The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $3.93 billion per day since September 28, 2007!
The National Debt Amount This Instant (Refresh your browser for updates by the second) ---
History of the National Debt --- 

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
Oscar Wilde

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
Alexander Tyler. 1787 - Tyler was a Scottish history professor that had this to say about 2000 years after "The Fall of the Athenian Republic" and about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution.
As quoted at (where the debt clock in real time is a few months behind)
The National Debt Amount This Instant (Refresh your browser for updates by the second) ---


Where did the market system operate "flawlessly" in this economic crisis?
Think derivatives --- at least market-based derivatives and not credit derivatives

From Vanderbilt University (you have to watch this video to the ending to appreciate it)
 A Keynote Speech by Leo Melamed --- Click Here
 Who is Leo Melamed? ---
 Bob Jensen's Primer on Derivatives ---

How long will Japan, China, and OPEC keep rolling this debt over instead of calling in their chips? China may be especially upset if we impose increased tariffs. This is crazy as China roars toward capitalism and the U.S. reverses course toward socialism.

Treasury statistics indicate that, at the end of 2006, foreigners held 44% of federal debt held by the public. About 66% of that 44% was held by the central banks of other countries, in particular the central banks of Japan and China. In total, lenders from Japan and China held 47% of the foreign-owned debt. This exposure to potential financial or political risk should foreign banks stop buying Treasury securities or start selling them heavily was addressed in a recent report issued by the Bank of International Settlements which stated, "'Foreign investors in U.S. dollar assets have seen big losses measured in dollars, and still bigger ones measured in their own currency. While unlikely, indeed highly improbable for public sector investors, a sudden rush for the exits cannot be ruled out completely." --- 

Bob Jensen’s threads on the Bailout mess (with a new picture regarding bankers honor in 1929 vs. 2008)---


In your dreams of retirement, which of these scenes appeal to you the most?
My choice in Picture Number 1



Why aren't there any women in this retirement village?

Where aren't there any men in this retirement village?


Drink to me only with thine eyes.
(Another possible caption is:  "Who cut the cheese?")


Online Guide to Dream Interpretations

For old men who collect Tokens

The Traditional Locale for Retirement


If you're miserable in your job, first of all be thankful you have a job. Secondly you might sign up for feel good motivation about your job at "Thank Goodness Its Monday" (TGIM) --- 
Personally, I get turned off by motivational speakers/preachers, but Scott does produce some beautiful/artful videos that on occasion make me feel good.
The question for me in retirement is how to enjoy any day of the week --- whether it's Monday or Saturday doesn't matter much in retirement. I find leisure boring, and I would doze off at every other page if I once again tried to read War and Peace from cover-to-cover.

At my age I'm not supposed to eat the rich foods and win martini contests. I got tired of sea sickness and blue water in the Navy. Away from home I have that feeling that I've already been there before and "done that." Erika refuses to let me chase wild women or buy faster horses. Perhaps I could become a Wal-Mart greeter, but that might deprive someone who badly needs the money from a job. My cousin Mark does important work helping people in Africa grow more food. He eventually became the Director of Agriculture in Tanzania. But I can't even grow tomatoes. I also got turned down when I volunteered to be a quality control inspector at the Mustang Ranch in Nevada.

A retiring president of a university, who was definitely a Type A+ personality, said he was going to spend his retirement catching up on all the books he'd put off reading. I knew this wouldn't work, because a Type A+ person who thrives on working would be bored stiff having to read book after book from cover-to-cover. And for what purpose? What could be gained by quietly reading 1,000 books and then passing on from this world? Does this help his case with St. Peter? It might make him happy if each page really lifts the serotonin level, but in his case I seriously doubt that reading is the best way to create more serotonin. He eventually found greater happiness trying to raise money to educate poor children.

Being retired for me is a bit like being in a 'think tank" except for a few happy outdoor moments in the mountains on a walk or on my tractor for a ride. It would be very boring to walk all day long or to listen to the roar of a diesel engine for hours. Having been in a for-real "think tank" for two years in the early part of my career, I can honestly say that the "think tank" experience, where you've almost total control over how you spend your time, varies a great deal with how much time you have left in life. So how should I spend my time in my retirement "think tank?"

What would you study for if you were given total study freedom in a think tank?

October 25, 2008 message from Gerald Trites []

Hi Bob,

I have a question for you. If you were to have six months to go alone to a cabin in the woods just to read and write, with no technology or connections with the outside world, and your objective was to write something that would distill the life lessons in those books, which books would you take with you?

Phone: 416-602-3931


October 30, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Jerry,

I’m not putting you off on this question. I just need a bit more time to contemplate my answer.

Back in the 1970s I was granted two years in a think tank at the CASBS Center on the Stanford University campus --- 

While at the CASBS I could study anything I liked and was not obligated to even publish outcomes from my two years. Actually I spend most of my time thinking about multivariate statistics and did produce two AAA monographs (# 14 and #19) on the side --- 
But mostly I worked on trying to develop adaptive multivariate models that, unfortunately, proved not to be robust when sorting out subsets of predictive variables. Sigh!

Now in retirement I have the renewed luxury controlling what I do in each and every day. I suppose I could, like Maynard Mack (see below), elect just to study a single scholar or topic in depth for the rest of my life. What I’m not certain about is what that subject would be at this point in my life. In the past I tried to study things that would have utility (generally in terms of teaching and publications and presentations and consulting) in my career. This type of purpose no longer inspires me late in life, so I must think a bit about what I would most enjoy if I spent another year in a “think tank.”

Bob Jensen

October 30, 2008 reply from Dennis Beresford [dberesfo@TERRY.UGA.EDU]

I guess this is why I'm an amateur or unofficial academic. But I would go crazy with total freedom in a think tank for a year. I like the excitement of waking up each morning to new issues and challenges as well as interacting with those who are working on those matters or just interested in knowing more about them. Just today Fannie Mae announced the write off of its over $20 billion deferred tax asset, a news service reported that up to $1 trillion of goodwill impairments will be recorded this year because of the decline of stock prices and so many companies having market capitalizations in excess of book value, and Deloitte announced that it is suing a former partner who traded extensively in securities of clients that he worked on. Yesterday the SEC held its fair value accounting roundtable with many interesting positions expressed including those of former FDIC chairman William Issac who strongly objected to fair value accounting and called for the Fed and others to have control over the FASB. I can hardly wait to see what happens tomorrow!

Denny Beresford (still loving accounting after all these years)
University of Georgia

October 30, 2008 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Denny and Jerry,

Actually I consider my two think tank years as my least productive years in academe. In part this is due to my trying to be inventive. I ended up on a lot of blind alleys. It might have been more rewarding to spend those years trying to be a scholar rather than a researcher. But mostly I think it’s just that under ideal “thinking” opportunities the adrenalin just is not flowing as much as when the world is pressing in from all sides.

At the CASBS think tank itself, administrators warned the “Fellows” (women included) early on that think tank years sometimes lead to depression --- really!. It has to do with expectations versus failed endeavors. Think tanks are somewhat analogous to winning the lottery. After dreaming all those years about winning the lottery, many lottery winners actually end up miserable for a variety of reasons since dreams often don’t come true when given the means to live out those dreams. Guilt sometimes sets in when we don’t live up to our internalized expectations. In a think tank there’s nobody to blame but yourself.

I did become close with inspiring and mind-expanding "Fellows" at the CASBS, including the following varied scholars:

• Harvard’s Youngest-Ever Philosophy Professor Robert Nozick --- 
• Stanford’s Josh Lederberg --- 
• Stanford’s Phil Zimbardo --- 
• Yale’s Maynard Mack --- 
• Harvard’s infamous pit bull lawyer named Alan Dershowitz ---,_Alan 

Bob Nozick changed my ideas about utopian philosophy. I’d never heard of cloning in those days, but Lederberg was already into studying societal risks in certain types of new knowledge and technology. Zimbardo was truly a colorful researcher who was very inventive about behavioral experiments (including some that went awry such as his famous prisoner experiment). Maynard Mack taught me how difficult it is to be a generalist in literature. Much of his life was spent studying the writings of a single author --- Alexander Pope. I greatly respect the academy's scholars like Maynard who learn more and more about less and less along the way such that they know more than anybody else about a few angels on the head of a single pin. I'm just not one of those types of scholars. I want to learn less and less about more and more --- leading to knowing epsilon about almost everything.

Fortunately, there are many scholars like Maynard Mack who fill the academy's halls around the world with experts on virtually every topic known to mankind. Obviously some are more expert than others on a given topic, but the academy is the first place to look for pin heads. The good news is that most of them teach so that the legacy and inspiration for expertise is passed along to each forthcoming generation. They're the main reason students pay to attend college.

One interesting experiment that Zimbardo conducted was to leave a car on the streets of three cities with the windows open. In each case, the part of town where the vehicle was parked had a lot of young people milling about the streets after dark. In East Palo Alto, all that happened was that somebody rolled up the windows as if to protect the car’s interior from rain. In San Francisco some things were stolen like the radio, speakers, battery, and hub caps. In New York City street people literally beat the sh_t out of the car after stripping it. Obviously there is very little that can be generalized from such a small and uncontrolled sample. But it does suggest that anger and aggression are more pronounced in large city ghettos teaming with children from poverty stricken single parents and evil drug dealers on the streets.

Zimbardo’s famous and controversial Prison Experiment was a much more serious study of behavior --- 

Alan Dershowitz is probably more like you Denny. He wants to be where the action is (like when defending Israel, Patricia Hearst, Harry Reems, Leona Helmsley, Jim Bakker, Mike Tyson, Michael Milken, O.J. Simpson and Kirtanananda Swami), and there’s not much action in a think tank study that has no telephone and no students. In those days there were no cell phones and Internet communications. The CASBS was literally in the middle of a cow pasture. I think it was too quiet at the CASBS for Alan. Alan thrives on being a protagonist surrounded by antagonists rather than polite scholars studying a few angels on the head of a pin.

In retirement I could withdraw to my private studio (it’s a separate building up here in the mountains), disconnect the phone and the Internet, and seek out those angels on the head of some pin. Instead, I find myself inclined to study more and more pins without digging down to the angels on the head of any one pin. That’s the way you folks have come to know me on the AECM. In some ways this is a more scholarly endeavor because it really is collaborative --- I learn a lot from the likes of Jagdish Gangolly, Paul Williams, Denny Beresford, Amy Dunbar, Richard Sansing, Ed Scribner, David Fordham, David Albrecht, Tom Selling, Patricia Walters, Jerry Trites, CPA Bonacker, and the rest of the AECM contributors. I also learn a lot from my chosen bloggers out there like Gary Becker, Richard Posner, Jim Mahar, the Unknown Professor, Free Republic, Inside Higher Ed, Chronicle of Higher Ed, Technology Review, Freaknomics NYT blog, the AAA Commons, etc.

In addition, I learn a lot from people who ask questions both on the AECM and in private email communications. Their questions put my mind on the hunt to seek out answers to those questions I find especially interesting. In some ways, scholarship is more about questions than answers. For one thing, there are many great questions for which there are no great answers.

I guess my answer to Jerry Trites is that I probably would not seek out another think tank experience unless it contained some other “fellows” that I really wanted to become close within a think-tank setting. I probably would not seek out knowledge of the small (those angels on the heads of pins). I probably would not seek to become a greater scholar about research methods and techniques that, at my age, I probably don’t have time to put to productive use.

I probably would continue doing what I do now --- which is collecting and broadcasting and debating networked scraps and pieces of information day-to-day that I “post” into my Website pages such that, when a question arises about some issue, I can go to my “electronic scrap book” and re-learn all that knowledge that I’ve almost forgotten. I’m always amazed by how much I’ve forgotten. But my Websites and my many unpublished working papers that reside on my hard drive give me an edge over many scholars who did not take the time and trouble to cut and paste over a lifetime in the academy. Or if they did play cut and paste, they did it in hard copy that’s almost impossible to search as their offices become overflowing with books, papers, index cards, and piles of good intentions. Hard copy really is a poor medium for slicing, dicing, and filing into relevant categories.

I happily receive hundreds of requests for help each week from students, educators, researchers, and practitioners around the world. My greatest reward is when I can truly help them find answers to their challenging questions. Whereas my cousin Mark tries to give people more food for their bodies, I try to give them more food for their brains ---

If I studied history more in retirement I would want to slice it, dice it, and try to make sense out of patterns that emerge. Examples of my history endeavors late in life include the following:

• History of The Accounting Review --- 
• History of Derivative Financial Instruments --- 
• American History of Fraud --- 
• History of Course Authoring and Management Technology --- 
  Also see 

I have little interest at this point in my life in studying something that I do not try to share with the world. And my sharing is an evolving thing rather that years of effort in secret isolation before unveiling a masterpiece. I would rather get others to interactively help me form my attempted masterpieces along the way. Thanks to all of you who openly share you gifts and talents freely with everybody in the world, including me, seeking your help.

Another thing I've learned is that it's better, at least late in life, to share something crudely crafted and incomplete early on at a Website than it is to strive for a polished, read that word-crafted, published manuscript. Early feedback on a Website living document can improve a document far more than you can do with more and more time spent in massaging a dead fish on your own. Too many writers hide their works from the world in fear that somebody will steal their ideas and or catch them making a sophomore-like error. You are free to steal any of my ideas and errors, although any writer always hopes for acknowledgement along the way. Since many of my errors are in the public domain, feel free to let the public know about my errors.

