famous resident of our Sugar Hill-Franconia community for over two decades was
film star (with two Academy Awards)
(1908-1989). She bought the Butternut Farm near the Peckett's-On-Sugar Hill
Resort. Her mother Ruthie
moved into the farm house. Soon afterward Bette bought a dairy barn in
Vermont and had it carted in pieces across the mountains to her farm. She then
reconstructed the barn into a magnificent home called Butternut Lodge. The
second picture above shows Bette Davis as a young woman in 1940 when she lived
on Butternut Farm. This is when she married her Sugar Hill neighbor Arthur
Farnsworth in 1940. In 1943 she was investigated and suspected but never charged
with his mysterious death.
After he died,
she purportedly placed a bronze memorial plaque on the rock at the bottom of a
mountain brook where Farnsworth rescued her in 1939 before they were married.
This plaque still exists and is shown in the top photograph above.
Lodge looks like an old dairy barn. It's now a private residence and is not
visible from a public road or walking trail.
On top of
being a famous Oscar-winning actress, Bette Davis was known for heavy drinking
and fights with a succession of four husbands. In Sugar Hill and Franconia,
however, she was considered to be an active and beloved resident and model
participant in community affairs. Last Friday, on July 27, 2007, the Union
Leader carried a special feature about our local museum tribute to Bette Davis
She was one of the most acclaimed actresses of the
time, but in the little mountain town of Sugar Hill, Bette Davis was a
friend and neighbor who came here to escape the rigors of Hollywood.
This summer, more than 60 years after the era when
Davis came north, the
Sugar Hill Historical Museum this summer pays homage to one of the
town’s most famous residents with the exhibit, "Bette: Her Romance with
Sugar Hill." An afternoon at the museum is a delightful way to spend a rainy
afternoon or to get out of the hot summer sun.
"The Keeper of Stray
Her piano is not the only legacy Davis left to
Sugar Hill. There are a wealth of memories still in the recall of older
citizens. The historical society has some of her memorabilia and the woods
of neighboring Franconia hold a tribute to the man she loved and lost during
her Sugar Hill years.
Built in 1903, the piano was reputedly rescued by
Davis at a New York auction house and brought to her home, an old barn she
turned into Butternut Lodge. When the house was purchased about 40 years ago
by Peckett`s on Sugar Hill, the inn where she first stayed, the piano was
among the acquisitions and provided the music for many a party and even
accompanied the Bretton Woods Boys` Choir. The inn closed in the late 1960s
and the piano given to the town in 1970. For several years, it sat in the
meetinghouse before its new incarnation with the chamber players.
Arthur Farnsworth was her second of four
husbands. He died of mysterious circumstances. She was in fact investigated but
not charged for his murder. Before they were married her then neighbor
Farnsworth rescued her when she was supposedly alone and lost on
Coppermine Trail leading to
Bridal Veil Falls.
Day Story: New Hampshire's Bette Davis Connection," by Janice Brown, Cow
Hampshire, February 14, 2007 ---
Bette Davis arranged
for a bronze memorial plaque to be placed on the rock,
in Coppermine Brook, where she was originally
rescued. The plaque is hidden from view by the casual passerby beside the
brook. It reads: In Memoriam to Arthur
Farnsworth "The Keeper of Stray Ladies"
Pecketts - 1939 Presented by a devoted one."
"The Keeper of Stray
According to the
lore and legend, Davis was immediately smitten (after having met her
neighbor Arthur Farnsworth at the former Peckett's-on-Sugar Hill Resort)
and even got herself lost in the woods of Franconia, knowing that Farnsworth
would be the one to come searching for her. They married in 1940, but their
union brief, ending with his death in 1943.
Two weeks after falling down a flight of stairs and
knocking his head at Butternut, Farnsworth collapsed on a Hollywood sidewalk
and died a few days later. After that, Davis` visits to Sugar Hill were less
Butternut was sold about 20 years after she first
came to the town and it`s said that after that, a plaque appeared on a large
boulder in Coppermine Brook, which can still be seen today.
Photographs of Coopermine Trail and Bridal Veil Falls-
of Plaque, and more Bette Davis/NH History-
Magazine: Romancing the Granite
in New Hampshire DVD
Peckett's-On-Sugar Hill was one of four "luxury" resorts in Sugar Hill. All have
since been torn down. Peckett's is known in history as once having the
best-known ski school in the United States ---
In 1929, Katherine
Peckett imported German and Austrian ski instructors and opened a ski school
on a hillside adjoining her family's country inn in Sugar Hill, near Cannon
Mountain. Although not the first ski school in the country, Peckett's-on-Sugar
Hill was the best known, which was open to anyone with the means to pay.
Through the '30s a host of flamboyant luminaries of the ski world passed
through the ski school's doors, either as instructors or students---Sigi
Buchmayer, Otto Lang, Lowell Thomas and Minot Dole to name a few. As
Peckett's heyday was ending, Harvey Gibson over in North Conway was busy
importing the Austrian Alps' most renowned instructor: Hannes Schneider.
Schneider, who was held prisoner by the Nazis (for refusing to join the
"party") was released in 1939 after Gibson used his banker's muscle to twist
the Nazi's arms. Wars require financing, after all.
Bob Jensen's features one of the other luxury
resorts known as the Sunset Hill Resort in an earlier edition (with an old
photograph) of Tidbits at
He also features Mittersill on Cannon Mountain
Tidbits on August 1, 2007
For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
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 past presentations and lectures
Bob Jensen's Threads ---
Bob Jensen's Home Page is at
Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
(Also scroll down to the table at
Set up free conference calls at
World Clock ---
If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops ---
Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Google's search engine for video ---
Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance ---
The Americans Are Coming ---
One giant YouTube leap, for 2008 White House hopefuls ---
"If My Nose Was Running Money" (country humor) by Aaron
A Family's Bad Day ---
Jessica the Pet Hippo ---
Strange Cosmos ---
TV Disaster (ABC news entertainment reporter Merry Miller -
worst interviewer ever) ---
Free music downloads ---
Mary Lou Williams,
'Perpetually Contemporary (54 minutes of great big band era music) ---
The Rose (Bette Midler)
Wind Beneath My Wings
(Garry Morris) ---
You've Got A Friend In Me (Randy Newman and Lyle
You've Got A Friend
(Carole King) ---
Where Have All The Flowers
Gone (Joan Baez) ---
Walk Through This World
With Me (George Jones) ---
The Magic Touch (The
Talk To Me (Mickey Gille)
Ten Commandments Of Love
(The Moonglows) ---
I dare you to sit still in your chair
Harsh and Sweet, Fiery and Cold: '24 Hours a Day' ---
Elana James bursts into her own particular (lively) blend of bluegrass, western
swing and jazz.
Andrew Bird: Songs from the 'Armchair' ---
'Take These Thoughts,' Drenched in Harmony ---
Matt Nathanson in Concert ---
Naxos Classical Music and Music Education Site ---
Classical Music Samples ---
Photographs and Art
Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various
types electronic literature available free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Library of Congress: Poetry ---
Google Book Search ---
From the American Library Association Library Support Staff
Resource Center ---
LibriVox Free Audio Books ---
Free Classics (audio books) ---
Emma by Jane Austen ---
Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll
The Pickwick Papers by Charles
Kim by Rudyard Kipling ---
UNIVERSITIES and big accounting firms (in
Australia) are recruiting high school students for free
accounting degrees in a desperate attempt to alleviate the skills shortage in
the profession. Talented Year 12 students are being offered part-time jobs and
free university degrees by firms, even before they have applied for a university
place. First-year students are also being poached by companies to work full-time
with incentives such as sign-up bonuses, rumoured to be as much as $10,000 for
each student. Universities are also setting up post-graduate conversion courses
where students who did not study accounting can cram an undergraduate course
into just one year. Latest figures show there are four vacancies for every one
accountant and the shortage is expected to get worse because not enough
school-leavers are choosing to study the field. Universities and accounting
professional bodies are running advertising campaigns to make accountancy more
appealing to students by changing perceptions that it is just number crunching.
Milanda Rout, The Australian
Higher Education, July 25, 2007 ---
Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
May West ---
Just don’t get me a book (as a gift).
I’ve already got a book.
May West ---
When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad, I'm
May West ---
Unhappiness is best defined as the difference
between our talents and our expectations.
Edward De Bono ---
...but talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity,
cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the
successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing.
Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great
Stephen King, Danse Macabre ---
Genius does what it must, and talent does what it
Earl of Lytton ---
The limits to the potential of a talented person
with no work ethic exist at the median, but the limits to the potential of an
untalented person with a sound work ethic are infinite.
As far as the university is concerned, the core of
the human being, his or her emotional and spiritual life, is dealt with as a
necessary evil, on the sidelines, and the less heard about it the better.
Jane Tompkins, A Life in School:
What the Teacher Learned, as quoted by Laurence Musgrove ---
In response, the
Ford Foundation, along with the Rockefeller Foundation, now
require all grant recipients to pledge that they will not use
funds to support terrorist groups or terrorist activities.
Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director, denounced this
entirely reasonable requirement as an infringement on his
group's civil liberties, and said that the ACLU would not sign
the pledge. As a result, the ACLU was forced to return some $1.1
million in grants from these two foundations.
"Has the ACLU gone too far?" WorldNetDaily, July 29, 2007
At least the ACLU is being honest. Actually the ACLU is
massively funded with an endowment of over $150 million and
annual dues of over 400,000 members. Before the Ford and
Rockefeller Foundations required a non-support pledge for
terrorist activities, these two foundations alone donated tens
of millions of dollars to the ACLU Foundation.
Chad has been plunged into chaos and lawlessness. In border
towns, pick-up trucks outfitted with machine guns and loaded
with armed, uniformed men careen through the dusty streets. No
one knows who they are: the army, Chadian rebels, bandits? It
makes little difference to the victims of the escalating
violence. For about $5 (U.S.), anyone can get a uniform in the
marketplace. As I passed through the town of Abeche, a U.N.
refugee agency guard was murdered and two staffers severely
wounded. About 100 humanitarian vehicles have been highjacked in
the last year; aid workers have been robbed, beaten, abducted
Mia Farrow, "'No Hopes for Us'," The Wall Street
Journal, July 27, 2007, Page A13 ---
You could do
more for the environment by becoming a vegetarian instead of
buying an expensive new hybrid automobile.
Advice to Jay
Leno from a viewer after Jay declared on NBC that more carbon
dioxide emissions come from farm animals than from all the cars
in the world.
Dixie Dunham, Readers Digest, August 2007, Page
is in Texas, but all the dipsticks are in DC
Aaron Wilburn ---
Duck (dipstick?) hunting
season in DC
President Bush isn't the only lame duck
in our nation's capital. All 435 congressmen are up for
re-election next year, and so are 34 of our senators. That's a
total of 469 lame ducks, the way I see it. For the record, there
are 245 Democratic and 224 Republican lame ducks in Washington.
And with the rising registration of Independents across the
country, next year may be a bad season for lame ducks.
Lou Dobbs, "Lame ducks in a row," CNN, July 11, 2007 ---
week, California officials in National City voted unanimously to
use eminent domain to take over more than 600
properties—including a nonprofit youth center dedicated to
keeping local kids out of gangs and off the street. They plan to
give this land to local private developers for a group of
condominiums. It’s said that a man’s home is his castle, but
across America some property owners are being rooked by local
bureaucrats and politicians and having their private property
confiscated by local governments for the supposed public good
(meaning more tax revenues for city bureaucrats).
Fred Thompson, July
30, 2007 ---
Texas Needs Fewer
Cows in Suburbia
Companies in Texas are taking advantage of an agricultural
exemption originally intended for farmers and ranchers. To save
on property taxes -- sometimes millions of dollars -- they're
sticking cattle on their property.
"Why Texas Firms Are Keeping Cattle On the Back Forty:
Fidelity's Longhorn Herd Saves Thousands in Taxes; Now, Nokia Is
Planting Hay," The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2007;
Page A1 ---
Indiana Needs More Cows in
Runaway property taxes are an issue
wherever property values have shot up in recent years. But now
Indiana may be at the forefront of a homeowner rebellion against
a tax system that has come to be seen as arbitrary, unfair and
unpredictable. What's driving this angst is the first
reassessment of property values in six years. In Marion County
(the city of Indianapolis), average property taxes increased by
34%. Across the state, the average increase is 24%. Many
homeowners' bills have increased much more.
D. Eric Schansbert,
"Indiana Tax Fight," The Wall Street Journal, July 28,
Connecticut Needs a Three
Strikes and Your Out Law (or at least the unlucky number of 13 strikes)
Career criminals charged in family murder
(one of the worst in history)
felonies Both parolees also convicted of numerous misdemeanors –
in and out of prison
Guarino, "21 felonies for Komisarjevsky, 17 for Hayes,"
Manchester Journal Inquirer, July 26, 2007 ---
By 1997, 24 states and the Federal Government adopted some types
mandatory sentencing for purposes of both deterring habitual
felons and controlling liberal judges who repeatedly dole out
probation or extremely light sentences to non-violent repeat
offenders no matter how long the record of prior convictions.
three strikes law was first conceived in California and was
overwhelmingly approved by voters. There is no three strikes law
in Connecticut. Komisarjevsky and Hayes with a combined history
of 38 prior felonies were considered non-violent until now and
were 38 times turned back into society where they took up where
they left off. They are examples of felons who con the system
without any intention of becoming rehabilitated. Many are drug
addicts and/or pushers. Others are con artists continually
dreaming up new white collar crime strategies for bilking the
public. The mandatory sentencing laws are very popular with
voters and are typically unpopular with judges and legal
scholars who consider one unfortunate sentencing to outweigh the
benefits of any crime prevention benefits of mandatory
sentencing. Since there are so many factors affecting crime
rates, it is virtually impossible to single out the societal
impact of any one factor even though hundreds of legal scholars
claim to have scientific evidence for or against (mostly
against) mandatory sentencing. Anecdotal evidence keeps mounting
that mandatory sentencing is sometimes a deterrent. But
anecdotal evidence only sells to the public and not the academy.
In my opinion, however, this horrific home invasion would not
have been perpetrated by Komisarjevsky and Hayes if Connecticut
had a three strikes law. They probably would have been in prison
for another 30 years or committing felonies in states not having
three strikes laws.
Speaking of Repeat Offenders
AT LEAST 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or
recaptured after taking up arms against allied forces following
their release. They have been discovered mostly in Afghanistan
and Pakistan, but not in Iraq ...
