Happy New Year (Abba) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qCRQqOz63s

One year of changing seasons (video) --- http://www.vimeo.com/2639782

Snowy Views --- http://www.photojenic.ca/

Mountain Images --- http://www.mountain-images.co.uk/

One year of changing seasons (video) --- http://www.vimeo.com/2639782

2008 Year in Review (Humor) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWiXy55OHyY

Happy Holidays (beautiful) --- http://ecard.ashland.edu/index.php?ecardYear=2004adm


Aside from bed and breakfast inns, our Village of Sugar Hill, there is only one business (Harmon's) in the center of the village, and Polly's Pancake Parlor out on Hildex Farm.

In the next edition of Tidbits I will feature Harmon's General Store and Cheese House. This week I will feature Polly's Pancake Parlor, which is about a mile down from our cottage on Route 117. Visitors to New England often make this a scheduled stop in their holidays, which also means that there is often a bit of a wait to get a table. But the wait is well worth the home made food served at Polly's. There's nothing low in calories in this land of maple sugar. I mean why is our village called Sugar Hill? At Polly's they make their own maple sugar products for both the restaurant and for their onsite and online stores. The home page is at http://www.pollyspancakeparlor.com/


Polly's Pancake Parlor History since 1830 --- http://www.pollyspancakeparlor.com/history.html

The building which houses "Polly's Pancake Parlor" was built about 1830. It was originally used as a carriage shed and was later used for storage of firewood. During the depression of the thirties Polly and Wilfred (Sugar Bill) Dexter converted the building to a small, quaint tea room (capacity - 24 people). When they started serving in 1938 they offered pancakes, waffles and French toast - "All you can eat for 50¢." The idea was to stimulate sales of their maple products.

Polly and Will's daughter married Roger Aldrich in 1949 and in that year took over the management of "Polly's Pancake Parlor."

Wilfred Dexter passed away in 1960 and in 1964 Polly followed him. Since that time Nancy and Roger have gradually expanded the operation from three months to six months and the dining room size has been increased three times.

Nancy and Roger's daughter, Kathie and her husband, Dennis Cote are now very actively assisting on a full-time basis with the management and production which assures our long list of friends that there will be family continuity for many years to come.

The antique tools and other items displayed here are mostly family relics found in the attic and sheds here on the farm. Some have come from relatives and a few have been purchased. Our home and farm has been continuously occupied by the same family (through marriage) since it was originally settled in 1819. Some of the ancestors portraits are hanging on the walls in the pancake parlor. There are Civil War relics along with the old tools. There are old "Trades Cards" advertising posters and sheet music covers. None of the antique articles displayed are for sale, but you're sure to find them interesting.

The original menu has been greatly enlarged to include Buckwheat, Cornmeal, Oatmeal Buttermilk and Whole Wheat pancakes and waffles which are varied by combining them with blueberries, walnuts,coconut, or chocolate chips, along daily pancake specials such as gingerbread! We serve country style patty sausage and smoked bacon and smoked ham made by our friends at North Country Smokehouse here in New Hampshire. Sandwiches made with our own homemade bread (white, whole wheat, dark rye or oatmeal) are available. We also serve English muffins, quiche, soups, baked beans and other items as specials, ALL HOMEMADE here!

We use no prepared mixes. Our pancake batters are prepared from the original recipes from the flour on up. We use the best ingredients obtainable in an effort to serve the lightest, fluffiest pancakes possible. Our whole Wheat, Buckwheat, Oatmeal Buttermilk and Cornmeal Pancakes and Breads are made with organically grown grains, which we stone-grind ourselves. The Whole Wheat is high protein, hard spring wheat. For dessert we serve choice fresh fruits in season, plus homemade pies, wondrous Maple Bavarian Cream, and Maple Hurricane Sundae. We serve fresh eggs, any style, and the best coffee you ever had, made with our pure fresh mountain water.

We invite comments in our guest register and while they are overwhelmingly favorable, we pay attention to the unfavorable ones in order to improve our service. Our all time favorite comment was left by a guest from England: "Polly's Pancake Parlor is an oasis in the American food desert."

Our syrup is personally selected for color and flavor and is hot packed here to insure perfection. The granulated maple sugar and maple spread which is served with our pancakes and waffles is homemade by us here at the farm using a process and some machinery invented by "Sugar Bill" Dexter. The process is slow and time-consuming and certainly not competitive but the flavor, light color and fine texture that we desire cannot be produced by any other method.

Where else can you buy granulated maple in bulk containers? Most places sell it in "plastic age" shakers "for your convenience." These products are consumed by the hundreds of pounds at the "Pancake Parlor" and many people take same home with them for their own use or as gifts for friends. We also sell by mail and if you care to leave your address we will send you our gift list at Christmas.

Among our guests we have a high percentage of repeat customers, who, over the years, have become our very good friends. We hope to list you among them.

In ROADFOOD, the coast-to-coast guide to over 400 of America's Regional Restaurants published by Random House, Jane and Michael Stern say, "We don't know a better place to eat pancakes than Polly's. The Parlor is in an 1830-vintage building on Hildex Farm. From your table you look over the New Hampshire countryside through the clear mountain air. The pancakes served here are made from light cornmeal, whole wheat, or buckwheat batter, filled with chopped nuts, blueberries, or coconut. And the star of the show is maple, brought to your table as maple sugar, maple syrup and maple spread."


How to Live Your Life --- Click Here

RefuseToHate --- http://vimeo.com/2213624



Tidbits on January 5, 2009
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm#Presentations   

Bob Jensen's Threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

Bob Jensen's Search Helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm
Free Telephone Directory (you must listen to an opening advertisement) --- 800-FREE411 or 800-373-3411
Free Online Telephone Directory --- http://snipurl.com/411directory    [www_public-records-now_com] 
Free online 800 telephone numbers --- http://www.tollfree.att.net/tf.html
Google Free Business Phone Directory --- 800-goog411
To find names addresses from listed phone numbers, go to www.google.com and read in the phone number without spaces, dashes, or parens

You might want to check if your cell phone numbers can be easily obtained:
To find some cell phone numbers (for a fee):
The "Free Cell Phone Tracer" only indicates that it has found the cell phone owner's name and address. Then your must pay to see that name and address.

Bob Jensen's essay on the financial crisis bailout's aftermath and an alphabet soup of appendices can be found at


Appendix A: Impending Disaster in the U.S.

Appendix B: The Trillion Dollar Bet in 1993

Appendix C: Don't Blame Fair Value Accounting Standards This includes a bull crap case based on an article by the former head of the FDIC

Appendix D: The End of Investment Banking as We Know It

Appendix E: Your Money at Work, Fixing Others’ Mistakes (includes a great NPR public radio audio module)

Appendix F: Christopher Cox Waits Until Now to Tell Us His Horse Was Lame All Along S.E.C. Concedes Oversight Flaws Fueled Collapse And This is the Man Who Wants Accounting Standards to Have Fewer Rules

Appendix G: Why the $700 Billion Bailout Proposed by Paulson, Bush, and the Guilty-Feeling Leaders in Congress Won't Work

Appendix H: Where were the auditors? The aftermath will leave the large auditing firms in a precarious state?

Appendix I: 1999 Quote from The New York Times ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

Appendix J:  Will the large auditing firms survive the 2008 banking meltdown?

Appendix K:  Why not bail out everybody and everything?

Appendix L:  The trouble with crony capitalism isn't capitalism. It's the cronies.

Appendix M:  Reinventing the American Dream

Appendix N: Accounting Fraud at Fannie Mae

Appendix O: If Greenspan Caused the Subprime Real Estate Bubble, Who Caused the Second Bubble That's About to Burst?

Appendix P:  Meanwhile in the U.K., the Government Protects Reckless Bankers

Appendix Q: Bob Jensen's Primer on Derivatives (with great videos from CBS)

Appendix R:  Accounting Standard Setters Bending to Industry and Government Pressure to Hide the Value of Dogs

Appendix S: Fooling Some People All the Time

Appendix T:  Regulations Recommendations

Appendix U: Subprime: Borne of Sleaze, Bribery, and Lies

Appendix V: Implications for Educators, Colleges, and Students

Appendix W: The End

Appendix: X: How Scientists Help Cause Our Financial Crisis

Appendix Y:  The Bailout's Hidden Agenda Details

Appendix Z:  What's the rush to re-inflate the stock market?

Personal Note from Bob Jensen


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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/NHcottage/NHcottage.htm

Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
       (Also scroll down to the table at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ )

Global Incident Map --- http://www.globalincidentmap.com/home.php

Set up free conference calls at http://www.freeconference.com/
Also see http://www.yackpack.com/uc/   

Bob Jensen's Search Helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm
Free Telephone Directory (you must listen to an opening advertisement) --- 800-FREE411
Free Online Telephone Directory --- http://snipurl.com/411directory    [www_public-records-now_com] 
Free online 800 telephone numbers --- http://www.tollfree.att.net/tf.html
Google Free Business Phone Directory --- 800-goog411
To find names addresses from listed phone numbers, go to www.google.com and read in the phone number without spaces, dashes, or parens
To find some cell phone numbers (for a fee):
The "Free Cell Phone Tracer" only indicates that it has found the cell phone owner's name and address. Then your must pay to see that name and address.

U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefit Calculators --- http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator/
After 2017 what we would really like is a choice between our full social security benefits or 18 Euros each month --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Entitlements.htm

Free Online Tutorials in Multiple Disciplines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials

Chronicle of Higher Education's 2008-2009 Almanac --- http://chronicle.com/free/almanac/2008/?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on economic and social statistics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics

World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php

Tips on computer and networking security --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) --- http://www.iasplus.com/links/links.htm

If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  --- http://www.valour-it.blogspot.com/

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials
Edutainment and Learning Games --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment
Open Sharing Courses --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Stonehenge Mystery Solved? (maybe) --- http://j-walkblog.com/index.php?/weblog/posts/moving_big_rocks

The U.S. Flag (Robin Williams) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_L1vLv84vs
The U.S. Flag (Johnnie Cash) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whmVGRSgAe8

One year of changing seasons (video) --- http://www.vimeo.com/2639782

PC World 2008 Gadget Review Video (after the commercial) --- http://www.pcworld.com/video/id,975-page,1-bid,0/video.html
Also go to www.amazon.com and search for gadgets in the Electronics category

Prevent Heart Damage (video) --- http://www.technologyreview.com/video/?vid=179

2008 Year in Review (Humor) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWiXy55OHyY

Finding the Strength to Get Back Up --- http://www.maniacworld.com/are-you-going-to-finish-strong.html

The Great Issues Forum (great for dissertation and book ideas) --- http://www.greatissuesforum.org/

Interviewing Failed Suicide Bombers (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imx0AnNxUmY

The Engines of Our Ingenuity (audio history of creativity) --- http://www.uh.edu/engines/engines.htm

United Nations Audio Library: Radio Classics [iTunes]

From Business Week Magazine
Tech Trends to Expect in 2009 Mark Anderson predicts the year's coming developments, from expanded home entertainment to voice recognition to new, lightweight netbooks --- http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/dec2008/tc20081211_906153.htm?link_position=link1

Repeatedly click the background of this highly unique multimedia Christmas card --- http://jsmagic.net/emissarypage7/

Watch 'Dem Bones Panhandle --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uhbUBB4_GE

A Great Dog Enjoying Our Deep Snow --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sUL0KCIc48

Whisky Commercial (not for children) --- http://www.forgetfoo.com/?blogid=9678

For those who like a simple (yeah right) explanation of the financial crisis ---

Free music downloads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

TheRadio (My Favorite, Enter singer, song title, composer, or category such as opera) --- http://www.theradio.com/

Josh Groban - O Holy Night --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQWXfHzOKUU

Jukebox --- http://hfm3.com/jukebox/jukebox.html
Old 45s --- http://oldfortyfives.com/TakeMeBackToTheFifties.htm

Oscar Peterson: Piano Master --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98358091

Stand By Me

Bailout Humor and Music Videos (forwarded by David Albrecht)

Sponsor a CEO:
Where's my bailout?
Would buy weed if given bailout
Santa Claus bailout
Subprime meltdown
Bailout man song
Twelve days of bailouts
700 Billion Dollar Bailout - the Song
Wall Street Bailout Song
"Give it to me" Bailout Rap
The SubPrime Blues #2, Will Inflate Stated Income for Food
SubPrime Blues
Foreclosure Blues

Bob Jensen listens to music free online (and no commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/ 

Photographs and Art

Federal Revenue and Spending Book of Charts (Great Charts on Bad Budgeting) --- http://www.heritage.org/research/features/BudgetChartBook/index.html

Reconstructing American History --- http://newt.org/Portals/0/Capitol Visitor Center Report_.pdf

Moore's Law for Computer Processors (click on the photo gallery) --- http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/21901/?a=f

The Roger Reynolds Collection (video)  http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/html/rreynolds/rreynolds-hom

Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award98/ienhtml/curthome.html

National Museum of the American Indian: Beauty Surrounds Us ---

Historic Photographs (including Lincoln) --- http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2008/11/24/life-images-hosted-by-google/

Holiday Photos (Spectacular Slide Show) --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/temp/HolidayPhotos.pps

2008:  Year in Photographs --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2152750/posts

The William Morris Society Website (art and literature) --- http://www.morrissociety.org/

Museum of Biblical Art (video) ---  http://www.mobia.org/index.php

American Society of Limnology and Oceanography --- http://aslo.org/index.html

The Master Of Graphite Pencil (Linda Huber) --- http://www.here2see.com/the-master-of-graphite-pencil-linda-huber/

Glass and Light --- http://veryveryfun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=42&Itemid=1

Lino Tagliapietra in Retrospect: A Modern Renaissance in Italian Glass (video) --- http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/online/lino/

2002 Postcards --- http://www.artnet.com/magazine/picturepostcard/picturepostcard2002.asp
Artnet Galleries --- http://www.artnet.com/net/galleries/gallery_home.aspx

Turner Prize 2008 (art history) --- http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/turnerprize/turnerprize2008/

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline of Art History http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/splash.htm 

From Dartmouth University
Hood Museum of Art ---

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Links to Poets and Their Online Poems --- http://wings.buffalo.edu/epc/authors/

Poets of Old and Their Poems --- http://oldpoetry.com/oauthor/list

The Auden Society http://audensociety.org/ 
Poets: W.H. Auden http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/120

Best Poems --- http://100.best-poems.net/

From the University of Michigan
The American Verse Project --- http://quod.lib.umich.edu/a/amverse/

The Kipling Society --- http://www.kipling.org.uk/

Graham Greene Land --- http://members.tripod.com/greeneland/

Bartleby's Free Online Books --- http://www.bartleby.com/titles/

Forgotten Books --- http://www.forgottenbooks.org/catalog/index.php

From the University of South Carolina
F. Scott Fitzgerald Centenary --- http://www.sc.edu/fitzgerald/

Federal Revenue and Spending Book of Charts (Great Charts on Bad Budgeting) --- http://www.heritage.org/research/features/BudgetChartBook/index.html

Online Historical Population Reports --- http://www.histpop.org/ohpr/servlet/

State of World Population 2008 (read a free chapter) --- http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2008/en/

Digital History --- http://digitalhistory.unl.edu/

Economic Indicators --- http://www.gpoaccess.gov/indicators/
EconStats --- http://www.econstats.com/index.htm
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics

A Literary Map of Maine --- http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/literarymap/map.html

Teaching Tolerance Magazine --- http://www.tolerance.org/teach/magazine/index.jsp

"St. Olaf Wrestles With Milton's Angel, and Prevails," by Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 21, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i13/13a00104.htm

Here are some of the things you learn when you participate in a Milton marathon:

  1. Milton is not as boring as you think. Paradise Lost has something for everyone: Hot but innocent sex! (You thought Adam and Eve spent all their time in Eden gardening?) Descriptions of hellfire that would make The Lord of the Rings' archfiend, Sauron, weep with envy! Epic battles, with angels hurling mountains at their demonic foes! This is edge-of-your-seat material. "It's a really cool story, which I wasn't expecting," said Anna Coffey, a sophomore who took part in the reading to get a jump on her homework for a "Great Conversations" core-curriculum course.


  2. Milton is not that hard to read out loud. As Mr. DuRocher pointed out in a set of "Guidelines for Reciting" he handed out before the marathon, "Paradise Lost is written in modern English." Compared with Beowulf, Paradise Lost is a walk in the park.


  3. Milton is really hard to read out loud. Very few people get words like "puissance" right on the first try. Milton loved a runaway sentence and just about any now-obscure classical or geographical reference he could get his hands on, many of them polysyllabic nightmares. Partway through Book VI, Mr. DuRocher offered advice to the tongue-tied. "Whenever you encounter a word you don't know, that's a word to pronounce with special certainty," he said. "It's probably best to mispronounce demonic names anyway."


  4. It's worth it. "It's really a good poem," said Mr. Goodroad. "It's a lot better to hear it than to read it."

From Dartmouth College
Poems 1645 --- http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/contents/

Citizen (John) Milton --- http://www.cems.ox.ac.uk/citizenmilton/

It is not just pit-gazing that is hard work, but life-gazing. It is difficult for us to contemplate, fixedly, the possibility, let alone the certainty, that life is a matter of cosmic hazard, its fundamental purpose mere self-perpetuation, that it unfolds in emptiness, that our planet will one day drift in frozen silence, and that the human species, as it has developed in all its frenzied and over-engineered complexity, will completely disappear and not be missed, because there is nobody and nothing out there to miss us. This is what growing up means. And it is a frightening prospect for a race which has for so long relied upon its own invented gods for explanation and consolation.
Julian Barnes, Nothing to Be Frightened Of (Random House, 2008) as quoted in a recent email message by Amy Dunbar
Amy points out that in spite of this morbid topic, the book is filled with humor as well as serious philosophy of life.