Bob Jensen

Get busy living or get busy dying.
Stephen King (Shawshank Redemption)

If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.
Lewis Carroll

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it."

Mother Teresa

My Theme Song
Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---
Click Here

Thank You America --- Click Here

Wonderful World --- Click Here

A 2005 holiday letter from my cousin Mark Jensen who prematurely ended his career in Minnesota in order to help starving people in Africa

Institute of Agriculture Tumaini University:  It is becoming a reality.
The Mgongo farm will have four demonstration plots going in December of 2005. The Institute will also have demonstration plots at Mpanga farm and Lulanzi Farm. We will be starting a farmstead (for security of stored equipment and harvest) at the Mpanga farm along with the beginning of a Rice Project. The Institute is an outreach project of the University of Minnesota, Sokoine University and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). We will be receiving research information and technical help with our projects but no financial aid. Our goal is to increase the food production in the Region of Iringa so they can feed themselves plus have extra to market.

We need your help in several ways. Prayer support which I know my family is so good at because of your prayer support for me during my two major surgeries and three chemo sessions of four plus months each and now a clean bill of health so we will be leaving on September 19th.

We also need people to help in running the Institute both here and in Iringa.

We also need financial support demonstration plots will cost $1000 plus each ( 12 to start with), farmstead buildings of $2000 each (need 4 by December) and initiate rice project if possible $20,000 plus. All monies (large or small amounts are greatly appreciated) go to the projects and none for administration or salaries. A sincere thank you to all that have already given to the Institute.

Our Jensen roots are rural so we feel it is a natural fit for us to help the poor in rural Iringa. For tax deductible reasons checks can be made out to SPAS (Saint Paul Area Synod) Institute of Agriculture ATTN: Myrna and addressed to me. Please pass on to family, friends and anyone else you feel may have an interest in this project.

Mark and Terry Jensen

Mark Jensen,
Director Institute of Agricultural Development
TUMAINI UNIVERSITY, Iringa (Tanzania, Africa)
13025 Dahlia Circle #208
Eden Prairie, MN 55344 USA

Phone: 952-829-5326

Bob Jensen's main Website is at
Bob Jensen's threads are at
Bob Jensen's multimedia is often served up from
Where Bob and Erika Live in Retirement ---

Bankers had more honor in 1929 ---



Tidbits on November 6, 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 ---

Obama's Message (as shown on an Arab American Web site)  ---
What's missing? See quotations below.

From Vanderbilt University
A Keynote Speech by Leo Melamed ---
Who is Leo Melamed? ---
Bob Jensen's Primer on Derivatives ---

Science in Focus ---

An Entire (Free) Online Video Course in Game Theory by a Well-known Economics Researcher/Theorist from Yale University ---
This is tough going, but it may be well worth the effort to you. I've only watched two lectures, but my intent is to study this course from beginning to end.
It may be of interest to re-watch the movie A Beautiful Mind after watching the Nash Equilibrium lecture. I've always thought Nash was given too much credit for supposedly inventing a multivariate mean solution ---
Sorry, but I do not view what Nash did as rocket science. But game theory itself is economics and political science rocket science.
November 3, 2008 message from Richard C. Sansing [Richard.C.Sansing@TUCK.DARTMOUTH.EDU]

Bear in mind that the scene that supposedly describes a Nash equilibrium in the movie gets it completely wrong. 
Richard Sansing


Mediastorm ---

American Museum of Natural History: Science Bulletins --- 

C-Span: Lincoln 200 Years (Video)

goSmithsonian: Lincoln ---

Ruth Charney on Modeling with Cubes ---

The Archaeology Channel Video Guide ---

Are you tired of entertaining your dog?
Get a ball launcher ---
This might even work for the kid!

Free music downloads ---

Online Radio Station Guide ---

Obama vs. McCain Dance Off Video ---

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

Photographs and Art

Bankers had more honor in 1929 ---

Fantastic Brain Images
"The Brain Unveiled: A new imaging method offers a spectacular view of neural structures," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, November/December 2008 ---

The Holburne Museum of Art ---

Japanese Mall Fountain (video) ---
Other Beautiful Fountains ---

Crace Collection of Maps of London ---

The Albert G. Spalding Collection of Early Baseball Photographs and Drawings ---

S'abadeb-The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists [Adobe Flash Player]

Elend Mork ---

Gates of Hell ---

The Secret Books ---

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 ---

Funny metaphors used in high school essays ---
A good sign they weren't plagiarized (except maybe from this site)

Words that make you sound smarter than you are ---
Also see
These add beauty ---

The Quotations Page (by author) ---

Kissing Quotations ...

Arts and Letters Daily ---

Adolf Hitler read voraciously. The notes he wrote into margins of surviving books are still worth reading for what they tell us of the man.
Arts and Science Daily ---

Goodreads Quotations ---

Quotations on Character and Ethics ---

The Literary Traveler ---

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) --- Click Here or Click Here
Also see

The Marquis de Sade ---

Music Humor ---

SEC = Suckers Endup Cheated
David Albrecht, Bowling Green University
Jensen Question
Should that instead read Suckers Endup Coxed? ---

We yearn for tomorrow and the progress that it represents. But yesterday was once tomorrow, and where was the progress in it?
Dean Koontz "Brother Odd"
As quoted in the most recent email messages from Patricia Doherty

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
Robert Frost

When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, is it not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end?
Stephenie Meyer (Twilight (Twilight Series, Book 1))

Thus we wait in vain to hear an "ethics of responsibility" so that America will know how much evil it has done in trying to do good. Without a shudder of guilt felt by a conscience that is still alive, we are now truly "inwardly dead" when politics, not religion, poisons everything, and ethics sickens, withers away, and expires. Why? For lack of moral reflection.
John Patrick Diggins, "The Decline of Presidential Ethics America needs integrity and humility in the Oval Office," Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, November 7, 2008 ---

The purpose of politics is no longer to do what is right for the sake of the public good but to do what is expedient for the sake of the self and its desire for power and fame. Electoral victory is the only game in town, and candidates will do whatever it takes to win.
John Patrick Diggins, "The Decline of Presidential Ethics America needs integrity and humility in the Oval Office," Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, November 7, 2008 ---

Sadly both McCain and Obama proposed spending plans that will further destroy a U.S. economy already mired in hopeless entitlements. Even more sadly is that voters want handouts more than they want what is truly in the public good --- which is a nation that does not spend beyond its means to a point of destruction. What we really need is for all opposing presidential candidates to seriously pledge a balanced budget that makes Congress make some hard decisions on taxes and spending within the constraint of a balanced budget that includes expenditures for entitlements that are not simply deferred to future generations ---

The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $3.93 billion per day since September 28, 2007!
The National Debt Amount This Instant (Refresh your browser for updates by the second) ---
History of the National Debt  ---   

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
Oscar Wilde

How long will Japan, China, and OPEC keep rolling this debt over instead of calling in their chips? China may be especially upset if we impose increased tariffs. This is crazy as China roars toward capitalism and the U.S. reverses course toward socialism.

Treasury statistics indicate that, at the end of 2006, foreigners held 44% of federal debt held by the public. About 66% of that 44% was held by the central banks of other countries, in particular the central banks of Japan and China. In total, lenders from Japan and China held 47% of the foreign-owned debt. This exposure to potential financial or political risk should foreign banks stop buying Treasury securities or start selling them heavily was addressed in a recent report issued by the Bank of International Settlements which stated, "'Foreign investors in U.S. dollar assets have seen big losses measured in dollars, and still bigger ones measured in their own currency. While unlikely, indeed highly improbable for public sector investors, a sudden rush for the exits cannot be ruled out completely." --- 

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
Alexander Tyler. 1787 - Tyler was a Scottish history professor that had this to say about 2000 years after "The Fall of the Athenian Republic" and about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution.
As quoted at (where the debt clock in real time is a few months behind)
The National Debt Amount This Instant (Refresh your browser for updates by the second) ---

For the first time since the 1960s, liberal Democrats are dominant. They are all but certain to have a lopsided majority in the House, and either a filibuster-proof Senate or something close to it. If Barack Obama wins the presidency today, they'll have an ideological ally in the White House. A sharp lurch to the left and enactment of a liberal agenda, or major parts of it, are all but inevitable. The centrist limits in earlier eras of Democratic control are gone. In the short run, Democrats may be constrained by the weak economy and a large budget deficit. Tax hikes and massive spending programs, except those billed as job creation, may have to be delayed.
Fred Barnes, "We Could Be In for a Lurch to the Left," The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2008 ---

Obama's Great Spending Message ---
It's inspiring in every way except with a strategy on how to provide everything without bursting America's National Debt bubble that ballooned under the reckless unbalanced budgets of George W. Bush ---
At the moment the only way we can pay over a million dollars per minute interest on this debt is to borrow more to cover the interest. We need an economic strategy for the survival of this country, and that entails balanced budgets and a reversal in the plunge of the value of the U.S. dollar. Neither Obama or McCain ever promised such a strategy to save America from itself.

"Crisis in Leadership," by J. Edward Ketz, SmartPros, October 2008 ---

Because U.S. Government accounting is in such chaos (the GAO will not even sign off on its annual audits of the Pentagon), nobody on earth really knows what our total liabilities are. The former top accountant in the Federal government estimates that the total is well in excess of $55+ trillion (present value discounted) before the 2008 deficit is factored in. A huge proportion of our National Debt is held by our friends in the Middle East and Asia. If you plan to watch that 1981 movie entitled “Rollover,” bring along a crying towel --- _(film) OPEC could probably put the U.S. out of business in an hour if it was so inclined.

I.O.U.S.A.:  A Fact-Filled Documentary That Makes the Sicko's Sicko Look Sicko
"Another Inconvenient Truth," The Economist, August 16, 2008, pp 69-69 ---

AMERICA’S infamous debt clock, near New York’s Times Square, was switched off in 2000 after the national burden started to fall thanks to several years of Clinton-era budget restraint. However, it was reactivated two years later as the politically motivated urge to splurge once again took over. The debt has since swollen to $9.5 trillion, with the value of unfunded public promises (if you include entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare) nudging $53 trillion—or $175,000 for every American—and rising. On current trends, these will amount to some 240% of GDP by 2040, up from a just-about-manageable 65% today.

David Walker, who until recently ran the Government Accountability Office, has made it his mission to get the nation to acknowledge and treat this “fiscal cancer”. His efforts form the core of a new documentary, “I.O.U.S.A.”, out on August 21st. The message is simple enough: America’s financial condition is a lot worse than advertised, and dumping it on future generations would be not only economically reckless but also immoral.

The biggest deficit of all, the film contends, is in leadership: politicians continue to duck hard choices. It hints at dark consequences. As America has become more reliant on foreign lenders, it warns, so it has become more vulnerable to “financial warfare”, of the sort America itself threatened to wage on Britain, a big debtor, during the Suez crisis. Warren Buffett, America’s investor-in-chief, pops up to warn of potential political instability.

The film is part of a broader effort to popularise the issue. In 2005 Mr Walker set off on a “fiscal wake-up tour” of town halls; sparsely attended at first, it now attracts hundreds to each meeting (though some may be turned off by the giant pie chart strapped to the side of his tour van). The young are being drawn in too, even forming campaign groups; Concerned Youth of America’s activists “crusade against our leveraged future” wearing prison suits. Mr Walker is talking to MTV, a music broadcaster, about a tie-up. His profile has been lifted by a segment on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and an appearance on “The Colbert Report”, a satirical TV show, which dubbed him the “Taxes Ranger”.

Promisingly, the new film was well received at the Sundance Film Festival. Some even wonder if it might do for the economy what Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” did for the environment—perhaps with this comparison in mind, Mr. Walker and his supporters talk of a “red-ink tsunami” and bulging “fiscal levees”. But, unlike the former vice-president, he is no heavy-hitter. And, even jazzed up with fancy graphics, punchy one-liners and a splash of humour, courtesy of Steve Martin, tales of fiscal folly are an acquired taste. Still, “I.O.U.S.A” is a bold attempt to highlight a potentially huge problem. “The Dark Knight” it may not be, but for those who care about economic reality as much as cinematic fantasy, it might just be the scariest release of the summer.

Say What?
Editorial in the ... no ... can't be ... well maybe ... yes ... YES!
... The New York Times, September 8, 2008 ---

The Bailout’s Big Lessons

As an act of crisis management, the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage-finance giants, was a reasonable and reassuring move. It ensures the flow of mortgage credit and is likely to reduce mortgage rates, which are important steps toward the eventual recovery of the ailing United States housing market.

And it does so while putting taxpayers first for future dividends or money that may be earned when the firms are reprivatized, holding out hope that the bailout costs may someday be recouped. Beyond the immediate crisis, however, the takeover raises disturbing issues that may get lost in the tumult of the moment.

¶ The need for an explicit bailout underlines the economic vulnerabilities of the United States. In July, Congress gave Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson unlimited authority to pay the debts of Fannie and Freddie and to shore up their capital, if need be. Yet investors the world over continued to doubt the companies’ viability, shunning their securities or demanding unusually high interest rates on loans. In effect, investors deemed the government’s commitment to Fannie and Freddie as either insufficient or not credible — an extraordinary vote of no confidence that, in the end, led to the bailout.

¶ There is no single reason for the lack of confidence. But investors have good cause to be concerned about the deep indebtedness of the United States, about the nation’s apparent political unwillingness to restore its fiscal health and about the ability of the government to responsibly make good on its commitments. A pledge of the full faith and credit of the United States still means something. That’s why the markets responded favorably to the takeover. But investors’ refusal to accept a promise to act is another sign of the need to reverse the fiscal mismanagement of the Bush years.