Age, July 2, 2007 ---
general rule: If you are told what someone does for a living and
it makes sense to you -- orthodontist, store owner, professor --
that means he's not rich. But if it's a man in a suit who does
something that takes him five sentences to explain and still you
walk away confused, and castigating yourself as to why you
couldn't understand the central facts of the acquisition of
wealth in the age you live in -- well, chances are you just
talked to a billionaire. . . There are good things and bad in
the Gilded Age, pluses and minuses. I write here of a minus. It
has to do with our manners, the ones we show each other on the
street. I think riches, or the pursuit of riches, has made us
ruder. You'd think broad comfort would assuage certain hungers.
It has not. It has sharpened them.
Peggy Noonan, "Rich
Man, Boor Man," The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2007
say, that’s been my story. Not that I’m a cold fish. I’ve
learned over time that my feelings about my family, children,
students, and colleagues are pretty much an open book; in other
words. I’d never make it to the final table at the World Series
of Poker. My wife can easily tell the crabby Laurence from the
sad Laurence from the confused Laurence. Marcel Marceau I ain’t;
still, my face is a pretty accurate map of my emotional life.
And it’s a life I’ve tried to ignore or bury, especially on the
job.Why? Well, I think I’m beginning to arrive at some answers.
Earlier this summer, I was attending a conference at the YMCA of
the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado sponsored by the
Expanded Perspectives on Learning,
an affiliate of the
of Teachers of English. The organizers
of this conference selected the topic “The Emotional Life of
Teachers,” and they invited Peter Elbow, author of
Writing Without Teachers, to
be one of the featured speakers.
"People Get Ready," Inside Higher Ed, July 23, 2007
The thing that impresses me the most about America
is the way parents obey their children.
King Edward VIII.as quoted by Mark
But recently something has changed. A student makes
an appointment and then walks in, accompanied by his mother. The mother does all
the talking. She tells me that Johnny has a problem with his Japanese teacher
who is a strict grader, emphasizes writing over speaking, and is too meticulous
with deadlines for class work. Johnny sits by silently, listening to his mother
making his case. Johnny is 22 years old.
Diether H. Haenicke, "Helicopter
Parents - Stop Hovering!," The Irascible Professor, July 25, 2007 ---
Walk into a massage parlor in this Chinese enclave,
and you'll likely meet beautiful young women -- some of whom aren't there
voluntarily. So it goes in Asia's sin city, where gambling and legalized
prostitution go hand in hand. That Macau has a thriving sex industry is not
news. But many of these women are victims of modern-day slavery. So says the
U.S. State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report, which puts Macau
on the Tier-2 watch list for the second year in a row and earned it a personal
visit last month from Mark Lagon, the U.S. ambassador-at-large to monitor and
combat trafficking in persons.
Malia Politzer, "Sin City of the
East," The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2007 ---
The camera cannot lie, but it can be an accessory to
Harold Evans ---
The turn in the polls against the Republican Party
appears to be stunning in its ferocity.
John Podohertz, "The Liberal Edge," New York Post, July 27, 2007 ---
Liberal activists are stepping up their campaign
against Fox News Channel by pressuring advertisers not to patronize the network.
MoveOn.org, the Campaign for America's Future and liberal blogs like
DailyKos.com are asking thousands of supporters to monitor who is advertising on
the network. Once a database is gathered, an organized phone-calling campaign
will begin, said Jim Gilliam, vice president of media strategy for Brave New
Films, a company that has made anti-Fox videos. The groups have successfully
pressured Democratic presidential candidates not to appear at any debate
sponsored by Fox, and are also trying to get Home Depot...
David Bauder, Free Republic,
July 28, 2007 ---
Karl Rove, President Bush's political lieutenant,
told a closed-door meeting of 2008 Republican House candidates and their aides
Tuesday that it was less the war in Iraq than corruption in Congress that caused
their party's defeat in the 2006 elections. Rove's clear advice to the
candidates is to distance themselves from the culture of Washington.
Robert D. Novak, "Rove's Diagnosis,"
Townhall, July 28, 2007 ---
Somebody may be pouting at the White House over the
collapse of the comprehensive amnesty legislation. For seven years, the Bush
administration has been unable or unwilling to enforce the immigration laws,
leading to an out-of-control deluge of illegal aliens across the nation's
Southern border. Suddenly, the feds are about to do what they said couldn't be
done. They've been winking at employers who shrug at the widespread custom of
taking prospective employees at their word that the Social Security card they
offer is genuine, even when the employers suspect it is not and sometimes even
when they know it...
Wesley Pruden, "The curious timing
of a crackdown," The Washington Times, July 27, 2007 ---
Partisan, debt-ridden and reckless CALIFORNIANS like
to think of their state as a democratic laboratory, busily inventing ideas that
are copied elsewhere. When it comes to budgeting, though, the rest of the world
should follow almost any other example. As The Economist went to press, the
legislature was debating a budget that one senator described as having been
written by chimpanzees . . . Partisan, debt-ridden and reckless!
"California's budget: The penny drops," The Economist,
July 26, 2007 ---
A potentially groundbreaking case is underway in the
U.S. Tax Court in Boston where a former man is arguing that the medical expenses
relating to her sex change operation should be allowed as a medical deduction on
Schedule A of her income tax return.
AccountingWeb, July 26, 2007 ---
Squabbles over the remote control or whose turn it is
to empty the dishwasher are the bedrock of daily family life. But mothers and
fathers who insult each other in front of their children may now find themselves
on the wrong side of the law. Australian courts have begun ordering parents to
refrain from making offensive remarks, claiming that constant carping between
couples can damage young minds. The orders relate not only to expletive-laden
abuse, but to any remark that might be...
Barbie Dutter, "Parents may be
prosecuted for insults, Sunday Telegraph, July 22, 2007 ---
Massachusetts hopes to rescue 550,000 people from
the ranks of the uninsured. But a shortage of primary-care physicians is making
it hard to see a doctor and threatening to undermine the state's universal
health-care plan . . . On the day Ms. Lewis signed up, she said she called more
than two dozen primary-care doctors approved by her insurer looking for a
checkup. All of them turned her away . . . State officials have acknowledged the
problem. "Health-care coverage without access is meaningless," Gov. Deval
Patrick said in March.
Zachary M. Seward, "Doctor Shortage
Hurts A Coverage-for-All Plan," The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2007;
Page B1 ---
A woman aged 108 has been told she must wait 18
months (under England's health care plan)
before the Health Service will give her the hearing aid she needs. Former piano
teacher Olive Beal, one of the oldest people in Britain, has poor eyesight and
uses a wheelchair. The delay could mean she will be unable to communicate and
listen to the music she loves.
Steve Doughty and Nick McDermont,
Daily Mail, July 29, 2007 ---
If you haven't noticed, the major presidential
candidates—Republican and Democratic—are dodging one of the thorniest problems
they'd face if elected: the huge budget costs of aging baby boomers. In last
week's CNN/YouTube debate, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson cleverly deflected
the issue. "The best solution," he said, "is a bipartisan effort to fix it."
Brilliant. There's already a bipartisan consensus: do nothing.
Robert J. Samuelson, "When Silence
is Golden," Newsweek, August 6, 2007 ---
Whose Ox Is Gored After Bush's victory, liberals
shouted "Voter fraud!" Why have they changed their tune?
John Fund, The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2007 ---
The diabetes epidemic is taking a large and growing
toll on New York City, a new Health Department report shows, as death rates,
debilitating complications, and hospitalization costs soar. Some 500,000 New
Yorkers – one out of eight adults – have been diagnosed with diabetes. Another
200,000 have diabetes but don’t yet know it. The death rate from diabetes rose
by 75% between 1990 and 2003.
PhysOrg, July 24, 2007 ---
Americans' icy attitudes toward nuclear power are
beginning to thaw, according to a new survey from MIT. The report also found a
U.S. public increasingly unhappy with oil and more willing to develop
Stephen Ansolabehere, PhysOrg,
July 24, 2007 ---
which use electricity from the grid to
replace gasoline for daily driving,
would cut gas consumption and save
commuters from high fuel prices. But
some experts have been concerned that
switching from gas to electricity, much
of which is generated from
significantly increase pollution in some
parts of the country, as opposed to
decreasing it. A
released last week by the environmental
National Resources Defense Council
(NRDC) and the
Electric Power Research Institute
plug-ins, once they're on the market,
will significantly cut
country, the vehicles will on average
also decrease other pollutants, but the
impact in local areas will depend on the
source of electricity.
Technology Review, July 24, 2007
If you see something suspicious, 'Shut up'
Democrats favor lawsuits against anti-terrorist tipsters . . . That appears to
be the way Senate Democrats want things. They're now pressuring a conference
committee to remove language from the final homeland security bill that would
confer civil immunity on citizens who "in good faith" report such suspicious
behavior . . . The "John Doe provision" passed the House in March by a
bipartisan vote that included every Republican and 105 Democrats. But in the
Senate, opponents including Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., argue it "could invite
racial and religious profiling." . . . Democrats expect Omar Shahin and his
provocative pals to throw considerable new business to their most valued
constituency -- our old friends, the trial lawyers.
"If you see something suspicious, 'Shut up'," Las Vegas
Review-Journal, July 24, 2007 ---
Picture in your mind a white supremacist who accuses
blacks of operating a "wicked web of control and exploitation"; who explains
genocidal treatment of blacks as "divine punishment"; and who foresees the
"total extermination" of blacks at the hands of whites. Would such a speaker be
a welcome presence on Canada's tightly regulated airwaves? We suspect not. But
change "white" to "Muslim," and "black" to "Jewish" in the above hypothetical,
and you are word-for-word describing the published statements of Israr Ahmad, an
anti-Semitic Pakistani preacher who has appeared on Canadian cable network
VisionTV several times -- most recently, on Saturday...
"Hateful Vision," Canada's National Post, July 24, 2007
Shouldn't this be considered a hate crime appeal?
Barack Obama's latest pronouncement on Iraq should
have shocked the conscience. In an interview with the Associated Press last
week, the freshman Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate opined
that even preventing genocide is not a sufficient reason to keep American troops
James Taranto, "It Didn't Happen," The Wall Street Journal, July 26,
2007, Page A12 ---
Taliban militants shot and killed one of 23 South
Korean hostages because the hostage was sick and immobile, a police official
said he was told Wednesday.
NPR, July 25, 2007 ---
Freed doctor describes torture ordeal inside Libyan
jail · Medic left with scars after being caged with dogs · Bulgarian nurses
raped. The Palestinian doctor who was held in Libyan custody along with five
Bulgarian nurses on charges they infected hundreds of children with HIV, has
described in detail how they were tortured during their eight-year ordeal.
Ashraf Alhajouj, 38, said he was beaten, held in cages with police dogs and
given electric shocks, including to his private parts. He said that he and the
nurses were sometimes...
Kate Connolly, The Guardian,
July 30, 2007 ---
This makes Gitmo look like a country club prison.
The Must-Have Iraq Book of 1943 — and 2007? ---
Professor Wichman eMail from Michigan State University ---
Dear Moslem Students Association at Michigan State
As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intend to protest
your protest. I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like
beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide
murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey ), burnings of
Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt
, the imposition of Sharia Law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian
girls and women (called "whores" in your culture), the murder of film
directors in Holland , and the rioting and looting in Paris, France . This
is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many of my
colleagues. I counsel your dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized
slave-trading Moslems to be very aware of this as you proceed with your
infantile "protests." If you do not like the values of the West - see the
1st Amendment - You are free to leave. I hope for God's sake that most of
you choose that option. Please return to your ancestral homelands and build
them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.
I. S. Wichman
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Michigan State University
The Terrorist Roundup, July 28, 2007 ---
The surge has just started. But Iraq is in
significantly better shape than it was six months ago, and the trajectory of
events is positive.
Peter Wehner, "General Petraeus
Needs Time," The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2007 ---
It's difficult to believe this was found in The New York Times
The Bush administration has over four years lost
essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a
result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place. Here is the most
important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere
in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized
the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the
gains we saw and the...
Michael E. O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack, "A War
We Just Might Win," The New York Times, July 30, 2007 ---
It's evident that Murtha and Pelosi do not want to read what the NYT
Murtha/Pelosi blueprint for defeat July 30, 2007
With Congress's August recess less than one week away, it should hardly come as
a surprise that Rep. John Murtha, the chairman of the House Appropriations
Subcommittee on Defense, is readying more legislative mischief. Mr. Murtha, a
close political ally of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has made it clear
that plans to use the $459.6 billion defense appropriations bill, which comes to
the floor this week, to short-circuit the current military campaign against
jihadists in Iraq and shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo). Mr. Murtha
plans to offer three amendments...
"Murtha/Pelosi blueprint for defeat," Washington Times,
July 30, 2007 ---
In four short years he met his every goal
He seized the whole southwest from Mexico
Made sure the tariffs fell
And made the English sell the Oregon territory
He built an independent treasury
Having done all this he sought no second term
But precious few have mourned the passing of Mister James K. Polk, our eleventh
Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump
Lyrics to a 1996 Song entitled "James K. Polk" ---
World Clock ---
Random Thoughts (about learning from a retired professor of
Dr. Felder's column in Chemical Engineering Education
Focus is heavily upon active learning and group learning.
Bob Jensen's threads on learning are in the following links:
Elite Researchers No Longer Need Peer Reviewed Elite Journals?
"Peer Review in Peril?" by Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, July
26, 2007 ---
“What I worry
about,” Ellison said, “is you get to a point where you can’t
make a reputation for yourself by publishing in the
peer-reviewed journals. That locks in today’s elite.”
“Is Peer Review in Decline?,”
Ellison argues that the peer-reviewed journals,
traditionally relevant for their quality control and
dissemination functions, have become less important for
well-known economists in the Internet age. When papers can
be posted on personal home pages, conference Web sites and
online databases, an article written by a professor who has
already established a reputation can immediately “be read by
in the top five economics departments, as ranked by the
National Research Council — Harvard University, the
University of Chicago, MIT, Stanford and Princeton
Universities – published 86.4 papers in 13 high-profile
journals in economics subfields from 1990-93, compared to
71.2 from 2000-3. That 18 percent drop happened even as many
journals were “substantially” increasing the number of
papers they published, Ellison writes, with the share of
papers contributed by scholars in top departments dropping
from 4 percent in the early 1990s to 2.7 percent in 2000-3.
Meanwhile, Ellison said, scholars in the top departments
seem to be writing as much as they ever were, and citations
of Harvard scholars are increasing even as their number of
peer-reviewed publications has declined.
well-known people are going to cut back on their publishing
in top journals because they don’t need the peer review
anymore. They can get attention to their work without it,”
Ellison said. The “slowdown” in the revisions process for
peer-reviewed journals also seems to be a contributing
factor to the decline in peer-reviewed publications by top
department members with less to gain from the effort: It
typically takes about three years for a paper to be
published after its submission.
