Tidbits on August 29, 2005
Bob Jensen
at Trinity University 

Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
Archives of Tidbits: 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/

Security threats and hoaxes --- http://www.trinity.edu/its/virus/


Music: Some great big band samples (with vocals) --- http://joeythomasbigband.com/broadband/band/music.htm
           I especially like Night Train

           Compare songs for different kinds of dances --- http://www.geocities.com/jaichavan/indexmus.htm

           NPR has some good links to jazz samples --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4565717
           Also see http://www.npr.org/templates/topics/topic.php?topicId=1042

            New Orleans Siren --- http://www.timothea.com/

            Oscar Peterson samples --- http://www.oscarpeterson.com/op/musicframe.html

            Play and Explain Options --- http://www.heplaysjazz.btinternet.co.uk/giants.html

            Some free oldies (really oldies) --- http://www.turtleserviceslimited.org/jukebox.htm

Guitarists Who Play On the Edge Between Jazz and the Blues
Nowhere is the line between jazz and blues so easily blurred as when guitar players go to work. Following the example of T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green and others, these guitarists dash off jazz riffs amid 12-bar blues or toss a rubbery blues run into a jazz standard, proving both genres spring from the same well. Here are a few current examples of guitarists playing jazz blues. Or is it blues jazz? Calvin Newborn's album "New Born" (Yellow Dog) is grounded in Beale Street blues, Charlie Christian-style chording and a lifetime of working with greats including his brother, the late Phineas Newborn Jr. Six of the eight tracks are Calvin Newborn originals, and they display his love of the kind of small-combo jazz where unison playing gives way to compact improvisations steeped in the blues. Solos by the 70-something Mr. Newborn, such as on the leisurely "After Hours Blues" and his brother's slinky composition "Newborn Blues," are tasty and understated, with a dab of showmanship on the side. His delicate work on "Lush Life" is gorgeous, as his fluid playing on the Billy Strayhorn melody gives way to delicate chording under pianist Donald Brown's solo. Sonny Thompson on trumpet and Herman Green on flute and sax add a pleasing texture to the album.
Jim Fusilli, "Guitarists Who Play On the Edge Between Jazz and the Blues," The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112474760069819949,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

"The Inventive Father of Moog Music," by Trevor Pinch, The Wall Street Journal,  August 24, 2005; Page D10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112483969787721247,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep

Robert Moog, the inventor of the Moog electronic music synthesizer, died on Sunday from an inoperable brain tumor at age 71.

Though Bob Moog was a cult hero to many musicians, his company, until a few years ago, when it experienced a major upswing, had been run down. In 1996, I visited him in the ratty warehouse on the outskirts of Asheville, N.C., from which he then ran the remnants of his musical instrument company. I was there to interview the great man. He wanted to go somewhere quiet, real quiet. He led me down the street to a leafy park. We sat down on a bench. "Welcome to the Executive Lounge -- ask me anything you like."

Bob clearly was a very funny man. He needed to be. Known and respected throughout the music world as the inventor of the first commercially successful electronic music synthesizer, "the Moog," he had run a company that for a short time in the late 1960s and early 1970s dominated the world of electronic instrument manufacturing. But by 1996, it had fallen on hard times and he'd lost the right to use his trade name "Moog Music" and Internet surfers would find bogus companies trading under his name.

The idea of a more compact and portable synthesizer than the room-size vacuum-tube equipment at the time was given to him by musician Herb Deutch. His original 1964 synthesizer was the size of a kitchen dresser. Different modules produced varying voltages and wave forms and these could be fed back on each other via patch wires that the operator plugged in, as with an old analog telephone switchboard. The key technical breakthrough was a device known as the filter -- the only thing on the Moog synthesizer on which he held a patent. It produced the resonant bass sound that in later years became the trademark of numerous funk, hip-hop and techno recordings.

Continued in article

From The Washington Post on August 25, 2005

Synthesizer innovator Robert A. Moog recently died at the age of 71. A childhood interest in an early electronic musical instrument used to create sci-fi sound effects lead to Moog's career. What was that instrument called?

A. Buchla
B. Eimert
C. Telharmonium
D. Theremin

I don't care much for it, but you can hear some samples for yourself at
http://www.zzounds.com/item--BIGETHERWAVE

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm




It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.
Sir Winston Churchill

Night and morning are making promises to each other which neither will be able to keep.
Richard Shelton

Learning to dislike children at an early age saves a lot of expense and aggravation later in life.
Robert Byrne

All that we know is nothing, we are merely crammed waste-paper baskets, unless we are in touch with that which laughs at all our knowing.
D.H. Lawrence, "Peace and War," Pansies, 1929

The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.
Susan Sontag

No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.
Terry Pratchett

We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
Robert Frost, In the Clearing, 1962

If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra




I think that in a popular Broadway play (later a movie staring Burt and Dolly), these were called "side steps"
(in this case while failing to admit to blatant faculty prejudice in an academy that restrains unpopular diversity)
"Proving the Critics’ Case," K.C. Johnson, Inside Higher Ed, August 26, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/08/26/johnson


Can this do a disservice to academic values?