How and When They Departed This Earth --- http://www.alternativereel.com/includes/articles/display_article.php?id=00011
Their works live on even if they died miserably and/or tragically. Success does not always equal happiness when departing life.

* Euripides [480-406 B.C.] Greek Playwright - Mauled by a pack of wild dogs owned by Archelaus, the King of Macedonia.

* Dante Alighieri [1256-1321] Italian Poet - Fell ill and died about an hour after completing The Divine Comedy.

* Francis Villon [1431-1464?] French Poet - May have been attacked by a mob of bandits or hanged by authorities after a brief prison stay for murdering a priest. Take your pick. Left France at the age of 32 and was never heard from again. "Where are the snows of yesteryear?"

* Christopher Marlowe [1564-1593] English Playwright - Stabbed with a dagger during a bar fight at the inn of the Widow Bull in Deptford. Was it an argument over the bill?

* Richard Lovelace [1618-1658] English Poet - Believed to have died of consumption "in a very mean lodging" in Gunpowder Alley, Shoe Lane. "I could not love thee, dear, so much/Loved I not honour more."

* Thomas Chatterton [1752-1770] English Poet - Killed self by drinking arsenic at the age of 17. Apparently in despair over lack of recognition. Gained popularity after death. [Editor’s Note: Chatterton’s father was well known around town for a rather dubious talent - he could put his entire fist in his mouth.]

* Lord Byron [1788-1824] English Poet - Killed by doctors during a "blood letting" attempt to cure malarial fever. Last words: "I must sleep now."

* Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822] English Poet - Drowned while sailing near Spezia, Italy, and was cremated on the beach. [Editor’s Note: Shelley’s heart wouldn’t burn and was given to his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley as a souvenir.]

* Honore De Balzac [1799-1850] French Author - Believed to have choked on too much coffee.

* Edgar Allan Poe [1809-1849] American Author - Died of "acute congestion of the brain" several days after he was discovered lying unconscious in a Baltimore street, wearing someone else’s tattered clothes.

* Leo Tolstoy [1828-1910] Russian Author - Gave away entire fortune, froze to death in a railroad station on a cold winter night.

* Ambrose Bierce [1842-1914?] American Author - Disappeared in Mexico while reporting on the Pancho Villa’s rebellion. May have been murdered by bandits.

* Arthur Rimbaud [1854-1891] French Poet - A probable victim of syphilis, had right leg amputated, became paralyzed and gradually slipped into permanent coma.

* Lionel Johnson [1867-1902] British Poet - Fell off a barstool during a bout of heavy drinking, according to legend.

* Alfred Jarry [1873-1907] French Dramatist - Paralyzed in both legs at the age of 34. Last request was for a toothpick.

* Sherwood Anderson [1876-1941] American Author - Complications of peritonitis in Colon, Panama, after ingesting a toothpick along with a hors d’oeuvre at a cocktail party.

* Jack London [1876-1916] American Author - A "raging alcoholic," died of uremia brought on by a morphine overdose at the age of 40.

* Vachel Lindsay [1879-1931] American Poet - Killed self by drinking disinfectant.

* Virginia Woolf [1882-1941] British Author & Critic - Filled pockets with stones and drowned self in the river Ouse.

* Franz Kafka [1883-1924] - Died of tuberculosis and was buried in Prag-Straschintz. Had requested that all of his work be destroyed after his death.

* Ezra Pound [1885-1972] - Arrested for treason after World War II for broadcasting Fascist propaganda, declared mentally ill and committed to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Washington D.C. Released in 1958 and died a semi-recluse in Italy. [Editor’s Note: Born in Hailey, Idaho, Pound’s middle name was Loomis.]

* Maxwell Bodenheim [1893-1954] American Author - Shot with a .22 rifle by an insane dishwasher.

* Sergei Esenin [1895-1925] Russian Poet - Cut wrists, wrote a final poem in own blood (called "Do svidania drug moi" or "Goodbye my friend") and hanged self in a hotel room in Leningrad.

* F. Scott Fitzgerald [1896-1940] American Author - Legendary boozer suffered a heart attack while working as a screenwriter in Hollywood for a couple of hundred bucks a week. According to John O’Hara, Fitz died "a prematurely old little man haunting bookshops unrecognized." [Editor’s Note: Zelda died in a fire at an Asheville, North Carolina, mental hospital in 1948.]

* William Faulkner [1897-1962] American Author - Suffered a heart attack after falling off a horse.

* Hart Crane [1899-1932] American Poet - While en route to New York aboard the S.S. Orizaba, leapt into the Caribbean Sea; reputedly said "Good-bye everybody."

* Ernest Hemingway [1899-1961] American Author - Blew brains out with a hunting rifle in Ketchum, Idaho.

* Thomas Wolfe [1900-1938] American Author - Suffered a cerebral infection, leaving an eight-foot-high manuscript for his editors to sort through. Buried in Riverside Cemetery, Asheville, North Carolina. ". . . the last voyage, the longest, the best."

* Nathanael West [1903-1940] American Author - Car accident killed West and his wife after he ignored a stop sign. His buddy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, died the same weekend.

* Robert E. Howard [1906-1936] Sword & Sorcery Writer - Spent all-night vigil at bedside of comatose mother and died of self-inflicted gunshot in the morning; mother died that same night.

* Malcolm Lowry [1909-1957] British Author - A "sleeping-pill suicide," fell dead with a plate in hand while starting in on a midnight snack, according to writer Donald Newlove. ". . . and how alike are the groans of love, to those of dying."

* Tennessee Williams [1911-1983] American Playwright - Choked on a bottle cap while trying to get hands on some barbiturates.

* Albert Camus [1913-1960] French Author - Single-car automobile crash while returning to Paris from the South of France.

* John Berryman [1914-1972] American Poet - Jumped from a bridge over the Mississippi River; reputedly waved at passersby on way down.

* Dylan Thomas [1914-1953] Welsh Poet - Alcohol poisoning during a lecture tour of the United States. "I’ve had 18 straight whiskies . . . I think that’s the record."

* Roland Barthes [1915-1980] French Critic & Philosopher - Run over by laundry truck outside the College de France. "Literature is the question minus the answer."

* Jack Kerouac [1922-1969] American Author - Abdominal hemorrhage at mother’s home in St. Petersburg, Florida, while watching "The Galloping Gourmet."

* Flannery O’Connor [1924-1964] American Author - Became gradually immobilized by lupus and died at the age of 40.

* Yukio Mishima [1925-1970] Japanese Author - Committed seppuku (hara-kiri) and was beheaded during failed attempt to overtake a Japanese garrison.

* Anne Sexton [1928-1974] American Poet - Committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage of her home.

* Sylvia Plath [1932-1963] American Poet - Stuck head in a kitchen oven.

* Jerzy Kosinski [1933-1991] Polish-Born American Author - Think he committed suicide by placing a plastic bag over his head in the bathtub. Can anyone else confirm this?

* Richard Brautigan [1935-1984] American Author - Self-inflicted gunshot wound; body wasn’t discovered for several weeks.

* Seth Morgan [1949-1990] American Author - Rode motorcycle off the Golden Gate Bridge and into the San Francisco Bay.

* John O’Brien [1960-1994] American Author - Committed suicide just two weeks after selling the movie rights to "autobiographical novel" Leaving Las Vegas. Book served as suicide note.

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials
Edutainment and Learning Games --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment
Open Sharing Courses --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI


On the heels of their crusade against girls going to schools, the Taliban have now issued new dictum in the areas under their sway asking parents of the grown up daughters to marry them to militants or "face dire consequences". This new force-marriage campaign is being run in most of the areas in the Pakistan's troubled NWFP through regular announcements made in mosques to congregations. Such instances have come to light recently through some of the affected women daring to go to authorities for justice rather than meekly surrender to the militants’ dictates. Salma, who teaches in a primary...
"Girls to marry militants, orders Taliban," The Times of India, January 2, 2009 --- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Girls_to_marry_militants_orders_Taliban/articleshow/3926460.cms
Jensen Comment
It's hard to find a single redeeming grace in these evil self-serving mon

The Hamas founding covenant explicitly calls for the extermination of all Jews. Hitler never made total extermination an official plank of the the Nazi party platform....
Ron Rosenbaum, "Some Differences Between Hamas and the Nazi Party." Pajamas Media, January 4, 2008 --- Click Here

Health care, says the man most concerned with that 17 percent of America's economy, can be "a nation-ruining issue." As Michael Leavitt ends four years as secretary of health and human services, he offers this attention-arresting arithmetic: Absent fundamental reforms, over the next two decades the average American household's health care spending, including the portion of its taxes that pays for Medicare and Medicaid, will go from 23 percent to 41 percent of average household income.
George Will, "Health Care Costs Keep Growing and Growing," RealClearPolitics, January 1, 2009 --- Click Here

Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close. Ice levels had been tracking lower throughout much of 2008, but rapidly recovered in the last quarter. In fact, the rate of increase from September onward is the fastest rate of change on record, either upwards or downwards. The data is being reported by the University of Illinois's Arctic Climate Research Center, and is derived from satellite observations of the Northern and Southern hemisphere polar regions.
Michael Asher, "Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979," Daily Tech, January 1, 2009 --- http://www.dailytech.com/Article.aspx?newsid=13834
Also see
"Rumors of the Death of Arctic Sea Ice Greatly Exaggerated," by Timothy Birdnow, Pajamas Media, December 20, 2008 --- http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/rumors-of-the-death-of-arctic-sea-ice-greatly-exaggerated/

Bring it on you great big quivering gelatinous invertebrate jelly of indecision.
Boris Johnson: London's Mayor Issues a Challenge to Gordon Brown --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123094404164150567.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

The hard truth is that no matter how much Israelis crave peace, they cannot achieve it through concessions and compromises and "road maps" - not when their enemies view such overtures and agreements as signs of weakness, and as proof that terrorism works. For 60 years, Israel has had to contend with the hostility of its neighbors and the heavy costs of war; its yearning for peace is understandable. But there will be no peace without victory, and no victory without fighting for it . . . The proximate cause of the fighting in Gaza was the sharp increase in rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians after Hamas refused to extend its tenuous cease-fire with Israel past Dec. 19. But the deeper cause was the transformation of Gaza into an Iranian proxy and terrorist hub following Israel's reckless "disengagement" in 2005. Israelis convinced themselves that ethnically cleansing Gaza of its Jews and handing over the territory to the Palestinians would reduce violence and make Israel safer. It did just the opposite.
Jeff Jacoby, "Has Israel learned its lesson?" Boston Globe, January 1, 2008 --- http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/01/01/has_israel_learned_its_lesson/

No money down, two years interest free,
Buying a house was no problem you see.
And so the young man along with his spouse,
They could not afford, but yet bought the house.
. . .
Stocks, commodities and private equity too,

It seems every sector has stepped in the poo.
Hedge Fund Trader Todd Federman as quoted by Mary Pilon, "Fannie, Freddie, Bear & Hard Times: Wall Street's Collapse, Told in Rhymes Crisis Inspires New Odes to Financial Ruin; Quoth the Trader, 'Nevermore'," The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2008 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123068329002444149.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

I'm never a person to carp,
But nobody oversees TARP.
One anonymous "hold"
Stopped the process out cold
Of confirming an IG who's sharp.
Corporate lawyer Madeleine Kaneas quoted by Mary Pilon, "Fannie, Freddie, Bear & Hard Times: Wall Street's Collapse, Told in Rhymes Crisis Inspires New Odes to Financial Ruin; Quoth the Trader, 'Nevermore'," The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2008 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123068329002444149.html?mod=todays_us_page_one


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 http://www.babylontoday.com/national_debt_clock.htm (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) --- http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

As of December 2008, what do Zimbabwe and the United States have in common?

Rather than taxing or borrowing to cover deficit spending, both governments are simply printing more money?

What's wrong with that?
First look at what it did to Zimbabwe. Then read about Gresham's Law --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gresham%27s_Law
The instant the Federal Reserve announced this new funding policy in December, the U.S. dollar plunged in value relative to foreign currencies. The reason is obvious.

"Fed Cuts Key Rate to a Record Low," by Edmund L. Andrews and Jackie Calmes, The New York Times, December 16, 2008 ---
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/business/economy/17fed.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=printing money&st=cse

In effect, the Fed is stepping in as a substitute for banks and other lenders and acting more like a bank itself.
“The Federal Reserve will employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth,” it said. Those tools include buying “large quantities” of mortgage-related bonds, longer-term Treasury bonds, corporate debt and even consumer loans.

The move came as President-elect Barack Obama summoned his economic team to a four-hour meeting in Chicago to map out plans for an enormous economic stimulus measure that could cost anywhere from $600 billion to $1 trillion over the next two years.

The two huge economic stimulus programs, one from the Fed and one from the White House and Congress, set the stage for a powerful but potentially risky partnership between Mr. Obama and the Fed’s Republican chairman, Ben S. Bernanke.

“We are running out of the traditional ammunition that’s used in a recession, which is to lower interest rates,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference Tuesday. “It is critical that the other branches of government step up, and that’s why the economic recovery plan is so essential.”

Financial markets were electrified by the Fed action. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 4.2 percent, or 359.61 points, to close at 8,924.14.

Investors rushed to buy long-term Treasury bonds. Yields on 10-year Treasuries, which have traditionally served as a guide for mortgage rates, plunged immediately after the announcement to 2.26 percent, their lowest level in decades, from 2.51 percent earlier in the day.

Yields on investment-grade corporate bonds edged down to 7.215 percent on Tuesday, from 7.355 on Monday. Yields on riskier high-yielding corporate bonds remained in the stratosphere at 22.493 percent, almost unchanged from 22.732 on Monday.

By contrast, the dollar dropped sharply against the euro and other major currencies for the second consecutive day — a sign that currency markets were nervous about a flood of newly printed dollars.
Some analysts predict that the Treasury will have to sell $2 trillion worth of new securities over the next year to finance its existing budget deficit, a new stimulus program and to refinance about $600 billion worth of maturing government debt.

For the moment, Mr. Obama and Mr. Bernanke appear to be on the same page, though that could abruptly change if the economy starts to revive. Fed officials have already assumed that Congress will pass a major spending program to stimulate the economy, and they are counting on it to contribute to economic growth next year.

In more normal times, the Fed might easily start raising interest rates in reaction to a huge new spending program, out of concern about rising inflation.

But data on Tuesday provided new evidence that the biggest threat to prices right now was not inflation but deflation.

The federal government reported on Tuesday that the Consumer Price Index fell 1.7 percent in November, the steepest monthly drop since the government began tracking prices in 1947. The decline was largely driven by the recent plunge in energy prices, but even the so-called core inflation rate, which excludes the volatile food and energy sectors, was essentially zero.

Mr. Obama’s goal is to have a package ready when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 6. His hope is that the House and Senate, with their bigger Democratic majorities, can agree quickly on a plan for Mr. Obama to sign into law soon after he is sworn into office two weeks later.

The Fed, in a statement accompanying its rate decision, acknowledged that the recession was more severe than officials had thought at their last meeting in October.

“Over all, the outlook for economic activity has weakened further,” the central bank said.

“Labor market conditions have deteriorated, and the available data indicate that consumer spending, business investment and industrial production have declined.”

The central bank added: “The committee anticipates that weak economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for some time.”

With fewer than 10 days until Christmas, retailers from Saks Fifth Avenue to Wal-Mart have been slashing prices to draw in consumers, who have sharply reduced their spending over the last six months. On Tuesday, Banana Republic offered customers $50 off on any purchases that total $125. The clothing retailer DKNY offered customers $50 off any purchase totaling $250.

Ian Shepherdson, an analyst at High Frequency Economics, said falling energy prices were likely to bring the year-over-year rate of inflation to below zero in January.

The Fed has already announced or outlined a range of unorthodox new tools that it can use to keep stimulating the economy once the federal funds rate effectively reaches zero. On Tuesday, Fed officials said they stood ready to expand them or create new ones to relieve bottlenecks in the credit markets.

All of the tools involve borrowing by the Fed, which amounts to printing money in vast new quantities, a process the Fed has already started.
Since September, the Fed’s balance sheet has ballooned from about $900 billion to more than $2 trillion as it has created money and lent it out. As soon as the Fed completes its plans to buy mortgage-backed debt and consumer debt, the balance sheet will be up to about $3 trillion.

“At some point, and without knowing the timing, the Fed is going to have to destroy all that money it is creating,” said Alan Blinder, a professor of economics at Princeton and a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve.

“Right now, the crisis is created by the huge demand by banks for hoarding cash. The Fed is providing cash, and the banks want to hoard it. When things start returning to normal, the banks will want to start lending it out. If that much money is left in the monetary base, it would be extremely inflationary.”

