Tidbits on March 17, 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.
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 home page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

I would like to recover the March 14 edition of Tidbits.  If anybody printed this edition, please fax a copy to Bob Jensen at 210-999-8134 or mail a copy to Professor Jensen, One Trinity Place #65, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212.

March 17 --- Erin go Braugh

Definitions http://www.faqfarm.com/Q/What_does_'Erin_go_braugh'_mean 

Music --- http://www.ireland-information.com/irishmusic/eringobragh.shtml 

Screen savers --- http://twilightbridge.ezthemes.com/pcenhance/ss/spotlight.phtml?St.PatricksDay 

Games etc. --- http://groups.msn.com/FriendsofIrishMusicandCraic/stpatricksdaygamestoplay.msnw 

When are you justified in lying?
I posed your questions to our ethics professor, Rick Shreve. He would apply the standards presented in Sissela Bok's book, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life and conclude that "Bob's" lies did not satisfy any of the three criteria that Bok provides for a justifiable lie. [In brief, they are: A white lie "That's a nice tie you have on today"; a lie in a setting in which lying is an accepted norm "That's my final offer"; or a setting in which one could justify physical violence to attain the same ends that the lie attains.]
Jensen Comment:  The above quotation was Richard Sansing's (Dartmouth) email reply on the AECM to a scenario (too long to print here) involving a lie.  "The name "Bob" is a hypothetical person and has nothing to do with the Bob as in Jensen.  I have a somewhat more legal take on lying.  As in most legal disputes, I apply the test of damages.  Who is hurt by the lie and by how much?  For example, suppose a 20-year old student has both a fake ID (for partying purposes) and a genuine ID (for driving purposes) and that the genuine ID gets lost on a trip.  Using the fake ID to board an aircraft simply to avoid the delay (and possible ticket cost) of waiting for for a replacement of the lost genuine ID card benefits the student without any real harm to anybody else if it is relatively certain no security personnel might be sanctioned (a big if).  On domestic flights at the present time, the chances having to show the ID after boarding the aircraft are very nearly zero.  Of course there is the risk of getting caught when first showing the fake ID, but this may be a risk the student feels is justified in these circumstances.  Using the fake ID to drink in a bar, on the other hand, could harm the owner of the bar (e.g., by causing the loss of a liquor license).  Thus lying to simply avoid the cost and delay of boarding an aircraft differs from lying to drink alcohol.   This runs into the dilemma of the categorical imperative of Kant's moral order on whether the justification in the case of one student boarding an aircraft at one time should extended to universal law for all travelers.  Clearly a universal law justifying commonplace fake IDs would be self defeating.  And thus I am faced with a dilemma of rare versus commonplace (universal law) use of fake IDs to board aircraft merely due to the loss of a genuine ID.  There are no simple answers, but I personally still apply the legal test in a case-by-case situation.  I personally believe in situational ethics.  "Who could possibly be hurt in this instance and by how much?"  It's very difficult to apply universal law in all circumstances.  For example, the law "thou shall not kill" in my mind does not apply in absolutely all circumstances such as in the case of shooting a hostage taker just prior to his killing of scores of school children.  You can read more about Kant's moral order at http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/5i.htm 

PhDs really are brainier 
The brain imaging showed that in older adults taking memory tests, more years of education were associated with more active frontal lobes -- the opposite of what happened in young adults. The researchers believe that education strengthens the ability to "call in the reserves" of mental prowess found in that part of the brain.
Scott Jaschik, "The Payoff for Those Long Years Earning a Ph.D.," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/the_payoff_for_those_long_years_earning_a_ph_d 

Most top college basketball players are not brainier
The Knight panel, which since 1989 has been pushing changes aimed at restoring integrity to big-time college sports, has proposed that teams be disqualified from NCAA championship play if they failed to graduate at least half of their athletes within six years of enrolling.  The panel's study found that 42 of the 65 teams that qualified for this year's tournament would fail to meet that standard, based on the latest four-year graduation rates submitted by the institutions -- and many fared much worse. Twenty of the 65 graduated less than 30 percent of their players, and 11 of 65 graduated less than 20 percent.
Doug Lederman, "March Badness," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/march_badness 