"If the Law Is an Ass, the Law Professor Is a Donkey," by Adam Liptik, The New York Times, August 28, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/weekinreview/28liptak.html

PROFESSORS at the best law schools are generally assumed to be overwhelmingly liberal, and now a new study lends proof. But whether the ideological imbalance matters - to the academic environment students encounter, to the kinds of lawyers the schools produce and to the stock of ideas the professors generate - depends on whom you ask.

The study, to be published this fall in The Georgetown Law Journal, analyzes 11 years of records reflecting federal campaign contributions by professors at the top 21 law schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Almost a third of these law professors contribute to campaigns, but of them, the study finds, 81 percent who contributed $200 or more gave wholly or mostly to Democrats; 15 percent gave wholly or mostly to Republicans.

The percentages of professors contributing to Democrats were even more lopsided at some of the most prestigious schools: 91 percent at Harvard, 92 at Yale, 94 at Stanford. At the University of Virginia, on the other hand, contributions were about evenly divided between the parties. The sample sizes at some schools may be too small to allow for comparisons, though it bears noting that by this measure the University of Chicago is slightly more liberal than Berkeley.

If the liberal law professors mean to indoctrinate students, though, they have failed spectacularly in some notable cases. The United States Supreme Court's two most conservative members, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, are products of Harvard and Yale, respectively. And if John G. Roberts Jr., another conservative, is confirmed this fall, another conservative graduate of Harvard Law will be added to the court.

Whatever may be said about particular schools and students, professors and deans of all political persuasions agreed that the study's general findings are undeniable.

"Academics tend to be more to the left side of the continuum," said David E. Van Zandt, dean of Northwestern's law school, where the contribution rate to Democrats was 71 percent. "It's a little worse in law school. In other disciplines, there are more objective standards for quality of work. Law schools are sort of organized in a club structure, where current members of the club pick future members of the club."

That can do a disservice to academic values, said Peter H. Schuck, a Yale law professor and the author of "Diversity in America: Keeping Government at a Safe Distance." "We have a higher responsibility to our students, ourselves and our disciplines," he said, "that our preference for ideological homogeneity and faculty-lounge echo chambers betrays."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on hypocrisy in academe are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisy.htm


Can this do a disservice to perceptions of scientific research?

"Global Warming Blows—Or Does It? There's no shame in good hurricane science," by Patrick J. Michaels, Reason Magazine, August 17, 2005 --- http://www.reason.com/hod/pm081705.shtml 

In case you’ve missed the hype, MIT's Kerry Emanuel has a paper in the online version of Nature magazine saying that hurricanes are becoming dramatically more powerful as a result of global warming.  

Merely venturing into the discussion of hurricanes and global warming is more dangerous than most tropical cyclones. About Emanuel's article, William Gray of Colorado State University—the guy who issues the annual hurricane forecast that grabs headlines every summer—told the Boston Globe, "It's a terrible paper, one of the worst I've ever looked at."  

There's also nastiness if you say hurricanes aren't getting worse. A month ago, University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke, Jr., posted a paper that was accepted in the Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society concluding there is little if any sign of global warming in hurricane patterns. In a pre-emptive strike, Kevin Trenberth from the federally funded National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, told the local newspaper, "I think he [Pielke] should withdraw his article. This is a shameful article."  

Continued in article


From WebMD:  How to Cope With Sleep Loss ---
http://my.webmd.com/content/pages/22/107955?z=1836_107955_4052_f1_02


Wonder pill aspirin may prevent cancer
It is a painkiller, it helps prevent heart attacks - and now it appears prolonged use of aspirin can even stop people from getting cancer. If it was developed today, the century-old drug might struggle to get through clinical trials because it can cause major damage to the lining of the stomach along with severe internal bleeding. But a major study published yesterday gave yet another reason to keep making aspirin, which is also used to treat strokes and cataracts and boost the chances of having a baby while undergoing IVF treatment. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston studied more than 80,000 female nurses who took part in a major health study for more than 20 years.
Ian Johnston, "Wonder pill aspirin may prevent cancer," Scotsman.com, August 25, 2005 --- http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=1831722005