¶ The United States must acknowledge that its deep indebtedness is especially dangerous in times of economic crisis. The level and stability of American interest rates and of the dollar are now dependent on the willingness of foreign central banks and other overseas investors to continue lending to the United States. The bailout became inevitable when central banks in Asia and Russia began to curtail their purchases of the companies’ debt, pushing up mortgage rates and deepening the economic downturn.

¶ The bailout is new evidence of the need for better regulation of the American financial system. As the housing bubble inflated, the Bush administration often claimed that America’s unfettered markets were the envy of the world. But, in fact, they have sowed mistrust.

¶ The cost of the bailout needs to be carefully monitored. Fannie and Freddie own or back nearly $800 billion of generally junky mortgages, and some of those will inevitably go bad. So it is reasonable to assume that the cost could easily near $100 billion. There may be ways to make back some of that money later, but for a long time, the bailout will divert resources from other needs.

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama have both voiced support for the bailout, which shows good judgment. But what the next president will need to worry about, and both candidates need to talk about, is the depth of the country’s economic problems. It will take discipline and sacrifice to address them.

Jensen Comment
The national debt is the reason for a weakening dollar, higher oil prices, inflation, and our diminishing stature in the world. George Bush was a spendthrift who plunged us deeper into debt by failing to veto spending bills of a run-away Congress. Barack Obama's unfundable populist programs will only bury us deeper in debt. John McCain is probably maverick enough to veto some spending cuts. Our real economic hope may lie in the ultimate veto pen of . . . gasp . . . Sarah Palin.

For once (actually the second time in 2008) The New York Times had an editorial that makes economic sense:

Longer term, the challenge is perhaps even more daunting. Saving more is ultimately the only way to dig out of the budget hole that the nation is in. That will be painful, because higher government savings, done properly, means higher taxes and restrained spending. Candidates for president do not like to be pessimistic, or even candid, really, about the economy. But a leader who wants to steer the nation through tough times should not spend the campaign telling Americans they can have it all.
"There He Goes Again," The New York Times, July 12, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
But true to form, the NYT only criticizes John McCain's balanced budget goals in this context. No mention is made of the NYT's favorite candidate who certainly, albeit truthfully, is not promising anything within light years of a balanced budget. The question is which candidate, if elected, will heavily veto the outrageous spending bills that most certainly emerge from Congress over the next four or eight years. Sadly, George Bush, unlike Reagan, rarely inked a spending veto in his eight years. This country does not know what a life-threatening debt crisis is and will have a rude awakening after November when the U.S. dollar skids to all time lows never imagined. The real problem is that Congress is leaning to more of entitlement time bombs.


"We Can't Tax Our Way Out of the Entitlement Crisis," by R. Glenn Hubbard, The Wall Street Journal,August 21, 2008; Page A13 --- 

We can also secure a firm financial footing for Social Security (and Medicare) without choking off economic growth or curtailing our flexibility to pursue other spending priorities. Three actions are essential: (1) reduce entitlement spending growth through some form of means testing; (2) eliminate all nonessential spending in the rest of the budget; and (3) adopt policies that promote economic growth. This 180-degree difference from Mr. Obama's fiscal plan forms the basis of Sen. McCain's priorities for spending, taxes and health care.

The problem with Mr. Obama's fiscal plans is not that that they lack vision. On the contrary, the vision is plain enough: a larger welfare state paid for by higher taxes. The problem is not even that they imply change. The problem is that his plans are statist.

While the candidate is sending a fiscal "Ich bin ein Berliner" message to Americans, European critics of his call for greater spending on defense are the canary in the coal mine for what lies ahead with his vision for the United States.

Professor R. Glenn Hubbard is Dean of the College of Business at Columbia University and a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors.

Bob Jensen's threads on the "Entitlement Crisis" are at

"Obama and the Runaway Train The race, the case, a hope for grace," by Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2008 ---

There is for instance, in the words of Minnesota's Gov. Tim Pawlenty, "the runaway train." The size and dimension of the likely Democratic victory seem clear. A Democratic House with a bigger, more fervent Democratic majority; a Democratic Senate with the same, and possibly with a filibuster-breaking 60 seats; a new and popular Democratic president, elected by a few points or more; a Democratic base whose anger and hunger have built for eight years; Democratic activists and operatives hungry for business and action. What will this mix produce? A runaway train with no one to put on the brakes, to claim a mandate for slowing, no one to cry "Crossing ahead"? Democrats in Congress will move for innovation when much of the country hopes only for stability. Who will tell Congress of that rest of the nation? Mr. Obama will be overwhelmed trying to placate the innovators.

America enjoyed divided government most successfully recently from 1994 to 2000, with Bill Clinton in the White House and Newt Gingrich in effect running Congress. It wasn't so bad. In fact, it yielded a great deal, including sweeping reform of the welfare system, and balanced budgets.

Whoever is elected Tuesday, his freedom in office will be limited. Mr. Obama is out of money and Mr. McCain is out of army, so what might be assumed to be the worst impulses of each -- big spender, big scrapper -- will be circumscribed by reality. In Mr. Obama's case, energy will likely be diverted to other issues. He will raise taxes, of course, but he may also feel forced to bow to a clamorous base with the nonspending items they favor: the rewriting of union law to force greater unionization of smaller shops, for instance, and a return to a "fairness doctrine" that would limit free speech on the air.

Continued in article


A Sobering Paper from the University of Pennsylvania
"Think the Credit Crisis Is Bad? Coalition Sees Bigger Problems Down the Road
,"  Knowledge@Wharton, October 29, 2008 ---;jsessionid=9a30144044b07a406280?articleid=2077

When most people look at the turmoil in the American economy over the last month -- wild gyrations in the stock market, giants of finance failing or requiring government rescue, rising unemployment, sinking home prices and a wave of mortgage foreclosures -- they see an immediate crisis and a bleak future.

But Alice Rivlin, who was head of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration, also sees an opportunity. Rivlin was among a number speakers who came to the University of Pennsylvania recently as part of a "Fiscal Wake-Up Tour" organized by a bipartisan coalition of think tanks and government watch-dog groups trying to focus voters on America's mounting debt. A Wharton department was among the sponsors of the tour's recent visit to the university.

Rivlin said she has long believed that only a short-term crisis atmosphere might spur political leaders in Washington to make some of the difficult long-term choices to head off a rising tide of red ink. "I have said that a mini-crisis would actually be useful, something like a rapid plunge in the dollar," said Rivlin, currently director of economic studies for the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution. Instead, she said, the much larger economic storm now unfolding could convince Washington -- as it is pressed to take bold and sometimes unpopular action related to the credit crisis -- to wrap in some forward-looking solutions to rising costs associated with Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid -- costs that will make the taxpayers' Wall Street rescue effort, which could amount to more than $1 trillion, seem petty by comparison. A General Accounting Office study concluded that in less than 20 years, the cost of Social Security and Medicare will exceed all government revenues.

David M. Walker -- president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on the national debt and related challenges -- agreed with Rivlin that the current economic crisis could be a teachable moment for the nation's leaders about the risks of fiscal inaction. "They waited for a crisis until they did something about it," said Walker, referring to the credit logjam that has locked up the flow of credit that lubricates the economy. When it comes to government action on tough economic issues, he said, "the system is dysfunctional."

Walker, Rivlin, and their co-panelists -- Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the debt-fighting Concord Coalition, and Stuart M. Butler, vice president for domestic and economic policy studies for the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation -- are carrying on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour that was launched back in 2005. Since the beginning, the campaign has been trying to persuade Americans to pay less attention to day-to-day ups and downs of Wall Street and the U.S. economy, and focus more on the bigger picture of projections for the staggering future costs of federal entitlements.

Bringing the Message to Battleground States

The tour's visit to the Penn campus was co-sponsored by Wharton's Business and Public Policy Department as well as the Annenberg School for Communication, the Department of Political Science, the Fels Institute of Government and the Fox Leadership Program. Officials said the selection of Pennsylvania -- a key battleground state in the presidential election less than three weeks away -- is part of the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour's strategy of visiting key states right before major political events such as the New Hampshire primary or Iowa caucuses. Its ultimate goal, organizers said, is a better-informed electorate.

"We're trying to elevate the issue in front of key constituencies in key states," Bixby said. He later noted that many of the group's events have been held on college campuses because the anti-debt coalition believes any solution will ultimately come from greater involvement by the generation now voting for the first time. "If young people get involved, and we can view the situation as a leadership problem, we'll go a long way toward getting it solved."

The broader problem quite simply is this: America is already dangerously deep in debt, and will soon see an explosion in costs to provide Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements it has promised to tens of millions of retiring and soon-to-retire baby boomers. While federal spending is now roughly 20% of the American gross national product, which has been relatively constant in the last half-century, that ratio could rise as high as 42% by 2050 if current federal policies on entitlement spending and taxes remain unchanged, according to Bixby. That would be the same rate as when the U.S. was waging World War II. The impact would fall hardest on today's young people.

Driving this projection are the ticking time bombs of benefit obligations to retirees and impoverished families under Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Over the next three decades, the percentage of Americans older than 64 will grow from 13% to 20% even as health care costs continue to increase faster than inflation.

We Suggest... Richard Marston and Jeremy Siegel: Will the Bank Plan Revive Global Markets?

Do the Answers to Our Current Financial Woes Lie in the Past?

The Candidates on Taxes: Finding the Devil in the Details

Obama and McCain: Different -- and Evolving -- Visions for the U.S. Economy

What's Ahead for the Global Economy in 2008? Reports from the Knowledge@Wharton Network Walker, who was formerly the nation's top auditor as its Comptroller General, said unrestrained health care policies are a recipe for fiscal disaster. "We're the only country on the face of the earth that is currently writing a blank check for health care because every other country that has done that has gone bankrupt."

'Arithmetic, Not Ideology'

"It's a matter of arithmetic, not ideology," said Bixby, whose bipartisan Concord Coalition was founded by Warren Rudman, a former Republican senator; the late Paul Tsongas, who served in the Senate as a Democrat; and Pete Peterson, who was Secretary of Commerce in the Nixon administration. Bixby believes part of the problem is that Americans have been too willing to buy into certain myths about our fiscal policies, including the notions that we can close our budget gap simply through growing the economy and increasing revenues, or just by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in federal spending.

Several speakers emphasized that while their Wake Up Tour can be heavy on charts and graphics outlining the grim mathematics of the problem, the real problem with profligate government spending has a moral component: Is it right for the current generation to take on obligations and hand the bill to the next generation? Walker concluded his presentation with a slide showing his three grandchildren who will inherit the massive debt. "It's really not a fiscal issue," agreed Bixby. "It's a moral issue."

The speakers acknowledged that -- given the wide range of their ideological views -- they do not necessarily agree on all the solutions to the problem, but they want their audience to understand what the choices are -- continued but unsustainable borrowing from overseas sources such as China or the oil-producing nations of OPEC, raising taxes, or making decisions on spending cuts and priorities that so far have proved too difficult for political leaders. In fact, the political hurdles have been so great that some -- including the current co-chairs of the Concord Coalition, Rudman and ex-Democratic senator Bob Kerrey -- have suggested that the only solution would be the creation of a bi-partisan panel to devise a set of solutions that Congress would be required to accept or reject without amendment.

Where to start? Rivlin suggested that longer-term solutions could be wrapped into the current legislative effort to attack the credit crunch and expected recession. For example, she said, "a relatively easy thing to do" would be to gradually raise the retirement age. That would have no impact on current retirees, but would provide significant long-term savings for Social Security.

Butler, of the Heritage Foundation, noted simply raising taxes to cover the deficit is not a likely solution. By 2050, he said, balancing the budget with tax increases but no other policy changes would mean raising marginal income taxes on the wealthiest top bracket to 88%, with a 63% higher levy on the second bracket that comprises much of the middle-class. "If there's a moral problem with passing the debt along to younger people, is raising taxes and taking their money any less immoral?" he asked. He also doubted that Congress would use such additional revenue for debt reduction. If you believe it would, he said, "you're probably one of those people who think professional wrestling is real."

A more likely scenario, as outlined by Butler, would be to look at the most sensible ways to make the benefits that now go to American retirees more affordable, such as reconsidering the current prescription drug benefits for seniors and whether they should be extended to the wealthiest citizens. He noted that billionaire Warren Buffett now receives the same drug benefit as a low-income retiree. The Heritage Foundation expert also said America needs to do a much better job encouraging private citizens to save for the future, citing a recent study that the lowest income households, making less than $13,000 a year, spend an average of 9% of that income on lottery tickets.

Indeed, several of the speakers agreed that the Baby Boom generation now running the country has never been asked to sacrifice and rarely asks such measures of citizens. At the same time, he noted, America's consumer-oriented economy and the rise of relatively cheap credit beginning in the 1980s has resulted in a national personal savings rate of zero. On top of that, Butler political debate has been dragged down in some ways by the rise of the Internet and especially cable television, which "emphasizes conflict while dialogue is eliminated."

In the meantime, the speakers said that ongoing federal deficits -- and a debt service that now costs $238 billion annually and is growing sharply -- are squeezing programs that could make America more competitive in the global economy. These would include a massive program to repair the nation's crumbling infrastructure as well as improving education and health care, especially for children in low-income families. "The large middle class is our backbone, but we can't compete on wages in this country," Walker said, stressing instead the need for a better educated workforce and also for a health care system that delivers better results for the money. "We're mortgaging our future and increasing our obligation on the backs of young people at the same time that we're investing less in them," he warned.

