Tidbits on August 29, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
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
Bob Jensen's home page is
Security threats and hoaxes ---
Music: Some great big band samples
(with vocals) ---
I especially like
Compare songs for different kinds of dances ---
NPR has some good links to
jazz samples ---
New Orleans Siren ---
Oscar Peterson samples ---
Play and Explain Options ---
Some free oldies (really oldies) ---
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 ---
"The Inventive Father of Moog Music," by Trevor Pinch, The
Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2005; Page D10 ---
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
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?
I don't care much for it, but you can hear
some samples for yourself at
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
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.
Learning to dislike children at an early age saves a
lot of expense and aggravation later in life.
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
D.H. Lawrence, "Peace and War," Pansies, 1929
The only interesting answers are those which destroy
No matter how fast light travels it finds the
darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.
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.
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 ---
Can this do a disservice to academic
"If the Law Is an Ass, the Law Professor Is a Donkey," by Adam Liptik, The New York Times, August 28, 2005 ---
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
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
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
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
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on hypocrisy in academe are at
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,
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.
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."
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
Continued in article
From WebMD: How to Cope With Sleep Loss ---
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 ---
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?
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 ---
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 ---
Too often today the assumption is the busier the
student, the more he is learning, and the busier the professor, the more she
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
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
Inside Higher Ed
, August 25, 2005 ---
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
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
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 ---
"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
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
Continued in the article
Bob Jensen's threads on the saga of KPMG are at
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 ---
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 ---
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 ---
Jensen Comment: I think the title of this article is especially clever.
And Dell's stock price is not doing well ---
From Jim Mahar's blog on August 26, 2005 ---
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.
"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."
DeAngelo, Harry, DeAngelo, Linda and Zimmerman, Jerold L., "What's
Really Wrong With U.S. Business Schools?" (July 2005).
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!
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
Business school rankings and profiles from Business Week Magazine ---
The Wall Street Journal rankings of business schools ---
US News graduate business school rankings ---
August 27, 2005 reply from Dennis Beresford (University of Georgia)
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
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
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.
August 29, 2005 response from Paul Williams at North Carolina State
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
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
As accounting courses in MBA core are shrinking, finance
courses are increasing
From Jim Mahar's Blog on August 29, 2005 ---
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
"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
Cite: Womack, Kent L. and Zhang, Ying N., "Core Finance Trends in the Top
MBA Programs in 2005" .
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 ---
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
"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
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
Ina Jaffe, "Battle Brewing over California Tribal Expansion," NPR, August
24, 2005 ---
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,
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 ---
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," ---
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 ---
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
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
A free course on understanding economics ---
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 ---
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
"Canceling AOL? Just Offer Your Firstborn," by Tom Zeller, The New
York Times, August 29, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's updates on fraud are at
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 ---
Bob Jensen's updates on fraud are at
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 ---
Novels as a learning pedagogy
August 22, 2005 message from Paul Fisher
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?
Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry
August 22, 2005 message from Dennis Beresford
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.
August 22, 2005 reply from JOHN STANCIL
“The Principles” by Barry Cameron and Tom Pryor (
www.icms.net ) is a novel
incorporating the principles of Activity Based Costing.
Bob Jensen's commentary on novels as a learning pedagogy is at
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...
"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."
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmark
s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
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
International Accounting News
(including the U.S.)
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Upcoming international accounting
Thousands of journal abstracts ---
Deloitte's International Accounting News ---
Association of International Accountants ---
FASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
IASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm
Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax:
210-999-8134 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org