What do students do with their time?  A new Cornell University Press book tries to answer this.
College freshmen typically spend about 12 hours a week in class and, according to the 2004 National Survey of Student Engagement, an additional 13 hours a week studying. Assuming naively that these numbers are accurate (students have been known to cut classes and exaggerate their studiousness), such demands on student time still leave 143 hours unaccounted for -- 87 if we figure in eight hours of sleep a night.
That learning makes up a small part of college life today is widely acknowledged. The question remains: What is going on the rest of the time? "My Freshman Year" (Cornell University Press, 186 pages, $24) tries to answer that question but succeeds only fitfully. The book is the account of Rebekah Nathan (not her real name), an anthropology professor at AnyU (a large state university), who takes a leave from her teaching position to go back to school as an undergraduate for a year. (Using hints from the book, an enterprising reporter at the New York Sun recently identified Ms. Nathan as a professor at Northern Arizona University.)
Naomi Schaeffer Riley, "Tales Out of School," The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112492106014922338,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Jensen Comment:  I discussed this book previously in Tidbits.  College counselors claimed the study did not reveal anything that they did not already know.  Social scientists questioned Dr. Nathan's ethics and wondered if she got permission from her university to conduct secretive studies of human subjects.  In any case, her findings reconfirm our suspicions that students in college do not spend the time we hope they would spend in substantive learning.  But students in some other nations probably spend less time in learning, notably in Japan where the tradition is to learn an immense amount before college and then party a lot in college.


How can the quality, apart from quantity, of learning time be improved in college?

"Beyond Busy,"  by Bruce G. Murphy, Inside Higher Ed, August 29, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/08/29/murphy

Too often today the assumption is the busier the student, the more he is learning, and the busier the professor, the more she is contributing.

The tragedy and irony in this perspective is that when we stop to think for a moment (and, of course, we don’t have time to) we acknowledge — especially those of us in liberal arts colleges — that the wisdom we claim to value above all can only come when we have time to reflect. Activity and busyness, the gods of our culture, are demons in the life of those seeking the mind and the spirit. No matter how good the individual academic or co-curricular experience may be, the cumulative affect of so many experiences is destructive.

So what can be done?

The growing awareness among accrediting agencies that learning is not based on “seat time” — time spent in a classroom seat — has opened the door to new, creative ways to maximize time in higher educational institutions. In a recent meeting with the North Central Association, an association official expressed interest in working with my college, a Christian liberal arts institution in Iowa, to explore alternative ways of doing college: the goal being to encourage more reflection and make room for the kind of learning that will one day blossom into wisdom.

What might “a new way of doing college” look like?

One of the questions we will be exploring at Northwestern is this: Is it possible to organize a student’s four years in a more developmental manner, gradually cultivating a way of life that uses time effectively for lifelong learning — rather than just lifelong busyness?

Here is one possibility: The freshman year would be much like it is today with a structured academic schedule and opportunities to participate in co-curricular activities. But as students move through their sophomore, junior and senior years, they would be weaned from a structured but busy schedule of many curricular and co-curricular experiences to a less structured schedule with more time for critical reflection and synthesis. The focus would be more on overall learning than on particular activities — more on growing internal student discipline than on relying on external direction.

As sophomores they might replace typical 200-level general education courses with interdisciplinary seminars that integrate service learning and independent study with traditional classroom content. Significant time would be allocated for individual reflection and small group interaction — the desire being to nurture a dialogue within the students themselves, and with each other and their professors, on what truly matters in life. Faculty and student life personnel might work together in guiding student learning. Knowledge, experience and personal development would merge to help shape the student’s view of the world as she embarks on courses in her major. The other segment of the sophomore year would introduce the foundational content of various academic majors.

Continued in article



Female college students spend more time studying and are more likely to earn A’s
Female college students spend more time studying and are more likely to earn A’s in their courses than their male counterparts are, according to a study released Wednesday by Student Monitor and the Association of American Publishers. The study also found that students at two-year institutions are 23 percent likelier than four-year-college students to say that they study efficiently.
Inside Higher Ed, August 25, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/08/25/qt
 

The New York Times on August 27, 2005 reports the KPMG settlement at $456 million, excluding future settlements with states --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/27/business/27kpmg.html

Jensen Comment:  I guess this is good news in that KPMG is thereby allowed to stay in business and will not implode in the manner that Andersen imploded following the document shredding conviction.  but there is still the worry about individual state prosecutions.

Some added bad news for KPMG
Although the U.S. Justice Department is seeking a settlement, although harsh, with KPMG, the state of Mississippi is also likely to file a criminal suit against the embattled accounting firm. KPMG devised the tax strategy for WorldCom after it reorganized as MCI. Although the state approved the tax plan and MCI has moved its corporate headquarters to Virginia, the state maintains that the tax plan sheltered billions of potential tax dollars in its treatment of royalties. It has been recommended that Mississippi join about 15 other states and the District of Columbia in prosecuting this case together but Mississippi continues on its own. In May of this year, the state became the first state to resolve back tax claims with the telcom giant in accepting MCI’s former headquarters building and $100 million in cash.
"More Good News Than Bad for KPMG," AccountingWeb, August 24, 2005 ---
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=101231

Obviously tax consulting has been a huge problem for KPMG that has spilled over into the auditing profession in general.  You might read KPMG’s guilt admission statement about this at http://www.us.kpmg.com/news/index.asp?cid=1872
It says KPMG no longer provides the “services in question,” but is somewhat vague as to what tax advisory services have been eliminated.

