Tidbits on March 7, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
Archives of Tidits:  Tidbits Directory --- 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.
This search engine may get you some hits from other professors at Trinity University included with Bob Jensen's documents, but this may be to your benefit.

We only have the happiness we have given.
Édouard Pailleron
Jensen Comment:  Misery is another thing entirely.


Proposal for Teaching Only and Imported Universities
Proposals by the federal Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, to create greater diversity, specialisation and competition within the university sector are radical, even revolutionary. Given the present unsatisfactory situation, this is no bad thing. Dr Nelson's suggestions - heresies, say some - would redefine and broaden the term "university". Universities could be either teaching-only or research-intensive institutions, the way would be cleared for more private and small universities, including some specialising in a single discipline or vocation (for example law or medicine or hospitality), and overseas universities would be encouraged to establish Australian campuses. This would require the Commonwealth and the states to agree to big changes in the present protocols that oblige universities to offer at least three disciplines and to undertake both teaching and research.
"Dr Nelson's daring new prescription," Sydney Morning Herald, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/03/06/1110044262150.html 


The real embarrassment will be when it fits
Stanford University:  Transplanting human brain cells into mice

It will look like any ordinary mouse, but for US scientists a tiny animal threatens to ignite a profound ethical dilemma.  In one of the most controversial scientific projects conceived, a group of university researchers in California's Silicon Valley is preparing to create a mouse whose brain will be composed entirely of human cells.  Researchers at Stanford University have already succeeded in breeding mice with brains that are 1 per cent human cells. In the next stage they plan to use stem cells from aborted human foetuses to create an animal whose brain cells are 100 per cent human.  Professor Irving Weissman, who heads the university's Institute of Cancer/Stem Cell Biology, believes the mice could produce a breakthrough in understanding how stem cells might lead to a cure for diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.  The group is waiting for a key US Government sponsored report, due this month, that will decide how much science can blur the distinction between man and beast.
"Mouse will have brain of human," Sydney Morning Herald, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/03/06/1110044258297.html 


Canadian researchers add new meaning to "giving the finger."
The length of a man’s fingers can reveal how physically aggressive he is, according to new research.  The shorter the index finger is compared to the ring finger, the more boisterous he will be, University of Alberta researchers said.  But the same was not true for verbal aggression or hostile behaviours, they told the journal Biological Psychology after studying 300 people’s fingers. The trend is thought to be linked to testosterone exposure in the womb.  There is known to be a direct correlation between finger lengths and the amount of the male hormone testosterone that a baby is exposed to in the womb. In women, the two fingers are usually almost equal in length, as measured from the crease nearest the palm to the fingertip. In men, the ring finger tends to be longer than the index.  Other studies looking at finger length have suggested that, in men, a long ring finger and symmetrical hands are an indication of fertility, and women with a longer index finger are more likely to be fertile.  One study found boys with shorter ring fingers tended to be at greatest risk of a heart attack in early adulthood, which was linked to testosterone levels.
"Short index finger shows men are as hard as nails," Scotsman, March 4, 2005 --- http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=239982005 


I thought March was a brilliant poet, especially his narrative verse in The Wild Party (which I longingly referred to over four decades when the urge to be a narrative poet whispered at me.  March always reminded me that I did not have the talent for narrative verse, and I humbly returned to writing about accountancy).
I suspect most of my literary friends will scoff at March's works, and for them I inserted the above module.

If you were looking for a young man with a great literary life in front of him in 1928, you'd have been hard-pressed to find a better candidate than 29-year-old Joseph Moncure March. His narrative in verse The Wild Party, a tale of Manhattan hedonism and the tragic hipsters who indulge in it, had been published that spring in a limited edition, achieving an immediate following and brisk sales. (A musical adaptation will open this month at the Fitzgerald Theater). The book even got banned briefly in Boston, bringing March something every writer craves—a prominent but not damaging censorship battle.
Tim Cavanaugh, "After the Party," Rake Magazine, March 2005 --- http://www.rakemag.com/coals/detail.asp?catID=58&itemID=20510 
Jensen Comment:  Cavanaugh says March had a "half-brilliant career," which I guess is not all that unique in either literary or scientific circles.  By the way, I don't think you can download a free copy of The Wild Party online.  The fact that it was briefly banned in Boston in 1928 shows how times have changed in society.


New Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes (Previously known as “noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (NIDDM))
A popular treatment for sleep apnea may also help people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Feb. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers found that treating sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) not only helped the 25 participants sleep better, but also significantly reduced their blood sugar (or glucose) levels when administered for at least four hours a day. Lower glucose levels can help reduce a diabetic's risk of developing late-stage complications including cardiovascular and kidney disease.
"A Sleep Treatment's Dual Benefits," MSNBC, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7077622/site/newsweek/ 
Jensen Comment:  Type 2 diabetes is becoming an epidemic among adults.  It is important to test for it regularly and aggressively follow physician diet, exercise, and drug plans.  Otherwise it can lead to blindness, sexual malfunction, loss of limbs, and death.

Tips to Help You Sleep from MSNBC on March 3 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7077618/site/newsweek/ 


Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa:  Beyond Capitalism
The other night, upon accepting the 2005 Irving Kristol Award from the American Enterprise Institute, a bastion of inside-the-Beltway conservatism, the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa gave a speech extolling liberalism. Not, he hastened to explain, the contemporary American version, but liberalism in its older sense, an outlook predicated on "tolerance and respect for others," the basic elements of which are "political democracy, the market economy, and the defense of individual interests over those of the state."  This liberalism, which requires private property, free markets, and the rule of law, has little in common with the statist mutation that goes by that name in the U.S. One of classical liberalism's central insights, Vargas Llosa noted, is that "freedom is a single, unified concept. Political and economic liberties are as inseparable as the two sides of a medal." By contrast, self-styled liberals in the U.S. tend to view economic liberty with indifference, if not hostility, leaving its defense to conservatives.
Jacob Sullum "Free to B&B," ReasonOnLine, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/sullum/030405.shtml 

"Confessions of a Liberal," by Mario Vargas Llosa, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.aei.org/news/newsID.22053,filter.all/news_detail.asp 

Because liberalism is not an ideology, that is, a dogmatic lay religion, but rather an open, evolving doctrine that yields to reality instead of trying to force reality to do the yielding, there are diverse tendencies and profound discrepancies among liberals. With regard to religion, gay marriage, abortion and such, liberals like me, who are agnostics as well as supporters of the separation between church and state and defenders of the decriminalization of abortion and gay marriage, are sometimes harshly criticized by other liberals who have opposite views on these issues. These discrepancies are healthy and useful because they do not violate the basic precepts of liberalism, which are political democracy, the market economy and the defense of individual interests over those of the state.

For example, there are liberals who believe that economics is the field through which all problems are resolved and that the free market is the panacea for everything from poverty to unemployment, marginalization and social exclusion. These liberals, true living algorithms, have sometimes generated more damage to the cause of freedom than did the Marxists, the first champions of the absurd thesis that the economy is the driving force of the history of nations and the basis of civilization. It simply is not true. Ideas and culture are what differentiate civilization from barbarism, not the economy. The economy by itself, without the support of ideas and culture, may produce optimal results on paper, but it does not give purpose to the lives of people; it does not offer individuals reasons to resist adversity and stand united with compassion or allow them to live in an environment permeated in humanity. It is culture, a body of shared ideas, beliefs and customs--among which religion may be included of course--that gives warmth and life to democracy and permits the market economy, with its competitive, cold mathematics of awarding success and punishing failure, to avoid degenerating into a Darwinian battle in which, as Isaiah Berlin put it, “liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.” The free market is the best mechanism in existence for producing riches and, if well complemented with other institutions and uses of democratic culture, launches the material progress of a nation to the spectacular heights with which we are familiar. But it is also a relentless instrument, which, without the spiritual and intellectual component that culture represents, can reduce life to a ferocious, selfish struggle in which only the fittest survive.