Yet, according to Rivlin, despite all the controversy about the government's current dramatic efforts to deal with the immediate financial crisis, these measures may not contribute much to solving the debt problem. She acknowledged that the Treasury may recover some of the $950 billion it has pledged to unlock credit markets and stabilize key banks, and that a new economic stimulus package under discussion in Congress might stave off a lengthy recession that would also sap tax revenues. "But the danger," she warned, "is that we will lose all discipline, that the recession will be the excuse" to delay difficult choices.

Still, there seemed to be a general consensus among the speakers that the current crisis could raise the public's awareness and interest in a long-term solution to government debt. "There's nobody to bail out America," said Walker, "so the sooner we get started, the better."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the end of the American Dream as we know it are at

What nation has the highest monthly faculty pay in universities?
by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, November 5, 2008 ---

The United States does not lead the world in faculty pay, and is quite far behind when comparisons of national wealth are factored in, according to a new analysis released Tuesday.

“International Comparison of Academic Salaries,” prepared by three scholars at the Boston College Center for International Higher Education, represents one of the more ambitious efforts to compare faculty pay across national lines. While some existing studies look at members of certain groups (the Association of Commonwealth Universities, for example, which tends to have as members the leading universities of a country) or regions (Europe), there have been few efforts to compare salaries across different types of institutions and countries.

Average Monthly Salaries, in World Bank Parity Dollars, for Entry-Level Faculty Positions, 2005-6
Rank Country Average
1. Canada $5,206
2. United States $4,589
3. Australia $3,810
4. Germany $3,683
5. Britain $3,345
6. France $3,259
7. Saudi Arabia $3,162
8. New Zealand $3,114
9. Japan $2,979
10. South Africa $2,560
11. Malaysia $2,049
12. Colombia $1,987
13. Argentina $1,751
14. India $1,151
15. China $682

The researchers also compared average salaries for senior academics in the various countries. Here, Saudi Arabia jumps in front of Canada and the United States.

Average Monthly Salaries, in World Bank Parity Dollars, for Senior Faculty Positions, 2005-6

Rank Country Average
1. Saudi Arabia $8,490
2. Canada $7,992
3. United States $7,385
4. Australia $6,570
5. South Africa $6,105
6. New Zealand $6,061
7. Britain $5,589
8. Japan $5,546
9. Germany $5,108
10. France $4,551
11. Malaysia $4,422
12. Columbia $4,079
13. Argentina $3,950
14. India $2,071
15. China $1,845

While developing nations don’t fare well in pure dollar totals, they do quite well when national wealth is factored in — and in fact the United States does poorly. The Boston College study looked at the ration of average faculty pay to the gross domestic product per capita of various countries, on a monthly basis.

Ratio of Average Monthly Faculty Salaries, in World Bank Parity Dollars, to GDP Per Capita, 2005-6

Rank Country Average
1. India 8.73
2. South Africa 5.77
3. Colombia 5.38
4. Saudi Arabia 3.74
5. China 3.47
6. Argentina 3.31
7. Malaysia 3.25
8. Canada 2.24
9. New Zealand 2.19
10. Australia 1.75
11. Germany 1.68
12. United States 1.67
13. Britain 1.65
14. Japan 1.63
15. France 1.58


Faculty Salary, Compression, and Inversion Issues ---

"50 Most Expensive Colleges (click the slide show arrow)," by Alysa Teichman, Business Week, November 2008 --- 

College costs are again on the rise. According to a College Board report released on Oct. 29, the average published cost of annual tuition and fees at private four-year colleges is $25,143, up 5.9% from last year. Room and board drives that figure up to $33,143.

At public colleges, the cost is 6.4% higher than last year, with in-state tuition averaging $6,585. Out-of-state tuition averages $17,452, a 5.2% increase from last year.

The continued escalation comes at a time when many families are feeling strapped. The value of their investments is down, the economic outlook is bleak, and student loans are harder to find. Grants and tax benefits help somewhat. The average break for private-college students is $10,200; for public college students it's $3,700.

Now that total college costs routinely break the $50,000-a-year barrier, is the education really priceless? Here's a look at 50 of the costliest degrees for traditional four-year colleges. This year's figures include tuition, fees, room, and board, and exclude colleges with specialized programs, such as those for students with learning disabilities.

Read the story (with a slide show) at

"Study Links Violent Video Games, Hostility Research in U.S., Japan Shows Aggression Increased for Months After Play," by Donna St. George, The Washington Post, November 3, 2008 ---

Children and teenagers who play violent video games show increased physical aggression months afterward, according to new research that adds another layer of evidence to the continuing debate over the video-game habits of the youngest generation.

The research, published today in the journal Pediatrics, brings together three longitudinal studies, one from the United States and two from Japan, examining the content of games, how often they are played and aggressive behaviors later in a school year.

The U.S. research was the first in the nation to look at the effects of violent video games over time, said lead author Craig A. Anderson, a psychology professor at Iowa State University and director of its Center for the Study of Violence.

Anderson said the collaboration with Japanese researchers was particularly telling because video games are popular there and crime and aggression are less prevalent. Some gamers have cited Japan's example as evidence that violent games are not harmful.

Yet the studies produced similar findings in both countries, Anderson said. "When you find consistent effects across two very different cultures, you're looking at a pretty powerful phenomenon," he said. "One can no longer claim this is somehow a uniquely American phenomenon. This is a general phenomenon that occurs across cultures."

The study in the United States showed an increased likelihood of getting into a fight at school or being identified by a teacher or peer as being physically aggressive five to six months later in the same school year. It focused on 364 children ages 9 to 12 in Minnesota and was first included in a 2007 book, "Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents."

Japanese researchers studied more than 1,200 Japanese youths ages 12 to 18. In all three studies, researchers accounted for gender and previous aggressiveness.

"We now have conclusive evidence that playing violent video games has harmful effects on children and adolescents," Anderson said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which publishes the journal in which the study appears this month, is in the process of revising its recommendations on media violence, and expects to issue a new statement in four to six months, a spokeswoman said. The academy now recognizes violence in media as a significant health risk to children and adolescents and recommends limiting screen time including television, computers and video games to one to two hours a day.

For many parents, the latest research was unsettling, though not surprising.

Patricia Daumas, 50, a single mother of two in Reston, said she sometimes wonders about her decision to allow her sons, ages 8 and 11, to play war games. But like many parents, she sees the issue as complex. She does not allow her sons to play games rated "mature."

"I don't think the games are good for them," she said, "but what I'm seeing in my own children is that they're still very gentle, that they're very caring, and they have absolutely no behavior problems at school."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of technology are at

There's a lot of helpful advice for cell phone purchasing at 

There's more than you ever wanted to know about cell phones if you enter "cell phone" in the search box at 
The hardware side of communications technology boggles my mind.

"15 Tools to Make Your PC a Multimedia Powerhouse:  Enjoy your video and audio collections to the fullest with the help of these free and low-cost downloads," by Preston Gralla, PC World via The Washington Post, October 30, 2008 --- Click Here

Your PC has become the greatest entertainment device ever created, but you wouldn't know that judging by the software that ships with the machine. Bundled media players, and related software for playing and managing audio and video, tend to be underwhelming at best.

We've assembled 15 of our favorite video and audio applications, all of which can handle just about any job you can throw at them. The vast majority of these downloads are completely free, and the others offer no-cost trials.

They'll help you download YouTube videos to your PC, or convert videos to formats that you can view on handheld devices. They'll play any audio and video formats you can find. They'll make you into a DJ and allow you to create your own customized mixes, too. So if you want to get the most out of the entertainment device on your desk, read on--and start downloading. (And if you want to access all of these tools in one convenient place, hop to our audio and video downloads collection.)


Want to download YouTube videos to your computer, convert video files to formats that you can view on portable players, find the best videos online, or watch TV from around the world? We have software that does all that, and a lot more.


How many times have you watched a YouTube video and wished that you could save it to your hard drive for future viewing? With this free software, you can save YouTube videos as .flv files; afterward, you can watch the videos in any multimedia software that supports the .flv format (such as FLV Player or VLC Media Player, both discussed below). Before downloading the videos, you get a full description of them, as well.

Be aware that using this program can be a bit confusing. Make sure to click the Download path button, at the bottom of the screen, to tell the program where to download your videos. And to download the video, you'll have to copy and paste the YouTube URL into the program. After that, click the icon with a small plus sign; it looks grayed-out, as if it were nonfunctional, but it does work. Once you've added the link, you can download the video. You can also put multiple videos in a list, and download them all at once.

Download TubeMe| Price: Free

FLV Player
If you've downloaded YouTube videos using TubeMe or another downloader, or if you've collected other files in the .flv format, you may run into a problem: Many media players, including Windows Media Player, can't handle them. FLV Player is a straightforward media player designed to play .flv files exclusively. To access a video, press , browse to the file, and open it, or else double-click the .flv file from inside Windows Explorer. You can also drag and drop files into the player. The software even handles multiple .flv files: Simply drag several files to the program, and the app plays each video in its own window.

You can control video playback through the usual controls, or with a variety of keyboard shortcuts. You can also toggle between full-screen mode and normal mode. Note that you may run into problems installing the software on Windows Vista. If that happens to you, right-click the installation file and choose Run as Administrator. That should solve the problem.

Download FLV Player| Price: Free

Any Video Converter Free Version

Playing video these days is no longer confined to your PC--countless other devices can play video as well, including handheld devices and music players, mobile phones, and the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The problem, though, is that if you've downloaded videos to your PC, they might not be in the formats your devices require.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of the trade are at

It seems there are two ways (in vs. into) to interpret the following title
"What Should Go in a Museum of Internet History?" by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 3, 2008 --- Click Here

My colleagues on the AECM think the title is not so ambiguous, but I suggest that they read it aloud with different emphsasis on the syllalabels.

Can we put the following quotations to a test in a logic course in the philosophy department?

"Some Lessons of the Financial Crisis," by Stephen Schwarzman, The Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2008 ---

Third, you need full transparency for financial statements. Nothing should be eliminated. Off-balance-sheet vehicles that suddenly return to the balance sheet to wreak havoc make a mockery of principles of disclosure.

Fourth, you need full disclosure of all financial instruments to the regulator. No regulator can do its job of assessing risk and systemic soundness if large parts of the financial markets are invisible to it. A regulator must be able to monitor all derivatives, including, for example, $60 trillion in credit default swaps.


Sixth, we need to abolish mark-to-market accounting for hard-to-value assets. There is now emerging a broad realization that mark-to-market accounting has exacerbated the current crisis. We are not talking about publicly traded equities with a readily ascertainable value. The problem involves securities held for investment purposes, and those instruments during certain times of the cycle for which there is no readily observable market. These securities and instruments would be fully disclosed to the regulator. However, a financial institution would not be forced to suddenly take huge write downs at artificial, fire-sale prices and thus contribute to financial instability.


Bob Jensen's threads on a bull crap case against fair value accounting are at

Bob Jensen's threads on earnings management are at

Epsilen Environment from Purdue University appears to have brought together the latest technology in a course authoring, course management, and e-learning package  ---

The Epsilen Environment is the result of six years of research and development within the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Epsilen Products and Services are commercially available through BehNeem LLC, the holding company created in Indiana to commercialize, market and further develop the Epsilen Environment. The New York Times is an equity and strategic partner in the company.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at

A 2008 addition to the above history site came to my attention in a loose-card advertisement for Epsilen Enviroment that came in the November 3, 2008 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Free ePortfolios 
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If your campus is, or becomes, a licensed Epsilen institution (see below), your free ePortfolio will integrate dynamically with more sophisticated tools and services listed below that accompany the paid license. Visit to create your personal ePortfolio and begin exploring the Environment. 

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Annual Exploratory Memberships begin at $5,000 for campuses with up to 2,000 students.  Click here for more pricing information and order application. 

New York Times Knowledge Network

New York Times Knowledge (NYTKnowledge Network) offers New York Times content to complement faculty-designed courses served dynamically in customizable templates through Epsilen’s Global Learning System.  New York Times content is aggregated by subject and easily selected and incorporated into lessons by faculty and the interactive learning environment. NYTKnowledge Network provides access to a repository of Times archives back to 1851 Times articles, special issues sections, multimedia features, and synchronous and asynchronous contact with correspondents, resulting in an extraordinary integrated learning environment that supports hybrid or online offerings.

The New York Times Knowledge Network also offers the opportunity to participate in Webcasts with the Times correspondents and other subject matter experts. These can be included in traditional courses, or offered by your institution as stand-alone life-long learning experiences with comprehensive continuing education programs designed by the New York Times. 

NYT Knowledge Network Provides:

  • A rich repository of archived content back to 1851
  • Access to other major content providers
  • Multimedia news content
  • Interactive maps and graphs
  • Webcasts, chats with correspondents
  • A comprehensive range of content aggregated by subject and easily integrated to support your teaching objectives.
  • NYTimes Knowledge Network marketing of your continuing education courses.  

Visit for further information and pricing (will be released in mid August 2007).

Student Learning Matrix 
Programs, departments, and schools within a campus may create unlimited student learning matrices to be used by students through an automated learning outcome assessment tool for both summative and formative learning assessment.  Features include:

  • Creation of unlimited student learning matrices for program- or campus-level learning outcome assessment (Each axis includes attributes defined by the program/campus.)
  • Ability for students to upload their learning outcomes according to predefined rubrics
  • Access by faculty and academic advisors to each student learning matrix for assessment, advisement, and certification
  • Program- and campus-level assessment reports for internal and external accreditation reviews
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires no institutional IT support

The annual Student Learning Matrix membership fee is based on the number of students in the program or institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application.

