In 2005 our hometown hero Bode Miller became the first American in history to win the international Alpine Skiing World Cup
In 2008 he amazed the world by winning this Cup for a second time by winning the title by a margin of 111 points over runner-up Benjamin Raich of Austria ---

Also congratulations to America's female champion Lindsey Vonn who won, after a bad 2006 knee injury, the 2008 Women's Alpine Skiing World Cup ---

Watch the Videos (Winning is about hundredths of one second in time)

Bode Miller, 2005 & 2008 Winner of Men's Alpine Skiing World Cup

Lindsey Vonn, 2008 Winner of Woen's Alpine Skiing World Cup
Oops! Oops!
Wow! Wow!
Wow! Wow!
Wow! Wow!
Wow! Wow!
Wow! Wow!

Pro Skiers ---
And the Winners Are ---
The best site for race-by-race statistics ---

From Chiff in March 2008 ---

Kicking off 2007, he continued to exhibit his trademark daredevil style with a spectacular crash and slide across the finish line to win the downhill in Wengen, Switzerland. Although off his game for the overall season, Miller later ended it by capturing the Super-G in the World Cup finals.

More news followed in May 2007 when it was announced that the ever-free-spirited Miller was quitting the USA team to become an independent skier.

Miller's roller coaster career was once again on track in early 2008 as he tied Phil Mahre for the most World Cup victories by a U.S. skier when he won the 78th Lauberhorn downhill in Wengen, Switzerland. Days later, he surpassed Mahre when he won the World Cup combined on January 20, making him the most successful U.S. ski racer with 28 World Cup victories.

Miller finished a remarkable season after his split with the US Ski Team by taking his second overall World Cup crown in March 2008.

More about Bode Miller around the Web:

Bode Miller USA - The official Bode Miller site featuring recent news, vital stats and brief bio, photo gallery, video clips. - Major fan site offering news updates and reports, pictures, photo gallery, bio, message forum, and an extensive collection of downloadable media including avatars, wallpapers, screen savers, video and audio files.

U.S. Olympic Committee - Bode Miller - A fast profile including a world record stats, picture gallery, interesting factoids on his career, related links to feature stories.

You Don't Know Bode - Newsweek cover story spotlighting the skiing maverick's outspoken stance against organized sport, with pictures and memorable sound bites on his Team USA sponsors, as well as the Olympics, his life and career.


From Bob Jensen's Tidbits March 10, 2005 ---
Since he grew up in a humble home (without running water when he was a child) within walking distance of our retirement home, I just had to brag about Bode

Winning races or crashing through fences, charming the hordes of kids in Europe who adore him or peevishly dismissing the ski journalists who annoy him, astounding veteran skiers with his otherworldly skills or infuriating his coaches with his bullheadedness, Bode Miller has arrived on top of the skiing world.
David Leon Moore, "Brash American poised to win skiing crown:   Bode Miller's style wows fans, puts elusive title in reach," USA Today, March 9, 2005 Page 1A --- 

From Bob Jensen's Tidbits on January 17, 2006 (Bode skied disappointingly out of control in the 2006 Winter Olympics)---
Skiing's Wild Child
In Europe, where he is a celebrity, Bode Miller has stood at the top of slalom runs and listened to 50,000 Austrians chanting "Bo-de, Bo-de." They know that his eccentric skiing style--butt back, feet forward, hands flying--and utter disregard for actually finishing a race, never mind winning it, will often produce compelling sport. In the combined downhill in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Miller was a nanosecond from disaster when he made what might have been the greatest 60 m.p.h. recovery in the history of skiing to claim a silver medal. He either lands on the podium or on his posterior. He is the world's best ski racer, but whatever the result, he laughs it off and maybe has a beer afterward. Or two. In a world where winners get endorsements and losers work for the ski patrol, Miller actually believes in that old Olympic canard that it's playing the game that counts. "Despite all the pressure and the caliber of accomplishment, I still can honestly say it is not all about winning," he told TIME during pre-Olympic training at Colorado's Copper Mountain. The important thing to him is to try to ski well--to improve, to reach his own goals--and most important, to have a good time.
Rebel on the Edge Bode Miller, Skiing's Wild Child, Is Willful, Thoughtful and the Most Exciting Show on Snow,"
by Bill Saporito, Time Magazine Cover Story, January 23, 2006 ---
Jensen Comment
Bode grew up only about three miles from my retirement cottage near Franconia Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  He grew up in a home that had no electricity or plumbing.  His parents ran a youth camp where Bode, in spite of his celebrity status, still helps out every summer.  When he was small his mother took him along to Cannon Mountain where she worked as a bookkeeper for the skiing operation.  While she worked, this young toddler taught himself how to ski.  This is one of the reasons why his style today is unique.  He's gifted, fast, controversial, and above all his own man win or lose.

CBS Sixty Minutes Television Bode Miller Interview on January 8, 2006 ---

From Bob Jensen's Cottage document
A World Class Athlete With World Class Ethics That Will Impact Upon Future Generations
He speaks his mind --- and apologizes later.  He loves to party --- and doesn't care about winning.  Yet Bode Miller is poised to strike Olympic gold.  On the slopes with skiing's bad boy,.
Bill Saporito. As written on the cover of Time Magazine, January 23, 2006 ---,9171,1149374,00.html

Jensen Comment
Bode Miller is the best of the best in a sport where winners are determined by hundredths of a second on a stop watch.  His picture is on the cover of the January 23, 2006 edition of Time Magazine.  Although he's relatively unknown in his home country (U.S.A.), he's been an established hero in Europe where crowds chanted "Bode, Bode, . . . ." while he was on his way to winning the 2005 World Cup.  He's poised to become the Gold Medal hero in the 2006 and obtained recent U.S. notoriety due to a recent interview on Sixty Minutes (CBS television) in which he admitted that having fun is more important than winning and that he sometimes partied too much when skiing including a few instances when he was a bit tipsy or hung over when crashing down the slope at over 80 miles per hour.

Chagrined media analysts questioned whether the partying and outspoken Bode Miller was really a role model for our young people.  I contend that he is largely do to some things buried in the article in Time Magazine. After discussing his partying and independent nature, the article goes on to explain how Bode more than any other skier in history made a science out of the sport.  Most of his life has been spent studying and experimenting with every item of clothing and equipment, every position for every circumstance on the slopes, and the torques and forces of every move under every possible slope condition. That sort of makes him my hero, but what really makes him my hero is the following quotation that speaks for itself:

Last year, after tinkering with his boots, he discovered that inserting a composite --- as opposed to aluminum or plastic --- lift under the sole gave him a better feel on the snow and better performance.  Then he did something really crazy, he shared the information with everyone, including competitors.  His equipment team flipped, but in the Miller school of philosophy this makes complete sense.  Otherwise, he says, "I'm maintaining an unfair advantage over my competitors knowingly, for the purpose of beating them alone.  Not for the purpose of enjoying it more or skiing better.  To me that's ethically unsound."

One has to be reminded of the famous poem painted on the wall of my old Algona High School gymnasium:

For when the Great Scorer comes
To write against your name.
He marks -- not that you won or lost --
But how you played the game.

Grantland Rice ---

Although Bode was not in any way involved, tragedy struck his family about a year ago
"N.H Officer Killed, attacker killed by passer-by Miller cousin shot dead, officer killed in N.H.," The High Road, March 12, 2008 ---

"10 Questions for Bode Miller (with a video)," Time Magazine, January 3, 2008 ---,9171,1699872,00.html

His Olympic letdown two years ago led to a split with the U.S. team. More sober and just as fast as ever, this downhill skier is coming off his first victory this season. Bode Miller will now take your questions

Why did you separate from the U.S. ski team? Martin Rosengreen MADISON, WIS. The team cut my funding, [so] I was going to be paying for myself anyway. There were other issues. [For example,] I thought it would be productive to have a bus with a gym in it and our own chefs so that we can control our food. Not that it's ever been an issue, [but] somebody could put a little of any banned substance in our mass pastas in our hotel, and we'd all be disqualified, no questions asked.

Do you miss the camaraderie? Laura Wolf, VAIL, COLO. I do. The sport is really individual when you're competing, but outside of the competition you definitely rely on your teammates for support. But it's not gone. We're all still friends. I see those guys all the time.

You are one of the more chatty racers on the circuit. Do you talk a lot with other racers? Matt Robbie, BURLINGTON, VT. Yeah. It perpetuates a positive energy. I think guys generally race at their highest level when they're feeling positive about themselves rather than trying to bring other guys around them down to a lower level to beat them.

This season you faced windstorms, rocks, weak skis. Will your luck change? Roks, LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA The results have been pretty poor this season. But when I'm at speed and not making mistakes, I'm much, much faster than the rest of the world right now.

You seemed very stoic after the 2006 Olympics. Weren't you disappointed by the results? Philippe Bellevin, SAN FRANCISCO I'm always out to ski hard. If I get good results, that's ideal. But I feel I've been true to myself my entire career with my effort. My intensity is really second to none on the World Cup. The effort and intensity are the only things I can control. If other guys ski better, you don't get the results.

Have you changed personally since the 2006 Olympics? Kevin Melo, BELTSVILLE, MD. It's a matter of perception. I can make everyone think that I'm not partying, or I could easily make people think the other side. In the past, it's been a matter of where the media have put the focus. This year with my team separating and other things, there's a lot of other stuff to focus on.

What are your ultimate goals personally and athletically? Drew Streip CHATTANOOGA, TENN. Athletically, it's to not be hurt. I enjoy being outside, and eventually I'd like to have a family. I'd like to not be limping around when I'm 50 years old.

Continued in article



Tidbits on March 31, 2008
Bob Jensen

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 --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

CPA Examination ---

On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire ---

Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics ---
       (Also scroll down to the table at )

Global Incident Map ---

Set up free conference calls at
Also see   

Free Online Tutorials in Multiple Disciplines ---

Google Maps Street View ---

World Clock ---

Tips on computer and networking security ---

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 ---

Vytorin and Zetia are ineffective drugs for lowering cholesterol and heart attack risks and stroke risks (March 30, 2008 videos)
Generic Statin Drugs are Deemed Better

Ten Biggest Blunders in Business (also a link to the slide show) ---

A Fair(y) Tale:  Animated cartoon about copyright law ---
Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.  Also see
Bob Jensen's threads on the DMCA are at

The Body Explained ---

You Don't Need to Know What's Not on the Test ---

National Geographic: Prehistoric Time Line ---

Universal Leonardo ---

Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today ---

Bob and Ray Comedy (1940-1980) ---

From the Financial Rounds Blog on March 20, 2008 -- -

In case you're looking for a few new ways to kill some time (right - like we need more of those):
Fancast has entire episodes of many tv shows available online - free. And yes, they have Firefly and Buffy.

Crooksandliars has compiled a list of the 100 best standup comedians of all time - with links to Youtube clips for many of them.

Free music downloads ---

March 31, 2008 message from rock musician

I just found your Enron links and stories from 2002...brings up bad memories
I wrote a song based loosely on Jeff skilling ... "Medicine Man"
You can listen to the song and read the lyrics --- 


Bach and Beyond: Orpheus Plays Carnegie Hall ---

Eric Bibb grew up amid the New York City folk scene in the 1950s and '60s, a scene he calls "a magical world that I was born into and never left." Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan would drop by his house. Paul Robeson was his godfather, and his uncle John Lewis famously played with the Modern Jazz Quartet. But Bibb has since become a blues guitarist and songwriter in his own right. His latest album, Get On Board, pays tribute to his musical and spiritual heroes ---

Southern singer Lizz Wright crafts a distinct mixture of jazz, folk, gospel, and R&B, but she's been most widely celebrated as a rising star in the jazz world. Wright will perform a concert from WXPN and World Café Live in Philadelphia (complete concert_ ---

You Don't Need to Know What's Not on the Test ---

André Previn ---

I still  have an old 33.3 record album featuring André Previn playing Rhapsody in Blue ---
I could not find a YouTube video of the Previn recording.
However, here are some other video renditions:

Bob Jensen listens to music free online (and no commercials) --- 

Photographs and Art

William J. Meuer Photoart Collection ---

National Geographic: Prehistoric Time Line ---

Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design ---

Universal Leonardo ---

The Mind of Leonardo: The Universal Genius at Work ---

Multiple Interpretations: Contemporary Prints in Portfolio at The New York Public Library ---

From the Kennedy Center
ArtsEdge: Articles & Reports ---

Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today ---


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 ---

H-LatAm (Latin American History) ---

Spalding Base Ball Guides, 1889-1939 ---

Mostly Medieval: Exploring the Middle Ages ---

What We Drove in the 50s and 60s (when gas cost less than 50 cents per gallon) ---


I think one might say that Iran has actually won the war in Iraq.
Madeleine Albright (who served as Secretary of State during President Clinton's second term) --- .

We're all getting hosed. No one can consume it all, nor would anyone want to try. You'd drown. So, as best we can, we try to reduce our intake to manageable, gasping, horking gulps, and, in so doing, are able to remain ignorant of the breathtaking, mind-numbing totality of it. But what of that breathtaking, mind-numbing totality? It's not like if you don't see it, it's not there. We are like those 2-year-olds who try to hide, in hide-and-seek, by standing in the middle of a room and covering their eyes . . . For this experiment, conducted alone in a windowless room on the ninth floor of the Arlington offices of, I chose my wardrobe carefully. I remembered something I'd learned 35 years ago from James Howard Kunstler, my friend and colleague. At the time, we were both young reporters in Albany, N.Y. Kunstler had been assigned to wrestle a trained grizzly bear. He knew there was no way to win, but he figured he could at least get flattened in style . . . I'll tell you it can be, but I cannot tell you how horrible it is. It rattles the very center of your being. If you care about the state of humankind, it fills you with despair. We are as a people bleak and hostile and suspicious, filled with senseless partisanship and willing to believe anything and everything about anyone. We are full of ourselves and we hate. And we do it 24-7.
Gene Weingarten, "Cruel and Usual Punishment:  One man with more courage than brains sacrifices himself on the altar of punditry, and, in so doing, fails to redeem us all," The Washington Post, March 23, 2008 ---
There is also a video on Weingarten's experiment.