This is the thing I’ve been afraid of ever since I realized that Japan really was in the dreaded, possibly mythical liquidity trap. You can read my 1998 Brookings Paper on the issue here. Incidentally, there were a bunch of us at Princeton worrying about the Japan problem in the early years of this decade. I was one; Lars Svensson, currently at Sweden’s Riksbank, was another; a third was a guy named Ben Bernanke. I wonder whatever happened to him?
Paul Krugman, "ZIRP," The New York Times, December 16, 2008 ---
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/16/zirp/?scp=8&sq=printing money&st=cse

As it has so often in recent months, the market elation that greeted the Federal Reserve's epic monetary easing earlier this week has turned to worry. Stocks fell off again yesterday, but the big news of the week has been the slide in the dollar. The nearby chart shows the greenback's story since September. From its dangerous summer lows, the buck soared at the height of the credit panic as investors looked for safety in a hurricane. But the dollar has fallen like Newton's apple in December, as Chairman Ben Bernanke and his comrades signaled that they are willing to cut interest rates to near-zero and print as much money as it takes to prevent a deflation.
"A Dollar Referendum Currency markets reflect a lack of faith in Bernanke," The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2008 ---

James Howarth is a little confused by two letters he has received from the Internal Revenue Service. The Detroit defense lawyer received one letter in November that said he owed the IRS money — five cents. He was warned that he should pay "to avoid additional penalty and/or interest," the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday. Howarth says he then received a second letter telling him the government owes him money — four cents. He was told he would have to request the refund since it's less than $1.
"Detroit lawyer gets 5-cent IRS bill, 4-cent refund," Atlanta Journal Constitution, January 5, 2008 ---
Jensen Comment
Remember the compound interest factor. If the Canarsee Indians has invested the $24 they received for Manhattan Island in 1626 at six percent compound interest, they could buy back the entire island and all its skyscrapers today with plenty of money left over. Actually the price was 60 Dutch Guilders which at the time were worth somewhat more than $24.

Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course." . . . Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debt, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry. I have news for the gang in Congress and the Senate. We didn’t elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don’t you guys show some spine for a change? I honestly don’t think any of you have one! . . . The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we’re fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving ‘pom-poms’ instead of asking hard questions. That’s not the promise of the ‘ America ‘ my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I’ve had enough. How about you?
Lee Iococca (the former and successful CEO of Chrysler) as quoted in Jim Sinclair's Mailbox on December 20, 2008 --- http://www.jsmineset.com/

Madoff made off with $50 Billion!
Where did it go?
Who will pay it back?

Cartoon link forwarded by David Fordham


A Tale of Four Investors
Forwarded by Dennis Beresford

Four investors made different investment decisions 10 years ago.  Investor one was extremely risk averse so he put $1 million in a safe deposit box.  Today he still has $1 million.  Investor two was a bit less risk averse so she bought $1 million of 6% Fanny Mae Preferred.  She put the $15,000 she received in dividends each quarter in a safe deposit box.  After receiving 40 dividends, she recently sold her investment for $20,000 so she now has $620,000 in her safe deposit box.  Investor three was less risk averse so he bought and held a $1 million well diversified U.S. stock portfolio which he recently sold for $1 million, putting the $1 million in his safe deposit box.  Investor four had a friend who knew someone who was able to invest her $1 million with Bernie Madoff.  Like clockwork, she received a $10,000 check each and every month for 120 months.  She cashed all the checks, putting the money in her safe deposit box.  She was outraged to learn that she will no longer receive her monthly checks.  Even worse, she lost all her principal.  She only has $1,200,000 in her safe deposit box. She hopes the government will bail her out.

 Lawrence D. Brown
J. Mack Robinson Distinguished Professor of Accounting
Georgia State University
December 18, 2008


"We need to get out there and get names and get unified so that we can go to the government and make our case," she said. "Everybody has a horror story, everybody has bills, and everybody is devastated."
Joe Bruno quoting a Madoff Hedge Fund investor, "Madoff investors hope for bailout," Associated Press, December 18, 2008

But government program limits claims to $500,000 even if claims are honored.

Moral of the story: If you want to design such a scheme (with unlimited claims) and get away with it, make it legal — like investments in subprime mortgages, or investments in energy from water. Then involve as many people as possible, so that it becomes “too big to fail.” Some of the $700 billion bailout money may actually be used to rescue some of your investors.
Utpal Bhattacharya, "Do Bailouts Encourage Ponzi Schemes?" The New York Times, December 18, 2008 --- http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/do-bailouts-encourage-ponzi-schemes/?hp 
Utpal Bhattacharya is finance professor at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Banks Secretive About How Bailout Money is Spent
But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it. "We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,'" said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to." The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest? None of the banks provided specific answers.
"Where'd the Bailout Money Go? Shhhh, It's a Secret," AccountingWeb, December 22, 2008 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on the bailout are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm


At the same time, HUD pressured the federally subsidized giants to lower their loan-to-value ratios and other underwriting requirements to accommodate minority borrowers. HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo even admitted that the administration was mandating a policy of "affirmative action" lending (his words, not ours).And it was Clinton who initially spread the subprime rot to Wall Street. To help Fannie and Freddie reach their "affirmative action" lending quotas, HUD in 1995 let them get affordable-housing credit for buying subprime securities that included loans to low-income borrowers.Less than two years later, Freddie partnered with Wall Street investment banker Bear Stearns to issue the first securitizations of low-income CRA loans.There's even a press release still available on the Web that memorializes the historic deal, which dumped hundreds of millions of dollars in the risky loans on the market — a down payment on the hundreds of billions that were to follow.
"The Subprime Lending Bias," Investors Business Daily, December 19, 2008 --- http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=314582096700459

For those who like a simple (yeah right) explanation of the financial crisis ---

Few forecast these (2008 economic meltdown) events; although, in an outbreak of retrospective foresight, an increasing number now claim they saw it coming. The reality is that among all the banks, investors, academics and policy-makers, only a handful were able to identify ahead of time the causes and potential scale of the crisis. (The Handful were - Bill White, formerly of both the Bank of Canada and the Bank for International Settlements; Harvard University’s Ken Rogoff; Nouriel Roubini of New York University; Wynne Godley of Cambridge; and Bernard Connolly of AIG Financial Products). I came across this paper by Caludio Borio of BIS.
Amol Agrawal, Mostly Economics Blog, December 19, 2008 --- http://mostlyeconomics.wordpress.com/
Jensen Comment
Hindsight:   This 2006 video makes fools out of Ben Stein and Art Laffer and makes a hero out of Peter Schiff.
To this I might add Peter Schiff. Arthur Laffer's preditions in 2006 predictions became a sick joke. Also you Ben Stein lovers may have second thoughts watching him proclaim, in 2006, that the subprime problem is going to be a "tiny" problem. Watch Peter Schiff make fools out of Art Laffer, Ben Stein, and other finance “experts” in this video.  Watch Ben Stein recommend that you invest heavily in Merrill Lynch before its shares tanked. Some of these popular media "experts" need to spend more time studying and reading and less time broadcasting poorly-researched advice to investors. Peter Schiff, on the other hand, does his homework. This video is really revealing about the advice we get on television.
The video is available at the Financial Rounds Blog, November 18 at
Update on the bet Art Laffer made with Peter Schiff ---
Listen to Laffer try to weasel out of paying up --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3WjgKUf-kA

SEC = Suckers Endup Cheated
David Albrecht, Bowling Green University"

SEC Director Chris Cox's reaction to the Madoff scandal has been to blame his subordinates in the Commission, rather than to take responsibility himself. That is not an endearing reaction. The standard governmental response to a major governmental failure is reorganization. The government wants to prove that it is doing something to prevent a repetition of the failure, and the cheapest yet most visible and dramatic way to show that it has "gotten the message" and is going to "do something" is to reorganize. Hence the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Directorate of National Intelligence in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. It is beginning to seem likely that there will be an ambitious reorganization of the financial regulatory system. In the course of that reorganization, the SEC may be abolished. If so, Bernard Madoff and Christopher Cox can share the credit.
Richard Posner, "The Madoff Ponzi Scheme," The Becker-Posner Blog, December 21, 2008 --- http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

The most memorable line came from a Palm Beach, Fla., doyenne who reportedly said of his name last week, "I know it's pronounced 'Made-off,' because he made off with the money." A more sober observation came from a Manhattan woman who spoke, on the night Mr. Madoff was arrested, and as word spread through a Christmas party, of the general air of collapse in America right now, of the sense that our institutions are not and no longer can be trusted. She said, softly, "It's the age of the empty suit."  . . . Those who were supposed to be watching things, making the whole edifice run, keeping it up and operating, just somehow weren't there. All this has hastened and added to the real decline in faith—the collapse in faith—the past few years in our institutions. Not only in Wall Street but in our entire economy, and in government. And of course there's Blago. But the disturbing thing there is that it seems to have inspired more mirth than anger. Did any of your friends say they were truly shocked? Mine either. The reigning ethos seems to be every man for himself . . . We should experience "the current crisis" as "a gigantic wake-up call." We've been living beyond our means, both governmentally and personally. "We have to be willing to face up to our problems. But we have a capacity to roll up our sleeves and get down to work together."
Peggy Noonan, "Who We (Still) Are:  A little perspective for the pessimistic "age of the empty suit," The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2008 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122963827032919761.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

The Performance of the SEC is shameful:  In 2005 the SEC was warned that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme
Due-diligence firms use the fees collected from their clients to hire professionals to meticulously review hedge firms for signs of deceit. One such firm is Aksia LLC. After painstakingly investigating the operations of Madoff's operation, they found several red flags. A brief summary of some of the red flags uncovered by Aksia can be found here. Shockingly,
Aksia even uncovered a letter to the SEC dating from 2005 which claimed that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. As a result of its investigation, Aksia advised all of its clients not to invest their money in Madoff's hedge fund. This is a perfect case study showing that the SEC is incapable of protecting investors as well as free-market institutions can. The SEC is becoming increasingly irrelevant and people are beginning to take notice. It failed to save investors from the house of cards made up of mortgage-backed securities, credit default swaps, and collateralized debt obligations that resulted from the housing bubble. Now it has failed to protect thousands more individuals and charities from something as simple and old as a Ponzi scheme!
Briggs Armstrong, "Madoff and the Failure of the SEC," Ludwig Von Mises Institutue, December 18, 2008 --- http://mises.org/story/3260

The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a longtime proponent of deregulation, acknowledged on Friday that failures in a voluntary supervision program for Wall Street’s largest investment banks had contributed to the global financial crisis, and he abruptly shut the program down. The S.E.C.’s oversight responsibilities will largely shift to the Federal Reserve, though the commission will continue to oversee the brokerage units of investment banks. Also Friday, the S.E.C.’s inspector general released a report strongly criticizing the agency’s performance in monitoring Bear Stearns before it collapsed in March. Christopher Cox, the commission chairman, said he agreed that the oversight program was “fundamentally flawed from the beginning.” “The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work,” he said in a statement. The program “was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, because investment banks could opt in or out of supervision voluntarily. The fact that investment bank holding companies could withdraw from this voluntary supervision at their discretion diminished the perceived mandate” of the program, and “weakened its effectiveness,” he added.
"S.E.C. Concedes Oversight Flaws Fueled Collapse," by Stephen Labaton, The New York Times, September 26, 2008 ---

Madoff losses will do what the SEC would not do --- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_52/b4114000908444.htm?link_position=link1
Market choice will inflict far more damage to hedge funds than the government could ever do.

There are seven sins in the world:
Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice, and
Politics without principle.

Mahatma Gandhi as quoted recently in an email message from Jagdish Gangolly

Wouldn’t it have been helpful if we had more corporate executives and board members who’d had such training in their college years and were primed to question the fundamental assumptions of the industries in which they were engaged? Who didn’t assume that if they got a big bonus at year’s end, they must be doing everything right? Instead, we are left with an economy in near-ruin by the collective action of individuals who, I’m quite sure, got good grades, who knew how to ace the examinations on which they’d been coached, and whose long-term vision stretched no further than the end of the term. That view is great while it lasts, but, like that shiny “A” one crams for on the quiz, the substance is gone before the ink is dry.
Ralph Hexter (President of Hampshire College), "The Economic Collapse and Educational Values," Inside Higher Ed, December 18, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/12/18/hexter
"On Wall Street, Bonuses, Not Profits, Were Real," by Louise Story, The New York Times, December 17, 2008 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/business/18pay.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

The financial services industry has claimed an ever-growing share of the nation’s income over the past generation, making the people who run the industry incredibly rich. Yet, at this point, it looks as if much of the industry has been destroying value, not creating it. And it’s not just a matter of money: the vast riches achieved by those who managed other people’s money have had a corrupting effect on our society as a whole . . . But surely those financial superstars must have been earning their millions, right? No, not necessarily. The pay system on Wall Street lavishly rewards the appearance of profit, even if that appearance later turns out to have been an illusion . . . Now, as we survey the wreckage and try to understand how things can have gone so wrong, so fast, the answer is actually quite simple: What we’re looking at now are the consequences of a world gone Madoff.
Paul Krugman, "The Madoff Economy," The New York Times, December 19, 2008 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/19/opinion/19krugman.html?_r=1&em

Put Madoff In Charge of Social Security
W. Holman, The Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2008 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122947442947812429.html?mod=djemEditorialPage
Jensen Comment
The theory being that his fund and the U.S. Social Security System are both Ponzi schemes and have similar accounting system deceptions --- no joke!

But there is a more compelling reason why Japanese car makers would want welfare for Detroit: precisely because it would perpetuate the high labor and retailing costs (and the UAW) that put the Big Three at such a disadvantage vis-à-vis Toyota and other foreign manufacturers.
The Wall Street Journal Newsletter, December 16, 2008

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick make her, why can't Ford?
"Treasury to Ford: Drop Dead The GMAC rescue plays favorites," The Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2008 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123085986972148021.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

When the Bush Treasury decided to bail out Detroit, GM and Chrysler quickly said yes to the taxpayer cash, but Ford Motor Co. said it didn't need the money and declined. Ford's reward for this show of self-reliance? Treasury is now helping GM again by giving it a credit pricing advantage against Ford in the marketplace

That's one little-noted result of Treasury's action earlier this week to rescue GMAC, the GM credit arm that, as it happens, is 51% owned by the Cerberus private-equity shop that also owns Chrysler. With $5 billion in taxpayer cash in its pocket, GMAC quickly decided to offer 0% financing on several of its models. "I think it would be fair to say that without this change . . . we would not be able to do this today," explained GM Vice President Mark LaNeve in a conference call with reporters this week.

GM said it will offer 0% financing for up to 60 months on the 2008 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Saab 9-7X sport utility vehicles through GMAC. The Saab 9-3 and 9-5 sedans also qualify for 0% financing. The car maker is also offering financing between 0.9% and 5.9% on more than three dozen other 2008 and 2009 models, including many trucks and SUVs. The deal runs through January 5, and no doubt GM is hoping for a booming sales weekend.

The messy little policy issue is that these GM products compete with those sold by Ford, Toyota, Honda and numerous other car makers that won't benefit from GMAC's cash infusion. And with the cost of financing often crucial to buyer decisions, the feds have now put the muscle of the state behind one company's products.

Ford in particular must wonder what it did to deserve this slap. CEO Alan Mulally joined the GM and Chrysler chiefs in testifying for the bailout even while insisting his company didn't want the funds. And once the bailout was announced, Mr. Mulally said that "All of us at Ford appreciate the prudent step the Administration has taken to address the near-term liquidity issues of GM and Chrysler." So much for gratitude.

Ford -- and for that matter Honda and Nissan and most others -- makes cars with American workers. President Bush justified the auto bailout in the name of saving jobs, but apparently GM's jobs are more valuable than others. And with the taxpayers now having a stake in GM and Chrysler success, the Washington temptation will be to take other steps to help the two companies gain market share at the expense of their private competitors. Never mind that Ford is still struggling and Toyota recently posted its first full-year loss in 70 years.

This is always what happens when politicians decide to muck around in private industry. Even when made with the best intentions, their policy decisions have unintended consequences that help some companies at the expense of others. Meanwhile, your neighbor who buys a GM SUV this weekend with 0% financing should thank you when he pulls into the driveway. He did it with your money.

Why not bail out everybody and everything? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#Everybody

It is not just pit-gazing that is hard work, but life-gazing. It is difficult for us to contemplate, fixedly, the possibility, let alone the certainty, that life is a matter of cosmic hazard, its fundamental purpose mere self-perpetuation, that it unfolds in emptiness, that our planet will one day drift in frozen silence, and that the human species, as it has developed in all its frenzied and over-engineered complexity, will completely disappear and not be missed, because there is nobody and nothing out there to miss us. This is what growing up means. And it is a frightening prospect for a race which has for so long relied upon its own invented gods for explanation and consolation.
Julian Barnes, Nothing to Be Frightened Of (Random House, 2008) as quoted in a recent email message by Amy Dunbar
Amy points out that in spite of this morbid topic, the book is filled with humor as well as serious philosophy of life.

THE LAST time sunspot activity was as minimal as it is now was at the time of the ‘Federation droughts’ at the turn of the 20th century, and that has local expert Robert Baker watching the Sun with the keenest of interest. Dr Baker, of the University of New England, has put forward an analysis which links periodic changes in the Sun’s magnetic field with global weather patterns. This discovery could enable scientists to gain a clearer understanding of how additional factors - such as greenhouse gases - contribute to those weather patterns. A newly-published paper by Dr Baker establishes the connection between solar cycles and the weather by correlating sunspot activity and rainfall figures for south-eastern Australia over the past 130 years.
"Sunspot clue to weather," The Armidale Experess, December 24, 2008 ---

School children have tried to poison their classmate at a primary school in Hamburg because she was too smart, daily Express reported this week. The eight-year old girl still can’t believe what happened to her. “They wanted to poison me and wanted me to die,” she said in an interview on television broadcaster RTL’s “Punkt12” show, the paper reported on Wednesday. Her fourth grade classmates apparently disliked the smart girl because she got the best marks and had already skipped two classes. Two boys and two girls were so jealous they plotted to poison her. One of the boys mixed what the students thought would be a deadly cocktail of shoe polish, perfume, window and bath cleaner at home. Another boy poured the mix into the girl’s drink bottle during recess the next day at school.
The Local, December 8, 2008 --- http://www.thelocal.de/society/20081218-16221.html
Jensen Comment
In such places as Germany and Japan, the pressures on K-12 students to perform is extreme since being admitted to college is much more competitive than it is in the U.S. In the U.S. we have father’s getting into fist fights with other fathers coaching Little League Baseball and a mother who murders a girl who might beat her daughter in the cheerleading competition. Tonya Harding was part of a conspiracy to injure Nancy Kerrigan’s Olympic skating challenge, and repeatedly top athletes take illegal drugs to give them an unfair competitive edge. Welcome to the new world!