Domestic Partner Benefits Becoming Commonplace in Corporate America
It seems corporate America is more concerned about recruiting and retaining talented employees than it is about the lifestyle choices those employees make outside of work. Charlotte Observer reported that more than 60 percent of the Fortune 100 companies are now offering health benefits to same-sex couples, even as national debate on the issue rages on.  According to a recent survey conducted by Robert Half Management, 1,400 CFOs, ranked "recruiting and retaining qualified staff" as the third top priority for success in 2005, just behind "growing revenue" and "controlling expenses," the Observer reported.  Duke Energy, a conservative utility based in the South, found that offering domestic partner benefits "has been shown to aid in both attracting and retaining employees," Duke Chairman and CEO Paul Anderson said in a news release last week.
"Domestic Partner Benefits Becoming Commonplace in Corporate America," AccountingWeb, March 10, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100654 

European National Heath:  three of four people with high cholesterol were not receiving a statin
Prof. Oliver Schoeffski, chair for health management at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, found severe undertreatment of many illnesses across Europe, including in Germany. For instance, three of four people with high cholesterol were not receiving a statin.  According Dr. James Cleeman, coordinator of the National Cholesterol Educational Program in the U.S., statins are cost effective even at $100 a month because heart disease costs "hundreds of billions of dollars." Treatment for high cholesterol demonstrates how Germany fails to balance lower cost with better treatment. Some 1.8 million Germans take Pfizer's Lipitor, sold there as Sortis. Numerous studies have demonstrated that Sortis lowers cholesterol and thereby reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, even among high-risk populations suffering from diabetes and hypertension.
Doug Bandow, "Saving Pfennige, Costing Lives," The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111092651697380405,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

Europeans Jumping Ship
In fact, more Europeans are now taking the dramatic step of emigrating than at any time since the 1950s. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics recently produced a study showing that the country was facing a new problem: mass emigration of white middle-class families. It seems Holland is losing nearly 50,000 middle-class citizens a year.  This Dutch exodus is mirrored by developments in countries like Germany and France. In Germany, middle-class emigration has risen by nearly 30% in the past few years, from 100,000 in 2001 to 127,000 in 2003. This "white flight" partly explains why, in 2003, the total German population shrank for the first time since the end of World War II. The number of French men and women living in the U.K., which is closer to the American Dream than the European Model, has grown exponentially in the last decade, from 100,000 registered migrants in the mid-1990s to more than 300,000 last year.
Joshua Livestro, "The Heidi Dream," The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111092673665780414,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

Spring thaw thins the ice for Harvard's president
After weeks of simmering discontent over the leadership style of the president of Harvard, Dr. Lawrence H. Summers, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will consider a resolution of a lack of confidence in him at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday (I think today).   It will also consider a statement expressing the faculty's regret over Dr. Summers's remarks about women in science at a January conference, as well as "aspects of the president's managerial approach," which many faculty members call autocratic and stifling of open discussion.  The statement says that the faculty "appreciates the president's stated intent to address these issues" and that it intends to be collegial as well as assert its role in governance . . . Several faculty members said they did not expect the vote of no confidence to pass. "I think President Summers has shown a great willingness to think about his leadership style and to try to adapt and take into account areas where a number of people had some concerns," said Lawrence F. Katz, a professor of economics and a longtime supporter of Dr. Summers.
Sara Rimer, "Harvard Faculty Voting Tuesday on Confidence in President," The New York Times, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/15/education/15harvard.html 

Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers suffered an unexpected blow to his already rocky tenure last night, as faculty at the elite institution's largest teaching unit voted in favor of a motion expressing no confidence in his leadership.  During the latest of several such meetings, Harvard's arts-and-sciences faculty attending voted 218 to 185 in favor of a resolution stating simply: "The faculty lacks confidence in the leadership of Lawrence H. Summers." Eighteen faculty members abstained from the vote. Under university rules, the proposition needed the votes of a majority of faculty attending the meeting to pass . . . The vote of no confidence, believed to be the first in Harvard's history, comes at a time when Mr. Summers appeared to be making headway in his efforts to tamp down the turmoil that erupted in January after the former Treasury secretary told a conference on work-force diversity that innate gender differences could help explain why fewer women achieve high-level academic careers in science and math.  Those comments led presidents of other leading universities to speak out against his views. On campus, the turmoil quickly spread to involve an array of complaints ranging from faculty input on major university decisions to Mr. Summers's disputes with Cornel West, a prominent African-American professor who eventually left Harvard for Princeton University.  The referendum on Mr. Summers's leadership was largely symbolic, because only the university's governing board, the Harvard Corporation, has the power to remove the president, and it has issued a statement of support for him. Members of the secretive board couldn't be reached for comment, and a Harvard spokesman said the corporation didn't have any additional comment.
Robert Tomsho and John Hechinger, "Harvard President Is Given a Vote Of No Confidence," The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2005; Page A3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111091360378480164,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 