Each autumn, millions of Monarch butterflies embark on a treacherous journey across North America to the same forest in central Mexico -- a migration that baffles scientists as much as it enthralls nature lovers . . . Flying about 80 kilometers (50 miles) per day, the Monarchs reach Mexico at the end of a two-month voyage which includes more than 40 stopovers. "Sometimes it's possible to see swarms of butterflies arriving in these Mexican forests," says Ricardo Adaya, a technician at the Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Rosario, Mexico's largest such sanctuary.
"The Monarch butterfly's mysterious migration to Mexico," PhysOrg, March 22, 2008 ---

So the rich are getting older while the poor are getting younger? Not quite. Everyone is living longer, but "affluent people have experienced greater gains, and this, in turn, has caused a widening gap"
WSJ Editors' Newsletter, March 24, 2008
Jensen Comment
Years ago over ten young workers shared in the support of one pensioner on Social Security. It's now approaching a sad state when only two workers must carry one pensioner, thereby cutting into the current living standards of each young worker.

Last week's Fed-led sale of Bear at least had the virtue of sending a message that bad things happen to reckless investors. Bear took a highly leveraged flyer on the mortgage securities market, ran into a liquidity crisis as its creditors lost confidence, and had to ask the Fed for help to avoid bankruptcy. The $2 sale price was a shock to Bear employees and investors. But it was also condign market punishment for bad decisions, and a bracing lesson for future investors. Meanwhile, the Fed's more troubling agreement to guarantee Bear's mortgage paper could at least be justified in the name of avoiding a larger financial breakdown.  . . .  If Bear holders don't like the $2 price, they have every right to oppose it while taking their chances with customers and creditors. If Mr. Dimon wants to pay more for Bear, that's also his prerogative, but then he shouldn't demand that the Fed continue to guarantee his paper. He's getting Bear at such a great price that he ought to accept the mortgage-backed securities risk almost as a public service. We suspect that's what the J.P. Morgan of the Panic of 1907 would have done . . . The immediate political message is also terribly damaging. Congress is already poised to overreact to the mortgage turmoil with a general bailout for subprime borrowers, and yesterday's actions will only feed that beast. At least the $2 share price wasn't a bailout for Bear shareholders; at $10 a share, that's a harder argument to sell, especially when taxpayers are also still indemnifying those Bear-J.P. Morgan creditors. This makes us wonder if Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson isn't already preparing to cave to Congress on the larger bailout.
"Pushovers at the Fed," The Wall Street Journal,  March 25, 2008; Page A22 ---

China's official Xinhua New Agency published commentary Sunday accusing Pelosi of ignoring the violence caused by the Tibetan rioters. "'Human rights police' like Pelosi are habitually bad tempered and ungenerous when it comes to China, refusing to check their facts and find out the truth of the case," it said. "Her views are like so many other politicians and western media. Beneath the double standards lies their intention to serve the interest groups behind them, who want to contain or smear China," it said.
Cara Ana, Yahoo News, March 23, 2008 ---

Of course, whenever gun ownership rights are debated, anti-gun activists like to point out that about 30,000 people are killed by guns in America every year -- although they seldom note that about 60 percent of those deaths are suicides, or that the firearm murder rate has dropped by 40 percent in the past 15 years, or that far more people are killed by motor vehicles or medical malpractice every year than are killed by guns. And they never mention how many crimes have been prevented by citizens bearing arms. Once again, that's a hard thing to quantify. One U.S. government survey in the 1990s estimated that more than 80,000 Americans a year used guns in an effort to protect themselves or their property against crime. Other estimates put the number far higher, at more than 2 million crimes prevented each year by the presence of privately-owned firearms. But those are estimates and extrapolations – which means we can argue about the numbers all day long.
Gordon Dillow, "Gun statistics you seldom see," OC Register, March 23, 20008 ---

A media monitoring organization and a British citizen forced the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to apologize for blatant anti-Israel news coverage. They caught the network “red-handed,” reporting falsely. The BBC has frequently been accused of biased coverage slanted against Israel; Israeli government officials have summoned the BBC to explain itself in the past.
Hana Levi Julian, "BBC Caught Red-Handed on Anti-Israel, False Coverage," Israel National News, March 24, 2008 ---

The head of the top U.S. phone company AT&T Inc (T.N) said on Wednesday it was having trouble finding enough skilled workers to fill all the 5,000 customer service jobs it promised to return to the United States from India. The head of the top U.S. phone company AT&T Inc (T.N) said on Wednesday it was having trouble finding enough skilled workers to fill all the 5,000 customer service jobs it promised to return to the United States from India.
Yahoo News, March 26, 2008 ---

\US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Tuesday that America's Social Security program for the retired is "financially unsustainable" and needs an urgent overhaul . . . Paulson said the Social Security program's cash flows are projected to turn negative in under 10 years and that a Social Security trust fund would likely be exhausted in 2041 without urgent reform. Social Security's unfunded obligation, the difference between the present values of Social Security inflows and outflows less the existing trust funds, equals 4.3 trillion dollars over the next 75 years and 13.6 trillion on a permanent basis, according to the Treasury.
PhysOrg, March 25, 2008 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on the disaster of entitlements are at

From subsistence farmers eating rice in Ecuador to gourmets feasting on escargot in France, consumers worldwide face rising food prices in what analysts call a perfect storm of conditions. Freak weather is a factor. But so are dramatic changes in the global economy, including higher oil prices, lower food reserves and growing consumer demand in China and India. The world's poorest nations still harbor the greatest hunger risk. Clashes over bread in Egypt killed at least two people last week, and similar food riots broke out in Burkina Faso and Cameroon this month. But food protests now crop up even in Italy. And while the price of spaghetti has doubled in Haiti, the cost of miso is packing a hit in Japan.
Katherine Corcoran, "Food Prices Soaring Worldwide," Breitbart, March 24, 2008 ---

Sen. Barack Obama's Chicago church published an open letter from a Palestinian activist that labels Israel an "apartheid" regime and claims the Jewish state worked on an "ethnic bomb" that kills "blacks and Arabs."The letter, discovered by the blog Sweetness & Light, was published on the "Pastor's Page" of the Trinity United Church of Christ newsletter reserved for Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., whose anti-American, anti-Israel remarks landed Obama prompted the presidential candidate to deliver a major race speech last week."I must tell you that Israel was the closest ally to the white supremacists of South Africa," wrote the letter's author, Ali Baghdadi. "In fact, South Africa allowed Israel to test its nuclear weapons in the ocean off South Africa. The Israelis were given a blank check: they could test whenever they desired and did not even have to ask permission. Both worked on an ethnic bomb that kills Blacks and Arabs."
Aaron Klein, WebNetDaily, March 25, 2008 ---

Merrill A. McPeak, Sen. Barack Obama's military adviser and national campaign co-chairman, yesterday sought to deflect calls for his resignation over comments he made during an interview in which he implied U.S. politicians are afraid of Jewish voters in Miami and New York City and that American Jews are the "problem" impeding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Aaron Klein, "Top Obama adviser deflects 'Jewish problem' remarks," WorldNetDaily, March 28, 2008 ---

Baghdadi's "open letter" is an anti-Israel screed, in which he states, among other things, that "what the Zionist Jews did to the Palestinians is worse than what the Nazis did to the Jews, because . . . Jews should have learned from their tragic experience" (a sentiment he attributes to Arnold Toynbee) and that Israel and apartheid South Africa "both worked on an ethnic bomb that kills Blacks and Arabs."
The WSJ Editors on March 27, 2008 point out that Baghdadi's "Open Letter to Oprah" (Oprah is also a worshiper alongside BaracK Obama) at the Trinity Church of Christ in Chicago that still features this anti-Zionist letter at its Website --- 
The letter was printed in the Church Bulletin on June 10, 2007.

This is when you hope there's an eternal hell
The incident, possibly the first computer attack to inflict physical harm on the victims, began Saturday, March 22, when attackers used a script to post hundreds of messages embedded with flashing animated gifs. The attackers turned to a more effective tactic on Sunday, injecting JavaScript into some posts that redirected users' browsers to a page with a more complex image designed to trigger seizures in both photosensitive and pattern-sensitive epileptics.
Kevin Poulsen, "Hackers Assault Epilepsy Patients via Computer," Wired News, March 28, 2008 ---

What former Andersen partner, who watched the Andersen accounting firm implode alongside its client Enron, has been traveling for years around the United States warning that the United States economy will implode unless we totally come to our senses?
David Walker is the top accountant, Controller General, of the United States Government.
He was a featured plenary speaker a few years back at an annual meeting of the American Accounting Association.
See his "State of the Profession of Accountancy" piece in the October 2005 edition of the Journal of Accountancy.
Also see

Watch the Video of the non-sustainability of the U.S. economy (CBS Sixty Minutes TV Show Video) ---


Over 500,000 Safe Sites for Kids
KidZui's Parent Plan Lets Children Explore In Safe Corner of Web

This week marks the launch of a parental-control service with a somewhat different approach. It's called KidZui, and it aims to offer kids a safe subset of the Internet where they can roam freely without triggering parental worry. KidZui, for children ages 3 to 12, hopes to emphasize the positive, rather than the negative. The service, from a San Diego company of the same name, claims to encompass 500,000 safe sites, photos and videos, ranging from pop culture to science, comics and games to history. You can watch the latest "American Idol" contestant, learn about dinosaurs, delve into history or visit popular kids' sites, such as Webkinz and Club Penguin. The sites, photos and videos included in KidZui are approved by a team of about 200 parents and teachers across the country, and are ranked by age, so that a site that might be right for an 11-year-old isn't served up to a 4-year-old. While a child can establish a list of friends in KidZui, and can share content with them, there is no instant-messaging or email function.
Walter S. Mossberg, " The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2008 ---

The KidZui homepage is at

Also see:

Stay Safe Online --- 

"New, free Miss America browser aims to keep kids safe on the Internet," MIT's Technology Review, October 4, 2007 ---

How can you best publish books, including multimedia and user interactive books, on the Web?
Note that interactive books may have quizzes and examinations where answers are sent back for grading.

My Answers ---

US News 2008 Rankings of Graduate Schools ---

Bob Jensen's threads on controversial media rankings of colleges and universities ---

"3 of the Funniest E-Mail Messages From Students to Professors -- and What They Say About Technology," Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 24, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
These are funny and sad at the same time. They say more about today's students than education technology.

If you're bothered by the advertisements when you play RealPlayer media, you might consider installing the add-free version ---

"Don't Like RealPlayer? You've Got Options Some folks say RealPlayer is loaded with ads. Here's how to play its media files without getting more than you want.," by Steve Bass, PC World via The Washington Post, March 25, 2008 --- Click Here

I fell into the RealPlayer quagmire minutes after I sent some friends a link to thesandhill crane webcam. They were kvetching because the webcam uses RealPlayer to stream the media--and no one wanted to install the bloated, ad-encumbered program.

I don't blame them. Except for when some loopy editor asks me a question about RealPlayer, I keep it off my system.

I'm not the only one with this attitude. Tom Spring, one of our news guys, recently reported that anti-spyware groupStopBadwarehas RealPlayer in its sights. Read "RealPlayer Gets Slapped with 'Badware' Label" for details.

Instead of bothering with the official version of RealPlayer, I have an alternative--a special version that doesn't have adware or other annoyances.

Here's the skinny: You can safely download a special version of RealPlayer, one that hasn't a bit of adware, never nags you, and doesn't litter your system with icons. It's not stripped down, either; it's just missing all those annoyances.

You can get this version of RealPlayer from a perfectly legit source: the BBC. What's cool is that few people know thatthis version is different.

The unofficial story, according to one source, is that the BBC's charter prevents it from "showering their viewers with craptastic ads for random American companies," so to get the BBC to Webcast in RealPlayer format, RealNetworks had to produce an ad-free player. Whether that story is true or not, the RealPlayer that the BBC Radio site offers is the real thing, just without the adware. Go to the BBC site todownload the player; you'll eventually land on a page, but you'll be downloading the BBC version.

Want to scan across 360 degrees of landscape from the top of Mount Everest? Head forPanoramas.dkand you'll be above the cloud cover. Move your mouse side to side (or up and down) while holding down the left mouse button--and hold onto your seat. For more dizzying panoramas, zip over to thehome page. [Thanks, Sandra C.]

Want more eye candy? Can do.Charmed Labshas a gizmo that uses a standard digital camera to capture astonishingly high-resolution images. No, I mean very hi-rez. As you zoom in on an image, you'll find yourself astonished by the details. Trythis image; after it loads, click on one of the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen. There are plenty more to see on theGigipansite. Have patience, though: All of these images take forever to load, even with lots of bandwidth. [Thanks, Guido.]

I want to be sure your installation of the BBC RealPlayer is neat and clean, so here's my step-by-step:

That's it--RealPlayer's loaded and you're good to go.

Run, I say, run quickly, becauseThe 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy Youare on the loose. It's fascinating stuff, for sure, but the language in the narrative is occasionally a little crass (yet funny).

Thinking of buying a newFord Mustang? You might want to get a horse instead.