Global Learning System (GLS)

Epsilen offers the Global Learning System (GLS), a new Web-based learning framework developed as the next generation of eLearning and networking. In contrast to current legacy learning management systems, the GLS offers true global learning collaboration by connecting students and instructors on campuses in the U.S. and around the world in an interactive and intuitive Web 2.0 learning environment.  The GLS complements existing licensed or open source CMS products.  The GLS features include:

  • Global learning management system that enables students and instructors to easily register or be invited to courses and learning collaboration
  • Cross listing of class rosters of two or more courses within various campuses, or across institutions
  • Innovative tools using professional and social networking to enhance learning, encourage collaboration, and utilize peer review technology
  • The ability to easily archive courses and working groups for continued engagement
  • A hosted Web-based solution that requires little, or no institutional IT support

The annual GLS membership fee is based on the number of students and courses within the institution. Click here for more information and online membership application.

Charter Membership

Experience the full suite of the Epsilen “Environment” and resources with unparalleled access to NYTKnowledge Network content. Charter members receive special pricing for unlimited use of ePortfolios, the Student Learning Matrix, courses through the Global Learning System, and interactive Webcasts with correspondents.  With charter membership, two university administrators will be invited to participate in the Epsilen - New York Times charter council, with meetings and events scheduled at The New York Times.  Benefits include:

  • Single sign-on environment featuring a toolbox of services for ePortfolio, social networking, Learning Matrix, GLS, object repository, and NYTKnowledge Network
  • Totally hosted turnkey solution with no need for local servers or local technical staff
  • Cost effectiveness for both small and large campuses
  • Collaboration on designing the next generation of eLearning through networking with other members of the Epsilen - New York Times charter council

The Epsilen Charter membership fee is based on the total number of students within the institution.  Click here for more information and online membership application. 

Technical Support and System Integration

Epsilen offers consulting and technical support through both internal and third-party sources for the integration of Epsilen with local campus databases and existing licensed technology.  This provides a seamless, single sign-on, portal approach to all resources and services supporting the learning and teaching initiatives of a campus.  Click Here for more information and online membership application.

I maintain a site on the history of course authoring and course management technology at

I maintain a site on tools and tricks of the trade at

"Blackboard Announces Free Tool to Interconnect Its Software With Moodle, an Open-Source Competitor," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 28, 2008 --- Click Here

Blackboard has taken another step toward making the next version of its course-management system work alongside open-source competitors. The company announced today that it is working with Iowa State University to create a software plug-in for the company’s course-management system so that it can integrate with Moodle, a popular open-source alternative. The move comes just three months after the company announced the creation of a similar connection tool for Sakai, another open-source course-management system.

The new software tool, called the Learning Environment Connector for Moodle, will let students access course Web sites created with Moodle from within the Blackboard software interface. The goal is to let students see all of their course information in one space, regardless of which software was used to produce the Web pages. “They’ll have a single place to sign on to get to our Blackboard presence and our Moodle presence,” said Randal Dalhoff, assistant director of academic technologies for Iowa State University’s Information Technology Services, in an interview.

The tools are designed to work with the next versions of the company’s software, which it is calling Blackboard NG, for next generation. College officials expect the first of those versions to come out early next year, although Blackboard officials have not announced a release date. Iowa State has been given an early copy of Blackboard’s forthcoming software so that its programmers could build the tool. Mr. Dalhoff said the university would give the Connector software free to any college that wants it.

He said Blackboard officials had asked the university earlier this year if it would be interested in taking on the project, and university officials decided to do so. “To me it’s the thrill of putting something together, and as programmers we thought this would be a fun project to do,” he said.

Some colleges have expressed skepticism at Blackboard’s move to link with open-source platforms, in part because of the aggressive tactics the company has taken against commercial competitors. The company successfully sued one of those competitors, Desire2Learn, for for violating Blackboard’s patent on a system of delivering course materials online, though some college officials feel the patent is overly broad. The patent office is reviewing whether the patent was issued properly, which depends in part on whether other colleges or companies were already using similar technology before Blackboard filed for its patent.

“I’m not a Blackboard advocate, but I’m not a Blackboard putter-downer either,” said Mr. Dalhoff. “We’re not tied to Blackboard. If some day something really came out that is better, or prices got out of range, who knows what we might do?”

A couple of departments at the university already use Moodle, he said, even though the central IT department does not officially support it. Most professors at the university use Blackboard.

No one course-management system is best for every department or for every professor, said Mr. Dalhoff. “Having a choice will be better for campuses than really settling on one.”

Bob Jensen's threads on Blackboard are at

"Cambridge Survey Finds That 49% of Students Have Plagiarized," by Lawrence Biemiller, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 3, 2008 ---
Click Here

Half the students at the University of Cambridge have plagiarized, according to results of a survey by Varsity, a student newspaper at the university.

The newspaper said its survey had attracted 1,014 respondents, of whom 49 percent said they had committed at least one act defined by the university as plagiarism. The list of forbidden acts included: handing in someone else’s essay; copying and pasting from the Internet; copying or making up statistics, code, or research results; handing in work that had been submitted previously; using someone else’s ideas without acknowledgment; buying an essay; and having an essay edited by Oxbridge Essays, a company that provides online essay services. Five percent of those who admitted having plagiarized said they had been caught.

Some students were surprised to find that what they thought were innocuous academic acts had landed them in the plagiarist category. “Of course I use other people’s ideas without acknowledging them, but I didn’t think that this made me a plagiarist,” one student said.

But others admitted copying or buying work “when I am late with an essay or finding it difficult.” Law students, the newspaper said, broke the rules most often, with 62 percent admitting that they had plagiarized. Four percent of students surveyed said they had written for Oxbridge Essays.


Yes, and 100% of civil rights leaders named Martin Luther King, Jr., have also plagiarized. And 100% of writers named Doris Kearns Goodwin have plagiarized. And 100% of vice-presidential candidates named Joe Biden have plagiarized. These students are in good company. Maybe we should educate them rather than haul them before a firing squad, as too many professors want to do.

— gl Nov 1, 08:22 PM #

I agree with gl, it seems a bit harsh to haul anyone anywhere, much less before a firing squad, until we have delved into the depth of the training students receive about the rigors of attribution. (Hint: scandalously little)

The internet with all its advances did bomb us back to the intellectual property stone age with the conspicuous absence of paper trails for the materials one can find within a click or two of beginning research.

The other part of the problem, and I am ready to be placed before the firing squad for this comment, professors (especially at the undergraduate level) do not put enough thinking into the construction of their essay questions. And to make matters worse, they use the same old tired questions year in decade out. So let’s look at our role in perpetuating this obnoxious problem and criminal waste of time on both sides.

Newsflash, profs! Life is short. Why spend your precious discretionary time playing cops and robbers with your students?

— BC PROF Nov 1, 11:42 PM #

Using a service like helps to reduce plagiarism quite a bit because even if the students don’t have a high likelihood of getting caught, they know that they are really taking a big risk if they try to fool the system. If students know there’s a good chance they’ll get caught, they will not engage in plagiarism. Some professors would rather spend their leisure time with their families or doing their own research rather than chasing down sources of plagiarism. Use the tools to help you catch cheaters so you can have more time for your own life.

— MEH Nov 2, 02:16 PM #

Of course if I discover that a student has committed plagiarism, I take the steps that are prescribed by the honor code at my university. But I did not become a teacher to spend my time enforcing such codes. If a student cheats and receives a grade that he doesn’t deserve, he is the poorer for it. We have this idea that cheaters are robbing someone else of something valuable, and therefore that we ought to act to stop them or to punish them. It is not so difficult to see that plagiarists are only cheating themselves. They pay the very high price of not learning what they might have learned under their own lights, and to my mind that is penalty enough.

— SK Nov 2, 02:49 PM #

MEH, the time you save with is lost when you catch a cheater, because you yourself become a cheater if you don’t report the honor violation (rather than handle it privately, which most campuses frown upon). So assuming you’re as honest as you expect your student to be, you’re sucked into the whole lengthy honors process, with forms and hearings and meetings and eventually the wish that you had not been so persnickety.

I think the plagiarism situation is easy to avoid if you assign paper topics based on very recent events about which nothing could have been already written. Or, as I do, require first drafts of nearly completed works, a couple weeks before the real due date, with which you can issue warnings framed in face-saving look-what-you-forgot-you-cite-or-enclose-in-quotation-marks language. They get the message you’re tough, especially if you threaten reporting an honors violation if the supposed error is not corrected, and you spend even more time with your own life.

— gl Nov 2, 03:04 PM #


I think the plagiarism situation is easy to avoid if you assign paper topics based on very recent events about which nothing could have been already written.

right, I am sure that is feasible in history of philosophy classes. Second Idea was much more reasonable.

— jon Nov 2, 08:54 PM #

The key is what the students perceive as cheating. If using someone else’s ideas without acknowledging it is cheating, then we are all cheaters. The kids come in to college 17 years old and dumb. They sit in lectures, read books, talk to classmates and faculty, and hear all kinds of new ideas. How can they ever acknowledge where all those ideas came from? How can they even remember when the ideas were first planted and by whom?

Similarly, good writing involves sharing ideas with other students, revising and proofreading. That violates the honor code standard of “doing your own work.” We create a catch-22 when we demand high quality work but strictly prohibit some of the methods that are essential for good learning. And even if we don’t “strictly” prohibit appropriate collaboration, not all students know where the line is. Consequently, some students will identify themselves as cheaters, even though the type of help they get on their assignments is acceptable.

And in my field, it is pretty common for students to forget to write down some detail of their source information, and at the last minute have to fudge the works cited. Technically it is fabrication, and the students know it. It would be embarrassing to publish a error-filled works cited. But in the end it is too trivial to worry about.

All these kinds of cases drive up the number of self-identified cheaters. It isn’t worth faculty worrying out.

— Shar Nov 3, 12:33 AM #

As others have noted, the extensive use of plagiarism requires an educational solution. I commend to you an excellent article by Eleanour Snow who describes (and links to) a number of institution-wide web tutorials designed to teach students about plagiarism. You can view the article at (requires free subscription).

James L. Morrison Editor-in-Chief, Innovate


Jensen Comment
There's serious doubt that Vladimir Putin even read his own thesis.

It's not clear that Vladimir Putin even read his own thesis
Large parts of an economics thesis written by President Vladimir Putin in the mid-1990s were lifted straight out of a U.S. management textbook published 20 years earlier, The Washington Times reported Saturday, citing researchers at the Brookings Institution. It was unclear, however, whether Putin had even read the thesis, which might have been intended to impress the Western investors who were flooding into St. Petersburg in the mid-1990s, the report said. Putin oversaw the city's foreign economic relations at the time.
"Putin Accused of Plagiarizing Thesis," Moscow Times, March 27, 2006 ---
Jensen Comment
What's interesting about this news item is that it was published in Moscow. This would not have happened in the old Soviet Union.

Martin Luther King Jr. has been accused of widespread plagiarism, including parts of his doctoral thesis ---

Other celebrity plagiarists ---

Since I have such a huge number of documents at my Website, I often wonder what kinds of grades I'm getting around the world ---

November 3, 2008 reply from Guest, Paul [paul.guest@CRANFIELD.AC.UK]

Having taught accounting at Cambridge for several years, I believe that these high plagiarism figures are of no relevance to any accounting courses taught there.

I would guess that the high figures are likely due to the unique college tutorial system at Cambridge University (along with Oxford and a few others) where undergraduate students attend frequent (usually biweekly) small group tutorials in addition to lectures. Students are often required to write essays for these tutorials under very tight time constraints. The high plagiarism figures are likely driven by undergraduates trying to finish essays by these deadlines. The students don't benefit from such cheating. Although the essays are marked they do not count towards a final grade, and any under-prepared students are usually exposed as such in the tutorials. [For accounting tutorials, essays are very rarely set, and instead students are required to work through a previously unseen question.]

Paul Guest
Cranfield School of Management

Then in a second message Paul wrote the following:

I agree, cheating students won't learn much about the assigned material if they cheat. However, under the Cambridge and Oxford (tutorial & written assignment) system ( , cheating students are much more likely to be caught at an early stage when the consequences are much less severe (since written assignments do not contribute to final grades). The cheating can therefore be dealt with informally and with a light touch by a tutor who is close to the student, so lessons can be learned with no lasting damage. Especially important when many cases of plagiarism appear to arise from ignorance.

Also, assignment writing for tutorials at Cambridge is optional. Undergraduate students can choose not to produce written assignments for tutorials (or simply not turn up to them). However, by not participating they are foregoing the most important learning experience at Cambridge. The tutorial and written assignment system is the fundamental pedagogic difference between Cambridge and other universities and a key reason why Cambridge has been so successful. It is worth £2000 per year for each undergraduate student (previously paid by the government but not any longer as of this year ). Students are very aware of this and very rarely miss supervisions or fail to submit written assignments.

From my experience in teaching these supervisions (I also taught economics and finance for which essays were assigned) I dont believe that plagiarism is rampant. Instead I interpret the high figures along the lines suggested by Dave Albrecht, that although 49% of students have plagiarised at some point, each student has done it very rarely.

By the way, a huge thankyou from across the pond to you and the other contributors to this list, and for the great material on your website.