Also see http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/16/education/16harvard.html

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

Liberal faculty versus students at Harvard:  Summers Garners Applause At Mather
Five hours after receiving a stern censure from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), University President Lawrence H. Summers received a round of applause from undergraduates in Mather House last night. Summers arrived nearly 30 minutes late to the Mather event, but House Master Sandra Naddaff nonetheless welcomed the president with open arms, a glass of Diet Coke, and a fresh slice of cheese pizza. “I could use some sustenance,” Summers said. “I’ve had a long day—and I’m not going to talk about that.”  Instead, Summers launched into a wide-ranging talk outlining his overarching vision for the future of the University—leaving little doubt that, despite calls for his resignation, the president is in it for the long haul.  Battling back yawns at the beginning of his speech, Summers shed his suit jacket—and his look of fatigue—as he reiterated his call for curricular reforms aimed at bolstering the quality of undergraduate science instruction.  But Summers also sought to defuse criticism that he prioritizes the hard sciences over the humanities. Historically, he said, Harvard has been “more successful in training people and developing skills in the humanities...than we have been in the sciences.”  “The sense is not that science is more important at all,” Summers said. “It’s an area where we have a longer way to go.”
Daniel J. Hemel, "Summers Garners Applause At Mather," The Crimson, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.thecrimson.com/today/article506467.html

How well do senior faculty know students?
A chorus of [students] complained about the poor quality of academic advising and a lack of interaction between students and tenured professors.

When Summers asked the crowd whether “two senior faculty know you well,” barely a quarter of students raised their hands.  “There are a surprising number of students who would like to have more contact with senior faculty—and a surprising number of senior faculty who would like to have more contact with students,” Summers observed.  After the hour-long conversation, students praised Summers’ openness.  “I think he was receptive to student concerns,” said Rita Parai ’07. H. Francis Song ’06 added that Summers “showed more sensitivity to students’ needs than I expected.”
Daniel J. Hemel, "Summers Garners Applause At Mather," The Crimson, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.thecrimson.com/today/article506467.html

I think the vote of no confidence in Lawrence Summers is a wonderful thing. Harvard continues to discredit itself with the American public. The faculty is trapped. If Summers resigns, this extraordinary example of political correctness will come back to haunt Harvard, and the entire academy, for years. But if Summers hangs on, the faculty itself will have been humiliated--checked by the very fact of public scrutiny. Either way, Harvard is tearing itself apart. So long as the public simply writes of [sic] the academy, the mice can play. But the intense public scrutiny in this case puts the captains of political correctness into a no-win situation. Like the closely watched Susan Estrich fiasco, this battle is doing lasting damage to the cultural left. As they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Stanley Kurtz, The National Review, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/05_03_13_corner-archive.asp#058358 

I wonder if it was a statue of Larry Summers?
Fairbanks' largest ice sculpture came tumbling down late Sunday night with a ground-shaking crash that was heard but not seen. The Fox Icescraper, the 150-foot tall tower of ice built by John Reeves next to the Steese Highway eight miles north of Fairbanks, collapsed at around 10:45 p.m. after developing a significant lean over the weekend. "It woke me up out of a dead sleep," said Ben Ballard, . . .
Tim Mowrey"Fox ice tower falls," Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.news-miner.com/Stories/0,1413,113~7244~2763420,00.html 

Sex and Character
There are many great books. And of weird books, the number is countless. Yet, paradoxically enough, there are not that many great weird books.  Sex and Character by Otto Weininger is one of them. The appearance next month of a definitive English translation, published by Indiana University Press, is a major cultural event - one that is, arguably, at least several decades overdue.   First published in Vienna in 1903, Sex and Character is the product of a tortured genius. Or at least the work of someone remarkably devoted to playing that role. The author was 23 years old when it appeared. In its first incarnation, the book was Weininger's dissertation -- a more or less scientific account of the physiology of gender differences.  In revising it, Weininger created a mixture of psychological introspection, neo-Kantian epistemology, and Nietzschean cultural criticism, along with a heavy dose of  anti-feminist polemic. Toward the end of the book, Weininger seasoned the stew with a few dashes of anti-Semitic vitrol. Then, a few months after seeing the manuscript through the press, he went to the house where Beethoven died and killed himself. This did not hurt sales. And it sure did clinch the "tortured" part. The double impact of Weininger's work and his suicide created a sensation, and not just in Austria. The list of Weininger's admirers reads like a survey course in Western culture from the early 20th century. The most perfunctory roundup would include James Joyce, Karl Kraus, Robert Musil, Arnold Schoenberg, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.   An unsigned English version of Sex and Character appeared in 1906, prepared by someone whose qualifications for the job evidently boiled down to possessing (1) a German dictionary and (2) the willingness, when necessary, to hazard a guess. The title page proclaimed this an "Authorized Translation" -- though it's still not clear who, if anyone, authorized it, and in any case the English edition omits whole sections of the original text. Ludwig Wittgenstein called the 1906 translation "beastly." But it is the one we monolingual Europhiles have had to rely on for almost a century. (Excerpts from it are available online, who knows why.) 
Scott McClemee,  "Sex and the Single Genius," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/intellectual_affairs__12 