Ellison did not find much evidence to support the
alternative theory that the trend could be a result of
high-profile scholars being “crowded out of the top journals
by other researchers,” though he acknowledges that may be a
factor. A 2006 study by scholars from the Universities of
Chicago and Michigan,
“Are Elite Universities Losing Their Competitive Edge,”
elite universities have lost their edge when it comes to
research productivity — in part
because of changes brought about by the advent of the
question of whether it’s a trend on publication or a trend
on the professors. I hate to say that, but if they don’t
publish and others do, maybe it says something,” said Ehud
Kalai, a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg
School of Management and editor of Games and Economic
Behavior, one of the 13 field journals analyzed by
thing that’s a bit puzzling in this whole theory, it seems
to me, is that with this explosion of information on the
Internet, peer review has become even more needed because
there are so many more papers,” Kalai said, adding that the
number of economics journals has exploded in recent years.
“They’re just multiplying like mad. If there is a trend not
to publish, why are so many starting them?”
find that even as they’ve shifted their energies away from
the 13 specialized journals examined, academics in the top
departments are still publishing as much as ever in five of
the most prestigious general interest economics journals:
the American Economic Review, Econometrica,
Journal of Political Economy, Quarterly Journal of
Economics and the Review of Economic Studies.
But, beyond those publications, Ellison said, “it’s fairly
high up that we see people pulling out.” He added that there
are hundreds of academic economics journals.
Ellison’s working paper is available on
his Web site or online through the
National Bureau of Economic Research
with a subscription or $5 payment. And
no, it has not been peer reviewed.
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Flawed Peer Review Process ---
Peer Review in Which Reviewer Comments are Shared With the World ---
An Analysis of the
Contributions of The Accounting Review Across 80 Years: 1926-2005 ---
Co-authored with Jean Heck and forthcoming in the December 2007 edition of the
Accounting Historians Journal.
What are 120-20 and 130-30 funds?
These funds are called 120-20 or 130-30 funds,
reflecting their proportion of assets held long and sold short, with the
proceeds from the short sales used to leverage the long position with borrowed
funds, so that the long exposure is more than 100 percent. “The idea seems to
have caught on,” said Barry P. Barbash, a Washington lawyer who once headed the
investment management division at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Public funds using this strategy seem to be multiplying almost daily.”
Robert D. Hershey, Jr., "This Fund Concept Blurs Old Lines," The New York Times,
July 8, 2007 ---
"Twenty-Five Ways to Reduce Investment Risk," The Aleph Blog ,
July 21, 2007 ---
The Aleph Blog (Helping Institutions and Ordinary People Invest Better
by Focusing on Risk Control) ---
An American Hedge Fund by Timothy Sykes ---
Bob Jensen's investor helpers are at
Arguments for and against the firing of Ward Churchill
The University of Colorado
protected both academic freedom and academic integrity,
writes Hank Brown.
misconduct is in the eye of the beholder, writes Gary
Bob Jensen's threads on the Ward Churchill saga are at
"Ward Churchill Fired," by Scott Jaschik,
Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2007 ---
two and a half years after Ward Churchill’s
writings on 9/11 set off a furor,
and more than a year after a faculty panel at the University
of Colorado at Boulder found him guilty of
repeated, intentional academic misconduct,
the University of Colorado Board of
Regents voted 8-1 Tuesday evening to fire him.
followed a special, all-day meeting of the board, in which
it heard in private from Churchill, a faculty panel and from
Hank Brown, president of the University of Colorado System,
who in May
recommended dismissing Churchill
from his tenured post. The regents emerged from their
private deliberations at around 5:30 p.m. Colorado time and
voted to fire Churchill, but they did not discuss their
views and they quickly adjourned. A small group of Churchill
supporters in the audience shouted “bullshit” as the board
vote was announced.
firing is effective immediately, Churchill is entitled under
Colorado regulations to receive one year’s salary, which for
him is just under $100,000.
predicted prior to the meeting that he would be fired and
vowed to file a suit against the university, as early as
today. In a press conference after the vote, Churchill
repeated his argument that the board fired him primarily
because of his political views, which he said are
“inconvenient and uncomfortable” to the powerful. He vowed
to keep “fighting the fight” and said that the impact of the
case goes “way beyond Ward Churchill” and will hinder
freedom of expression generally. Churchill was upbeat during
the news conference, which also featured Native American
drumming and chanting by supporters.
interview Tuesday night after the vote, Brown, the system
president, said that the evidence against Churchill for
scholarly misconduct was overwhelming. “I think it was the
depth of the falsification that ultimately led to the
outcome,” Brown said. “It wasn’t just one or two or three or
four, but numerous incidents of intentional falsification,”
such that Brown believed that in the end board members “felt
like they didn’t have a choice.”
was present for the board’s discussions with Churchill and
the faculty panel that reviewed the case, but not for the
deliberations, said that board members seemed focused not on
the question of Churchill’s guilt, but of the punishment.
Brown said that the lone regent who voted against firing did
so based only on the issue of firing him, not out of any
disagreement with the finding that he had committed
of the Churchill case has been heatedly debated over the
past two-plus years. To Churchill and his defenders, he is a
victim of politics and of a right wing attack on freedom of
thought. To Brown and others at the university, Churchill’s
case is not about politics at all about enforcing academic
integrity and punishing those who don’t live up to basic
rules of research honesty. To many others in academe, the
Churchill case has been less clearcut. Many academics have
said that they are troubled by both the findings of research
misconduct against Churchill and by the reality that
his work received intense scrutiny only after his political
views drew attention to him.
has been working at Boulder since 1978 and has been a
tenured professor of ethnic studies since 1991. In the years
before 2005, he gained a reputation at Colorado and on the
college lecture circuit nationally as an impassioned speaker
and writer on behalf of Native Americans. Most of his
speeches were attended by supporters of his views, so he did
not attract widespread criticism.
All of that
changed early in 2005, however, when Churchill was scheduled
to speak at Hamilton College. Some professors there, who did
not feel Churchill was an ideal speaker, circulated some of
his writings, including an essay with the the now notorious
remark comparing World Trade Center victims on 9/11 to
“little Eichmanns.” Within days, the controversy spread —
with Hamilton under pressure to uninvite Churchill and
Colorado under pressure to fire him. Hamilton stood by its
invitation, on academic freedom grounds, but in the end
called off the appearance, based on threats of violence.
University of Colorado considered what to do, a series of
accusations against Churchill started to come in that
involved his scholarly practices. While Churchill repeatedly
has portrayed his critics as conservatives, a number of
those who brought complaints against him share his fury at
the U.S. government’s treatment of Native Americans. The
complaints included charges of plagiarism, of false
descriptions of other scholars’ work or historical evidence,
and of fabrications. The university first determined that it
could not fire Churchill based on his statements about 9/11,
but that it could investigate the other allegations
of misconduct, which it then proceeded
to do. Three separate faculty panels then found Churchill
guilty of multiple instances of research misconduct. The
various panels had splits on whether Churchill deserved to
be fired and those splits were complicated.
the Boulder faculty panel that first found Churchill guilty
of misconduct had five members. One member suggested that
Churchill be fired. Two recommended that he be suspended for
five years without pay. And two recommended that he be
suspended for two years without pay. But the two panel
members who preferred a five-year suspension said that they
— like the panel member who favored dismissal — would find
revocation of tenure and firing to be “not an improper
sanction” for Churchill, given the seriousness of the
findings. Thus Churchill’s defenders were able to say that
the panel didn’t want him fired and his critics were able to
say that the panel’s majority saw firing as appropriate.
the university’s Board of Regents alone had the authority to
fire. Board members have widely been expected to dismiss
Churchill, but they have been circumspect about the case for
months. With Churchill threatening to sue, regents were
sensitive to any suggestion that they were doing anything
except follow standard procedures for allegations of
misconduct serious enough to merit firing a tenured
Continued in article
As he pledged to
do, Ward Churchill sued the University of Colorado Thursday — the day after he
was fired for research misconduct by the Board of Regents.
The Rocky Mountain News reported that his
suit was filed in state court, in Denver, even though the litigation alleges a
First Amendment violation of Churchill’s rights to political expression.
Churchill’s lawyer has said that the process would be speedier in state court
and the News noted that federal judges tend to defer to the personnel decisions
of colleges and universities.
Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2007 ---
"Why I Fired Professor Churchill," by Hank
Brown, The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2007; Page A13 ---
University of Colorado Ethnic
Studies Professor Ward Churchill was fired this week after the
university's Board of Regents approved my recommendation to dismiss
him for academic fraud.
The ongoing drama now moves
to state court, where Mr. Churchill has filed a lawsuit against the
university alleging that it violated his First Amendment rights. Mr.
Churchill drew considerable attention to himself in an essay that
compared 9/11 victims to notorious Nazi Adolf Eichmann.
While no action was taken by
the university with regard to his views on 9/11, many complaints
surfaced at the time about his scholarship from faculty around the
country. The university had an obligation to investigate. The
complaints led to the formation of three separate investigative
panels -- which included more than 20 of his faculty peers and which
worked for over two years -- to unanimously find a pattern of
serious, deliberate and repeated research misconduct that fell below
minimum standards of professional integrity.
The panels found that Mr.
Churchill rewrote history to fit his own theories. When confronted,
he asserted he was not responsible. According to one report,
"Professor Churchill has, on more than one occasion, claimed that
certain acts that appear to have been his were instead the
responsibility of some other actor: his editor or publisher, his
assistant, or his former wife and collaborator." The report goes on
to note that "we have come to see these claims as emblems of a
recurrent refusal to take responsibility for errors . . . and a
willingness to blame others for his troubles."
But his case is about far
more than academic misconduct. It is about the accountability that
public universities must demonstrate. Mr. Churchill's difficulties
in facing up to his academic responsibilities are in many ways
emblematic of higher education's trouble with accountability. Too
often, colleges and universities tend to insulate themselves in
ivy-covered buildings and have not been as diligent as necessary to
ensure that the academic enterprise is conducted rigorously and
honestly. This elitist attitude is simply outdated, and our
university has made tenure reforms -- precipitated by the Churchill
case -- that will ensure academic integrity.
public research universities, are accountable to those who have a
stake in their success and efficient operation. At the University of
Colorado, this includes the people of Colorado who contribute $200
million in taxes annually, the federal agencies that provide some
$640 million annually in research funding, the alumni who want to
maintain the value of their degrees, the faculty who expect their
colleagues to act with integrity and the students who trust that
faculty who teach them meet high professional standards.
And just as the public has
high expectations for us, we expect our faculty members to be
accountable for maintaining high standards of scholarship. A public
research university such as ours requires public faith that each
faculty member's professional activities and search for truth are
conducted according to the academic standards on which an
institution's reputation rests.
The University of Colorado's
reputation was called into question in the matter of Ward Churchill.
His claim that he was singled out for his free speech is a
Controversy -- especially
self-sought controversy -- doesn't immunize a faculty member from
adhering to professional standards. If you are a responsible faculty
member, you don't falsify research, you don't plagiarize the work of
others, you don't fabricate historical events and you don't thumb
your nose at the standards of the profession. More than 20 of Mr.
Churchill's faculty peers from Colorado and other universities found
that he committed those acts. That's what got him fired.
Even great universities have
problems. Places with thousands of faculty and tens of thousands of
mostly young students are not immune to trouble. But a university's
reputation will only be strengthened when it works to ensure that it
remains accountable to those it serves.
Mr. Brown, a former U.S. senator, is
president of the University of Colorado.
Should Academic Left Defend Churchill?
The debate might be summed up in an analogy offered by
one of the faculty panels that reviewed Churchill and found that he committed,
all kinds of research misconduct. Committee members
said that they were uncomfortable with the fact that Colorado ignored serious
allegations against Churchill for years, and took them seriously only when his
politics attracted attention. The panel compared the situation to one in which a
motorist is stopped for speeding because a police officer doesn’t like the
bumper sticker on her car. If she was speeding, she was speeding — regardless of
the officer’s motives, the panel said.
Scott Jaschik, "Should Academic Left Defend Churchill?" Inside Higher Ed,
July 25, 2006 ---
It seems like an excellent opportunity for Ward Churchill to go back to college
and earn a doctorate. This would legitimize his admission to the academy.
Bob Jensen's threads on the Ward Churchill
Saga are at
Is accounting an "academic" discipline?
provide examples of purely academic accounting research that is both tied to
accountancy rather than theoretical economics and is completely “pure” in the
sense of having no foreseeable application in mind?”
The (Random House) dictionary defines "academic" as
"pertaining to areas of study that are not primarily vocational or applied , as
the humanities or pure mathematics." Clearly, the short answer to the question
is no, accounting is not an academic discipline.
Joel Demski, "Is Accounting an Academic Discipline?" Accounting Horizons,
June 2007, pp. 153-157
Statistically there are a few youngsters who came to
academia for the joy of learning, who are yet relatively untainted by the
vocational virus. I
urge you to nurture your taste for learning, to follow your joy. That is the
path of scholarship, and it is the only one with any possibility of turning us
back toward the academy.
Joel Demski, "Is Accounting an Academic Discipline?
American Accounting Association Plenary Session" August 9, 2006 ---
Clearly there are
“pure” number theory and other purely abstract research studies in mathematics
that have no foreseeable application to anything in the real world. I cannot
find any such studies in the academic accounting research literature. Joel's
lament is a bit confusing since for the past four decades, virtually all
doctoral programs have replaced accounting professional content with
mathematics, statistics, econometrics, psychometrics, and sociometrics content
to a fault and to a point where very few accountants are interested in applying
for accountancy doctoral programs ---
The decline in doctoral program graduates (to less than 100 per year in the
United States) combined with the scientific research (albeit "applied research")
requirements for publication in leading academic accounting research journals
resulted in the academy serving the accountancy profession less and less over
the past few decades:
It would help if Joel would be more explicit about what types of "pure
academic" research studies qualify as "accounting research" and why there is
virtually none of it being produced according to his paper and his address to
the AAA membership in August 2006. In particular, I would like to know what
types of academic "accounting" publications set academic accounting apart from
mathematical economics and mathematics disciplines such that these basic
research contributions can still be called "accounting" research that is not
applied (in the sense of his definition of "academic" research as not being
Following Joel's paper is a paper by the same title "Is Accounting an
Academic Discipline?" by John C. Fellingham, Accounting Horizons, June
2007, pp. 159-163. John features the following quotation from Henry Rand
Hatfield in 1924:
I am sure that all of us who teach accounting in
the university suffer from the implied contempt of our colleagues, who look
upon accounting as an intruder, a Saul among the prophets, a paria whose
very presence detracts somewhat from the sanctity of the academic halls.