There will soon be books out about this criminal behavior at KPMG.  For openers, go to "How an Accounting Firm Went From Resistance to Resignation," by Lynnley Browning, The New York Times, August 28, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/NYTAug28

"We came to the party late. We drank more, and we stayed longer," said a former member of KPMG's board.

KPMG went full-bore into creating and selling aggressive tax shelters only around 1997, after it held failed merger talks with Ernst & Young, according to a member of KPMG's board at that time.

The talks afforded KPMG the opportunity to analyze Ernst & Young's books in detail, and it was disturbed by what it saw: a major competitor growing at a rapid rate, and making lots of money, by aggressively selling tax shelters, sometimes to KPMG's own audit clients.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on the saga of KPMG are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#KPMG

 


But where would you put all those books?
Amazon.com is offering nearly 1,100 titles of classic literature (that's Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment at left) for just under $8,000. The Penguin Classics Collection weighs 700 pounds, but delivery is free.
Melissa Block, "Loading Up on Penguin Classics," NPR, August 24, 2005 ---
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4814140
Jensen Comment:  Many or most of them are probably available free as electronic books that do not need a new barn for storage.  Of course it would cost a whole lot more than $8,000 to print those as hard copy.  Selective printing when you need it is probably the best answer since you probably won't read most of them in the rest of your lifetime. And you can do word searches in most electronic books except for those that actually were scanned as pictures instead of converted to text --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#ElectronicBooks


Dell in the bloghouse:  According to bloggers, Dell's customer service sucks
A PC-owner's Web diary of complaints about customer service has yielded heavy traffic and some near-contrition from the maker. PC industry circles have been buzzing in recent months that Dell's (DELL ) customer support is slipping -- a claim bolstered on Aug. 16 by a University of Michigan study that showed a hefty decline in customer satisfaction from a year ago. So the last thing Dell needed was for someone to turn the customer-service issue into a cause célebrè.
Louise Lee, "Dell: In the Bloghouse," Business Week, August 25, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/Bloghouse 
Jensen Comment:  I think the title of this article is especially clever.

And Dell's stock price is not doing well --- http://snipurl.com/BloghouseStock


From Jim Mahar's blog on August 26, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

What's Really Wrong With U.S. Business Schools?
by Harry DeAngelo, Linda DeAngelo, Jerold Zimmerman:

Wow, it sounds bad. I (Jim Mahar) am very glad I chose a small university (St. Bonaventure). However, the choice leads me to not really comment on the paper since being at a small university removes me from many (but not all) of the problems cited in the paper. Moreover, I do not feel I can add any value to what the authors say.

Rather I will only give you the abstract and link.

Abstract:
"U.S. business schools are locked in a dysfunctional competition for media rankings that diverts resources from long-term knowledge creation, which earned them global pre-eminence, into short-term strategies aimed at improving their rankings. MBA curricula are distorted by 'quick fix, look good' packaging changes designed to influence rankings criteria, at the expense of giving students a rigorous, conceptual framework that will serve them well over their entire careers. Research, undergraduate education, and Ph.D. programs suffer as faculty time is diverted to almost continuous MBA curriculum changes, strategic planning exercises, and public relations efforts. Unless they wake up to the dangers of dysfunctional rankings competition, U.S. business schools are destined to lose their dominant global position and become a classic case study of how myopic decision-making begets institutional mediocrity."
Cite:
DeAngelo, Harry, DeAngelo, Linda and Zimmerman, Jerold L., "What's Really Wrong With U.S. Business Schools?" (July 2005). http://ssrn.com/abstract=766404

Jensen Comment:
The DeAngelos and Jerry Zimmerman are leading advocates of capital market research and positivist methodology.  Harry and Linda are from the University of Southern California and Jerry is from the University of Rochester.  Their business schools rank 23 and 26 respectively in the latest US News rankings.  Their WSJ rankings are 23 and 20.