The West is indirectly funding the insurgency in Afghanistan thanks to a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in the south of the country. Contracts to supply British bases and those of other Western forces with fuel, supplies and equipment are held by multinational companies. However, the business of moving supplies from the Pakistani port of Karachi to British, US and other military contingents in the country is largely subcontracted to local trucking companies. These must run the gauntlet of the increasingly dangerous roads south of Kabul in convoys protected by hired gunmen from Afghan security companies. The Times has learnt that it is in the outsourcing of convoys that payoffs amounting to millions of pounds, including money from British taxpayers, are given to the Taliban.
Tom Coghlan, "Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage," The London Times, December 12, 2008 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5327683.ece

The Internal Revenue Service is advising (K-12, but not college) teachers and other educators to save their receipts for purchases of books and other classroom supplies. They will be able to deduct up to $250 of such expenses again this year, following recently enacted legislation.
AccountingWeb, December 15, 2008 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x64079.xml

The number of black children being raised by two parents appears to be edging higher than at any time in a generation, at nearly 40 percent, according to newly released census data. Demographers said such a trend might be partly attributable to the growing proportion of immigrants in the nation’s black population. It may have been driven, too, by the values of an emerging black middle class, a trend that could be jeopardized by the current economic meltdown. The Census Bureau attributed an indeterminate amount of the increase to revised definitions adopted in 2007, which identify as parents any man and woman living together, whether or not they are married or the child’s biological parents.
Sam Roberts, "Two-Parent Black Families Showing Gains," The New York Times, December 17, 2008 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/us/17census.html?_r=1

No coincidence, then, that Hyppolite, the narrator of her first novel, would complain about professors who “raised problems only in order to solve them, and brought their lectures to a conclusion with maddening punctuality.” Instead, he goes to excesses that leave him half insane. For all her interest in the avant garde, Sontag never pursued any course quite so dramatic as that. Perhaps the stolidity won out in the end. She ended up, in her later years, much closer to Philip Rieff’s perspective on culture than either of them might have admitted.“To write,” notes Sontag in 1961, “you have to allow yourself to be the person you don’t want to be (of all the people you are).” Self-creation, like self-consciousness itself, leads to all sorts of paradoxes.Reborn gives readers a glimpse of this process as it unfolded at the start of Sontag’s career. Two forthcoming volumes will carry the story to the close of her life. (David Rieff’s recent book on her final days, Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son’s Memoir, offers a sort of preface to this body of posthumous writings by his mother.)
Scott McLemee, Becoming Susan Sontag, Inside Higher Ed, December 17, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/12/17/mclemee

The Media Research Center, one of our best media monitors, came up with this list of outrageous quotations for its 21st Annual Awards for the Year’s (2008) Worst Reporting. A panel of 44 distinguished judges determined the recipients of the awards. Among those judges were Midge Decter, author; Barry Farber, radio talk show host; Cliff Kincaid, editor of Accuracy in Media, another important media monitor; Marvin Olasky, editor of World magazine; Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist, whose work appears in The Bulletin; and Walter E. Williams, economics professor and syndicated columnist, whose work appears in The Bulletin. We’ll start with the “Quote of the Year” as determined by the panel of judges. It involved an exchange between Chris Matthews, co-anchor on MSNBC, and Keith Olbermann, another MSNBC co-anchor:
Herb Denenberg, "Awards For The Year's Worst Reporting, The Bulletin, December 30, 2008 --- http://www.thebulletin.us/articles/2008/12/30/herb_denenberg/doc495967ec1bdc7155302948.txt

California Courts Impose Liability Risks to Being Good Samaritans
Being a good Samaritan in California just got a little riskier:  Don't help beyond dialing 911
The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a young woman who pulled a co-worker from a crashed vehicle isn't immune from civil liability because the care she rendered wasn't medical. The divided high court appeared to signal that rescue efforts are the responsibility of trained professionals. It was also thought to be the first ruling by the court that someone who intervened in an accident in good faith could be sued. Lisa Torti of Northridge allegedly worsened the injuries suffered by Alexandra Van Horn by yanking her "like a rag doll" from the wrecked car on Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Torti now faces possible liability for injuries suffered by Van Horn, a fellow department store cosmetician who was rendered a paraplegic in the accident that ended a night of Halloween revelry in 2004. But in a sharp dissent, three of the seven justices said that by making a distinction between medical care and emergency response, the court was placing "an arbitrary and unreasonable limitation" on protections for those trying to help.The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a young woman who pulled a co-worker from a crashed vehicle isn't immune from civil liability because the care she rendered wasn't medical. The divided high court appeared to signal that rescue efforts are the responsibility of trained professionals. It was also thought to be the first ruling by the court that someone who intervened in an accident in good faith could be sued. Lisa Torti of Northridge allegedly worsened the injuries suffered by Alexandra Van Horn by yanking her "like a rag doll" from the wrecked car on Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Torti now faces possible liability for injuries suffered by Van Horn, a fellow department store cosmetician who was rendered a paraplegic in the accident that ended a night of Halloween revelry in 2004. But in a sharp dissent, three of the seven justices said that by making a distinction between medical care and emergency response, the court was placing "an arbitrary and unreasonable limitation" on protections for those trying to help.
Carol J. Williams, "California Supreme Court allows good Samaritans to be sued for nonmedical care," Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2008 ---

Baby Dolls Raise a Stink In More Ways Than One
Does this toy really help in child development or parenthood development (keep in mind if you don't feed her she won't poo)?
Betsy Wetsy:  Baby dolls just got a whole lot more real.
Put her on her little pink plastic toilet. Press the purple bracelet on Baby Alive Learns to Potty. "Sniff sniff," she chirps in a singsong voice. "I made a stinky!" This season's animatronic Baby Alive -- which retails for $59.99 -- comes with special "green beans" and "bananas" that, once fed to the doll, actually, well, come out the other end. "Be careful," reads the doll's promotional literature, "just like real life, sometimes she can hold it until she gets to the 'potty' and sometimes she can't!" (A warning on the back of the box reads: "May stain some surfaces.")
Brigit Shulte, "Baby Dolls Raise a Stink In More Ways Than One," The Washington Post, December 22, 2008 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
If Betsy Wetsy is not quite real enough, an elderly couple can rent a real child for an outing in Japan. The rented child takes the place of grand children that their own children either did not have or are unwilling to share for outings. More serious and questionable child rental sites advertise child rental, but I really don't know how legitimate, legal, and ethical such sites are in reality --- http://www.rent-a-child.com/
Supposed cost of raising (not including college costs) of raising a child --- http://www.rent-a-child.com/
Maybe it's better to settle for a Besy Wetsy

Accounting Question (possible student assignment in a cost accounting course)
Why are there probably an enormous unstated variances around the cost estimates shown at --- http://www.rent-a-child.com/  ?
Estimating the cost of raising a child confronts a student with all sorts of systemic problems of cost estimation, including issues of joint costing, indirect costing, fixed costs that vary outside the period of time over which fixed costs supposedly remain fixed, sunk costs, time value of money, nonlinear costs, contingency costing such as health and provisions for handicaps, estimation error such as estimation of future medical price inflation, etc.)

Bob Jensen's threads on systemic problems in accountancy ---
  • Systemic Problem:  All Aggregations Are Arbitrary
  • Systemic Problem:  All Aggregations Combine Different Measurements With Varying Accuracies
  • Systemic Problem:  All Aggregations Leave Out Important Components
  • Systemic Problem:  All Aggregations Ignore Complex & Synergistic Interactions of Value and Risk
  • Systemic Problem:  Disaggregating of Value or Cost is Generally Arbitrary
  • Systemic Problem:  Systems Are Too Fragile
  • Systemic Problem:  More Rules Do Not Necessarily Make Accounting for Performance More Transparent
  • Systemic Problem:  Economies of Scale vs. Consulting Red Herrings in Auditing
  • Systemic Problem:  Intangibles Are Intractable

"The 'Market' Isn't So Wise After All:  This year saw the end of an illusion," by Thomas Frank, The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2008 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123069094735544743.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

As I read the last tranche of disastrous news stories from this catastrophic year, I found myself thinking back to the old days when it all seemed to work, when everyone agreed what made an economy go and the stock market raced and the commentators and economists and politicians of the world stood as one under the boldly soaring banner of laissez-faire.

In particular, I remembered that quintessential work of market triumphalism, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree," by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. It was published in the glorious year 1999, and in those days, it seemed, every cliché was made of gold: the brokerage advertisements were pithy, the small investors were mighty, and the deregulated way was irresistibly becoming the global way.

In one anecdote, Mr. Friedman described a visit to India by a team from Moody's Investor Service, a company that carried the awesome task of determining "who is pursuing sound economics and who is not." This was shortly after India had tested its nuclear weapons, and the idea was that such a traditional bid for power counted for little in this globalized age; what mattered was making political choices of which the market approved, with organizations like Moody's sifting out the hearts of nations before its judgment seat. In the end, Moody's "downgraded India's economy," according to Mr. Friedman, because it disapproved of India's politics. The Opinion Journal Widget

Download Opinion Journal's widget and link to the most important editorials and op-eds of the day from your blog or Web page.

And who makes sure that Moody's and its competitors downgrade what deserves to be downgraded? In 1999 the obvious answer would have been: the market, with its fantastic self-regulating powers.

But something went wrong on the road to privatopia. If everything is for sale, why shouldn't the guardians put themselves on the block as well? Now we find that the profit motive, unleashed to work its magic within the credit-rating agencies, apparently exposed them to pressure from debt issuers and led them to give high ratings to the mortgage-backed securities that eventually blew the economy to pieces.

And so it has gone with many other shibboleths of the free-market consensus in this tragic year.

For example, it was only a short while ago that simply everyone knew deregulation to be the path to prosperity as well as the distilled essence of human freedom. Today, though, it seems this folly permitted a 100-year flood of fraud. Consider the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), the subject of a withering examination in the Washington Post last month. As part of what the Post called the "aggressively deregulatory stance" the OTS adopted toward the savings and loan industry in the years of George W. Bush, it slashed staff, rolled back enforcement, and came to regard the industry it was supposed to oversee as its "customers." Maybe it's only a coincidence that some of the biggest banks -- Washington Mutual and IndyMac -- ever to fail were regulated by that agency, but I doubt it.

Or consider the theory, once possible to proffer with a straight face, that lavishing princely bonuses and stock options on top management was a good idea since they drew executives' interests into happy alignment with those of the shareholders. Instead, CEOs were only too happy to gorge themselves and turn shareholders into bag holders. In the subprime mortgage industry, bankers handed out iffy loans like candy at a parade because such loans meant revenue and, hence, bonuses for executives in the here-and-now. The consequences would be borne down the line by the suckers who bought mortgage-backed securities. And, of course, by the shareholders.

At Washington Mutual, the bank that became most famous for open-handed lending, incentives lined the road to hell. According to the New York Times, realtors received fees from the bank for bringing in clients, mortgage brokers got "handsome commissions for selling the riskiest loans," and the CEO raked in $88 million from 2001 to 2007, before the outrageous risks of the scheme cratered the entire enterprise.

Today we stand at the end of a long historical stretch in which laissez-faire was glorified as gospel and the business community got almost its entire wish list granted by the state. To show its gratitude, the finance industry then stampeded us all over a cliff.

To be sure, some of the preachers of the old-time religion now admit the error of their ways. Especially remarkable is Alan Greenspan's confession of "shocked disbelief" on discovering how reality differed from holy writ.

But by and large the free-market medicine men seem determined to learn nothing from this awful year. Instead they repeat their incantations and retreat deeper into their dogma, generating endless schemes in which government is to blame, all sin originates with the Community Reinvestment Act, and the bailouts for which their own flock is desperately bleating can do nothing but harm.

And they wait for things to return to normal, without realizing that things already have.

January 5, 2008 eply from Paul Williams after I asserted this is what he's believed his entire adult life

Not all of my life. As a "youngster" I was a true believer. But people mature, both physically, ethically, and intellectually. The self-correcting market is a myth based on Smith's analogizing to what was the 17th century view of the natural world -- notably Newton's clockwork model and naturalists belief in self-regulating natural forces (e.g., conditions favorable for rabbit reproduction creates favorable conditions for fox reproduction which automatically corrects for the overpopulation of rabbits). All of this consistent with Biblical notions of the great clockmaker in the sky -- "neither do they sow or reap, yet your Heavenly Father takes care of them." Contemporary free-market ideologues have merely substituted markets for gods that guide our affairs always in a favorable direction (ala Dr. Pangloss).

Darwin, Freud and Einstein pretty much upset that comfortable belief about the world. Unfortunately for the economics espoused by the accountics, it is still stuck with a 17th century model. If it can still be found, a very instructive collection of essays that were created for a conference at the Yale School of Forestry in 1970 is titled, "Man and his Environment: The Ecological Limits to Optimism." One essay, in particular, by William R. Burch, Jr. is titled "Fishes and Loaves: Some Sociological Observations on the Environmental Crisis."

Throughout your life there are those moments when something you read or someone says that lead to epiphanies. This essay connecting the inherent optimism of belief in the omniscience and justness of markets to Biblical belief in miracles was one of those moments. In spite of all of our contention that we are convinced only by the empirical evidence, we persist in believing in things that the empirical evidence long ago indicated was nonsense.


Bob Jensen's threads on the economic meltdown are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008bailout.htm
In particular note http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008bailout.htm#InvestmentBanking

AAUP Faculty Salary Survey --- Click Here

Snipped --- http://snipurl.com/2008aaupsalary      [chronicle_com]

Reconstructing American History --- http://newt.org/Portals/0/Capitol Visitor Center Report_.pdf

"Dissertation cheats: the dark, corrupt slice of the Internet," by Zack Whittaker, zdnet, December 10, 2008 ---
I thank Scott Bonaker for pointing this link out to me.

The Internet is slowly becoming a rubbish tip for junk, useless information, knitting patterns and videos of blind Scottish men being hit in the nuts with a baseball. Because nothing on the web really ever disappears, we can see into the looking glass of the past. Over the last few decades, we’ve accumulated a lot of content, and the amount of “immoral” websites and services available; essay writing services for university students who want to cheat, have increased. Take this made up example:

Students can spend anything as little as a few hours up to a few weeks for an average, normal essay part of their undergraduate studies. Some will have more essays than others, but they’re an important part of a qualification. They show how the learner understands the knowledge they have acquired, how to reference and cite sources, as well as a discipline in writing formats. It’s an art, rather than a chore; maybe that’s why so many Bachelor of Arts degree qualifications have essays - art and arts.

But the other day, I received an email from CheatHouse.com, a website which “specialises in essays and papers for students”. They offer a variety of ways to plug into the database, but the primary way is to pay for access, allowing you to read through and access thousands of pre-written essays and dissertations. From their about page:

“To stimulate learning. Simply. We have gotten a lot of critisism in the past, and I suspect this will continue in the future, but we are trying to build a community, where students come together.”

Considering the name of the damn website is “CheatHouse”, are we supposed to fall for that? Now let’s face it; the chances of somebody buying a unique essay to study it and not to plagiarise it, is little-to-none. As a society, we are unfortunately not that moral.

It does, however, try to justify it on a specific page buried within the mass of links, and dodging the “encouraging cheating” question with another question; whilst creating a loophole to wiggle out of the plagiarism question. Just because the person who wrote the essay cites all the sources, references and acknowledges authors, doesn’t mean someone else can hand it in as theirs. It just doesn’t work like that. A dictionary definition won’t detract away from what appears to be a standard policy of a university.

“So you didn’t write this essay?” … “No, but all the sources are cited and it’s referenced.” … “Oh that’s OK then, well done, you’ve got a first.”


Why pick out this website? Because not only do they offer a slice of temptation cake to students, they also send out spam emails to Hotmail addresses. I just wish I hadn’t deleted the email in the first place. It’s not just them though; there are so many “services” out there which promote and actively support this.

Google, back in June, began to blacklist advertisements which promoted essay-writing services, which has certainly cut the number of these immoral ads from the main Google search, but for local search locales, it seems to have little effect.

Considering that a degree, or a masters or doctorate qualification enables a person to go on to very specific, specialised practices, I cannot see how the people who buy and use these essays should be let through to graduate. They surely wouldn’t, except they aren’t detected. The websites that provide these, especially this particular website which spam’s people as well, should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

Putting it simply, it’s cheating a way into a qualification, which could be used to gain a job position or academic status. That, my friends, is fraud.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Plagiarism is generally thought of as being a literal or nearly-literal stealing of parts of the writings of others. It can, however, also entail the stealing of ideas without citation as to where those ideas were borrowed from in the literature or other media. It is especially relevant in this era of Weblogs, blogs, and YouTube where many ideas are stated that do not necessarily appear in traditional printed versions such as journals and books.