Paul Guest



Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism ---

"The Incredible Vanishing Book," by Christopher Conway, Inside Higher Ed, November 3, 2008 ---

We don’t know how soon it will happen, but it is happening and it will be consummated soon. The commodity of the book, as we have known it for the last few decades, is vanishing and being replaced by new electronic media. Paper-and-binding books have irrevocably begun to fade away as products of mass consumption and will soon transform themselves into curios like vinyl records. The age of the massive emporium bookstore is coming to an end under the crushing, virtual weight of the Internet. Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader is doing well and it promises to get better and cheaper in the future. Textbook companies have developed publishing platforms, like, for textbooks to be digitally delivered to students through a price-per-chapter system. And worst of all, if you’re a paper-and-binding book lover such as myself, people are reading less paper than before.

In the diverse, mostly Latino first generation student population that I teach, responses to the paper-and-binding book are often mediated by practical economics. A few years ago I assigned Antonio Skármeta’s beautiful, hardcover children’s book about dictatorship, The Composition, to a Latin American literature class. The Spanish edition I assigned cost about $25, which I didn’t consider to be too much, especially because the total cost for all the books in my class was under $70. All but one of the books I assigned were books that I thought were beautiful as artifacts and as stories. These books, I believed, would command students’ minds and hearts to such a degree that students would want to keep them after the class was over. Most of all, Skarmeta’s book, with its color illustrations and poignant lessons about life and death issues was a book that I was excited to teach to my students. When we got to discussing the book in class, several of my students did not have the book, only black and white photocopies because they could not or did not want to buy the book. I felt a strange mix of powerlessness, disappointment and distance. I had conscientiously made my class inexpensive compared to other classes, but it was not inexpensive enough.

Lest you think that this was an isolated situation, a few examples from one of my current classes come to mind. I have one student who has not bought any of the books on the syllabus because he reads the 19th-century classics I have assigned off of the Internet on his laptop, which he brings to class for discussions. Another student has already begun returning the books we’ve read in class so far, after confirming that they would not be covered in the final exam. A third student, a talented and curious young man who arrives to class with an ipod plugged into his ears, is a graduating senior who had never read a novel before my class. They are all bright, responsible and hard-working students but they are not consumers of books. This is also reflected in the reaction that dozens upon dozens of students have had upon entering my office over the years and noticing my 5 or 6 huge bookshelves full of books. They ask: “Have you really read all of these books?” Which sometimes leads to an interesting conversation about my library, in which I explain which parts are my teaching reference and which parts are the books that I’ve read cover to cover.

The fate of the book in the university classroom is impacted by many factors: the use of instructional technology, the economics of textbook publishing and the pedagogical idiosyncrasies of professors, who either promote the disappearance of the paper-and-binding book or try to reinforce its value in the classroom. Let’s look at each one of these factors for a moment. Naturally, in some contexts and disciplines, it is relatively easy to teach a class without books thanks to the wealth of realia and sources on the Web, whether they be freely available, or available through institutionally subscribed databases. In fact, I find great material online and value its role in my courses. I think that we can agree that some material may be best taught off of the Internet.

The economics of textbook publishing is a little bit more complicated and ties in with the surprising choices some faculty members make as teachers. The bottom line is that a lot of textbooks are just too expensive for what you get. There are certain kinds of textbooks, ubiquitous in certain disciplines, that have become monsters of paper and color, a carnival of colored insets and attention-getting graphic design and layout. They are alternately exciting or stupid, but always exhausting. Worst of all, they are dreadfully disposable. The dizzying rate at which one edition substitutes another so that a publisher can make a profit or stay in business makes these books as valuable and as enduring as colored photocopies. This wasteful, pathetic cycle is the best argument for doing away with over-saturated textbooks altogether and going to an online, subscription model.

Other textbooks are more modestly priced and dispense with the graphic fireworks and multiple editions. These thoughtful anthologies or edited volumes are reasonably priced and straddle the border between textbook and stand-alone book. You can see their classroom application immediately but you can also see these books sitting on a public or university library shelf, and yes, even resting on your average reader’s night table. These books are the innovative work of professors, not a corporate marketing team, and are designed for other professors to use in their classes. Although reasonably priced, you would be mistaken to think that all professors value such books. Many professors will spend countless hours putting together elaborate and voluminous course packets of photocopies for classroom use (I used to be one of them). And now, it is more frequent for technologically minded teachers to file-share large numbers of PDFs through password protected sites on campus. This is so wrong it hurts. We are killing our own chances to have readers in the future or be remunerated for the scholarship we do. It’s not only about the modest royalties that faculty authors may or may not receive, it’s about the principle of valuing each other’s scholarship and editorial work. I order good, attractive and useful paper-and-binding books or textbooks for my classes because I want there to be a system in place to support my work as an author and editor in the future.

If the paper and binding book vanishes as a dominant commodity, as it seems to be, maybe the new virtual system of book distribution, reproduction and delivery will allay some of the problems I describe in relation to photocopies and PDFs. It is becoming increasingly easier to put together affordable ‘readers’ or anthologies culled from existing print material without bypassing rights and fees and without overloading students with unnecessary expense. If this wave of the future takes hold and becomes the new standard in textbook publishing, I think it will be good for all parties involved. But what about the paper-and-binding book? Say you are teaching David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and you had a choice between an excellent paper-and-binding edition by a major academic press, with useful footnotes and front matter, and an electronic edition that students could download to their handy e-book readers, along with selected secondary articles you have selected for them to read? What if their e-book readers had a stylus and/or a network that enabled the class to annotate those assigned texts, and share them over the class network? I don’t think anyone’s nostalgia for paper-and-binding can replace the pedagogical value of my not-so-fanciful or far-fetched e-book scenario.

And yet I am sad about the fading of the paper-and-binding book and I am not going into the good night without putting up a good fight. I am committed to making the cost of my assigned books affordable. I order my books with care and I try to use them in their entirety, so that students get affordable books that are actually used in the class. This does not mean that I limit myself. I do use the occasional supplement (or two or three) and I share with my classes my disagreements with the books or textbooks that I am using. I continue to pick books that I believe are worth keeping and treasuring, both for the words they contain and for their tactile beauty as works of art and design. I want the books that my students hold in their hands to have the heft of what is important and of what is beautiful. I want that student who never read a novel before my class to value the physicality of the reading a paper-and-binding book. This endangered act, after all, will connect him to a centuries-old, vanishing tradition that has touched the lives of millions and altered the course of history on many occasions. That’s just too good to pass up.

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at

Bob Jensen's threads on available online books are at

"Harvard Law Professor Takes New Tack Against RIAA (recording industry)," by Sara Lipka, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 3, 2008 ---

A law professor at Harvard University has filed a counterclaim against the Recording Industry Association of America, arguing that a statute it is using to sue Joel Tenenbaum, a student at Boston University, is unconstitutional, Computerworld reports.

The RIAA had sued Mr. Tenenbaum for violating the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 — by allegedly copying and distributing copyrighted songs. But according to the law professor, Charles Nesson, that criminal statute cannot be applied to a civil case in federal court.

Mr. Nesson is challenging both the RIAA’s use of the law and the law itself. It gives the RIAA prosecutorial authority and “unbridled discretion” to sue millions of people, he argues, according to Computerworld.

This challenge to the RIAA, the magazine says, is broader than many recent ones that focus on the group’s means of gathering evidence against alleged pirates.

Bob Jensen's threads on the dreaded DMCA are at

Bentley College Students Will Make Microloans to Small Businesses
Perhaps this is also an opportunity for accounting students to advise loan recipients on accounting, software, and taxes. There is precedent here for students in colleges that used to administer Small Business Administration grants. Years ago at the University of Maine I supervised some students who in turn were assisting grant recipients with accounting. In one humorous instance, the students could not find the recipients. The SBA had given a grant to a startup company to make patio furniture in much the same manner as birch-bark canoes are made using ash wood and birch bark. Once the recipients got the money for their chain saws and trucks, they were nowhere to be found. Turns out all they wanted the money for was to help them steal wood to sell to the paper companies. Such will also be the risk of microlending by college students.

"Bentley University Class Creates Local Microfinance Fund," Market Watch, October 28, 2008 --- Click Here

New Student-Run Initiative Brings Microlending to the Greater Boston Area An honors finance class at Bentley University has paved the way for an innovative financing initiative: a domestic microcredit organization that will fuel economic and community development by providing loans of $1,500 to $6,000 to local entrepreneurs at or below the poverty level.

The Bentley Microcredit Initiative (BMI) is the result of a course, Seminar in Micro Lending, which debuted in spring 2008. The mission of the BMI is to integrate microfinance into the Bentley community and to promote community development through education and innovation in microlending activities. The class and the BMI are the brainchild of Finance Professor and BMI Director Roy Wiggins. "The fund is something I really thought could be viable here at Bentley," says Wiggins. "Since it's student-run, it will provide hands-on banking experience while also furthering the Bentley mission to send future business leaders into the world who are socially responsible."

Microcredit or microlending refers to modest-sized loans for poverty-level recipients who may not qualify for funds at traditional financial institutions. The practice gained public attention in 2006, when Grameen Bank and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in microfinance.

Students enrolled in Seminar in Micro Lending developed a working model for the BMI after researching microfinance successes and failures both abroad and domestically to create a framework that could operate in Greater Boston. The fund is being financed by donations from alumni and parents and has an initial equity line of $100,000 on its way to a total loan portfolio of $300,000. The Bentley Microcredit Initiative will identify potential loan applicants by tapping into existing Bentley relationships with community organizations. "One of the attractive things about this venture is that it will be utilizing Bentley's academic resources," says Bentley President Gloria Larson. "We are essentially marrying Bentley's foundation in service and business to help address a societal issue. We hope the Microcredit Initiative will become a part of Bentley's legacy." BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is a leader in business education. Centered on teaching and research in business and related professions, Bentley blends the breadth and technological strength of a university with the core values and student focus of a close-knit campus.

SOURCE Bentley University

Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of the trade are at

Here’s something that may be useful when assessing a doctoral program. Note to key items listed near the end of the document.


"Ohio State Gets Jump on Doctoral Evaluations," by David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 7, 2008 ---

Provosts around the country are anticipating — and some are surely dreading — the long afternoons when they will go over national rankings data for their graduate departments. No later than this winter, after many delays, the National Research Council plans to release its assessments of American doctoral programs.

Student-faculty ratios, time to degree, stipends, faculty research productivity, and citation counts: Those numbers and many others will be under national scrutiny.

But one university couldn't wait. Last year, prodded by anxious faculty members worried about low Ph.D. production, Ohio State University conducted a thorough review of its doctoral programs, drawing heavily on data that its departments had compiled for the council's questionnaire. The Ohio State experience provides a window on what may be coming nationally.

The evaluations had teeth. Of the 90 doctoral programs at Ohio State, five small ones were tagged as "candidates for disinvestment or elimination": comprehensive vocational education (a specialty track in the college of agriculture), soil science, welding engineering, rehabilitation services, and technology education. Another 29 programs were instructed to reassess or restructure themselves.

Some programs got good news, however. Twenty-nine that were identified as "high quality" or "strong" will share hundreds of thousands of dollars in new student-fellowship subsidies.

Many faculty members say the assessments provided a long-overdue chance for Ohio State to think strategically, identifying some fields to focus on and others that are marginal. But the process has also had its share of bumps. The central administration concluded that certain colleges, notably the College of Biological Sciences, were too gentle in their self-reports. And some people have complained that the assessments relied too heavily on "input" variables, such as students' GRE scores.

Despite those concerns, the dean of Ohio State's Graduate School, Patrick S. Osmer, says the assessment project has exceeded his expectations. He hopes it can serve as a model for what other institutions can do with their doctoral data. "The joy of working here," he says, "is that we're trying to take a coordinated, logical approach to all of these questions, to strengthen the university."

A Faculty Mandate

The seeds of the assessment project were planted in 2005, when a high-profile faculty committee issued a report warning that Ohio State was generating proportionally fewer Ph.D.'s than were the other Big Ten universities. "The stark fact is that 482 Ph.D. degrees ... granted in 2003-4 is far below the number expected from an institution the size and (self-declared) quality of OSU," the report read. (The 482 figure excluded doctorates awarded by Ohio State's college of education.) At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, for example, each tenure-track faculty member generated an average of 0.4 Ph.D.'s each year. At Ohio State, the figure was only 0.267.

The committee recommended several steps: Give the central administration more power in graduate-level admissions. Organize stipends, fellowships, and course work in ways that encourage students to complete their doctorates in a timely manner. Stop giving doctoral-student subsidies to students who are likely to earn only master's degrees. And distribute subsidies from the central administration on a strategic basis, rewarding the strongest programs and those with the most potential for improvement.

"One thing that motivated all of this," says Paul Allen Beck, a professor of political science and a former dean of social and behavioral sciences at Ohio State, "was a feeling that the university had not invested enough in Ph.D. education. Our universitywide fellowships were not at a competitive level. We really felt that we should try to do a better job of concentrating our university investments on the very best programs."

Ohio State officials had hoped to use the National Research Council's final report itself for their evaluations. But after its release was postponed for what seemed like the sixth or seventh time, they moved forward without it.

In September 2007, Mr. Osmer asked the deans of Ohio State's 18 colleges to report data about their doctoral students' median time to degree, GRE scores, stipends, fellowships, job-placement outcomes, and racial and ethnic diversity.

Many of those numbers were easy to put together, because departments had compiled them during the previous year in response to the council's questionnaire. But job placements — a topic that will not be covered in the NRC report — were something that certain Ohio State programs had not previously tracked.

