12


MOST PLACES .......................................................................................................13

Table 3. How effectively is government fighting corruption? The country view 13

CONCLUSIONS ......................................................................................................13



APPENDIX 3: REGIONAL GROUPINGS..................................................................20

GLOBAL CORRUPTION BAROMETER 2007..........................................................20

APPENDIX 4: COUNTRY TABLES..........................................................................21

Table 4.1: Respondents who paid a bribe to obtain services 21

Table 4.2: Corruption’s impact on different sectors and institutions 22

Table 4.3: Views of corruption in the future 23

Table 4.4: Respondents' evaluation of their government's efforts to fight corruption 24

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

Bob Jensen's Rotten to the Core threads are at --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

CIA: Hackers demanding cash disrupted power utilities overseas
Hackers literally turned out the lights in multiple cities after breaking into electrical utilities and demanding extortion payments before disrupting the power, a senior CIA analyst told utility engineers at a trade conference. All the break-ins occurred outside the United States, said senior CIA analyst Tom Donahue. The U.S. government believes some of the hackers had inside knowledge to cause the outages. Donahue did not specify what countries were affected, when the outages occurred or how long the outages lasted. He said they happened in ''several regions outside the United States.'' ''In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities,'' Donahue said in a statement. ''We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet.''
MIT's Technology Review, January 18, 2008 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Wire/20094/?nlid=824 

From Jim Mahar's blog on January 25, 2008 ---

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Kerviel joins ranks of master rogue traders:
"In being identified as the lone wolf behind French investment bank Société Générale's staggering $7.1-billion loss Thursday, Jérôme Kerviel joined the ranks of a rare and elite handful of rogue traders whose audacious transactions have single-handedly brought some of the world's financial powerhouses to their knees.

This notorious company includes Nick Leeson, who brought down Britain's Barings Bank in 1995 by blowing $1.4-billion, Yasuo Hamanaka, who squandered $2.6-billion on fraudulent copper deals for Sumitomo Corp. of Japan in 1998, John Rusnak, who frittered away $750-million through unauthorized currency trading for Allied Irish Bank in 2002 and Brian Hunter of Calgary, who oversaw the loss of $6-billion on hedge fund bets at Amaranth Advisors in 2006.

Bob Jensen's threads on trader frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#InvestmentBanking

Barcode Yourself --- http://www.barcodeart.com/art/yourself/yourself.html

"NIH Doesn't Check Academics on Financial Conflicts of Interest, Auditors Say," by Jeffrey Brainard, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 21, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/01/1308n.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

The National Institutes of Health has failed to adequately oversee hundreds of financial conflicts of interest among university biomedical researchers, partly because the reports universities sent the agency about the conflicts lacked any details, according to a new audit.

The NIH rarely asks universities to provide missing details about the nature of the conflicts and how they were resolved, information that the agency needs to determine whether universities acted properly, said the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency "should take a more active role" and obtain and evaluate that information more often, the inspector general said in the audit, released on Thursday. (The department is the NIH's parent agency.)

The NIH disagreed in a response. The existing system for reporting conflicts, which largely relies on universities to police themselves, provides "an appropriate framework for the effective management" of them, the agency said. NIH officials asserted, and the audit report agreed, that the agency was following the letter of existing regulations, which require only reporting of the conflicts' existence, without details.

But one bioethicist observed that if universities' reports contain no useful information, their submission is a pointless, bureaucratic exercise. Jeffrey P. Kahn, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, said the NIH "has no evidence to support their assertion that things are working fine."

Continued in article

Also see http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/21/conflicts

Federal Monitor Finds Health-Sciences U. in N.J. Lacks Research Compliance
Despite receiving a much-improved bill of health this month from a federal monitor, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s troubles may not be over. A previously undisclosed portion of the monitor’s report — which was released as federal oversight of the university ended after two years — found that the institution had “no research compliance capability,” according to The Star-Ledger, a newspaper in New Jersey.
Chronicle of Higher Education, January 21, 2008 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on college accountability are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Accountability

Beware of those bargain deals that companies offer
From hotels to cell phone bills, companies attach a barrage of hidden, extra charges. One reason is the Internet. Online shopping permits consumers to comparison shop for bargains. So companies are countering low prices with hefty fees. So if a $99 room is snagged at a nice hotel via Priceline.com, then the hotel tends to attach a "resort fee" for towels at the pool or removing something from the mini-bar – even it put back 60 seconds later. Bob Sullivan, author of Gotcha Capitalism, talks with Steve Inskeep about deceptive fees and why U.S. businesses are so dependent on them.
"Companies Use Fees to Counter Bargains," NPR, January 18, 2008 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18212223

Bob Jensen's threads on consumer frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm

Diary of a Student at Patrick Henry College
The Nation's First College for Home-School Students


Jensen Comment
Parts of this diary are funny.

North Carolina Student Wins Open-Access Video Contest
A library group that promotes open access to scholarly data
today announced the winners of a contest that had students producing short videos that advocate sharing of ideas and information. Habib Yazdi, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, won first place for this video called "Share." The first runner-up was a video by Tommy McCauley and Max Silver, of Carleton College, titled "Pri Vetai: Private Eye." And the second runner-up was "An Open Access Manifesto," by Romel Espinel and Josh Hardro of the Pratt Institute.
Andrea L. Foster, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 22, 2008 --- Click Here

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

Is it hazardous to health to visit Italy?

"Garbage City," by Michael A. Ledeen, The Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2008; Page A18 ---

Nobody knows how much garbage has been rotting in the streets of Naples for the past several weeks. It is several meters high in some places, and in total may be up to tens of thousands of tons. Naples has always been a doomed city (it is only a matter of time before Vesuvius erupts again), and the current crisis has provoked predictably grim headlines, such as "Naples Beneath an Eruption of Garbage."

The first "garbage crisis" was proclaimed 14 years ago, and a series of special commissioners has accomplished nothing. Corrupt and incompetent officials have made deals with local Mafiosi that guarantee maximum profits and payoffs and minimum help for the people and their land. Ever since the end of World War II, generations of journalists and intellectuals blamed such practices on the corrupt right-wing governments in Rome and Naples. But the left has proven even worse.