By way of illustration, suppose I was looking for an idea for an accounting dissertation. I stumble upon this particular module obscurely buried at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm

How to play tricks on fair value accounting by "managing" the closing price of key securities in the portfolio
Painting the Tape (also called Banging the Close)
This occurs when a portfolio manager holding a security buys a few additional shares right at the close of business at an inflated price. For example, if he held shares in XYZ Corp on the last day of the reporting period (and it's selling at, say $50), he might put in small orders at a higher price to inflate the the closing price (which is what's reported). Do this for a couple dozen stocks in the portfolio, and the reported performance goes up. Of course, it goes back down the next day, but it looks good on the annual report.
Jason Zweig, "Pay Attention to That Window Behind the Curtain," The Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2008 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122973369481523187.html?

The above module has great potential for dissertation study. A doctoral student who does so, however, and fails to cite Jason Zweig for the idea is in fact cheating even if not a single phrase is lifted from Zweig's article.

The problem with this non-literal text phrasing is that plagiarism search engines often cannot detect the plagiarism of ideas.

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism and cheating are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm

Learning Styles Sites

January 1, 2009 message from Pat Wyman [raisingsmarterchildren@gmail.com]

Hello Bob,

Happy New Year! Your name came up through a google alert, attached to my website and the complimentary learning styles inventory at http://www.howtolearn.com 

It is on your page, from the community at http://www.elearninglearning.com/learning-styles/microsoft/&query=www.howtolearn.com 

I want to thank you for this is and if there is any way I can contribute to your blog and yours to mine, articles, interviews, etc. I'd love to connect with you.

You're doing wonderful work!

Pat Wyman, M.A.

-- Pat Wyman Best selling author, Learning vs. Testing Co-Author,
Book Of The Year In the Medicine Category, The Official Autism 101 Manual
University Instructor of Continuing Education, California State University,
East Bay Founder,
http://www.HowToLearn.com  and http://wwwRaisingSmarterChildren.com 
Winner, James Patterson PageTurner Award Get your copy of Learning vs. Testing with complimentary materials at http://www.learningvstesting4.html

Get Tips For Raising A Smarter Child at http://www.RaisingSmarterChildren.com 

"There are two ways you can live your life - one as if nothing is a miracle, and the other as if everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment and learning --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on metacognitive learning --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/265wp.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on asynchronous learning --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

Sex and the Modern Language Association Academic Conferences
One panelist shows up wearing a bathrobe
By comparison, academic accounting conferences are pretty darn dull

"Tricks of the Trade," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, January 2, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/01/02/mla

Here’s a shocker: The one-night stand may be being replaced by long-term monogamous relationships when it comes to sex at academic conferences. That was among the revelations Tuesday at a panel of the Modern Language Association devoted to conference sex. Well, actually it was devoted to theorizing and analyzing conference sex, although it was probably the only session at the MLA this year in which a panelist appeared in a bathrobe.

The annual meeting of the MLA has long been known (and frequently satirized) for the sexual puns and imagery of paper titles — even if many of the papers themselves are in fact more staid than their names would suggest. As the MLA meeting concluded on Tuesday, however, one session sought to put sex at academic conferences center stage. Drawing on literature, theory and experience, panelists considered not only the role of sex at conferences, but talked about identity, love and (perhaps more timely to many MLA attendees) the dismal academic job market.

Many presenters at the MLA use categorization to make their points, and this session was no exception. Jennifer Drouin, an assistant professor of English and women’s studies at Allegheny College, argued that there are eight forms of conference sex (although she noted that some may count additional forms for each of the eight when the partners cross disciplinary, institutional or tenure-track/non-tenure track, or superstar/average academic boundaries).

The categories:

1. “Conference quickies” for gay male scholars to meet gay men at local bars. 2. “Down low” sex by closeted academics taking advantage of being away from home and in a big city. 3. “Bi-curious” experimentation by “nerdy academics trying to be more hip” (at least at the MLA, where queer studies is hip). This “increases one’s subversiveness” without much risk, she said. 4. The “conference sex get out of jail free” card that attendees (figuratively) trade with academic partners, permitting each to be free at their respective meetings. This freedom tends to take place at large conferences like the MLA, which are “more conducive” to anonymous encounters, Drouin said. 5. “Ongoing flirtations over a series of conferences, possibly over several years” that turn into conference sex. Drouin said this is more common in sub-field conferences, where academics are more certain of seeing one another from year to year if their meetings are “must attend” conferences. 6. “Conference sex as social networking,” where academics are introduced to other academics at receptions and one thing leads to another. 7. “Career building sex,” which generally crosses lines of academic rank. While Drouin said that this form of sex “may be ethically questionable,” she quipped that this type of sex “can lead to increased publication possibilities” or simply a higher profile as the less famous partner tags along to receptions. 8. And last but not least — and this was the surprise of the list: “monogamous sex among academic couples.” Drouin noted that the academic job market is so tight these days that many academics can’t live in the same cities with their partners. While many colleges try to help dual career couples, this isn’t always possible, and is particularly difficult for gay and lesbian couples, since not every college will even take their couple status seriously enough to try to find jobs for partners. So these long distance academic couples, gay and straight, tenured and adjuncts, must take the best academic positions they can, and unite at academic conferences. “The very fucked-upness of the profession leads to conference fucking,” Drouin said.

The idea that many academic couples have so little time together that they need academic conferences to see one another suggests a broader comparison, she said. “Conference sex is a metaphor for life in the academy: One takes what one can get when one can get it.”

Ann Pellegrini, associate professor of performance studies and religious studies at New York University, was the panelist who presented while in a bathrobe (although it should be noted in fairness that she wore it over her clothes). While Pellegrini was playful in her attire, her serious talk — which brought knowing nods in the audience — was about how literature scholars’ infatuation with books and ideas is, for many of them, the first love that dare not speak its name. “For many of us, books were our first love object.”

What is “the passion that compels us to a specific author,” she asked, or the genre that “makes us hot?”

For many academics, part of growing up was getting strange looks from friends or family members who couldn’t understand all that time reading, and who continue to not understand as a graduate student devotes years to analyzing passages or an author’s story.

These kinds of passions lead to books that are in some ways “annotated mash notes.” But however much passion academics feel for the works they study, their devotion doesn’t fit into the categories of “recognized intimacy” society endorses. At the MLA conference, with its sessions and parties devoted to this or that subfield, such passions are to be expected, but not elsewhere.

And Pellegrini noted that this separateness from society extends beyond the initial connection between budding scholars and some book or set of ideas. Academics are regularly “accused of speaking only about ourselves,” she said. “But when we venture out into public square,” and try to share both their knowledge and beliefs, “we are accused of being narcissistic” and of speaking only in “impenetrable jargon.”

Milton Wendland of the University of Kansas linked the jargon and exchanges of academic papers to academic conference sex. The best papers, he said, “shock us, piss us off, connect two things” that haven’t previously been connected. “We mess around with ideas. We present work that is still germinating,” he said. So too, he said, a conference is “a place to fuck around physically,” and “not as a side activity, but as a form of work making within the space of the conference.”

At a conference, he said, “a collegial discussion of methodology becomes foreplay,” and the finger that may be moved in the air to illuminate a point during a panel presentation (he demonstrated while talking) can later become the finger touching another’s skin for the first time in the hotel room, “where we lose our cap and gown.”

For gay men like himself, Wendland said, conference sex is particularly important as an affirmation of elements of gay sexuality that some seem to want to disappear. As many gay leaders embrace gay marriage and “heteronormative values,” he said, it is important to preserve other options and other values.

“Conference sex encounters become more than mere dalliance and physical release,” he said. It is a stand against the “divorcing physicality from being human, much less queer,” he said.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen does not have any threads on sex. Perhaps sex is better without threads.

The Anti-Intellectual Crisis

Now, in the post-9/11 era, American anti-intellectualism has grown more powerful, pervasive, and dangerous than at any time in our history, and we have a duty — particularly as educators — to foster intelligence as a moral obligation. Or at least that is the urgent selling point of a cartload of books published in the past several months.
Thomas H. Benton is the pen name of William Pannapacker, "On Stupidity" A cartload of recent books suggests that it's time to reverse the customer-service mentality plaguing academe," Chronicle of Higher Education, August 1. 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2008/08/2008080101c.htm

The Latino Education Crisis
Latinos have the worst record of completing college degrees of any group; between 9 and 11 percent for the last three decades; African Americans, for example, have been making slow but steady progress over the past three decades, from 11 percent in 1975 to 18 percent in 2006. Mothers have been identified in many studies as being key to motivating their children educationally. This is no different for Latinos, in spite of the fact that these mothers have much less formal education, on average, than mothers of all other major ethnic groups. Over 40 percent of Latina mothers have less than a high school education. This compares to approximately 12 percent of African American mothers.
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, December 22, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/12/22/latino

Nobel Prize Selection Committees Investigated for Bribery --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2152165/posts
Also see Celia Farber, Splice Today, December 11, 2008 --- Click Here  

Federal Revenue and Spending Book of Charts (Great Charts on Bad Budgeting) --- http://www.heritage.org/research/features/BudgetChartBook/index.html

"Donor List," by Chuck Bennett, New York Post, December 18, 2008 --- http://www.nypost.com/seven/12182008/news/nationalnews/bill_clinton_releases_donor_list_144800.htm
Also see http://www.jihadwatch.org/

Former President Bill Clinton released a list of donors to his private foundation this morning after resisting making the names of his Saudi Arabian and other foreign benefactors public for years.

The moves comes as Sen. Hillary Clinton prepares to become Secretary of State under President-elect Barack Obama and highlights the potential conflicts of interest she may face when sits down to negotiate with heads of state of foreign countries.

For instance, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia itself donated between $10 million to $25 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit that manages his presidential library in Arkansas as well as donate to charities around the world.

Foreign governments directly donated at least $41 million.

In addition, Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rashid gave between $1 million to $5 million, as did the organizations Friends of Saudi Arabia and the Dubai Foundation.

Other Middle Eastern government donors include Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Oman - all of whom gave between $1 million to $5 million. Norway donated $5 to $10 million while Italy and Jamaica gave between $50,000 to $100,000.

Also on the list are influential Indian politicians and businessmen which critics say could hurt a Secretary of State Clinton's perception of being an impartial arbiter between India and Pakistan.

The list also underscores ties between the Clintons and India, a connection that could complicate diplomatic perceptions of whether Hillary Clinton can be a neutral broker between India and neighbor Pakistan in a region where President-elect Barack Obama will face an early test of his foreign policy leadership

In 2007, 61.82% of America's public debt was held by foreign investors, most of them Asian.
So the U.S. public debt held by nonresident foreigners is equal to about 109.39% (113.86%) of GDP

"U.S. debt approaches insolvency In 2007, 61.82% of America's public debt was held by foreign investors, most of them Asian," Spero News, December 19, 2008 --- http://www.speroforum.com/a/17305/US-debt-approaches-insolvency

In the United States, the danger of debt insolvency is growing, putting at risk the currency reserves of foreign countries, China chief among them. According to new figures published by Bloomberg in recent days (Nov. 25, 2008 [1]), the American government has employed a total of 8.549 trillion dollars to stop the financial crisis. This means a total of about 24-25.4 trillion dollars of direct or indirect public debt weighing on American taxpayers. The complete tally must also include the debt - about 5-6 trillion dollars - of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are now quasi-public companies, because 79.9% of their capital is controlled by a public entity, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which manages them as a public conservatorship.

In 2007, public debt in the United States was 10.6 trillion dollars, compared to a GDP (gross domestic product) of 13.811 trillion dollars. In just one year, direct and indirect public debt have grown to more than 100% of GDP, reaching 176.9% to 184.2%. These percentages exclude the debt guaranteed by policies underwritten by AIG, also nationalized, and liabilities for health spending (Medicaid and Medicare) and pensions (Social Security)[2]. By way of comparison, the Maastricht accords require member states of the European Union (EU) to reduce their public debt to no more than 60% of GDP. Again by way of comparison, in one of the EU countries with the largest public debt, Italy, public debt in 2007 was equal to 104% of GDP.

In 2007, 61.82% [3] of America's public debt was held by foreign investors, most of them Asian. So the U.S. public debt held by nonresident foreigners is equal to about 109.39% (113.86%) of GDP. According to a study by the International Monetary Fund, countries with more than 60% of their public debt held by nonresident foreigners run a high risk of currency crisis and insolvency, or debt default. On the historical level, there are no recent examples of countries with currencies valued at reserve status that have lapsed into public debt insolvency. There are also few or no precedents of such a vast and rapid expansion of public debt.

The United States also runs large deficits in its public balance sheet and balance of trade. Families and businesses are also deeply in debt: in 2007, American private debt was equal to a little more than 100% of GDP. At the moment, it is not clear how much of America's private debt has been "nationalized" with the recent bailouts.

In the early months of next year, when the official data are published, the United States will run a serious risk of insolvency. This would involve, in the first place, a valuation crisis for the dollar. After this, the United States could face a social crisis like that in Argentina in 2001. A crisis in U.S. public debt would likely have a severe impact on the Asian countries that are the main exporters to the United States, China first among them. Chinese monetary authorities, thanks to a steeply undervalued artificial exchange rate, at about 55% of its fair value, have limited imports (including food) and have achieved an export surplus. This has allowed them to accumulate a large stockpile of dollar reserves. In a currency crisis, China risks losing much of the value of its accumulated currency reserves. At the same time, pressure on imports (wheat, other grains, and meat) have led to inflation in the prices of food, the most important expenditure for more than 900 million Chinese. This is nothing more than a small confirmation of the recent statements of the pope, in his message for the World Day for Peace, where the pontiff calls the current financial system and its methods "based upon very short-term thinking," without depth and breadth (nos. 10-12), preoccupied with creating wealth from nothing and leading the planet to its current disaster. [4]

[1] See Bloomberg, 2008, 11-25 16:35:48.130 GMT “U.S. Pledges Top $8.5 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit (Table)”

[2] In this case, exluding AIG policies, one arrives at a total equal to 429.37 of GDP.

[3] Cf. Economic crisis: US, China and the coming monetary storm

[4] Cf. AsiaNews.it 11/2/2008 Message for Peace 2009: the poor, wealth of the world; Global solidarity to fight poverty and build peace, says Pope

Bob Jensen's threads on the National Debt time bomb are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on the Bailout's Hidden Agenda are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#HiddenAgendaDetails

"Financial Restoration for the United States," December 2008," by James C. VanHorne, A. P. Giannini Professor of Banking and Finance at Stanford University, December 2008 --- http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/research/financial-restoration.html/?tr=kb0812

The Antecedents to 2008 During the past 200 years, there have been 16 credit crises in the United States, all marked by speculative excesses in the years immediately preceding. Following the 1907 and early 1930s crises, the Congress undertook substantial reform of the financial services industry. Again it is time for substantial regulatory/supervisory change. Recall that beginning in the late 1970s, there began a period of deregulation of financial services in the United States. Much good came in lowering costs and inconvenience, but it came with greater risk taking and less disciplined behavior. No longer did a lender need to carry a loan on its own books, but could securitize it and capture fat front-end fees and not have to worry if the borrower paid. Self-regulation and market discipline, frequently quixotic, cannot stem the type of systemic risk we have recently experienced.

The Reform Needed As the ultimate safeguard to stem a financial panic, the government should have in place the apparatus that will allow it to curtail speculative excesses in advance of their triggering a financial panic. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” if you will. A number of things are in order. Regulatory authorities dealing with the financial services industry broadly defined should be consolidated. There are too many of them, often with conflicting objectives, and competition among them—relics of the past. More specifically, I would have the Securities and Exchange Commission responsible only for disclosure of information to investors on new and existing securities, together with oversight of mutual funds. No regulation of investment banks and others, for which it has proven to be inept. The FDIC should continue its present role, as should the Fed under its now expanded mandate.

I would consolidate all other regulatory agencies into a new agency with broad powers to regulate investment banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies, hedge funds, finance companies, thrifts, credit unions, commodity firms, brokerage firms, prime brokers, derivative and futures markets dealers, and banks not regulated by the Fed and FDIC. Any U.S. or foreign financial institution that operates in U.S. financial markets would fall under the agency’s purview. For other than depository institutions, however, I would establish size thresholds for inclusion in regulatory oversight; say, above $10 billion in assets and/or $40 billion in derivative positions (notional amount) for a single institution or collective institutions under interlocking ownership. Supervisory and regulatory oversight would embrace asset quality, leverage, and counterparty risk, as well as overall risk with full power of the agency to curtail overly risky activities. The governing board should be independent and appointed by the Congress and the president for, say, 10-year terms on a staggered basis.

As part of the change, a new department should be established to facilitate workouts for mortgages and other loans. Presently many loans have been securitized with legal impediments to workouts. Efficiently managed workouts benefit both the borrower, in reducing payment outlays, and the lender, in not having to charge off as much of the loan. While many other worthwhile changes are possible, I will mention only three. 1) Restore the uptick rule, where short sales can be consummated only upon a rise in security price. This is a better remedy than periodically freezing short sales. 2) Require loan originators to retain a small portion, say 5 to 7 percent, of loans that are securitized. This creates a discipline that otherwise does not occur. 3) Have credit-rating agencies paid by the government from fees collected by the government from security issuers. This move will result in more objectivity and align the incentives of the rating agencies with investors.