India swings on the Laffer curve
Its economy is growing at a rapid rate, the Mumbai stock market is performing well, tax revenues are flowing steadily into New Delhi, and the government is now planning to compete with Beijing in contracting for oil supplies to feed India's growing appetite for energy.  How did this most unexpected rags-to-riches story come about?  One clear reason can be found in a headline in Bloomberg's financial network on 11 January 2005, over a story by Andy Mukherjee writing from Singapore:  "India's Tax Plan May Again Bet on Laffer Curve."  I was most pleased to read that Finance Minister P Chidambaram is hinting at a "massive" change in the country's tax system, slashing tax rates on personal and corporate incomes in a second gamble on "the Laffer Curve", which Chidambaram mentions by name as an idea he has embraced with enthusiasm.
Jude Waniski, "India swings on the Laffer curve," Aljazeera, March 7, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/19C56AC9-1B19-4096-9068-79F9A2C8CDB5.htm 

You can read more about the Laffer curve at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve 

Also see http://www.vistech.net/users/rsturge/laffercu.html 

Do you really believe he won't ever drink again?
Having a vanity plate the reads "TIPSY" may not be such a good idea after all. Josiah Johnson, of Argusville, N.D., is in trouble for drunken driving. He figures his TIPSY plate might have tipped off the deputy who busted him. Police say Johnson had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit after he left a sports bar in Moorhead. Johnson said the TIPSY plate was meant to describe the way an old Jeep rode, and he kept the plate when he got a Chevy Silverado. Johnson said he has learned his lesson and will never drink and drive again.
"TIPSY License Plate Owner Pulled Over For Drunken Driving," ClickOnDetroit, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/4289598/detail.html 

Open Season on Kittie Cats:  Give granny a shotgun so she can kill Sylvester before he gets Tweety Bird
Wisconsin is considering allowing the hunting of cats. Not cougars or mountain lions or tigers on the loose but putty-tats: Sylvester the cat. Morris the cat. Garfield. The aim is to prevent the mass-killing of birds by cats, mostly of the feral — i.e., wild — variety. In other words, some people want to give granny a shotgun so she can kill Sylvester before he gets Tweety Bird.
Jonah Goldberg, "First, kill the cats," Jewish World Review, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/jonah031605.asp 

Social Networking:  What is "The Facebook" for college students?
They say it's lonely at the top. But David J. Skorton, the president of the University of Iowa, has a nice support group -- 994 strong, and growing every day.  Skorton has a profile in "The Facebook," an online "social network" service that students nationwide have flocked to since it was started last year. The Facebook, like Friendster and similar services, lets participants set up profiles of themselves and link those profiles to their friends' profiles, their friends' friends' profiles, etc. The Facebook focuses on college students, and is open only to participants with e-mail addresses at the growing number of colleges that are part of the network.  Most students use Facebook for fun, to organize parties, find dates or stay in touch with friends. Participants' profiles display their friends in the system, so it's easy to see who is well connected on a given campus. Skorton was encouraged to sign up by two of those who are now among his nearly 1,000 friends: Lindsay Schutte, president of the student government at Iowa, and Josh Skorton, the president's son and a student at Stanford.
Scott Jaschik, "A President With a Lot of Friends," Inside Higher Ed, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/a_president_with_a_lot_of_friends 

Would you like an order of fries with your government education loan?
The seven campuses of the Business Career Training Institute shut down at the end of last week, leaving students confused and regulators angry in Oregon and Washington State.  BCTI, as it was known, promoted itself as a school to prepare people for jobs in the technology industry. But state officials questioned whether it was doing that.  An Oregon investigation found that the BCTI advertising was misleading and that many of the graduates who found jobs -- after paying more than $20,000, typically with federal student loans, for the program -- ended up in the fast food industry or in other positions unrelated to the supposed training.
Scott Jaschick, "Trade School Chain Shuts Down," Inside Higher Ed, March 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/trade_school_chain_shuts_down 
Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mill frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#DiplomaMill 