Naples and Campania have been in the hands of the left -- notably the colorful Campania president Antonio Bassolino -- for a good two decades now, while Romano Prodi leads a center-left government in Rome. Corruption and collaboration with the mob is rampant: The transcript of a three-year-old investigation showed that one of Mr. Bassolino's cronies paid himself 40,000 euros a year as a consultant to the consortium in charge of garbage treatment.

The garbage problems began in the 1980s, when the Florence incinerator broke down, leaving the Tuscan government in a jam. The Neapolitan Mafia, the camorra, solved it. They took the untreated waste to the south, and dumped it in caves, landfills, streams, lakes and craters. When local authorities raised questions about dangerous waste, the camorra created a network of laboratories to issue phony documents declaring toxic waste to be harmless. This enabled them to charge maximum fees for collection and minimal fees for disposal. Business boomed.

Business was so good that the network spread outside Italy. Tons of garbage were driven from the Swiss Red Cross to remote southern villages; in a single cave the authorities found the equivalent of 28,000 truckloads of waste. In the polluted areas the cancer rate is four times the national average, entire herds of cattle have had to be slaughtered, and many bodies of water have been declared off limits for public use.

One particularly dreadful example of the destruction of the people and the land is the town of Pianura, in a volcanic area where the magma bubbles just below the surface. A crater was used as an illegal dump and for years, all manner of filth simmered without any oversight from the authorities. It's been closed, but too late: The land and the people have been poisoned, which is why a citizens' group stands guard at the dump around the clock, fearing that it might be reopened.

There is no sign that the political class is inclined either to accept responsibility for the crisis, or to take effective measures to fix it. When 10,000 Neapolitans demanded the resignation of Mr. Bassolino and his cohorts, the politicians refused, because it would be "irresponsible" to abandon Naples at such a time.

Continued in article

Does the University of Michigan Press really want to promote a conjecture that the creation of the State of Israel was a mistake?
Is eliminating the State of Israel now the politically correct position in academe?

The University of Michigan Press — which has been under fire for distributing a book, through a distribution arrangement with another publisher, that says the creation of Israel was a mistake — has announced guidelines for such distribution arrangements. Michigan officials say that the guidelines (the bottom paragraph on this link) could endanger future ties to Pluto Press, the publisher of the book that set off the controversy. The guidelines state that Michigan will consider such relationships only with a publisher “whose mission is aligned with the mission of the UM Press and whose academic standards and processes of peer review are reasonably similar to those of the UM Press.” Pluto publishes serious scholarly works, but has an explicit political mission — “Pluto Press has always had a radical political agenda,” its Web site says — unlike the Michigan press. Peggy McCracken, an associate dean at Michigan who is chair of the executive board of the press, said she did not think Pluto met the requirements of the new guidelines, and so Michigan might not renew the relationship. She said, however, that the decision was “up in the air” while the press gathers more information about Pluto’s procedures. Last year, Michigan announced that it wouldn’t sever ties with Pluto at that time, but would draw up guidelines for such relationships.

Jensen Comment
What is confusing is how the phrase "radical political agenda" has changed over the years in terms of political correctness. Jews in history have been considered very liberal and form a major part of the backbone of the Democratic Party. Before 9/11 many Jews were thought to have a "radical political agenda." Since 9/11 the phrase seems to have shifted to Muslims and advocates of eliminating Israel as a state.

In any case, I'm not an advocate of censorship of ideas. Let scholars have access to ideas/theories and let them sort things out for themselves. The University of Michigan should not censor publishing scholarly studies tied to a radical political agenda.

Bob Jensen's threads on political correctness are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#PoliticalCorrectness

The Formation of Scholars: Re-thinking Doctoral Education for the Twenty-First Century (Jossey-Bass, 2008) explores the current state of doctoral education in the United States and shows how practices and elements of doctoral programs can be made more powerful by relying on principles of progressive development, integration and collaboration. Written by George E. Walker, Chris M. Golde, Laura Jones, Andrea Conklin Bueschel and Pat Hutchings, and derived from a five-year look at doctoral education by the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate, The Formation of Scholars urges educators to consider how graduate programs can constructively grapple with questions of purpose. The authors identify the need to create intellectual community as essential for high-quality graduate education; and underscore that knowledge-centered, multigenerational communities foster the development of new ideas and encourage intellectual risk taking.
George Walker, Chris M. Golde, Laura Jones, Andrea Conklin Bueschel, and Pat Hutchings, The Formation of Scholars: Rethinking Doctoral Education for the Twenty-First Century (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 2008, $40) ---
Also see http://www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470197439.html

Foreword by Lee S. Shulman.

1. Moving Doctoral Education into the Future.

2. Setting the Stage for Change.

3. Talking About Purpose: Mirrors, Lenses, and Windows.

4. From Experience to Expertise: Principles of Powerful Formation.

5. Apprenticeship Reconsidered.

6. Creating and Sustaining Intellectual Community.

7. A Call to Action.

Appendix A: Summary Description of the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate.

Appendix B: List of Participating Departments.

Appendix C: Overview of the Surveys.

Appendix D: Graduate Student Survey.

Appendix E: Graduate Faculty Survey.


Name Index.

Subject Index.


Bob Jensen's threads on the sad state of doctoral education in accountancy are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms

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

Spatial News (GIS history and use) --- http://spatialnews.geocomm.com/
Note the Education section

Does mandatory diversity training work against diversity in the work place?

Mandatory diversity training in corporate settings appears to produce results that are the opposite of those intended, a major study by a University of Arizona sociologist has found. The Washington Post reported on the research, which found drops in the percentages of female and minority managers after diversity training. Benchmarking and other efforts are more effective, the study found. Alexandra Kalev, the sociologist, said in an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed that her study did not include colleges and universities, although a new study would focus on academe. Kalev added that she had “strong confidence” that she would find similar results in higher education.
Inside Higher Ed, January 21, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/21/qt

Home and Student version of Office for Mac
Walter S. Mossberg, Wall Street Journal, January 17, 2008; Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120053503736796333.html

Q: After reading your Jan. 3 column, I looked unsuccessfully for a Home and Student version of Office for Mac 2004. Does such a version exist?