"This was a huge new project for us and for some of our departments as well," says Julie Carpenter-Hubin, director of institutional research and planning. "But simply going around and talking to faculty took care of most of it. It's really remarkable the degree to which faculty members stay in touch with their former doctoral students and know where they are. I think we wound up with placement data for close to 80 percent of our Ph.D. graduates, going 10 years back."

Defending Their Numbers

The reports that Ohio State's colleges generated last fall contained a mixture of quantitative data — most prominently GRE scores and time-to-degree numbers — and narrative arguments about their departments' strengths. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, for example, noted that several recent Ph.D.s in economics, political science, and psychology had won tenure-track positions at Ivy League institutions.

When they had to report poor-looking numbers, departments were quick to cite reasons and contexts. The anthropology program said its median time to degree of 7.3 years might seem high when compared with those of other degree courses, but is actually lower than the national average for anthropology students, who typically spend years doing fieldwork. Economics said its retention-and-completion rate, which is less than 50 percent, might look low but is comparable to those in other highly ranked economics departments, where students are often weeded out by comprehensive exams at the end of the first year.

In April 2008, a committee appointed and led by Mr. Osmer, the graduate-school dean, digested the colleges' reports and issued a report card, ranking the 90 doctoral programs in six categories. (See table on following page.)

The panel did not meekly accept the colleges' self-evaluations. The College of Biological Sciences, for example, had reported that it lacked enough data to draw distinctions among its programs. But the committee's report argued, among other things, that the small program in entomology appeared to draw relatively little outside research support, and that its students had lower GRE scores than those in other biology programs. (Entomology and all other doctoral programs in biology were among the 29 programs that Mr. Osmer's committee deemed in need of reassessment or restructuring.)

The report's points about entomology — and about the general organization of the college — were controversial among the faculty members, says Matthew S. Platz, a professor of chemistry who became interim dean of biological sciences in July. But faculty members have taken the lead in developing new designs for the college, he says, to answer many of the central administration's concerns.

"I'm delighted by the fact that at the grass-roots level, faculty members have been talking about several types of reorganization," Mr. Platz says. "And I'm hopeful that two or three of them will be approved by the end of the year."

'Unacceptably Low Quality'

The five doctoral degrees named as candidates for the ax have also stirred controversy.

Jerry M. Bigham, a professor of soil science and director of Ohio State's School of Environment and Natural Resources, says he was disappointed but not entirely surprised by the committee's suggestion that his program could be terminated. The soil-science program has existed on its own only since 1996; before that it was one of several specializations offered by the doctoral program in agronomy.

"In essence, we've had students and faculty members spread across three programs," he says. So he understands why the university might want to place soil sciences under a larger umbrella, in order to reduce overhead and streamline the administration.

At the same time, he says, several people were offended by the Osmer committee's blunt statement that soil-science students are of "unacceptably low quality."

The panel's analysis of the students' GRE scores was "just a snapshot, and I think it really has to be viewed with caution," Mr. Bigham says. "Even though we're a small program, our students have won university fellowships and have been recognized for their research. So I would really object to any characterization of our students as being weak."

The final verdict on the five programs is uncertain. The colleges that house them might propose folding them into larger degree courses. Or they might propose killing them outright. All such proposals, which are due this fall, are subject to approval by the central administration.

Jason W. Marion, president of the university's Council of Graduate Students, says its members have generally supported the doctoral-assessment project, especially its emphasis on improving stipends and fellowships. But some students, he adds, have expressed concern about an overreliance on GRE scores at the expense of harder-to-quantify "output" variables like job-placement outcomes.

Mr. Osmer replies that job placement actually has been given a great deal of weight. "Placing that alongside the other variables really helped our understanding of these programs come together," he says.

At this summer's national workshop sessions of the Council of Graduate Schools, Mr. Osmer was invited to lecture about Ohio State's assessment project and to discuss how other institutions might make use of their own National Research Council data. William R. Wiener, a vice provost at Marquette University who also spoke on Mr. Osmer's panel, calls the Ohio State project one example of how universities are becoming smarter about assessments.

"Assessments need to have reasonable consequences," Mr. Wiener says. "I think more universities realize that they need to create a culture of assessment, and that improving student learning needs to permeate everything that we do."

Mr. Beck, the former social-sciences dean at Ohio State, says that even for relatively strong departments — his own political-science department was rated "high quality" by Mr. Osmer's committee — a well-designed assessment process can be eye-opening.

"These programs just kind of float along, guided by their own internal pressures," says Mr. Beck. But "the departments here were forced to take a hard look at themselves, and they sometimes saw things that they didn't like."


Until recently, Ohio State University used a simple, quantity-based formula to distribute student-support money to its doctoral programs. In essence, the more credit hours taken by students in a program each quarter, the more money the program collected. But last year the university introduced quality-control measures. It used them to make choices about which programs to invest in — and, more controversially, which ones to eliminate.

Measures used:

  • Students' time to degree Students' GRE scores
  • Graduates' job placements, 1996-2005 Student diversity
  • The program's share of Ph.D. production (both nationally and among Ohio State's peers)
  • "Overall program quality and centrality to the university's mission"

Resulting ratings:

  • High quality: 12 programs
  • Strong: 17 programs
  • Good: 16 programs
  • New and/or in transition; cannot be fully assessed: 11 programs
  • Must reassess and/or restructure: 29 programs
  • Candidates for disinvestment or elimination: 5 programs

What the ratings mean:

  • Programs rated "high quality" and "strong" will share new funds from the central administration for graduate-student stipends.
  • "Good" programs have been asked to make improvements in specific areas. Their support will not significantly change.
  • Colleges with doctoral programs that were deemed in need of reassessment or restructuring were asked to submit new strategic plans this fall. Those plans are subject to approval by Ohio State's provost.
  • The new strategic plans will also deal with programs deemed candidates for disinvestment or elimination. Those programs might be folded into larger degree courses, or killed outright.

 Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at


Maple's Document Management System

October 30, 2008 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@BONACKERS.COM]

This came as part of a subscription to a technology newsletter, I haven't tried this product myself.  Scott Bonacker CPA, Springfield, MO]

As an IT professional, chances are good that you have lots of detailed information that you have to keep track of in order to do your job effectively and efficiently. You probably have a multitude of documents stored in a multitude of folders on your hard disk. Using a series of documents and folders to store all your information is a pretty logical way of doing things, especially when used in combination with Vista’s Search tool and Saved searches feature, keeping track of all that information is pretty easy. However, it could be better — especially if all that information could be made available in one place.

Well, I recently discovered a very nice document manager called Maple from Crystal Office Systems that runs perfectly on Windows Vista and produces what is essentially a document database. In this edition of the Windows Vista Report, I’ll introduce you to Maple and show you how to use it manage your document collection.

This blog post is also available in the PDF format in a TechRepublic Download.

Getting Maple

You can download Maple from the Crystal Office Systems Web site. Once you download it, installation is a snap and you’ll be ready begin creating you custom document database in no time. You can download and try Maple for 30 days at no cost. A single-user license is $21.95.

When you access the Crystal Office Systems Web site, you’ll also notice that there is another version of this document manager called Maple Professional, which provides a set of advanced features. You’ll also find free reader called Maple Reader that will allow other users to view any document database created with either Maple or Maple Professional.


Read the rest at


A CPA Auditor in Deloitte Commits Felony Fraud Over Years of Managing Audits
How should his fraud be disclosed on a victim's financial statements?

October 31, 2008 message from Dennis Beresford []

Deloitte Says Partner Traded Illegally

Deloitte & Touche says a 30-year partner traded on inside information he got from audits, and lied about it for years. It sued Thomas P. Flanagan in Chancery Court. Flanagan "for 30 years was a partner" in Deloitte & Touche or a predecessor "until his abrupt resignation less than two months ago," Deloitte claims. It says he betrayed his trust and violated company policy by trading in securities of audit clients, including some of his own accounts, since 2005. "Compounding his wrongdoing, Flanagan repeatedly lied to Deloitte about his clandestine trading activities in annual written certifications, going to far as to conceal the existence of a number of his brokerage accounts to avoid detection of his improper conduct," Deloitte says. It says that both Deloitte and its clients have had to pay legal costs to investigate Deloitte's ability to continue as independent auditor, due to Flanagan's shenanigans. It seeks monetary damages. The complaint does not state, or estimate, how much Flanagan made from his alleged inside trades. Deloitte says that it still does not know the extent of them. Deloitte & Touche is represented by Paul Lockwood with Skadden Arps.


October 31, 2008 message from Dennis Beresford []


Here's a little more information. This is from the most recent 10-Q for USG. I understand that similar approaches were used in the other cases where this occurred.

Note that the person in question was the "advisory partner" rather than engagement partner or concurring partner. Most of the large firms use senior partners in a similar "relationship management" way. So the person wouldn't necessarily have been involved in detailed auditing or review, but he might have been involved if there were significant judgmental issues that the engagement team needed to resolve. In this case it looks like D&T decided that wasn't the case.


Since 2002, Deloitte & Touche LLP has served as the independent registered public accountants with respect to our financial statements. In September 2008, Deloitte advised us that they believed a member of Deloitte’s client service team that serves us had entered into two option trades involving our securities in July 2007. This individual had served as the advisory partner on Deloitte’s client service team for us from 2004 until September 2008. The advisory partner is no longer an active partner at Deloitte. Under the Deloitte client service model as we understand it, the role of an advisory partner is primarily to serve in a client-relationship maintenance and assessment role. Securities and Exchange Commission rules require that we file annual financial statements that are audited by registered independent public accountants. SEC rules also provide that when a partner serving in a capacity such as that of this advisory partner has an investment in securities of an audit client, the audit firm should not be considered independent with respect to that client. Based on our review of the former advisory partner’s role and activities, we do not believe that he had any substantive role or influenced any substantive portion of any audit or review of our financial statements. The former advisory partner attended many, but not all, of our audit committee meetings. At these meetings, he reviewed with the committee reports of the annual inspection of Deloitte conducted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board as well as Deloitte’s annual client service assessments. He did not review any substantive audit matters with the committee at any of these meetings or at any other time. The former advisory partner also met once or twice a year with our audit committee chair and once per year with the other members of our audit committee as well as our chief executive officer and chief financial officer. The stated purpose of these meetings was to foster and strengthen Deloitte’s ongoing relationship with us. The former advisory partner attended our annual meetings of shareholders as one of the Deloitte representatives attending those meetings. Neither the former advisory partner nor any other Deloitte representatives spoke at any of these meetings and no questions were asked of Deloitte. At the direction of our audit committee, we conducted an extensive investigation into the facts and circumstances of the extent of any involvement of the former advisory partner with our audit. We retained outside counsel and a consulting firm specializing in accounting issues to assist in this investigation. Outside counsel led the process and conducted personal interviews with the current and former lead client service partners, the concurring review partner, the current and former senior managers on our account and the tax matters partner, as well as the members of our audit committee and key members of our internal finance and accounting departments, including our chief financial


Bob Jensen's threads on Deloitte are at

October 31, 2008 message from Carolyn Kotlas []


"Retrieving whole books, articles, and other documents is no longer sufficient for scholarly research. Faculty and students want to mine documents or other textual works--whether for molecules, materials, or mavens, depending on their field of study. . . . What is new in the digital environment? Information can be extracted in smaller units, mashed up, and recombined -- preferably with attribution to the original sources. Faculty and students alike need assistance in learning how to think with these tools and services if they are to ask truly new questions with them."

In "Supporting the 'Scholarship' in E-Scholarship" (EDUCAUSE REVIEW, vol. 43, no. 6, November/December 2008), Christine L. Borgman examines new forms of scholarly research -- data-intensive, distributed, collaborative, and multidisciplinary -- that are being enabled by the "data deluge," the vast amount and variety of digital materials available to researchers. These new forms of scholarship will have an impact not only on scholars, but also on academic libraries and campus information technology infrastructure.

You can read the article at 

EDUCAUSE Review [ISSN 1527-6619], a bimonthly print magazine that explores developments in information technology and education, is published by EDUCAUSE ( ). Articles from current and back issues of EDUCAUSE Review are available on the Web at 



"From what we've seen, there is little evidence that the Internet fundamentally alters the basics of 'learning' as such. Remember, the Internet is a relatively new phenomenon when compared to the time it took to build out our brains as the basic human apparatus devoted to learning. While it would be surprising to see short-term changes in how learning happens through and in our brains, it's also quite obvious that the Internet has an impact on what we learn, how we engage in learning activities, and in what communicative contexts." -- Urs Gasser, INSIDE HIGHER ED, October 2, 2008

BORN DIGITAL: UNDERSTANDING THE FIRST GENERATION OF DIGITAL NATIVES (Basic Books, 2008), by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser, describes the coming of age of the generation of children who were "born into and raised in the digital world" and discusses their potential influence on the economy, politics, culture, and family life. The book is part of the Digital Natives project, an interdisciplinary collaboration of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen.

For more information about the book, go to 

For more information about the Digital Natives project, go to

INSIDE HIGHER ED recently conducted an email interview with the authors. You can read "Understanding Students Who Were 'Born Digital'" at 

A podcast discussion of the book with author John Palfrey is available at

See also:

"Exploring the Educational Potential of Social Networking Sites: The Fine Line between Exploiting Opportunities and Unwelcome Imposition" By Henk Huijser STUDIES IN LEARNING, EVALUATION, INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT vol. 5, no. 3, September 2008, pp. 45-54 

The paper "explores potential educational applications of Web 2.0 technologies, and cuts through some of the hype generated around these technologies, as well as around characteristics of Generation Y, and their implications for learning and teaching."