So much for the new SAT being "new"
Some students apparently felt lucky Saturday. One of the final practice essay questions used by the Princeton Review test prep service, in the weeks leading up to the SAT, was about whether majority rule is always correct -- the topic that was on the actual test. A spokeswoman for the Princeton Review said some parents were concerned that their children might have somehow had access to the test in advance, and called Princeton Review on Monday, only to be told that the test materials the service uses are "really accurate."  The Princeton Review spokeswoman also said that about 70 percent of the test questions were "recycled" from a 2002 test. "So much for the new SAT being 'new,' " she said.
Scott Jaschik, "Multiple Choice," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/multiple_choice 

Statistical Snapshot
The report, Postsecondary Institutions in the United States: Fall 2003 and Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2002-03, is among the studies that the department's National Center for Education Statistics releases each year that, taken together, provide a statistical portrait of higher education. This study focuses on how many institutions there are (and what kind), what they charge, and how many degrees and certificates they award.
Doug Lederman, "Statistical Snapshot," Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/statistical_snapshot 

Say what?  A new word "wedgied" into Webster's Dictionary
Wedgie, a teenager's locker-room nightmare, has made it into the dictionary. Webster's New World College Dictionary based in Cleveland said wedgie was among its new additions to its latest edition. The new edition will carry this listing: wedgie: noun. a prank in which the victim's undershorts are jerked upward so as to become wedged between the buttocks. The dictionary also carries the tradition wedgie definition of a type of shoe. "`Wedgie' was always a part of the high school terminology that you sort of never thought about later," said Editor in Chief...
"'Wedgie' Added to Webster's Dictionary," Washington Times, March 15, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/wedgieMarch15 

The European Commission has a "chronically sordid" accounting system
The European Commission has a "chronically sordid" accounting system and is still unable to keep track of the EU's £73billion budget after a decade of financial scandals, according to a top EU insider.  An internal email obtained by The Telegraph paints an ugly picture of an autocratic body with an "incestuous esprit de corps" that uses its bureaucratic muscle to "trash" any official who dares to question its methods.  It said the Budget Directorate was in "persistent denial of the real nature and depth of problems" it faced, choosing "cavity filling solutions where root canals were called for".  The note was written by the former director-general of the commission's Internal Audit Service, Jules Muis, who retired last year after attempting to spearhead the EU's reform drive.  He said the Budget fiefdom relied on non-qualified accountants to manage funds, allowing it to "get away with" practices that breached its own laws. It operated a "perverse incentive structure" that rewarded staff if "they managed not to discover financial malfeasance".
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, "EC's 'sordid accounting' damned in email from top auditor," The Daily Telegraph, March 15, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/ECaccounting

Kansas Abortion Clinics Fight Data Request
Two Kansas clinics are opposing efforts by the state's attorney general to obtain the medical records of more than 80 women who received late-term abortions in 2003. The attorney general, Phill Kline, has argued that he is looking for evidence of child rape and violations of a state law restricting abortions performed after 22 weeks of pregnancy. But clinic supporters contend Kline is on a fishing expedition that invades patients' privacy and is making a calculated effort to hamper the clinics from performing abortions. Kline's push for medical records, backed by a judicial subpoena, is the strongest move yet by...
Peter Slevin, "Kansas Abortion Clinics Fight Data Request:   Criminal Inquiries Trump Issues of Privacy, State Says," Washington Post, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35009-2005Mar14.html 

Say what?  "Israelis are "legitimate targets" for Palestinian terrorists"
Police have decided not to charge a controversial Muslim leader under Canada's hate-crime laws for suggesting on a television talk show last fall that all adult Israelis are "legitimate targets" for Palestinian terrorists. Investigators with Halton Region police said that while the comments by Dr. Mohamed Elmasry "were described by many as [a] hate crime," they did not meet the legal definition. "Although the comments would be considered distasteful to many, in this context they do not constitute a criminal offence," police said in a news release. "The comments were made during a free-flowing discussion between subject-matter experts who were...
Chris Wattie "Saying Israelis are 'legitimate targets' not a hate crime police: Elmasry talk show case," National Post, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.canada.com/national/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=845a6d55-2da6-47d7-a1fe-9a17610b62a8 