A: In the 2004 release of Microsoft Office for the Mac, this low-priced version had a different name: the Student and Teacher edition. Microsoft presumably changed the name of this $150 product to the Home and Student edition in both Office 2007 for Windows and Office 2008 for the Mac, because, while it was technically limited for sale to families containing students or teachers, no proof was required and it was widely purchased by consumers in general.

However, there's a big difference between the latest Windows and Mac versions of the Home and Student edition. In the Mac version, it includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage, Microsoft's equivalent of Outlook on the Mac, which, like Outlook, includes email, calendar and contact functions. But the new Windows version now omits Outlook, and instead substitutes OneNote, a note-taking and information organizing program that is far less commonly used. So, Windows users must spend much more money to get a version of Office that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives to/for MS Office are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm#MSofficeAlternatives

False Hopes:  Are there too many college graduates in the United States?

Despite the common assumption that there is great economic demand for more college-educated workers, compelling evidence does not exist that there will be a rapid rise in the demand for college graduates—or a damaging shortfall in their supply—in the future, says Paul E. Barton, a senior associate in the Policy Information Center at the Educational Testing Service. But, in this month's Change, former vice president for public leadership at ETS, Anthony P. Carnevale, now the director of the Global Institute on Education and the Economy at Georgetown University, argues that postsecondary requirements for workers are increasing in part because jobs that require postsecondary education are concentrated in the growth industries.
Paul E. Barton, "How Many College Graduates Does the U.S. Labor Force Really Need?," Change Magazine from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, January/February 2008 --- http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/change/sub.asp?key=98&subkey=2509

We acknowledge that not everyone needs to go to college. But everyone needs a postsecondary education. Indeed we have seen ample evidence that access to postsecondary education and training is increasingly vital to an individual's economic security.
Commission on the Future of Higher Education (2006)

Anthony P. Carnevale, "College For All?" Change Magazine from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, January/February 2008 --- http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/change/sub.asp?key=98&subkey=2508

Despite the commission's careful distinction between "postsecondary education and training" and a college education, what we have here, from the conservative side of the aisle, is a fresh national commitment to "college for all," a populist promise to put a bookish chicken in every pot. The belief in "college for all" and its awkward country cousin "postsecondary education and training for all" is here to stay, because it is animated by a uniquely American mix of cultural and political biases that go deeper than political divisions. Public support for "college for all" unifies the aspiring middle class with those who have already arrived but have a fear of falling and a dread of downward mobility for their children.

The American belief in "college for all" arises from deep in our individualistic cultural bias. We welcome an increasing reliance on college as the arbiter of individual career opportunity since, in theory at least, using education to mediate opportunity allows us to expand merit-based success without surrendering individual responsibility. After all, we each have to do our own homework to make the grades and ace the tests that get us into college and in line for the good jobs.

The use of postsecondary education as the gateway to opportunity also complements our other key preferences for an open economy and a limited government. Education, as opposed to job-specific training, is supposed to develop the general metacognitive abilities necessary to keep up with the changing skill requirements of the contemporary workplace, and it thereby provides the economic self-reliance necessary to ward off public dependency and an expanding welfare state.

"College for all" also works as a public narrative, in part because high-school vocational alternatives are widely regarded as second best by the general public, if not by the elites. Even though polls show that most Americans agree that everyone doesn't need to go to college, most of them support alternatives to college for other people's children, but they want college for their own. Ultimately, of course, there are no "other people's children."

The Shifting Economy

But there's more to "college for all" than cultural bias, political positioning, and middle-class angst. The motto also resonates with our recent experience in the economy.

The historical increase in the workplace demand for postsecondary education is obvious in any analysis of the official government data. In 1973, only 28 percent of prime-age workers had any postsecondary education. Today, 59 percent have attended some type of postsecondary institution.

Postsecondary requirements are increasing partly because jobs that require postsecondary education are concentrated in the growth industries. Our increasing reliance on postsecondary education as the arbiter of opportunity is a direct result of the rise of the post-industrial service economy. Most new jobs that require postsecondary preparation are in offices, education, health care, and the high-tech sector—the signature occupations and industries in the "knowledge economy."

The share of white-collar office jobs, for instance, has risen from 30 to 40 percent of all jobs since 1973. In 1973, only 38 percent of office workers had some kind of postsecondary education. Today, 69 percent of them do, while 37 percent have at least a bachelor's degree, making offices one of the most highly educated workplaces in the country.

The health-care and education sectors also continue to grow, as developing and maintaining human capital becomes more important. Since the 1970s, education and health-care jobs have increased from 10 to almost 20 percent of all jobs. The share of these jobs requiring at least some college has increased from fewer than half in the '70s to more than three-quarters today, with more than 52 percent requiring baccalaureate or graduate degrees.

Meanwhile, the share of technology jobs, the core infrastructure in the post-industrial economy, has doubled from roughly 4 to 8 percent of all jobs. In 1973, 63 percent of technology workers had at least some college; now 86 percent do—and more than one-half have at least a bachelor's degree.

At the same time, the share and number of factory workers with high school or less is shrinking, as a result of productivity growth. These jobs have declined from more than 30 percent of all jobs to less than 17 percent. But even so, the share of manufacturing workers who are college educated is rising, as manufacturing goes high-tech and as the value added comes not so much from making things as from designing, financing, and selling them. In 1973, only 12 percent of workers in manufacturing had any college. That proportion has now increased to more than 36 percent.

Natural-resource jobs—including farming, fishing, forestry, and mining—are also in decline, even as their share of workers with college training keeps increasing. These jobs accounted for about 5 percent of all jobs in 1959 but have declined by more than two-thirds and now only account for about 1.5 percent of all jobs. In 1973, two-thirds of these workers were high-school dropouts, but now workers with at least some college hold 31 percent of those jobs.

Low-wage services jobs are a mixed bag of career and transitional jobs. Their share of the total has not grown since Ike was president in the 1950s, at 28 million workers or about one-fifth of the available work opportunities. Many of these employees are young, some are in school, some are in transition to something better, and some are older workers moving towards retirement.