Social Allocation of Capital Finally, the method by which the capital is socially allocated is a matter of concern. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were actively pressured by the Congress and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to promote housing ownership through low/no down payment and deferred interest types of mortgages. Seemingly there is no cost, as long as the government’s implicit guarantee of these agencies does not occur. When it did in 2008, the cost is huge. A more efficient method for socially allocating capital is for the government to pay an interest-rate and/or principal subsidy to the lender or to the borrower for certain types of socially desirable loans. In this manner, the lender receives the market clearing rate of interest while the borrower pays this rate minus the subsidy. The cost of socially allocating capital is recognized up front and the allocation of capital in society is more efficient.

A Closing Thought While not a complete or comprehensive set of reforms, I believe the proposals outlined above would do much to reduce systemic risk in the financial services industry and save taxpayers much in the process.

James VanHorne

Note: Below are listed the credit crises in the United States during the past 200 years by year in which they (approximately) began and/or peaked. There is no beginning/peak in the 1930s, as there were several. During the War of 1812 there was a credit crisis of sorts. However, it was not occasioned by speculative excesses in the years preceding but rather by the British occupying Washington and I have chosen not to include it. The classifications are partially subjective on my part – particularly with respect to the exact year in which a crisis occurred.

The credit crises by year are: 1819; 1837; 1857; 1873; 1893; 1907; 1919; 1930s; 1949; 1958; 1970; 1974; 1981; 1991; 2002; 2008.

Bob Jensen's threads on the financial crisis of 2008 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

"U.S. Deficit Would Top $1 Trillion with New Method  (more accurate method of accounting)," AccountingWeb, December 15, 2008 --- http://accounting.smartpros.com/x64135.xml

The federal deficit for 2008 would top $1 trillion if the government had to use the same accounting methods as private companies.

And that doesn't even account for the huge costs of the Wall Street bailout, which didn't really start until the new budget year began on Oct. 1.

The government is promising $49 trillion more than it can deliver on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid over the next 75 years unless Congress steps in to shore up the system. Some combination of tax increases, benefit cuts or other policy changes is needed to stave off unsustainable deficits.

That was the finding Monday when the administration released a 188-page "Financial Report of the United States Government" for the 2008 budget year that ended on Sept. 30.

The report, released by the Treasury Department and the White House budget office, found that under the accrual method of accounting used by businesses, the deficit for 2008 would have totaled $1 trillion - not the $455 billion reported in October under the cash system of accounting.

Under the accrual method, expenses are recorded when they are incurred rather than when they are paid. That tends to raise costs for liabilities such as pensions and health insurance. The big jump in the 2008 budget year was largely due to changed calculations for the payment of veterans benefits.

Even under regular cash accounting, the deficit is expected to top a staggering $1 trillion for the ongoing 2009 fiscal year, reflecting the costs of the Wall St. bailout, weaker tax revenues from the deepening recession and the costs of President-elect Barack Obama's upcoming economic recovery measure.

What's more: The report doesn't factors in the enormous potential liabilities incurred by the Federal Reserve System over the past few months as it has tried to stabilize the financial system by taking steps like guaranteeing $306 billion worth of Citigroup troubled assets. Fed transactions aren't reported on the government's books.

Despite the turmoil caused by the financial crisis, the longer term liabilities facing the government are even more staggering.

Virtually every budget expert warns that the long-term costs of federal retirement programs like Social Security and Medicare are going to swamp the budget as more and more baby boomers retire. The long-term shortfall for Medicare grew by $3.1 trillion over the past year.

"This report shows we have fiscal cancer and once you have cancer you have to treat it,' said Rep. Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat. "Our problems are metastasizing at the rate of about $3 trillion a year, and that's before the bailout."

"We must not forget the long-term needs that pose a significant threat to our economy's fiscal sustainability," said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. "Changes are needed to ensure these programs are fiscally sustainable."

"It is without question that we face extraordinary challenges in our financial markets and the larger economy," said White House budget chief Jim Nussle. "As a result, the bottom-line budget results in the short-term are sobering."

The fiscal results also amplify President George W. Bush's record on the deficit. Virtually every administration promise on the deficit has failed to come to pass.

Bush hands President-elect Barack Obama a government in bad fiscal shape, but Obama's unlikely to tackle the deficit until an economic recovery begins.

Bush inherited a budget seen as producing endless huge surpluses after four straight years in positive territory. That stretch of surpluses represented a period when the country's finances had been bolstered by a 10-year period of uninterrupted economic growth, the longest expansion in U.S. history.

Twelve years ago, Congress ordered the government to start issuing annual reports using the accrual method of accounting in an effort to show the finances in a way that was comparable with the private sector.

Bob Jensen's threads on the entitlement program economic disaster are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm

How did a grandmother help build the corruption case against the Democratic Party political machine in Illinois?

"Secret Tapes Helped Build Graft Cases In Illinois:  Hospital CEO Reported Shakedown, Wore Wire," by Carrie Johnson and Kimberly Kindy, The Washington Post, December 22, 2008 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/21/AR2008122102334.html?hpid=topnews

The wide-ranging public corruption probe that led to the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich got its first big break when a grandmother of six walked into a breakfast meeting with shakedown artists wearing an FBI wire.

Pamela Meyer Davis had been trying to win approval from a state health planning board for an expansion of Edward Hospital, the facility she runs in a Chicago suburb, but she realized that the only way to prevail was to retain a politically connected construction company and a specific investment house. Instead of succumbing to those demands, she went to the FBI and U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald in late 2003 and agreed to secretly record conversations about the project.

Her tapes led investigators down a twisted path of corruption that over five years has ensnared a collection of behind-the-scenes figures in Illinois government, including Joseph Cari Jr., a former Democratic National Committee member, and disgraced businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko.

On Dec. 9, that path wound up at the governor's doorstep. Another set of wiretaps suggested that Blagojevich was seeking to capitalize on the chance to fill the Senate seat just vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Many of the developments in Operation Board Games never attracted national headlines. They involved expert tactics in which prosecutors used threats of prosecution or prison time to flip bit players in a tangle of elaborate schemes that Fitzgerald has called pay-to-play "on steroids."

But now, Fitzgerald's patient strategy has led to uncomfortable questions not only for Blagojevich but also for the powerful players who privately negotiated with him, unaware that their conversations were being monitored. Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. faces queries about his interest in the Senate seat, and key players in the Obama presidential transition team -- White House Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel and adviser Valerie Jarrett -- are being asked about their contacts with the governor on the important appointment.

Pamela Meyer Davis had been trying to win approval from a state health planning board for an expansion of Edward Hospital, the facility she runs in a Chicago suburb, but she realized that the only way to prevail was to retain a politically connected construction company and a specific investment house. Instead of succumbing to those demands, she went to the FBI and U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald in late 2003 and agreed to secretly record conversations about the project.

Her tapes led investigators down a twisted path of corruption that over five years has ensnared a collection of behind-the-scenes figures in Illinois government, including Joseph Cari Jr., a former Democratic National Committee member, and disgraced businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko.

On Dec. 9, that path wound up at the governor's doorstep. Another set of wiretaps suggested that Blagojevich was seeking to capitalize on the chance to fill the Senate seat just vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Many of the developments in Operation Board Games never attracted national headlines. They involved expert tactics in which prosecutors used threats of prosecution or prison time to flip bit players in a tangle of elaborate schemes that Fitzgerald has called pay-to-play "on steroids."

But now, Fitzgerald's patient strategy has led to uncomfortable questions not only for Blagojevich but also for the powerful players who privately negotiated with him, unaware that their conversations were being monitored. Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. faces queries about his interest in the Senate seat, and key players in the Obama presidential transition team -- White House Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel and adviser Valerie Jarrett -- are being asked about their contacts with the governor on the important appointment.

Continued in article

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

"The Most Criminal Class Writes the Laws" --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#Lawmakers

Can you activate Microsoft Office on another computer?
I checked with a Microsoft contact (that's one of the perks of my job, and it's a lot easier than trying to decipher an End User Licensing Agreement). The answer is yes. You're allowed to move a license (how many licenses you have depends on your version of Office) from one computer to another. You can also reinstall it onto the same computer. Should the activation wizard refuse to reactivate, call the 800 number displayed on your screen. A customer service representative will fix the problem for you. (to which Jensen comments "yeah right!"
Lincoln Spector,  PC World via The Washington Post, December 22, 2008 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's technology helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm

This sure beats having the government buy the garbage!
If your executives got you into garbage investments, pay their bonuses in garbage

From the "Best of the Web Today" newsletter of The Wall Street Journal on December 19, 2008

A Financial Innovation Everyone Should Love
"Credit Suisse Group AG's investment bank has found a new way to reduce the risk of losses from about $5 billion of its most illiquid loans and bonds: using them to pay employees' year-end bonuses," Bloomberg reports:

The bank will use leveraged loans and commercial mortgage- backed debt, some of the securities blamed for generating the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, to fund executive compensation packages, people familiar with the matter said. The new policy applies only to managing directors and directors, the two most senior ranks at the Zurich-based company, according to a memo sent to employees today.
"While the solution we have come up with may not be ideal for everyone, we believe it strikes the appropriate balance among the interests of our employees, shareholders and regulators and helps position us well for 2009," Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan and Paul Calello, CEO of the investment bank, said in the memo.
The securities will be placed into a so-called Partner Asset Facility, and affected employees at the bank, Switzerland's second biggest, will be given stakes in the facility as part of their pay. Bonuses will take the first hit should the securities decline further in value.

This is such a great idea, we're surprised it took this long for someone to think of it. And contrary to the memo, this does seem "ideal for everyone." Shareholders gets relief from the risk associated with imprudent investments. Credit Suisse executives get their bonuses despite having made those imprudent investments--and if the risk pays off, they get the reward. What's not to like?

Labor Unions Want Less Financial Disclosure and accountability:  Why?

From day one of the Obama era, union leaders want the lights dimmed on how they spend their mandatory member dues. The AFL-CIO's representative on the Obama transition team for Labor is Deborah Greenfield, and we're told her first inspection stop was the Office of Labor-Management Standards, or OLMS, which monitors union compliance with federal law. Ms. Greenfield declined to comment, citing Obama transition rules, but her mission is clear enough. The AFL-CIO's formal "recommendations" to the Obama team call for the realignment of "the allocation of budgetary resources" from OLMS to other Labor agencies. The Secretary should "temporarily stay all financial reporting regulations that have not gone into effect," and "revise or rescind the onerous and unreasonable new requirements," such as the LM-2 and T-1 reporting forms. The explicit goal is to "restore the Department of Labor to its mission and role of advocating for, protecting and advancing the interests of workers." In other words, while transparency is fine for business, unions are demanding a pass for themselves.
"Quantum of Solis Big labor wants Obama to dilute union disclosure rules," The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2008 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122990431323225179.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

Advice on How to Study

December 30, 2008 email message from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

I'm starting to get my spring courses together. I usually put some "how to study" resources into my syllabus. Here are the resources that I'll link to this time around.

from accounting professor



Keys to effective studyt

from pharmacy professor
http://www.uic.edu/classes/phar/phar332/how to study.htm

David Albrecht

Bob Jensen's threads on resources are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/newfaculty.htm#Resources

"3 More 'Favorite' Student E-Mail Messages to Professors," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/3515/3-more-favorite-student-e-mails-to-professors

Every so often we check in on one of the most popular threads on The Chronicle’s discussion forums — called “‘Favorite’ student e-mails,”where professors post amusing (and often frustrating) messages from their students. The professors change the names and course titles to protect the clueless and to comply with student-privacy laws.

Here are three recent entries, along with thoughts about what they say about student attitudes toward professors in an age of e-mail.

Many Students Ask for Do-Overs

Many of the e-mail messages posted by professors involve students pleading for a chance to do extra academic work or to retake tests to raise their grades. This one got a particularly lively response on the forums:

Dear Professor, I saw that I lost points on the lab for questions I left blank. I thought they were rhetorical questions. Can I answer them now and get back the points?
-Sweet Student Who Marches to a Different Drummer

As the professor explains: “This really is a favorite e-mail because the student is a sweet kid and I do believe him, but I swear I have no idea how to respond to this.”

And Students Offer to Do More Than Just Homework

Since it is finals season at many colleges, several professors have recently posted student e-mail messages begging for higher grades, one way or another. Like this one:

Dr. Kif,
I worked my butt off on the paper, and I will honestly do ANYTHING it takes to get a C in the class. I don’t think you understand how desperate I am for a C. I don’t know where I went wrong on the final either…I thought I did so well??? I’ll cook you breakfast, lunch, dinner, and serve it to you. I mean…I’m pretty freaking desperate, obviously. Please let me do something. You name it…anything.
Thanks so much,
Pretty Little Snowflake Thang

As the professor joked, “Hmm. My car does need washing. And those leaves are piling up.”

One Professor Starts Semester With Guidelines for Sending E-Mail Messages

One professor said he or she got one too many e-mail messages like this: “i haven’t looked on blackboard yet but i’m wondering where the video lecture is.” Turns out, the video lectures were clearly on Blackboard, the college’s course-management system, and in a folder marked “Video Lectures.”

So the professor has started setting some e-mail ground rules at the beginning of the semester. “I will say that I begin every semester off with a brief introduction of how to email a professor,” the faculty member writes. “I do this in my undergraduate, graduate, and online courses. I don’t have time to try and decipher an e-mail that doesn’t make sense. And I tell them that if they don’t get a response within 24 hours, it’s because their e-mail was grammatically incorrect, rude, or completely incoherent. This has helped so much with the disrespectful, ignorant, and confusing emails. I also tell students to write down all of their questions, try to figure them out on their own, and then email me all questions in one email if, and only if, they are unable to figure it out.”

Have others tried creating similar rules for their courses?

December 17, 2008 message from Scott Bonacker CPA [cpa@BONACKERS.COM]

I have been reading a book that is helping to put a perspective on things. Much of what is happening now has happened many times before, and will probably continue to occur periodically in the future.


The writer tells a good story, by which I mean it is understandable and I don't feel overwhelmed with statistics and technical jargon.

Scott Bonacker CPA
Springfield, MO

This site has been around for years, but it is still interesting
Text to Speech --- http://www.oddcast.com/home/demos/tts/tts_example.php?sitepal

RFID Vendor Site

December 31, 2008 message from Holly Andrews [hollya968@hotmail.com]

Hi Bob!

I was checking out your page on ubiquitous computing page earlier, found here: http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ubiquit.htm 

Some great stuff here! I was particularly interested in your section "have your objects call my objects." Very interesting article. I find the development of RFID fascinating, especially considering such giant retailers as Wal Mart are utilizing it. I'm doing some research on barcode technology and RFID. My parents opened a store over the summer, and they're having trouble keeping track of their products and inventory.

Also, I got a lot of good information on RFID, barcode equipment and information on Barcodes Inc.

They're a vendor too, and we're thinking about getting some of their products to try and streamline things a bit. Thought it would be a good resource for your readers, as it was for us. They have a lot of excellent introductory information that hopefully you'll find useful.

Here's the URL if you're interested in adding it: http://www.barcodesinc.com/solutions/rfid-solutions/ 

Thanks again.
Holly Andrews


The Latino Education Crisis
Latinos have the worst record of completing college degrees of any group; between 9 and 11 percent for the last three decades; African Americans, for example, have been making slow but steady progress over the past three decades, from 11 percent in 1975 to 18 percent in 2006. Mothers have been identified in many studies as being key to motivating their children educationally. This is no different for Latinos, in spite of the fact that these mothers have much less formal education, on average, than mothers of all other major ethnic groups. Over 40 percent of Latina mothers have less than a high school education. This compares to approximately 12 percent of African American mothers.
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, December 22, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/12/22/latino

DSL Information

December 24, 2008 message from ashley smith [ashleys780@gmail.com]

Hi Professor Jensen,

I'm a Trinity alum and I was looking over the school's site when I came across when I came across your FAQs about the WWW page. Great Idea. I know I could use a lot more knowledge when it comes to the Internet and computers. I noticed you had a section on ISPs. I use Qwest for my Internet Service and they have some useful info about DSL on their site: http://www.qwestdeal.com/faq.html . Just thought since it helped me out it could potentially dumb things down for some of your other users. I'm no computer wiz, but it helped me a ton! Happy Holidays,

Ashley Smith

Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm

Bob Jensen's Technology Glossary is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245gloss.htm

"America's Most Overrated Product: the Bachelor's Degree," by Marty Nemko, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2. 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i34/34b01701.htm

Also, the past advantage of college graduates in the job market is eroding. Ever more students attend college at the same time as ever more employers are automating and sending offshore ever more professional jobs, and hiring part-time workers. Many college graduates are forced to take some very nonprofessional positions, such as driving a truck or tending bar.

How much do students at four-year institutions actually learn?

Colleges are quick to argue that a college education is more about enlightenment than employment. That may be the biggest deception of all. Often there is a Grand Canyon of difference between the reality and what higher-education institutions, especially research ones, tout in their viewbooks and on their Web sites. Colleges and universities are businesses, and students are a cost item, while research is a profit center. As a result, many institutions tend to educate students in the cheapest way possible: large lecture classes, with necessary small classes staffed by rock-bottom-cost graduate students. At many colleges, only a small percentage of the typical student's classroom hours will have been spent with fewer than 30 students taught by a professor, according to student-questionnaire data I used for my book How to Get an Ivy League Education at a State University. When students at 115 institutions were asked what percentage of their class time had been spent in classes of fewer than 30 students, the average response was 28 percent.