Bad Grades for Teacher Education in America's Universities
American colleges and universities do such a poor job of training the nation's future teachers and school administrators that 9 of every 10 principals consider the graduates unprepared for what awaits them in the classroom, a new survey has found.  Nearly half the elementary- and secondary-school principals surveyed said the curriculums at schools of education, whether graduate or undergraduate, lacked academic rigor and were outdated, at times using materials decades older than the children whom teachers are now instructing. Beyond that, more than 80 percent of principals said the education schools were too detached from what went on at local elementary and high schools, a factor that made for a rift between educational theory and practice.  "I thought there were problems in the field," said Arthur E. Levine, president of Teachers College at Columbia University, who is to release the findings in a report today. "But I didn't realize the depth of the problems."  In the report, Dr. Levine - who when interviewed described the program at his own school as strong but "absolutely not" ideal - said he and other experts who worked on the study had focused their efforts on finding education schools capable of producing excellent principals, superintendents and other administrators. They found none in the entire country.
Greg Winter, "Study Finds Poor Performance by Nation's Education Schools," The New York Times, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/15/education/15teach.html

Freezing Out Identity Theft
In an effort to combat the rapidly escalating outbreak of identity-theft crimes, a handful of states including California and Texas have passed legislation that allows consumers to put a "security freeze" on their credit history.  Some 20 other states this year have considered or are considering adopting similar laws, which make it nearly impossible for criminals to use stolen information to open bogus new accounts. The measures are so effective because once frozen, a merchant is unable to review an applicant's credit history. Lacking such information, most companies refuse to open a new account, greatly devaluing stolen personal data. . . Currently, federal law does allow consumers to put a fraud "alert" on their files. If an alert pops up when someone applies for credit, the bank or merchant is supposed to try to verify an individual's identity. But the alert doesn't close off this access to credit histories. Instead, it merely warns the cellphone store or the credit-card issuer to take extra care with any new customer using a particular name.  No federal law gives all consumers the right to freeze their credit entirely, which keeps merchants from being able to look at it at all. (Companies with a pre-existing relationship with someone can generally still get access to their frozen credit files.)
Jennifer Saranow and Ron Lieber, "Freezing Out Identity Theft:  Potent State Laws Let Consumers Bar Access to Credit Reports, But Not Without Headaches," The Wall Street Journal,   March 15, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111084275620679216,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 

Texas law is limited
But in some states, legislators are fighting identity theft by proposing laws that give consumers the right to lock up their credit files with a security freeze. A security freeze lets you decide who gets to see your credit record, which prevents thieves from obtaining credit using your identity.  Texas has enacted such a law, but only for consumers who have already been victimized by identity theft. SB 100 would expand that right so that all consumers could look up their credit files with a security freeze.
Consumers Union --- http://snipurl.com/SecurityFreezeTexas 

Instructions for filing a security freeze in Texas are at http://www.law.uh.edu/peopleslawyer/SecurityFreeze.html 

Also see http://www.idtheftcenter.org/vg124.shtml 

Bob Jensen's threads on identity theft are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#IdentityTheft 

Fidel's Fortune
He didn't make it into the billionaire category, but Fidel Castro nonetheless earned an honorable mention on Forbes magazine's annual list of the World's Richest People out this month. And why not? With a net worth of $550 million, this is one bit of media recognition that El Jefe actually deserves.  According to Forbes, the Cuban leader committed to "socialism or death" has made a killing from a "web of state-owned businesses" -- all of which have no competition in the worker's paradise. Castro's most profitable operations include a convention center, a retail conglomerate and a company called Medicuba that sells pharmaceuticals made on the island, reports the magazine. Not mentioned are Cuba's biggest exports -- seafood, tobacco, sugar and nickel -- which, as El Maximo Lider of the communist regime, Fidel naturally benefits from too.
"Fidel's Fortune," The Wall Street Journal,  March 15, 2005; Page A20 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111084691636579380,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 

20th century's most influential practitioner of the horror story
For a man who didn't believe in the afterlife, H.P. Lovecraft sure is having a remarkable one. Few people had heard of him when he died at the age of 46 on this date in 1937, and fewer still had read the stories he sold to tacky pulp magazines. Nowadays, however, Stephen King and just about everybody else in the know recognizes him as the 20th century's most influential practitioner of the horror story -- a claim he arguably clinched last month with the publication of his best works in a definitive edition.
John J. Miller, "H.P. Lovecraft: 68 Years Dead And More Influential Than Ever," The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111084042433479156,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal 

Jensen Comment:  The online works of H.P. Lovecraft are at http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/ 