The Wage Premium for College Graduates

The wage premium for college graduates relative to high-school graduates is the most significant signal that the economy is demanding more-educated workers. During the 1960s and 1970s, the combination of a dramatic increase in the number of baby-boom workers with at least some college and "stagflation" caused the postsecondary wage premium to decline: By 1979, prime-age workers with at least some college only earned about 43 percent more than high-school graduates. But after the 1980 recession, the restructuring of the economy from an industrial to post-industrial knowledge economy accelerated dramatically. As a result, the wage premium for workers with postsecondary education skyrocketed throughout the 1980s and 1990s, reaching 73 percent by 1999. The wage advantage of advanced degree-holders over high-school graduates was even higher, topping out at 124 percent.

And these wage advantages held up and improved in spite of a huge increase in the supply of college-educated workers. Since the 1970s, the share of workers with at least some college tripled, and just since the 1990s, the proportion of employees with at least some college increased by 32 percent. Since the 1990s there have been about 18,350,000 net new workers with at least some college, including 10,000,000 with a baccalaureate degree or better. But their wage advantages over high-school-educated workers still almost doubled over the same period. This is remarkable. Usually, as we all learned in Economics 101, when the supply of anything increases, the price goes down.

Continued in article

Note to Accounting Professors
The following may be useful to students learning FAS 133 and IAS 39.
Questions that might be asked are as follows:

"Losing Bet on Climate Change: UpdateProposing a reasonable global warming wager," by Ronald Bailey, Reason Magazine, January 17, 2008 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/124393.html

For those making predictions, it has become increasingly popular to put your money where your mouth is. For example, the Iowa Electronic Markets and Intrade allow users to participate in online futures trading involving the outcomes of political events. The Long Now Foundation sponsors the Long Bets website at which competitors bet on issues that are societally and scientifically important—e.g., by 2010 at least 50 percent of all books sold worldwide will be printed on demand at the point of sale, or that at least one human being alive in 2000 will also be alive in 2150.

So what about climate change? In April 2006, I wrote a column, "Losing Bet on Climate Change," about a notional wager proposed by University of Virginia climatologist, Cato Institute senior fellow, and catastrophic climate change skeptic Patrick Michaels. In 1998, Michaels made the following bet in his World Climate Report:

If we were of a betting sort (and there are some nasty rumors going around that we are), we would be willing to wager that the 10-year period beginning in January 1998 and extending through December 2007 will show a statistically significant downward trend in the monthly satellite record of global temperatures.

Surely such a wager should sound interesting to those who think the planetary temperature will increase several tenths of a degree during that period.

Michaels acknowledged in my 2006 column that "technically we lose the bet." Why? Because no statistically significant downward trend had emerged. On the other hand, the actual upward satellite record temperature trend of +0.032 degrees Celsius was not significantly different from zero.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Interestingly this is one of the coldest winters in a decade and much of the arctic pack ice is returning. Of course it would take many years for all the underlying ice melt to return to what it was a century ago. This winter's deep freeze probably will not be sustained over the next decade. But we can hope! In any case we cannot attribute any  arctic chill to a ridiculous fraud-prone law called carbon trading.

Bob Jensen's threads on complying with FAS 133 and IAS 39 are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/caseans/000index.htm

I'm sorry," Reyes said. "There is much that I regret. If I could turn back the clock, I would."
As pointed out in the Opinion Journal, January 18, 2008 Reyes' choice of words is truly ironic since he was convicted of options "backdating." When he committed the fraud he truly did turn the clock back. Now he would like to turn it back again since he got caught.

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review, January 18, 2008

Brocade Ex-CEO Gets 21 Months in Prison
by Justin Scheck and Steve Stecklow
The Wall Street Journal

Jan 17, 2008
Page: A3
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com ---


TOPICS: Accounting, Financial Accounting, Financial Reporting, Stock Options

SUMMARY: Gregory Reyes, the former chief executive of Brocade Communications Systems Inc. was the first to go on trial and be convicted over the improper dating of stock-option awards. The backdating scandal came to light from academic accounting research that was brought to the attention of the WSJ. Executives committing this fraudulent activity were awarded stock options that were backdated to a point at which the companies' stock prices were lower, often the lowest of the year or quarter. The related article describes the practice as "illegal if not accounted for properly." Mr. Reyes had faced a potential 20 year sentence, but that "...was reduced late last year when Judge Breyer ruled there was no quantifiable loss of money to the company."

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Accounting for stock options and related disclosures

1.) Summarize the accounting and disclosure requirements for stock options. Refer to authoritative accounting literature and include a description of dates associated with stock option grants sufficient to discuss the issues in the article.

2.) What does it mean to "back date" a stock option award?

3.) The related article describes the practice of backdating stock options as "illegal if not accounted for properly." What accounting would have been appropriate? You may refer to your answer to question 1 as necessary.

4.) The potential sentence and fine to Mr. Reyes was reduced by the judge in the case because he "ruled there was no quantifiable loss of money to the company." What are the costs of stock option to the issuing company? To its shareholders? Support your answer.

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

Brocade Ex-CEO Seeks To Overturn Conviction
by Justin Scheck
Dec 13, 2007
Page: A15


Bob Jensen's threads on backdating frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm

There is something terribly wrong when the most influential financial publication in the country needs to devote an entire page to convince chief executive officers that honesty is good ("Why CEOs Need to Be Honest With Their Boards," Jan. 14).The Securities and Exchange Commission should require that all CEO contracts require absolute and complete honesty to boards of directors, with severe financial penalties for breaking the trust. Boards should be empowered and emboldened to say, "That little ethical lapse will cost you $10 million in options. Do it again and you are out of here with nothing." If we don't demand integrity from our most powerful and privileged, how can we expect it from our children?
Justin Starren, "Why Are We Even Talking About Honesty for CEOs?" The Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2008; Page A11 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120070775442502187.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

"Mixed Grades for Grads and Assessment," Inside Higher Ed, January 23, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/23/employers

Those conclusions come from a national survey of employers with at least 25 employees and significant hiring of recent college graduates, released Tuesday by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Over all, 65 percent of those surveyed believe that new graduates of four-year colleges have most or all of the skills to succeed in entry-level positions, but only 40 percent believe that they have the skills to advance.

. . .