. . . 

Then it will not be necessary to talk about freedom because it will be the air that we breathe and because we will all truly be free. Ludwig von Mises’ ideal of a universal culture infused with respect for the law and human rights will have become a reality.

Continued in the article


The writings of Francis Fukuyama closely parallel the above message by Mario Vargas Llosa
The distant origins of the present volume lie in an article entitled “The End of History?” which I wrote for the journal The National Interest in the summer of 1989. In it, I argued that a remarkable consensus concerning the legitimacy of liberal democracy as a system of government had emerged throughout the world over the past few years, as it conquered rival ideologies like hereditary monarchy, fascism, and most recently communism. More than that, however, I argued that liberal democracy may constitute the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” and the “final form of human government,” and as such constituted the “end of history.” That is, while earlier forms of government were characterised by grave defects and irrationalities that led to their eventual collapse, liberal democracy was arguably free from such fundamental internal contradictions. This was not to say that today’s stable democracies, like the United States, France, or Switzerland, were not without injustice or serious social problems. But these problems were ones of incomplete implementation of the twin principles of liberty and equality on which modern democracy is founded, rather than of flaws in the principles themselves. While some present-day countries might fail to achieve stable liberal democracy, and others might lapse back into other, more primitive forms of rule like theocracy or military dictatorship, the ideal of liberal democracy could not be improved on.

Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, 1992 --- http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/us/fukuyama.htm 
Jensen Comment:  I recently saw mention made a lecture by Fukuyama at the University of Chicago that had the title something to the the effect "Fifteen Years After the End of History."  I used Fukuyama's original "End of History" book years ago in a First Year Seminar.


Slavery Lives On
A ceremony during which at least 7000 men, women and children in Niger in West Africa were to be freed from slavery has been cancelled at the last minute by the Government.  The BBC News website quoted a spokesman for the Government's human rights commission as saying Saturday's planned ceremony had been cancelled because slavery did not exist in Niger. The Government had been a co-sponsor of the event.  In a country where at least 43,000 people are thought to be slaves, the practice was made illegal only last May. A new law made owning slaves punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
"Thousands of slaves see their chance of freedom slip away," Sydney Morning Herald, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/03/06/1110044260807.html 
Jensen Comment:  It will be interesting to see if and when this law is ever enforced.


United Nations (read that United Nepotism)
The Biggest Scam in History

The U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal is the biggest scam in the history of humanitarian aid. And it's Kofi Annan's fault. 
Claudia Rosett, "Blame Game, The New Republic, February 16, 2005 --- https://ssl.tnr.com/p/docsub.mhtml?i=20050221&s=rosett022105

What a complicated web we weave:  Proud Canada Company Linked to U.N. Oil for Food Scandal
But the Fox News story wasn’t prompted by an announcement from Power of some billion-dollar takeover or the appointment of a new senior executive. It was something altogether different: the revelation that the man handpicked by the UN secretary general last April to probe the UN’s scandalized Oil-for-Food program, Paul Volcker, had not disclosed to the UN that he was a paid adviser to Power Corp., a story which had originally been broken by a small, independent Toronto newspaper, the Canada Free Press. Why did the highest-rated cable channel in the U.S. care? Because the more that Americans came to know about Oil-for-Food, which has been called the largest corruption scandal in history, the more the name of this little-known Montreal firm kept popping up. And the more links that seemed to emerge between Power Corp. and individuals or organizations involved in the Oil-for-Food scandal, the more Fox News and other news outlets sniffing around this story began to ask questions about who, exactly, this Power Corp. is. And, they wanted to know, what, if anything, did Power have to do with a scandal in which companies around the world took bribes to help a murderous dictator scam billions of dollars in humanitarian aid out of the UN while his people suffered and starved?
Kevin Steel, "How Montreal's Power Corp. found itself caught up in the biggest fiasco in UN history," Canada Free Press, March 5, 2005 --- http://www.canadafreepress.com/2005/cover030505.htm 
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm 


Moral Hazard:  Should the media pay criminals for interviews?
The BBC's board of governors have rebuffed a call by culture secretary Tessa Jowell to investigate the corporation's controversial decision to pay £4,500 for an interview with the convicted burglar shot by Tony Martin. Ms Jowell said she understood the "disquiet and unease" caused by the reported payment, which has been attacked by politicians from all sides and described by the lord chancellor, Lord Falconer, as "disgusting".
John Plunkett, "BBC governors won't investigate burglar payment row," Guardian, March 7, 2005 --- http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1432251,00.html 


Separate but equal?
Black boys may have to be taught in separate classes from their white peers to help them do better at school, according to the race relations watchdog.  "If the only way to break through the wall of attitude that surrounds black boys is to teach them separately for some subjects, then we should be ready for that," he said. "A tough new strategy would compel black fathers to be responsible fathers.  "If they can't be bothered to turn up for parents' evening, should they expect automatic access to their sons?"
"Call for separate classes for black boys," Guardian, March 7, 2005 --- http://education.guardian.co.uk/racism/story/0,10795,1432149,00.html 


Purge of conservatives at Colorado University?
Mitchell taught at the Hallett Diversity Program for 24 straight semesters. That is, until he made the colossal error of actually presenting a (gasp!) diverse opinion, quoting respected conservative black intellectual Thomas Sowell in a discussion about affirmative action.  Sitting 5 feet from a pink triangle that read "Hate-Free Zone," the progressive head of the department berated Mitchell, calling him a racist.  "That would have come as a surprise to my black children," explains Mitchell, who has nine kids, as of last count, two of them adopted African-Americans.  People say liberals run the university. I wish they did," Mitchell says. "Most liberals understand the need for intellectual diversity. It's the radical left that kills you."  So Churchill may play the part, but Mitchell is the true dissenter at CU.  Why did he stay this long?  "I stay to create enthusiasm and love for history," Mitchell says. " And I am successful at that. I love the classroom, and I love my students."  Once, president Hoffman promised increased intellectual diversity at CU - not a purge of conservatives.  Another promise broken.
David Harsanyi, "A CU prof deserving of sympathy," Denver Post, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~31908~2748616,00.html 

Also see "Heretics in the Academy?:  On campuses across the country, conservative professors face a sea of hostility and ideological bias," by Jennifer Jacobson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. A8-A11.


Fighting a conservative virus in the Cal student body
Fighting for the right to be right Political affiliation jeopardizes conservative student's office The intolerant atmosphere that conservatives at Cal face has, once again, been blatantly demonstrated by our elected officials. Judicial Council nominee Amaris White appeared before the ASUC Senate last Wednesday, for her confirmation hearing. After the Senators voted in favor of White’s appointment, they found out about her conservative affiliation. This prompted senators who had confirmed her to seek a reversal in their decision. As elected officials, it is the ASUC's responsibility to represent the student body and as such must allow Amaris White to serve on...
Amaury Gallais and Andrew R. Quinio. "Fighting for the right to be right Political affiliation jeopardizes conservative student's office," California Patriot, March 5, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/browse 


This would never happen at Cal
Conservative students at the University of Texas at Austin planned to pass out cookies and cake Wednesday to celebrate Texas Independence Day. But rumors that they were planning another activity -- a "hunt" for illegal aliens -- led hundreds of students to protest.  In January, the University of North Texas chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas held just such an event. Some students wore orange shirts that said "Illegal Immigrant" on one side and "Catch Me If U Can" on the other. Other students chased them and those who "caught" an immigrant won prizes. The state chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas posted photos of the event on its Web site.
Scott Jaschik, "The Latest in Conservative Political Theater," Inside Higher Ed, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/the_latest_in_conservative_political_theater 
Jensen Comment:  Sounds more like a vigilante group than a student group.  The Young Conservatives of Texas Web site is at http://www.yct.org/ 


March 3, 2005  message from Tristin McHugh

Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 6:29 PM 
To: Jensen, Robert 
Subject: protest songs of the sixties

Dear Dr. Richard Jensen:

Hello my name is Tristin McHugh an eighth grader at Diablo View Middle School Clayton, California. In my Core class I'm doing a big research project on protest songs of the sixties, and what led up to it. If you could please send me some information on this subject that would be great.