I think the authors overstate the problem with media rankings and curricula.  I don’t think curriculum choices or PR enter into the rankings in a big way.  Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton will almost always come out on top no matter what the curriculum or PR budget.  What counts heavily is elitism tradition and alumni networking (helps Harvard the most), concentration of researchers/names (helps Stanford the most), and insider tracks to Wall Street (helps Wharton the most).  These, in turn, affect the number of MBA applicants with GMAT scores hovering around 700 or higher.  The GMAT scores, in turn, impact most heavily upon media rankings.  The raters are looking for where the top students in the world are scrambling to be admitted.  Can the majority of applicants really tell us the difference between the business school curriculum at USC versus Stanford versus Rochester?  I doubt it!

Media rankings differ somewhat due to differences in the groups doing the rankings.  The US News rankings are done by AACSB deans who tend to favor schools with leading researchers.  The WSJ rankings are done by corporate recruiters who are impressed by the credentials of the graduating students and their interviewing skills (which might indirectly be affected by a curriculum that is more profession oriented and less geeky).

The major "media rankings" are given in the following sources as reported in Tidbits on August 19:
Business school rankings and profiles from Business Week Magazine ---
http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/?campaign_id=nws_mbaxp_aug16&link_position=link6

The Wall Street Journal rankings of business schools --- http://online.wsj.com/page/0,,2_1103,00.html

US News graduate business school rankings --- http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/grad/rankings/rankindex_brief.php

August 27, 2005 reply from Dennis Beresford (University of Georgia)

Bob,

Thanks for this link. The DeAngelo, DeAngelo, and Zimmerman paper is quite interesting. Because football season doesn't start until next week, I had a little time to kill this afternoon and used it to read this paper.

My own rather short academic experience causes me to agree with the paper's assertion that MBA program rankings tend to drive much of what happens at a business school. We recently proudly reported that we were number 30 in the US News rankings (
without pointing out that there was a 30 way tie for that spot). And we also trumpeted the fact that the Forbes rankings just out reported that our MBA graduates earned $100,000 in starting pay vs. $40,000 when they entered the program. (I think the ghosts of Andersen must have developed those numbers.)

We went through a curriculum revision a couple of years ago and we now emphasize "leadership." (I suspect this puts us in the company of only about 90% of MBA programs that do the same.) Most of our classes are now taught in half semesters. Perhaps there is good justification for this but it seems to me to encourage a more superficial approach. And managerial accounting is no longer a required part of the curriculum in spite of our pointing out that most of the elite schools still require this important subject.

While I agree with the premise that MBA programs are focusing too much on rankings and short term thinking, I believe the paper's arguments on how to "cure the problem" aren't well supported. In particular, while I strongly agree with the idea that MBA programs should primarily help students develop critical thinking and analytic skills, I think the authors are too critical of the practical aspects of business education as described by Bennis and O'Toole in their earlier Harvard Business article. The authors of this paper seem to feel that more emphasis on research published in scholarly journals will bring more of a long-term focus to MBA education and will address the concerns about rankings, etc. I think a better response would be to balance the practical and theoretical - although I know that is a very hard thing to do.

As a final note, would you agree that the capital asset pricing model and efficient markets research "inspired" indexed mutual funds?
Asserting such a causal connection seems like a pretty big stretch to me.

Denny Beresford

August 29, 2005 response from Paul Williams at North Carolina State University

And we all know what rigorous conceptual framework these folks have in mind. This paper is the knee-jerk response to the Bennis/ O'Toole paper. This is an argument that has been going on since business schools were started. It's the on-going argument over case method vs modeling as the proper way to teach business.

Odd that such believers in market solutions should question what is obviously working -- would universities play this game if it didn't work? Or is it only universities that are irrational? (I'll bet Rochester and Southern Cal are playing the game, too. What kind of research do you suppose Bill Simon expects for his millions?) Passions run so high and retribution is swift. Note what happen to Bob Kaplan's service on the JAR board when he suggested (after he got some religion at Harvard) that case studies might be a worthwhile thing for us to consider.

Denny, et al:
You have made some very good points about blending. A very long time ago, Aristotle, in the Nichomachean Ethics, described three types of knowledge: techne, episteme, and phronesis. Techne = technical knowledge (how to bake a pie). Episteme = scientific knowledge. Phronesis (the highest form) = wisdom, i.e., the knowledge of goodness; how to be a good citizen. Business is a practice and the Harvard approach is one that acknowledges that "wisdom can't be told" (the title of the classic 1950s essay on the value of the case approach). Modelers miss a key element of management. It is not a constrained optimization problem, but a process of intervention. Experience matters


The ratings game is played because it pays off. Duke didn't have a graduate program in business until 1970 compared to UNC's, which predated Duke's by about 25 years. When Tom Keller became dean he had a stroke of genius and hired a public relations firm to promote the MBA. Duke always marketed itself from the day it was founded as the "Harvard of the South" and was able to attract wealthy Northeasterners not able to get into Ivy league schools. Now Duke is able to attract highly talented students, high priced faculty and big donattions (note that Wendy's founder Dave Thomas didn't raise millions for Eastern State U.).
Marketing works -- look how many pick-up trucks with 1975 technology under the hood got sold as Sport Utility Vehicles (Pick- up Trucks with Walls doesn't have the same ring). Half the battle at becoming the best is telling people you are, a fact every con man knows. People don't give money to Harvard because it needs it -- they give to Harvard to say they gave to Harvard. Do you think any of the terminally vain people who give money to get their names chiseled on the buildings do so because they have read all of the brillians academic papers people inside the building have produced? No, they give it because someone has told them that the people inside the building are writing brilliant academic papers.