Henry Rand Hatfield, "An Historical Defense of Bookkeeping,"
Journal of Accountancy, 1924.
I consider this quotation to be inappropriate in 2007. Professor Hatfield was
referring to the teaching of truly basic bookkeeping which is no longer the
mundane vocational subject matter of college accounting in the past fifty or
more years. I consider most of what we now teach in college accountancy to be
very appropriate in service to the accountancy profession.
I guess what I'm really trying to say is that accountancy is a profession
like law is a profession, medicine is a profession, architecture is a
profession, engineering is a profession, pharmacy is a profession, etc. Why does
the academy need to apologize for teaching to the profession of accountancy when
in fact the academy is very proud to serve those other highly esteemed
professions? I do not see schools of law and schools of medicine apologizing to
the world for nobly serving those professions.
Both Demski and Fellingham made emotional appeals for academic accounting
researchers to make noteworthy contributions to the "true academic disciplines"
as quoted by Fellingham on Page 163. Not only should this be a goal, but in a
sense they are arguing that this should be a primary goal far above the goal of
serving the accountancy profession. I fail to note similar appeals being made by
professors of law and medicine and engineering. These professions do distinguish
between clinical versus research publications and teaching, but in general they
do not further glorify their research if it cannot conceivably have some
relevance to their professions. Indeed, even the most basic chemical and
physiological research in medicine still takes place with an eye toward eventual
relevance to human health.
I might also note that both law and medicine also publish some academic
research that is not based upon esoteric mathematics and statistics. For
example, historical and philosophical research methodologies are still allowed
in their most prestigious academic law and science journals, which currently is
not the case for leading academic accounting research journals.
By way of example, since Joel Demski took charge of the accounting doctoral
program at the University of Florida, every applicant to that doctoral program
cannot even matriculate into the program before prerequisites of advanced
mathematics are satisfied.
Students are required to demonstrate math
competency prior to matriculating the doctoral program. Each student's
background will be evaluated individually, and guidance provided on ways a
student can ready themselves prior to beginning the doctoral course work.
There are opportunities to complete preparatory course work at the
University of Florida prior to matriculating our doctoral program.
University of Florida Accounting Concentration
Why does every candidate have to qualify in advanced mathematics rather than
allowing substitutes such as advanced philosophy or advanced legal studies?
I might also add that science and medicine academic journals also still place
monumental priorities on replications of research findings. Leading academic
accounting research journals will not even publish replications and mostly as a
result it is very difficult to find replications of most of the top academic
accounting research papers published by so-called leading accounting researchers
More of my rants on this can be found in the following links:
July 17, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly
Your message raises many questions. I beg to differ
from some of your answers, but am in substantial agreement in others..
1. Is accounting an academic discipline?
If one defines "academic" negatively as not
vocational or applied, I think we can claim that accounting CAN be an
I think there is no Humean guillotine that should
separate academic and professional. Even "academic" physics looks to
"professional" physics (engineering) to be informed and to inform. In
accounting, the purists have erected the Humean guillotine between the two.
In fact, it has been fashionable in the "academician" accounting circles to
deride those in the professional practice of accounting as "them". This
should forebode the death of accounting as an academic discipline; moribund
is a moniker that comes to mind.
2. Can accounting be a "pure" academic
We should distinguish between "pure" and
Webster's defines "pure" as: __________
1. Separate from all heterogeneous or
extraneous matter; free from mixture or combination; clean; mere;
simple; unmixed; as, pure water; pure clay; pure air; pure compassion.
2. Free from moral defilement or quilt; hence,
innocent; guileless; chaste; -- applied to persons. ``Keep thyself
pure.'' --1 Tim. v. 22.
3. Free from that which harms, vitiates,
weakens, or pollutes; genuine; real; perfect; -- applied to things and
actions. ``Pure religion and impartial laws.'' --Tickell. ``The pure,
fine talk of Rome.'' --Ascham.
4. (Script.) Ritually clean; fitted for holy
The only sense I can think of accounting research
of the D&F variety "pure" is the fourth sense above.
In the Social science disciplines, for example, you
have "Theoretical" Sociology (a fascinating field; I took one graduate
course as a student, but wish I had more of it. See the book by one of my
Tom Fararo, "theoretical" psychology (
http://www.psych.ucalgary.ca/istp/ ), "theoretical" anthropology (
and so on.
"Pure" is a loaded word, and is used almost
exclusively in mathematics (and to some degree in chemistry, although the
usage there today is probably archaic). Even physicists use "Theoretical"
Physics, not Pure Physics.
I think "theoretical" would be a more meaningful
term, but I am not sure. For what D&F probably meant, the appropriate term
might be "applied economics" or "applied finance" rather than "pure" or
3. Why is the doctoral population in accounting
My guess is that to be a successful accounting
academic these days, one has to live a lie. On the one hand, in the classes
one is forced to pretend that we have an abiding interest in what happens in
the professional world. On the other hand, in our "research" endeavours, to
be successful, we have to ignore all the richness of the profesional real
world and live in a make-believe world of least squares.
Those who have any idea of this will resist entry,
and those, like me, who get into accounting by accident, decide not to live
the lie but decide to stay, fall by the way side by working outside of
accounting, and in accounting working outside of the mainstream.
There are exciting possibilities for research IN
accounting, but the mainstream research for the past three decades has been,
Stirling would say, mostly research ABOUT accounting. The distinction that
used to be chiseled into our brains in the old days is gone, and the
subsequent generations have lived in a make-believe world where profession
is to be tolerated in the academia.
4.Does mathematics have a role in accounting
I think mathematics has a pivotal role for research
IN accounting. Much of auditing and informartion systems should have a sound
mathematical basis, but at present it does not. Requirements of mainstream
empirical research does not encourage it.
I will not comment on managerial and financial
accounting since I haven't done research in a very long time. But I suspect
that mathematics (and NOT ordinary or extra-ordinary regression) CAN play an
However, I am not sure a mechanical procedure of
the Florida kind can do much. Mathematics is best learnt IN A CONTEXT. In
the schools, the context is usually provided by physics, and in the old
days, in college it used to be provided by economics. There is no reason
doctoral programs can not develop mathematics courses where the context is
accounting (managerial accounting would provide a great context for much of
calculus and optimisation). But who has the motivation to spend time develop
courses of that kind?
Mathematics that I have studied and practiced has
played a very crucial role in my development as a person, but it hasn't in
any way hindered my deep interest in philosophy as well as law. It is a
matter of attitude, of humility to accept the importance of what one may not
know, and the curiosity to learn it.
On another note, mathematics does not have a
privileged status. There is no reason why philosophy, history, or one of the
social sciences (including economics) can not share that exalted status.
That has been the case in medicine as well as in law, and there is no reason
why it can not be the case in accounting..
With kind regards,
July 17, 2007 reply from Glen Gray
If you go into a Chinese shop that sells porcelain
figurines (statuettes), you will invariably see a reclining woman figurine.
These reclining woman were used by doctors. Because a male doctor in China
could not touch a woman that was not his wife, he would use the figurine
instead. He would touch the figurine in a particular spot and say does it
hurt here. The woman would also point to the figurine instead of herself.
Accounting research makes me think of those
reclining women. We accounting academic researchers are truly outsiders in
the accounting professions. Accounting firms are VERY reluctant to let us
look at audit work papers--and then they are VERY, VERY restrictive what
researchers can say about what they conclude based on those work papers.
Users of accounting data are not any more open. Could you imagine going to a
banker, an investment house, or a debt rating agency and trying to get
detailed information on how they use accounting data to reach their
We researchers are left looking a outputs (audit
opinions, bond ratings, etc) and then we test hypotheses on what the inputs
might have been and how those inputs may have been weighted and processes.
Because we HAVE to do research, we keep using this model (look at output,
guess at input and process) going because that is the best we can do. In
this world it is not surprising that econometric (and other "mathematical")
research wins out because they have an almost unlimited combination of
outputs and inputs to test in terms of publicly available data supplied to
regulatory bodies by companies.
Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA
Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems
College of Business & Economics
California State University, Northridge
Northridge, CA 91330-8372
July 17, 2007 reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]
True. Except that we talk to SURROGATE patients
(student or other subjects in behavioural research to infer behaviour of
realworld professionals, and gross aggregated evidence from database mills
in "archival" research to link individual behaviour and macro-level data).
It is true that the academician's access to data is
limited, but my experience is that most professionals are quite willing to
talk about the problems they face. Once the problem is known, it is our task
to find a way to solve it (by developing an algorithm, a plan of action, or
a methodical way to address the issues). These research activities do not
need real world data, but need abstractions from the real world to make the
problem manageable. It is up to us to build models (mathematical or
otherwise) which can be used to study the problems and develop solutions.
That kind of work is just about taboo these days in mainstream accounting.
After all, in the mainstream, our professed objective is to "describe" the
situation, not to solve it.
There is a Humean guillotine between the academia
(descriptive way of looking at the world) and the profession (need to solve
real world problems; normative) in many disciplines (including medicine and
law). Most "sciences" social as well as physical have, however, not forced
the guillotine to come between the academia and the profession in shared
understanding of problems; but unfortunately, in accounting, we have let it
come between us and the profession.
I attend some conferences in computing and
linguistics. I see a healthy but furious dialogue between the two; it is
exciting, and both sides benefit. And the corporate folks who attend them
too do not share the data with the academicians, but they discuss the
problems and possible solutions.
Then I attend the accounting meetings (as I will,
in a few weeks, at an expense that is almost half of my yearly GA stipend as
a student many years ago) to just about waste my time (but for the
recruiting efforts on behalf of my department) intellectually, except to
meet old friends and speak with the VERY few with whom I share common
Unless we can stand up to the rigorous scrutiny by
the profession of all the research work we do, accounting academia might as
well outsource our work to the trade schools who actually might be more
efficient in training the students.
July 18, 2007 reply from Paul Williams
Jagdish, et al Anthony Hopwood made some rather
trenchant remarks in his presidential address at last year's AAA annual
meeting. As he stated (correctly in my opinion) accounting is foremost a
practice. A practice, by the way, that has significant consequences for all
Jagdish, your observation about item four below is
spot on. What we are dealing with in the US academy is theology, not the
discipline of the academy. Note the program for the annual meeting in
Chicago: we get Posner, Hayek, and neuroeconomics. Why not Sunstein, Krugman,
or neuropsychology? All we ever get is propaganda, a controlled intellectual
agenda that privileges the imaginary world of neoclassical economics. It is
laughable that the theme for this year's meeting is IMAGINED WORLDS (plural)
of ACCOUNTING in which the irony of the program ( unimaginative and one
world) seems to be lost on the planners. Even as rebellion begins to grow
within the discipline of economics (Heterdox Newsletter, Post-autistic
Economics Journal) accounting stays wedded to an economics that any
intellectually honest person must admit has done more harm to accounting as
an academic and professional discipline than good.
In the spirit of being a contrarian: mathematics
has nothing to do with accounting. Accounting is linguistic and is primarily
a moral and political discourse. If only more academics noted Jagdish
interest in philosophy and law and legal reasoning. Our math fetish is the
illusion that because accounting generates numbers, it is a quantitative
discipline (and perhaps because accounting academic salaries are much higher
than those of truly imaginative mathematicians). But the numbers we deal
with in accounting are operational numbers (fair value accounting carries
this to an extreme case), i.e., not "quantities" but more indices, like exam
scores, which we always pair with WORDS (e.g., liability, asset, expense).
The "numbers" are subjective and the words? -- the same blessed imprecision
that makes language such a useful thing. One reason that orthodox economics
has failed completely as a predictive science is the illusion that because
economics deals with prices, which have the appearance of "quantities",
mathematical modeling is the way to go ( something we will learn in Chicago
is that Hayek was adamately opposed to the mathematization of economics
because economics is historically contextual). But prices are operational
numbers -- subjective, not objective (this argument is from Donald Gillies,
"Can Mathematics Be Used Successfully in Economics?" in A Guide to What's
Wrong with Economics edited by Edward Fullbrook, 2004, London: Anthem
And when we consider the arbitrary recipes we
currently have for generating accounting "quantities" the conviction that
the only way to understand accounting as a practice is via "rigorous"
mathematical modeling makes one wonder what drugs these people are taking.
Why would any intelligent person with a genuine commitment to scholarship
(rather than a high paying job with good benefits and tenure) and a modicum
of imagination want to do what the neoclassical theologians of the world
compel them to do to be admitted to the academy's inner sanctum? Silly
superstitions and mindless rituals may be fine for securing one's place in
heaven, but for a "discipline" whose putative purpose for being is to LEARN
something about a piece of the world, such exercises are less than useless.
Anthony Hopwood rationalized the creation of AOS in an essay "Accounting
from the Outside."
Now, by his own admission, we learn why Jadgish's
contributions to this conversation are always so incisive and interesting --
he has chosen to be on the outside. I have just returned from the APIRA
conference in Auckland. One of the Americans in attendance observed to me
what a contrast this conference is from the AAA annual meeting. Of course,
because the people in attendance at APIRA have, like Jagdish and I, chosen
to remain on the outside where the conversation is much more interesting
because we speak (often loudly and emphatically) with different voices and
because, frankly, you meet a better educated class of people
What parts of a high school curriculum are the best predictors of success as a
science major in college?
New research by professors at Harvard University
and the University of Virginia has found that no single high school science
course has an impact beyond that type of science, when it comes to predicting
success in college science. However, the researchers found that a rigorous
mathematics curriculum in high school has a significant impact on performance in
college science courses. The research, which will be published in Science, runs
counter to the “physics first” movement in which some educators have been
advocating that physics come before biology and chemistry in the high school
curriculum. The study was based on analysis of a broad pool of college students,
their high school course patterns, and their performance in college
Inside Higher Ed, July 27, 2007 ---
Now we have this when some colleges are trying to promote applications and
admissions by dropping the SAT testing requirements for admission. In Texas, the
Top 10% of any state high school class do not have to even take the SAT for
admission to any state university in Texas. Of course high schools may still
have a rigorous mathematics curriculum, but what high school student aiming for
the 10% rule is going to take any rigorous course that is not required for high
school graduation? The problem is that rigorous elective courses carry a higher
risk of lowering the all-important grade point average.
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at
Grades are even worse than tests like the SAT/ACT tests as predictors of success
"The Wrong Traditions in Admissions," by William E. Sedlacek, Inside
Higher Ed, July 27, 2007 ---
Grades and test scores have worked well as the
prime criteria to evaluate applicants for admission, haven’t they? No!