The Vietnam War and songs really interest me, so if you can send me stuff, that's awesome, but if you can't, that's OK, too.

Thank you for your time and efforts.

Sincerely, 
Tristin McHugh

March 4, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen

Here are a few to look at (not all are from the 1960s):

http://www.brownielocks.com/sixtieswarsongs.html  
The music is great to listen to in some of these, especially Written on the Wind

http://www.lib.virginia.edu/small/exhibits/music/protest.html

http://www.brownielocks.com/sixtieswarsongs.html 

You might be interested in my essay at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyEvilEmpire.htm

Hope this helps,
Bob Jensen


A great site for young people:  In 1928 it was for farm children.  Now it's for all children of the world.
FFA is a positive example of what works in education.  The National FFA Organization is a dynamic youth organization that changes lives and prepares students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success  Today, almost half-a-million student members are engaged in a wide range of agricultural education activities, leading to more than 300 professional career opportunities. Student success remains the primary mission of FFA.
The National FFA Organization --- http://www.ffa.org/ 


A great site for old people (while it lasts for free online)
Business Week's Free Video on Aging --- http://businessweek.feedroom.com/iframeset.jsp?ord=656106 
Scientists are exploring ways to extend life and slow aging 
Catherine Arnst, "Forever Young," Business Week, March 4, 2005

There are other video modules on current news headlines at http://businessweek.feedroom.com/iframeset.jsp?ord=271262 


I keep telling you that you should listen to Norwegians
An economics textbook by James D. Gwartney and Richard L. Stroup cites the interesting case of drunk driving in Norway, "the country that has the toughest drunk-driving laws in the Western world. Drinking a single can of beer before driving can put a first offender in jail for a minimum sentence of three weeks. These drivers lose their licenses for up to two years and often get stiff fines as well. Repeat offenders are treated even more harshly. These laws are far more Draconian than those of the United States. And the results?  "1. One out of three Norwegians arrives at parties in a taxi, while nearly all Americans drive their own cars. 2. One out of 10 Norwegian party-goers spends the night at the host's home; Americans seldom do. 3. In Norway, 78% of drivers totally avoid drinking at parties, compared to only 17% of American drivers."
K. Ravi Nair (an economics professor), "Sober Norway, Land Of the Safe Driver," The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2005 -- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110972852841667887,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 
Jensen Comment:  And here's the best ploy of the Norseman male on the date:  "Is it all right if I stay over?  Otherwise I might have to spend three weeks in jail and lose my driving license."  

Which brings me to my favorite Ole and Lena yoke:

Ole was talking with his brother Sven, who lived next door, when Sven said, "Ya know Ole, you and Lena should really get some new curtains." 

"Vhy's dat?" Ole asked. 

"Vel last night I saw you and Lena, vel ... doing you know .. in bed." 

Ole thought for awhile, then said, "Ha-ha Sven, da yoke's on you! I vasn't even home last night!  I been in Stavanger."

For Sven, Ole, and Lena stories, try the following:
       http://www.newnorth.net/~bmorren/olelena.html  (with music)


Q: Is it true that if credit-card disputes go longer than 60 days, they must be resolved in favor of the card holder?
A: Card issuers must adhere to certain procedures when resolving disputes or the card holder automatically wins, but an exact 60-day time limit isn't one of them. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, the creditor must acknowledge a card holder's letter pointing out a billing error within 30 days and either fix the bill or tell the customer why the bill is correct within two billing cycles and not longer than 90 days. During this period, the issuer also cannot release damaging information about the card holder to another creditor or credit bureaus. If the issuer fails to follow the rules, it loses the right to collect the disputed amount, and related finance charges, up to $50, even if the bill was correct.
Currie Smith," Credit-Card Disputes, The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2005; Page D1--- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110981567203569105,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 
Jensen Comment:  For more information on the Fair Credit Billing Act go to http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcb/fcb.pdf 


How to Fix The Tort System
Does this mean there's no case against the tort system? Not at all. Just that the strongest evidence of plaintiffs' lawyer misconduct doesn't rest on broad economic data. Rather, the real crisis lies in the proliferation of specific types of bogus cases -- ones in which nobody has been injured, no malfeasance has occurred, or regulators have already taken care of the problem. Despite their claims of being selfless safety advocates, plaintiffs' attorneys in 2005 are analogous to chief executives in 1999: Most of the players are making an honest living. But an unacceptably high percentage of them are stretching the rules.  BusinessWeek's four-part solution to the problem is based on a set of pragmatic principles, with some parallels to those being used to clean up Corporate America. Like CEOs, lawyers should, first of all, be paid for performance. They shouldn't be allowed to take home multimillion-dollar paychecks if clients get pennies. Second, they shouldn't be able to cash in when they're merely piling on to government crackdowns. Third: When attorneys break the rules, the punishment should sting. These days, lawyers who file frivolous suits barely get their wrists slapped. These simple reforms would eliminate the most abusive cases while preserving the rights of victims. In the rare cases where they did not go far enough, such as asbestos, a far more radical change -- exiting the courts altogether -- may work better.

"How to Fix The Tort System," Business Week (Four-Part Series), March 14, 2005 --- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_11/b3924601.htm?campaign_id=nws_insdr_mar4&link_position=link1 

low percentage of people who truly benefit from class actions
The single most scandalous thing about the American tort system is the low percentage of people who truly benefit from class actions. It's no mystery why this happens. Defendants want to keep redemption rates low -- and many plaintiffs' lawyers don't care. Their fees are set when deals are signed and pegged to a high theoretical number of claimants. And judges are way too busy to bird-dog settled disputes. This distorted set of incentives produces unintelligible award notices buried deep in newspapers, burdensome forms to fill out, and short claim periods.  Solution: Reverse the economics of class-action settlements. Plaintiffs' lawyers should be paid after victims collect their money -- not before. This would have two benefits. First, it would make lawyers more aggressive about getting the word out to class members. Second, and more important, it would filter out a high percentage of the system's silliest claims. One of the main reasons people don't bother to collect class-action benefits is that they don't perceive any injury in the first place.