In terms of specific skills, the employers didn’t give many A’s or fail many either. The employers were asked to rank new graduates on 12 key areas, and the grads did best in teamwork, ethical judgments and intercultural work, and worst in global knowledge, self-direction and writing.

Employers Ratings of College Graduates Preparedness on 1-10 Scale

Category Mean Rating % giving high (8-10) rating % giving low (1-5) rating
Teamwork 7.0 39% 17%
Ethical judgment 6.9 38% 19%
Intercultural skills 6.9 38% 19%
Social responsibility 6.7 35% 21%
Quantitative reasoning 6.7 32% 23%
Oral communication 6.6 30% 23%
Self-knowledge 6.5 28% 26%
Adaptability 6.3 24% 30%
Critical thinking 6.3 22% 31%
Writing 6.1 26% 37%
Self-direction 5.9 23% 42%
Global knowledge 5.7 18% 46%

To the extent that employers give graduates mixed grades, that raises the question of how they determine who is really prepared. Many of the existing tools appear to be insufficient, the poll found.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This study is misleading in the sense that large employers generally hire above-average graduates. This skews the results upward with respect to the entire population of college graduates. Colleges have a long way to go in modern times.

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

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

Baby Boomers Bed in the Boondocks
The word "gentrification" conjures up images of once-poor urban neighborhoods invaded by cappuccino bars and million-dollar condos. Now, broad swaths of rural America -- from New England to the Rocky Mountain West -- are being gussied up, too.
Affluent retirees and other high-income types have descended on these remote areas, creating new demand for amenities like interior-design stores, spas and organic markets. For many communities, it's the biggest change since the interstate highway system came barreling through in the 1960s and 1970s. With the Internet allowing people to work from almost anywhere, the distinction between first and second homes has become blurred. Many people are buying retirement property while they're still employed. Millions of soon-to-retire baby boomers, say demographers, will propel this trend for years to come . . . One reason: baby boomers and the previous generation are moving to rural areas in increasing numbers. Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, says 76% more people over age 50 moved to "recreation counties" -- places with lots of amenities and seasonal housing -- in the 1990s than in the 1980s. "This suggests that people who are now in their 50s and 60s are moving into these recreation counties more than in the past," he says.
Conor Dougherty, "The New American Gentry" Wealthy folks are colonizing rural areas, bringing cash, culture -- and controversy," The Wall Street Journal (with video clip), January 19, 2008; Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120069319738001353.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

"Tech Ignorance Keeps Teens From Changing the World," by Hurley Goodall, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 17, 2008 ---

America’s high-school students are confident they can solve the world’s most complex problems, such as climate change and a dwindling supply of fossil fuels. However, more than half of them believe high schools aren’t giving them the science and technology background to take those problems on, according to survey results from MIT.

This year’s Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, a survey that indicates Americans’ attitudes toward invention and innovation, shows most high-school studnets (64 percent) believe they are capable of inventing scientific and technological solutions to global issues.

At the same time, 59 percent of the teenage respondents (13 to 18 years old) don’t think they are being adequately prepared in high school for science and technology careers.

That seems to mesh with yesterday’s Joint Information Systems Committee report that students can “google,” but not do research. The younger generation has a level of comfort with technology, but not necessarily an intimate understanding. The MIT study also indicates, apparently, that students are aware of that shortcoming.

January 18, 2008 reply from Paul Ewell

I admit that our high schools could do a better job, especially in the areas of math and science. However, it is quite evident that the attitude of the students plays a substantial role in the learning process. If we address the attitude issues, we will open the door for improved learning processes. Many teachers are considered to be crazy and old (please see previous post), thus perpetuating the problem.

Facebook Is Passe
A Professor Says People tend to be loyal to one social-networking site, though that relationship is often fleeting, says Martin Weller, educational-technology Professor at the Britain-based Open University. He points to no particular reason for this -- just that one site will get old and people will move on to another. He asserts that this is happening to Facebook, but gives an analysis of the lessons academics can take away from the phenomenon. In particular, he writes: "...in order to understand web 2.0 you have to act 2.0. I think too many academics are guilty of seeing social networking, or any popular tool, as something to be researched, but not something to be experienced and used. This is both rather a snobbish attitude and also misses the point. Signing up for an account, dropping in for a couple of weeks, doing a survey and then disappearing does not gain you an understanding of how these things are really being used." So, while librarians "chase the white whale" of social-networking with students, is Facebook old news now? Are academics too removed from Web 2.0 to really understand it?
Hurley Goodall, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 18. 2008 --- Click Here

Education Tutorials

Stanford Humanities Lab (includes video) http://shl.stanford.edu/

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

How did life evolve on earth?
From the National Academy of Sciences
Science, Evolution, and Creationism ---  http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11876 

Biology Browser: Teaching Resources --- http://www.biologybrowser.org/bb/Subject/Education/Biology_Teaching_Resources/index.shtml

Life in the Palaeozoic --- http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=2659

The Council of Independent Colleges: Historic Campus Architecture Project --- http://hcap.artstor.org/cgi-bin/library

Geodesy (Canadian Spatial Reference System) --- http://www.geod.nrcan.gc.ca/edu/geod/whatis/index_e.php

International Council of Societies of Industrial Design --- http://www.icsid.org/

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

Life in the Palaeozoic --- http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=2659

Africa Governance and Advocacy Project --- http://www.afrimap.org/

Frontline: On Our Watch (Darfur Video) --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/darfur/ 

Stanford Humanities Lab (includes video) http://shl.stanford.edu/

Exploring 20th Century London --- http://www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk

Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York --- http://futureofny.org/home

International Council of Societies of Industrial Design --- http://www.icsid.org/

Spatial News (GIS history and use) --- http://spatialnews.geocomm.com/
Note the Education section

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

Law and Legal Studies

Bob Jensen's threads on law and legal studies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Law

Math Tutorials

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics --- http://www.nctm.org/tips.aspx?ekmensel=c580fa7b_44_398_btnlink

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

History Tutorials

Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action (for searching history and museums) --- http://www.imls.gov/collections/index.htm

Picture History --- http://www.picturehistory.com/

Exploring 20th Century London --- http://www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk

Fifty Years of History in Three Minutes (video) --- http://yeli.us/Flash/Fire.html

Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York --- http://futureofny.org/home

Stanford Humanities Lab (includes video) http://shl.stanford.edu/

The Council of Independent Colleges: Historic Campus Architecture Project --- http://hcap.artstor.org/cgi-bin/library

Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits --- http://www.npg.si.edu/exhibit/motto/index.html

Jazz Old Time Online --- http://www.jazz-on-line.com/index.htm
There's a vast collection here. Some choices are free; Others are not free.

Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design --- http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1384_leonardo/

The Mind of Leonardo: The Universal Genius at Work --- http://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/menteleonardo/

From the Scout Report on January 18, 2008

True identity of Mona Lisa (re)affirmed Da Vinci's Lisa revealed --- http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2008/01/16/da_vincis_lisa_revealed/

Mona Lisa descendant just grins and bears it --- http://www.thestar.com/News/article/294443

A closer look at the Mona Lisa [Macromedia Flash Player]

Mona: Exploratorium Exhibit [Quick Time] http://www.exploratorium.edu/exhibits/mona/mona.html

Leonardo da Vinci: Master Draftsman [Real Player] http://www.metmuseum.org/special/Leonardo_Master_Draftsman/draftsman_splash.htm

Theft of Mona Lisa --- http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/mona_nav/main_monafrm.html

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

Stanford Humanities Lab (includes video) http://shl.stanford.edu/

Purdue Online Writing Lab --- http://owl.english.purdue.edu/

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

From the Scout Report on January 18, 2008

ChatStat 3.1.6 --- http://www.chatstat.com/ 

If you have a website, there may have been times where you would have liked to talk with visitors who have browsed on in to say hello. ChatStat 3.16 offers users the ability to conduct live chat sessions with website visitors, along with free dynamic web analytic software. Visitors can also chat with other operators via instant message and even let visitors request a "call back". This application is compatible with computers running Windows NT and newer.

Paint.NET 3.2 --- http://www.getpaint.net/ 

If you have left over holiday photos that need editing and a bit of retouching, you may want to consider looking over the latest version of Paint.NET. This open source photo editing program comes with support for layers, special effects and essential tools that include a cropping feature and a resizing option. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer.

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


Pregnancy Problems Tied to Caffeine
Too much caffeine during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage, a new study says, and the authors suggest that pregnant women may want to reduce their intake or cut it out entirely. Many obstetricians already advise women to limit caffeine, though the subject has long been contentious, with conflicting studies, fuzzy data and various recommendations given over the years. The new study, being published Monday in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, finds that pregnant women who consume 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day — the amount in 10 ounces of coffee or 25 ounces of tea — may double their risk of miscarriage. Pregnant women should try to give up caffeine for at least the first three or four months, said the lead author of the study, Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.
Denise Grady, The New York Times, January 21, 2008 ---
Also see http://physorg.com/news120108526.html

Treating Muscular Dystrophy with Stem Cells
Scientists have developed a way to produce a pure source of muscle cells, a technique that might one day prove useful for treating muscle-related diseases. Treating Muscular Dystrophy with Stem Cells Scientists have developed a way to produce a pure source of muscle cells, a technique that might one day prove useful for treating muscle-related diseases.
Jennifer Chu, MIT's Technology Review, January 22, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/20091/?nlid=824

How health things work --- http://health.howstuffworks.com/ 

Lead Linked to Aging in Older Brains
Could it be that the "natural" mental decline that afflicts many older people is related to how much lead they absorbed decades before? That's the provocative idea emerging from some recent studies, part of a broader area of new research that suggests some pollutants can cause harm that shows up only years after someone is exposed. The new work suggests long-ago lead exposure can make an aging person's brain work as if it's five years older than it really is. If that's verified by more research, it means that sharp cuts in environmental lead levels more than 20 years ago didn't stop its widespread effects. "We're trying to offer a caution that a portion of what has been called normal aging might in fact be due to ubiquitous environmental exposures like lead," says Dr. Brian Schwartz of Johns Hopkins University. "The fact that it's happening with lead is the first proof of principle that it's possible," said Schwartz, a leader in the study of lead's delayed effects. Other pollutants like mercury and pesticides may do the same thing, he said. In fact, some recent research does suggest that being exposed to pesticides raises the risk of getting Parkinson's disease a decade or more later. Experts say such studies in mercury are lacking. The notion of long-delayed effects is familiar; tobacco and asbestos, for example, can lead to cancer. But in recent years, scientists are coming to appreciate that exposure to other pollutants in early life also may promote disease much later on. "It's an emerging area" for research, said Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. It certainly makes sense that if a substance destroys brain cells in early life, the brain may cope by drawing on its reserve capacity until it loses still more cells with aging, he said. Only then would symptoms like forgetfulness or tremors appear.
Malcomb Ritter, PhysOrg, January 27, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news120662674.html

"Dust, Air, Water Sources of Lead," PhysOrg, January 27, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news120662758.html

The dangers of lead in some toys are well-known, but there are plenty of other ways people can be exposed to the metal.

Young children are especially at risk of harm because their bodies are growing quickly. They can suffer damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and other problems.

In adults, excessive lead exposure can lead to problems in reproduction, high blood pressure, memory and concentration problems and other effects.

Levels of lead in the air have plunged since the late 1970s with the removal of lead from gasoline. Today, most lead in the air comes from industrial plants, and it's a problem chiefly in urban and industrialized areas, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency says.

Other potential sources:

-Deteriorating lead paint can produce lead dust and chips that children swallow. The federal government banned lead paint from housing in 1978, but older homes may have it.

-Soil can become contaminated and be carried indoors.

-Drinking water can pick up lead from pipes or solder in older homes. Consumers can ask their local health departments or water suppliers about having water tested.

-Traces of lead can be brought home on hands or clothes from jobs that involve working with the metal. The federal government recommends that workers in such jobs shower and change clothes before going home, and wash work clothes separately.

On the Net:

http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadinfo.htm facts

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts13.html bookmark04




How does Elie Wiesel’s Night differ fundamentally from The Diary of Anne Frank?