You’ve probably heard people say that over and over again, and figured that
if the admissions experts believe it, you shouldn’t question them. But that
long held conventional wisdom just isn’t true. Whatever value tests and
grades have had in the past has been severely diminished. There are many
reasons for this conclusion, including greater diversity among applicants by
race, gender, sexual orientation and other dimensions that interact with
career interests. Predicting success with so much variety among applicants
with grades and test scores asks too much of those previous stalwarts of
selection. They were never intended to carry such a heavy expectation and
they just can’t do the job anymore, even if they once did. Another reason is
purely statistical. We have had about 100 years to figure out how to measure
verbal and quantitative skills better but we just can’t do it.
are even worse than tests as predictors of success.
The major reason is
grade inflation. Everyone
is getting higher grades these days, including those in high
school, college, graduate, and professional school. Students
are bunching up at the top of the grade distribution and we
can’t distinguish among them in selecting who would make the
best student at the next level.
We need a fresh approach. It is not good enough to feel
constrained by the limitations of our current ways of
conceiving of tests and grades. Instead of asking; “How can
we make the SAT and other such tests better?” or “How can we
adjust grades to make them better predictors of success?” we
need to ask; “What kinds of measures will meet our needs now
and in the future?” We do not need to ignore our current
tests and grades, we need to add some new measures that
expand the potential we can derive from assessment.
We appear to
have forgotten why tests were created in the first place.
While they were always considered to be useful in evaluating
candidates, they were also considered to be more equitable
than using prior grades because of the variation in quality
among high schools.
should be useful to educators — whether involved in
academics or student services — by providing the basis to
help students learn better and to analyze their needs. As
currently designed, tests do not accomplish these
objectives. How many of you have ever heard a colleague say
“I can better educate my students because I know their SAT
scores”? We need some things from our tests that currently
we are not getting. We need tests that are fair to all and
provide a good assessment of the developmental and learning
needs of students, while being useful in selecting
outstanding applicants. Our current tests don’t do that.
cry of “all for one and one for all” is one that is used
often in developing what are thought of as fair and
equitable measures. Commonly, the interpretation of how to
handle diversity is to hone and fine-tune tests so they are
work equally well for everyone (or at least to try to do
that). However, if different groups have different
experiences and varied ways of presenting their attributes
and abilities, it is unlikely that one could develop a
single measure, scale, test item etc. that could yield
equally valid scores for all. If we concentrate on results
rather than intentions, we could conclude that it is
important to do an equally good job of selection for each
group, not that we need to use the same measures for all to
accomplish that goal. Equality of results, not process is
we should seek to retain the variance due to culture, race,
gender, and other aspects of non-traditionality that may
exist across diverse groups in our measures, rather than
attempt to eliminate it. I define non-traditional persons as
those with cultural experiences different from those of
white middle-class males of European descent; those with
less power to control their lives; and those who experience
discrimination in the United States.
the term “noncognitive” appears to be precise and
“scientific” sounding, it has been used to describe a wide
variety of attributes. Mostly it has been defined as
something other than grades and test scores, including
activities, school honors, personal statements, student
involvement etc. In many cases those espousing noncognitive
variables have confused a method (e.g. letters of
recommendation) with what variable is being measured. One
can look for many different things in a letter.
Robert Sternberg’s system of
viewing intelligence provides a model, but is important to
know what sorts of abilities are being assessed and that
those attributes are not just proxies for verbal and
quantitative test scores. Noncognitive variables appear to
be in Sternberg’s experiential and contextual domains, while
standardized tests tend to reflect the componential domain.
Noncognitive variables are useful for all students, they are
particularly critical for non-traditional students, since
standardized tests and prior grades may provide only a
limited view of their potential.
my colleagues and students have developed a system of
noncognitive variables that has worked well in many
situations. The eight variables in the system are
self-concept, realistic self-appraisal, handling the system
(racism), long range goals, strong support person,
community, leadership, and nontraditional knowledge.
Measures of these dimensions are available at no cost in a
variety of articles and in a book,
Beyond the Big Test.
Web site has previously featured how
Oregon State University has used a
version of this system very successfully in increasing their
diversity and student success. Aside from increased
retention of students, better referrals for student services
have been experienced at Oregon State. The system has also
been employed in selecting Gates Millennium Scholars. This
program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
provides full scholarships to undergraduate and graduate
students of color from low-income families. The SAT scores
of those not selected for scholarships were somewhat higher
than those selected. To date this program has provided
scholarships to more than 10,000 students attending more
than 1,300 different colleges and universities. Their
college GPAs are about 3.25, with five year retention rates
of 87.5 percent and five year graduation rates of 77.5
percent, while attending some of the most selective colleges
in the country. About two thirds are majoring in science and
Washington State Achievers program
has also employed the noncognitive variable system discussed
above in identifying students from certain high schools that
have received assistance from an intensive school reform
program also funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
More than 40 percent of the students in this program are
white, and overall the students in the program are enrolling
in colleges and universities in the state and are doing
well. The program provides high school and college mentors
for students. The
College Success Foundation is
introducing a similar program in Washington, D.C., using the
noncognitive variables my colleagues and I have developed.
articles in this publication have discussed programs at the
Educational Testing Service for
graduate students and
Tufts University for
undergraduates that have incorporated noncognitive
variables. While I applaud the efforts for reasons I have
discussed here, there are questions I would ask of each
program. What variables are you assessing in the program? Do
the variables reflect diversity conceptually? What evidence
do you have that the variables assessed correlate with
student success? Are the evaluators of the applications
trained to understand how individuals from varied
backgrounds may present their attributes differently? Have
the programs used the research available on noncognitive
variables in developing their systems? How well are the
individuals selected doing in school compared to those
rejected or those selected using another system? What are
the costs to the applicants? If there are increased costs to
applicants, why are they not covered by ETS or Tufts?
and related questions are answered these two programs seem
like interesting ideas worth watching. In the meantime we
can learn from the programs described above that have been
successful in employing noncognitive variables. It is
important for educators to resist half measures and to
confront fully the many flaws of the traditional ways higher
education has evaluated applicants.
CUNY to Raise SAT Requirements for Admission
The City University of New York is beginning a drive to
raise admissions requirements at its senior colleges, its first broad revision
since its trustees voted to bar students needing remedial instruction from its
bachelor’s degree programs nine years ago. In 2008, freshmen will have to show
math SAT scores 20 to 30 points higher than they do now to enter the
university’s top-tier colleges — Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens — and
its six other senior colleges.
Karen W. Arenson, "CUNY Plans to Raise Its Admissions Standards," The New
York Times, July 28, 2007 ---
Kansas University Writing Center ---
A Harvard economics professor (Greg Mankiw) provides tips on how to write
Resources for Writers: George Mason University ---
Writing Center Resources from Princeton University ---
Writing Center Resources from Purdue University ---
Bob Jensen's helpers for writers ---
Transplant Pathology Case ---
Bob Jensen's links to tutorials in science and medicine are at
Global Knowledge Partnership: Online Interactions ---
Bob Jensen's threads on social science and philosophy tutorials are at
Venn Diagrams ---
Bob Jensen's links to tutorials in mathematics and statistics are at
"Spreadsheets in Education–The First 25 Years," by John E Baker
Director, Natural Maths
firstname.lastname@example.org and Stephen J Sugden School of Information
Technology, Bond University
email@example.com , July 24, 2003 ---
Spreadsheets made their first appearance for
personal computers in 1979 in the form of VisiCalc , an application
designed to help with accounting tasks. Since that time, the diversity of
applications of the spreadsheet program is evidenced by its continual
reappearance in scholarly journals. Nowhere is its application becoming more
marked than in the field of education. From primary to tertiary levels, the
spreadsheet is gradually increasing in its importance as a tool for teaching
and learning. By way of an introduction to the new electronic journal
Spreadsheets in Education, the editors have compiled this overview of the
use of spreadsheets in education. The aim is to provide a comprehensive
bibliography and springboard from which others may develop their own
applications and reports on educational applications of spreadsheets. For
despite its rising popularity, the spreadsheet has still a long way to go
before becoming a universal tool for teaching and learning, and many
opportunities for its application have yet to be explored. The basic
paradigm of an array of rows-and-columns with automatic update and display
of results has been extended with libraries of mathematical and statistical
functions, versatile graphing and charting facilities, powerful add-ins such
as Microsoft Excel’s Solver, attractive and highlyfunctional graphical user
interfaces, and the ability to write custom code in languages such as
Microsoft’s Visual Basic for Applications. It is difficult to believe that
Bricklin, the original creator of VisiCalc could have imagined the modern
form of the now ubiquitous spreadsheet program. But the basic idea of the
electronic spreadsheet has stood the test of time; indeed it is nowadays an
indispensable item of software, not only in business and in the home, but
also in academe. This paper briefly examines the history of the spreadsheet,
then goes on to give a survey of major books, papers and conference
presentations over the past 25 years, all in the area of educational
applications of spreadsheets.
Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade in education
technology can be found at
Bob Jensen's video tutorials on spreadsheets are at
Bob Jensen's threads on the history of education technologies are at
Richard Wagner Opera Tutorials
From the Scout Report on July 27, 2007
Searching for Gemutlichkeit and Gotterdammerung, the Wagnerian faithful
travel to Bayreuth Wagnerian storm as composer’s scion battles to be
Scion’s ‘Meistersinger’ Eagerly Awaited ---
Going Backstage With Bayreuth Festival Singers [Real Player]
Opera-less in the Realm of Wagner
Opera 101 [Macromedia Flash Player]
Opera Scores: Richard Wagner
Art, Life, and Theories of Richard Wagner (From Cornell University)---
Bob Jensen's links to music tutorials are at
Cheating Goes Unpunished in the Liberal Press
"Slate Attacks Plagiarizing Journalists," by Todd Huston, NewsBusters,
July 30, 2007 ---
is no tool of the "vast right wing conspiracy," for sure
(and neither is its parent company the Washington Post), so
it is pretty amazing to see a Slate contributor take his
fellow liberal journalists to task in so stark a manner.
But, for once,
Slate is dead right on this one,
folks. The "Journalism" biz never takes their plagiarizing
miscreants to task and never makes them pay, but Jack Shafer
sure did last Friday.
Shafer's ire is leveled at writer Michael Finkel who is
famous for having invented a story that appeared in National
Geographic about the slave labor of a small boy purportedly
living on an Ivory Coast cocoa plantation. Yet here he is
getting work once again in the MSM as if he was trustworthy
Shafer rips Finkel to pieces saying at one
point, "If I had the constitution of a
hanging judge, which I don't, I'd have sent
Finkel directly to the gallows for his
[slave story] lies."
But, more important than his ripping of
writer Finkel, Shafer gives us a great
reference to a study that proves that hardly
any writer caught stealing others'
words or making stories up out of whole
cloth ever gets held to account in the MSM.
self-image as a profession that
excommunicates and banishes those who
violate its ethical codes, journalism
routinely grants its miscreants second
chances. For example, a 1995
Columbia Journalism Review piece about
documented the low price Nina Totenberg,
Michael Kramer, Edwin Chen, Fox
Butterfield, and 16 other journalists
paid after being accused of nicking the
words of other writers.
Author Trudy Lieberman found that nearly
all of them were still in the business,
and some of them had even kept their
original jobs. As it turns out, not many
publications force journalists to pay
their debts to their profession and
their readers. Often, they don't even
send the bill.
If this doesn't prove that the media cares
more about the agenda and the message than
the truth, what does? And, if it doesn't
prove that, it certainly proves that the
word "professional" should never appear in
conjunction with "journalism", nor that what
they present should be trusted in any way.
In the past, Jack Shafer has claimed to be
of a libertarian viewpoint and he has
written about the failings of the media, so
this attack on journalism isn't too far out
of the ordinary, at least for him. Still,
what he has to say here is something that we
should see more often. On the other hand,
maybe wide reporting on plagiarism in the
media is something we should see less
of because the media would consider truth
and originality as an important concept?
Well, we can dream, can't we?
Bob Jensen's threads about plagiarism and cheating are at
Free Video Tutorials from Romania
July 28, 2007 message from Dan Gheorghe Somnea
Dear Emeritus Professor Robert Bob Jensen,
I was visiting professor "a l'Université des
Sciences et Technologies du Lille" in May.
http://dan.somnea.free.fr/DAR/ Beside the
topic I have a separate touristic page. There is a significant difference
between the French Educational System and our Romanian one. I had courses at
the Polytech University Lille (l'Ecole Polytech du Lille), and at the IAE
I visited Bruges (Belgium). For this reason I've
attached some cultural links about this town and Lille,
I wrote this message to tell you that I had added some video links on :
Computer Supported Collaborative Learning,
Epistemology, Experential Learning, Expert Systems, Future of IT, Haptic
Devices, Instructional Design, Integrating Technology in Classroom,
Interactive Courseware, Interactive Learnings Environment Systems, Mobile
Learning, Network learning Systelms, and Ubiquitous Computing. In the same
context, I mentioned two links about your contributions:
1. A link blog about Higher Education
2. Jensen's Video Tutorials and Other
Helpers. This ".../IT" web site is watched only by Inktomi Search
Engine. C'est la vie !
How are you ?
prof. dr. ing. Dan Gheorghe
Somnea Int'l Business and Economics Department (IBED)
alias Faculty of ... (FIBE), the Academy of Economic Studies (AES),
A federal judge on Friday sentenced Joseph P.
Nacchio, the former chief executive of Qwest Communications International, to
six years in prison in what prosecutors called the largest insider-trading case
Dan Frosch, The New York Times, July 28, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's Rotten to the Core threads are at
The Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection Clause and Anthony Menendez,
former E&Y Auditor
I received a message from Mr. Menendez telling me about his case of alleged
bill and hold fraud
Anthony Menendez, who was Halliburton's director of
technical accounting research and training, has accused the world's
second-largest oilfield-services company of using so- called bill-and-hold
accounting and other undisclosed practices to ``distort the timing of billions
of dollars in revenue.'' In short, Menendez
says this allowed Halliburton to book product sales improperly, before they
Jonathan Weil, "Halliburton's Accounting Might Make You Wonder," Bloomberg
News, July 21, 2007 ---
The allegations are part of a 54-page complaint
Menendez filed against Halliburton with a Labor Department administrative-
law judge in Covington, Louisiana, who released the records in response to a
Freedom of Information Act request. Menendez, who resigned last year and is
seeking unspecified damages, says Halliburton retaliated against him in
violation of the Sarbanes- Oxley Act's whistleblower provisions after he
reported his concerns to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the
company's audit committee.