Big Amazon has the patent for watching you
That's one key feature, anyway, of a system Amazon has invented to gather clues about customers' gift-giving habits in order to suggest future gifts and reminders. The company was granted a patent last week for the system, which also profiles gift recipients and guesses their age, birthday and gender.  Amazon says it hasn't put the "systems and methods" covered by the patent to use, so it isn't monitoring customer review pages yet. But that fact gives little comfort to consumer advocates, who have hounded Amazon for years over its customer-profiling practices.
Alorie Gilbert, "Privacy advocates frown on Amazon snooping plan, CNET News, March 14, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/deu7 

Jews vs. Catholics in the stem cell debate
Monday night at dinner, I ask Austriaco if he sees a Catholic-Jewish difference on these questions. He does, particularly among theologians. Jews follow diffuse commentary, he says; Catholics follow streamlined authority. Jews trust intuition; Catholics trust reason. "You don't have as clear a definition of boundaries as we have," he observes. This is why Catholics have an easier time getting over the yuck factor. "We say, 'Yeah, it looks yucky.' But I'm a molecular biologist. We make tumors in the lab all the time. For a Catholic, if I can articulate what I'm doing, it's not yucky."
William Saletan "Oi Vitae:  Jews vs. Catholics in the stem cell debate," Slate, March 7, 2005 --- http://slate.msn.com/id/2114733/ 

How to lie with statistics:  The Washington Post does it this way
In yet another example of biased Washington Post reporting (my partner Pat Hynes rightly skewered Mike Allen's "Tom DeLay's issues have GOP Worried" story earlier), their latest poll showing bad news for President Bush's Social Security reform plan is a joke. So, as we have so many times before we're going to show you how the MSM - in this case The Washington Post presents data in a misleading way so that it fit their desired outcome. Nowhere has this been more true than in the recent polls about Social Secruity, and the latest Post poll is yet another striking...First, take a look at the nature of the respondents. It's 1,001 "randomly selected adults" (much the same tactic used by the fraudulent New York Times and AP polls on Social Security which we exposed) . That's the extent of the Post's description of respondents. Nowhere is mentioned how many of the respondents were even "registered voters" (let alone likely ones), the party identification of the voters, their ages, geographical location or income levels. All of those factors would have an impact on the outcome of the poll.  Thus, there is no way for the reader to know if this is a "rigged" sample made up of ardent liberal from the northeast, or if it reflects a true opinion of the American people. One thing is certain - it sure doesn't give the reader an actual idea of what the ELECTORATE might do to lawmakers who support or oppose the plan, given that statistically between 30-40% of the "adult" respondents don't even vote in Presidential elections. The number of non-voters in this poll will be even higher in the 2006 elections.
"Calling "Bulls**t" On The Washington Post, Pt. II-We Skewer Yet Another MSM Poll," Ankle Biting Pundits, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.anklebitingpundits.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1253&mode=nested&order=1&thold=0 

Europeans Grow More Intolerant of Immigrants
Europeans are becoming more intolerant of immigrants and one in five want them sent home, a study released Tuesday by the European Union racism watchdog showed. The study, based on pan-EU opinion surveys between 1997 and 2003, found a significant increase in support for the view that there were limits to a so-called multicultural society. There was also a significant increase in the minority of people who supported repatriating immigrants, to 20 percent, the study said, without providing the scale of either increase. "The European Union is confronted with intolerance and discriminatory attitudes toward minorities and migrants," Beate Winkler, head...
Marcus Kabel, "Europeans Grow More Intolerant of Immigrants-Study," Reuters, March 15, 2005 --- http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=574&ncid=721&e=4&u=/nm/20050315/wl_nm/rights_europe_dc 

Diverse positions among worshippers having the same God
The leadership of the Presbyterian Church recently decided to encourage its governing body to promote divestment from companies that do business with Israel. Shortly thereafter, the Anglican church, the Lutheran church and the World Council of Churches (WCC, with 347 member denominations world-wide) followed suit with the explanation that divestment "(is) a new way to work for peace, by looking at ways to not participate economically in illegal activities related to the Israeli occupation." (1) These churches are among those often referred to as "mainline" churches.  The most problematic issue of this new “mainline” posture is that it is clearly intended to support the Arab terror war against Israel; and to justify that support, church spokespersons make use of false information about the conflict.  A review of factual information about the conflict and the nature of divestment reveals that the mainline churches have stood up in favor of a process that is illegal, irrational, immoral, biased against Israel and in favor of Israel’s enemies, and consciously oblivious to the transparent lies of divestment proponents. Moreover, by supporting divestment, they ignore the real threats of global terrorism which seeks, among other things, the destruction of all other forms of religion in the world, including Christianity. The mainline churches' stand, therefore, is quite literally self-destructive.
David Meir-Levi, "Mainline Christian Anti-Semitism," Front Page Magazine, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=17308 