It really becomes a post-modern moment when the people writing the papers truly believe they are brilliant.
 

You can read about the Bennis and O'Toole paper at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#AcademicsVersusProfession


As accounting courses in MBA core are shrinking, finance courses are increasing

From Jim Mahar's Blog on August 29, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

Core Finance Trends in the Top MBA Programs in 2005 by Kent Womack, Ying Zhang:

Following Friday's mention of the DeAngelo, DeAngelo, and Zimmerman paper that looks at what is wrong with MBA programs at some universities, I was sent the following paper by Womack and Zhang. They survey MBA programs to see what trends exist.

The good news?
More finance! "Five of the nineteen schools responding have increased hours spent in the finance core substantially, compared to results of our earlier survey in 2001."

The bad news (at least for students): fewer electives:

"The recent survey results, however, suggest in general that most other schools seem to be migrating in the other direction, towards more required course hours."

The paper is full of many really cool things. For instance focusing on finance:

"Principles of Corporate Finance by Brealey, Meyers, and Allen (BMA) and Corporate Finance by Ross, Westerfield, Jaffe (RWJ), were used by 8 and 6 schools this year respectively, and remain the prevailing main textbook choices by most schools." “Average outside class hours expected per session”. The mean for all schools responding is 4.2 hours, with a wide range of 2 to 8 hours." "...programs continue to spend significant amount of time (on average, 9% of in-class time) on Present Value and other primary background topics. Diverse professional backgrounds and entry mathematic proficiency levels demand finance professors “level the playing field” before teaching other challenging topics."

VERY Interesting for anyone in an MBA program!

The is available from SSRN as well as from Womack's web site.
Cite: Womack, Kent L. and Zhang, Ying N., "Core Finance Trends in the Top MBA Programs in 2005"
. http://ssrn.com/abstract=760604


There are thousands of distance education courses in the U.K.

The Guardian has a really interesting education search page for U.K. students.  It first lets you choose from hundreds of distance education course topics.  Then you choose what type of credential/degree your are seeking and what college you want to pick --- http://www.ecctisclearing.co.uk/

When I searched for "accounting" and "degree" courses on August 27, 2005, I found links to 820 courses in many colleges and universities.

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education alternatives are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm


"Why Does College Cost So Much?," by Richard Vedder, The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2005; Page A10

There are six factors in the cost explosion:

Rising Demand:
The "natural" consequences of a rising demand -- higher prices and a larger quantity consumed -- are exacerbated by soaring third-party payments. Since 1994, financial-aid payments (mostly federal loans and grants) have risen by an extraordinary 11% per year. When someone else pays the bills, we become less sensitive to price.

Lack of Market Discipline:
Most universities are nonprofit. There is no bottom line. Did Yale have a good year in 2004? Who knows? Its stock is not traded. Administrators and faculty are not rewarded for increasing profits by reducing costs or improving product quality. When prices rise in the for-profit sector, entrepreneurs rush to supply the good, leading to higher supply and lower prices. How many universities advertise that they are cheaper than their peers, or offer better value?

De-emphasizing Undergraduate Instruction:
Data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that most colleges (but not community or liberal-arts colleges) have reduced the share of resources devoted to undergraduate teaching, spending more on other things -- research, administration, student services (luxurious recreational and student centers), athletics, etc. Only about 21 cents of each new inflation-adjusted dollar per student since 1976 actually went for "instruction." Government subsidies and private gifts given to support affordable undergraduate instruction are often spent elsewhere.

Price Discrimination:
Universities have discovered what airlines realized a generation ago -- and they increasingly charge the maximum the customer will bear. They have raised sticker prices, giving discounts (scholarships) to those who are sensitive to price. Increasingly, these discounts go not mainly to low-income students but to talented students prized by universities seeking to improve ratings on the athletic field or in the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Stagnant (Falling?) Productivity:
While measuring productivity in post-secondary education is difficult, the ratio of staff to students has risen over time. There are now six non-teaching professionals for every 100 students, up from three a generation ago. Unless teaching and research have soared in quantity and quality, which seems unlikely, productivity has fallen.