"The Story of ‘Night,’ by Rachel Donadio, The New York Times, January 20, 2008 --- Click Here

This fall, Elie Wiesel’s “Night” was removed from the New York Times best-seller list, where it had spent an impressive 80 weeks after Oprah Winfrey picked it for her book club. The Times’s news survey department, which compiles the list, decided the Holocaust memoir wasn’t a new best seller but a classic like “Animal Farm” or “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which sell hundreds of thousands of copies a year largely through course adoptions. Indeed, since it appeared in 1960, “Night” has sold an estimated 10 million copies — three million of them since Winfrey chose the book in January 2006 (and traveled with Wiesel to Auschwitz).

But “Night” had taken a long route to the best-seller list. In the late 1950s, long before the advent of Holocaust memoirs and Holocaust studies, Wiesel’s account of his time at Auschwitz and Buchenwald was turned down by more than 15 publishers before the small firm Hill & Wang finally accepted it. How “Night” became an evergreen is more than a publishing phenomenon. It is also a case study in how a book helped created a genre, how a writer became an icon and how the Holocaust was absorbed into the American experience.

Raised in an Orthodox family in Sighet, Transylvania, Wiesel was liberated from Buchenwald at age 16. In unsentimental detail, “Night” recounts daily life in the camps — the never-ending hunger, the sadistic doctors who pulled gold teeth, the Kapos who beat fellow Jews. On his first day in the camps, Wiesel was separated forever from his mother and sister. At Auschwitz, he watched his father slowly succumb to dysentery before the SS beat him to within an inch of his life. Wiesel writes honestly about his guilty relief at his father’s death. In the camps, the formerly observant boy underwent a profound crisis of faith; “Night” was one of the first books to raise the question: where was God at Auschwitz?

Working as a journalist in his mid-20s, Wiesel wrote the first version of “Night” in Yiddish as “Und di Velt Hot Geshvign” (“And the World Remained Silent”) while on assignment in Brazil. But it wasn’t until he returned to Paris and met François Mauriac, a noted Catholic novelist and journalist, that “Night” took the shape we know today. Mauriac urged Wiesel to rewrite the book in French and promised to write a preface. Still, “it was rejected by the major publishers,” Wiesel recalled in a recent interview, “although it was brought to them by François Mauriac, the greatest, greatest writer and journalist in France, a Catholic, a Nobel Prize-winner with all the credentials.” Les Éditions de Minuit brought it out in 1958, but it sold poorly.

The American response was similarly tepid. Georges Borchardt, Wiesel’s longtime literary agent and himself a Holocaust survivor, sent the French manuscript to New York publishers in 1958 and 1959, to little effect. “Nobody really wanted to talk about the Holocaust in those days,” Borchardt said. “The Diary of Anne Frank,” published in the United States in 1952, had been a huge success, but it did not take readers into the horror of the camps. Although “Night” had sophisticated literary motifs and a quiet elegance, American publishers worried it was more a testimonial than a work of literature. “It is, as you say, a horrifying and extremely moving document, and I wish I could say this was something for Scribner’s,” an editor there wrote to Borchardt. “However, we have certain misgivings as to the size of the American market for what remains, despite Mauriac’s brilliant introduction, a document.” Kurt Wolff, the head of Pantheon, also turned “Night” down. Although it had qualities “not brought out in any other book,” Pantheon had “always refrained from doing books of this kind,” meaning books about the Holocaust, he wrote to Borchardt.

Finally, in 1959, Arthur Wang of Hill & Wang agreed to take on “Night.” The first reviews were positive. Gertrude Samuels, writing in the Book Review, called it a “slim volume of terrifying power.” Alfred Kazin, writing in The Reporter, said Wiesel’s account of his loss of faith had a “particular poignancy.” After the Kazin review, the book “got great reviews all over America, but it didn’t influence the sales,” Wiesel said.

The trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961 brought the Holocaust into the mainstream of American consciousness. Other survivors began writing their stories — but with higher visibility came the first glimmerings of criticism. In a roundup of Holocaust literature in Commentary in 1964, the critic A. Alvarez said “Night” was “beyond criticism” as a “human document,” but called it “a failure as a work of art.” Wiesel, he argued, had failed to “create a coherent artistic world out of one which was the deliberate negation of all values.”

By the early ’70s, the Holocaust had become a topic of study in universities, spurred in part by the rise of “ethnic studies” more generally and a surge of interest in Jewish history after Israel’s dramatic military victory in the Israeli-Arab wars of 1967 and 1973. Wiesel, who had moved to New York in the mid-’50s, began lecturing regularly at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan and teaching at the City University of New York. (Since 1976 he has taught at Boston University.)

Although his books were all reviewed respectfully, some critics questioned Wiesel’s role as a self-appointed witness. “His personal project has been to keep the wounds of Auschwitz open by repeatedly pouring the salt of new literary reconstructions upon them, and thus to prevent the collective Jewish memory — and his own — from quietly letting the wounds heal,” Leon Wieseltier, now the literary editor of The New Republic, wrote in Commentary in 1974. Reviewing Wiesel’s novel “The Oath,” about a pogrom, Wieseltier criticized Wiesel for “turning history into legend.” His characters were “archetypes of the varieties of Jewish pain,” Wieseltier wrote, so “what remains is ... a kind of elaborate superficiality which does justice neither to the author’s intentions nor to his terrible subject matter.”

In 1978, President Carter appointed Wiesel to a commission that eventually created the Holocaust Museum. In Wiesel’s mind, the “real breakthrough” that brought “Night” into wide view came in 1985, when he spoke out against President Reagan’s planned visit to the Bitburg military cemetery in Germany, where SS members were buried. While Reagan was awarding him a Congressional Gold Medal at the White House, Wiesel told him: “That place, Mr. President, is not your place. Your place is with the victims of the SS.” The next day, Wiesel’s words were on front pages worldwide. (Reagan still made the trip.)

Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the following year. The Nobel committee called Wiesel “a messenger to mankind,” teaching “peace, atonement and human dignity.” Wiesel’s “commitment, which originated in the sufferings of the Jewish people, has been widened to embrace all repressed peoples and races.” By the late ’90s, “Night” was a standard high school and college text, selling around 400,000 copies a year.