"Pay for Performance," Business Week (Four-Part Series), March 14, 2005 --- 
 http://images.businessweek.com/ss/05/03/reform/index_01.htm 


Why not ask me?  I've got theories on everything
"We are nowhere close to an accurate, purely physical theory of everything," Penrose told Nature earlier this year.  Indeed, Penrose's newly published 1,099-page treatise -- The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe -- expends little ink ruminating over what is not known. Rather, The Road to Reality is as rigorous and exhaustive a map to the "theory of nearly everything" as a reader could hope to find today.
Mark Anderson, "Penrose: The Answer's Not 42," Wired News, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,66751,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2 


Bob and Jennie:  We've got almost all the symptoms
In the early '90s, psychiatrists and clinicians were beginning to hear of a new medical term, "internet addiction." At first, this was met with a lot of skepticism and denial, however, it became evident that the more people logged on to cyberspace, the more they got hooked.The 10 Symptoms You Need To Watch Out For:
AskMen.com --- http://www.askmen.com/fashion/body_and_mind/16_better_living.html


What professions perhaps have the most inside (economic) track to legislators in the U.S.?
The center found that the number of legislators and their spouses employed in education--including elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and educational associations--was exceeded only by the number of legislators and their spouses employed in the legal system.  In higher education, about 7 percent of legislators or their spouses were affiliated in some way with an institution or organization.  The study found that one-third of lawmakers who had a personal stake in higher education also sat on their legislature's education committee.  Leah Rush, the center's director of state projects, says lawmakers often cite state ethics laws in saying that the public is protected from conflicts of interest.  But this report "takes the window dressing off of these ethics laws," she says.
Joseph Gidjuis, "Sudy Questions Economic Ties Between Colleges and State Lawmakers," The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 8, 2005,  Page A26.


This university's piggie-lobbyist went to market, this ...
The investment seems to be paying off. In the NIH budget article, for instance, the reporters noted that Congress actually doubled the NIH's funding between 1999 and 2003. Similarly, according to the College Board's Trends in Student Aid 2004, total inflation-adjusted federal student aid—which ultimately ends up in the pockets of colleges and universities—more than doubled between the 1993-94 and 2003-04 academic years, totaling more than $81 billion in 2003-04.  The most direct payoff, however, has been in higher education "pork"—projects earmarked for specific schools rather than awarded through competitive grants—which, according to the Chronicle, rose from $296 million in 1996 to over $2 billion in 2003. How do colleges and universities get such projects? "Members of Congress...choose recipients...based on their own judgments, often after lobbying by the colleges seeking the money," according to the newspaper.
"Pork U., "Higher ed's scramble for federal cash," ReasonOnLine, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/hod/nm030105.shtml 
Jensen Comment:  Read what Ohio University economist Richard Vedder has to say in Going Broke By Degree: Why College Costs Too Much


Only the winners decide what were war crimes.
Gary Wills


Japanese reactionaries are using the "abduction issue"?
A spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland in a statement Saturday scathingly denounced the moves of the Japanese reactionaries to institute the "Day of Tok Islet" and the remarks of the Japanese ambassador to south Korea that Tok islet belongs to Japan as a very dangerous behavior fully revealing their brigandish nature and shameless ambition for territorial expansion and a heinous move to seize part of the inalienable territory of Korea. He said: The Japanese reactionaries have become so brazenfaced as to make a claim to Tok Islet, while insisting that it belongs to Japan. This is a rash act which can be committed only by the political gangsters and rogues who are utterly indifferent to history and international law. We can never allow the Japanese reactionaries to insult the Korean nation and grab part of the inalienable land of Korea. All Koreans should wage a more resolute struggle to shatter Japan's moves to grab the islet and force it to apologize and compensate for its past crimes. Japan would be well advised to properly understand the ever mounting anti-Japanese sentiment of the Korean nation and its bitter hatred, stop acting rashly and discontinue at once its brigandish moves to grab the islet.
"Japan's Ambition for Territorial Expansion Assailed," North Korea News, March 5, 2005 --- http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2005/200503/news03/07.htm#8 


The ACLU wants crosses removed from all government property, but firmly draws a line on cemeteries and, I assume, museums.  If exceptions are to me made who should decide where to draw the line --- http://www.aclu.org/info/info.cfm?ID=14684&c=248#3_8 
In the grand scheme of things, I think this is one of those things that is out of perspective given all the problems of the world.

Remove religious monuments from public property:  Is it the name of religion or history?
When the epic was done, DeMille went into publicity overdrive. He funded the Fraternal Order of Eagles' promotion of Ten Commandments displays. One of the monuments landed on the grounds of the Texas capitol where -- fast forward -- a homeless lawyer happened upon it and took his protest all the way to the US Supreme Court.  The tale of the Texas monument was one of two Ten Commandment cases heard Wednesday. The other was about the framed copies of the biblical Decalogue placed in some Kentucky courthouses. The Supremes will have to decide whether putting the commandments in public spaces amounts to a state endorsement of religion, or whether it is merely an acknowledgment of their historic influence on the law.  In the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, ''I bet that 90 percent of the American people believe in the Ten Commandments, and 85 percent couldn't tell you what they all are."  The whole Ten Commandments furor is fueled by religious conservatives and then handed to lawyers who offer a secular defense. In this case, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott defended the 6-foot stone bearing the words ''I am the Lord thy God" by saying it was just one presence in a ''museum-like" setting filled with homages to other ''historical influences." Kentucky's Matthew Staver defended the displays that were meant to illustrate ''America's Christian heritage" by saying they were merely a part of an historic tableau.  The historic cover story for a religious message tells you just what sort of a mess we are in. As Douglas Laycock of the University of Texas Law School says, ''The court has said that the government cannot endorse religion, and the government keeps doing it anyway. Then religious groups are forced to defend it in court by saying it isn't religion at all -- it's about the foundations of American law or it's an historical landmark."

Ellen Goodman, "Monuments to God or history?" Boston Globe, March 6, 2005 --- http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/03/06/monuments_to_god_or_history/ 


Keeping church and state separate in public schools may not be easy
Muslims want to ensure their children grow up with values Six Islamic groups, accounting for 70% of Germany's Muslims, plan to unite under one umbrella to push for having Islam taught in public schools. The groups want to ensure that Islam can be taught in German in public schools to better integrate children and prevent misinterpretations. It is vital to resolve this problem and ensure that Islam is enrolled in school curriculums, said Nadeem Elyas, president of the central council of Muslims, one of the groups. "If we don't, the next...
"German Muslims want Islam in class," Aljazeera, March 2, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/719395FB-338E-4C18-8B03-2B70789FDBA3.htm 


U.S. Population Explosion
The 1970 U.S. Census placed America's population at about 200 million people. Shortly thereafter, the bipartisan Rockefeller Commission issued a report that concluded that there would be no public benefit to further U.S. population growth. In the ensuing 35 years, U.S. population has swelled by 50 percent and we stand on the brink of surpassing 300 million people. How did this astounding population explosion occur? A new study published by the Federation for...
"Immigration Drives Rapid U.S. Population Growth," FairUS, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.fairus.org/media/media.cfm?id=2638&c=34 


Bad science frightening the poor:  Better to let them continue to be hungry and maybe starve?
Activists are again trying to frighten poor people in developing countries by claiming the U.S. is poisoning them with genetically modified food. Never mind that 280 million Americans have been eating biotech-enhanced crops for nearly a decade with zero evidence that it has caused anyone so much as a sniffle or a bellyache.
Ronald Bailey, "Attack of the Killer Crops? Activists still trying to scare poor farmers with bad science," ReasonOnLine, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/rb/rb030205.shtml 

Brazil Passes Law Allowing Crops With Modified Genes
After months of delays and heated debate, legislators passed a biotechnology law late Wednesday night by a vote of 352 to 60. The bill had pitted farmers and scientists against environmental and religious groups. Besides lifting a longstanding ban on the sale and planting of gene-altered seeds, the legislation also clears the way for research involving human embryonic stem cells that have been frozen for at least three years
Todd Benson, "Brazil Passes Law Allowing Crops With Modified Genes," The New York Times, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/04/business/worldbusiness/04gene.html 
Jensen Comment:  I also hope Brazil launches a major stem cell research initiative since the U.S. is dragging its Republican feet.