So even the BBC version of RealPlayer isn't good enough for you? No worries (and no whining); I have another option for you.

Michael M., from Dripping Springs, Texas, reminded me aboutReal Alternative, which comes with Media Player Classic. Both of the apps are free and have no known adware or spyware. In combination, they play all of the Real media files; the package includes plug-ins for Internet Explorer, Opera, Netscape, and Mozilla, so you can play music and videos right off the Web.

While you're here, you might as well think about grabbing the freeQuickTime Alternativeas well. With it installed, you won't need to have Apple's bloated QuickTime player, either.

Some of you have to spend time on the phone. When things get boring, fire upZe Frank's kaleidoscopeand cook up some colorful and dazzling patterns.

Snowball Fightis a cute and addictive Shockwave game. I got to level three. Use the cursor to position the red players and release the button to throw. Don't worry, the file the site's askiing you to download is a safe plug-in. I know, you've already got Flash and Shockwave, so I haven't a clue why it's necessary.

Jensen Comment
I so seldom use RealPlayer that I'm not all that bothered by the advertisements. I used to be more bothered with how difficult RealPlayer made it to find the free player as opposed to the version that they wanted to sell. That irritation is not nearly so troublesome today. I do watch RealPlayer media on NPR quite often, but the advertisements on NPR are tasteful after the first advertisement of about a minute or so that must be endured. For example, try

What proportion of telemarketing firms cheat the public and even the charities with distorted accounting ploys

"Misreporting Fundraising: How Do Nonprofit Organizations Account for Telemarketing Campaigns? Elizabeth K. Keating Boston College Linda M. Parsons The University of Alabama Andrea Alston Roberts Boston College, The Accounting Review, Volume 83, No. 2, March 2008, pp. 417-446 ---

The purpose of this study is to examine the frequency, determinants, and implications of misreported fundraising activities. We compare state telemarketing campaign reports with the associated information from nonprofits’ annual Form 990 filings to directly test nonprofits’ revenue and expense recognition policies. Using a conservative approach that understates the extent to which nonprofit organizations violate the reporting rules, our study indicates that 74 percent of the regulatory filings from nonprofit organizations fail to properly report telemarketing expenses. Smaller nonprofits, less monitored firms, and those with less accounting sophistication are more likely to inappropriately report telemarketing costs as a component of net revenues rather than as expenses. Nonprofits that use external accounting services are more likely to properly classify the cost of their telemarketing campaigns as professional fundraising fees.

. . .

Prior research has supported a concern by regulators and donors that nonprofits have incentives to understate fundraising costs and may inappropriately allocate these costs to other activities. Additionally, a number of studies provide evidence that donors direct their charitable gifts to nonprofits that report higher program ratios and lower fundraising ratios. With more than 76 percent of the more than $240 billion in annual contributions to nonprofits in the U.S. coming from individual donors (American Association of Fundraising Counsel [AAFRC] Trust for Philanthropy 2003), misreporting by nonprofits can potentially have a large effect on the distribution of donations among nonprofit organizations.

Our study provides empirical evidence of how frequently fundraising costs are misreported, and examines the methods used and the factors associated with these decisions. This study directly tests the veracity of nonprofits’ reporting practices by comparing federally mandated nonprofit financial reports to disclosures of revenues and costs of telemarketing campaigns filed by telemarketing solicitors in certain states. Additionally, it is the first paper to specifically consider the effect of accounting sophistication on nonprofit reporting practices.

We design our tests to produce conservative estimates of telemarketing revenue and expense by using only the single largest reported telemarketing campaigns conducted each year for a nonprofit by each of its telemarketing solicitors. These estimates of total annual telemarketing revenues and expenses are then compared to the nonprofit’s annual IRS informational filing. Because our design biases against incorrectly labeling a nonprofit a misreporter, we may not have fully detected net reporting, particularly by organizations with contributions raised without the assistance of professional solicitors. This is particularly a concern for the larger organizations in our sample as they are more likely to generate contributions from multiple sources. Thus, we may have underestimated the degree to which misreporting occurs.

Despite our conservative test design, we find that over 74 percent of the organizations in our sample fail to properly report telemarketing expenses. Twenty-seven percent of firm-years contain misreported revenues. Of the remaining 73 percent, a majority misclassify their reported costs in a category other than professional fundraising fees, and 9 percent engage in cost allocations, meaning that not all telemarketing costs are reported as fundraising expenses. Using an even more conservative design that compared a single year ofcampaign revenue and expenses to the sum of three years of firm-wide contributions and fundraising expenses, 14 percent of this sample is misreporting revenues. Of the remaining sample, 53 percent report telemarketing expenses as other than professional fundraising fees and, at least, another 4 percent is allocating telemarketing costs to an expense category other than fundraising.

Our results provide strong evidence that nonprofits misreport telemarketing fees, which affects how program and fundraising ratios are reported. The effect on reported ratios of misreporting is substantial. We find that by misreporting telemarketing expenses the nonprofits in our sample could understate the fundraising ratio by as much as 15 percent. Of the misreporting we detect, most occurs among small nonprofits that have limited accounting sophistication. Our findings suggest that nonprofits that have greater accounting sophistication and those likely to be subjected to greater external monitoring are less likely to be classified as a misreporting firm. We find that the factors associated with the more prevalent activity of misreporting revenue differ from those related to expense classification and allocation. Higher accounting sophistication and more external monitoring appear to play a greater role in moderating revenue misreporting. Only the use of professional outside accountants appears related to proper classification of telemarketing costs as professional fees. We interpret these results as suggesting that misreporting decisions may be driven either by incentives to improve reported results or a lack of familiarity with accounting. Prior research has implicitly or explicitly attributed misreporting to managerial incentives. Our study is the first to specifically consider accounting sophistication as a factor inmisreporting.

SOP 98-2 requires nonprofit organizations to allocate costs incurred jointly for fundraising and program activities to several expense categories. However, the occurrence of expense allocation should be related to the joint activity, not systematically associated with organizational characteristics. Allocation of telemarketing costs to an expense category other than fundraising is less often associated with larger organizations and those that have relatively higher levels of debt. This finding implies that allocation may occur more often in small organizations in order to improve reported fundraising ratios, or is more prevalent in organizations that have less accounting sophistication or fewer monitoring mechanisms.

These findings can inform the current debates by state and federal regulators as they search for ways to improve the quality of nonprofit financial reports. In particular, we provide evidence to policy makers that, in addition to regulation and monitoring, educating Form 990 preparers can improve accounting quality.

Bob Jensen's threads on telemarketing are at

Credit Cards:  Funny and Sad Sites

March 26, 2008 message from Bill Hazelton []

Mr. Jensen-

I just wanted to drop you a note about your web site. I have been doing research on some personal finance and I found a few of your threads pretty helpful actually. Lots of great tidbits and links and stuff to personal finance and credit-related stuff. Admittedly, the site isn’t the sexiest thing in the world, but in terms of great resources and very helpful “bread crumbs” I found it very useful. You probably don’t care, but thought you might appreciate some feedback.

This is the one thread in particular that I’m talking about:  , although there are several “rabbit hole” threads that I found myself wandering down.

So I just wanted to say “hey” and also send you a few of credit/personal finance related resources that I found pretty unique and very interesting. Let me know what you think.

I just love this one for all the young people out there. Talks about how 20 somethings ending up doomed with credit card debt before they even get started. Pretty scary, I actually recommended the book to my neighbor’s college-aged daughter. She rolled her eyes, of course: 

Just a forewarning on this video … the language is a little lively but it’s worth watching, particularly for all the parents out there. 

This one is hilarious but a little depressing. Outrageous credit card spending stores. Again, hilarious but disgusting simultaneously. 

Although I didn’t see it, you probably already have this on your site, it’s basically all the Worst Industry Practices in the credit card industry. Should be a must read for anyone before they get a credit card: 

Anyway, thanks again for all the great info/resources … let me know what you think of these.

Bill Hazelton

Bob Jensen's threads on the dirty secrets of credit card companies are at

"Hammering out Wikipedia's financial future, argument by argument," MIT's Technology Review, March 23, 2008 ---

Scroll the list of the 10 most popular Web sites in the U.S., and you'll encounter the Internet's richest corporate players -- names like Yahoo,, News Corp., Microsoft and Google.

Except for No. 7: Wikipedia. And there lies a delicate situation.

With 2 million articles in English alone, the Internet encyclopedia ''anyone can edit'' stormed the Web's top ranks through the work of unpaid volunteers and the assistance of donors. But that gives Wikipedia far less financial clout than its Web peers, and doing almost anything to improve that situation invites scrutiny from the same community that proudly generates the content.

And so, much as how its base of editors and bureaucrats endlessly debate touchy articles and other changes to the site, Wikipedia's community churns with questions over how the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees the project, should get and spend its money.

Should it proceed on its present course, soliciting donations largely to keep its servers running? Or should it expand other sources of revenue -- with ads, perhaps, or something like a Wikipedia game show -- to fulfill grand visions of sending DVDs or printed books to people who lack computers? Is it helpful -- or counter to the project's charitable, free-information mission -- to have the Wikimedia Foundation tight with a prominent venture capital firm?

These would be tough questions for any organization, let alone one in which hundreds of participants can expect to have a say.

The system ''has strengths and weaknesses,'' says Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's co-founder and ''chairman emeritus.'' ''The strength is, we don't do anything randomly, without lots and lots of lots of discussion. The downside is we don't get anything done unless we actually come to a conclusion.''

Even the foundation's leaders aren't unified. Florence Devouard, a French plant scientist who chairs the board, said she and other Europeans involved with the project are more skeptical than Americans such as Wales about moneymaking side projects with for-profit entities.

The project's financial situation is not exactly dire. Although the group does not have an endowment fund with interest fueling operations, cash contributions jumped to $2.2 million last year, from $1.3 million in the prior year. With big gifts recently, the foundation's budget is $4.6 million this year.

In the past year, the foundation has tried to become less of an ad hoc outfit, expanding staff from less than 10 people to roughly 15 and moving to San Francisco from St. Petersburg, Fla. It has a new executive director, Sue Gardner, formerly head of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s Web operations, who expects to add professional fund-raisers and improve ties with Wikimedia patrons.

''Two years ago, if you donated $10,000, you might not even get a phone call or a thank-you letter,'' Wales said. ''That's just not acceptable.''

Gardner appears to favor an incremental strategy, stretching the staff to 25 people by 2010, with the budget increasing toward $6 million. Even such relatively simple changes, she said, would keep the foundation from missing out on business partnerships and other opportunities.

For example, project leaders would like to hold ''Wikipedia Academies'' in developing countries, to encourage new cadres of contributors in other languages. Wales also wants to implement software that makes it less technically daunting for newcomers to edit Wikipedia articles -- an idea that has been discussed for at least two years.

It might seem surprising that such a low-key agenda could prove contentious, given that Wikimedia and Wales have also encountered complaints of being incautious with donors' money. But some Wikipedians want the foundation to be spending more.

Continued in article

"Wikipedia's nonprofit group gets a huge boost: $3M from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation," MIT's Technology Review, March 27, 2008 ---

Bob Jensen's Truck
Rusty Chevrolet ---
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn it on.

Since new car warranties can be enforced at all those car dealers, a new car is virtually a commodity that can be purchased anywhere based on the best price and transportation deal. Of course used cars cannot be commodities since each one is unique.

"Navigating the Web to Purchase a Car:  A Guide to Sites That Help Pinpoint The Car You Want," by Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2008; Page D8 ---

A few weeks ago, I received a dreaded phone call at 8:30 a.m. telling me he wasn't going to make it. The "he" in this case was my car, and the bearer of bad news was my mechanic. My 1994 Saab bit the dust when its timing belt broke, and after discussions about the cost of the repair versus the value of the car, I accepted the fact that I'd need to start looking at buying another vehicle.

I headed online to start researching (I was looking for a used car) but was overwhelmed by an avalanche of information. Everyone seemed to have something to say about cars, whether in blogs, community forums, editorial reviews, Kelley Blue Book values, Carfax reports or local dealer sites. As I discussed my findings with friends and family, more people than not were surprised to hear about the variety of research and price comparisons available online.

This week's column is an overview of sites that may help you or someone you know browse for a new or used car on the Web. I used sites ranging from trusted resources like to search engine tools like Yahoo Autos. This column can't possibly mention every car-searching resource on the Web; rather, it's just a taste of what's available. and both feature informative data on a number of new and used vehicles. Edmunds is a free site specifically geared toward cars, including an online magazine for enthusiasts called Inside Line and a Web forum for discussions about automobiles called CarSpace. I used various tools on, including one that estimates the true cost to own a specific car over time. I especially enjoyed reading an article titled "Confessions of a Car Salesman," which proved uncanny in predicting a range of tricks and techniques the salespeople used when I first visited a car dealership.

Edmunds offers a four-step pricing system, which includes getting quotes from dealers, and a payment calculator, which estimates monthly payments. Edmunds teams up with to help perform searches for certified pre-owned or used cars online.

Consumer Reports covers products as well as cars but keeps much of its most useful data behind a Web-site subscription, which costs $26 annually or $5.95 monthly (magazine subscribers can pay a discounted price of $19 a year). You need this subscription to access CR's respected ratings and certain sections of its Web forums. These ratings were helpful to me, as they assessed numerous aspects of specific car models, including trouble spots by year, performance, safety and fuel economy.

CR also offers valuable lists such as "All Recommended Cars," "Best and Worst Used Cars" and "Reliable Used Cars by Price." A car-buying calculator is an asset to this site that helps you decide whether it would be smarter to buy or lease a vehicle.