Halliburton has denied the allegations. A company
spokeswoman, Cathy Mann, says Halliburton's audit committee ``directed an
independent investigation'' and ``concluded that the allegations were
without merit.'' She declined to comment on bill-and-hold issues, and
Halliburton's court filings in the case don't provide any details about its
Menendez, a 36-year-old former Ernst & Young LLP
auditor, filed his complaint in December, shortly after a Labor Department
investigator in Dallas rejected his retaliation claim. Mann says the company
expects to prevail at trial.
Cause of Concern
Investors, of course, will care more about the
reliability of Halliburton's numbers than whether Menendez wins. And a look
at internal Halliburton documents Menendez filed with the court suggests
there's reason for concern.
Here's how Menendez, who reported to Halliburton's
chief accounting officer, summed up the bill-and-hold issue in his
``For example, the company recognizes revenue when
the goods are parked in company warehouses, rather than delivered to the
customer. Typically, these goods are not even assembled and ready for the
customer. Furthermore, it is unknown as to when the goods will be ultimately
assembled, tested, delivered to the customer and, finally, used by the
company to perform the required oilfield services for the customer.''
If true, that would violate generally accepted
accounting principles. For companies to recognize revenue before delivery,
``the risks of ownership must have passed to the buyer,'' the SEC's staff
wrote in a 2003 accounting bulletin. There also ``must be a fixed schedule
for delivery of the goods,'' and the product ``must be complete and ready
for shipment,'' among other things.
Shortly after joining Halliburton in March 2005,
Menendez says he discovered a ``terribly flawed'' flow chart on the
company's in-house Web site, called the Bill and Hold Decision Tree. The
flow chart, a copy of which Menendez included in his complaint, walks
through what to do in a situation where a ``customer has been billed for
completed inventory which is being stored at a Halliburton facility.''
First, it asks: Based on the contract terms, ``has
title passed to customer?'' If the answer is no -- and here's where it gets
strange -- the employee is asked: ``Does transaction meet all of the `bill
and hold' criteria for revenue recognition?'' If the answer to that question
is yes, the decision tree says to do this: ``Recognize revenue.'' The
decision tree didn't specify what the other criteria were.
In other words, Halliburton told employees to
recognize revenue even though the company still owned the product.
You don't have to be an accountant to see the
``The policy in the chart is clearly at odds with
generally accepted accounting principles,'' says Charles Mulford, a Georgia
Institute of Technology accounting professor, who reviewed the court
records. ``It's very clear cut. It's not gray.''
Bill-and-hold was at the heart of Sunbeam Corp.'s
collapse in the late 1990s, and later blowups at Qwest Communications
International Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp.
It is possible to use bill-and-hold and comply with
the rules. But it's hard. The customer, not the seller, must request such
treatment. The customer also must have a compelling reason for doing so.
Customers rarely do.
Menendez, who now works as a consultant, also
accuses Halliburton of improper accounting for income taxes, off-balance-
sheet entities and foreign-currency adjustments. Court records show he first
alerted the SEC's enforcement division in November 2005, three months before
he complained to Halliburton's audit committee.
In a Jan. 3 court filing, Halliburton said the SEC
had closed its inquiry into the company's accounting practices.
Menendez told me, though, that he met with SEC
investigators at the agency's Fort Worth, Texas, office as recently as March
28. He also shared a March 14 letter from an enforcement-division attorney
there, which shows the travel itinerary the SEC arranged for him to attend
that meeting. Mann, the Halliburton spokeswoman, declined to comment on
whether the company has been notified of further SEC inquiries into
Halliburton seemed to quell doubts about its books
back in August 2004, when it paid $7.5 million to settle a two-year SEC
probe. The agency faulted Halliburton's disclosures, but not its accounting.
As long as investors trust a company's profits, they generally don't care
how the company earns them. If they begin to suspect they shouldn't, though,
Bob Jensen's threads on whistle blowing are at
Bob Jensen's threads on revenue reporting and frauds can be found at
Here's an older example of bill and hold fraud
Death by Accounting
To get companies to participate in a flu vaccine
stockpile the government is dangling tons of new funding. Cash in hand is
usually a very strong incentive. But a Clinton administration SEC policy
prevents the vaccine makers from recognizing the revenue until the vaccine is
delivered to the doctors, countering the very purpose of a stockpile. The
Department of Health and Human Services' National Vaccine Advisory Committee
concluded in early 2005 that for the stockpile program to be successful, "the
revenue recognition issue must be resolved as soon as possible." It all began in
late 1999, when the SEC issued "Staff Accounting Bulletin 101," which it painted
as a modest clarification "not intended to change current guidance in the
accounting literature." But in reality it was a radical change to the way
companies could book revenue from "bill and hold" orders. This change would, at
its least, lead to hindrances for innovative new companies. At its worst, it
would discourage production of lifesaving products like vaccines.
John Berlau, "Death by Accounting?" The Wall Street Journal, October 21,
"Robbing the Rich to Give to the
Richest," By Lynne Munson, Inside Higher Ed,
July 26, 2007 ---
The student loan business is a lucrative
one. But the senator is going after the
wrong folks if he’s trying to rein in the
biggest “fat cats” in academe. That mantle
should rest on the shoulders of colleges and
universities themselves. Legislators setting
policy with regard to higher education
should realize that colleges and
universities are our nation’s richest — and
possibly most miserly — “nonprofits.”
universities are sitting on a fortune in
tax-free funds, and sharing almost none of
it. Higher education endowment assets alone
total over $340 billion.
Sixty-two institutions boast endowments over
Harvard and Yale top the list with
endowments so massive, $28 billion and $18
billion respectively, that they exceed the
general operating funds for the states in
which they reside. It’s not just elite
private institutions that do this; four
public universities have endowments that
rank among the nation’s top 10. The
University of Texas’ $13 billion endowment
is the fourth largest nationwide, vastly
overshadowing most of the Ivy League.
These endowments tower
over their peers throughout the nonprofit
world. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is
America’s wealthiest museum. But the Met’s
$2 billion endowment is bested by no less
than 26 academic institutions, including the
University of Minnesota, Washington
University in St. Louis, and Emory. Indeed,
the total worth of the top 25 college and
university endowments is $11 billion greater
than the combined assets of
their equivalently ranked private
foundations — including Gates, Ford and
Continued in article
All colleges that I've attended and/or worked for use the
largest part of their endowment revenues for scholarships and
Bob Jensen's threads on
higher education controversies are at
A new natural-language system
is based on 30 years of research at PARC
"Building a Better Search Engine," by Michael Reisman, MIT's
Technology Review, July 27, 2007 ---
Inc., based in San Francisco, is
on the verge of offering an innovative natural-language
search engine, based on linguistic research at the
Palo Alto Research Center
(PARC). The engine does more than merely accept queries
asked in the form of a question. The company claims that the
engine finds the best answer by considering the meaning and
context of the question and related Web pages.
"Powerset extracts deep concepts and relationships from the
texts, and the users query and match them efficiently to
deliver a better search," Powerset CEO Barney Pell says.
Even though attempts have been made at natural-language
search for decades, Powerset says that its system is
different because it has solved some of the fundamental
technological problems that have existed with this kind of
search. It has done so by developing a product that is deep,
computationally advanced, and still economically viable.
Pell says that it's difficult to pinpoint one particular
technological breakthrough, but he believes that Powerset's
superiority lies in the three decades of hard work by
scientists at PARC. (PARC licensed
much of its natural-language search technology to Powerset
in February.) There was not one piece of technology that
solved the problem, Pell says, but instead, it was the
unification of many theories and fragments that pulled the
"After 30 years, it's finally reached a point where it can
be brought into the world," he says.
A key component of the search engine is a deep
natural-language processing system that extracts the
relationships between words; the system was developed from
PARC's Xerox Linguistic
Environment (XLE) platform. The
framework that this platform is based on, called Lexical
Functional Grammar, enabled the team to write different
grammar engines that help the search engine understand text.
This includes a robust, broad-coverage grammar engine
written by PARC. Pell also claims that the engine is better
than others at dealing with ambiguity and determining the
real meaning of a question or a sentence on a Web page. All
these innovations make the system more adaptable, he says,
so that it can extract deep relationships from text.
Continued in Article
Bob Jensen's search helpers
In the End, Workers Bear Most
of Corporate Taxes Paid
A traditionally less-settled question
has been one of incidence: Who bears the corporate tax burden?
Some may be tempted with a quick answer, "corporations." But
that is clearly wrong. The Econ 101 admonition that people pay
taxes -- in this case, suppliers of capital through lower
returns, workers through lower wages, and/or consumers through
higher prices -- remains true even when the tax is aimed at
capital. And the category "owners of corporate capital" (that
is, stockholders) is also too narrow. In his celebrated analysis
of the corporate tax almost 50 years ago, Arnold Harberger
showed, for a closed economy, that a separate tax on corporate
capital would reduce returns to all owners of capital, making it
a tax on saving (and, in a framework more general than Mr.
Harberger's, on investment). Recent research has cast an eye in
a somewhat different direction, showing that the tax may be
borne not entirely (or even principally) by owners of capital,
but by workers. Globalization plays a role. In an open economy,
with mobile capital, a source-based tax like the corporate tax
will lead to a capital outflow, reducing investment and
productivity and wages. Indeed, Mr. Harberger's updated research
on the incidence of the corporate tax concluded that labor bears
not just the brunt of the tax, but a burden that may be larger
than the tax itself.
Glenn Hubbard, "The Corporate Tax Myth," The Wall Street
Journal, July 26, 2007; Page A13 ---
"Share Video Captures and Huge
Files for Free: Two terrific tools: Jing gives you smart,
painless video and screen captures; TransferBigFiles lets you
share files of up to 1GB in size," by Steve Bass, PC
World via The Washington Post, July 25, 2007 ---
I tried Jing
this morning and I love it. It's smart and free, and a kick
to use. In less than a minute, I figured out how to
highlight a portion of my screen, record what I was
watching, and save it to Jing's server, ready to share.
Jing is a
freebie developed by TechSmith, the same people who
sellSnagItandCamtasia, the industrial-strength screen and
video capturing tools. I'm telling you this because I don't
want you to be disappointed with Jing, especially, if you've
used either of TechSmith's other programs. Jing is, as the
PR guys said, a lightweight application. And for lots of
people, that's just fine.
Jing sits on
any side of your screen (I keep mine on top). Pull down the
app--or hit a hotkey--and select Capture.
A pair of
grid lines appear across the screen that let you choose the
portion of the real estate you want to capture. The part of
the screen that's grayed out isn't captured.
little fiddling, I discovered that watching the left-hand
corner intersection is the key to seeing what's going to be
captured. A small toolbar appears along the outside of the
grid that lets you choose between grabbing an image or
I have two
monitors, and if I snag the entire secondary monitor, the
image toolbar is below the monitor's edge and out of sight.
It wasn't obvious once I set the grid, but before I started
capturing, I could drag the region to see the toolbar. The
side benefit, which also wasn't obvious, is I could resize
the capture region.
capture is complete, I can save it to a file on my drive.
What I like better, particularly with videos, is to put it
on TechSmith's screencast site. That way I don't have to
worry if my mother--or you, for that matter--has the right
codecs or software to view the video. The file's saved as an
SWF Flash and images are PNGs.
you've captured is available from the program's history. You
can see a thumbnail; from the history window, you can save
the file locally, send it off to Screencast for sharing, or
wondering about TechSmith's benevolence, providing you with
a neat freebie and online storage, right? There are scads of
free screen capture utilities available. (I know, because
every time I write about SnagIt, I get 40 e-mails telling me
about all of them.) The folks at TechSmith have noticed
that, too, and they're probably feeling left out. My guess
is that once you're hooked on saving the files to their
server, they're going to start charging for the online
Jing's free for now, sograb a copyandtake a look at the
tutorial, andlet me knowhow you like it.
I have a new
way to send a gigantic files. No, I mean really gargantuan
files, up to 1GB. Axosoft'sTransferBigFilesis a nice, free
alternative toYouSendIt, the Web-based service program that
only allows 100MB--unless you want to pay a fee.
TransferBigFiles lets you send up to five files at a time. I
like being able to send a file to five people, too, though
I'd prefer being able to blind-copy the recipients. Other
features: You can password protect the file and get a
confirmation that it's been downloaded. Files are held for
five days and then deleted.
good that the folks at Axosoft will discontinue the service
in a year (as did dropload.com, another file transfer site),
once they discover how much competition there is and that
they won't become millionaires with this service. But for
now, let's start transferring files.
I like YouSendIt for sending large files across the Internet.
Bob Jensen's bookmarks for
sending large files are at
"10 Things We Hate About
Microsoft: Only ten? Yep--but these aren't the fish in a barrel
you might expect," PC World staff via The
Washington Post, July 23, 2007 ---
It's easy to
complain about specific Microsoft products--heck, we've
probably written a million words on our gripes about Windows
alone. But for this list, we dug deeper into the things
about Microsoft the company that just push us over the edge.
For instance, the Blue Screen of Death isn't here--because
it's already spoken for in our companion piece, "10 Things
We Love About Microsoft."
For a similar
love/hate appreciation of Microsoft's
greatest competitor, see our articles
"10 Things We Love About
Apple" and "10
Things We Hate About Apple."
If you find the name of a particular
Microsoft offering confusing and clunky,
just wait--chances are, the company will
relaunch the product with a new name
that's even less euphonious. Examples
are legion, from Windows Live Search
Powered by Virtual Earth (formerly MSN
Virtual Earth) to ASP.NET Web Service
(formerly Managed C++ Web Service). But
all these name switches do have one
thing in common: They never result in a
Compare that approach to Apple's, which
favors simple one-word names to such an
extent that it's given the same
moniker--iMac--to three quite different
computers over the last decade. At least
Microsoft knows that it has a problem:
Thisfamous video--which theorizes that
if the iPod had hailed from Redmond, it
would have been the I-pod Pro 2005 Human
Ear Edition with Subscription--was
produced by Microsoft itself.
No one likes to read standards documents
because they're so boring. Maybe that's
why Microsoft routinely ignores the Web
guidelines set forth by the World Wide
Web consortium when it comes to its
Internet Explorer browser. (Or maybe
it's the fact that they own over 70
percent of the browser market, according
to a recent Janco Associates report.)
Since IE doesn't follow the rules, Web
site developers have to write code that
matches (at least) two standards;
otherwise, pages won't display properly
if you use the "wrong" browser. C'mon,
Redmond! Would it really be that hard to
play ball with the rest of the kids on
the Internet playground?
On a side note, how can a company with
as many coders as Microsoft has manage
to create pages that don't work in
We're sure that writing the first
version of Windows required lots of
pizza-fueled all-nighters. And creating
Internet Explorer couldn't have been a
walk on the beach with the Shangri-Las
either. So we can understand being a
little reluctant to throw that work
away. But at some point--say, a decade
or two later--it's surely time to start
fresh with a new product. In Redmond,
though, that time never seems to arrive.