• "Rent Seeking" Behavior: Better Lives for the Staff:
Faculties have shared in the increased income of universities. Salaries of full professors at research universities are up well over 50% in real terms since 1980. Mid-six-digit salaries are becoming commonplace for superstar faculty, coaches, and university presidents. Teaching loads have fallen (a typical full professor at a major public university is in class no more than five hours per week).

What is the solution? New forms of competition (e.g., for-profit institutions, online schooling, more use of community colleges, new approaches to certifying skills) are emerging. State legislatures have sharply reduced their share of funding for public universities, forcing some schools to slash costs, reduce bureaucracies, increase teaching loads, get rid of costly underutilized graduate programs and more. Some schools are talking of using buildings more than eight or nine months a year, or are cutting down on the use of expensive tenured faculty. Colorado is shifting funds away from institutions and into student hands in the form of vouchers, reasoning that the student-customer, not the producer, should be sovereign as in nearly every other transaction.

Continued in the article


Native Americans wanting progress and land development face off against the early settlers
There's a battle brewing in the Santa Barbara wine country of Southern California -- and it has nothing to do with grapes. The Chumash band of Santa Ynez Mission Indians want to use profits from its casino to expand its land holdings and business ventures. But tribal officials are battling some of the rich and famous residents of the bucolic Santa Ynez Valley, who say the tribe's plan could destroy the region's rural character forever. Until very recently, the Chumash lived in deep poverty. Now the popular tribe-owned casino, the only business in the valley open 24-7, clears a reported $200 million a year. Each of the tribe's 154 members take a share in the profits.
Ina Jaffe, "Battle Brewing over California Tribal Expansion," NPR, August 24, 2005 --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4814273


Wireless wiretapping:  Isn't this an oxymoron?
A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced earlier this month that it intends to expand a mid-1990s ruling that allows law enforcement officers to wiretap conventional phone lines. Now it wants to apply the ruling to certain broadband and voice-over-Internet (VOIP) providers as well. The FCC announcement has outraged not only civil libertarians, but also a coalition of broadband providers and Internet associations, who are worried that the government's move could actually threaten national security, as well as dampen industry innovation.
Trey Pop, "Wireless Wiretapping," MIT's Technology Review, August 22, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/08/wo/wo_082205popp.asp?trk=nl 


Short Interest
The level of short selling rose to a record on the New York Stock Exchange, ending a two-month period that saw bearish investors paring their financial bets. For the month period ended Aug. 15, the number of short-selling positions not yet closed out at the Big Board, including all issues, rose 2.7% to 8,585,419,209 from 8,356,999,243 in mid-July. Marketwide, the short ratio, or number of days' average volume represented by the outstanding short positions at the exchange, rose to 6.0 from 5.8. Investors who sell securities "short" borrow stock and sell it, betting the stock's price will fall and they will be able to buy the shares back later at a lower price for return to the lender. The outstanding bets, known as short interest, often is considered an indication of the level of skepticism in the market. Short interest reflects the number of shares that have yet to be repurchased to give back to lenders.  In general, the higher the short interest, the more people are expecting a downturn. Short positions rise in value as stocks fall, and vice versa.
Peter A. McKay, "Short Interest Hits Record Level On the Big Board," The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112465996861719016,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace


Capitalism requires people to be quiet souls in the workplace and wild pagans at the cash register.
Ron Chernow, 1949, US Journalist as quoted in "The Financial Endgame Slowly Plays Out - and then," ---
http://www.safehaven.com/article-3134.htm

Nowadays, nobody seriously criticizes the rich. Criticizing the rich doesn’t make much sense if you think you’re going to be one. But it wasn’t always that way.
Julian Edney --- http://www.g-r-e-e-d.com/GREED II.htm

Currently the European Union (previously known as the European Community), considered as a unit, has the largest economy in the world. The European Union is the most powerful regional organisation in existence --- http://www.economicexpert.com/

Their report, "Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050," predicted that within 40 years, the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China - the BRICs - would be larger than the US, Germany, Japan, Britain, France and Italy combined. China would overtake the US as the world's largest economy and India would be third, outpacing all other industrialised nations --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm


A free course on understanding economics --- http://www.henrygeorge.org/


Crude stocks are up, but so are prices --- why?
Judging by the rise of U.S. inventories of crude oil, all's well at the moment in the land of energy. Commercial stocks of crude (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) are far above where they were 12 months previous. So why is the price of crude dispatching a decidedly different, if not ominous message --- http://www.capitalspectator.com/


AOL keeps billing and billing and billing
America Online will pay $1.25 million in penalties and reform some of its customer service practices to settle an investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Around 300 consumers had filed complaints with Spitzer's office accusing AOL, a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., of ignoring demands to cancel service and stop billing.
"AOL Settles With Spitzer:  Internet Provider Agrees to Reform Handling of Cancellation Requests," The Wall Street Journal,  August 25, 2005; Page B5
---
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112488909670521789,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