Diverse positions among worshippers having the same Allah
Throughout the West, Muslims are making new and assertive demands, and in some cases challenging the very premises of European and North American life. How to respond? Here is a general rule: Offer full rights — but turn down demands for special privileges. By way of example, note two current Canadian controversies. The first concerns the establishment of voluntary Shar'i (Islamic law) courts in Ontario. This idea is promoted by the usual Islamist groups, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Canada and the Canadian Islamic Congress. It is most prominently opposed by Muslim women's groups, led by Homa Arjomand, who fear that the Islamic courts, despite their voluntary nature, will be used to repress women's rights.
Daniel Pipes, "Which privileges for Islam?" Jewish World Review, March 15, 2005 --- http://jewishworldreview.com/0305/pipes2005_03_15.php3 

Forwarded by Debbie Bowling
Scientists discover green tea's cancer-fighter Spanish and British scientists have discovered how green tea helps to prevent certain types of cancer.

Elders with shaky hands can have a steady mouse
IBM is expected to unveil the product today, a mouse adapter that filters out the shaking movements of the hand to enable a user to navigate a PC screen more smoothly.  The device is plugged between the mouse and the PC and works like the stabilization systems found in many camcorders.
Benjamin Pimentel, "Helping hand for those with shaky hands IBM to unveil mouse adapter to steady cursor," San Francisco Chronicle, March 14, 2005 --- http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/03/14/BUGCIBO7E01.DTL&type=tech 

Adding pasted notes to Web pages
In 2001, Microsoft bought Web page markup technology from a company called E-Quill but hasn't incorporated any of its features into Internet Explorer. The iMarkup toolbar, which debuted to rave reviews in 2000, hasn't gotten much buzz since. You can still get iMarkup—a 30-day trial is free and it costs $39.95 if you want to keep it after that. One screenshot says it all: You can highlight parts of a page, post sticky notes, draw freehand, and insert arrows, links, file attachments, and sound bites. Taking notes on the Slate home page won't change what other surfers see. But when you revisit the page, iMarkup will remember what you wrote and slap your notes atop the live site. In one simple step, you can e-mail your annotations (or a screenshot of your annotations) to a friend. Using a free iMarkup plug-in, they can then view your notes overlaid atop the live site.
Paul Boutin, "The new technique that will change blogging forever," Slate, March 15, 2005 --- http://slate.msn.com/id/2114791/ 

Family of Slain Protester Sues Caterpillar
The parents of a 23-year-old activist killed while trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home is suing Caterpillar Inc., the company that made the bulldozer that ran over her.  The federal lawsuit, which lawyers said would be filed here Tuesday, alleges that Caterpillar violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to Israeli Defense Forces that it knew would be used to demolish homes and endanger people.
Elizabeth M. Gillespie, "Family of Slain Protester Sues Caterpillar," Guardian, March 15, 2005 --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4867950,00.html 

An what if the El Paso company outsources its New Jersey contracts?
New Jersey lawmakers passed a bill this week that would ban all state contract work from being performed outside the country. Acting Governor Richard Codey is expected to sign the measure, which would be the first of its kind in the U.S. and no doubt bring joy to the hearts of CNN's Lou Dobbs ("Outsourcing America") and protectionists everywhere . . . And all for a measure that is bound to end up costing more local jobs than it protects. If the state contractor's costs rise because it has to dismiss its low-cost overseas workforce, it will either have to drop the state contract, accept lower profits, or lay off other workers. As an alternative, a state contractor who can't use workers in India would still be able to outsource jobs to workers in a more business-friendly state like Texas. Can someone explain why New Jersey taxpayers should feel so much better about paying more to hire workers in El Paso as opposed to paying less to hire them in Bangalore?
"Outsourcing New Jersey," The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111093749293380715,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep 

Forwarded by Dick Haar

Colonoscopies... A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male), while he was performing their colonoscopies:

1. "Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!"

2. "Find Amelia Earhart yet?"

3. "Can you hear me NOW?"

4. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

5. "You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married."

6. "Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?"

7. "You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out..."

8. "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!"

9. "If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!"

10. "Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity."

11. "You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?"

12. "God, Now I know why I am not gay."

And the best one of them all...

13. "Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there!

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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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