We still have Windows teetering on its
creaky old Registry. Instead of starting
over fresh to replace something as
flawed as Windows' user security,
Microsoft retained XP's basic setup in
Vista and "updated" it by tacking on the
exceptionally annoying User Access
Same goes for Internet Explorer 7.
Microsoft kept about half of the program
code from IE 6, arguably the most widely
attacked program in the world, instead
of dumping it all and starting over. And
it didn't take long for hackers to find
flaws that left both IE 6 and IE 7
vulnerable. Granted, starting afresh
means losing compatibility with some
older programs. But if the payoff is a
more stable, more secure system, we'll
The Customer Is Always Suspect, and
Business Partners Stay Nervous
Being treated as a potential pirate may
be a necessary concomittant of doing
business with Microsoft, but did you
know that the policy is actually a
special benefit for you, the paying
customer? Or that the diffidence of the
company's hardware partners toward
competing software has nothing to do
with intimidation? Just ask Microsoft.
We don't blame Microsoft for getting
agitated over the fact that Windows is
among the most-pirated applications on
the planet. We're okay with its minions'
trying to stop that. But the Windows
Genuine Advantage copy protection system
it came up with has a nasty habit
ofcausing problemsfor people who own
legitimate copies of the software. And
the most aggravating part is
themarketing campaignfor "the WGA
experience," which insists that going
through this hassle is a big fat benefit
for us, the users. As if we're all
losing sleep over the remote possibility
that our copy of Windows is counterfeit.
WGA would seem a little less painful if
Microsoft treated its paying customers
like grownups and simply said, "We're
sorry to make you jump through these
hoops, but it helps us prevent people
from stealing our software."
Continued in article
The Future of Library Science
new president of the American Library Association
is a professor in a college not of library
of science, but of information.
Loriene Roy, a professor at the
University of Texas at Austin, has served as a reference
librarian, a research associate, and a professor, and brings
that varied background to the leadership of the ALA. In
this podcast interview, she discusses
the evolution of library science programs (including for some
the evolution away from the “library name"), the role of
professors within the association, and the growing role for
library programs in training paraprofessionals who are taking on
a growing number of roles in libraries.
Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2007 ---
Is Facebook the New MySpace?
MySpace has an impressive lead today, but things can
change quickly in the fluid world of mass-market social networking sites. Just
ask Friendster. First Friendster was everybody's favorite social
networking site. Then Friendster fell out of vogue--precipitously--and people
stopped going there. In its place, MySpace became the darling of the Web.
MySpace provided not only a free place to host your own online identity, but a
full set of tools for meeting and interacting with others. Now everybody is
talking about Facebook, which fits the same description, but in a very different
way. Will Facebook become the next MySpace? I think so, and here's why.
Mark Sullivan, PC World via The Washington Post, July 20, 2007 ---
Should Stanford University accept research funding from the tobacco
industry or the Department of Defense?
Stanford researchers remain free to accept funding from
any source, after a resolution to prohibit research sponsorship by the tobacco
industry was defeated, 21 to 10, by the Faculty Senate in May. The proposed ban
had sparked intense discussion.
"Ban Up in Smoke," Stanford Magazine, July/August 2007 ---
But Stanford and most other universities have tight controls on "gifts" and
kickbacks that may be accepted by faculty and staff, including luxury travel and
dining. But potential conflicts of interest between professors and recruiters,
lending companies, publishers, corporations hiring consultants, etc. will always
be a troublesome issue.
Examining Vendor-College Ties
The National Association of College and University
Business Officers plans to review its existing policies on the interaction
between exhibitors and attendees at its annual meetings and to propose a set of
“best practices” — and practices to be avoided — in the relationships between
corporate vendors and colleges generally, the association’s top official said
Doug Lederman, "Examining Vendor-College Ties, Inside Higher Ed, July 31,
Trustees and Boards of Directors of Universities often have conflicts of
Professors and Colleges Skating on the Edge of Questionable Ethics ---
"Higher Ed’s Conflict of
Interest Problem," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, June
6, 2007 ---
See Bob Jensen's threads on accountability and conflicts of interests ---
Current Life of an Undergraduate Student at Cal: Not Much Time for
The University of California last
released statistics on undergraduates throughout
the system. Among the findings: 23 percent were born outside the United States,
and another 37 percent were born in the United States but have at least one
parent who was not; 35 percent are not native speakers of English; 42 percent
report that they are easily distracted in a way that hurts their academic
success; in terms of time spent in various activities, they report spending an
average of 13.1 hours per week on homework, 11.1 hours per week using the
Internet for non-academic purposes, and 5.7 hours per week watching television.
Inside Higher Ed, July 24, 2007 ---
"Ideas to Shake Up Publishing," by Scott Jaschik,
Inside Higher Ed, July 26 ---
some regularity, reports or op-eds note the economic
struggles of most university presses and the difficulties
they face publishing monographs that are vital to individual
scholars’ careers, but that typically aren’t read by that
many people — and that libraries can’t afford to buy.
Concerns about the relationship between university presses
and tenure, for example, led the Modern Language Association
to propose moving beyond
the “fetishization” of the monograph
Today, a new report
“University Publishing in a Digital Age”
is being released by a
group of experts on scholarly publishing —
and they too are proposing radical changes
in the way publishing works. The report —
nonprofit group that promotes research and
strategy for colleges to reflect changing
technology — is based on a detailed study of
university presses, which morphed into a
larger examination of the relationship
between presses, libraries and their
The report and its authors are suggesting
that university presses focus less on the
book form and consider a major collaborative
effort to assume many of the technological
and marketing functions that most presses
cannot afford, and that universities be more
strategic about the relationship of presses
to broader institutional goals.
“We’re trying to look at the whole
ecosystem,” said Laura Brown, a lead author
of the report and a consultant who was
formerly president of Oxford University
Press USA, “and it was instructive to see
how much dysfunction is there.”
The report — based on interviews with
university press directors, library deans,
provosts and other academic leaders — finds
that university presses are suffering from
“a drift” in which they have become “less
integrated with the core activities and
missions of their home campuses.”
Digital scholarship, the report notes, is
making publication much more diverse and
less formal than it once was, as a scholar
has many more options — many of them not
relying on the vetting process of a
university press — to distribute research
findings or ideas. At the same time,
university presses are not exactly flush
with cash to make new investments to use
technology. A survey conducted as part of
the project found that most university
presses have annual revenues of less than $3
million, that 70 percent run a deficit, and
that most expect support from their parent
universities to stay roughly level for the
next five years.
What to do?
While the report
offers many ideas, a major focus is to
expand the online publication role of
university presses and to create a mechanism
for university presses to collaborate on
many functions related to online publication
of what now would generally appear in book
form. The report notes that in the world of
journals, efforts like
Project Muse have
in effect involved hundreds of journals
sharing the cost of online distribution and
While many university presses have
experimented with online publishing of
books, there has not been the same switch in
mindset about how scholarship is shared, nor
about the possibility of shared
infrastructure. (The report’s authors and
Ithaka have numerous ties to JSTOR and its
board, and they note in the report that
JSTOR could well want to play a role in the
transformations they suggest. But they note
that other entities or new groups could as
well, and a number of those excited about
the study’s ideas have no ties to JSTOR.)
Continued in article
Update on Affirmative Action in Schools: 2007
There was a
national sigh of relief on campuses
in June when an altered U.S. Supreme Court
left standing the historic 2003
Grutter v. Bollinger
decision supporting affirmation action in admissions. There had
been widespread fear among civil rights advocates that a more
conservative Supreme Court would seriously undermine or even
reverse the 5-4 Grutter decision with its author, Justice Sandra
Day O’Connor, no longer on the Court. The voluntary school
integration decision in
Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School
District No. 1 and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of
Education was, indeed, a
serious reversal for desegregation in K-12 schools but while
divided on the constitutionality of the school plans at issue in
the cases, all nine justices agreed that the decision had no
impact on the Grutter precedent. The rights of colleges to use
race in admissions decisions for student body diversity had
survived scrutiny by the most conservative Supreme Court in more
than 70 years. Since the Supreme Court rarely takes such cases,
the Grutter precedent might last for a while. While a bullet was
dodged, optimism should be restrained. The dike protecting
affirmative action has held but the river that brings diverse
groups of students to colleges may be drying up as a result of
the latest decision.
Gary Orfield, Erica Frankenberg and Liliana M. Garces, "Better
Than Expected, Worse Than It Seems," Inside Higher Ed,
July 24, 2007 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action are at
How to Lie With Statistics
Is the United States falling behind India and China in education, science and
“Apples and Oranges in the Flat World,” a booklet
released Friday by the American Council on Education, offers guidance on how to
make international comparisons and explains the limitations of those
comparisons. The booklet was written by Jane V. Wellman, an education consultant
who directs the Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity and
Accountability . . .
The report also reviews the difficulties of comparing
numbers of scientists or engineers being produced in different countries. The
ACE study reviews the work of Duke University researchers, who have
questioned statistics suggesting a huge growth in
the numbers of Chinese engineers. Many of those engineers, the Duke study found,
are not coming out of programs of the quality of American engineering colleges.
Scott Jaschik, "Apples and Oranges in International Statistics," Inside
Higher Ed, July 23, 2007 ---
The booklet is available for $20 at
Sixty-One and Counting: Colleges and Universities Refusing to
Participate in the U.S. News Rankings Studies
Sixty-one college and university presidents have
now signed a letter pledging not to participate in the “reputational” part of
the U.S. News & World Report rankings, and not to use rankings in promotional
materials. The letter, being circulated by the Education Conservancy,
started off in May with 12 presidents.
Inside Higher Ed, July 23, 2007 ---
Most of the refuseniks do not do well in the rankings. Whether or not this
movement has a major impact depends greatly on whether some of the top-ranking
colleges and universities opt out, especially the top research universities and
the top national liberal arts colleges. One risk is that college applicants will
commence to ask questions about why particular colleges refuse to enter into the
"competition?" Another risk is that rankings
will continue based upon data in the public domain. This would end each
college's ability to provide some helpful input into its own ranking.
Bob Jensen's threads on the rankings controversies are at
How to Find Conferences and Workshops
July 24, 2007 message from XXXXX
Thank you for all your efforts. I don't know if you
have time to answer all your individual email, but I searched your web page
to no avail looking for some type of site that comprehensively lists
business and/or law-related conferences and calls for papers. I did find
your comments I remember reading about fraudulent academic conferences.
For years, I collected information on business and
law conference sites and hoped to put together something searchable by
topic, date, location, organization, etc., but never was able to complete
the task. Do you happen to know of any sites like that?
Thanks very much.
Reply from Bob Jensen on July 24, 2007
I've found there's a lot of moral hazard in listings of workshops and
conferences, because there are so many that dance on the edge of being
frauds or rip offs of third party payers such as a college that reimburses a
faculty member for what becomes mostly an paid vacation ---
Be especially aware of conference hosts who do not disclose on conference
registration fees are being spent.
There's also a problem of the sheer number of workshops and conferences
unless it's narrowed down.
For global accounting conferences, you might try entering appropriate
terms (like conferences) at
A better approach is to go to the Website trustworthy associations such
as the AICPA, State Societies of CPAs, the American Tax Association, the
American Accounting Association, the Association of Fraud Examiners. Then
look for tabs to meetings and conferences.
be some added links among my search helpers at
July 24, 2007 reply from Dr. William Brent Carper
An outstanding source for upcoming conferences and
www.accountingeducation.com edited by Andy
Lymer and Andrew Priest. They also publish a weekly newswire Double Entries
to which I encourage all of my accounting students subscribe in order to
better understand financial accounting, reporting, and auditing in a global
context. The following information is provided from a recent issue of Double
Double Entries is a weekly e-newsletter that
provides up-to-date news of accounting and auditing around the world and is
available both by email and on the World Wide Web at http//accountingeducation.com.
Double Entries is edited by Andrew Priest at the School of Accounting, Edith
Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia and Andy Lymer,
Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United
Kingdom. Correspondents come from the profession and academia. Further
information, source of the material and contributor names for specific
articles in Double Entries can be found online by referring to the specific
article in the News section of AccountingEducation.com. Contributors: Andy
Lymer [AL] (UK), Andrew Priest [AP], David Hardidge [DH], (Australia),
Amelia Baldwin [AB], Roger Debreceny [RD] (US), Dave Kolitz [DK], Dieter
Gloeck (South Africa), Nikoleta Radic [NR] (The Netherlands), Frank D'Andrea
[FD] (Canada), Elisabeth Walliser [EW], Jean-Luc Rossignol [JR] (France),
Nick Rowbottom (United Kingdom) [NR], Tony van Zijl [TV] (New Zealand,
Barbara Weissenberger (Germany) [BW], Tan Bee Leng (Malaysia) and Rene
Mailing Address: AccountingEducation.com Ltd, Unit
100, The Guildhall, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham, UK, B15 2TU.
AccountingEducation.com normally has an exhibit at
the American Accounting Association (AAA) annual meeting. Thus, accounting
colleagues hopefully once again will have the opportunity to learn more
about all of the many outstanding services that AccountingEducation.com
provides at the upcoming AAA meeting in Chicago, as well as personally meet
If this correspondence sounds like a testimonial
for AccountingEducation.com, that is because it is! Andy Lymer, Andrew
Priest, and staff do a marvelous job, and they deserve to be recognized for
their continuing outstanding contributions to the global accounting
Have a wonderful day!
"Fraud Cases Nab Scads of Corporate Heads," by Lara Jakes Jordan,
SmartPros, July 18, 2007 ---
Hundreds of high-ranking company officials have
been convicted in corporate fraud schemes since 2002, the Justice Department
said Tuesday - a day after a federal judge threw out charges in one of the
largest criminal tax cases in U.S. history.
General Alberto Gonzales called the U.S. District Court ruling,
in favor of 13 former KPMG employees,
disappointing and said he was "quite confident" the government
we're disappointed, and we won't be discouraged or deterred from
pursuing wrongdoing where we think it exists and following the
evidence where it takes us," Gonzales told reporters following
the long-planned Justice Department announcement regarding its
efforts to curb corporate fraud. "So we're disappointed but
we're going to stay focused on this very important issue."
In all, federal
prosecutors have won 1,236 convictions in corporate fraud cases
and reaped hundreds of millions in payback for victims over the
last five years, said Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty.
one-third of the convictions came against company CEOs,
presidents, counsel and other high-ranking officials, said
McNulty, who chaired a government task force aimed at curbing
corporate corruption in the aftermath of the Enron scandal that
wiped out thousands of jobs, more than $60 billion in market
value and more than $2 billion in employee pension plans.
McNulty, who is
leaving the Justice Department by summer's end, last year
authored changes to rules for prosecutors in corporate fraud
cases. The result, known as the "McNulty Memo," bars prosecutors
from charging businesses solely for refusing to hand over
corporate attorney-client communications. It also prohibits the
government from penalizing firms that pay attorneys' fees for
employees - except in rare cases where the payments result in
blocking the investigation.
Critics say that
leaves open the possibility of firms that pay attorneys fees
being publicly viewed as hindering investigations - a death
knell in an ethics-sensitive business era. Last week, Rep. Bobby
Scott, D-Va., introduced legislation to bar prosecutors from
pressuring corporations against paying legal fees or demanding
attorney-client information. The bill is similar to one filed
last year by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.
In the KPMG case
Monday, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in New York said the
government coerced the giant tax firm to limit and then cut off
its payment of the employees' legal fees - stripping the 13
defendants' constitutional right to legal representation. The
former KPMG employees were accused of participating in a fraud
that helped the wealthy escape $2.5 billion in taxes.
(Charges are still pending against
several higher ranking KPMG executives.)
The case was not
mentioned during Tuesday's hour-long ceremony, which doubled as
a public send-off for McNulty. The memo, McNulty said, should
encourage firms "to engage in more robust self-assessment of
their internal controls."
Bob Jensen's threads on fraud are at
Bob Jensen's threads on why white collar crime often pays even if you know
you're going to get caught are at
Why they do it is hypothesized at
July 23, 2007 message from Thomas Weise
Dear Mr. Jensen.
I am currently writing an
open, freely available computer science e-book. This e-book is devoted to
global optimization algorithms, which are methods to find optimal
solutions for given problems. It especially focuses on evolutionary
computation by discussing evolutionary algorithms, genetic algorithms,
genetic programming, learning classifier systems, evolution strategy,
differential evolution, particle swarm optimization, and ant colony
optimization. It also elaborates on meta-heuristics like simulated
annealing, hill climbing, tabu search, and random optimization.
With this book, I want to
make it easier for students and fellow researchers to get started with these
interesting topics. I believe that it is a valuable resource for both,
students and (beginning) fellow researches.
I would be very happy if you
would add it to your catalogue. You can find the book at
. It includes a bibtex citation-suggestion . Notice
that the book is currently worked on, it will be improved, revised,
extended, and corrected consecutively. This means that providing a
downloaded copy on your site would probably make no sense, a direct link
would be better. This book is licensed under the Gnu Free Documentation
July 24, 2007 reply from Bob Jensen
Even though it is not entirely a textbook, I added your link to
It may be several days before I transfer the above file to my server in
Texas. Be patient and you will see it soon.
I also added the link to Bob Jensen's links to mathematics and statistics
tutorials are at
Thank you for telling me about this book.
From the Scout Report on July 27, 2007
JAlbum 7.2 ---
Photos are meant to be shared, and this latest
release of JAlbum will help users get their images to those they care about.
While the usual features remain the same (such as the ability to create new
skins and online photo album publishing), this new version has a couple of
additions worth mentioning. First, visitors have access to several new
interactive tutorials and they can also upload entire projects to their
website. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and
Baseball Widget 2.5 ---
From the Beloit Snappers to the Boston Red Sox,
this powerful little widget can keep baseball aficionados in the know. After
installing this widget, visitors can view the current scoreboard, check out
results from previous days, and even look at the schedule for the upcoming
week. This version of Baseball Widget is compatible with computers running
Mac OS X 10.4.3 and newer.
From The Washington Post on July 23, 2007
What was the name of a technique invented in
the early 1970s that often used reverse-chronological blog-like ordering?
From The Washington Post on July 24, 2007
Which country has the cheapest monthly
subscription rate for broadband?
From The Washington Post on July 27, 2007
What is the speed of the world's fastest
residential Internet uplink?
10 gigabits per second
20 gigabits per second
40 gigabits per second
80 gigabits per second
Updates from WebMD ---
"Despite progress, HIV treatment still a failure: AIDS chief,"
PhysOrg, July 22, 2007 ---
Blocking Insulin in the Brain Lengthens Life Span
Recent findings help explain the roles of exercise and
diet in longevity. A new mouse
study shows that reducing insulin signaling,
specifically in the brain, boosts longevity. The findings help explain two
seemingly contradictory observations: people with type 1 diabetes lack
insulin-producing cells and must inject the peptide in order to stay healthy.
But studies in mice and flies show that reducing insulin lengthens life span.
Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, July 20, 2007 ---
Faster-acting antidepressants closer to
becoming a reality
A new study has
revealed more about how the medication
ketamine, when used experimentally for
depression, relieves symptoms of the
disorder in hours instead of the weeks
or months it takes for current
antidepressants to work. While ketamine
itself probably won’t come into use as
an antidepressant because of its side
effects, the new finding moves
scientists considerably closer to
understanding how to develop
faster-acting antidepressant medications
– among the priorities of the National
Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part
of the National Institutes of Health.
PhysOrg, July 24, 2007 ---
Motivational Interviews May Violate Campus Policy
Brief “motivational interviews” appear to have a
long-term impact on college students found in violation of campus alcohol rules,
and perhaps more of an impact than other punishments, according to
new research published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental
Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2007 ---
Woman gives birth to her grandchildren
Being "your own grandpa" is more of a challenge
A Florida woman gave birth to her own grandchildren
through in vitro fertilization after her daughter was treated for cervical
cancer. Ann Stolper, 59, of Delray Beach, gave birth in December to Itai and
Maya Chomsky, the twin children of her daughter, Caryn Chomsky, The Miami Herald
reported Saturday . . . In general, doctors won't implant an embryo in a woman
older than 55. But Stolper's heart health, blood pressure and fitness made her a
candidate so she was implanted with her daughter's eggs fertilized with Ayal's
PhysOrg, July 22, 2007 ---
New model for autism suggests women carry the disorder and explains age as
a risk factor
A new model for understanding how autism is acquired
has been developed by a team of researchers led by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
(CSHL) and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Autism is a developmental
disorder, characterized by language impairments, social deficits, and repetitive
PhysOrg, July 24, 2007 ---
New answers about skin cancer have come from an unusual source: a rare and
painful childhood disease that has researchers acting with urgency.
Skin cancer is on the rise, and Stanford researchers
are finding new ways to evaluate and treat it—by studying everything from hair
regeneration to a rare genetic condition.
Sara Solovitch, "The Dark Side of the Sun," Stanford Magazine,
July/August 2007 ---
Stores continue to sell recalled canned chili, stew, hash and other foods
potentially contaminated with poisonous bacteria even after repeated warnings.
The New York Times, July 28, 2007 ---
From WebMD on July 12, 2007 ---
Is The Thong All Wrong for Women's Health?
Prevent smoking to reduce risk of erectile dysfunction
Men who smoke cigarettes run an increased risk of
experiencing erectile dysfunction, and the more cigarettes smoked, the greater
the risk, according to a study by Tulane University researchers published in the
American Journal of Epidemiology.
PhysOrg, July 27, 2007 ---
Proving What Every Bartender Already Knows
Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions said
several researchers had learned that one's life experiences can dramatically
affect the strength of the brain's neural impulses in relation to memory.
Neuroscience professor David Linden said by electrifying slices of a rat's
brain, he and his fellow researchers were able to discover a biochemical
mechanism linked to memory storage in the brain. The particular brain receptor
targeted by the study is called mGluR1 and has been tied to both epilepsy and
"Study: Life can alter one's memory storage," PhysOrg, July 22, 2007 ---
Five Best Books on Political Murders
"Murder Most Foul These works excel in tracking the unsettling history of
assassinations," by George Fetherling, The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2007
"Royal Murders" by Dulcie M. Ashdown (Sutton, 1998).
Motives for assassination vary from one era
to the next and from one culture to another. Perhaps the biggest
change in the bloody history of assassination followed the
revolutions in France and America and the rise of republicanism,
which made regicide largely obsolete. Such at least is the message
to be inferred from "Royal Murders," Dulcie M. Ashdown's 1,000-year
survey of the murders of European rulers. Ashdown is known in
Britain as a genial writer on such subjects as the queen mother, the
princess of Wales and royal matters generally. It is a careful book
of broad range that avoids sensationalism. It is strongest when
dealing with long-ago assassinations, such as the shooting of King
Gustav III of Sweden at a masked ball in 1792. Ashdown's revision of
the text in 2000 dulled the sharp focus somewhat--the first edition
2. "Political Murder" by Franklin L.
Ford (Harvard, 1985).
Franklin L. Ford, a serious academic
historian, performs a difficult task well: writing a narrative
history of assassination going back to biblical times. He concludes
that assassination conspiracies have always abounded, since rulers
and states have always stood to benefit from disposing of their
enemies. Yet the most successful political assassins, he believes,
approximate the pop-culture stereotype of lone killers who act
primarily to earn a place in history, snuffing out useful lives so
that their meaningless ones will be remembered. Assassins are
usually forgotten, however, with a few obvious exceptions (John
Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald). Many Americans--though perhaps not
a great many--know that a Bosnian-Serb named Gavrilo Princip shot
Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, because World War I was the
result. How many remember who killed Presidents Garfield and
3. "Killing No Murder" by Edward Hyams
(Thomas Nelson, 1969).
In contrast to Franklin L. Ford, Edward
Hyams believes that many assassins intend to make the world a better
place, if only by eliminating despots. Often, in Hyams's soberly
expressed and not intentionally outrageous view, the victims of
assassination are seen to be getting what they deserved. He cites
the vivid example of Umberto I of Italy. Restive workers and members
of the budding anarchist movement in the late 19th century chafed
under Umberto's authoritarian rule. As Italy's economy declined and
turmoil mounted, riots broke out in Milan in 1898 and were violently
put down by government troops, leaving hundreds dead. Two years
later, Umberto was killed by anarchist Gaetano Bresci, who claimed
that he was avenging the deaths in Milan. Murderous anarchists would
plague Europe and America for more than a decade.
4. "Assassination" by Linda Laucella
(Lowell House, 1998).
Like Edward Hyams and too few other
writers, Linda Laucella uses the word "assassin" correctly, to
include those whose attempts were unsuccessful. Hence in
"Assassination: The Politics of Murder" she discusses not only the
killings of John F. Kennedy, Huey Long and many others but also the
failed bids to dispatch Fidel Castro, Charles de Gaulle and Ronald
Reagan. Throughout the book--which begins slowly in the ancient
world but picks up considerable velocity once it reaches the second
half of the 20th century--she looks at assassins as individuals,
whereas most other authors are concerned largely with the crime
itself and its victims. Laucella also allots more space than is
customary to considering the conspiracy theories that almost
inevitably follow an assassination.
5. "American Brutus" by Michael W.
Kauffman (Random House, 2004).
After 30 years of research, Michael
Kauffman produced perhaps the most penetrating book about the inner
workings of an individual assassin. His depiction of John Wilkes
Booth is not the usual caricature of a famous but delusional actor
who gets off a lucky shot at Abraham Lincoln. Rather, Kauffman's
Booth is the author of the 19th century's most complex assassination
conspiracy, designed to cripple the country's command structure by
eliminating the president, vice president and secretary of state in
a single night's work. Kauffman writes reliably about psychology
while sparing us the usual guesswork about Booth's mental state, and
he does an excellent job evoking the draconian suspension of civil
liberties in the desperate days after the assassination, when
authorities ran the killer and his conspirators to ground.
Mr. Fetherling, a Canadian novelist and poet, is the author of
"The Book of Assassins" (John Wiley).
Forwarded by Dr. Wolff
FOR LEXOPHILES (LOVERS OF WORDS):
1. A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
2. A will is a dead giveaway.
3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
4. A backward poet writes inverse.
5. In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count
6. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
7. If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
8. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
9. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.
10. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
11. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
12. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulted in Linoleum
13. You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
14. Local Area Network in Australia : The LAN down under.
15. He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
16. A calendar's days are numbered.
17. A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.
18. A boiled egg is hard to beat.
19. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
20. A plateau is a high form of flattery.
21. The short fortune teller who escaped from prison: a small medium at
22. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
23. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
24. If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
25. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
26. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
27. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
28. Acupuncture: a jab well done.
29. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.
Forwarded by Paula
The English Language
Asylum for the Verbally Insane
We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!
Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg
eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in
English muffins weren't invented in England . We take
granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that
quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings
are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guineanor is it
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
groce and hammers don't ham. Doesn't it seem crazy that you
amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and
get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a
eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I
the folks who grew up speaking English should be committed
asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play and play
recital? We ship by truck but send cargo by ship. We have
run and feet that smell. And how can a slim chance and a fat
be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in
house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a
filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
So if Father is Pop, how come Mother isn't Mop?
And that is just the beginning--even though this is the end!
Tidbits Archives ---
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
Three Finance Blogs
Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog ---
FinancialRounds Blog ---
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) ---
Some Accounting Blogs
Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International
International Association of Accountants News ---
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Gerald Trite's eBusiness and
XBRL Blogs ---
Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New
Current and past editions of my newsletter called
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud
Online Books, Poems, References,
and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available
free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Shared Open Courseware
(OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing
Free Textbooks and Cases ---
Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---
Free Science and Medicine Tutorials ---
Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials ---
Free Education Discipline Tutorials ---
Teaching Materials (especially
video) from PBS
Teacher Source: Arts and
Teacher Source: Health & Fitness
Teacher Source: Math ---
Teacher Source: Science ---
Teacher Source: PreK2 ---
Teacher Source: Library Media ---
Free Education and
Research Videos from Harvard University ---
VYOM eBooks Directory ---
From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department ---
Online Mathematics Textbooks ---
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---
The word moodle is an acronym for "modular
object-oriented dynamic learning environment", which is quite a mouthful.
The Scout Report stated the following about Moodle 1.7. It is a
tremendously helpful opens-source e-learning platform. With Moodle,
educators can create a wide range of online courses with features that
include forums, quizzes, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and surveys. On the
Moodle website, visitors can also learn about other features and read about
recent updates to the program. This application is compatible with computers
running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer.
Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials
Accountancy Discussion ListServs:
For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a
ListServ (usually for free) go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
AECM is an email Listserv list which
provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software
which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the
college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and
peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets,
multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base
programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc
Roles of a ListServ ---
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of
all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an
unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments,
ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed.
Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L
or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for
a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional
accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or
education. Others will be denied access.
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA.
This can be anything from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ
initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as
accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed
assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586