Google, Yahoo and AOL all present special search-results pages when you search for a specific car for sale, using drop-down menus and various ways to sort results. Google Base for automobiles, found by selecting "Vehicles" from, is a list of data submitted to Google. Drop-down menus help broaden or narrow results by sorting the data according to certain attributes, such as make or price. Vehicle-search results can be viewed in one of three formats: List View, Table View or Map View -- an illustration of each car's location in relationship to a Zip Code. I found Table View most useful because it organized data in smart, spreadsheet-like displays so I could quickly skim through columns listing price, color, amenities and mileage.

But not all car searches within Google Base returned the same drop-down-menu options for sorting. In a few instances, I couldn't sort my search results by model year. Google Base does show the date on which each car was listed.

Yahoo Autos, found at, teamed up with to offer richer content, including a Car Finder feature that helps people narrow down what type of new car they might like according to price, driving style and fuel (type and economy). Yahoo even tries to answer car questions with its Yahoo Answers Q&A tool, which lets people submit questions. I found user reviews on this site, as well as expert reviews provided by, an auto-review site.

The used-car section in Yahoo Autos reminded me of Google with its drop-down menus and results that displayed in list or map views. List view shows plenty of information in one glance, including an image of the car for sale and the number of additional available photos. From this list, users can link directly to view or order Carfax reports or email the dealer, saving time wasted on excess mouse clicks and browsing.

AOL Autos, found at, does a nice job of integrating Web 2.0 features such as pop-up menus that appear within a page rather than in an entirely new Web page. Vehicle-search results are found by entering a few criteria for a new or used car, and used-car results can be further narrowed by adding or subtracting desired specifics listed on the far left of the screen. Some specs include model type, engine, year or extras like heated seats or a sunroof.

This site can also condense numerous used-car listings into one graph that illustrates car prices in relationship to mileage or year. Selecting any point on the graph reveals a short description of a vehicle's location, price and mileage. For new cars, AOL Autos offers lengthy expert reviews from, as well as user reviews.

Both Yahoo Autos and AOL Autos walk users through steps to get price quotes from dealers for new cars. provides car-history reports using vehicle-identification numbers, or VINs. For a $30 fee, used-car buyers can use for 30 days. This report shows a vehicle's history such as if it was a rental or not, how many different owners it had, how long each owner possessed the vehicle and where it came from. Tips pop up within these reports, including one that warned me about "curbstoning," a term that describes an individual without a dealer's license looking to sell a number of cars by posing as a private seller.

As can be expected, many newspaper Web sites offer automobile sections that display digitized classified ads, so be sure to check your local paper's Web site.

At the end of the day, test-driving a car will be a true test as to whether or not you like it -- no matter how much research you've done online. But knowing your stuff before you visit a dealership can save money and time.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's helpers for buying automobiles and other vehicles ---

"Colleges' Earmarks Grow, Amid Criticism Money from Congress flows to directed grants as peer-reviewed research struggles," by Jeffrey Brainard and JJ. Hermes, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 28, 2008 ---

A record-breaking number of Congressional pork-barrel projects this year has loaded college and university plates with more of these controversial grants than ever before. The number of institutions receiving earmarks has shot up despite growing worries that the noncompetitive grants undermine the American scientific enterprise, and in spite of promises by some lawmakers to cut back.

An exclusive analysis by The Chronicle shows that legislators channeled more than 2,300 projects to 920 institutions, mostly for research, in the 2008 fiscal year. That is a 25-percent increase in the number of colleges and universities over 2003, when The Chronicle last surveyed earmarks. The total dollar amount for 2008 is at least $2.25-billion. The spending is a slight increase from five years ago, though it is a bit lower when adjusted for inflation. But it is a huge jump from 10 years ago, when pork spending totaled $528-million.

Earmarks are given out by members of Congress — without review of the projects' merits by knowledgeable scientists — by sprinkling the money into annual spending bills to favor constituents. This year, for the first time, it is possible to see just how widespread the practice is: A new law requires Congress to identify the sponsor of every earmark.

The numbers and names show "a system that's out of control," says Michael S. Lubell, director of public affairs at the American Physical Society.

The danger of increased earmarking, critics charge, is that it continues even as legislators have fallen behind in spending for scientific grants awarded the conventional way, through open competition and peer review. Competition is widely regarded as having made America's science the world's best, and the strength of that science has helped make America's economy the world's biggest. Earmarks have neither beneficial effect, some studies suggest, and other countries' research and trade are catching up.

The dirty little secret about earmarks for science is that while college officials occasionally fret about them in public, they chase them in private. At meetings of the Association of American Universities, a group of 62 research institutions, some presidents regularly complain that earmarks are squeezing out peer-reviewed awards — "and then they go home and call up their congressman to ask for an earmark," said one president, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to be free to discuss the meetings.

Politicians are similarly conflicted. On the presidential-campaign trail, earmarks are getting high-profile attention. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, battling for the Democratic slot, supported a one-year moratorium, though they both handed out generous earmarks to colleges last year. Sen. John McCain, the expected Republican nominee, wants to abolish them. But members of both parties in Congress are likely to maintain their support for earmarks.

A Zero-Sum Game?

Some of this year's academic pork went for campus roads, classroom buildings, and other construction projects, but two-thirds, or $1.6-billion, was directed to scientific research at almost 500 institutions, The Chronicle's analysis shows. That represents about 5 percent of all federal money for academic research.

The war in Iraq and rising gasoline prices clearly influenced the topics of earmarked research, sparking interest in studies of brain and spinal-cord injuries, biofuels, and fuel cells. (See articles.)

Compared with 2003, the average value of earmarks for higher education has dropped because Congress spread roughly the same amount around many more projects. For 2008, the median earmark was $462,000, down from $497,000 in 2003.

That's not the only change in how research is supported. Until a few years ago, Congress had been raising spending for peer-reviewed grants much more than it had for earmarks. The budget of the National Institutes of Health doubled between 1998 and 2003, to $27-billion.

But since 2003, peer-reviewed federal research grants have become significantly harder to win, making earmarks more difficult to ignore. The budgets of the NIH and the National Science Foundation, the two principal federal sources for academic research money, have declined, considering inflation. In 2008 each agency expects to approve about one in five grant applications, down from one in three in 2001.

A stream of university representatives have visited Capitol Hill in recent months to plead for relief. They warn that the tight budgets are driving talented young scientists away from research and damaging the country's capacity for innovation. Congress took note of the issue last year and passed the America Competes Act, which promised to double spending on the NSF and other physical-sciences programs over seven years.

But the legislators have already fallen short of this goal. Most of the increase proposed for 2008 was cut from the final version of a spending bill after Democrats and the president deadlocked over government spending.

That underscores what is arguably a trade-off between money for earmarks and for peer-reviewed work. Consider that the $1.6-billion in Congressional earmarks for academic research this year could have paid for the entire increase called for by the America Competes Act in 2008, with $1-billion to spare. If that money were given to the NIH, it would have allowed the agency's budget to keep pace with inflation.

University officials talk up spending for merit-based awards when they visit their Congressional representatives, but they send mixed messages by requesting earmarks during the same meetings, said a higher-education lobbyist, who asked not to be named so he could speak freely about the private sessions. Given that the earmarked money is guaranteed to come to a lawmaker's district and money for peer-reviewed grants is not, "which part of the message do you think the member is going to listen to?" he says.

Lawmakers, of course, are aware that it's far easier to claim credit for a direct earmark. In news releases sent to their home districts, they regularly boast about their successes at delivering the money to colleges.

Institutions that receive lots of research earmarks are unapologetic about accepting them with open arms. Take Mississippi State University, which topped The Chronicle's list of institutions receiving the most earmarks in 2008. The institution pursues the set-asides because "we're in a poor state," says Kirk H. Schulz, vice president for research and economic development. He credits earmarks for helping Mississippi State lay the groundwork — by starting research programs — that has increased the money it gets for peer-reviewed federal awards. (But that growth has not been remarkable, roughly matching the average for all academic institutions.)

Bob Jensen's threads on the politically correct fracture in academe are at

Can you record HDTV television shows without paying an annual fee such as the TiVo annual fee?

Sadly no due to failure of the FCC to enforce a rule.

"The Truth About DVRs:   Wondering why you can't buy a digital video recorder without also signing up for TiVo or a specific cable service?" by Stephen H. Wildstrom, Business Week, February 2008 --- 

It's a sad story. Effective July 1, 2007, the Federal Communications Commission required cable companies to separate the security functions of their set-top boxes from other roles, such as tuning, recording, etc. This change was supposed to free consumers from the tyranny of having to accept whatever set-top box the cable company chose to offer. Instead they would be able to buy a box at retail and connect it to a cable network by getting a device called a CableCARD from the cable operator.

However, pretty much nothing has gone the way it was supposed to in the eight months since the FCC edict took effect. The cable companies offer CableCARDs, but they don't make them particularly easy to get. Even if you can get one, the technology is fraught with problems. It took two Comcast engineers two trips to my house to get a TiVo HD system working. And even when it works, you can't get on-demand or pay-per-view programming. Naturally, if you pay for the cable company's box instead, those services work just fine.

Meanwhile, consumer-electronics makers have fled the independent set-top box business thanks to foot-dragging by cable operators and the sluggish process of getting their products certified by CableLabs, the industry's research-and-standards arm. CableLabs and the operators have also scared consumer-electronics companies out of making third-party set-top boxes by insisting that CableCARDs will soon be superseded by a software-only solution called the Open Cable Platform.

As a result, I know of only two third-party CableCARD devices that are really aimed at the mass market: the aforementioned TiVo HD and a cable tuner made by ATI that plugs into computers running on Windows Media Center. The TiVo, priced at $299, has enjoyed considerable success, though it does require a TiVo subscription in addition to monthly cable charges. The ATI TV Wonder hasn't done as well. It is available for purchase only as part of a new computer system and adds significantly to the cost. Microsoft (MSFT) has reportedly become very frustrated with the whole CableCARD effort and may give up on it.

When cable carriers started offering boxes with DVRs built in, they pretty much drove third-party boxes off the shelves. The CableCARD mandate was supposed to revive the market, but without serious enforcement efforts by the FCC, I doubt that will ever happen.

Bob Jensen's (slow loading) threads on TiVo are at

Adobe Puts Free Version Of Photoshop Online," The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2008; Page B7 ---

The maker of the popular photo-editing software Photoshop on Thursday launched a basic version available for free online.

San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe Systems Inc. says it hopes to boost its name recognition among a new generation of consumers who edit, store and share photos online.

While Photoshop is designed for trained professionals, Adobe says Photoshop Express, which it launched in a "beta" test version, is easier to learn. User comments will be taken into account for future upgrades.

Photoshop Express will be completely Web-based so consumers can use it with any type of computer, operating system and browser. And, once they register, users can get to their accounts from different computers.

Web-based software is increasingly popular, and Adobe knows it's got to get on that train, said Kathleen Maher, an analyst at Jon Peddie Research.

Many kinds of software are available for use online in a trend known as "software as a service," or "cloud computing." The earliest were e-mail programs, but they now include services to create and manage content and even whole operating systems. And they don't require time-consuming upgrades because they're maintained by the service provider.

Google Inc. provides a host of such services, as do Microsoft Corp. and others.

"This is the battlefield where Adobe and Microsoft and Google are going to fight some pretty big battles," Ms. Maher said.

Photoshop enters the online photo-management arena many years after such services first appeared. Some companies have already made a big name for themselves, like 9-year-old storage solution Shutterfly Inc., photo-editing service Picnik or image-sharing site Photobucket Inc.

Adobe says providing Photoshop Express for free is part marketing and part a strategy to create up-sell opportunities. It hopes some customers will move from it to boxed software like its $99 Photoshop Elements or to a subscription-based version of Express that's in the works.

Ron Glaz, a research analyst at IDC, says the move was necessary for Adobe to keep pace. Users are less likely to switch to a software they aren't familiar with, he said.

"They have a whole market that they are missing out on, and they need to make sure that the market is aware there is a Photoshop solution for them. As that market grows and becomes more sophisticated, hopefully it will generate money," Mr. Glaz said

"It's one of those things, if you can't beat them, join them," Mr. Glaz said. "If they don't join them, the long run could be really painful."

You can download the free version of Photoshop Express (beta)  from
Click on the picture to proceed.
You can get a boxed version for $99.

Jensen Comment
Suppose you've got picture of your dog that you would like to touch up. In Photoshop Express you can remove picture blemishes and red-eye, converting to grayscale, cropping and resizing, and more, although most touch up features are available in other competitor alternatives such as Flickr, Shutterfly, Picnik and Photobucket. If you have something cheaper (than the very expensive professional Photoshop Pro) such as JASC/COREL Paintshop Pro, you will not find many of the popular features of PSP in Photoshop Express.


Why might you request that your college let you produce and deliver an online course?


August 27, 2008 message from Lou Squyres [squyrell@MUOHIO.EDU]

I'm trying to sell to my department the opportunity for me to teach intro to accounting (financial) online this fall. (blackboard, with Houghton Mifflin supplememtal materials)

I could really use help with

1: the sales pitch-folks who've made it work, how they made it work, technological tips for teaching nontraditional students...

2. What teaching methods should I employ that are different than ones used in the classroom?

3. When you first proposed such a class, what were the objections and how did you address them?

Thanks for whatever advice you can offer. I've been through the archives and couldn't find anything relevant to these particular issues.

Lou Squyres, JD., CPA, MBA
Visiting Assistant Professor Business Technology
Miami University Middletown, Ohio

August 27, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Lou,

In terms of marketing an online course you might want to use a business model to show how online courses may enter new markets to get students who would not otherwise take courses from your university. Another tack is to show how online courses can result in better learning from existing students on campus. Emphasize that the drawback of online courses done well is not usually in terms of students.