That's not to say that professor-taught classes are so worthwhile. The more prestigious the institution, the more likely that faculty members are hired and promoted much more for their research than for their teaching. Professors who bring in big research dollars are almost always rewarded more highly than a fine teacher who doesn't bring in the research bucks. Ernest L. Boyer, the late president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, used to say that winning the campus teaching award was the kiss of death when it came to tenure. So, no surprise, in the latest annual national survey of freshmen conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, 44.6 percent said they were not satisfied with the quality of instruction they received. Imagine if that many people were dissatisfied with a brand of car: It would quickly go off the market. Colleges should be held to a much higher standard, as a higher education costs so much more, requires years of time, and has so much potential impact on your life. Meanwhile, 43.5 percent of freshmen also reported "frequently" feeling bored in class, the survey found.

College students may be dissatisfied with instruction, but, despite that, do they learn? A 2006 study supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 50 percent of college seniors scored below "proficient" levels on a test that required them to do such basic tasks as understand the arguments of newspaper editorials or compare credit-card offers. Almost 20 percent of seniors had only basic quantitative skills. The students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the gas station.

Unbelievably, according to the Spellings Report, which was released in 2006 by a federal commission that examined the future of American higher education, things are getting even worse: "Over the past decade, literacy among college graduates has actually declined. … According to the most recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy, for instance, the percentage of college graduates deemed proficient in prose literacy has actually declined from 40 to 31 percent in the past decade. … Employers report repeatedly that many new graduates they hire are not prepared to work, lacking the critical thinking, writing and problem-solving skills needed in today's workplaces."

What must be done to improve undergraduate education?

Colleges should be held at least as accountable as tire companies are. When some Firestone tires were believed to be defective, government investigations, combined with news-media scrutiny, led to higher tire-safety standards. Yet year after year, colleges and universities turn out millions of defective products: students who drop out or graduate with far too little benefit for the time and money spent. Not only do colleges escape punishment, but they are rewarded with taxpayer-financed student grants and loans, which allow them to raise their tuitions even more.

I ask colleges to do no more than tire manufacturers are required to do. To be government-approved, all tires must have — prominently molded into the sidewall — some crucial information, including ratings of tread life, temperature resistance, and traction compared with national benchmarks.

Going significantly beyond the recommendations in the Spellings report, I believe that colleges should be required to prominently report the following data on their Web sites and in recruitment materials:

College is a wise choice for far fewer people than are currently encouraged to consider it. It's crucial that they evenhandedly weigh the pros and cons of college versus the aforementioned alternatives. The quality of their lives may depend on that choice.

Marty Nemko is a career counselor based in Oakland, Calif., and has been an education consultant to 15 college presidents. He is author of four books, including The All-in-One College Guide: A Consumer Activist's Guide to Choosing a College (Barron's, 2004).

Liberal Bias in K-12 History Textbooks

"Distorting History and Current Events for Fun and Profit," by James Shott, American Sentinel, December 2008 --- http://theamericansentinel.com/2008/12/18/distorting-history-and-current-events-for-fun-and-profit/

A new book by Larry Schweikart, a professor of history at the University of Dayton, details some of this in 48 Liberal Lies about American History. In an interview with FrontPageMagazine.com, Professor Schweikart discusses some of the inaccuracies he found in the top, best-selling college U.S. history textbooks that he examined.

About the idea that it was Mikhail Gorbachev, not Ronald Reagan, that ended the Cold War, Mr. Schweikart responded: “This lie is prominent, and in some form appears in most of the textbooks … Gorby is portrayed as this good-hearted, wonderful reformer who had to convince that evil Ronald Reagan that nukes were bad. It’s absurd … [Gorbachev] had to do something about the Soviet economy because … it was collapsing like a house of cards. Reagan kept the pressure on, especially with ‘Star Wars,’ and the evidence is overwhelming from the former Soviet archives that this was what happened. Reagan forced Gorbachev to change, not vice versa.”

Among the perfidies Prof. Schweikart exposes are these (presented as undisputed facts):

What kinds of images do distortions like those exposed in Prof. Schweikart’s book create in the minds of readers? Can they really understand their country and what it stands for? Will they be moved to defend its ideals if they believe those lies represent the truth?

When history is not factual, when it is distorted to make a story more appealing or to accomplish some narrow political goal, when the reporting of historical and contemporary events is in the hands of unprincipled, dishonest and biased people, truth is lost, and without truth we are a rudderless ship in a fierce storm.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I remember a history textbook required in all Texas schools that stated the United States ended the Korean War by using the Atomic Bomb!

"A Disturbing Book Worth Reading," by Tony Blankley, Townhall, December 24, 2008 --- http://townhall.com/columnists/TonyBlankley/2008/12/24/a_disturbing_book_worth_reading

He is, regrettably, right. While these days one may expect "sensitive deference" to Muslim sensitivities, the authors show how American textbooks have gone so far as to outright proselytize Islam.

As "The Trouble with Textbooks" shows, textbooks relate Christian and Jewish religious traditions as stories attributed to some source (for example, "According to the New Testament "), while Islamic traditions are related as indisputable historical facts. The authors cite the textbook "Holt World History," where one can read that Moses "claimed to receive the Ten Commandments from god," but "Mohammed simply 'received' the Koran from God." The textbook "Pearson's World Civilizations" instructs that Jesus of Nazareth is "believed by Christians to be the Messiah" -- which would be a fine comparative religion study observation if the book didn't also disclose that Muhammad "received revelations from Allah."

"The Trouble with Textbooks" is filled with such shocking examples. It also reports on a textbook ("McDougal Littell World Cultures and Geography") that relates that "Judaism is a story of exile" and that "Christians believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah" but that the Quran "is the collection of God's revelations to Muhammad." As "The Trouble with Textbooks" makes only too clear, one instance perhaps could be overlooked, but in fact, there is a consistent malicious practice of Islam -- and only Islam -- being described as historical truth in numerous prominent public-school textbooks. In those textbooks, Christianity and Judaism equally as consistently are described as mere notions of their believers.

I have no problem with religions being taught in public-school textbooks on a comparative basis. But to see Islam alone taught as the "truth" is an outrage. This is only one small part of the assault on truth in textbooks by organized Muslim special pleaders that is analyzed in the book "The Trouble with Textbooks." As you might expect, there are constant examples of American textbooks describing recent Israeli/Palestinian history in a manner consistent with the late Yasser Arafat's version rather than anything approaching honest and accurate history.

I understand that perfect objectivity in the study of history is never possible. And it would not surprise anyone that each country tends to teach its children its history -- and the history of the world -- in a manner that makes the country look better than it perhaps is. What is particularly galling in this report on American textbooks is that a fraction of the 5 million or so Muslims in America are winning the battle for textbook writing against the interest and tradition of the 275 million or so Judeo-Christian Americans.

"The Trouble with Textbooks" is a wake-up call to the parents of America to fight back to reinsert the truth of our history in our children's textbooks and classrooms. Is it too much to ask that in American schools our traditions and faith not be denigrated but rather get equal treatment with other faiths and traditions?

Liberal Bias in Arctic Warming "Exaggerations"

"Rumors of the Death of Arctic Sea Ice Greatly Exaggerated," by Timothy Birdnow, Pajamas Media, December 20, 2008 --- http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/rumors-of-the-death-of-arctic-sea-ice-greatly-exaggerated/

The Gang Green — those who believe that man is destroying the planet via our release of industrial emissions — have struggled to convince the populace that their viewpoint, based almost entirely on computer simulations and not on actual recorded data, is correct. (I often refer to global warming as the Goldilocks theory; if it is too hot, too cold, or just right it must be global warming!) Every time Al Gore gives a speech the temperature drops into single digits. We haven’t had any real planetary warming since 1998, and this year has been unseasonably cool, a likely result of an anemic sunspot cycle and reversals in wind and wave oscillations in the Pacific. So the alarmists are forced to making desperate pronouncements designed to panic the average Joe.

One issue that they’ve employed to good advantage is the loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Just run a quick Google search on “Arctic sea ice vanishing” and you will find a series of breathless warnings of coming doom and pictures of drowning polar bears. The alarmist will triumphantly point to the opening of the Northwest Passage and the unusually low ice levels of 2007 and 2008, claiming this is absolute proof that anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW) is wrecking the planet. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for example, recently released a dire warning that “between 1.5 and 2 trillion tons of ice have melted in Greenland, Antarctica, and Alaska” and that this proves that we are in the throes of a man-made crisis, one that will trigger massive sea level rise as polar ice melts away. Clearly human greenhouse gas emissions are becoming a planetary emergency.

But are they?

Climate Science, the weblog of climatologist Roger Pielke Sr., discusses the issue of Arctic sea ice melt and explains why the freeze and thaw dates are important to establishing whether ice loss/gain is related to greenhouse gases.

The upshot of his argument is that the start of the freeze-up should come later in the fall, as the melt should likewise begin earlier. It’s not simply a matter of how much ice is lost, but when it is lost.

Dr. Pielke Sr. quotes from a recent paper on the matter:

Indeed, this is what is claimed in a recent talk by Mark C. Serreze of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences/National Snow and Ice Data Center (CIRES/NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder (November 10, 2008, titled “The Emergence of Arctic Amplification”) …

The abstract includes the statement “As the climate warms, the summer melt season lengthens.”

So, we should be able to discern if the season is actually lengthening by examining the melt/thaw dates.

Which is precisely what William Chapman, author of the Chryosphere Today blog, has done.

Here is a table showing the melt and thaw periods with the minimum and maximum ice level dates starting in 1979; you will note that this year’s maximum was equal to 1981 (at .1943), and the minimum at .6876 is likewise equal to 1981. So, does that mean we are in a greenhouse warming cycle reminiscent of 27 years prior?

Actually, the chart shows no discernible pattern whatsoever, with 1985 representing the high for the maximum and 2005 representing the nadir of the minimum, a close second to 1985. In short, there is no evidence for an increase in warming — at least not in regards to when sea ice freezes and melts.


Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close. Ice levels had been tracking lower throughout much of 2008, but rapidly recovered in the last quarter. In fact, the rate of increase from September onward is the fastest rate of change on record, either upwards or downwards. The data is being reported by the University of Illinois's Arctic Climate Research Center, and is derived from satellite observations of the Northern and Southern hemisphere polar regions.
Michael Asher, "Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979," Daily Tech, January 1, 2009 --- http://www.dailytech.com/Article.aspx?newsid=13834

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change --- http://www.ipcc.ch/
Critique of the test by a geoscientist --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2007/tidbits070918.htm#GlobalWarming 

Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. --- http://www.arcus.org/

Arnold Arboretum: South Central China and Tibet: Hotspot of Diversity --- http://www.arboretum.harvard.edu/library/tibet/expeditions.html 

U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy --- http://www1.eere.energy.gov/geothermal/ 

Western Waters Digital Library --- http://harvester.lib.utah.edu/wwdl/

Oxfam International Climate Change Video --- http://www.oxfam.org/en/video

Bob Jensen's threads on global warming are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

From the "Best of the Web Today" newsletter of The Wall Street Journal on December 19, 2008

A Social-Work Housecleaning
Yesterday we noted the case of William Felkner, a student at Rhode Island College's School of Social work who is suing the school claiming that professors discriminated against him because he disagreed with their left-liberal political views. It turns out a similar lawsuit two years ago had impressive results. The Associated Press reported on the suit when it was filed, in November 2006:

A Missouri State University graduate has sued the school, claiming she was retaliated against because she refused to support gay adoption as part of a class project.
Emily Brooker's federal lawsuit, filed on her behalf Monday by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, claims the retaliation against her Christian beliefs violated her First Amendment right to free speech. . . .
She said one of her professor's [sic], Frank G. Kauffman, accused her of the violation after he assigned a project that required the entire class to write and each sign a letter to the Missouri Legislature in support of gay adoption. Brooker said her Christian beliefs required her to refuse to sign the letter. . . .
Brooker said she was called before a college ethics committee on Dec. 16, where she was questioned for two hours by faculty members. She alleges they asked her questions such as "Do you think gays and lesbians are sinners?" and "Do you think I am a sinner?" She said she was also asked if she could help gay and lesbian people in social work situations.
Brooker said she was required to sign a contract with the department pledging to follow the National Association of Social Work's code of ethics, which does not refer to homosexuality. She alleges the contract requires her to change her religious beliefs to conform to social work standards to continue enrollment in the School of Social Work.

It took less than a week for Brooker to get satisfaction. In a press release dated Nov. 8, 2006, the university announced that it had agreed to strike the disciplinary action from Brooker's record, pay her $9,000, and reimburse her for tuition and living expenses for two years' graduate education.

It gets better. In addition to the terms of the settlement agreement, the press release announced that Kauffman had "voluntarily stepped down" as head of the social work program and "had begun weekly consultations" with a provost, "which will continue at least through the spring 2007 semester."

Further, the university's president, Michael Nietzel, pledged to "commission a comprehensive, professionally directed evaluation of the Missouri State Social Work Program" and "appoint an ad hoc committee to recommend ways in which the university can better publicize and more effectively implement its policies regarding freedom of speech and expression on campus."

The report came out in March 2007. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education described it:

The report is scathing, citing ideological coercion on the part of the faculty against dissenting students and the chilling effect of such actions and policies on the school's intellectual atmosphere. . . .
MSU's report is encouraging—generally universities try to cover up and excuse their mistakes, and MSU has done neither. MSU should be applauded for expending the effort for some serious self-reflection and its students will no doubt benefit from the overdue recognition that MSU had been providing them with an atmosphere of ideological coercion.

Bob Jensen's threads on political correctness and freedom of speech in higher education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#PoliticalCorrectness

From the Securities Law Professor Blog on December 18, 2008 --- http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/securities/

SEC Files Insider Trading Charges Against Former Lehman Broker and Others

The SEC filed insider trading charges in another "pillow-talk" case, alleging that a former registered representative at Lehman Brothers misappropriated confidential information from his wife, a partner in an international public relations firms, and tipped a number of clients and friends. The SEC's complaint alleges that from at least March 2004 through July 2008, Matthew Devlin, then a registered representative at Lehman Brothers, Inc. ("Lehman") in New York City, traded on and tipped at least four of his clients and friends with inside information about 13 impending corporate transactions. According to the complaint, some of Devlin's clients and friends, three of whom worked in the securities or legal professions, tipped others who also traded in the securities. The complaint alleges that the illicit trading yielded over $4.8 million in profits.  Because the inside information was valuable, some of the traders referred to Devlin and his wife as the "golden goose." The complaint further alleges that by providing inside information, Devlin curried favor with his friends and business associates and, in return, was rewarded with cash and luxury items, including a Cartier watch, a Barneys New York gift card, a widescreen TV, a Ralph Lauren leather jacket and Porsche driving lessons.

The complaint alleges that, based on the information provided by Devlin, the defendants variously purchased the common stock and/or options of the following public companies: InVision Technologies, Inc.; Eon Labs, Inc.; Mylan, Inc.; Abgenix, Inc.; Aztar Corporation; Veritas, DGC, Inc.; Mercantile Bankshares Corporation; Alcan, Inc.; Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.; Pharmion Corporation; Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.; Anheuser-Busch, Inc.; and Rohm and Haas Company. At the time that Devlin tipped the other defendants about these companies, each company was confidentially engaged in a significant transaction that involved a merger, tender offer, or stock repurchase.

The SEC's complaint names nine defendants as well as three relief defendants.  The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York filed related criminal charges today against some of the defendants named in the SEC's complaint.

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

Bob Jensen's Rotten to the Core threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

How can you both send large files across the Internet and convert them to PDF format?

From the Scout Report on December 12, 2008

You Send It Express 1.7 http://www.yousendit.com/cms/standalone-app 

Sending large files to colleagues and friends around the world can be cumbersome, so it's nice to learn about YouSendIt Express. Visitors who sign up to use the application can send up to 2GB, convert files to the pdf format, and also take advantage of password protection and certified delivery. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP, Vista, or Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher. Additionally, it's worth noting that this is a trial version which is offered for free for fourteen days.

Jensen Comment
Other alternatives for sending large files --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm#SendingLargeFiles

December 19, 2008 reply from M Robert Bowers [M.Robert.Bowers@WHARTON.UPENN.EDU]

Just a reminder if you want to convert files to pdf. There is a program, cutepdf ( www.cutepdf.com ) that converts any file to pdf. If the program has a File|Print feature, it allows you to print to cutepdf.

Process Terminator 1.0 --- http://www.jcsoftware.co.nr/ 

Getting rid of an unresponsive program or process on a computer can be frustrating, so it's nice to learn about this application. Process Terminator allows users to list the running processes, examine them, and quickly terminate the processes in question. You can find the program by clicking on "Downloads" from their homepage. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.

From the Scout Report on December 19, 2008

Google Chrome 1.0 http://www.google.com/chrome 

Google recently released their first full version of the web browser Chrome, and by most accounts, it's a valuable addition in this particular area of applications. Visitors will note that the focus here is on the pages that people are viewing, rather than the sometimes cumbersome applications and tools that are gathered around the borders. Chrome doesn't really offer many plug-ins, but it does have detachable tabs which can be rearranged as users see fit. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.

TrailRunner 1.8 http://trailrunnerx.com/

Everyone's looking for an improved running or walking path, and TrailRunner can help you do just that. TrailRunner 1.8 is essentially a route planning application designed for sports like running, biking, and inline skating. Visitors can create interactive maps, review alternate routes, and export the directions onto their iPod. This version is compatible with Mac OS X 10.3.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Celebrates 60th Anniversary Universal Declaration of Human Rights Marks 60th Anniversary [Real Player]

Cuban activists say they were beaten on eve of 60th human rights anniversary

BBC News: World Marks UN Human Rights Day

Human rights violations in our own backyard

Mary Robinson: Climate change is an issue of human rights

Human Rights Day 2008 [Real Player, [pdf]

United Nations Audio Library: Radio Classics [iTunes]


"The Admissions Gap for Big-Time Athletes," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, December 29, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/12/29/admit

Consider two would-be college basketball players. One scored 850 on his SATs and had a high school grade point average of 2.75; the other scored 975 and had a GPA of 3.2. But the former enrolls at a university where his SAT is within 150 points of the average for all students at the institution. The latter’s test score, though higher, puts him more than 300 points below those for the average freshman who will be sitting alongside him in class.