An entirely new definition of bankruptcy:  What you don't know about a pending bill might hurt you
"Most of the credit cards that end up in bankruptcy proceedings have already made a profit for the companies that issued them," said Robert R. Weed, a Virginia bankruptcy lawyer and onetime aide to former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.  "That's because people are paying so many fees that they've already paid more than was originally borrowed," he said.  In addition, some experts say, the changes proposed in the Senate bill would fundamentally alter long-standing American legal policy on debt. Under bankruptcy laws as they have existed for more than a century, creditors can seize almost all of a bankrupt debtor's assets, but they cannot lay claim to future earnings.  The proposed law, by preventing many debtors from seeking bankruptcy protection, would compel financially insolvent borrowers to continue trying to pay off the old debts almost indefinitely . . . Debate about the bill continued Thursday, with the Republican-controlled Senate refusing to limit consumer interest rates to 30%. The vote was a bipartisan 74 to 24 to kill a proposed amendment by Sen. Mark Dayton (news, bio, voting record) (D-Minn.). Senate passage of the bill is expected next week.
Peter G. Gosselin, "Credit Card Firms Won as Users Lost," The Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/LAtimesMarch4 
Bob Jensen Comment:  I think bankruptcy has been abused by rip off artists and the law needs to be changed.  This pending bill, which most likely will pass, however got high jacked by the rip off artists called credit card companies.

 

Surprise! Surprise!  Fat butts are always more protected in Washington DC.
The bankruptcy legislation being debated by the Senate is intended to make it harder for people to walk away from their credit card and other debts. But legal specialists say the proposed law leaves open an increasingly popular loophole that lets wealthy people protect substantial assets from creditors even after filing for bankruptcy.  The loophole involves the use of so-called asset protection trusts. For years, wealthy people looking to keep their money out of the reach of domestic creditors have set up these trusts offshore. But since 1997, lawmakers in five states - Alaska, Delaware, Nevada, Rhode Island and Utah - have passed legislation exempting assets held domestically in such trusts from the federal bankruptcy code. People who want to establish trusts do not have to reside the five states; they need only set their trust up through an institution in one of them.
Gretchen Morenson, "Proposed Law on Bankruptcy Has Loophole," The New York Times, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/02/business/02bankrupt.html 


Bob Jensen's threads on credit card company dirty secrets are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#FICO 


This isn't corny:  Poets v. U. of Iowa Press
The University of Iowa is known for its Writers' Workshop, so it's no surprise that the University of Iowa Press builds on that literary reputation with annual prizes for poetry and short fiction.  In recent weeks, an anonymous Web site has begun a campaign against the press, arguing that it favors entries with connections to the university. The Web site, Poetry, calls itself "the poetry watchdog" and boasts of its role "exposing the fraudulent 'contests,' tracking the sycophants, naming names."  The Web site is urging poets to send letters to consumer advocates, state officials and the university's president, and to lawyers who might help with a class action lawsuit (based on Foetry's view that participants are duped into paying the $20 entry fee, unaware that they may have little chance of winning if they don't have Iowa ties).  At the Iowa Press, officials are astonished to find themselves under attack by an army of poets and poetry fans -- most of them anonymous.
Scott Jaschik, "Poets v. U. of Iowa Press," Inside Higher Ed, March 4, 2005 --- http://insidehighered.com/insider/poets_v_u_of_iowa_press 


Dark clouds move in over Auburn's sensational football season
But when black educators at Auburn and black legislators in Montgomery didn't like the answers they received to questions about those who lost their jobs, matters deteriorated. Alabama's black legislative caucus has called for black athletes to boycott the university, with a leader of the boycott effort calling Auburn "one of the most racist universities in the world."  And the Rev. Al Sharpton is now getting involved, saying that he will mobilize his supporters to back the boycott of a university with "a history of blatant discriminatory practices."  All of this activity is taking place as the university released a long-awaited report on efforts to promote diversity. And that report follows a letter from black faculty and students leaders demanding that the president do more to recruit and retain minority students and faculty members. The general feeling among many black scholars is that Auburn is terrified of the boycott, suggesting that some of the university's leaders are more concerned about black people who can hold a ball than those who hold doctorates.
Scott Jaschik, "Race, Sports and Professors," Inside Higher Ed, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/race_sports_and_professors 


Raising the bar for a free education
In an effort to outdo its rivals, Yale University said yesterday that it would no longer require parents earning less than $45,000 a year to pay anything toward their children's educations.  Harvard announced a similar program last year, freeing parents who earn $40,000 or less from paying anything, and the change helped raise its applications to record levels. Several of Yale's other competitors, including Princeton, have taken a slightly different approach by no longer requiring loans for low-income students, and they also believe the move helped increase applications.
Greg Winter, "Yale Cuts Expenses for Poor in a Move to Beat," The New York Times, March 4, 2005 ---  http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/04/education/04yale.html 

Also see http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/yale_plays_catch_up_on_financial_aid 

But this does not solve our larger problem:  What about the ones who don't go on to school?
Job Sprawl and the Spatial Mismatch between Blacks and Jobs ---  http://www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/20050214_jobsprawl.pdf 


New technologies for the deaf and blind
The isolated world of deaf-blind impaired people is slowly being cracked open by new devices, from hockey pucks that rattle to beds that shake sleepers awake. And an age-old technique - the eyes and ears of others who intervene to help them communicate - is also being used to greater effect. "Just so many opportunities have opened because of intervention," says Sayer, who lives in Winnipeg. Many people like her need interveners "to be able to go out, even leave their homes - to do our shopping," she said
Eric Shackleton, "Isolated world of deaf-blind being cracked open by new technologies," Canadian Press, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.canada.com/technology/news/story.html?id=d1bc4012-08f4-4a3f-aca3-04401dbb07d7 


Mysterious mental abilities
"Mirror neurons promise to do for neuroscience what DNA did for biology," neurobiologist V.S. Ramachandran of the University of California, San Diego, has written, explaining "a host of mental abilities that have remained mysterious."

Sharon Begley, "How Mirror Neurons Help Us to Empathize, Really Feel Others' Pain," The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2004, Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110989327130070064,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace 


When you really need to think, sniff the roses
New research suggests people with synesthesia may be better problem solvers. Tasting sounds and smelling colors could be good for cognition.  Neuroscientists think the condition occurs because certain regions of the brain "cross-activate" at the same time. So the tone perception center, for example, may be linked with the taste perception center. And studying synesthetes is giving clues to the working of the brain, one of the most complex structures in the universe.  "Synesthesia shows how many variations in normal brain function are possible," said Michaela Esslen, of the department of neuropsychology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Rowan Hooper, "Rainbow Coalition of the Brain," Wired News, March 4, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,66770,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_5 


Brain Tissue Bank
A brain tissue bank that will allow researchers to study sudden deaths from a variety of causes is to open in Edinburgh.  During a two-year project starting on Wednesday, a group of researchers are to collect healthy and diseased tissue samples that will help them study drug abuse, epilepsy, severe asthma, cot death and suicide and other conditions.
"UK home to first brain bank," Aljazeera, March 2, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/ADEEA091-EFB7-4093-844D-7620460E05FB.htm 
Jensen Comment:  There may be a technical problem with defining a "healthy" brain when you consider alcohol usage, aging differentials (male vs. female), etc.  However, researchers will apparently identify "healthy" by some definition in contrast to "severe" abnormalities.


Please don't put Nancy Soderberg's brain tissue under the "healthy" category of the Brain Bank
There's always hope that this might not work.  
(with reference to positive change in the Middle East while the Republicans are still in power.)
Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" featuring Jon Stewart" March 1, 2005
This clip might eventually be available at http://www.comedycentral.com/tv_shows/thedailyshowwithjonstewart/videos_corr.jhtml?p=stewart 
Jensen's Comment:  This is a Comedy Central show, but if you watch the segment you have to believe she's serious.  Even Jon Stewart buried his head in his hands and tried to hide.

Clinton aide Nancy Soderberg is the author of The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0471656836.html " (foreword by Bill Clinton, blurb by Madeleine Albright)


Oh No!  How can there be tantalizing signs of change before Bush departs in 2008?
There's always hope that this might work. 

The Arab world is beginning to show tantalising signs of change. But it is too early to talk of a year of revolutions, as the three prime exhibits being used to make the case for democracy—Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine—are in many ways special cases.
"Something stirs," The Economist, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3722882 


Is it possible for a "dim-bulb" to turn into shining light?  
Nick Gillespie was right to pooh-pooh the view that "[a]t every step of his career, [George W.] Bush has been written off as a lightweight and a loser, a dim bulb whose grasp exceeds his reach and whose I.Q. is stuck somewhere in the high double digits." I once referred to him as a "cretin," and the laugh is surely on me, though this was in the context of a successful endorsement. Like Ronald Reagan in Eastern Europe, Bush has shown in the Middle East that simple, indeed simplistic, ideas can go a long way when expressing the frustration and anger of populations afflicted with tyrannies refusing to accord them even minimal respect.
Michael Young, "Free at Last?  Some Arabs welcome American democratic browbeating," ReasonOnLine, February 24, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/links/links022405.shtml 


Arab reforms must come from within
Some argue that introducing political reform to the Arab world is not a choice but an imperative given that Arab governments are interested in bringing their nations up to speed with the rest of the world.
  Amr Musa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, tells Aljazeera.net in an exclusive interview that reforms must come from within.
Aljazeera, March 2, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/967715B8-276C-4708-AC08-7FD102E13BA7.htm 


First estimate $400 billion, Revised estimate $1.2 trillion:  Where were the accountants?
The administration's last official ten-year cost projection—that the new Medicare law would cost $534 billion over ten years—was deservedly controversial. The administration hid the estimate while publicly touting a much lower estimate ($400 billion). Thus most observers were suspicious when the president's budget was released last week.  The latest estimate, which projected the cost of just the drug benefit, was much higher: $1.2 trillion over 10 years. This is not directly comparable to the previous projection, for a number of reasons. First, it is a gross figure that does not include offsets that will accrue to the Treasury. Accounting for these brings the 10-year cost projection for the drug benefit to a net $725 billion.
"A Billion Here, a Billion There:  Fuzzy math on the Medicare prescription drug benefit," ReasonOnLine, February 28, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/hod/mc022805.shtml 
My unfinished essay on the "Pending Collapse of the United States" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm


The Medicaid Diet Plan for all 50 States
State governors ended their winter meeting without resolving differences with the Bush administration over how to curb spending on Medicaid.  Many governors said they support some facets of the Bush plan to revamp the joint federal-state health-care program for the poor -- especially proposals to give states greater ability to provide slimmer benefits to some Medicaid recipients and charge them higher co-payments when they go to the doctor or fill a prescription.
Sarah Lueck, "Governors Balk at Medicaid Plan," The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110969167792867064,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 


Add this one "One Time Incident Warnings" highlighted recently by Janet Jackson, Ward Churchill and Lawrence Summers.  (Michael Jackson doesn't count since he's allegedly a repeat offender.)
But just a few weeks later, more than 300,000 people have signed the petition, which reads, in part, "We, the undersigned, are disgusted with Ashlee Simpson's horrible singing and hereby ask her to stop." Decker has given numerous interviews, and has even gone on national television to discuss her Web site,
( http://www.StopAshlee.com ).  Being an Ashlee Simpson non-fan has become a full-time job for Decker. "I was not expecting anywhere near this," says Decker, 18, who lives in New York City. "It's crazy. "Ever since Simpson's disastrous appearance on "Saturday Night Live" late last year, she has been the focus of a bunch of controversy--and criticism. On the show, she was caught lip-syncing on camera, something she blamed first on her band, then on acid-reflux disease. And in an incident almost as famous, she was booed during her performance in January at the Orange Bowl.
"Forgive and forget? Ashlee Simpson's blame game enrages some, makes others shrug." Chicago Tribune, March 1, 2005 --- http://www.chicagotribune.com/technology/chi-0502280305mar01,1,2778714.story?coll=chi-techtopheds-hed 


Who's Bible is it?
There are several questions that might occur to anyone who opens a Bible. How, for instance, did its separate books come to be written? Who decided to put them together? And why do Catholics and Protestants have different Bibles? Although Jews and Christians believe their collections of Scripture to be inspired -- in other words, ultimately composed -- by God, a great deal of human industry clearly went into them. How are we to measure this human element and account for it? It is such questions that Jaroslav Pelikan sets out to answer in "Whose Bible Is It?" (Viking, 274 pages, $24.95), an engaging and highly readable survey of biblical scholarship that tells a fascinating and complex story.
George Sim Johnston, "The Battle of the Book," The Wall Street Journal,  March 2, 2005; Page D9


Capitalism roaring in a former communist-leaning nation
There is growing acceptance of India as a successful high-growth story. Growth has steadily accelerated from 1980 onwards. And this has been achieved simultaneously with nearly 60 years of faithful adherence to democratic norms and traditions. The enshrining of democratic principles in a newly independent country might have involved some initial "fixed costs." But democracy is the only legitimate and stable foundation for a society. India, having paid those "fixed costs," now appears to be reaping the dividends.
P. Chidambaram, "A Passage to Prosperity," The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2005, Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110989798197470243,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 
My unfinished essay on the "Pending Collapse of the United States" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm


The Vioxx fallout hits multiple sclerosis patients.
Tysabri had received accelerated approval from the FDA just three months ago because clinical trials had shown it to be twice as effective as alternative therapies in preventing flare-ups of MS, which is a degenerative and eventually fatal disease. Tysabri is also easier to take than alternative treatments, and tolerated by a subset of MS patients who can't take the others at all.  But for the indefinite future everyone will have to do without because two of the thousands of patients who've received Tysabri developed a rare neurological disorder. Those two patients happened to also be on another immuno-suppressive MS treatment called Avonex. There is no reason to believe that Tysabri has caused this disorder when used alone.  There's plenty of blame to go around here, starting with the trial lawyers and their climate of fear. Congressmen who demagogue about non-existent FDA safety "lapses" aren't much better. But we're also disappointed with CEOs who imagine they're doing patients and shareholders a favor with such rash decisions. In retrospect, Merck CEO Ray Gilmartin only strengthened the hand of the lawyers by withdrawing Vioxx when the FDA would have been content with relabeling.
"Drug Twilight Zone," The Wall Street Journal,  March 2, 2005; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110972765984167851,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Confidential Privileges of Bloggers?
If the court, in Santa Clara County, rules that bloggers are journalists, the privilege of keeping news sources confidential will be applied to a large new group of people, perhaps to the point that it may be hard for courts in the future to countenance its extension to anyone.  "It's very serious stuff," said Brad Friedman, who describes himself as an investigative blogger (his site is bradblog.com). "Are they bloggers because they only publish online? I think you have to look at what folks are doing. And if they're reporting, then they're reporters."
Jonathan Glater, "At a Suit's Core: Are Bloggers Reporters, Too?," The New York Times, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/07/technology/07blog.html 


All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more painful death than animals that know nothing.
Maurice Maeterlinck

Pavlov's Welfare State
It is stunning that anyone could continue to claim that Europe still sets the global standard for social justice when 19 million people across the EU are unemployed. Instead of facing the reality of globalization, many so-called social leaders prefer to impose an intolerable burden on Europe's young by encouraging governments to run unsustainable budget deficits in the futile hope of a painless Keynesian recovery. These self-styled social missionaries are in fact ideologically bound to the 19th-century industrial age. While there may have been a time when working less, vacationing more, retiring earlier and demanding higher pay irrespective of economic realities was justified, today we urgently need a more contemporary notion of what constitutes good social policy.
Ann Mettler, "Pavlov's Welfare State," The Wall Street Journal,  March 3, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110980327751868732,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


A Tale of Two Models
In practice, for at least three decades now, the net adjustment has invariably been one way -- in favor of labor. This is how the intricate system of entitlements of European welfare states has gradually been built up. Translated into moral terms, "social justice" was being done. No one thought of asking whether social justice can cut both ways and if it could, why it always cuts only one way.  As was to be expected, reality in due course caught up with the European model, causing it increasingly to backfire in the face of the politicians who still pretended to steer it. Above all else, the model radically stifles the demand for labor, generating a seemingly incurable, endemic unemployment that for years has stuck at around 10% in the major euro-zone economies that still believe in the model, while it is only 4%-5% in Britain and other European users of the rival "liberal" model.  This is a fact even French politicians recognize, although they refuse to accept responsibility for it. It does not, in itself, warrant an article in The Wall Street Journal. But it has intriguing implications that perhaps do, for they have not so far been openly discussed.  Built-in unemployment around 10% is caused by two features of the European model. One is the weight of vast schemes of social insurance financed via payroll taxes, whose cost is greater than their value to the insured wage-earner. Hence the cost of wages exceeds their value and the demand for labor stays chronically deficient.  The other, perhaps less powerful, cause is job protection. Labor laws, meaning well, make the shedding of labor so difficult and expensive that employers are afraid of taking the risk of hiring. They either resort to short fixed-term jobs or just make do with the staff they have. Both these features of the European model -- social insurance and job protection -- are, of course, meant to favor labor over capital. But in practice, they do the exact opposite.
Anthony De Jasay, "A Tale of Two Models," The Wall Street Journal (Europe), March 2, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110971966576567617,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 
Jensen Comment:  It's against the law to throw live bodies overboard to save lives --- http://www.cise.ufl.edu/class/cgs3065/reginavdudley.html 

-Dudley and Stephens 1884 –unwillingness to recognize starvation of group as justification or excuse for murder of one to save the larger group. –Can’t be a justification because it is not morally right to take a life to save yours or even a group? –Can’t be an excuse either because it is just too difficult to calculate who should live and die and would set dangerous precedent? So pass the buck to the executive authorities re the exercise of mercy and keep the law “pure” as an expression of human morality?
"CRIMINAL LAW (ESAU) OUTLINE #18:  SECTION SIX: DEFENCES: JUSITIFICATIONS AND EXCUSES --- http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/law/Courses/esau/criminal/chap18.html 
Jensen Comment:  But creating unemployment in one sector to the betterment of other sectors is not really the same as extermination of the unlucky sector.  The problem of today is one of redeploying the other sector, and that's no easy problem since the age and abilities of the troubled sector usually become huge hurdles in redeployment.  There are no easy answers here, but something has to be done to save a sinking ship.


Who get hurt worst in building tariff walls:  In the short term it's the poorest nations of the world
Restrictive standards simply protect some producers at the expense of others and the most likely to be hit in the case of coffee are the very poorest producers in Africa and Asia. . . The European Union is amongst the worst organisations in this regard. In protecting our own farmers with subsidies of about $2 a day for keeping a cow we are harming third world farmers who have to live on less than that.
Ian Whyte, "Myths of Fairtrade goods hurt the poorest," The Scotsman, March 2, 2005 --- http://news.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=228722005 


Waiting for Godot:  Waiting and Waiting and Waiting
German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was conveniently out of the country when the news hit yesterday that that the country's unemployment figure rose to over 5.2 million, or 12.6%, a new post-war record. One would have to go back to 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, to find more Germans out of work.  In the past, Europe's left has had two prescriptions for low growth: cheap money and deficit spending. But the European Central Bank's mandate is to preserve price stability. Besides, with real interest rates around zero and inflation right at its 2% target, the ECB is doing already enough to boost the economy. And though some in Mr. Schröder's Social Democratic party want a government investment program, New Deal-type policies have been largely discredited in Germany.  What really needs to be done -- cutting taxes and red tape and making the labor market more flexible -- has been discussed ad nauseam in the German media. Why is it then not being done? Simply because of a lack of political courage. Tackling issues such as Germany's iron rules on dismissals would pit the chancellor against those 38 million who still have a job in order to help those nine million without work. Better to blame the malaise on exogenous factors, such as euro strength or high oil prices, and promise a better tomorrow via overly optimistic growth forecasts that need constant downward revisions.
"Waiting for Godot," The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110971818698567568,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


And while we're on the subject of sinking ships
There's an obscure branch of mathematics known as "catastrophe theory," which looks at how a small perturbation in a previously stable system can suddenly produce dramatic change. A classic example of the theory is the way a bridge, after bearing immense weight for many years, can suddenly collapse because of a new stress.  We are now watching a glorious catastrophe take place in the Middle East. The old system that had looked so stable is ripping apart, with each beam pulling another down as it falls. The sudden stress that produced the catastrophe was the American invasion of Iraq two years ago. But the Arab power structure has been rotting. And what's bringing it down is public anger.
David Ignatius, " 'Glorious Catastrophe' in the Middle East,"  The Washington Post,  March 2, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110971872291267585,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Let's get rid of the International Monetary Fund:  Lend to deadbeats at your own risk
This week the jury came in. The completion of the Argentine bond restructuring offer, executed without the intermediation of the fund, makes the case that the SRDM is more an invention of an overgrown bureaucracy in search of a mission than a necessary addition to the world financial system.  Indeed, the Argentine restructuring is good ammo for those who want to close the fund: 30 years after the collapse of the Bretton Woods agreement and the end of the balance-of-payments crises under a gold exchange standard, the IMF can still find no meaningful role other than as a political slush fund for the G-7 major industrial nations.
Mary Anastasia O'Grady, "Argentina's Lessons for Global Creditors," The Wall Street Journal,  March 4, 2005; Page A15 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110989847475270265,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 


Not much profit from looking inward
GE expects to get as much as 60% of its revenue growth from developing countries over the next decade, Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt said in the company's annual report, making a major shift from the past decade.  After nearly four years of reshaping the company through $60 billion in acquisitions of financing, water treatment, security systems, bioscience businesses and a movie studio, Mr. Immelt said in his letter to shareholders, "we have prepared to make our own growth in a slow-growth, more volatile world."
Kathryn Kranhold, "GE Pins Hopes on Emerging Markets:  Strategy Is Major Shift From Reliance on the West; Big Rivals Echo Approach," The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2005; Page A3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110972499521267783,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 

A week after President Bush toured Europe to try to patch up the tattered trans-Atlantic relationship, the American car industry is embarking on its own charm offensive. Whether Detroit will make more headway than Washington is anybody's guess.  Cadillac, a unit of General Motors, and the Dodge unit of DaimlerChrysler unveiled new cars at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday that they hope will lead a fresh push into the European market.
"Europe, Meet Cadillac and Dodge," The New York Times, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/02/business/worldbusiness/02car.html 


Who's the Randroid of this outfit?
Referring to the followers of Ayn Rand as "Randroids"  was probably not the nicest way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the author's birth. But it was positively kind by contrast with the really strange honor being paid to her soon by her devotees. They are all set to publish a volume that will document, at great length, how Rand coped with a private, and fairly humiliating, part of her life.
Scott McLemee, "This, That and the Other Thing,"  Inside Higher Ed, March 3, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/intellectual_affairs__9 


Things are looking up
At The Cloud Appreciation Society we love clouds, we're not ashamed to say it and we've had enough of people moaning about them. Read our manifesto and see how we are fighting the banality of ‘blue-sky thinking’. If you agree with what we stand for, then join the society for free and receive your very own official membership certificate and badge.  March's Cloud of the Month is the stratus – a cloud that can prove more of a challenge to appreciate than any of the others.
The Cloud Appreciation Society --- http://www.cloudappreciationsociety.org/ 


Rentals are much cheaper than during the past two decades
A village which was submerged 35 years ago in northern Portugual has reemerged due to the worst drought in recent decades  ... 
"Drought Causes Sunken Portuguese Village to Reemerge," Designerz, March 3, 2005 --- http://science.news.designerz.com/drought-causes-sunken-portuguese-village-to-reemerge.html?d20050303 


Why does one case in the U.S. get so much more publicity than this?
More than 60 alleged paedophiles go on trial in Angers, France, in one of the country's biggest court cases.
"Child sex trial opens in France," BBC News, March 3, 2005 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4313747.stm 


Not a happy time for the academy.
University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman announced Monday that she is resigning amid a football recruiting scandal and a national controversy over an activist professor who had compared victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to a Nazi.  Hoffman, who has been president for five years, told the Board of Regents in a letter that her resignation is effective June 30 or whenever the board names a successor.
SI.com, March 7, 2005  --- http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/football/ncaa/03/07/cu.hoffman.ap/index.html?cnn=yes 

Hoffman said last week that Churchill would not be fired if the review turns up only inflammatory comments, not misconduct.

The furor over Churchill erupted in January after he was invited to speak at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Campus officials discovered an essay and follow-up book by Churchill in which he said the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were a response to a history of American abuses abroad, particularly against indigenous peoples.

Among other things, he said those killed in the trade center were "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who organized Nazi plans to exterminate Jews. The college canceled Churchill's appearance, citing death threats and concerns about security.

Jensen Comment:  A review of Ward Churchill's speeches and writings is being conducted to determine if the professor overstepped his boundaries of academic freedom and whether that should be grounds for dismissal.  

Purge of conservatives at Colorado University?
Mitchell taught at the Hallett Diversity Program for 24 straight semesters. That is, until he made the colossal error of actually presenting a (gasp!) diverse opinion, quoting respected conservative black intellectual Thomas Sowell in a discussion about affirmative action.  Sitting 5 feet from a pink triangle that read "Hate-Free Zone," the progressive head of the department berated Mitchell, calling him a racist.  "That would have come as a surprise to my black children," explains Mitchell, who has nine kids, as of last count, two of them adopted African-Americans.  People say liberals run the university. I wish they did," Mitchell says. "Most liberals understand the need for intellectual diversity. It's the radical left that kills you."  So Churchill may play the part, but Mitchell is the true dissenter at CU.  Why did he stay this long?  "I stay to create enthusiasm and love for history," Mitchell says. " And I am successful at that. I love the classroom, and I love my students."  Once, president Hoffman promised increased intellectual diversity at CU - not a purge of conservatives.  Another promise broken.
David Harsanyi, "A CU prof deserving of sympathy," Denver Post, March 7, 2005 --- http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~31908~2748616,00.html 

Also see "Heretics in the Academy?:  On campuses across the country, conservative professors face a sea of hostility and ideological bias," by Jennifer Jacobson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. A8-A11.

Bob Jensen's threads on Ward Churchill are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyChurchill.htm 


We need to make better choices.
And we like to know that our seafood choice is the best one we can make for a healthy marine environment.  Our oceans are in crisis.  We need to make better choices.
"Best Fish Guide," Forest & Bird, http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/bestfishguide/index.asp 


From the left side of the world:  Rural people of the south
This site provides access to 1800 of approximately 12,000 images from the Ulmann Photograph Collection. The images were scanned prior to the development of local standards and information provided about each image is sketchy and sometimes inaccurate. Staff from Special Collections and University Archives are in the process of reviewing the images and correcting information.
The Doris Ulmann Photograph Collection http://libweb.uoregon.edu/catdept/digcol/ulmann/index.html 


I like the way these films are categorized with a short commentary accompanying each title.  There is a religious bias in these selections and in the commentaries.
"Colson's List of 50 Insightful Films," Prison Fellowship, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.pfm.org/Content/ContentGroups/BreakPoint/Columns/At_the_Movies/Other_dates1/Colson_s_List_of_50_Insightful_Films.htm


Some interesting tips on day-to-day living 
"Everyday Cheapskate," Jewish World Review --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/cheapskate1.asp 


"The 10 greatest rock'n'roll myths:  From strange deaths to blood transfusions and dubious fish-related practices, it's time to debunk the tallest tales." by Graeme Thomson, Gurardian, February 20, 2005 --- http://observer.guardian.co.uk/omm/story/0,13887,1415153,00.html 


"The Climate Debate: When Science Serves the State," by N. Joseph Potts, Ludwig von Mises Institute, March 2, 2005 --- http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx?Id=1755 

United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) sponsors adoption of the Kyoto Protocol by most industrialized nations around the world, with estimated costs of legally binding compliance estimated at over $150 billion per year. The chief promotional artifact in the proceedings, the "hockey stick" historical temperature chart of IPCC Third Scientific Assessment Chapter Lead Author Michael Mann , is shown to be based on a computer program that produces hockey sticks from over 99 percent of ten thousand samples of random noise fed to it. Stephen McIntyre, retired Canadian minerals consultant, demonstrates numerous other defects and distortions in both the data and statistical methodology, ultimately the subject of a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal of February 14 and a follow-up editorial on February 18.

Anyone sent to jail on that last one? That biggest one, by far? No.

Any charges? No, and none anticipated.

Lawsuits? None yet (possible reason: too many plaintiffs).

Any bankruptcies? Certainly not of the IPCC, nor of the tax-funded agencies that paid for the research that culminated in the hockey stick.

What about the auditor? There is no auditor. No audits? No, except for the self-funded undertaking of McIntyre and partner Ross McKitrick, and Dr. Mann has cut them and apparently everyone else off from further information on the mysterious process that "proved" an episode of global warming in the Twentieth Century and pointed to human activity as the guilty party.

Congressional action? Well, the US Senate has declined to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but that’s about it.

Government investigation? Despite the fact that the US government funded eleven out of the twelve "Funded Proposals" cited in Dr. Mann’s curriculum vitae , it neither conducts audits of the results reported nor requires that information be made available to others for conducting audits at their own expense and initiative.

But the Kyoto Protocol remains in force and legally binding.

Government and science have found each other, and the spawn of this marriage look set to destroy global wealth on a scale that will render the greatest of history’s wars trivial by comparison. The ultimate outrage of all this is that the people who are subjected to the ravages of the wrong-headed policies promoted by these self-seekers are taxed to pay for the production of this junk science to begin with.


For earlier editions of New Bookmark s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
Archives of Tidits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm 

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Bob Jensen's home page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

 

 

Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu  

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