Yet some critics have homed in on the very qualities that have helped “Night” find a broad readership. Some have criticized Wiesel for universalizing — and even Christianizing — Jewish suffering. In “The Holocaust in American Life” (1999), the historian Peter Novick cites crucifixion imagery in “Night” as evidence of the “un-Jewish” or Christian tenor to much Holocaust commemoration. Others have suggested Wiesel may have revised the book to appeal to non-Jewish readers. In a 1996 essay, Naomi Seidman, a Jewish studies professor at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union, detected strong notes of vengeance in the Yiddish version. In the final scene, after the camp has been liberated, Wiesel writes of young men going into Weimar “to rape German girls.” But there’s no mention of rape in the subsequent French or English translations. Wiesel said his thinking had changed between versions. “It would have been a disgrace to reduce such an event to simple vengeance.”

To Lawrence L. Langer, an eminent scholar of Holocaust literature and a friend of Wiesel’s, what sets “Night” apart is a moral honesty that “helps undermine the sentimental responses to the Holocaust.” To Langer, “Night” remains an essential companion — or antidote — to “The Diary of Anne Frank.” That book, with its ringing declaration that “I still believe that people are really good at heart,” is “easy for teachers to teach,” Langer said, but “from the text you don’t know what happened when she died of typhus, half-starved at Bergen-Belsen.” Wiesel takes a similar view. “Where Anne Frank’s book ends,” he said, “mine begins.”

Forwarded by Auntie Bev


I grew up in the 30's/40's/50's with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a Name for it... A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in old trousers, tee shirt and a hat, pushing an old fashioned push lawn mower and Mom in a house dress, with a dish-towel in her hand. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me wonder. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that cold November's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So... While we have it... it's best we love it... And care for it..... And fix it when it's broken..... And heal it when it's sick.

This is true... For marriage.... And old cars.... And children with bad report cards..... Dogs and cats with bad hips.... And aging parents.... And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special.... And so, we keep them close!

I received this from someone who thinks I am a 'keeper', so I've sent it to the people I think of in the same way... Now it's your turn to send this to those people that are "keepers" in your life. Good friends are like stars.... You don't always see them, but you know they are always there. Keep them close! Author unknown


Forwarded by Gene and Joan,

*Electile Dysfunction* the inability to become aroused over any of the choices for president put forth by either party for the 2008 election year.

Some Accounting Humor from http://www.accountingweb.com/humor/humor.html

Chapter 11

"The job notice posted at the University placement office advertised for someone to set up a bookkeeping system for a local dinner theater that was filing for bankruptcy.

When an eager first-year accounting student inquired, the interviewer told him that the company needed an advanced student capable of handling Chapter 11 proceedings.

"I'm sure I could do it," the student proclaimed confidently. "My class is already up to chapter fourteen."


An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor. "Doctor, I just can't get to sleep at night." "Have you tried counting sheep?" "That's the problem - I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying to find it."


A guy in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and says, "Want to hear an accountant joke?" The guy next to him replies, "Well, before you tell that joke, you should know that I'm 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, and I'm an accountant. And the guy sitting next to me is 6'2" tall, 225 pounds, and he's an accountant. Now, do you still want to tell that joke?" The first guy says, "No, I don't want to have to explain it two times."


An accountant applies for the position of Chief Financial Officer. There are a number of candidates and he is called in for an interview. They ask him a number of questions and one of the panel suddenly says "What is nine multiplied by four?"

He thinks quickly and says "Thirty five." When the interview is over he goes outside, takes out his calculator and finds the correct answer is not thirty five. He thinks "Well, I blew that" and goes home very disappointed.

Next day he is rung up and told he has got the job. "Wonderful," he says, "but what about nine multiplied by four? My answer wasn't right"

"We know, but of all the candidates you came the closest."

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

Videos of Accounting Humor

Videos of Tax Humor

Forwarded by Jim Kirk (a top golfer)

Average American Golfer...

A recent study found the average American golfer walks about 900 miles a year.

Another study found American golfers drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year.

That means, on average, American golfers get about 41 miles to the gallon

Kind of makes me proud !!

Forwarded by Auntie Bev


A priest dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy who's dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket and jeans. Saint Peter addresses this cool guy, "Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?"

The guy replies, "I'm Peter Pilot, retired American Airlines Pilot from Dallas." Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the pilot, "Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom."

The pilot goes into Heaven with his robe and staff. Next it's the priest's turn. He stands erect and booms out, "I am Father Joe, pastor of Saint Mary's in Pasadena for the last 43 years." Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the priest, "Take this Cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom."

Just a minute", says the good father, "that man was a pilot and he gets a silken robe and golden staff, and I get only cotton and wood. How can this be?"

Up here, we go by results," says Saint Peter. "When you preached, people slept; when he flew, people prayed.

Forwarded by Moe

Be Careful Out There:

IDIOT SIGHTING: We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a "large" enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head and said, "Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower." I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said, "NO, it's not." Four is larger than two.." We haven't used Sears repair since.

IDIOT SIGHTING My daughter and I went through the McDonald' s take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, "you gave me too much money." I said, "Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back." She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said "We're sorry but they could not do that kind of thing." The clerk then proceeded to give me back$1 and 75 cents in change. Do not confuse the clerks at McD's.

IDIOT SIGHTING : I live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: "Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore." From Kingman , KS

IDIOT SIGHTING IN FOOD SERVICE: My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for "minimal lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they only had iceburg lettuce. From Kansas City

IDIOT SIGHTING : I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?" To which I replied, "If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?" He smiled knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask." Happened in Birmingham , Ala.

IDIOT SIGHTING : The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, "What on earth are blind people doing driving?!" She was a probation officer in Wichita , KS

IDIOT SIGHTING: At a good -bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker. She was leaving the company due to "downsizing." Our manager commented cheerfully, "This is fun. We should do this more often." Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare. This was a lunch at Texas Instruments.

IDIOT SIGHTING: I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her life, couldn't understand why her system would not turn on. A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriffs office, no less.

IDIOT SIGHTING: When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the drivers side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. "Hey," I announced to the technician, "its open!" His reply, "I know. I already got that side." This was at the Ford dealership in Canton , Mississippi

STAY ALERT! They walk among us ... and the scary part is that they VOTE and they REPRODUCE

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