LEARNING CIRCUITS, a one-person operation edited by Ryann Ellis, has been recently redesigned. The monthly online publication, established to promote and aid the use of e-learning, is sponsored by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). The October 2008 issue includes:

"The Virtual Gathering Experience" By Debbe Kennedy

"Real Blended Learning Stands Up" By Jennifer Hofmann and Nanette Miner

"Designing Games for E-Learning: A Framework" By Purnima Valiathan and Puja Anand

"E-Learning Excellence in Practice"

You can read current and back issues of Learning Circuits at 

ASTD is "the world's largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. ASTD's members come from more than 100 countries and connect locally in almost 140 U.S. chapters and 25 Global Networks. Members work in thousands of organizations of all sizes, in government, as independent consultants, and suppliers." For more information, contact: American Society for Training & Development, 1640 King St., Box 1443, Alexandria, VA 22313-1443, USA; tel: 703-683-8100 or 800-628-2783; fax: 703-683-8103;



A paper, "The Creation and Refinement of a Sustainable Multimedia Process in a Higher Education Environment," authored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Information Technology Services'

Teaching and Learning staff Megan Bell and Larissa Schraff, has been published in Kent State University's JOURNAL OF THE RESEARCH CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY. Intended to provide a blueprint for the creation of a production team and process based in a higher education setting, the paper describes how "a specialized team of media technology and instructional professionals at UNC-Chapel Hill:

(1) developed and deployed a successful media production process for instructional, online products
(2) adapted the initial production model for other instructional multimedia projects,
(3) gathered student data on the effectiveness of the online learning experience, and
(4) incorporated quality assurance (QA) activities to routinely optimize the production process."

"The Creation and Refinement of a Sustainable Multimedia Process in a Higher Education Environment" is available online at


Neal Gualtieri also edits the eLearn Blog, one of the Association for Computing Machinery-supported online communities. The blog is located at

From the Scout Report on October 31, 2008

Path Finder 5.0 --- 

Finding certain files on a computer can be an onerous chore from time to time, and Path Finder 5.0 is a good solution for anyone who's been bedeviled by such a task. The application includes a dual pane browser, cut and paste support, and a website that includes an interactive tour through its other features. This version of Path Finder is compatible with systems running Mac OS X 10.5 and newer. Also, this is a 30-day free trial version, and a full paid license is required after that point.

VideoInspector --- 

Have you ever had a video file that just wouldn't play? VideoInspector may be just the thing for such a situation. VideoInspector helps identify the coder-decoder required to play a specific file and it is available in over 12 languages. There's also online support for this application, and it is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.


Free online textbooks, cases, and tutorials in accounting, finance, economics, and statistics ---

Education Tutorials

November 5, 2008 message from Mark Meuwissen [MarkM@ALEXTECH.EDU]

The down and dirty situation is that I will substitute teach a condensed unit on Bonds in just one 4 hour night. I need the students to pre-study time value of money so that I can concentrate on bonds, premiums, discounts, amortization and etc. This is a first year Principles course so the students cannot be assumed to have ever seen TMV.

Does anyone have an on-line tool, video, PowerPoint or something they would share with me?

My intention is to use SoftChalk to convert or modify whatever I can find into a self-directed learning tool. I would gladly share what I come up with – unless what I find is even better than I can do. Then there would be no need to further modify.

November 5, 2008 Reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Mark

Although this link is far too advanced for basic accounting students, there’s a terrific summary of the mathematics of finance at
I think it is better summary than you will find in most textbooks.

I don't think PowerPoint is as effective as using Excel itself to explain basic or advanced mathematics of finance.

My preference is to teach basic mathematics of finance and Excel functions at the same time in basic accounting or basic finance.
In particular, Excel has a number of quirks when using functions. I have a helper Excel workbook that I developed over the years of dealing with Excel function quirks that confuse students learning the basic of Excel financial functions  ---
Students can always select a cell and then view the Excel function that generated the number.
The can also see why a particular function did not work because of using the wrong syntax.

I also have an introduction Excel workbook that explains, among other things, how present value tables are derived.
Students can always select a cell and then view the Excel function that generated the number.

The Journal spread sheet has a pretty good illustration of notes payable amortization schedule derivation and graphing ---
This is also one of the more popular illustrations of swap accounting in my workshops.

Video on the History of Present Value ---
I don’t quite know what to think about this one other than it needs more dialog and less music.

Future Value Video ---

Video on the basics of Excel functions ---

Video on the NPV function in Excel ---
Calculating NPV with a romantic Irish accent ---

Budgeting and Internal Rate of Return Video ---

Financial Analysis Using Excel
Part 1 ---
Part 2 ---
Part 3 ---
Part 4 ---

 Susan Crossan has some video lectures on bond discounting (see her Chapter 10 videos) ---

In advanced (probably graduate) courses students may want to study benchmarked interest accounting ala FAS 138 ---

Bob Jensen

November 5, 2008 reply from AMY HAAS [haasfive@MSN.COM]

Check out this website. FINANCIAL MATH  This excellent web site has step-by-step instructions for solving financial math problems. Check it out for help with appendix A: The time value of money. Here's the link that you can paste into your browser: 

Amy Haas

November 5, 2008 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]

Here's a link that I like: 

It's possible someone else sent it to you previously, but I actually like redundancy.


Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Science in Focus ---

American Museum of Natural History: Science Bulletins ---

Canada Virtual Science Fair ---

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

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

An Entire (Free) Online Video Course in Game Theory by a Well-known Economics Researcher/Theorist from Yale University ---
This is tough going, but it may be well worth the effort to you. I've only watched two lectures, but my intent is to study this course from beginning to end.
It may be of interest to re-watch the movie A Beautiful Mind after watching the Nash Equilibrium lecture. I've always thought Nash was given too much credit for supposedly inventing a multivariate mean solution ---
Sorry, but I do not view what Nash did as rocket science. But game theory itself is economics and political science rocket science.
November 3, 2008 message from Richard C. Sansing [Richard.C.Sansing@TUCK.DARTMOUTH.EDU]

Bear in mind that the scene that supposedly describes a Nash equilibrium in the movie gets it completely wrong. 
Richard Sansing

November 4, 2008 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU]


I also thought so as a graduate student just transitioning out of Operations research/Statistics. I found the only Game Theory work that he mentions in his Nobel lecture ('The Bargaining Problem') not too exciting, until a few years later read its beautiful behavioural interpretation by another nobelist, John Harsanyi.

It is true that Nash equillibrium is not a deep mathematical result, but then he never claimed it to be so. However, its impact on modern economics is plainly there to be seen. It has spawned 4 nobels in economics (Nash, Harsanyi, Selten, Aumann). I have been a fan of each of them.

John Nash was a mathematician, and not an economist, who stumbled into Games through an international economics course he had taken at Carnegie Tech.

I wish life had been more kind to him.

As an aside, a cousin of mine (Ramesh Gangolli, an actuary, a wrangler/mathematical tripos at Cambridge, who later became a professor of mathematics and music at U Washington [ ]) was his graduate assistant at MIT, and had to work with other faculty when John Nash's mental health tanked. He is mentioned in "The Beautiful Mind" as one of the first to recognise that something was wrong with John Nash's mental health.

Jagdish Gangolly ( )
Department of Informatics, College of Computing & Information
State University of New York at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222
Phone: 518-442-4949


Mediastorm ---

The Archaeology Channel Video Guide ---

Congressional Hearings: Law Library of Congress ---

From the Scout Report on October 31, 2008

Seventy years later, Orson Welles' "The War of the Worlds" remains electrifying Scar "War" put Welles on map 

Ball St. recreating 'War of the Worlds' broadcast,0,5630576.story  

The Hyped Panic Over 'War of the Worlds' 

Orson Welles' complicated feelings for Kenosha 

A history of Grover's Mill


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

Law and Legal Studies

From the Harvard Law School
Dying Speeches & Bloody Murders: Crime Broadsides ---

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

goSmithsonian: Lincoln ---

Clara Barton National Historic Site ---

Uncommon Lives (Australia) ---

The Holburne Museum of Art ---

Crace Collection of Maps of London ---

Oyez Baseball 

The Albert G. Spalding Collection of Early Baseball Photographs and Drawings ---

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

Language Tutorials

Ruth Charney on Modeling with Cubes ---

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Writing Tutorials

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Updates from WebMD ---

"What You Need to Know About Eating Fish," by Jeanie Lurche Davis, WebMD, November 2008 ---

The EPA and FDA advise pregnant women, young women who may become pregnant, or women who are nursing:

Undisputed Benefits of Omega-3 Fats

The omega-3 fats in many fish and seafood are known to lower risk of heart disease and benefit the brain. The American Heart Association advises at least two servings a week of fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon because of these healthy fats. However, the following people should take care to consume fish sources of omega-3 fats with lower mercury content: women who wish to become pregnant or are now pregnant; women who are nursing; and young children.

"The Healthy Skinny Pill:  A new drug proves effective in fighting obesity and related diseases while increasing stamina in mice," by Brittany Sauser, MIT's Technology Review, November 4, 2008 --- Click Here

A pill that delivers the health benefits of diet and exercise without any of the effort is one step closer to becoming a reality. European scientists have found that mice fed a high-fat, high-calorie diet and prevented from exercising regularly can be protected from weight gain and metabolic disorders when given a drug that targets a gene linked to longevity. The treatment even increases the animals' running endurance.

The drug was developed last year by Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, based in Cambridge, MA, and preliminary studies of the compound showed it to be effective in treating mice models of type 2 diabetes, a disease that results in an impaired ability to produce or process insulin, the risk of which increases with age. Now scientists led by professor Johan Auwerx at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland, have shown that the compound involved, known as SRT1720, also blocks weight gain and obesity-related disorders and increases muscle stamina.

In the study, scientists fed the mice a high-fat, high-calorie diet mixed with doses of SRT1720 for approximately 10 weeks. The mice were given 100 or 500 milligrams of fat per kilogram of body weight each day (a high dose even for humans). The mice did not exercise regularly, although the scientists tested the animals' exercise capacity, or endurance, by making them run on a treadmill. "The mice treated with the compound ran significantly longer," says Auwerx. The drug also protected the animals from the negative effects of high-calorie diets: metabolic disorders, obesity-related diseases, and insulin resistance. It even improved the mice's cholesterol.

It is significant that the drug mimics the effects of a calorie-restricted diet, since this has previously been tied to increased life expectancy, says William Evans, a professor of geriatric medicine, nutrition, and physiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

It's as if the couch-potato mice underwent a strict diet and exercise regime, says David Sinclair, a biologist at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, who is one of the cofounders of Sirtris but was not involved in the current study. The new study "is a major step forward, showing that we can design and synthesize potent, druglike molecules that could slow down the aging process," says Sinclair.

The effects of the compound are similar to those of resveratrol, a molecule found in red wine that has previously been shown to extend life span and have health benefits in mice. But SRT1720 is a thousand times more potent than resveratrol, meaning that it could be taken in smaller doses. A person would have to drink hundreds of glasses of wine to get the same health benefits from resveratrol, and, while supplements are available, it is unclear whether they are as effective. "Resveratrol will pretty soon look like ancient technology," says Sinclair.

Fantastic Brain Images

"The Brain Unveiled: A new imaging method offers a spectacular view of neural structures," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, November/December 2008 ---

A new imaging method that offers an unprece­dented view of ­complex neural structures could help explain the workings of the brain and shed light on neurological diseases.

Brain Connections
Diffusion spectrum imaging, developed by neuroscientist Van Wedeen at Massachusetts General Hospital, analyzes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data in new ways, letting scientists map the nerve fibers that carry information between cells. These images, generated from a living human brain, show a reconstruction of the entire brain (above) and a subset of fibers (below). The red fibers in the middle and lower left of both images are part of the corpus callosum, which connects the two halves of the brain.

Continued in article


Forwarded by Dr, Wolff

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you will have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
(Hardly seems worth it.)

If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
(Now that's more like it!)
The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.

A pig's orgasm lasts 30 minutes.
(In my next life, I want to be a pig.)

A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. (creepy)
(I'm still thinking about the pig.)
Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour .
(Don't try this at home.....maybe at work)
The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male's head off.
(Honey, I'm home. What the...?!)
The flea can jump 350 times its' body length. That's like a human jumping the length of a football field.
(30 minutes..lucky pig! Can you imagine?)
The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.
(What's so tasty at the bottom of a pond?)
Some lions mate over 50 times a day.
(I still want to be a pig in my next life...quality over quantity)
Butterflies taste with their feet.
(Something I always wanted to know.)
The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.
(If you're ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)

Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump.
(Okay, so that would be a good thing)
A cat's urine glows under a black light.
(I wonder who was paid to research that?)
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its' brain.
(I know some people like that.)
Starfish have no brains.
(I know some people like that too.)
Polar bears are left-handed.
(If they switch, they'll live longer)

Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure
(I question this one. Some humans have trouble staying awake during sex, and some horses we had on the farm really seemed to enjoy conceiving as evidenced by a whole lot of snorting and dilated pupils.)  Perhaps humans and dolphins are the only mammals to have sex without the female having to be in heat. I didn't check this idea out. I suspect if you yelled for each orgasm you will have produced enough sound energy in a lifetime to heat one cup of coffee.


Men versus Women Having Perfect Days ---

Kissing Quotations ...

Music Humor ---

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 Trites'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