If the online courses are done very well with lots of online instant messaging with the instructor and other students, online courses tend to burn out instructors.

You might also demonstrate the huge advantage of online courses for some handicapped students --- 

I suggest you contact the best online accounting professor that I know in this business --- Amy Dunbar at the University of Connecticut. Amy is on leave this semester as a KPMG Fellow in New York City, so she may not be quite as active on the AECM this semester.

I also suggest that you make contact with some of the schools that already have online basic (and advanced) accounting courses. Of course many of these like the University of Wisconsin already had extension programs for part-time students such that marketing was probably not so intense as in colleges that do not have extensive part-time onsite courses.

Quite a few online courses and programs for training and education are identified at 

The advantages disadvantages of asynchronous programs (that include most online programs) are identified at 
Especially note the SCALE experiments at the University of Illinois where onsite versus online courses from the same instructors given to on-campus students were compared across a five year period.

Also note how the University of North Texas found that students living in dorms often preferred the online alternatives even though they could walk to class.

Bob Jensen

March 27, 2008 reply from Steven Hornik [shornik@BUS.UCF.EDU]


I've been teaching the financial accounting in a mixed mode class for the past year now at UCF, 300+ in the fall, 200 this Spring and 900+ in the Fall. Because of the numbers we have to go to an online approach. I think there are two main hurdles to overcome in the online environment - delivering the lectures/content and overcoming the tendency of students to learn/study alone. For the first I used Camtasia studio to create lectures from all of my slides AND broke them down into relatively small lectures (ie ~15 minutes each). This way students don't have to set aside 1-2 hours to watch/listen to a lecture. Having the lectures online also allows the students to re-listen to them as often as they want, this is a big plus! If you want to see any of my lectures you can look at them here: 

To overcome the isolation I use several tools. I use Second Life extensively, and have written about that on this list and my blog (same as above ) and would be happy to take you on a tour if you'd like. I also utilize an IM program called Meebo to keep in touch with my students and have found this to be very helpful. I have a widget on the course webpage so students can chat with me whenever I'm online (which is quite a lot).

Hmmm, I don't know if that answers the question regarding your sales pitch, more what I do. For learning outcomes it still comes down to student motivation. Probably the greatest advantage for those students who are motivated and disciplined enough is that online can lead to more time on task for the students and perhaps more time with the content expert - you. They will interact with you in different ways than they would in a face-to-face class and often times this is for the better.

I hope some of that helps,

Dr. Steven Hornik
University of Central Florida Dixon School of Accounting
Second Life: Robins Hermano 
yahoo ID: shornik


Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are linked at



A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit by four high school students who claimed that Turnitin, a popular plagiarism detection service used by many schools and colleges, violated their ownership rights to their own papers. The ruling said that the box students check consenting to having their papers reviewed (and stored) makes it impossible for the students to sue. Because the students checked the box, they gave consent, even if they also stated their objections, the decision said. Further, the ruling defended the right of educational institutions to use services like Turnitin. “Schools have a right to decide how to monitor and address plagiarism in their schools and may employ companies ... to help do so,” the decision said. An appeal is expected. The decision text and a critical analysis of it appear on the blog of Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University who has been closely watching the case.
Inside Higher Ed, March 26, 2008 ---


"Federal Judge Rules That Plagiarism-Detection Tool Does Not Violate Students' Copyrights," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 28, 2008 ---

A federal judge ruled this month that a commercial plagiarism-detection tool popular among professors does not violate the copyright of students, even though it stores digital copies of their essays in the database that the company uses to check works for academic dishonesty. The decision also has wider implications for other digital services, such as Google's effort to scan books in major libraries and add them to its index for search purposes.

The lawyer for the students who sued the company said he plans to appeal.

Judge Claude M. Hilton, of the U. S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., found that scanning the student papers for the purpose of detecting plagiarism is a "highly transformative" use that falls under the fair-use provision of copyright law. He ruled that the company "makes no use of any work's particular expressive or creative content beyond the limited use of comparison with other works," and that the new use "provides a substantial public benefit."

The case has been closely watched by the thousands of colleges who use the plagiarism-detection tool, called Turnitin, as well as by opponents of the service who hope to prevent professors from becoming anticheating police.

Last March four high-school students—two in Virginia and two in Arizona—sued iParadigms, the company that runs Turnitin, arguing that the company took their papers against their will and profited from using them. The students' high schools required papers to be checked for plagiarism using Turnitin, and the service automatically adds scanned papers to its database. The company boasts about the size of its database as a selling point, and colleges pay thousands of dollars per year to use it. The students sought $900,000 as compensation for six papers they had submitted.

Judge Hilton seemed unmoved by nearly all of the students' arguments. "Schools have a right to decide how to monitor and address plagiarism in their schools and may employ companies like iParadigms to help do so," he said in his 24-page ruling.

More Issues to Explore

"I'm definitely appealing," said Robert A. Vanderhye, a retired lawyer in Virginia who took on the students' case pro bono. "I am positive that the appellate court will reverse" on the fair-use issue, he added.

The judge, he continued, "copied" the company's brief. "He didn't even consider any of our arguments," said Mr. Vanderhye.

Specifically, Mr. Vanderhye said, the judge did not address whether or not Turnitin violated federal student-privacy laws by allowing users of the service to see papers that show students' names along with the names of their instructors and other personal information. If the tool finds that a newly submitted paper contains material that matches papers already in the database, it gives the instructor the option of retrieving the old paper for a detailed comparison.

Katie Povejsil, vice president of marketing for Turnitin, said the company was "delighted" by the ruling.

"This was a very important case for us," she said. "This clears up some questions" in customers' minds about the legality of the product.

Peter A. Jaszi, a law professor at American University, said the judge's argument that the plagiarism tool is covered by fair use because it is transformative may well stand up to an appeal.

"However, I would expect that, on appeal, the lawyers for the plaintiffs might explore a wrinkle that the judge doesn't really address in the opinion," he said. "That is whether or not a new use, a use of copyrighted material for a new purpose, is an effective or promising use." Mr. Jaszi said previous courts have argued that how beneficial a use of copyrighted material is helps determine whether it is covered by fair use.

"The big debate about Turnitin, as far as I can tell," said Mr. Jaszi, "is about whether it's a good tool."

The decision could bode well for Google. The company has been sued by groups representing publishers and authors who argue that the company is violating their copyrights by digitizing their books without express permission. Google contends that, because its digital copies are for the purpose of providing an index, it is essentially transforming the material.

"If this opinion, as it stands, were to be endorsed on appeal, it can only help the cause of Google Library," said Mr. Jaszi.

Some reactions to this court decision ---

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at ---


Also see
The U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act Undermines Public Access and Sharing 
(Included Copyright Information and Dead Link Archives)


Jensen Comment
How many high school and undergraduate students did you ever teach who took the time and trouble to copyright term papers? This is even rare for graduate students except in the case of doctoral dissertations.


"The Ivory Tower Leans Left, but Why?" by Naomi Schaffer Riley, The Wall Street Journal, February 29, 2008; Page W11 ---

That liberals dominate the faculties of American universities would seem to be a settled question. But anyone still harboring doubts can now look at faculty support for this year's presidential candidates. Barack Obama is the clear favorite. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, he had received, by the end of last year, almost a third of the funds donated by faculty and administrators nationwide. The Daily Princetonian, meanwhile, found that, as of last month, not a single Princeton employee had given money to a Republican. The faculties of Harvard, Stanford and Columbia were slightly more balanced, with more than 80% of donations at each institution going to Democrats.

In recent years a number of conservatives and a few honest liberals have tried to figure out why this political lopsidedness persists. A forthcoming volume on the subject from the American Enterprise Institute will contain a report from two scholars -- Matthew Woessner of Penn State, Harrisburg, and his wife, April Kelly-Woessner, of Elizabethtown College -- called "Left Pipeline: Why Conservatives Don't Get Doctorates."

Using data from UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, which surveys students at the beginning and end of their college careers, the couple (he a conservative, she a liberal) made some surprising discoveries. One might assume, for instance, that because conservatives on campus live in a culturally hostile environment, they might be less satisfied with their undergraduate experience and decide not to pursue a Ph.D. as a result. But in fact, the two scholars found that conservatives report a slightly higher rate of satisfaction with college than liberals do.

Liberals might then jump to the conclusion that conservatives don't go on with their education because -- insert George W. Bush crack here -- they're just not bright enough. In fact, however, self-described conservatives and liberals have about the same grade-point average. (The moderates score lowest on this academic scale.)

Conservatives might in turn suggest that the real key to determining who goes on to a doctorate is faculty mentorship. Professors encourage their closest students to pursue an academic career and write them strong recommendations for graduate school. Perhaps a liberal faculty member would be less likely to take a conservative under his wing. The study's authors found this point to have some validity, with conservatives less likely to meet with a professor outside of class and less likely to be involved in conducting research. But the differences are still rather small and not enough to "account for all of the observed difference in educational ambitions between liberals and conservatives."

Instead they hypothesized that the bulk of the ideological imbalance in academia is the result of differing personality traits. And so the scholars picked four traits -- the importance placed on raising a family, making money, contributing original work to a particular field and developing a meaningful philosophy of life -- and matched them up with students' political self-definitions. "Ideology," they wisely write, "represents far more than a collection of abstract political values." Liberalism, they found, "is more closely associated with a desire for excitement, an interest in creative outlets and an aversion to a structured work environment. Conservatives express far greater interest in financial success and stronger desires to raise families."

Each side of the political spectrum will find something smugly satisfying in the study's portrayal of the other. ("Aha! I knew Republicans cared only about the rich" or "Show me someone who doesn't like a 'structured work environment' and I'll show you someone on the unemployment line.") There may be a kernel of truth to such generalizations. What is less obvious is the claim, built into the statistical model itself, that someone who places more importance on raising a family would shy away from academia.

As Ilya Somin, a professor of law at George Mason University, wrote on The Volokh Conspiracy blog last week: "Relative to other professional jobs, academic careers are quite family friendly. Unlike most other professionals, professors have a high degree of control over their schedules [and] can do a higher proportion of their work at home." He also cites the "substantial tuition benefits" that many colleges offer, a particular bonus for conservatives with large families.

But to read the Chronicle of Higher Education -- which reflects the anxieties of its academic readership by featuring almost weekly articles on the burdens of the work-life balance -- you would never know about the upside of university life for families. Prof. Kelly-Woessner seems ignorant of it, too. She told me that there is a "great misconception in popular culture about what it is that academics do, that we teach a couple of days a week and have lots of free time." Not true, she explained. "Our average workweek is 60+ hours. And unlike a regular job, where you come home at 5, we're grading well into the evening."

Apparently there is also a misconception among academics that people in "regular jobs" -- not to mention the competitive professional jobs that academics might well aspire to if they did not choose to teach and write -- stop working at 5 p.m. There are plenty of professors who put in long hours, but the past few decades have only made things easier. Courseloads have lightened. Semesters have shortened. And all those little extras that benefit students -- sushi in the cafeteria, rock-climbing walls in the gym -- have benefited faculty members, too.

The paper's authors lament that professors must work very hard in their first few years on the job to secure tenure and that it may be difficult to find a job in a geographically desirable area. True enough, but these problems are also hardly peculiar to academia -- well, except for the tenure part. Most other jobs don't offer lifetime security.

All such complaints are, of course, symptoms of a certain kind of self-indulgence that comes from living in the ivory tower. It's the sort of attitude that stems from placing too much importance on "finding a meaningful philosophy of life." If you want to know why conservatives don't get doctorates, maybe it's because they just don't like hanging out with the people who do.

March 20, 2008 reply from Kurt Kessler ---

When I read R. Matthew Poteat's March 14 Letter, responding to Naomi Schaefer Riley's "The Ivory Tower Leans Left, But Why?" (Taste page, Feb. 29), I checked the top of the page to make sure it wasn't April 1. He thinks academia "advocates as little constraint on individual liberties as possible?" C'mon! How about free speech? That's perhaps the most important individual liberty, and it's routinely trampled by academia. If university culture is truly rooted in the liberal tradition, I suggest that today's branches need some serious pruning.

Bob Jensen's threads on the Liberal Bias in the Media and in Academe are at

What to do if you suspect identity theft ---

Identity Theft Resource Center ---

Why doesn't some of the information below appear prominently on Hannaford's Website?
Fortunately, there are no Hannaford stores close to where I live.
Hannaford cut corners when protecting customer privacy information.

Hannaford is a large New England-based supermarket chain with a good reputation until now.
Recently, Hannaford compromised credit card information on 4.2 million customers at all 165 stores in the eastern United States.
When over 1,800 of customers started having fraudulent charges appearing on credit card statements, the security breach at Hannaford was discovered.
Hannaford made a press announcement, although the Hannaford Website is seems to overlook this breach entirely ---
My opinion of Hannaford dropped to zero because there is no help on the company's Website for customers having ID thefts from Hannaford.
I can't find any 800 number to call for customer help directly from Hannaford (even recorded messages might help)

Hannaford's is going to belatedly get a firewall and improve encryption of networked credit card information (the company remains tight lipped regarding whether it followed encryption rules up to now) --- 

And when the Vice President of Marketing gets quoted in the press talking about the security breach, it means that there is no CIO (Chief Information Officer) at the company.  It means their network was designed haphazardly with only a minimal thought to security.  What, they couldn’t get a quote from the President of Marketing?  How does the dairy stocker in store 413 feel about the breach?  He probably knows as much about network security as the Marketing VP.

All of this means that as the days go on, you will see more and more headlines talking about this breach being much worse than originally thought. The number of fraud cases will climb precipitously… and no one will be fired from Hannaford.

If you shop there and have used a credit card, get a copy of your credit report ASAP.

By law, you get one free credit report per year. You can contact them below.

Equifax: 800-685-1111;

Experian: 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742);

TransUnion: 800-916-8800;

Also see

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at

What to do if you suspect identity theft ---

Identity Theft Resource Center ---

March 21, 2008 reply from Elliot Kamlet []

As my guru in all things related to accounting and the internet, I felt compelled to privately point out that the problem here is the website URL. It’s Two “nn”s

They make a pretty good size ‘deal’ over this problem.

Elliot Kamlet
Binghamton University

March 21, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Oops! This is truly weird.

Isn’t it strange how the  site makes you think this is the home page with all the information about finding stores, employment, etc.

Then there’s the  that seems to be less of a home page but has a security message about the theft.

This is the first time I’ve encountered two corporate home pages! I’m totally confused, but the :one-n” site seems to be the only site with the corporate logo. I guess this is a warning to always look for a corporate logo.

Bob Jensen

March 21, 2008 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

I'm going out on a limb, here, but I think that is a placeholder, and not necessariliy for hannaford, inc.

David Albrecht

March 21, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

I looked into it again, I think is a bit of a fraud.

The site tries to catch Internet users who slightly spell a company’s name wrong.

I suspect this is a click fraud scheme --- Hey I discovered a fraud by accident!

For example, when you go to the legitimate Hannaford site (2 ns) at and click on “Careers”
You then get employment information for the legitimate Hannaford Corporation with the licensed company logo.

When you click on “Employment” at the fraud site at (1n) you get a Website (not related to Hannaford) that lists a bunch of Websites not related to Hannaford. These sites probably pay the fraud site for click routings from poor spellers. Note there’s no Hannaford logo.
I think it’s a fraud because it has a link to Hanaford Supermarkets, and it links supermarkets in Hanaford, California. At this point I smell a rat! This site just does not pass the smell test.

I got snookered on this one, but I learned a lesson.

One way around this is to type in “Hanaford” on a Google Search and Google will then ask “Do you mean Hannaford?” Even if you stick with Hanaford, Google will not bring up the until about a hundred pages later on.

Here’s a guy that made over $1 million a year from misspelled URLs ---

Verizon is standing by its program of redirecting typo traffic to their company’s own search page, and claims that the redirects are valuable ways to help their users search the Internet ---

I noticed Time Warner does the same thing with its Road Runner service.

 Bob Jensen

I think Google does a better job than Verizon or Time Warner.

Bob Jensen

March 25, 2008 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

Bob Jensen wrote: Note there’s no Hannaford logo. ... You then get ... information for the legitimate Hannaford Corporation with the licensed company logo. ... I got snookered on this one, but I learned a lesson. -----

Bob, the presence of a licensed company logo is not always a sure-fire authentication hurdle, either. Over the past several months, I've received innumerable email phishing scams using trademarked logo's from dozens of companies, including Citi, Wachovia, Wells-Fargo, the IRS, American Express, Verizon, Microsoft, and Dell. There are also uncountable spoof sites which use the real logos of the companies they are spoofing.

I continue to be stumped at why the logo owners don't pursue the phishers (who are obviously pirating copyrighted trademarks) with the same zeal that the RIAA is going after music traders. For years, I forwarded such phishing emails to the security departments or customer service departments or even presidents' offices of the respective logo owners, until I got sick and tired of receiving replies saying "there's nothing we can do about it". As a good jurisprudence scholar once said, "If they aren't going to protect their trademark, they don't deserve to keep it."

In spite of good spam filters, I continue to receive the occasional "security notice" phishing request containing such logos. I deleted one this morning from a mid-west credit union that I'd never heard of.

"Always be on guard. Always." -- Col. Wilhelm Klink

David Fordham
(occasional Snookeree, too)
James Madison University

"Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig Bets 'Wikipedia' Approach Will Transform Congress,"  by Sarah Lai Stirlan, Wired News, March 20, 2008 ---

A prominent Stanford law professor on Thursday launched an ambitious project that aims to use collaborative software to harness the extraordinary levels of pent-up political energy and dissatisfaction that voters have shown over the past two years with their members of congress.

The Change Congress project's first mission is to diminish the influence of money in the legislative body by influencing the outcome of the 2008 election campaigns of 67 members of congress which are up for grabs. As the Change Congress project founder
Larry Lessig noted in the project's launch Thursday afternoon, there haven't been so many seats open up for challenge in more than a decade.

Lessig, known for his decade-long role in trying to loosen the entertainment industry's vise-like grip on popular culture by shaping copyright law, is betting that the energy and dissatisfaction exhibited by voters against the status-quo in Washington DC, and the emergence of collaborative software that enables vast numbers of geographically-dispersed citizens to become politically active on their own schedule, will enable a new kind of transparency and accountability in political campaigns.

"The problem we face is ... the problem of crony capitalism using money to capture government," he said on Monday during the launch of his project in Washington, DC. "The challenge is whether in fact we can change this. The political experts tell you that it can't be done, that process always win over substance."

Lessig and
Joe Trippi hope that their project will bring the beginnings of this change by getting voters to challenge their members of congress to commit to Change Congress' four pledges. The project will rely on engaged voters to record and map both the responses by, and the positions of candidates who are running for open seats. The idea is to make what seems like an abstract idea visually tangible through a Google mash-up. 

The professor wants legislators to promise to do four things which he says will reduce the influence of money on policymaking: To promise not to accept money from lobbyists and political action committees; support public financing of elections; commit to passing legislation to permanently ban the funneling of money to their districts' projects of questionable worth; and to commit to "compel transparency in the functioning of congress." 

Candidates can signal their intentions to take any one or all of the pledges by filling out a form at the organization's web site, which then formulates code that provides a graphic that the candidates can then place on their election campaign web sites.

The Change Congress project hopes that citizens will track congressional candidates' positions on these issues by reporting on them at the web site. The project will then map these results onto a Google map. Writing in The Huffington Post this morning, Lessig explained:

... once this wiki-army has tracked the positions of all Members of Congress, we will display a map of reform, circa 2008: Each Congressional district will be colored in either (1) dark red, or dark blue, reflecting Republicans or Democrats who have taken a pledge, (2) light red or light blue, tracking Republicans and Democrats who have not taken our pledge, but who have signaled support for planks in the Change-Congress platform, or (3) for those not taking the pledge and not signaling support for a platform of reform, varying shades of sludge, representing the percentage of the Member's campaign contributions that come from PACs or lobbyists.


What this map will reveal, we believe, is something that not many now actually realize: That the support for fundamental reform is broad and deep. That recognition in turn will encourage more to see both the need for reform and the opportunity that this election gives us to achieve it. Apathy is driven by the feeling that nothing can be done. This Change Congress map will demonstrate that in fact, something substantial can be done. Now.

Lessig says that the project will, down the road, model itself on Emily's List in that it will recruit contributors to finance candidates who make reforming congress a central part of their campaign.

When the Democrats re-took congress in 2006, they won on a platform built by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's mantra of being against the Republicans' culture of corruption.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I was thinking how we might do the same with accounting and accountability of business firms. For example, executives might be requested to "take the pledge" regarding important matters like accounting transparency, executive compensation, golden parachutes, corporate social responsibility, etc. Maps of fundamental reform could then be generated.

Bob Jensen's threads on Congressional corruption ("That Most Criminal Class Writes the Laws) are at

Is this really an ethics violation by two University of Texas at San Antonio professors?

"2 Professors Tread on Shaky Ethical Ground After Purchasing Tract of Land," by Jean Gravois, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 21, 2008 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment

I think the ethics issue here is whether the investors benefitted from the student projects. If the land had already been professionally surveyed and purchased, this is little more than a student project benefits the students only --- No problem in this case.

But doing the survey before the purchase leads to more serious questions about whether the student projects benefitted the investors.

My threads on cheating are at 

U. of Pennsylvania to Computer Users: Don't Use Vista SP1
University of Pennsylvania technology officials are recommending to students and faculty members that they not install Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 on their computers, according to an article published Friday in Information Week. The operating system is an upgrade to Vista. The software reportedly is laden with bugs that make it difficult to download. Once computer users have downloaded it, many have found that it slows their PC's. The university's information-technology department is advising campus computer users to stick with Windows XP or Vista until the glitches are corrected. The department says it will support Vista SP1 only when it is preinstalled on computers.
Andrea L. Foster, "U. of Pennsylvania to Computer Users: Don't Use Vista SP1," Chronicle of Higher Education, March 24, 2008 ---

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on March 21, 2008

Congress's Votes on Taxes Set Stage for Election Battle
by Sarah Lueck
The Wall Street Journal

Mar 14, 2008
Page: A12
Click here to view the full article on ---

TOPICS: Accounting, Capital Gains, Income Tax, Marginal Tax Rates, Taxation

SUMMARY: Both houses of Congress endorsed the idea of tax increases for millions of Americans as Democrats pressed ahead with budget plans that would allow some or all of President Bush's reductions to die after he leaves office.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: This article addresses the status of the tax breaks set to expire in 2010. The interesting (and sometimes frustrating) interplay between politics and tax law is important for our students to understand. It can be used in tax classes or business and tax planning courses.

1. (Introductory) What tax laws are set to expire in 2010? Why were they originally passed with an expiration date?

2. (Advanced) What are some of the problems associated with uncertainty in future tax laws? Why is there uncertainty? What undesirable results can happen as a consequence of uncertainty in future tax laws?

3. (Introductory) The articles states that the voting by Congress was "largely symbolic? What does that mean? If it was a symbolic vote, why did they vote at all?

4. (Advanced) What does the election year have to do with tax legislation? How do you think the elections will impact tax law?

5. (Advanced) What interested you most about this article? What surprised you?

Reviewed By: Linda Christiansen, Indiana University Southeast

"Congress's Votes on Taxes Set Stage for Election Battle," by Sarah Lueck, The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2008; Page A12 ---

Congress endorsed letting many of President Bush's tax cuts expire during largely symbolic voting on budget blueprints.

Certain marginal tax rates and reduced rates for long-term capital gains and dividends, which are set to expire at the end of 2010, wouldn't be extended under a budget blueprint passed by the House yesterday and in a separate plan the Senate was debating late last night.

The budget process traditionally sets spending and revenue targets for Congress. To make budget proposals into law, Congress would have to follow up with legislation.

In an election year, it is likely that follow-up won't occur in many cases. However, the budget debate that unfolded in Congress this week signaled where lawmakers stand on some major issues. Democrats showed they would rather reduce the deficit or spend money on other programs than extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Republicans, meanwhile, criticized Democrats for allowing taxes to increase and for not tackling long-term fiscal challenges like the Medicare program for the elderly.

Many Democrats in the Senate were sensitive about being seen as raising taxes. Unlike the House, they backed an amendment of $340 billion in permanent extensions of some of Mr. Bush's tax cuts. The amendment, sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.), extended the 10% income-tax bracket, an increased child-tax credit and marriage-penalty relief, among other items. Mr. Baucus called for funding the tax-cut extensions with surpluses assumed in the Senate plan. "Turning surplus dollars into tax relief is the right thing to do," Mr. Baucus said. The amendment passed 99-1.

The three senators running for president, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, voted for the Baucus amendment. Then the parties split on a Republican move to extend the rest of Mr. Bush's tax cuts. Mr. McCain voted for the amendment. But it was defeated with the votes of 52 senators, including the Democratic presidential candidates.

The Senate was moving toward a final vote on its budget plan late last night. In debate on dozens of amendments, the Senate signaled its intention to prevent the alternative-minimum tax from hitting more people and endorsed funding increases for medical research and heating assistance for low-income people. Senators also approved an amendment that said English should be the "common language" of the U.S.

Efforts to pass estate-tax relief failed in the Senate, though narrowly. Senators also shot down a move to increase the premiums wealthier seniors pay for prescription drugs in Medicare.

To put Sen. Obama on the spot, Sen. Wayne Allard (R., Colo.) offered an amendment raising the $1.4 trillion in tax revenue that he said would be needed to fund spending proposals Sen. Obama has put forward. But no senators, not even Sen. Allard, voted for the amendment.

The House, meanwhile, passed its $3 trillion blueprint on a 212-207 vote.


Complicated Math by Design:  Derivative Instruments Fraud in the 1990s and Executive Compensation in the 21st Century

Before derivative financial instruments were well understood by buyers, sellers of such instruments like Merrill Lynch and many other top investment banking firms on Wall Street became fraudulent bucket shops selling derivatives packages that were so needlessly mathematical and complicated that they intentionally deceived buyers like pension and trust fund managers, When buyers commenced to lose millions upon millions of dollars, the SEC commenced to investigate one of the more serious set of scandals to ever hit wall street ---
If you want to cry and laugh at the same time watch this expert (John Grant) try to understand a derivatives contract sold by Merrill Lynch to Orange County in California that eventually cost the County over a billion dollars (and forced it into bankruptcy.

The video is an excerpt from a CBS Sixty Minute 1990sprogram ---

The point is that the investment banking firms in those days built in complicated mathematics to deceive investors regarding the risk in the investments these bankers were trying to sell in the 1990s. And it worked! Investors lost millions.

In a similar manner in the 21st Century executives are trying to circumvent the SEC's new compensation disclosure rules by making the compensation contracts so complicated that nobody could comprehend what is being disclosed.

"(New Math) x (SEC Rules) + Proxy=Confusion Firms Disclose Formulas Behind Executive Pay, Leaving Many Baffled," by Phred Dvorak, The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2008; Page A1 ---
(but not quite as complicated as the investment banking formulas for fraud in derivatives instruments selling)

The latest proxy statement from Applied Materials Inc. tells exactly how the company set 2007 bonuses for top executives:

"Base Salary x Individual Target Percentage x (Weighted Score + Total Stockholder Return Adder, if Achieved)."

Of some help may be Applied's definition of weighted score:

"(Performance Measure 1 x Weight as Percentage) + (Performance Measure 2 x Weight as Percentage)."

And so on.

As a maker of semiconductor equipment, Applied Materials belongs to an industry of mathematical whizzes. Yet the complexity of its proxy this year reflects a trend that extends far beyond Silicon Valley. Even Deere & Co., the maker of tractors, has produced a proxy that uses three formulas, four tables and a graph to illustrate the calculation of executive bonuses.

This explosion of mathematics was sparked by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which in 2006 began requiring more information about how companies calculate executive pay. After the first batch of proxies using the new rules arrived last year, the SEC told 350 companies they hadn't been specific enough.

Among those companies was Applied Materials. So this year, it expanded by 76% the word count of its proxy's compensation section. In all, the compensation section contains 16,245 words -- twice the length of the U.S. Constitution and its 27 Amendments -- along with 10 formulas, 10 tables and 155 percent signs.

The result, according to some experts, is unfathomable. "Can even the executives figure out what they have to do to get these awards?" asks Carol Bowie, head of corporate-governance research at RiskMetrics Group Inc., which helps investors sort through such filings.

The SEC has said that it wants disclosure to be clear and concise, as well as comprehensive. But striking that balance is difficult, companies say. So, many are erring on the side of detail.

"Bonus multiple x target bonus x base salary earnings = payout," explains the new proxy from drug maker Eli Lilly & Co., which last year received a letter from the SEC calling its executive-pay disclosure inadequate. Just in case that term "bonus multiple" isn't clear, the proxy explains that it is "(0.25 x sales multiple) + (0.75 x adjusted EPS multiple)." To find the sales and EPS multiples, investors must consult graphs.

Some firms may be throwing up their hands and deluging the public with figures. "I know a couple of companies where the frustration level with the SEC was so large that they said, 'Just put it all in,'" says John A. Hill, a trustee at mutual-fund giant Putnam Funds. Mr. Hill often chats about pay practices with officials of companies whose stock Putnam investors own.

An SEC spokesman says it's too early to comment on 2008 proxies.

Even activist investors who pushed for more disclosure on executive pay are scratching their heads. "There have been some proxies when I've gone through and said, 'Wow, I have no idea what I just read,'" says Scott Zdrazil, director of corporate governance at union-owned Amalgamated Bank, which manages around $12 billion in pension-fund assets.

The Smell Test

Mr. Zdrazil says he uses a "smell test" to judge whether companies are trying to obscure poor pay practices with lots of detail, or just being wonky. "If you can clearly understand the algebra involved, it passes," he says.

One that doesn't pass his test is software maker Novell Inc. Its proxy tosses around such terms as "assigned weighted quantitative performance objective achievement percentage," and describes a two-step process for calculating executive bonuses:

First: "Bonus Funding Percentage x Weighted Quantitative Performance Objectives Achievement x Qualitative Performance Factor = Performance Factor."

Then: "Performance Factor x Target Bonus Percentage x Base Salary = Recommended Bonus Amount."

Mr. Zdrazil says Novell fails to explain how difficult it is for executives to achieve performance targets.

Asked about the formulas, Novell says it gave more detail in response to the SEC's push and that its proxy statement complies with SEC rules.

At first glance, the bonus formula at software maker Adobe Systems Inc. seems straightforward: "Target Bonus x Unit Multiplier x Individual Results."

But then comes the definition of unit multiplier. Adobe says it is:

"Derived from aggregating the target bonus of all participants in the Executive Bonus Plan multiplied by the funding level determined under the funding matrix, and allocating a portion of the funding level to each business or functional unit of Adobe based on that unit's relative contribution to Adobe's success, and then dividing the allocated funding level by the aggregate target bonuses of participants working within each such unit." Got that?

After all that calculating, Adobe's top five executives somehow received the exact same unit multiplier -- 200%. Adobe says that was the highest possible percentage and that it reflects how well the company performed.

Degree of Transparency

Adobe also says it "strives for a high degree of transparency" in financial reporting, and that it added detail this year on executive compensation "in that spirit, and in response to new SEC requirements."

Applied's bonus formula was created a decade ago by an employee who majored in math, but the company hadn't previously included it in its filings. General Counsel Joe Sweeney says the new compensation discussion has won praise from investors and lawyers. Proxy adviser Glass Lewis & Co., which says it has no financial relationship with Applied, called the company's proxy "clear and concise."

But Applied shareholder Robert Friedman, a retired computer programmer, isn't so sure. "This is too much," he says, munching on a cookie and flipping through a proxy moments before the company's March 11 annual meeting. "I own about a dozen companies, and if I did this for every company..."

For all its length, Applied's proxy doesn't reveal some crucial information, such as the target to which the company would like to see its market share increase. That number -- key to calculating the CEO's bonus according to the formula -- must be kept from rivals, Mr. Sweeney, the general counsel, says. For the same reason, the document also excludes some information about other executives' performance goals. "I hate to think how long the [compensation section] would have been if we had included all the factors for all the individuals," says Mr. Sweeney.

So if some important factors remain secret, what's the point of all the math? Mr. Sweeney says it is meant to give shareholders a taste of the decision-making process.

Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation are at

Why shouldn't you trust the bond raters assigning letter grades to credit risk?

"Triple-A Trouble," by Justin Fox, Time Magazine, March 24, 2008, Page 32 ---,9171,1722275,00.html

The People at Moody's and Standard & Poor's are used to catching flak when debt markets blow up. Why didn't they see the bankruptcy of California's Orange County coming in 1994? Why did they fail to account for the currency risks brewing in Thailand and Indonesia and South Korea in 1997? And how was it that they were still rating Enron's debt as investment grade four days before the company went belly-up in 2001?

The furor over such missteps usually fades quickly. After a congressional hearing or two, the ratings agencies have always been allowed to go their merry and profitable way. And why not? Inability to see into the future isn't a crime, plus there has usually been someone else available to take the fall--like Arthur Andersen in the Enron case.

This time around, though, the ratings agencies didn't just fail to see a financial calamity coming. They helped cause it. Why did collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) based partly on risky subprime mortgages lead to so much trouble? Because Moody's and S&P awarded them dubiously generous letter grades. It's the same story for the mostly incomprehensible tizzy over bond insurance.

What can we do about this? There's actually a simple answer: just declare our independence from bond ratings.

The practice of giving letter grades to bonds to reflect their riskiness was pioneered by John Moody in 1909. But the industry took its current form only in the early 1970s. That's when Moody's and its competitors switched from selling research to investors to charging bond issuers to rate their goods. This approach wasn't unheard of: you have to advertise in Good Housekeeping to get the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. What made it problematic was that at about the same time, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) exalted the status of the ratings by writing them into the rules governing securities firms' capital holdings. Since then, the use of bond ratings in regulation has only grown. Many institutional investors are banned from owning non-investment-grade bonds. Bank-capital requirements--the cash and equivalents banks need to keep on hand--give more weight to highly graded securities. And this is increasingly the case not just in the U.S. but around the world.

What all this amounts to, argues Frank Partnoy, a derivatives salesman turned University of San Diego law professor, who is one of the sharpest critics of the ratings status quo, is a "regulatory license" for the ratings agencies. It's certainly a license to print money. Moody's, the lone ratings firm for which data are available, made $702 million in after-tax profit last year, up from $289 million just five years before. Its operating profit margin was a stunning 50% of revenue. By comparison, Google's was 30%.

To keep that profit machine going, Moody's and S&P have to keep finding new things to rate. And they're under intense pressure from issuers and investors alike to get as many securities as possible into the top ratings categories. The result is grade inflation, especially in new products like CDOs. That's how banks and investors around the world ended up owning billions of dollars in triple-A mortgage junk. It also helps explain the growth of bond insurers, companies that used their own triple-A ratings to bump ever more bond issues into the top categories--even as their businesses ceased to be triple-A safe.

One way to combat these tendencies would be to subject the raters to tight regulation by the sec. But that understaffed agency is unlikely to be up to the task, especially since it's not clear what exactly the task would be.

Which leaves the alternative suggested by Partnoy and several economists: cleansing the federal code of its reliance on bond ratings. Among the simplest fixes would be removing the ban on pension funds' holding debt securities rated lower than BBB. The funds can make far riskier investments in stocks and hedge funds, after all. Bank-capital requirements do have to take into account the quality of securities, but there are market-based measures that could at least partly replace ratings.

"The experiment we ran with government relying on the ratings agencies to do its job has failed," Partnoy says. Time for a new experiment.

Bob Jensen's threads on dubious bond raters are at

How can you dump your iPod contents into a PC?

From the Scout Report on March 21, 2008

iDump 27 --- 

The purpose of iDump is deceptively simple, and for many it will be a most welcome discovery. iDump allows users to transfer the contents of their iPod to a PC. After installing the application, users can select the songs they wish to transfer, and then pick a destination directory. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and Vista.

NetNewsWire 3.1 --- 

Keeping tabs on the news (or anything else) online can be a bit overwhelming, so it's nice to know that NetNewsWire 3.1 can help out. While this RSS reader can perform the usual tasks of fetching and displaying news from thousands of different websites and weblogs, it also includes a weblog editor that allows users to post to a host of different popular blogging sites. The program also features an integrated podcast manager, which will automatically send new podcasts to a selected music jukebox. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 or greater.


Free online textbooks and tutorials (including video tutorials) in accounting, economics, statistics, and other disciplines ---

Newly Added:

Free Accounting Video (YouTube) Tutorials
May 27, 2008 message from Crosson, Susan

I have done both Financial and Managerial Accounting videos for my students and posted them on YouTube. They are free to anyone. In fact, they have been viewed by over 70,000 folks worldwide.

Here are the easy links organized by topic and chapter:

Financial: 2007/Flip Videos Fall 2007/FA Videos.htm


or go to directly and input my account SusanCrosson or 

If you have any other questions, glad to answer...
Susan Crosson

Other free online accounting textbooks and tutorials ---

Education Tutorials

National Annenberg Survey of Youth ---

To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence ---

Ethics Updates ---

From the Kennedy Center
ArtsEdge: Articles & Reports ---

From NPR Audio
The Infinite Mind ---

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

The Body Explained ---

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin ---

National Geographic: Prehistoric Time Line ---

Geology of National Parks --- 

From NPR Audio
The Infinite Mind ---

Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free online science, engineering, and medicine tutorials are at ---

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Ethics Updates ---

Studies in the History of Ethics ---

National Geographic: Prehistoric Time Line ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Philosophy tutorials are at

Law and Legal Studies

A Fair(y) Tale:  Animated cartoon about copyright law ---
Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.  Also see
Bob Jensen's threads on the DMCA are at

Ethics Updates ---

Studies in the History of Ethics ---

FIndLaw: U.S. Constitution: Second Amendment (right to bear arms) --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on law and legal studies are at

Math Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at

History Tutorials

Mostly Medieval: Exploring the Middle Ages ---

H-LatAm (Latin American History) ---

Ethics Updates ---

Studies in the History of Ethics ---

National Geographic: Prehistoric Time Line ---

Spalding Base Ball Guides, 1889-1939 ---

Multiple Interpretations: Contemporary Prints in Portfolio at The New York Public Library ---

Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design ---

Universal Leonardo ---

The Mind of Leonardo: The Universal Genius at Work ---

From the Kennedy Center
ArtsEdge: Articles & Reports ---

Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at
Also see  

Language Tutorials

March 28, 2008 message from

I am writing you from Universpain, a Spanish language school for foreigners in Spain, offering different destinations: Salamanca, Barcelona, Santander, Malaga, Seville.

Since your website provides lots of useful information related to Spain, I believe visitors to your website may be interested in knowing more about the same. We can offer you a link from  or  by placing a link of  in your webpage: 

Here are also our free Spanish resources online:  , with a complete list of grammar levels and exercises. If you think it can be of any help, you can add it to your webresources.

Please let me know if you are interested in accepting the link exchange. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Ivano Ivano Salmoiraghi
Marketing Manager C/ Maria Auxiliadora nº 2, oficina 2, C.P. 37004 Salamanca
Tel.: 0034 923 230025 Fax: 0034 923 230025 

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Writing Tutorials

To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Updates from WebMD ---


Vytorin and Zetia are ineffective drugs for lowering cholesterol and heart attack risks and stroke risks (March 30, 2008 videos)
Generic Statin Drugs are Deemed Better

The conflict of reward in depression
In Love and Death, Woody Allen wrote: “To love is to suffer…To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer.” The paradoxical merging of happiness and suffering can be a feature of depression. Biological Psychiatry, on April 1st, is publishing a new study of regional brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging, which may help further our understanding of how happiness and suffering are related in depression . . . John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, notes that this finding indicates that “this complex mixture of findings suggests that depression is not simply the absence of reward, but rather a contamination of neural processing of rewards with features of neural processing of punishments.” Dr. Knutson agrees, commenting that “these findings are consistent with formulations that depression involves difficulties in the processing of positive information, and suggest more specifically that depressed people actually experience conflict when they are faced with the likelihood of receiving a reward.”
PhysOrg, March 25, 2008 ---

The surprising power of the pill
Women who have tried to conceive using in vitro fertilization (IVF) methods are painfully aware that timing is of the essence. There are cancelled vacations, too many sick days taken from work, and the necessity to plan everything around “the treatment.” . . . The study was done on 1,800 women at the Infertility and IVF Unit, Helen Schneider Hospital for Women, Rabin Medical Center, Petach Tikva and appeared in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction & Genetics in January of this year.
PhysOrg, March 24, 2008 ---

Study shows that a larger abdomen in midlife increases risk of dementia
People in their 40s with larger stomachs have a higher risk for dementia when they reach their 70s, according to a study published in the March 26, 2008, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Previous studies have looked at central obesity (as determined by waist circumference) and body mass index in the elderly and its link to dementia risk. In addition, previous studies have shown that a large abdomen -- in midlife -- increases the risk of diabetes, stroke, and coronary heart disease. This is the first time researchers have demonstrated a longitudinal association between midlife belly fat and the risk of dementia. Capturing abdominal obesity in midlife may be a much better indicator of the long term metabolic dysregulation that leads to dementia risk, said study author Rachel Whitmer, PhD, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, CA. Measuring abdomen size in older age people may not be as good an indicator because as people age they tend to naturally lose muscle and bone mass and gain belly size, she explained.
PhysOrg, March 26, 2008 ---

Are teenage brains really different?
Many parents are convinced that the brains of their teenage offspring are different than those of children and adults. New data confirms that this is the case. An article by Jay N. Giedd, MD, of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), published in the April 2008 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health describes how brain changes in the adolescent brain impact cognition, emotion and behavior. Dr. Giedd reviews the results from the NIMH Longitudinal Brain Imaging Project. This study and others indicate that gray matter increases in volume until approximately the early teens and then decreases until old age. Pinning down these differences in a rigorous way had been elusive until MRI was developed, offering the capacity to provide extremely accurate quantifications of brain anatomy and physiology without the use of ionizing radiation. Writing in the article, Dr. Giedd comments, “Adolescence is a time of substantial neurobiological and behavioral change, but the teen brain is not a broken or defective adult brain. The adaptive potential of the overproduction/selective elimination process, increased connectivity and integration of disparate brain functions, changing reward systems and frontal/limbic balance, and the accompanying behaviors of separation from family of origin, increased risk taking, and increased sensation seeking have been highly adaptive in our past and may be so in our future. These changes and the enormous plasticity of the teen brain make adolescence a time of great risk and great opportunity.”
PhysOrg, March 28, 2008 ---

New drug may help rescue the aging brain
As people age, their brains pay the price — inflammation goes up, levels of certain neurotransmitters go down, and the result is a plethora of ailments ranging from memory impairment and depression to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But in a long-term study with implications to treat these and other conditions, researchers have found that an experimental drug, taken chronically, has the ability to stem the effects of aging in the rat brain. The drug, temporarily designated S18986, interacts with AMPA (short for α-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid, or ampakine) receptors in the brain. These receptors transmit excitatory signals in the brain, and researchers were interested in experimental AMPA-receptor drugs (such as S18986) for their neuroprotective abilities and for the way they temporarily boost memory. But rather than investigating the compound’s short-term effects, Alfred E. Mirsky Professor Bruce McEwen and his lab members made a far longer commitment: The scientists studied the drug’s impacts on middle-aged to elderly rats and found that, when administered daily over four consecutive months, it appeared to improve memory and slow brain aging.
PhysOrg, March 28, 2008 ---

Forwarded by a professor who is also a good friend

A lecturer when explaining stress management to an audience, Raised a glass of water and asked "How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.

The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.

If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.

If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.

If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.

In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued,

"And that's the way it is with stress.

If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later,

As the burden becomes increasingly heavy,

We won't be able to carry on. "

"As with the glass of water,

You have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again.

When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down.

Don't carry it home.

You can pick it up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you're carrying now,

Let them down for a moment if you can."

"So, my friend, Put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a while."

Here are some great ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

* Accept that some days you're the pigeon, And some days you're the statue.

* Always keep your words soft and sweet, Just in case you have to eat them.

* Always read stuff that will make you look good If you die in the middle of it.

* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be Recalled by their maker.

* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, It was probably worth it.

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, Because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

* Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

* The second mouse gets the cheese.

* When everything's coming your way, You're in the wrong lane.

* Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

* You may be only one person in the world, But you may also be the world to one person.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

* We could learn a lot from crayons... Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today...I did.


"Carry On The Scandal Quiz," by Paul Slansky, The New Yorker, March 24, 2008 ---

1. Which politician misbehaved in the back seat of a limousine in Zaire?
(a) Lord John Browne, the former C.E.O. of the British firm BP.
(b) Senator Gary Hart.
(c) Representative Gus Savage.
(d) Senator Larry Craig.
(e) Former N.Y.P.D. commissioner Bernard Kerik.
(f) Representative Buz Lukens.
(g) Lyndon Johnson aide Walter Jenkins.
2. Which politician misbehaved in a Y.M.C.A. bathroom?
(a) Lord John Browne, the former C.E.O. of the British firm BP.
(b) Senator Gary Hart.
(c) Representative Gus Savage.
(d) Senator Larry Craig.
(e) Former N.Y.P.D. commissioner Bernard Kerik.
(f) Representative Buz Lukens.
(g) Lyndon Johnson aide Walter Jenkins.
3. Which politician misbehaved in a Manhattan apartment that was intended as a refuge for 9/11 rescue workers?
(a) Lord John Browne, the former C.E.O. of the British firm BP.
(b) Senator Gary Hart.
(c) Representative Gus Savage.
(d) Senator Larry Craig.
(e) Former N.Y.P.D. commissioner Bernard Kerik.
(f) Representative Buz Lukens.
(g) Lyndon Johnson aide Walter Jenkins.
4. Which politician misbehaved on a Web site called Suited and Booted?
(a) Lord John Browne, the former C.E.O. of the British firm BP.
(b) Senator Gary Hart.
(c) Representative Gus Savage.
(d) Senator Larry Craig.
(e) Former N.Y.P.D. commissioner Bernard Kerik.
(f) Representative Buz Lukens.
(g) Lyndon Johnson aide Walter Jenkins.
5. Which politician misbehaved on the island of Bimini?
(a) Lord John Browne, the former C.E.O. of the British firm BP.
(b) Senator Gary Hart.
(c) Representative Gus Savage.
(d) Senator Larry Craig.
(e) Former N.Y.P.D. commissioner Bernard Kerik.
(f) Representative Buz Lukens.
(g) Lyndon Johnson aide Walter Jenkins.
6. Which politician misbehaved in an airport men’s-room stall?
(a) Lord John Browne, the former C.E.O. of the British firm BP.
(b) Senator Gary Hart.
(c) Representative Gus Savage.
(d) Senator Larry Craig.
(e) Former N.Y.P.D. commissioner Bernard Kerik.
(f) Representative Buz Lukens.
(g) Lyndon Johnson aide Walter Jenkins.
7. Which politician misbehaved in an elevator in the U.S. Capitol?
(a) Lord John Browne, the former C.E.O. of the British firm BP.
(b) Senator Gary Hart.
(c) Representative Gus Savage.
(d) Senator Larry Craig.
(e) Former N.Y.P.D. commissioner Bernard Kerik.
(f) Representative Buz Lukens.
(g) Lyndon Johnson aide Walter Jenkins.
8. Who publicly apologized for, as he put it, “the conduct that it was alleged that I did”?
(a) Representative Don Sherwood, for having an affair with a woman half his age who said that he beat her.
(b) Senator Bob Packwood, for decades of making unwanted sexual advances toward women.
(c) Representative Gary Condit, for having an affair with an intern who was later found dead.
(d) Representative Newt Gingrich, for the affair he was having while calling for Bill Clinton’s impeachment.
9. Which politician allegedly said to his paramour, “Kiss it”?
(a) Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
(b) Representative Mark Foley.
(c) Bill Clinton.
10. Which politician said to his paramour, “I’ve been dreaming all day about having you all to myself…relaxing, laughing, talking, sleeping, and making love”?
(a) Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
(b) Representative Mark Foley.
(c) Bill Clinton.
11. Which politician said to his paramour, “Is your little guy limp…or growing”?
(a) Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
(b) Representative Mark Foley.
(c) Bill Clinton.
12. Who is Steve Gobie?
(a) The police official who gave Ted Kennedy as little trouble as possible after he drove his car off a bridge, drowning Mary Jo Kopechne.
(b) The man whom Governor James McGreevey, of New Jersey, appointed as a homeland-security adviser despite his lack of credentials.
(c) The police officer who stopped the car that Representative Wilbur Mills was drunkenly driving, prompting Fanne Foxe, the stripper he was having an affair with, to leap into the Tidal Basin.
(d) The prostitute who was running a brothel from Representative Barney Frank’s apartment.
13. What prompted Representative Wayne Hays’s mistress, Elizabeth Ray, to go public with the story of his having put her on the government payroll despite the fact that, as she said, “I can’t type, I can’t file, I can’t even answer the phone”?
(a) She resented it.
(b) She was upset because she hadn’t been invited to Hays’s wedding to another one of his secretaries.
(c) She was afraid that Hays would have her killed, because she said he’d once told her that any woman who crossed him would wind up “six feet under.”
14. Who is Sherry Rowlands?
(a) The “D.C. Madam,” in whose records the phone number of Senator David Vitter turned up.
(b) The prostitute whose toes the Clinton adviser Dick Morris sucked.
(c) The woman who discovered the body of the British M.P. Stephen Milligan draped across his kitchen table and wearing stockings and garters, with a plastic bag over his head, a casualty of autoerotic asphyxiation.
(d) The daughter of friends of Senator Brock Adams who said that he sexually assaulted her.
15. What was the screen name used by Representative Mark Foley when he sent instant messages to a teen-age page in which he repeatedly discussed masturbation and penis size?
(a) Maf54.
(b) Client 9.
(c) Rinka.
16. What was the name of the Great Dane that was shot and killed by a gunman thought to have been hired by the Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe, who had had an affair with the dog’s owner, a male model?
(a) Maf54.
(b) Client 9.
(c) Rinka.
17. What was the name used for Eliot Spitzer by investigators?
(a) Maf54.
(b) Client 9.
(c) Rinka.
18. True or false: When Representative Ken Calvert was caught receiving oral sex in his car, he claimed to have no idea that the stranger who was fellating him was a prostitute.
(a) True.
(b) False.
19. What do Representative Daniel Crane and Representative Gerry Studds have in common?
(a) They both fathered illegitimate children.
(b) They both turned up in the same madam’s address book.
(c) They were both censured by the House on the same day for having affairs with seventeen-year-old pages, one female and one male.
20. How much credit was left in Eliot Spitzer’s account with the Emperors Club V.I.P.?
(a) $40.
(b) $1,600.
(c) $20,000.
21. How much did Buz Lukens pay a sixteen-year-old Columbus, Ohio, girl to have sex with him?
(a) $40.
(b) $1,600.
(c) $20,000.
22. How much did President Warren Harding’s mistress, Carrie Phillips, take in hush money from the R.N.C.?
(a) $40.
(b) $1,600.
(c) $20,000.
23. What was Senator Roger Jepsen’s explanation for patronizing a health spa that fronted for a brothel?
(a) He thought it was a health club.
(b) He was gathering evidence.
(c) He was in love with one of the girls.


"The Trade Show and Demo Hall of Shame Bloopers, flubs, and screw-ups--they always seem to pop up at big trade shows and demos. Join us in reliving some of the more famous--and infamous--of these embarrassing moments," by Tim Moynihan, PC World via The Washington Post, March 27, 2008 ---
Click Here

Can you think of some bloopers that happened in your classes or road shows? I can, but I don't want to talk about them. One of the road show seminars I'd like to forget happened recently in the Radisson Lord Baltimore Hotel, August 24, 2007. I was teaching an all-day seminar on accounting for derivative financial instruments. This is a tough topic under ideal circumstances, but that day there were four fire alarms that required clearing the hotel. After the second alarm we found a skywalk with a skylight. I taught most of the course without my crutch (read that computer) with my audience standing in a skywalk. The good news is that it's harder to fall asleep learning about FAS 133 if you're forced to stand up the whole time.

I'm thinking that this could replace water boarding as a torture device.

Forwarded by a fun neighbor

How to use the economic stimulus tax rebate:

As you may have heard the Bush Administration said each and every one of us would now get a nice rebate.

If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, all the money will go to China . If we spend it on gasoline it will all go to the Arabs, if we purchase a computer it will all go to India , if we purchase fruit and vegetables it will all go to Mexico , Honduras , and Guatamala, if we purchase a good car it will all go to Japan , if we purchase useless crap it will all go to Taiwan and none of it will help the American economy.

We need to keep that money here in America , so the only way to keep that money here at home is to buy prostitutes, beer and visit Indian casinos, since those are the only businesses still in the US.

When Hillary Clinton visited Iraq the militsty gave her a ride in helicopter with a call sign Broomstick One ---
She hopes to have eight years of rides on BroomstickOne

Watch the video from inside the jetliner ---

Tidbits Archives ---

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at

World Clock ---
Facts about the earth in real time ---

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar ---
Time by Time Zones ---
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) ---
         Also see
Facts about population growth (video) ---
Projected U.S. Population Growth ---
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- 
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons ---
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Three Finance Blogs

Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog ---
FinancialRounds Blog ---
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) ---

Some Accounting Blogs

Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) ---
International Association of Accountants News --- and Double Entries ---
Gerald Trite's eBusiness and XBRL Blogs ---
AccountingWeb ---   
SmartPros ---

Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---

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 Universities ---

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 Literature ---

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 ---

Moodle  --- 

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
AECM (Educators) 
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 (Practitioners) 
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.
Yahoo (Practitioners)
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 taxation.
Business Valuation Group 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM



Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482