"Canceling AOL? Just Offer Your Firstborn," by Tom Zeller, The New York Times, August 29, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/29/technology/29link.html

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


Saks settles
Saks Inc., facing investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors, said it will repay vendors about $48 million after an internal audit found that the luxury retailer improperly collected markdown allowances from 1996 to 2003. Saks also faced corporate litigation over these issues. Aug. 8, the company, based in Birmingham, Ala., settled a suit on improper vendor allowances filed by Onward Kashiyama USA, a unit of Japanese apparel company Onward Kashiyama Co. that held the Michael Kors license from 1999 to 2003. "We're pleased the matter has been resolved," said Christopher Owen, a lawyer for Onward Kashiyama, who declined to discuss the settlement amount, citing a confidentiality agreement.
Ellen Byron, "Saks to Pay Vendors $48 Million Over Improper Markdown Sums," The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2005; Page B8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112493269357222632,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

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


Call the police a taxi before you dial 911
Area police have had their fleet of vehicles trimmed from two to one due to budget cuts, and have repeatedly had to ring a taxi when needing another car to respond to a call, NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) reports. The mayor is so exasperated that he is considering donating a kick-sled to the force for the winter.
"Police forced to take taxis," Aftenposten, August 22, 2005 --- http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1100542.ece


Novels as a learning pedagogy
August 22, 2005 message from Paul Fisher [PFisher@ROGUECC.EDU]

Hi all,

I just finished reading The Goal by Goldratt and Cox. I like the way he interwove accounting concepts with a plot. Does anyone know of some other books/authors that do this?

Has anyone used these books as readings in their classes? Any success or comments?

Regards,

Paul

Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry
August 22, 2005 message from Dennis Beresford [dberesfo@TERRY.UGA.EDU]

I recently purchased Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry [Paperback] By: B.S. Johnson through Amazon. While I haven't had a chance to start reading it yet, the following is the book's description in Amazon:

BS Johnson is one of those experimental writers, controversial during their lives that subsequently vanishes from print. Johnson was a journalist, a socialist, and a fine novelist. Best known for The Unfortunates (his book in a box where every chapter is separately bound and the reader is invited to read them in any order he or she wishes), Christie Malry's Own Double Entry is perhaps his most accessible novel. However, this "accessibility" is in the midst of a studiedly experimental text. This is a corruscating satire in which Johnson targets one of the symbols of capitalism, the double entry system. The very basis of accountancy, and the manipulation of finance, Johnson turns this building block on its head as his central character, Christie Malry, a young man with a future, decides that he will live his life according to the principles of double entry.

Johnson's novel has acute observations on a variety of issues in British life that still merit comment. How working class people come to vote conservative, the manner in which people's worth is measured financially; and all of this is in the midst of an angry satire where Malry wreaks vengeance on the system. It is a bitter cycnical novel, with a dark wit.

There is love, sex, and death; and an unusual use for shaving foam. And all of this is presented in a slightly distant way, where Johnson continually turns to the reader and winks, letting you know this is a novel. Characters are aware of their place in fiction, and Johnson deconstructs the novel to let you see how it works. (end of review)

By the way, while it is not on point with your request, I just finished reading "The World is Flat" and found it to be one of the most interesting and provocative books I've read in a long time.

Denny Beresford

August 22, 2005 reply from JOHN STANCIL [jstancil@VERIZON.NET]

“The Principles” by Barry Cameron and Tom Pryor ( www.icms.net ) is a novel incorporating the principles of Activity Based Costing.

John Stancil

Bob Jensen's commentary on novels as a learning pedagogy is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/muppets.htm




Forwarded by Aaron Konstam

A man is crawling through the Sahara desert when he is approached by another man riding on a camel. When the rider gets close enough, the crawling man whispers through his sun-parched lips, "Water... please... can you give...
water..."

"I'm sorry," replies the man on the camel, "I don't have any water with me. But I'd be delighted to sell you a necktie."

"Tie?" whispers the man. "I need *water*."

"They're only four dollars apiece."

"I need *water*."

"Okay, okay, say two for seven dollars."

"Please! I need *water*!", says the man.

"I don't have any water, all I have are ties," replies the salesman, and he heads off into the distance.

The man, losing track of time, crawls for what seems like days. Finally, nearly dead, sun-blind and with his skin peeling and blistering, he sees a restaurant in the distance. Summoning the last of his strength he staggers up to the door and confronts the head waiter.

"Water... can I get... water," the dying man manages to stammer.

"I'm sorry, sir, ties required."




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International Accounting News (including the U.S.)

AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
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Others --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm

Gerald Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm 

Richard Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/ 

 

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