Which one is at more of a disadvantage academically in college? Are colleges doing a disservice to athletes if they have markedly different admissions standards for them than for other students? Or, as many sports officials argue, should colleges be held accountable more for the ultimate academic performance of their athletes on the way out (e.g., do they graduate?) than for their credentials on the way in?

Questions like those have arisen periodically about big-time college athletics, and they are likely to to be raised anew by an investigative report published Sunday by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The package of articles is based on a year-long review of information submitted as part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s accreditation-like “certification” process by more than 50 public universities that play big-time football or basketball. As part of that process, colleges provide a wide range of information and data, including, typically, on the admission of athletes.

The data collected by the Atlanta paper are difficult to compare from college to college, because they cover different years; institutions participate in the NCAA certification process only once a decade, and so admissions information for the 54 colleges range from the late 1990s through 2006.

Still, they offer an unusual glimpse at data that rarely see the light of day, and, taken together with recent investigative reports by USA Today (examining the clustering of athletes in certain academic majors), the Indianapolis Star (exploring the rates at which Division I colleges use “special” processes to admit athletes and other students), and the Associated Press (showing the significant sums that colleges are pouring into academic support for athletes), the Atlanta paper’s report draws attention to the tension inherent in a system in which major colleges increasingly provide sports as high-profile entertainment with athletes whom they argue are in many ways like regular students at their institutions.

The problem is that there are many ways in which athletes, especially in sports such as football and basketball, differ radically from average students. They spend dozens and dozens of hours a week on their sports, travel away from campus for days at a time and, in some cases, integrate little with other students on campus. Some of these same things can be said of students in other time-intensive activities, such as musicians or student newspaper editors.

But that’s where the question of academic preparation comes in: If athletes are entering college with significant lesser academic preparation than their peers (as measured, it should be said, by measures such as standardized test scores and high school grades that are admittedly imperfect, though widely used), does that put them at a major disadvantage, given the intense demands on them?

Athletes Lag

The Atlanta newspaper’s project puts those questions front and center for many colleges. It focused its research on colleges in the six major Bowl Championship Series conferences — those that play at the highest level of NCAA football — plus a few other institutions that were highly ranked in football or basketball polls in 2007-8. It sought access to the institutions’ NCAA certification reports, a process that the NCAA treats as confidential except for its ultimate result.

The newspaper did not bother to collect information from the private universities that compete in those conferences — prestigious and high-profile institutions such as Duke, Stanford and Northwestern Universities and the University of Notre Dame — because they are not subject to the state open-records laws on which the Journal-Constitution based its requests for information. (The newspaper did include data on one private institution, Syracuse University, that was contained in its certification report, which it made public on the athletics department’s Web site.) Most of those independent institutions tend to have academically selective student bodies but to recruit from the same population of athletes as other institutions, giving them wide gaps in qualifications between their athletes and other students.

Despite those laws, even some of the public universities did not provide the relevant information, the Journal-Constitution noted. “Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh refused to provide the information. The University of Kansas and West Virginia University said their most recent NCAA certification self-study did not include the information. Kansas State University deleted all of its sport-by-sport data,” the newspaper explained.

For those colleges that did report their information, the gaps in academic preparation between athletes and other students are wide. The average SAT for all freshmen at the colleges in question was 1161, while the average for all athletes was 1037, 124 points lower. The average SAT for football players was 941, and for male basketball players, 934.

The averages mask much wider variation among colleges. The University of Cincinnati, Clemson University, the University of California at Berkeley and Georgia Institute of Technology all had average SAT scores for their men’s basketball players of roughly 950. But at Cincinnati, the basketball players were within 124 points of the student body at the urban public university; at Clemson, the gap was 201 points; at California, a highly selective flagship, 350 points; and at Georgia Tech, one of the nation’s leading public institutions for science and particularly engineering, 396 points.

Similar gaps show up within conferences. To judge by the SAT scores of its freshmen, the University of Florida is the most selective institution in the Southeastern Conference, yet its football players had the lowest average SAT score, 346 points lower than the average for all students. Mississippi State’s football recruits had a roughly similar academic profile, within about 20 SAT points, yet its football players were much more in line with the qualifications of the general student body there.

Whether the data suggest a problem at any particular college — or for the powers-that-be in the NCAA — is open for debate. Officials at selective institutions with big gaps say such divergences are the price of competing with institutions with more open admissions policies, and tend to point to high graduation rates as evidence that they are helping to ensure that the athletes they admit succeed, regardless of their incoming credentials.

Continued in article

Special Admission Students in Varsity Athletics

Many universities fill the spots on their football squads through the use of “special admits,” a phrase that means that these students didn’t meet regular admissions requirements, according to an article and survey in The Indianapolis Star. While most colleges have provisions for special admits, which in theory are for truly special applicants, very few non-athletes benefit. For example, the Star noted that 76 percent of the freshman football class at Indiana University at Bloomington is made up of special admits. Among all freshmen last year, only 2 percent are special admits. Some universities rely even more on special admits for football, the survey found: the University of California at Berkeley (95 percent of freshmen football players, compared to 2 percent for the student body), Texas A&M University (94 percent vs. 8 percent), the University of Oklahoma (81 percent vs. 2 percent). While some universities didn’t report any special admits, the Star article quoted athletics officials who are dubious of these claims. Myles Brand, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, told the newspaper he was surprised by the extent of special admits, but said the issue was whether universities provide appropriate help for these students to succeed academically.
Inside Higher Ed, September 8, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/09/08/qt

Bob Jensen's threads on athletics controversies in higher education are at  www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm

Free online textbooks, cases, and tutorials in accounting, finance, economics, and statistics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks

Education Tutorials

Education Solutions for Our Future --- http://www.solutionsforourfuture.org

Reading Rockets (teaching children to read) --- http://www.readingrockets.org/

Changing the Game: The Federal Role in Supporting 21st Century Educational Innovation --- Click Here 

Teaching Tolerance Magazine --- http://www.tolerance.org/teach/magazine/index.jsp

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#EducationResearch

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Essentials of Geology --- http://www.wwnorton.com/college/geo/egeo/welcome.htm

MIT OpenCourseWare: Introduction to Geology --- Click Here

Exploring the Environment: Modules & Activities (K-12 activities) --- http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/modules.html

Interactive Teaching Units: Green Chemistry --- http://www.rsc.org/Education/HElecturers/Resources/ITUs.asp

American Society of Limnology and Oceanography --- http://aslo.org/index.html

National Institute of Informatics --- http://www.nii.ac.jp/index.shtml.en

World Health Organization: Health Economics --- http://www.who.int/topics/health_economics/en/

EXPLO.TV (funky science learning videos) --- http://www.exploratorium.edu/webcasts/index.php

Stonehenge Mystery Solved? (maybe) --- http://j-walkblog.com/index.php?/weblog/posts/moving_big_rocks

Bob Jensen's threads on free online science, engineering, and medicine tutorials are at --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

The Great Issues Forum (great for dissertation and book ideas) --- http://www.greatissuesforum.org/

Federal Revenue and Spending Book of Charts (Great Charts on Bad Budgeting) --- http://www.heritage.org/research/features/BudgetChartBook/index.html

Economic Indicators --- http://www.gpoaccess.gov/indicators/
EconStats --- http://www.econstats.com/index.htm
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics

The 19th Century Trade Card --- http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/19th_century_tcard/

Migration Policy Institute: State Legislation Database --- http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/statelaws_home.cfm

Teaching Tolerance Magazine --- http://www.tolerance.org/teach/magazine/index.jsp

Pueblo, USA: How Latino Immigration is Changing America --- http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/immigration/

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies --- http://www.jointcenter.org/

Online Historical Population Reports --- http://www.histpop.org/ohpr/servlet/

State of World Population 2008 (read a free chapter) --- http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2008/en/

World Health Organization: Health Economics --- http://www.who.int/topics/health_economics/en/

Investigating Atheism --- http://www.investigatingatheism.info/

Mumbai: A Battle in the War for Pakistan --- http://www.cfr.org/publication/17981/

Bob Jensen's threads on Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Philosophy tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

Law and Legal Studies

Teaching Tolerance Magazine --- http://www.tolerance.org/teach/magazine/index.jsp

Bob Jensen's threads on law and legal studies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Law

Math Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

History Tutorials

Reconstructing American History --- http://newt.org/Portals/0/Capitol Visitor Center Report_.pdf

The Engines of Our Ingenuity (audio history of creativity) --- http://www.uh.edu/engines/engines.htm

The 19th Century Trade Card --- http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/19th_century_tcard/

Digital History --- http://digitalhistory.unl.edu/

The National Archives: The Cabinet Papers, 1915-1977 --- http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cabinetpapers/

The William Morris Society Website (art and literature) --- http://www.morrissociety.org/

Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award98/ienhtml/curthome.html

National Museum of the American Indian: Beauty Surrounds Us ---

A Literary Map of Maine --- http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/literarymap/map.html

Investigating Atheism --- http://www.investigatingatheism.info/

Virginia Historical Society: Heads and Tales http://www.vahistorical.org/exhibits/headstales_main.htm

American Civil War History Site --- http://www.factasy.com/

Wisconsin Goes To War: Our Civil War Experience --- http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/WI/subcollections/WIWarAbout.html

Turner Prize 2008 (art history) --- http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/turnerprize/turnerprize2008/

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline of Art History http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/splash.htm 

From Dartmouth University
Hood Museum of Art --- http://hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu/

The Great Issues Forum (great for dissertation and book ideas) --- http://www.greatissuesforum.org/

From the Scout Report on December 19, 2008

Retired Space Shuttles for sale, shipping not included For sale: used space shuttles. Asking price: $42 million apiece

Request for information on space shuttle orbiter and space shuttle main engine placement

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Phase Two The Flight Continues

Shuttle and Station Video Podcasts

Buran – the Soviet 'space shuttle'

How Space Shuttles work http://www.howstuffworks.com/space-shuttle.htm 

Paper Toys: Space Shuttle http://www.papertoys.com/shuttle.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#History
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm  

Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Languages

Writing Tutorials

Who versus Whom ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries

Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/

Prevent Heart Damage (video) --- http://www.technologyreview.com/video/?vid=179

Fine Tune Your Eyeglasses Without Going to an Eye Doctor
We've seen small scale liquid lenses progress from concepts to commerical applications, and now Joshua Silver, a retired physics professor at Oxford University, has perfected what he calls "adaptive glasses," applying similar tech in a singular and ingenious way. Aimed at helping developing nations where glasses are expensive and doctors are often in short supply, Silver's spectacles are made of tough plastic with with silicone liquid in the lenses. When purchased, each lense will have a syringe attached to it, and the wearer will be able to adjust the amount of liquid in the lenses -- which essentially changes the prescription -- without the need for an optician. About 10,000 pairs have been distributed in Ghana on a trial basis, with plans to distribute one million pairs in India in the next year -- the ultimate goal is one billion by 2020. And somewhere else in the world, a room full of opticians cry into their beer.
Laura June, "British physics professor perfects "tunable eyeglasses" -- no eye doctor required," Engadget, December 23, 2008 --- http://www.engadget.com/2008/12/23/british-physics-professor-perfects-tunable-eyeglasses-no-ey/

World Health Organization: Health Economics --- http://www.who.int/topics/health_economics/en/

"Why We Take Risks — It's the Dopamine," Alice Park, Time Magazine, December 30, 2008 --- http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1869106,00.html
As quoted by Jim Mahar on January 2, 2008 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/

A new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City suggests a biological explanation for why certain people tend to live life on the edge — it involves the neurotransmitter dopamine, the brain's feel-good chemical. 

Dopamine is responsible for making us feel satisfied after a filling meal, happy when our favorite football team wins ....It's also responsible for the high we feel when we do something daring,...skydiving out of a plane. In the risk taker's brain, researchers report in the Journal of Neuroscience, there appear to be fewer dopamine-inhibiting receptors — meaning that daredevils' brains are more saturated with the chemical, predisposing them to keep taking risks and chasing the next high.....

The findings support Zald's theory that people who take risks get an unusually big hit of dopamine each time they have a novel experience, because their brains are not able to inhibit the neurotransmitter adequately. That blast makes them feel good, so they keep returning for the rush from similarly risky or new behaviors, just like the addict seeking the next high...."It's a piece of the puzzle to understanding why we like novelty, and why we get addicted to substances ... Dopamine is an important piece of reward.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Be that as it may, some risk takers are merely trying to recover or at least average out losses which, if successful, is more of a relief than a thrill. The St. Petersburg Paradox may be more as a recovery strategy than a thrill --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Petersburg_paradox
Bernie Madoff probably got dopamine surges from his villas, Penthouses, and thrills of scamming investors, but at some point he might've been speculating recklessly in options derivatives in a panic to save his butt. The same might be said for any gambling addict who first gets "doped up" on the edge, and then bets more recklessly by betting the farm at miserable odds when "sobered up."

Apparently Bernie is now going to plead insanity. I think that's great defense as long as the court insists on long-term confinement as a pauper in Belleview rather than a posh psychiatric hospital --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellevue_Hospital

This may be a reason why some students, certainly not all, cheat for a better grade. Just the thrill of getting away with breaking the rules may lead to a dopamine surge just like a person who shoplifts an item that she/he neither needs nor wants. In my small hometown in Iowa, the wife of a high school coach, an other very dignified woman, was addicted to shop lifting items that she really didn't need or want. Our coach made an arrangement with downtown merchants to simply bill him for items that she thought she purloined without payment. The merchants kept a sharp and silent watch on her whenever she entered their stores.

Psychology of Cheaters versus Non-cheaters --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm#CheatingPsychology

Bob Jensen's threads on academic cheating are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm

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

Forwarded by Maureen
Snopes says this is mostly accurate --- http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/bigwalmart.asp
Some things are from the Wal-Mart fact sheet that is updated more frequently --- http://walmartstores.com/download/2230.pdf


1 . At Wal-Mart, Americans spend $36,000,000 every hour of every day.

2 . This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!

3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.

4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target + Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.

5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private employer. And most can't speak English

6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the World.

7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only 15 years.

8. During this same period, 31 Supermarket chain s sought bankruptcy (including Winn-Dixie).

9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.

10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are SuperCenters; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 years ago.

11. This year, 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at a Wal-Mart store. (Earth's population is approximately 6.5 billion.)

12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart

13. Let Wal-Mart bail out Wall Street

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Ramblings of a Retired Mind

I was thinking about how a status symbol of today is those cell phones that everyone has clipped onto their belt or purse. I can't afford one. So, I'm wearing my garage door opener. I also made a cover for my hearing aid and now I have what they call blue teeth, I think.

You know, I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people didn't like me anyway.

I was thinking that women should put pictures of missing husbands on beer cans!

I was thinking about old age and decided that old age is 'when you still have something on the ball, but you are just too tired to bounce it.'

I thought about making a fitness movie for folks my age, and call it 'Pumping Rust'.

I've gotten that dreaded furniture disease. That's when your chest is falling into your drawers!

When people see a cat's litter box, they always say, 'Oh, have you got a cat?' Just once I want to say, 'No, it's for company!'

Employment application blanks always ask who is to be notified in case of an emergency. I think you should write, 'A Good Doctor'!

Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do...write to these men? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen could look for them while they deliver the mail? Or better yet, arrest them while they are taking their pictures!

I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older. Then, it dawned on me, they were cramming for their finals.

As for me, I'm just hoping God grades on the curve.


Tidbits Archives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

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

World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php
Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar --- http://home.tiscali.nl/annejan/swf/timeline.swf
Time by Time Zones --- http://timeticker.com/
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm
         Also see http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Populations.html
Facts about population growth (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U
Projected U.S. Population Growth --- http://www.carryingcapacity.org/projections75.html
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons --- http://zipskinny.com/
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Three Finance Blogs

Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
FinancialRounds Blog --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) --- http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

Some Accounting Blogs

Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
Gerald Trites'eBusiness and XBRL Blogs --- http://www.zorba.ca/
AccountingWeb --- http://www.accountingweb.com/   
SmartPros --- http://www.smartpros.com/

Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Free Textbooks and Cases --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

Free Science and Medicine Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

Free Education Discipline Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/arts_lit.htm

Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/health.htm

Teacher Source: Math --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/math.htm

Teacher Source:  Science --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/sci_tech.htm

Teacher Source:  PreK2 --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/prek2.htm

Teacher Source:  Library Media ---  http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/library.htm

Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

VYOM eBooks Directory --- http://www.vyomebooks.com/

From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department --- http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/

Online Mathematics Textbooks --- http://www.math.gatech.edu/~cain/textbooks/onlinebooks.html 

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives --- http://enlvm.usu.edu/ma/nav/doc/intro.jsp

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Accounting program news items for colleges are posted at http://www.accountingweb.com/news/college_news.html
Sometimes the news items provide links to teaching resources for accounting educators.
Any college may post a news item.

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a ListServ (usually for free) go to   http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
AECM (Educators)  http://pacioli.loyola.edu/aecm/ 
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 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm

CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/ 
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)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
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.
AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
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 BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) --- http://www.iasplus.com/links/links.htm


Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482 
Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu