In these mountains we find versatile and independent workers who can do almost anything.
Dorothy Corey has two degrees in entomology and the Sundial Landscaping Business
She's built miles upon miles of New Hampshire's famous countryside rock walls
She's not much more than 100 lbs but could win weight lifting contests
She recently installed new windows in a house down the road
She's a single mom, a house painter, and an expert with wall paper and tile and slate laying.
Her daughter recently had a baby so now Dorothy's a grandmother
Her son is in the first year of college
Dorothy also cares for her own 90-year old mother
Below is a picture taken last summer --- Dorothy's painting our widows walk

 At the moment Dorothy is hiking (solo)  in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee
n the past few years she's walked most of the Appalachian Trial ---
In the winter she climbs snow-covered mountains in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont
Below Erika and Dorothy are looking at the stone housing she built around the top of our underground propane tank
We're pleased to call Dorothy a great friend

After snapping the picture below, I poked around the end of the rainbow, but there was no pot of gold

We may have the only toilet in front of a fireplace
Since this bathroom is on the north side of the cottage, we make great use of the Swedish stove in the fireplace

Auntie Bev forwarded the picture of Clydesdale feet below.

Below is a picture showing how something can be viewed from entirely different perspectives



Tidbits on April 6, 2009
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to 

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

CPA Examination ---

Free Residential and Business Telephone Directory (you must listen to an opening advertisement) --- dial 800-FREE411 or 800-373-3411
 Free Online Telephone Directory ---       [www_public-records-now_com] 
 Free online 800 telephone numbers ---
 Google Free Business Phone Directory --- 800-goog411
To find names addresses from listed phone numbers, go to and read in the phone number without spaces, dashes, or parens
Bob Jensen's search helpers ---

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

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

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

If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  ---

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials ---
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines ---
Edutainment and Learning Games ---
Open Sharing Courses ---

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 ---

Figure Skating 2009 World Championship Kim Yuna SP (English commentary ---

Great Scholarly Video:  The MediaScape from YouTube to Blogosphere to Social Networks
YouTobe distributes more original programming in six months than the U.S. TV networks did in 30 years
 Highly Educational and Entertaining About the YouTube Generation
 Forwarded by anthropology professor John Donahue
 An anthropological introduction to YouTube
(and social networks) by Michael Wesch (55 minute video)---

More than 100 colleges have set up channels on YouTube ---
Many universities offer over 100 videos, whereas Stanford offers a whopping 583
"YouTube Creates New Section to Highlight College Content," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27, 2009 ---

Ten Trillion and Counting (a full-length PBS Frontline video) ---
All of the federal government's efforts to stem the tide of the financial meltdown have added hundreds of billions of dollars to an already staggering national debt, a sum that is expected to double over the next 10 years to more than $23 trillion. In Ten Trillion and Counting, FRONTLINE traces the politics behind this mounting debt and investigates what some say is a looming crisis that makes the current financial situation pale in comparison

South Park's animated cartoon solutions to the economic crisis Part 1 ---
South Park's animated cartoon solutions to the economic crisis Part 2 ---
South Park's animated cartoon solutions to the economic crisis Part 3 ---

From PBS:  Touch Table Computing Video ---

A Video Version of the Periodic Table (a video for each element) --- 

World Food:  International Year of Natural Fibres ---

I Don't Do Windows because ---
Forwarded by Maureen who takes this advice to heart.

Free music downloads ---

More than 41,000 Spanish-language songs that go back to the early 1900s were placed online this week by the Chicano Studies Center, a research unit at the University of California at Los Angeles ---

Born Again American ---

Two Trillion Tons (takeoff on Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford) ---

Old 45s from from 1950s ---

Send in the Clowns (History in YouTube Video for Bob Jensen's retirement theme song)
A song written in two days and never intended to be such a hit:

Simone Dinnerstein Plays Bach Old And New ---

John Pizzarelli: Rodgers, Hart And The Gershwins, Too ---

Snowball - The Dancing Cockatoo ---

The Bird That Loves Ray Charles ---

The Beatles (I never did care for their music) ---

Classical Guitar ---
The father, Celedonio Romero, and his three sons — Celín, Pepe and Ángel — started performing as a guitar quartet around the Santa Barbara area. The Romeros quickly found a following, and before long, they toured the U.S., played Carnegie Hall, found themselves on The Ed Sullivan Show and landed a recording contract.

Web outfits like Pandora, Foneshow, Stitcher, and Slacker broadcast portable and mobile content that makes Sirius look overpriced and stodgy ---

TheRadio (my favorite commercial-free online music site) ---
Slacker (my second-favorite commercial-free online music site) ---

Gerald Trites likes this international radio site ---
Songza:  Search for a song or band and play the selection ---
Also try Jango ---
Sometimes this old guy prefers the jukebox era (just let it play through) ---
And I listen quite often to Soldiers Radio Live ---
Also note
U.S. Army Band recordings ---

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

Photographs and Art

Beautiful Science: Ideas That Changed The World ---

The Atlas of Early Printing (interactive slide show) ---

Top Ten Most Amazing Pictures Taken by Hubble Space Telescope ---

Hidden Planet Discovered in Old Hubble Data  --- 

The Bunraku (Puppet Theatre) Collection ---

Images of Russia and Caucasus Region, 1929-1933 ---

Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice ---

Arabic Script: Mightier than the Sword ---

The Art of the First Fleet ---

Art 21 (art and war video) ---

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

Library of Congress Survey: Most Influential Books ---
Link forwarded by Richard Sansing
Many of these books can be downloaded free if you do a bit of hunting ---

lectronic Literature Directory ---

Poetry Foundation (a very wealthy foundation) ---

Poets & Writers ---

International War Veterans' Poetry Archives ---

Open Humanities Press ---

Representative Poetry On-line ---

Electronic Literature Organization ---  

Poets' Gravesites ---

Many free classic poems by famous poets ---

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials ---
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines ---
Edutainment and Learning Games ---
Open Sharing Courses ---

Ten Trillion and Counting (a full-length PBS Frontline video) ---
All of the federal government's efforts to stem the tide of the financial meltdown have added hundreds of billions of dollars to an already staggering national debt, a sum that is expected to double over the next 10 years to more than $23 trillion. In Ten Trillion and Counting, FRONTLINE traces the politics behind this mounting debt and investigates what some say is a looming crisis that makes the current financial situation pale in comparison

A New Definition of Life on the Edge

Loss of dollar purchasing power since 1775 ---


Once the spigot is turned on it's almost never turned off:  That's how special appropriations become entitlements
Several university presidents and higher-education officials went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to thank lawmakers for committing more
($21.5 billion) funds for scientific research, but they worried about what might happen to their budgets if that commitment didn't continue.
Paul Baskey, "Universities Are Wary of Drawbacks to a Huge Boost in Federal Spending," Chronicle of Higher Education, March 25, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
This is the same argument that will be raised by virtually all recipients of the 2009 massive Stimulus (Recovery) Act handouts to states, education/research institutions, welfare programs, public works projects, etc. Once the spigot is turned on such handouts are hard to stop in future budget years. They become entitlements that will make President Obama's promise to reduce the Year 2012 budget deficit a complete and utter failure. Both logic and sob stories make it virtually impossible to turn the spigots off once they've been turned on. This is one of the common problems of budgeting in general except for Zero-Based Budgeting that almost never takes place in industry and probably has never taken place in state and federal governments.
Bob Jensen's threads on the entitlements disaster are at

Why Obama's Big Spending, Big Taxing Regime Will Cripple the U.S. Economy
Before any article on savings and investment can really make sense, it must first define what savings and investment really mean. Saving is the process of transforming present goods into future goods. Present goods are consumption goods and future goods are capital goods. When we save, we transfer purchasing power from consumption to the production of capital goods, many of which will then be used to produce more capital goods. (This is why growth is sometimes called forgone consumption.) Investment in more capital (the material means of production) makes for increased future consumption, i.e., higher living standards. It needs little imagination to realise that taxing savings amounts to taxing future living standards. What needs to be remembered is that when defined in real terms, investment and savings are (a) always equal and (b) saving is clearly the only means by which resources can be directed from consumption to investment. To put it another way: The function of savings is to redirect resources from the production of consumption goods to the production of capital goods.
"Why Obama's Big Spending, Big Taxing Regime Will Cripple the U.S. Economy," Seeking Alpha, March 23, 2009 ---

Ten Trillion and Counting (a full-length PBS Frontline video) ---
All of the federal government's efforts to stem the tide of the financial meltdown have added hundreds of billions of dollars to an already staggering national debt, a sum that is expected to double over the next 10 years to more than $23 trillion. In Ten Trillion and Counting, FRONTLINE traces the politics behind this mounting debt and investigates what some say is a looming crisis that makes the current financial situation pale in comparison

And for the much bigger non-sustainability problem of unbooked debt for entitlements
IOUSA (the most frightening movie in American history) ---
(see a 30-minute version of the documentary at ).

Nancy Pelosi:  Republicans have no voice in restraining budget deficits in face of the Democratic Party monopoly
“I hope the bill will pass with bipartisan support,” said Pelosi, who has often preached against banking on Republican support in the lower chamber. “But the bill will pass.” She made her comments after lunching with Vice President Joe Biden, who emerged — all smiles — to predict President Barack Obama’s $3.6 trillion spending plan will pass “with all major elements intact.”
Glenn Thrush, "Pelosi: We don't need GOP on budget," Politico, March 26, 2009 ---

Deliberation in Washington is dead. We don't have legislators. We have lemmings. We don't have debates. We have high-speed hysteria sessions. After ramming through stimulus legislation that no one read and bailout bills that no one understood, Congress is now poised to stuff down taxpayers' throats a deficit-exploding $3.5 trillion budget that enshrines the largest tax increase in American history.
Michelle Malkin, "The Shut Up and Swallow Congress ," Townhall, April 1, 2009 ---

Unfortunately, there is no way out of our immoral quagmire. The reason is that now that the U.S. Congress has established the principle that one American has a right to live at the expense of another American, it no longer pays to be moral. People who choose to be moral and refuse congressional handouts will find themselves losers. They'll be paying higher and higher taxes to support increasing numbers of those paying lower and lower taxes. As it stands now, close to 50 percent of income earners have no federal income tax liability and as such, what do they care about rising income taxes? In other words, once legalized theft begins, it becomes too costly to remain moral and self-sufficient. You might as well join in the looting, including the current looting in the name of stimulating the economy.
Walter E. Williams, "Our Problem is Immorality," Townhall, April 1, 2009 ---

Something MSNBC Refuses to Report Let Alone Debate
More than 350 professional economists, including three Nobel Prize winners, signed a Cato Institute petition opposing the stimulus

That's all we seem to hear from politicians and pundits: "Every economist" agrees that this massive stimulus is the only answer.
But that's not true. More than 350 professional economists, including three Nobel Prize winners, signed a Cato Institute petition opposing the stimulus, arguing that government spending will only worsen the situation. "Government should, instead of increasing spending, it should cut spending," said David Tuerck of Suffolk University. He and the other economists in the petition argue that the government simply cannot spend its way out of a crisis. "How is it the government is going to be able to spend a dollar in such a way that it generates a dollar or more in value?" asked George Mason University economist Peter Leeson. "A more likely possibility is that a dollar that government takes out of the private sector is a dollar the private sector doesn't have to spend anymore."
John Stossel and Andrew Kirell, "Is the Government Bailout Just Dollars and Nonsense? Let the Bubble Burst: Some Economists Say the Market Needs to Self-Correct," ABC News, March 13, 2009 ---

In essence, the Geithner plan is the same as the Paulson plan from six months ago: buy up the toxic assets, and hope that this unfreezes the markets. Don’t be fooled by the apparent role of private enterprise: more than 90 percent of the funds will come from taxpayers. And the way the funds are structured provides a strong incentive for investors to overpay for assets (see my explanation on my blog).
Paul Krugman, Nobel (Liberal) Economist, Princeton University Professor,  and NYT Columnist, The New York Times, March 24, 2009 ---
Professor Krugman is not optimistic about the Paulson/Geitner Plan and calls it more waste of billions of dollars (video) ---
Krugman thinks the Fed should nationalize troubled large banks, clean them up, and then decide if they're worth selling back to investors.

Paul Krugman has emerged as Obama's toughest liberal critic. He's deeply skeptical of the bank bailout and pessimistic about the economy. Why the establishment worries he may be right.
Evan Thomas, "Obama's Nobel Headache," Newsweek Magazine Cover Story, March 28, 2009 ---

We must learn the painful lessons of A.I.G. and create laws, put in place procedures, and hire people who can clean up massive financial messes. The magic of the market will likely not get us out of this morass; we need a new Resolution Trust Corporation-type structure and we need it fast.
Simon Johnson, MIT Sloan School Economist and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, The New York Times, March 24, 2009 ---
Professor Krugman is not optimistic about the Paulson/Geitner Plan and calls it more waste of billions of dollars.

The Geithner plan offers only $500 billion. The Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing plan will add another $1 trillion. I should hasten to say that the administration thinks that information-sharing effects of the plan will do three times as much good in raising asset prices as the simple change in asset supply (I discount that entirely So from their perspective the glass is 3/4 full. I think that 3/8 full is better than having no glass at all. Why isn’t the administration doing the entire job? My guess is that the Obama administration wants to avoid anything that requires legislative action. The legislative tacticians appear to think that after last week’s furor over the A.I.G. bonuses, doing more would require a Congressional coalition that is not there yet. The Geithner plan is one the administration can do on authority it already has.
Brad DeLong, Professor of Economics at University of California, Berkeley, and blogs at Grasping Reality with Both Hands, The New York Times, March 24, 2009 ---

Unfortunately, however, the loan terms make it unlikely that we’ll have timely information on the percentage of bad loans. But there is something else we can watch to assess the health of the loans: the price of the toxic assets purchased with the loans. If the price of these assets is increasing sufficiently fast, then the loans will be safe. But if the prices do not respond to the program, then the loans will be in trouble. In that case, we will need to end the program as quickly as possible and minimize losses. The next step will have to be bank nationalization, though the political climate will likely be difficult. Sticking with the plan until it completely crashes and burns on the hope that a little more time is all that is needed will make nationalization much more difficult.
Mark Thoma,  Economics Professor at the University of Oregon and blogs at Economist’s View, The New York Times, March 24, 2009 ---

"Part I: Geithner's Plan Extremely Dangerous, Economist Galbraith Says," by Henry Blodgett, Yahoo Finance, March 23, 2009 --- Click Here

Tim Geithner has finally revealed his plan to fix the banking system and economy. Paul Krugman, James Galbraith, and others have already trashed it.

[We spoke with noted economist Galbraith this morning. In the accompanying segment, he calls the Treasury Secretary’s plan “extremely dangerous.”]


In short, because the plan is yet another massive, ineffective gift to banks and Wall Street. Taxpayers, of course, will take the hit

Why does Tim Geithner keep repackaging the same trash-asset-removal plan that he has been trying to get approved since last fall? In our opinion, because Tim Geithner formed his view of this crisis last fall, while sitting across the table from his constituents at the New York Fed: The CEOs of the big Wall Street firms. He views the crisis the same way Wall Street does--as a temporary liquidity problem--and his plans to fix it are designed with the best interests of Wall Street in mind.

If Geithner's plan to fix the banks would also fix the economy, this would be tolerable. But no smart economist we know of thinks that it will.

Continued in article

The Mother of All Ponzi Schemes According to Top Liberal (Progressive) Economists
The Latest Bailout Plan’s a Disaster According to Paul Krugman and James K. Galbraith

And yet American policy-makers appear convinced that more debt can rescue an economy already drowning in it. If we can just keep the leverage party going, all will be well. $787 billion to fund “stimulus,” another $9 trillion committed to guarantee bad debts, 0% interest rates and quantitative easing to drive more lending, new off balance sheet vehicles to hide from the public the toxic assets they’ve absorbed. All of it to be funded with debt, most of it the responsibility of taxpayers. If I may offer just one reason this will all fail: rising interest rates. Interest rates need only revert to their historical median in order to hammer asset values, and balance sheets, into oblivion.
"Added Debt Won't Rescue the Great American Ponzi Scheme," Seeking Alpha, March 23, 2009 ---

"Why Congress Will Kill the Bank Rescue:  What happens when the hedge funds make profits?" by Vincent Reinhart, The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2009 ---

Americans can be forgiven for experiencing a sense of deja vu as they digest the details of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP) for troubled bank assets. What was rolled out on the pages of newspapers this week read like press releases on the various plans over the past year from Mr. Geithner's predecessor, Hank Paulson.

The two Treasury secretaries share a touching faith in public-private cooperation to lift the value of troubled assets. This assumes, of course, that those assets are troubled because their true values are obscured by irrational self-doubt and market illiquidity, and not by fundamental problems in the prospects of repayment. It also assumes that the solution to problems created by excessive leverage is for government to encourage more leverage.

. . .

Notably absent in the Geithner plan is any progress on the barrier at which Mr. Paulson stumbled last year: What are the right prices for troubled assets? To believe that the solution lies in harnessing the public and private sectors in tandem shows a misunderstanding of these sectors' incentives.

Public officials want this problem to go away without being stuck with the smoldering wreckage of large and complicated financial institutions. That requires buying assets quickly from problematic firms at the highest prices possible.

Private investors want to make a profit. That can best be achieved by delaying purchases, thereby lowering prices and sticking the government with as much of the loss as possible.

The possibility of outsized profit, made possible by government guarantees and matching capital contributions, is the carrot government can offer to those with private capital willing to commit to the enterprise. The problem is that Congress has been demonizing the financial sector and considering ex post expropriation of bonuses.

For the PPIP to work, the government will have to use the expertise of much-vilified financial professionals, create massive expected profit opportunities to entice capital, and tap places where there are deep pools of money -- including sovereign wealth funds. If the PPIP is successful, is there any chance that Congress would not be holding hearings complaining about the massive rewards to those who took on the risk? Unless members of Congress cool the heat of their rhetoric, the potential profits Mr. Geithner is putting on the table will simply be left there.


Adjusted for inflation, the federal bailout of $8.5 trillion is more expensive than every war the US has ever fought, the Louisiana Purchase, the Marshall Plan, the New Deal, and the NASA Space Program COMBINED.
Dartmouth Professor Mary Flanagan and her collaborators ---

The President said there is a limit to the amount of money the government can spend and print to solve the crisis. Asked if the government is getting close to that limit, Obama said, "The limit is our ability to finance these expenditures through borrowing.
"Obama On AIG Anger, Recession, Challenges Also Tells 60 Minutes How He Is Adjusting To The Job, And His Family To The White House," CBS Sixty Minutes, March 22, 2009 ---

Just When You Thought it Can't Get Much Worse
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation government operation that takes over pension funding of failed corporations (like United Airlines) normally had a conservative investment strategy that protected the insurance premiums it collects from companies that elect to pay for pension insurance. That is it was conservative until --- Guess when?
Damn, Damn, Damn! Just before the PBGC will likely take over the pensions of General Motors and Chrysler!
From Jim Mahar's Finance Professor Blog on March 30, 2009 ---

*****Begin Quotation
Market timing (or do you want something else to worry about?)

Today's lesson showing the difficulty in market timing comes from the good people at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. It seems that just prior to the market collapse they decided to go INTO stocks.

From the Boston Globe:

Pension insurer shifted to stocks - The Boston Globe: "
Just months before the start of last year's stock market collapse, the federal agency that insures the retirement funds of 44 million Americans departed from its conservative investment strategy and decided to put much of its $64 billion insurance fund into stocks."
Since September that have been quiet as to their losses (yeah, no transparency here either, do you see a pattern?), but given their assets are no doubt down and their potential claims are up (firms going bankruot etc), it has the look of a bad situation (and probably many billions more of bailout money).

Again from the
Boston Globe:
"...analysts expressed concern that large portions of the trust fund might have been lost at a time when many private pension plans are suffering major losses. The guarantee fund would be the only way to cover the plans if their companies go into bankruptcy.

"The truth is, this could be huge," said Zvi Bodie, a Boston University finance professor who in 2002 advised the agency to rely almost entirely on bonds. "This has the potential to be another several hundred billion dollars. If the auto companies go under, they have huge unfunded liabilities" in pension plans that would be passed on to the agency."

Trivia aspect of story: "Charles E.F. Millard, the former agency director who implemented the strategy" was "a former managing director of Lehman Brothers...."
*****Begin Quotation


Soros may claim to love America, but he makes another billion dollars betting against the U.S. Dollar and Financial System
Other hedge funds make it big time shorting America

"Top hedge funds boom despite recession," by Andrew Clark, The Guardian, March 25, 2009 ---

Among the big names on the list is George Soros, who famously made more than $1bn by betting against sterling on Black Wednesday in 1992. Soros made $1.1bn last year partly by anticipating a fall in the dollar in early 2008.

Paulson shot to fame two years ago when one of his key funds exploded five-fold in value by predicting that the US sub-prime mortgage industry would collapse. In 2008 Paulson's firm made more than £200m shorting shares in Lloyds Banking Group and at least $100m betting on a fall in RBS's stock.

Another billion-dollar earner was John Arnold, a former trader at Enron whose Houston-based Centaurus Energy fund delivered an 80% return dealing largely in derivatives linked to the price of natural gas and other sources of power.

Two of the top-ranking managers are at firms headquartered in London. David Harding, 47, a Cambridge graduate in theoretical physics, scooped $250m in a bumper year for his Kensington-based Winton Capital Management.

Winton, launched in 1997, employs 180 people and uses an opaque "black box" method of trading using complex algorithms to bet on movements in the price of bonds, shares and commodities such as energy and grain.

Also earning $250m was Alan Howard, whose Brevan Howard Asset Management is thought to be Britain's biggest hedge fund with $24bn of assets. Howard, 45, is a prominent donor to the Conservatives Party but his firm last year threatened to quit Britain in protest at non-domicile tax reforms.

Despite the deep recession, it was the third most lucrative year on record for the top tranche of hedge fund managers.

Charles Geisst, a financial historian at Manhattan College, said the new breed of super-rich financiers differed from banking titans of the past in making their money simply through trading rather than through activities such as mergers, acquisitions and underwriting.

"These are the highest earners of all time," said Geisst. "They're not exactly masters of the universe in the traditional sense but then money's money."

He said many of the big winners had benefited from the troubles affecting major financial institutions: "They've been selling short a lot of the mortgage-backed assets which became toxic."

Also see "Soros Cashing In On Financial Meltdown" ---

Emerging markets, led by China and Russia, plan to jointly challenge the U.S. dollar’s role as the world’s sole benchmark currency at the April 2 meeting of the Group 20 nations - a move that underscores the currency’s weakness and fading support around the world. The creation of a new reserve currency to be issued by international financial institutions was one of the measures Russia proposed to the G20 on March 16, ahead of the group’s summit next week . . . China is the world leader with $2 trillion in foreign currency holdings. About half of that is held in U.S. Treasuries and notes issued by other government-affiliated agencies, such as Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE). Half of Russia’s currency reserves - the world’s third-largest stockpile - consist of U.S. dollars, as well.
Jason Simpkins, "'Dump the Dollar' Campaign Shows China's Discomfort with Treasuries Holdings," Seeking Alpha, March 24, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
Soaring booked national debt and zooming unbooked entitlements spell doom and gloom for the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar and the interest cost of servicing the massive National Debt. Congress and Obama have ignored the non-sustainability of the U.S. economy under reckless budget deficits and new entitlements.

With its myriad of “desk officers” and “stovepipes,” the hierarchy of the executive branch is well-suited for managing stability. But when new problems arise, it tends to take them piecemeal, often with little consideration of how they are interrelated or of the larger historical questions at stake. At the White House — which in the modern era has become a permanent campaign perpetually harried by the crisis of the moment — there is little time for meditation on ultimate historical issues. As a result, the nation has become woefully bereft of the capacity for choice on a historical scale.
Mario Loyola, "Obama and Philosophy 101:  On national security, Obama sounds more like a precocious college student than a great," National Review, March 26, 2009 --- 

America, what is happening to you?
“One thing seems probable to me,” said Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, in September 2008....“the United States will lose its status as the superpower of the global financial system.” You don’t have to strain too hard to see the financial crisis as the death knell for a debt-ridden, overconsuming, and underproducing American empire . . .
Richard Florida, "How the Crash Will Reshape America," The Atlantic, March 2009 ---

South Park's animated cartoon solutions to the economic crisis Part 1 ---
South Park's animated cartoon solutions to the economic crisis Part 2 ---
South Park's animated cartoon solutions to the economic crisis Part 3 ---

Ohio's Controlling Board, which oversees various spending projects authorized by the state, on Monday rejected plans by Miami University to purchase $167,000 worth of office chairs. The problem, The Columbus Dispatch reported, is that many of the chairs were priced at $522 each, when there are less expensive options available. On of the board members who voted against the spending did note, however, that the board members were all discussing the matter while sitting in $2,000 black leather chairs.
Inside Higher Ed, March 25, 2009 ---

Hardball in the Real World
FedEx Corp is threatening to cancel the purchase of billions of dollars worth of new Boeing Co cargo planes if Congress passes a law that would make it easier for unions to organize at the package-delivery company, the Wall Street Journal said. FedEx may cancel plans to buy as many as 30 new Boeing planes should Congress pass a bill that would remove truck drivers, couriers and other employees at FedEx's Express unit from the jurisdiction of the federal Railway Labor Act of 1926, the paper cited the company spokesman as saying.
Yahoo News, March 25, 2009 ---

Hard Ball in the Real Washington DC:  Hire My Spouse!
Senate banking-committee Chairman Christopher Dodd who has received $280,000 in campaign contributions from AIG isn't the only person in his family to benefit from a relationship with the embattled insurance behemoth. His wife, Jackie Clegg Dodd, worked as an outside "director" for a Bermuda-based company affiliated with AIG, according to a report. The Connecticut Democrat's wife worked at IPC Holdings Ltd. for three years, beginning in 2001, according to a proxy statement obtained by Real Clear Politics.
Jennefer Fermino, "Dodd's Wife, Too, Had Money Link to AIG," New York Post, March 25, 2009 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Another example is when, then, Senator Gramm's wife was appointed to Enron's Board of Directors .

Enron had done its homework in Washington. Help came largely from the husband-and-wife team of economists Senator Phil Gramm and his wife, Wendy. Before joining the Enron board, Wendy Gramm had exempted energy futures contracts from government oversight in 1992; her husband now pushed for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in December 2000, which would deregulate energy trading. There was strong opposition to Phil Gramm's bill in the House, mainly from the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, who included Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers; Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve; and Arthur Levitt, chairman of the SEC. But Enron spent close to $2 million lobbying to combat that opposition, while Gramm kept the bill from floor debate in the waning days of the Clinton administration. He reintroduced it under a new name immediately after Bush assumed office and got his bill passed. Enron, in turn, got the opportunity to trade with abandon. No one needed to know--or could find out--how much power Enron owned and how or why the company moved it from place to place.
Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron, by Mimi Swartz, Sherron Watkins, Page 227.  See "What was Enron getting for its political bribes?"
As quoted at

Rep. Maxine Waters arranged meetings with U.S. Treasury Department officials (in September, 2008) for OneUnited Bank to plead for federal cash. It had been heavily invested in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and its capital was "all but wiped out" after the U.S. government took them over. Her husband is a stockholder (more than $250,000 as of May 2008) and former director of the bank. The bank's executives were major contributors to her campaigns. Rep. Barney Frank counseled her against participating in the matter. The bank has its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, and offices in Los Angeles and Miami. It did secure $12 million in TARP money
Wikipedia ---

How Jon Stewart Went Bad (along with Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews)
With Bush gone and the Republican Party in chaos, most of Stewart’s targets have disappeared. Yet rather than pivot with the times and challenge those now in power, Stewart continues to attack the same old enemies, at this point mostly straw men and pipsqueaks.
Tucker Carlson, Free Republic ---
Jensen Comment
Reasons are the same for the plunging viewership of Obama's MSNBC Disciples Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. What gets me about Olbermann is the way he was merciless against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (because she was linked to the policies of the despised President Bush). He was also merciless on Hillary Clinton when she was competing with Obama for the nomination of the Democratic Party. Now that Secretary of State Clinton is part of the Obama team, and expounding many former policies of Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton can do no wrong as far as Olbermann is concerned. He is the most outrageous commentator in history with respect to biases and selection of topics and personalities invited to his Countdown. MSNBC truly is the Official Obama Network. Never is there a criticism of Obama or his staff.

What happened, Keith, to your former rants against military operations in Afghanistan?

Chris Matthew's Hard Ball game with the Presidency has become a Fluff Ball.

One way to avoid hangovers is "staying drunk."
Anonymous, as quoted by Rich Tucker at

Shocking many of its listeners, the left-leaning National Public Radio recently ran a commentary pointing out that Fox News Channel, which NPR considers to be very conservative, is amassing record ratings in the wake of the Democratic takeover in Washington. All things considered, that was not great news for some NPR folks. The reason that Fox is doing so well while some committed-left media operations are failing is what I call the remorse factor. Almost 62 million Americans voted against Barack Obama last November, many of them convinced that his vision for America was, well, kind of dangerous. Also, exit polling showed that some who supported the president did so out of disgust with the Bush administration, which lost control during its last two years in power.
Bill O'Reilly, "The Loyal Opposition," Townhall, March 28, 2009 ---

Bush's war costs in Afghanistan have been $173 billion from 2001 through 2009. Obama's proposals for Iraq/Afghanistan are $144 billion this fiscal year, but are not broken down. The secret war by the US-trained "Freedom Corps" in Pakistan is budgeted at $400 million. As America's infrastructure decays, the Army Corps of Engineers is spending $4 billion for construction in Afghanistan this year, including 720 miles of roads this year alone. The expansion of Afghanistan's army will cost "up to" $20 billion in the next several years, while Afghanistan's entire national budget is $1.1 billion this year. Cost overruns and corruption being what they are, it is easy to predict the Afghan/Pakistan wars costing $1 trillion by the end of the president's first term. Military spending will continue to outpace civilian reconstruction aid indefinitely. In summary, be prepared for a war that spans the length of the Obama presidency, an Obama War. Expect the Congress to be inert and distracted. Expect little help from the media (read that MSNBC, the Obama-CanDo-No-Wrong Network).
Tom Hayden, "Don't Go There Mr. P:resident!" The Nation, March 27, 2009 ---


Suddenly it Becomes a Winnable War
That "losing policy" under Bush becomes a "winning policy" in the biased liberal press unwilling to find fault with Obama policies
After the trauma in Iraq, it would have been easy for the U.S. to withdraw into exhaustion and realism. Instead, President Obama is doubling down on the very principles that some dismiss as neocon fantasy: the idea that this nation has the capacity to use military and civilian power to promote democracy, nurture civil society and rebuild failed states.
David Brooks, "The Winnable War," The New York Times, March 26, 2009 ---

Gen. Richard Myers: U.S. Enemies Seek WMDs to End 'Our Way of Life'
Former top military commander Gen. Richard Myers tells Newsmax that America’s enemies in the war on terror are “ruthless” and “relentless” and will not hesitate to use nuclear or biological weapons if they obtain them. “They want to do away with our way of life,” Myers tells Newsmax TV’s Ashley Martella. “They could bring great harm to this country and our friends and allies.” Myers, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 2001 until September 2005 ...
Jim Meyers, Newsmax, March 25, 2009 ---

Speaking of Broken Markets:  Luxury boats are less popular than free buildings in Detroit
Derelict boats are environmental and navigational hazards, leaking toxins and posing obstacles for other craft, especially at night. Thieves plunder them for scrap metal. In a storm, these runabouts and sailboats, cruisers and houseboats can break free or break up, causing havoc. Some of those disposing of their boats are in the same bind as overstretched homeowners: they face steep payments on an asset that is diminishing in value and decide not to continue. They either default on the debt or take bolder measures. Marina and maritime officials around the country say they believe, however, that most of the abandoned vessels cluttering their waters are fully paid for. They are expensive-to-maintain toys that have lost their appeal. The owners cannot sell them, because the secondhand market is overwhelmed. They cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars a month mooring and maintaining them. And they do not have the thousands of dollars required to properly dispose of them. . . . The owners cannot sell them, because the secondhand market is overwhelmed. They cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars a month mooring and maintaining them. And they do not have the thousands of dollars required to properly dispose of them.
David Streitfield, "Boats Too Costly to Keep Are Littering Coastlines," The New York Times, April 1, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
I suspect the market is also broken for some used aircraft.

Speaking of Broken Markets:  Over 57,000 Unclaimed New Cars Rusting Away
The sea of new cars, 57,000 of them, stretches for acres along the Port of Baltimore. They are imports just in from foreign shores and exports waiting to ship out -- Chryslers and Subarus, Fords and Hyundais, Mercedeses and Kias. But the customers who once bought them by the millions have largely vanished, and so the cars continue to pile up, so many that some are now stored at nearby Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport.
Brady Dennis, "Too Many Cars, And They're Not on the Road," Washington Post, April 3, 2009 --- Click Here

The New University of Illinois Online Global Campus

Online-education venture at the U. of Illinois tries to distinguish itself from other distance-learning programs

"The Global Campus Meets a World of Competition," by Dan Turner, The Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, April 3, 2009 ---

The University of Illinois Global Campus, a multimillion-dollar distance-learning project, is up and running. For its March-April 2009 term, it has enrolled 366 students.

Getting to this point, though, has looked a little like the dot-com start-up bubble of the late 1990s. Hundreds of Internet-related companies were launched with overly ambitious goals, only to later face cutbacks and other struggles to stay alive. Most crashed anyway. Some observers now say the Global Campus must try to avoid the same fate of churning through a large initial investment while attracting too few customers.

The project, planned about four years ago, was designed to complement existing online programs offered by individual Illinois-system campuses at Urbana-Champaign, Springfield, and Chicago. Those programs primarily serve current students as an addition to their on-campus course work. The Global Campus, in contrast, seeks to reach the adult learner off campus, who is often seeking a more focused, career-related certification or degree, such as completing a B.S. in nursing.

Online education has proved popular with institutions, students, and employers across the United States, with opportunities and enrollment growing. According to the Sloan Consortium, a nonprofit organization focused on online learning, the fall 2007 term saw 3.9 million students enroll in at least one online course, many at for-profit institutions like DeVry University and the University of Phoenix.

That growing popularity, says David J. Gray, chief executive of UMassOnline, the online-learning arm of the University of Massachusetts system, is part of the Global Campus's problem. The Illinois program, he says, is "fighting uphill in a market that's a lot more uphill."

The slope didn't seem as steep in the fall of 2005, when Chester S. Gardner, then the university's vice president for academic affairs, led a committee to investigate ideas for the future of online education at Illinois. That resulted in a proposal and business plan presented to the Board of Trustees the next year. The system's "existing online programs were not structured for adult learners," says Mr. Gardner, who is now leading the Global Campus.

The program was formally established in March 2007. The university initially financed it with $1.5-million of general revenue. The program started teaching its first 12 students in 2008.

Now, Mr. Gardner says, the Global Campus has a budget of approximately $9.4-million for the 2008-9 fiscal year. Approximately $1-million of that comes from the state, he says, and the remaining money comes from various grants, tuition, and loans from the Board of Trustees.

The trustees' investment has produced heavy involvement, Mr. Gardner says. "They're acting like venture capitalists," he notes, adding that "they're certainly doing their job of holding my feet to the fire."

This year the 366 Global Campus students are enrolled in five different degree and four different certificate programs; Mr. Gardner expects the number of students to rise to around 500 by May.

Those numbers put the program on a much slower track than earlier, sunnier estimates of 9,000 students enrolled by 2012. Mr. Gardner says the 9,000 figure came from his 2007 budget request to the trustees and was not precise. "We had no direct experience upon which to base our projections," he says.

Now, Mr. Gardner says, he has more realistic figures. Once 1,650 students are enrolled, the monthly income from tuition will equal monthly expenses, on average. His current projections show the Global Campus reaching that point of stability by the 2011 fiscal year.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on cross border distance education and training alternatives ---

Distance Education is Rapidly Gaining Acceptance in the 21st Century ---

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology and distance education ---

"Military Robots and the Terrifying Future of War," Simoleon Sense, April 3, 2009 ---

Why printing money to pay off the National Debt is highly inflationary

Hi David Fordham,

Your long message involves much more than your original question about why we refer to the National Debt as "Debt."

Below I will describe a "hidden agenda" about why Hank Paulson elected to save AIG and not Lehman Brothers. I will also predict that the U.S. will one day give China its entire Navy.

The U.S. Government has two types of financial obligations.

Booked Debt = National Debt ---
This is simply the cash we've borrowed (treasury bonds, savings bonds, etc.) upon which we are paying interest of slightly less than a million dollars a minute at the moment. Due to budget deficits National Debt will double in the next few years from the present level of between $10 and $11 trillion.

Most of the interest on our National Debt is being funded with more borrowing rather than taxation. This is one of the main reasons why the U.S. Budget has become the mother of all Ponzi schemes.

Unbooked Debt = Entitlement obligations that are not yet booked ---
Entitlement obligations are not yet booked but in most cases they are already legislated and can be measured with reasonable accuracy by actuarial methods, including obligations for military retirement, Veterans medical benefits, Social Security retirement and disability pay, Congressional retirement and medical benefits, Medicare, a portion of Medicaid, etc. Entitlements also include many contingency obligations such when the President declares disaster areas of the country after hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, etc. The government also has millions of pending lawsuits.

Former Controller General, David Walker, places the unbooked debt at around $60 trillion, but it will soon explode to $100 trillion under proposed entitlement programs for universal education, universal health care, and massive environmental protection legislation being proposed. Since U.S. voters will almost never vote for massive tax increases, the Government has little choice for legislated entitlements other than adding to the National Debt or Zimbabwe-style printing of money that spells economic disaster.

Until David Walker got serious about the magnitude of the unbooked obligations, I don't think anybody tried to seriously measure this unbooked debt. Now David is trying his best to warn the public about how these entitlements may destroy the United States unless we start taxing to pay for them.

IOUSA (the most frightening movie in American history) --- (see a 30-minute version of the documentary at ).

A Must Read for All Americans
The most important article for the world to read now is the following interview with a former Andersen Partner and former Chief Accountant of the United States:
"Debt Crusader David Walker sounds the alarm for America's financial future," Journal of Accountancy, March 2009 ---

The good news about entitlement obligations is that, until they come due, we are not usually paying interest. The bad news is that legislated entitlements are so massive before we legislate the proposed Obama entitlements. Universal health care is the mother of all entitlements unless U.S. voters are willing to devote half their incomes to a universal health care tax (which is how Canada and European nations fund health care). U.S. voters are not likely to accept such a 50% universal health care tax.

Thus far most of the stimulus outflows to date have been with borrowed money, although a small portion was printed money. There's a huge difference in terms of inflation. Printed money directly boosts inflation and angers former investors in our National Debt such as China, Germany, and oil-rich rich Arabs. It would be curtains for the United States if those investors stopped rolling over their investments in our National Debt. Of course they don't want to see their investments go up in smoke.

Hank Paulson's Suspected Hidden Agenda
It's not likely that cash-rich nations like China, Germany, and oil-Arabs will destroy their own investments in our National Debt by not rolling over the debt at maturity dates. However, they are likely to be less willing to add trillions more investing in our newer annual spendthrift deficits.

I think what perplexed Hank Paulson, as Treasury Secretary, was that AIG's main problem was undercapitalized credit derivative obligations that insured toxic CDO mortgage bonds purchased by the same investors who hold much of our National Debt.

If Paulson allowed AIG's credit derivative defaults to really piss off investors needed for added National Debt, the U.S. Treasury would have been in deep, deep trouble. We had to keep those investors content by making good on AIG's trillions in credit derivatives. And thus we bailed out AIG.

Lehman Bothers was an investor counterparty in AIG's credit derivatives, but Lehman was not obligated to China, Germany, and oil-Arabs like AIG was obligated to investors in our National Debt. Hence, Paulson could let Lehman fail without the same massive repercussions on our issuance of new Treasury Bonds.

That was my "Hidden Agenda" speculation early on, although I don't claim to be the only one suspecting a hidden bailout agenda for AIG ---

There are two ways to really piss off investors in our massive National Debt. The first way is to print money that has an indirect effect of greatly cheapening their investments of dear dollars in our National Debt. The second way is to not make good credit insurance (credit derivatives) purchased from U.S. companies like AIG.

I suspect that if we continue to become better allies with China, we will find innovative methods for reducing our National Debt. One way will be to give China the U.S. Navy. I'm not really trying to be funny here. I only hope that China also takes on the entitlement obligations that accompany the U.S. Navy.


New Off Balance Sheet Financing Vehicles

Accounting for the Shadow Economy
Property is much more than a body of norms. It is also a huge information system that processes raw data until it is transformed into facts that can be tested for truth, and thereby destroys the main catalysts of recessions and panics -- ambiguity and opacity.

See below

There are trillions of dollars of off balance sheet obligations that cannot be easily accounted for.
Hernando de Soto

A Lesson for Auditors:  Accounting for the shadow economy
"Toxic Assets Were Hidden Assets:  We can't afford to allow shadow economies to grow this big," by Hernando de Soto, The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2009 ---

The Obama administration has finally come up with a plan to deal with the real cause of the credit crunch: the infamous "toxic assets" on bank balance sheets that have scared off investors and borrowers, clogging credit markets around the world. But if Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hopes to prevent a repeat of this global economic crisis, his rescue plan must recognize that the real problem is not the bad loans, but the debasement of the paper they are printed on.

Today's global crisis -- a loss on paper of more than $50 trillion in stocks, real estate, commodities and operational earnings within 15 months -- cannot be explained only by the default on a meager 7% of subprime mortgages (worth probably no more than $1 trillion) that triggered it. The real villain is the lack of trust in the paper on which they -- and all other assets -- are printed. If we don't restore trust in paper, the next default -- on credit cards or student loans -- will trigger another collapse in paper and bring the world economy to its knees.

If you think about it, everything of value we own travels on property paper. At the beginning of the decade there was about $100 trillion worth of property paper representing tangible goods such as land, buildings, and patents world-wide, and some $170 trillion representing ownership over such semiliquid assets as mortgages, stocks and bonds. Since then, however, aggressive financiers have manufactured what the Bank for International Settlements estimates to be $1 quadrillion worth of new derivatives (mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, and credit default swaps) that have flooded the market.

These derivatives are the root of the credit crunch. Why? Unlike all other property paper, derivatives are not required by law to be recorded, continually tracked and tied to the assets they represent. Nobody knows precisely how many there are, where they are, and who is finally accountable for them. Thus, there is widespread fear that potential borrowers and recipients of capital with too many nonperforming derivatives will be unable to repay their loans. As trust in property paper breaks down it sets off a chain reaction, paralyzing credit and investment, which shrinks transactions and leads to a catastrophic drop in employment and in the value of everyone's property.

Ever since humans started trading, lending and investing beyond the confines of the family and the tribe, we have depended on legally authenticated written statements to get the facts about things of value. Over the past 200 years, that legal authority has matured into a global consensus on the procedures, standards and principles required to document facts in a way that everyone can easily understand and trust.

The result is a formidable property system with rules and recording mechanisms that fix on paper the facts that allow us to hold, transfer, transform and use everything we own, from stocks to screenplays. The only paper representing an asset that is not centrally recorded, standardized and easily tracked are derivatives.

Property is much more than a body of norms. It is also a huge information system that processes raw data until it is transformed into facts that can be tested for truth, and thereby destroys the main catalysts of recessions and panics -- ambiguity and opacity. To bring derivatives under the rule of law, governments should ensure that they conform to six longstanding procedures that guarantee the value and legitimacy of any kind of paper purporting to represent an asset:

- All documents and the assets and transactions they represent or are derived from must be recorded in publicly accessible registries. It is only by recording and continually updating such factual knowledge that we can detect the kind of overly creative financial and contractual instruments that plunged us into this recession.

- The law has to take into account the "externalities" or side effects of all financial transactions according to the legal principle of erga omnes ("toward all"), which was originally developed to protect third parties from the negative consequences of secret deals carried out by aristocracies accountable to no one but themselves.

- Every financial deal must be firmly tethered to the real performance of the asset from which it originated. By aligning debts to assets, we can create simple and understandable benchmarks for quickly detecting whether a financial transaction has been created to help production or to bet on the performance of distant "underlying assets."

- Governments should never forget that production always takes priority over finance. As Adam Smith and Karl Marx both recognized, finance supports wealth creation, but in itself creates no value.

- Governments can encourage assets to be leveraged, transformed, combined, recombined and repackaged into any number of tranches, provided the process intends to improve the value of the original asset. This has been the rule for awarding property since the beginning of time.

- Governments can no longer tolerate the use of opaque and confusing language in drafting financial instruments. Clarity and precision are indispensable for the creation of credit and capital through paper. Western politicians must not forget what their greatest thinkers have been saying for centuries: All obligations and commitments that stick are derived from words recorded on paper with great precision.

Above all, governments should stop clinging to the hope that the existing market will eventually sort things out. "Let the market do its work" has come to mean, "let the shadow economy do its work." But modern markets only work if the paper is reliable.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at

Off Balance Sheet Vehicles
The Mother of All Ponzi Schemes According to Top Liberal (Progressive) Economists
The Latest Bailout Plan’s a Disaster According to Paul Krugman and James K. Galbraith

And yet American policy-makers appear convinced that more debt can rescue an economy already drowning in it. If we can just keep the leverage party going, all will be well. $787 billion to fund “stimulus,” another $9 trillion committed to guarantee bad debts, 0% interest rates and quantitative easing to drive more lending, new off balance sheet vehicles to hide from the public the toxic assets they’ve absorbed. All of it to be funded with debt, most of it the responsibility of taxpayers. If I may offer just one reason this will all fail: rising interest rates. Interest rates need only revert to their historical median in order to hammer asset values, and balance sheets, into oblivion.
"Added Debt Won't Rescue the Great American Ponzi Scheme," Seeking Alpha, March 23, 2009 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on off-balance sheet financing (OBSF) are at

Bob Jensen's threads on the bailout mess ---

We need honest accounting more than ever, not fantasy teases for investors

This is a pretty good article on how players (banks), umpires (regulators), and fans (like billionaires Steve Forbes and Warren Buffet) have inappropriately blamed the scorekeepers (accounts) for the demise of the big banks. In fact the December 30, 2008 research report calls this attribution of blame just plain wrong (and self-serving).

The wonderful December 30, 2008 research report of the SEC shows that fair value accounting is neither the cause nor the cure for the banking crisis. The liquidity problem of the holders of the toxic investments is caused by trillions of dollars invested in underperforming (often zero performing) of bad investments mortgages or mortgaged-backed bonds that have to be written down unless auditors agree to simply lie about values. That is not likely to happen, but client pressures on auditors to value on the high side for many properties will be heavy handed.
The wonderful full SEC report that bankers and regulators do not want to read can be freely downloaded at

"We Need Honest Accounting:  Relax regulatory capital rules if need be, but don't let banks hide the truth," by James A. Chanos, The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2009 ---

Mark-to-market (MTM) accounting is under fierce attack by bank CEOs and others who are pressing Congress to suspend, if not repeal, the rules they blame for the current financial crisis. Yet their pleas to bubble-wrap financial statements run counter to increased calls for greater financial-market transparency and ongoing efforts to restore investor trust.

We have a sorry history of the banking industry driving statutory and regulatory changes. Now banks want accounting fixes to mask their recklessness. Meanwhile, there has been no acknowledgment of culpability in what top management in these financial institutions did -- despite warnings -- to help bring about the crisis. Theirs is a record of lax risk management, flawed models, reckless lending, and excessively leveraged investment strategies. In the worst instances, they acted with moral indifference, knowing that what they were doing was flawed, but still willing to pocket the fees and accompanying bonuses.

MTM accounting isn't perfect, but it does provide a compass for investors to figure out what an asset would be worth in today's market if it were sold in an orderly fashion to a willing buyer. Before MTM took effect, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) produced much evidence to show that valuing financial instruments and other difficult-to-price assets by "historical" costs, or "mark to management," was folly.

The rules now under attack are neither as significant nor as inflexible as critics charge. MTM is generally limited to investments held for trading purposes, and to certain derivatives. For many financial institutions, these investments represent a minority of their total investment portfolio. A recent study by Bloomberg columnist David Reilly of the 12 largest banks in the KBW Bank Index shows that only 29% of the $8.46 trillion in assets are at MTM prices. In General Electric's case, the portion is just 2%.

Why is that so? Most bank assets are in loans, which are held at their original cost using amortization rules, minus a reserve that banks must set aside as a safety cushion for potential future losses.

MTM rules also give banks a choice. MTM accounting is not required for securities held to maturity, but you need to demonstrate a "positive intent and ability" that you will do so. Further, an SEC 2008 report found that "over 90% of investments marked-to-market are valued based on observable inputs."

Financial institutions had no problem in using MTM to benefit from the drop in prices of their own notes and bonds, since the rule also applies to liabilities. And when the value of the securitized loans they held was soaring, they eagerly embraced MTM. Once committed to that accounting discipline, though, they were obligated to continue doing so for the duration of their holding of securities they've marked to market. And one wonders if they are as equally willing to forego MTM for valuing the same illiquid securities in client accounts for margin loans as they are for their proprietary trading accounts?

But these facts haven't stopped the charge forward on Capitol Hill. At a recent hearing, bankers said that MTM forced them to price securities well below their real valuation, making it difficult to purge toxic assets from their books at anything but fire-sale prices. They also justified their attack with claims that loans, mortgages and other securities are now safe or close to safe, ignoring mounting evidence that losses are growing across a greater swath of credit. This makes the timing of the anti-MTM lobbying appear even more suspect. And not all financial firms are calling for loosening MTM standards; Goldman Sachs and others who are standing firm on this issue should be applauded.

According to J.P. Morgan, approximately $450 billion of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) of asset-backed securities were issued from late 2005 to mid-2007. Of that amount, roughly $305 billion is now in a formal state of default and $102 billion of this amount has already been liquidated. The latest monthly mortgage reports from investment banks are equally sobering. It is no surprise, then, that the largest underwriters of mortgages and CDOs have been decimated.

Commercial banking regulations generally do not require banks to sell assets to meet capital requirements just because market values decline. But if "impairment" charges under MTM do push banks below regulatory capital requirements and limit their ability to lend when they can't raise more capital, then the solution is to grant temporary regulatory capital "relief," which is itself an arbitrary number.

There is a connection between efforts over the past 12 years to reduce regulatory oversight, weaken capital requirements, and silence the financial detectives who uncovered such scandals as Lehman and Enron. The assault against MTM is just the latest chapter.

Instead of acknowledging mistakes, we are told this is a "once in 100 years" anomaly with the market not functioning correctly. It isn't lost on investors that the MTM criticisms come, too, as private equity firms must now report the value of their investments. The truth is the market is functioning correctly. It's just that MTM critics don't like the prices that investors are willing to pay.

The FASB and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must stand firm in their respective efforts to ensure that investors get a true sense of the losses facing banks and investment firms. To be sure, we should work to make MTM accounting more precise, following, for example, the counsel of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets and the SEC's December 2008 recommendations for achieving greater clarity in valuation approaches.

Unfortunately, the FASB proposal on March 16 represents capitulation. It calls for "significant judgment" by banks in determining if a market or an asset is "inactive" and if a transaction is "distressed." This would give banks more discretion to throw out "quotes" and use valuation alternatives, including cash-flow estimates, to determine value in illiquid markets. In other words, it allows banks to substitute their own wishful-thinking judgments of value for market prices.

The FASB is also changing the criteria used to determine impairment, giving companies more flexibility to not recognize impairments if they don't have "the intent to sell." Banks will only need to state that they are more likely than not to be able to hold onto an underwater asset until its price "recovers." CFOs will also have a choice to divide impairments into "credit losses" and "other losses," which means fewer of these charges will be counted against income. If approved, companies could start this quarter to report net income that ignores sharp declines in securities they own. The FASB is taking comments until April 1, but its vote is a fait accompli.

Obfuscating sound accounting rules by gutting MTM rules will only further reduce investors' trust in the financial statements of all companies, causing private capital -- desperately needed in securities markets -- to become even scarcer. Worse, obfuscation will further erode confidence in the American economy, with dire consequences for the very financial institutions who are calling for MTM changes. If need be, temporarily relax the arbitrary levels of regulatory capital, rather than compromise the integrity of all financial statements.

Bob Jensen's threads about all this bull crap blaming of the bean counters can be found at

Bob Jensen's threads on fair value accounting are at

We had no need to eviscerate the U.S. financial services industry in the past year. Mark to market -- applied to regulatory capital --- was one of many contributors to this debacle.
Robert D. Arnott, The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
Barf ---

Many cops, judges, school administrators, and legislators really are pigs
Thousands of public officials caught on tape: Bribes, public corruption, ABC News, March 25, 2009 ---

"With the Economy Down, Vasectomy Rates Are Up,", March 20, 2009 ,,
The same might be said for Viagra sales uplifts

"More Women Needing Cash Go From Jobless to Topless" Associated Press, March 22, 2009,
Saves on the budget for clothing

"Wild, Energetic Sex Is Key to Conception," Observer (London), March 22, 2009
At last we know why older couples rarely conceive new children

Wild Energetic Sex is the Key to AIDs Infliction (along with promiscuity)
"We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates," said (Harvard University researcher) Green, "which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working." . . . "There is," Green added, "a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys,' between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction 'technology' such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by 'compensating' or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology."
WorldNetDaily, March 23, 2009
Jensen Comment
Research reports like this are very dangerous. If life expectancy in the United States did not decline across the Korean, Viet Nam, Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars, tell this to a soldier in the face-off with the enemy on the ground.

"A woman attempting to reconcile with her estranged husband handcuffed herself to him as he slept and then bit him on his torso and arms as he phoned for help, police said," Associated Press, March 24, 2009
'Till death do us part.

"Teenager Paints Giant Phallus on Roof of Parents' Home"--headline, Daily Mail (London), March 24, 2009
And I thought Hoover's last erection on the Stanford University campus was bad enough.

"Auditors say the state Medicaid program may have overpaid $2.9 million for services like teeth cleaning for toothless patients. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says auditors found the state health department's Medicaid claims processing system lacks necessary controls." New York Post, March 25, 2009
Jensen Comment
But you should see their gums glow!

This is crap
Palestinian factions in Lebanon accused the army on Saturday of contaminating Iranian food aid destined for a refugee camp by using sniffer-dogs to search the shipment. "Camp residents refuse to eat what the police dogs have soiled," several Palestinian factions in northern Lebanon, including the Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, said in a statement received by AFP. It referred to a shipment donated by Iran for residents of the Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon, which was devastated by deadly battles between a fringe Islamist group and the army in 2007.
Yahoo News, March 25, 20096 ---

The New York Times electronically publishes a truly bad taste cartoon that with a Moslem religion symbol instead of the Star of David would get NYT editors and the cartoonist killed ---
Jensen Comment
This is in your back yard Sen. Schumer.
In fairness, the NYT tuned into the political danger involved and never placed the cartoon in the print edition.

Good News:  Some new biofuels are cheap to make such as those that come from cooked coal
Bad News:     The environmental damages are prohibitive

"Bad News: Scientists Make Cheap Gas From Coal," byAlexis Madrigal, Wired News, March 26, 2009  ---

But the problem with all the new fuels is that they have to scale up — and that's harder than it sounds. Plus, many fear that biofuels could cause massive, negative land-use changes.

The process of cooking coal into liquid fuel, on the other hand, has already proven itself on a massive scale. Take coal, add some water, cook it, and you've got a liquid fuel for your car. The hydrogen in the water bonds to the carbon and voila: hydrocarbons, such as octane. It's the very fact that coal-to-liquids could work that make them such a scary idea for people devoted to fighting climate change.

The Nazis used the so-called Fisher-Tropsch process to provide up to half of their transportation fuel needs during World War II. Later, South Africa began a major coal-to-liquids program during the Apartheid era and now maintain the world's largest CTL industry in the world. The country's factories produce 160,000 barrels of fuel a day, a little more than all the residents and businesses in Utah use each day.

Continued in article

Ireland's Gang Leader Philip Collopy is a Leading Candidate (posthumously) for a Darwin Award
Gangsters videoed their crime boss accidentally blowing his brains out with a handgun during a drink and drugs party, police revealed yesterday. Philip Collopy, 29, a member of a gang in Limerick, Ireland, apparently did not realise his Glock 9mm pistol was loaded when he pointed it at his head and pulled the trigger in front of shocked onlookers. Collopy, who was aligned to the Keane-Collopy gang in a long-running gangland feud, had emptied the magazine from the handgun, but there was still a bullet in the chamber.
Alan Sherry, "Gang leader accidentally blows his brains out during drink and drugs party," Daily Mail, March 24, 2009 ---

What does Amazon claim are the first and second most influential books in the world?
The book at Rank 2 will probably be a surprise!

AIG Shrugged by Ayn Rand

For Jim Mahar's Finance Professor Blog on March 25, 2009 ---

Ok, I can't make this stuff up. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is so life like that it is now as if reading (or in my case ristening) to a script.

Atlas Shrugged is a novel written in 1957 by Ayn Rand. In it, in response to a largely governmental caused "emergency" the top leaders of the business world give up and just walk away in response to taxes, regulation, and other confiscatory governmental policies. Indeed, it seems that whoever is in the hottest spotlight, is the next to go.

So without further comment, a letter from Jake DeSantis announcing his resignation from AIG.

the NY Times
"The following is a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G."

"DEAR Mr. Liddy,

It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:"


"After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we...have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

.... I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down."
The only difference now between now and then, is that DeSantis (unlike Galt, Wyatt, Dannager, et al) left an explanation.

BTW if you have not
read the book, I can not give it a higher recommendation except to say it is in my Top Ten (maybe top five) of all time.

Jensen Comment
A lot of scholars, especially liberal scholars, despise Ayn Rand. But Atlas Shrugged ranks second behind The Bible in terms of influence according to a U.S. Library of Congress survey.
Library of Congress Survey: Most Influential Books ---
Link forwarded by Richard Sansing

March 26, 2009 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]


Thank you for forwarding the link to the Jake DeSantis' resignation letter. I have been appalled at some of the emotional diatribes by our elected officials regarding the "bonuses" paid to AIG employees. As someone who, in what I know refer to as a "previous life", had "at risk" salary, I know that the word "bonus" is often misinterpreted. "At risk" salary is the part of one's compensation that will only be paid if the employee meets certain goals and objectives agreed between the employee and employer. It is salary withheld and paid in a lump sum at the end of the fiscal year. It is not a "gift" given to the employee if the employer has a certain amount of net income and is not dependent (as long as the company continuesin existence) on the company's performance, only the employee's performance.

What have I learned from the comments of our congressional representatives and others from their comments in recent weeks? Unfortunately, it's a confirmation of what I initially learned having attended hearings on derivatives disclosures proposed by the SEC in the late 90s. Most of our elected official know little (or nothing) about the issue on which they opine. They are only interested in making a statement for the public record that will appeal to their constituents and get them re-elected. I was in shock at the comments of members of the congressional subcommittee back then (who made statements generally illustrating their ignorance of derivatives and simply left the hearing, not even bothering to listen to the testimony of the people invited or called to testify on the topic). Although I am no longer shocked, I am still embarrassed and appalled at what I have seen as callousness based on this ignorance.

Jake DeSantis' letter breaks my heart. How betrayed by us must the rest of the employees at AIG who have worked diligently and effectively to try to accomplish the government's objectives feel? It will serve those who have vilified them right if they all quit on masse. Perhaps our elected officials can go work at AIG for reduced salaries to get us out of this mess. I for one think they may do less harm than staying in Congress.

Regards Pat

March 26, 2009 reply from Bender, Ruth [r.bender@CRANFIELD.AC.UK]

I fell for John Galt when I was already what you’d call a ‘mature adult’! I re-read the book every few years, to remind myself that I need to try harder. (I then generally re-read the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist, to get the opposite view of life, even though I think that is quite badly written.)

I think Ayn Rand’s fiction is enjoyable, and Atlas Shrugged is her best. But I dislike her non-fiction books. And I really can’t take objectivism seriously. (And only have one acquaintance this side of the Atlantic who does.)

Ruth Bender
Cranfield, UK.


Virtually all MIT faculty research papers will now be free online (but there's a catch highlighted in red below)
Many teaching materials are also available on MIT's Open Source Web Site

"MIT Professors Approve Campuswide Policy to Publish Their Scholarly Articles Free Online," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 24, 2009 ---

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is known for its ambitious effort to give away its course materials free online, and now the university is giving away its research, too.

Last week MIT’s professors voted unanimously to adopt a policy stating that all faculty members will deposit their scholarly research papers in a free, online university repository (in addition to sending them to scholarly journals), in an effort to expand access to the university’s scholarship. The policy is modeled on one adopted last year by Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. At MIT, like at Harvard, professors can opt out of the policy if, for instance, a journal their paper is accepted to does not allow free publication of articles.

Peter Suber, a research professor of philosophy at Earlham College and a longtime promoter of open access to scholarly publishing, said the move was a sign of growing momentum for open-access policies. “It’s a strong signal that these measures have faculty support,” he said. “The more momentum there is for open access, the more it looks like a mainstream idea,” he added. “There’s no doubt that it started out as a fringe idea.”

He said there were now about 30 colleges and universities around the world that have adopted similar open-access policies for their research, and he pointed to a list of such policies maintained by ePrints, a company that makes open-access archiving software. Most of those institutions are in Europe, and many of the U.S. colleges that have jumped in have adopted policies only in a school or department.

In the past, some publishers have expressed concern about university open-access policies — especially some scholarly societies that publish journals and worry about whether giving away articles will undermine their ability to keep their publishing efforts afloat.

Jensen Comment
One might conclude that only rejects get published free, but that would be neither fair nor accurate. Some winners may get published early on as working papers before they get accepted by a journal that does not open share. Also, some researchers who totally support open sharing may refuse to submit research papers to journals that will not allow the MIT professors to open share on the MIT server.

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing are at

"The Evolution of American Women's Studies" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, March 26, 2009 ---

Q: How would you evaluate the success of women's studies today?

A: There is no question that women’s studies has been and is a very successful venture. There are over 800 women’s studies programs nationwide, including the opportunity to get a Ph.D. in women’s studies, and to take courses online. Also, as previously mentioned, the creation of the National Women’s Studies Association was instrumental in that it provided a forum for women’s studies scholars to share resources and network. The success of women’s studies is also found in the huge proliferation of books, journals, networks, blogs, and conferences about the field -- both nationally and internationally. The genuine inclusion of “women of color” (which I use in quotes) is still a challenge for the field, but there are many prominent women’s studies scholars who are of different races and ethnicities.

The other great success of women’s studies is that in the early 1990’s several significant studies came out about how girls were being “short-changed” or “cheated.” The issue of gender bias and gender socialization in primary and secondary schools became big news. It was discussed on popular talk shows such as "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and featured in prominent news journals like Newsweek.

In recent years there has been a lot of scholarship about how boys too are subject to discrimination and being socialized into narrowly defined gender stereotypes. There is a pressing need to move beyond gender polarities (e.g., if girls win boys lose and vice versa), by raising issues of awareness and equity for both sexes. In the K-12 environment it is also vital to make connections between the importance of studying gender and more recognized school problems like teen pregnancy, sexual harassment, high dropout rates, and school violence.

Although not mentioned in the above study, public accountancy is one of the most if not the most women-opportunity and motherhood-opportunity professions in the world. Well over half of the new entrants into public accounting are women --- 
The desire for women to enter professions like accounting, nursing, education, and pharmacy draw women away from majoring in Women's Studies, although some still minor is such studies.

One of the controversial issues is the relatively high proportion of women physicians who go part time shortly after graduation from medical school or, when full time, refuse night call where physicians in general are in short supply such as in rural towns like where I live ---

There are some advantages to medical centers if part-time physicians are willing to take night and week end duties. Whereas accounting professionals can often do much of their work for clients at home online, medical patients usually want face-to-face contact except in a few areas like radiology and pathology. Interestingly, some women physicians prefer emergency room employment vis-a-vis private practice because emergency room physicians are sometimes guaranteed no more than 40-hour work weeks. Private practice physicians generally endure longer work weeks and more unpredictable hours. My neighbor up in the mountains is a noted  cardiologist from Boston. While on holiday up here he is frequently paged by his patients or colleagues. In other words he can't responsibly get away from his work.

"What I Wish I'd Known About Tenure," by Leslie M. Phinney, Inside Higher Ed, March 27, 2009 ---

1. Striving for tenure at a university is like gambling in a casino;
2. Becoming tenured is like joining a fraternity;
3. A tenure case is like a hunk of Swiss cheese;
4. The majority of those embarking on an academic career will end up with tenure cases in the gray zone;
5. Just as there are risk factors for contracting a disease, risk factors exist for not obtaining tenure;
6. True tenure is always being able to obtain another position;
7. The best type of tenure is that which matches your ideals and values;
8. Fight or flight decisions are part of the tenure process;
9. While important, tenure is only one facet in life.

Leslie M. Phinney was an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1997 until 2003. She received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award from 2000-2004 and a 2000 NASA/ASEE Faculty Fellowship at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories. She is now a principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, N.M.

Jensen Comment
 I agree with Dr. Phinney on many points, but I disagree that tenure seeking is like casino gambling. In a fair-game casino the odds are known and always in favor of the house. In tenure seeking there are so many unpredictable factors (departmental colleagues, college colleagues, university-level P&T members, etc.) that the odds are most certainly not knowable. There are many factors that are unpredictable such as what weight decision makers will put upon student evaluations and journal quality where published work appears. Tenure seeking is more like running for public office than casino gambling.

One of the big problems with tenure seeking is that decision makers are usually not held accountable, although committee chairs are often forced to write down reasons for rejection decisions.

One of the big advantages of tenure seeking is that most colleges now require documentation of progress toward tenure every two years or thereabouts. Tenure decisions should not come as a huge surprise in the sixth year of appointment.

Another controversial problem is arises when the tenure clock is suspended, sometimes unpaid, for a variety of reasons for which there is some justification --- health of a family member, pregnancy, leaves of absence from teaching, etc. The reason that these tenure clock suspensions are controversial is that in many instances the tenure candidate can do research and writing during the tenure clock suspension and thereby gain some advantage over other candidates given no more than six years before a final tenure decision is reached.

Rethinking tenure ---

Almost 20 years after the first edition came out, the editors of The Academic’s Handbook (Duke University Press) have released a new version — the third — with many chapters on faculty careers updated and some completely new topics added. Topics covered include teaching, research, tenure, academic freedom, mentoring, diversity, harassment and more. The editors of the collection (who also wrote some of the pieces) are two Duke University professors who also served as administrators there. They are A. Leigh Deneef, a professor of English and former associate dean of the Graduate School, and Craufurd D. Goodwin, a professor of economics who was previously vice provost and dean of the Graduate School.
Inside Higher Ed, January 10, 2007 ---
Find out what changes in the last ten years of academe are the most significant!

Top Global Business Schools According to Business Week ---

Slide Show --- Click Here
The 15 business schools included here are strong contenders among the world's top MBA programs, but lower marks keep them just shy of the top tier

Top European Business Schools According the Business Week ---

Bob Jensen's threads on ranking controversies ---

This is hardly a victory for free speech in academe! It’s more of a victory for plagiarism.
Since Ward Churchill admits that some of his writings were plagiarized, I think it will now be more difficult to fire tenured professors who allow plagiarism in their writings and multimedia productions. It would indeed be a very dangerous precedent if Judge Naves now forced the university to re-hire a terminated professor. In the past, the courts have always resisted forcing hiring decisions on higher education. If Judge Naves rules otherwise, there’s little doubt in my mind that this will move on to higher courts at the behest of the University of Colorado.

In the back of my mind I wonder if the jury just wanted to make it more difficult for Churchill to appeal the verdict? Now that Mr. Churchill is free to move on, let’s hope he does so as soon as possible.

"Churchill Wins Lawsuit, but Only $1 in Damages," by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 3, 2009 ---

A jury ruled on Thursday that the University of Colorado had illegally fired Ward Churchill in response to statements protected by the First Amendment. But it awarded the controversial ethnic-studies scholar only a token $1 in damages, leaving experts on academic freedom confused as to exactly what message other colleges should draw from the verdict.

Judge Larry J. Naves, who presided over the four-week trial in a state court in Denver, gave both sides 30 days to file motions related to the next phase of the proceedings, a hearing in which the judge will determine Mr. Churchill’s status at the university. Judge Naves could demand that Mr. Churchill be reinstated at the University of Colorado at Boulder, or he could order the university to pay Mr. Churchill a lump sum for money he could have earned if he had kept his university job, which paid $94,000 a year.

Mr. Churchill’s lawyers said they hoped to have him back teaching in university classrooms by the fall. That outcome, however, is likely to be strongly resisted by the university, which continues to stand by its conclusions that Mr. Churchill committed academic misconduct that merited his dismissal in 2007.

In awarding Mr. Churchill only $1 in damages, the jury rejected a call by his chief lawyer, David A. Lane, to award an amount that would send a message “in a big way” to faculty members and students at colleges around the nation.

After the verdict was read, however, Mr. Churchill jokingly held up a $1 bill and waved it. Speaking to reporters in a courthouse hallway, he said, “What was asked for and what was delivered was justice.” He added that his lawsuit had exposed “the fraud of the university’s campaign and collaboration with private right-wing interests.”

Mr. Lane called the jury’s decision “a great victory for the First Amendment and academic freedom,” and said he expects to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees from the university.

The University of Colorado system’s president, Bruce D. Benson, issued a written statement that said, "While we respect the jury’s decision, we strongly disagree.” The verdict, he said, “doesn’t change the fact that 21 of Ward Churchill’s faculty peers on three separate panels unanimously found he engaged in deliberate and repeated plagiarism, falsification, and fabrication that fell below the minimum standards of professional conduct.”

Mr. Bensen called the jury’s $1 award for punitive damages “an indication of what they thought of the value of Ward Churchill’s claim.” He said the university was weighing what to do next.

'Speech Was the Flashpoint'

The trial in Mr. Churchill’s lawsuit lasted nearly four weeks, during which 45 witnesses took the stand. Among those who testified were Colorado’s former governor, Bill Owens; a long list of administrators and faculty members involved in the university’s investigation of charges that Mr. Churchill had committed academic misconduct; and several scholars in Mr. Churchill’s field of expertise, American Indian studies.

The university’s lawyers focused on trying to show that the university had treated Mr. Churchill fairly and had given him due process in the proceedings that led to his firing for scholarly misconduct. Mr. Churchill’s lawyers sought to convince the jury that his dismissal was in response to the uproar over an essay in which he compared many of the office workers killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center to a Nazi bureaucrat, and said they were not truly innocent victims.

The six-member jury—consisting of four women and two men, all of whom appeared to be in their 20s or early 30s—deliberated for 10 hours before reaching its verdict late Thursday afternoon. Earlier in the day, it had tipped its hand by returning to the courtroom to ask Judge Naves if it needed to be unanimous in its decision on how much to award Mr. Churchill, and whether it had the option of awarding him no money at all. Judge Naves said yes, its decision had to be unanimous, and that $1 was the least it could award Mr. Churchill if it decided in his favor.

Mr. Churchill’s legal team appeared to suffer a major setback on Tuesday, when Judge Naves dismissed one of the professor's two claims against the university—that its investigation of Mr. Churchill was, in itself, an act of retaliation. But the jurors' responses to the various questions Judge Naves had posed to them to shape their deliberations showed that its members had clearly agreed with the lawsuit’s other key claim, that Mr. Churchill’s termination was a retaliatory act.

The jury concluded that the controversy over Mr. Churchill’s essay, which was protected under the First Amendment, was “a substantial or motivating factor” in the college’s decision to discharge him. It also said that the university had failed to show that he would have been fired even if he had never made his controversial remarks.

Ken McConnellogue, a university spokesman, said he disagreed with the verdict but could see how the jury came to its decision. "The speech was the flashpoint that got all of this going,” he said. “But we maintain we ruled early and said often it wasn’t about the speech, it was about his academic misconduct. Those two things were in such close proximity that you can see where the jury would make that connection.”

Cause for Caution

Robert M. O’Neil, a prominent First Amendment scholar who heads the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, in Charlottesville, Va., said the jury’s verdict was so “superficially inconsistent” that he found it hard to guess what implications it might have for colleges elsewhere.

“It just seems to be there is a curious paradox,” he said, between the jury’s finding that university officials violated Mr. Churchill’s rights and its decision to give him a nominal damage award suggesting he had not been harmed in any way. “I find it very hard to reconcile those conclusions.”

Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, expressed concern before the verdict that a jury of people without extensive backgrounds in academe would fail to grasp the nuances of controversy among scholars. He said a decision in the university’s favor would have had “a chilling effect” on academic freedom, sending “a message that, justly or unjustly, your recourse to the courts is limited if you feel that you have been basically sacrificed for political reasons.”

Continued in article

It’s Culture, Not Morality:  What if everything you learned about fighting plagiarism was doomed to failure?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, February 3, 2009 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at

Where does responsibility for plagiarism stop?
Is a sole author responsible for the plagiarism of assistants?
Are all co-authors responsible for the plagiarism of one of the co-authors?
Is a student responsible for plagiarism caused by the student's hired assistant?
(one of Bob Jensen's former students offered this line of defense)

Ward Churchill, who is suing the University of Colorado at Boulder to get his job back, admitted on Tuesday that portions of a book he edited and wrote parts of were plagiarized, but he said he wasn't responsible for doing so, 9 News reported. "Plagiarism occurred," Churchill said in reference to the writings. But Churchill (who prefers to be called "Doctor" Churchill) said that others who were involved in the project did the plagiarizing and that he was unaware of it. Churchill has generally not admitted that any plagiarism occurred in his work, arguing that minor errors have been stretched by the university to fire him for his controversial political views. University of Colorado officials also asked Churchill on Tuesday why he had indicated that he wanted to be called "Dr. Churchill" when he has only a master's degree. Churchill responded that he has an honorary doctorate and asked the lawyer, "You wish to dishonor it?" The Denver Post noted that while there were some sharp exchanges in the testimony, much of it was detailed discussion of sources and the details of scholarly writing, and that the judge had to call a recess at one point when a juror appeared to be having difficulty staying awake.
"Churchill: 'Plagiarism Occurred' (But He Didn't Do It)

Jensen Comment
If Doctor Churchill pursues this babe-in-the woods line of defense it seems to me he should name the plagiarists who led him on.

One of the most liberal academic associations is the highly liberal Modern Language Association. However, even the MLA could not muster up a vote critical of the firing of Ward Churchill by the University of Colorado.
While material distributed by those seeking to condemn Churchill’s firing portrayed him favorably, and as a victim of the right wing, some of those who criticized the pro-Churchill effort at the meeting are long-time experts in Native American studies and decidedly not conservative.
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, December 31, 2007 ---

What does a leading Native American scholar think of Ward Churchill's scholarship and integrity?

And this was the judgment of Churchill's academic peers. UCLA professor Russell Thornton, a Cherokee tribe member whose work was misrepresented by Churchill, said "I don't see how the University of Colorado can keep him with a straight face," calling his material on smallpox a "fabrication" of history, and accusing him of "gross, gross scholarly misconduct." Real American Indian history, he told the Rocky Mountain News, is vitally important, not "a bunch of B.S. that someone made up." R.G. Robertson, author of Rotting Face: Smallpox and the American Indian and another scholar who has accused Churchill of misrepresenting his work, says that he's "happy that [he was fired], that he's been found out, and by his peers—meaning other university people—and been called what he is, a plagiarizer and a liar." Thomas Brown, a professor of sociology at Lamar University who has also investigated Churchill's smallpox research, said his work on the subject is "fabricated almost entirely from scratch."
Michael C. Moynihan, "Ward of the State:  Why the state of Colorado was right to sack Ward Churchill," Reason Magazine, August 1, 2007 ---

A huge factor in the granting of tenure to Ward Churchill was purportedly his affirmative action claim of being Native American.
Bob Jensen's threads on Doctor Churchill, the "Cherokee Wannabe" who most likely does not have drop of Native American blood, are at

March 25, 2009 reply from Ravenscroft, Sue P [ACCT] [sueraven@IASTATE.EDU]

As a junior faculty member I looked into a textbook I had not assigned in order to see how the distinguished author of an alternative textbook addressed a topic. I was looking for ideas and another way to explain the topic to students. Imagine my surprise when I found out the distinguished author addressed the topic almost word for word like the authors of our assigned text.! I was stunned!

I notified the author who had been plagiarized, who was hurt and insulted and who hastened to assure me that his book was much more venerable than that of the distinguished author, who had only recently moved into this arena......I also told the sales rep of DA (Distinguished author) and he was quite cavalier, said he would not bother DA with the trivial news, that DA had lots of graduate students and hired help and clearly couldn't be held responsible for this. The more modest author, who actually wrote the material, decided it would be unwise politically to get crosswise with DA....End of story.??????

If I gave you DA's name you would ALL recognize it....LOTS of textbooks bear the man's name...I won't use them, even though one is a classic in its field, and I will always wonder how much -- if any of any books bearing his name-- he actually wrote. And if he didn't write it, is it plagiarism? or is it something else? Selling under false colors?

I don't condone Ward Churchill, but I know he is not alone.....and by the way, the DA? He's been honored by the AAA in a multitude of ways and was never fired from his position.

Sue Ravenscroft

March 25, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Sue,

I don't seen any reason to protect plagiarists. But it seems to me that it may be possible that when Author A and Author B both have virtually identical passages of text without cross-citation by either one, then one or both of these authors is a plagiarist --- it could be that Author C was plagiarized by both A and B or their assistants.

What I recommend in virtually all instances is to first disclose the identical passages to A and B and their publishers to see how the parties themselves respond. Then if the mystery is not resolved to your satisfaction with apologies made by the guilty parties, the next step is to make the identical passages known to the public such as by pointing these suspicious passages to subscribers on AECM without blaming A or B at that point in time.

If both A and B are college employees, their supervisors should also be notified about the suspected passages. I am very familiar with such a case by a well known Accounting Professor X at a very prestigious university (PU). PU called back a former doctoral student and threatened to revoke his diploma in the Management Department because passages of his dissertation appeared to be taken from a journal article by Professor X. But the investigation committee at PU determined that Professor X actually plagiarized from the doctoral student's dissertation. Then everything went hush-hush. The accused alumnus was sent back home with an embarrassing apology from PU. Professor X remained an employee, but for all practical purposes he was never heard from again outside the classes he still taught. He no longer published anything and stopped going to professional meetings. He's now retired. I suspect he's not well respected by former colleagues even though in other respects he was a heck of a nice guy. The incident never became public, but I know about it because the accused doctoral student was at one time my Department Chair. He told me about this over lunch one day with a request that I not name names.

I don't think you should protect a plagiarist Sue, but use caution when making accusations about who did what. Let others be the judge after you disclose the identical passages.

It would seem that in this age of litigation, the publishing companies themselves would resolve this issue. At the least the plagiarist's book should be withdrawn from the market.

I don’t agree with your “end of story” decision. At a minimum, the publishing firms and employers should be formally notified. If necessary, this can be done anonymously. But I think you should eventually do more than the minimum.

Bob Jensen


It’s Culture, Not Morality:  What if everything you learned about fighting plagiarism was doomed to failure?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, February 3, 2009 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at

The Secret Behind Twitter's Astonishing Growth
The most popular Tweets in the world are CNN (Rank 1) and Britney Spears (Rank 2)
It’s highly unlikely that Britney Spears does her own Tweets

First you may want to read about the explosive growth of social networks ---
Then you will appreciate the unique features of Twitter

A social network is a social structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as values, visions, ideas, financial exchange, friendship, sexual relationships, kinship, dislike, conflict or trade.

Social network analysis views social relationships in terms of nodes and ties. Nodes are the individual actors within the networks, and ties are the relationships between the actors. The resulting graph-based structures are often very complex. There can be many kinds of ties between the nodes. Research in a number of academic fields has shown that social networks operate on many levels, from families up to the level of nations, and play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals.

In its simplest form, a social network is a map of all of the relevant ties between the nodes being studied. The network can also be used to determine the social capital of individual actors. These concepts are often displayed in a social network diagram, where nodes are the points and ties are the lines.

Continued at

Then read about computerized social network services ---

A social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.

Social networking has encouraged new ways to communicate and share information. Social networking websites are being used regularly by millions of people, and it now seems that social networking will be an enduring part of everyday life.

While it could be said that email and websites have most of the essential elements of social network services, the idea of proprietary encapsulated services has gained popular uptake relatively recently.

The main types of social networking services are those which contain category divisions (such as former school-year or classmates), means to connect with friends (usually with self-description pages) and a recommendation system linked to trust. Popular methods now combine many of these, with MySpace and Facebook being the most widely used in North America; Nexopia (mostly in Canada);[ Bebo, Facebook, Hi5, MySpace, Tagged, XING; and Skyrock in parts of Europe; Orkut, Facebook and Hi5 in South America and Central America;[and Friendster, Orkut, Xiaonei and Cyworld in Asia and the Pacific Islands.

There have been some attempts to standardize these services to avoid the need to duplicate entries of friends and interests (see the FOAF standard and the Open Source Initiative), but this has led to some concerns about privacy.

Egads! A Masters Degree on How to Twitter

Birmingham City University, in Britain, is attracting attention and some skepticism with its announcement that it is starting a new master's degree program in social media, with an emphasis on training people to work in marketing or consulting for those who want to better understand Twitter, Facebook and other popular online services. One student told The Telegraph: "Virtually all of the content of this course is so basic it can be self taught. In fact most people know all this stuff already. I think it's a complete waste of university resources." One faculty member responded (on Twitter, of course) that the student was "uninformed."
Inside Higher Ed, March 31, 2009 ---


"The Secret Behind Twitter's Growth," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, April 1, 2009 ---

At the Web2.0 Expo today in San Francisco, Twitter's Alex Payne discussed the technical details of the programming language he hopes can help his company handle the upswing in traffic it's experienced over the past few years. The company is leaving behind a programming language that's caused it much pain in the past, and embracing a new and somewhat obscure language called Scala.

Some background: Twitter, a service that allows people to post 140-character messages to friends and the public was launched in 2006, and is now estimated to have roughly 8 million unique users. A person posts a short message to Twitter and the service posts it to the Web and sends it to people's cell phones and Twitter software applications. The concept is simple, but under the hood, the technology is more complicated.

The popular Web programming language Ruby on Rails is responsible for the look and feel of Twitter's user-interface, as well as that of many other websites. Since the user-interface, known as the "front end," relied on Ruby, it made sense to use Ruby for "back-end" operations like queuing messages too. But as Twitter's popularity grew, the back end built on Ruby wasn't able to handle the torrent of messages that came its way. Hence, the "Fail Whale" and Twitter's reputation for frequently crashing was born.

So the Twitter team turned to Scala, a programming language with its origins in research done by Martin Odersky, a professor at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, around 2003. During his presentation, Payne, who's also writing a book on the language, explained that Scala has many of the benefits of other languages but without the drawbacks. Some of the characteristics that make Scala so appealing to Twitter is that it's able to efficiently handle concurrent processing--that is, separate instructions that need to use the same system resources at the same time. This is useful when messages from millions of people need to be sent out instantly to different devices all over the world.

It's also flexible for programmers to use, says Payne. If a programmer wants more structure, then Scala offers structure, but if she wants more free-form programming, it allows for that as well. And importantly, for Payne and the engineers at Twitter, Scala is a new, exciting, and "beautiful" language that keeps the team engaged, unlike Java, or C++. There's still room for programmers to feel like they're contributing to the development of something new and fresh. This isn't the case with more established languages.

Scala isn't perfect, notes Payne, but its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks. The most glaring drawback is that it's somewhat difficult to learn because it has a huge number of features and a syntax with which some programmers might not be familiar, he says. Additionally, Scala is relatively new, which means that it doesn't have a proven track record. But Payne says he and Twitter are willing to take the risk because the language already worked well in a number of test cases.

Right now Twitter's user interface runs entirely on Ruby on Rails, which is "fine for people clicking around Web pages," Payne says. By the end of the year Twitter hopes to have a set of services in the back end that are written entirely in Scala. And the company plans to make sure that all the third-party services that connect to Twitter via the application programming interface (API) go through Scala code, bypassing Ruby on Rails completely. When you're talking about a bunch of programs hitting the API rapidly," Payne says, "We found we can better optimize things...using Scala."

Social Networks --- 

Bob Jensen's Technology Glossary ---

Jensen Comment
I'm repeatedly invited, especially by former students, to become part of a social network, especially the LinkedIn network. I would find joining these networks too overwhelming. I hate Twitter tweets. I will just stick to my favorite ListServs and Blogs in order to maintain some control over information overload ---

The Outrageous Cost of Hard Copy Textbooks

March 25, 2009 message from Ramsey, Donald [dramsey@UDC.EDU]

The cost accounting book I'm using retails for $190.30. I see on a textbook search website called that no less than 9 large dealers are offering it at under $50 for a new copy, including shipping. How can this be possible?

My concern would be how to get the word to students early enough so they could (1) not buy books at retail, and (2) get delivery in time for the first assignment.



March 25, reply from Zane Swanson [ZSwanson@UCO.EDU]

Convince your university/college/department to go completely electronic (like Kindle) and the pricing problem would be gone. This recession may well drive some cost-sensitive programs to go to electronic books looking for a comparative advantage or a means of covering a budgetary shortfall. The tipping point will center around the trade-off costs of the campus book store versus outsourcing the textbooks electronically.

Zane Swanson

March 26, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Zane and Don,

If there is learning value added in the expensive accounting texts, students might be “paying more” than they are saving in cash by going electronic.

The top-selling accounting textbooks are not yet available any electronic medium. Some accounting textbooks are available in PDF alternatives, but these may not be what instructors and students view as the best textbooks. For example, better textbooks may already have better IFRS or XBRL integration in some form or another. Some of the best textbooks may have better supplemental materials such as multimedia, although to date I’ve not been as impressed with the multimedia for accounting textbooks vis-à-vis the tremendously expensive multimedia accompanying mathematics and science textbooks. The larger markets in science and mathematics have been accompanied with much larger investments by publishers in the supplementary multimedia.

Some instructors pride themselves in using their own text material. But is this truly as good for students as some of the best textbooks on the market?

I’m totally turned off by the ethics of some sales reps such as reps that will give adopters 20 free copies to garner a market of 500 book sales per semester. The adopters, in turn, sell each free copy to used book dealers for about $50 per book. Be that as it may, the textbooks they’ve adopted may in fact be great for student learning.

What instructors can do is carefully discern whether revisions in a textbook are worth the cost to students (who cannot by used revised textbooks). One year Prentice-Hall tried to sell me on a revised version of a textbook I was using. The revisions were a bad joke --- not at all substantive. So I kept the older version where there when more than enough used books available at the time.

By the way Don. I think Bigwords is mostly selling used books, some of which are the new inspection copies given to adopters or potential adopters. What I don't understand is the $50 price from Bigwords. If a new text sells for $200, the sleazy used book dealers knocking at your door will usually pay at least 25% of new book prices for a clean copy.

"Bank of America Accused in Ponzi Lawsuit," by Leslie Wayne, The New York Times, March 27, 2009 ---

Bank of America effectively set up a branch in a Long Island office that helped Nicholas Cosmo carry out a $380 million Ponzi scheme, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court.

The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn late Thursday, contends that Bank of America “established, equipped and staffed” a branch office in the headquarters of Mr. Cosmo’s firm, Agape Merchant Advance. As a result, the lawsuit contends that the bank knowingly “assisted, facilitated and furthered” Mr. Cosmo’s fraudulent scheme.

“Bank of America was at the epicenter of this scheme,” said the lawsuit, which seeks $400 million in damages from the bank and other defendants. “Without Bank of America’s participation, the scheme would not have succeeded and grown to such an enormous size.”

Mr. Cosmo surrendered to authorities at a Long Island train station in January in connection with a suspected Ponzi scheme involving what Mr. Cosmo called “private bridge loans” that promised investors returns of 48 percent to 80 percent a year. Many of his 1,500 investors were blue-collar workers and civil servants.

Bank of America declined to comment, saying that it had not yet seen the suit.

According to the suit, representatives of Bank of America worked directly out of Mr. Cosmo’s West Hempstead office, which was about 30 miles from the branch where Agape and Mr. Cosmo maintained their bank accounts. In addition, Bank of America provided on-site representatives at Agape with bank equipment and computer systems that allowed direct access to the bank’s accounts and systems, the suit said.

“Essentially, Bank of America established a fully functional bank branch manned by its own representatives within Agape’s offices, which is contrary to normal banking practices,” the lawsuit said. As a result, the bank’s representatives had “actual knowledge” that Mr. Cosmo was “diverting money to his own account” and “engaging in virtually no legitimate business whatsoever.”

In a complaint filed against Mr. Cosmo in January by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the government contends that from 2004 to 2008, Mr. Cosmo operated a fraudulent trading scheme in which investors were solicited to provide short-term bridge loans but that the money instead went into commodities trading contracts that lost money.

This is the second time that Mr. Cosmo has been accused of fraud. He had previously served 21 months in federal prison in Allenwood, Pa., for mail fraud. Upon his release in 2000, his broker’s license was revoked. He founded Agape after leaving prison.

The lawsuit also names a number of futures and commodities trading firms that, the lawsuit said, “assisted Cosmo in running an illegal unregistered commodities pool.” The suit says that the trading firms should “never have accepted this business,” which violated “know your customer” duties that are required of these firms.

One of the firms named in the suit was MF Global. Diana DeSocio, a spokeswoman for MF Global, said that when the firm became aware of Mr. Cosmo’s background last October, it closed Mr. Cosmo’s account and notified regulators.

Ms. DeSocio added that the account that Mr. Cosmo had was an individual account and was not an account set up on behalf of his investors.

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

"A Semester Under Cover at Falwell's Liberty U.," by Don Troop, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 25, 2009 ---

Two years ago Kevin Roose took a semester’s leave from Brown University to study at Liberty University, the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Christian liberal-arts institution in Lynchburg, Va., and then to write about it.

His book on the experience, The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University (Grand Central Publishing), goes on sale Thursday at bookstores everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. More on that in a minute.

Mr. Roose grew up in Oberlin, Ohio, in a household he describes as “practically religion-free,” and his transfer to Liberty surprised everyone who knew him — his dean, friends, and family (particularly his lesbian aunts). The impetus for his “domestic study abroad” was a culturally stilted conversation he’d had a few months earlier with a clutch of Liberty students at Mr. Falwell’s sprawling Thomas Road Baptist Church, which adjoins the campus. The Brown sophomore had been helping the journalist A.J. Jacobs research his book The Year of Living Biblically (Simon & Schuster, 2007), and the evangelical students had unnerved Mr. Roose with a question about his relationship with Christ. (“It’s just not my thing” was his lame reply.)

“Here, right in my time zone, was a culture more foreign to me than any European capital,” thought Mr. Roose.

His goal, he explains, was to immerse himself in the culture of Liberty’s students — to eat with them, study with them, pray with them — in hopes of better understanding what he calls America’s “God Divide.” He did not reveal his intentions to people at Liberty, but he says he did not lie to them either.

The Unlikely Disciple is frequently self-deprecating and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. It is no hatchet job. Yes, Mr. Roose describes a roommate who spews homophobia, a professor who repudiates evolution, and Liberty’s Big Brother-like policy of monitoring Internet traffic. But he also finds much to admire, like his fellow students’ infectious optimism and a no-contact rule for couples that serves to depressurize the dating scene.

Indeed, Liberty’s chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr., offered measured praise for The Unlikely Disciple in an interview with The Daily Beast: “No college president can be expected to like every part of any book about his/her school but, all in all, I think the book will give outsiders a better understanding about what Liberty University is all about.”

What remains unclear is whether Liberty students will be able to buy the book at the campus Barnes & Noble. An employee who answered the phone on Wednesday would not say. “I’m just doing what I’m told,” she said after giving the number to the bookseller’s corporate office in New Jersey. A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman knew nothing about the book, and a call to the chancellor’s office was not immediately returned.

Mr. Roose says Mr. Falwell had told him that a bookstore advisory committee would decide whether to stock The Unlikely Disciple.

“Even though I’m getting a lot of good feedback from people at Liberty, I don’t think they’re going to do it,” says Mr. Roose. “I never expected to be a banned author. Me, Tropic of Cancer, and Harry Potter.”

And everyone knows what banning did for the Harry Potter franchise.


New Teaching Cases in Corporate Responsibility and Compensation

Topic: Corporate Responsibility

The markets are down and the economy is in a recession. The causes are complex and varied, but many people are focusing the blame on a breakdown in corporate responsibility. How much corporate directors and executives are to blame remains debatable, but most would agree that the investing public has lost confidence in the corporate governance and ethics of boards and executives.

The following articles present some of the reactions and consequences resulting from the leadership lapses reported recently. Current and future business professionals need to be aware of the consequences that will impact all businesses and industries, regardless of whether those businesses have acted improperly. Additionally, all in the business world must deal with negative perceptions the investing public now has of boards and corporate activity. On a positive note, with the widespread lack of confidence in the markets, fiscally and ethically-responsible companies can use that reputation to develop a distinct advantage in the marketplace. This month's articles highlight some of the recent ethical and leadership lapses, as well as the public outcry and emerging rules and regulations resulting from those decisions. Regardless of your position or industry, there are important lessons to be learned and shared so that you and your organizations are not punished, but instead thrive.

FOCUS ARTICLE>>  Legislation, Shareholder Rights

Policy Makers Work to Give Shareholders More Boardroom Clout
by: Kara Scannell
Date: Mar 26, 2009 

SUMMARY: Policy makers are advancing plans to give shareholders more power in boardrooms at a time when decisions about executive pay have ignited a public furor.


  1. What measures are policy makers considering that would provide shareholders with additional rights in corporate governance? What authority and interests do each of these policy-making groups have in the governance arena? Why are corporations regulated by many different bodies?
  2. What are proxies and why are they a point of contention between corporations and shareholders? What are the pros and cons of shareholder access to proxies? Why are shareholder rights so important? Up to this point, what parties have had most of the control over a corporation? What are some reasons that these types of rules were not enacted sooner?
  3. What could be some unintended negative consequences of these new laws and rules? What are the costs involved? Would small and medium-sized businesses impacted by these rules? How does this information impact your attitudes and concerns regarding your current and future investment decisions? What are some of the cumulative effects of those concerns when held by millions of shareholders?


FOCUS ARTICLE>>  Government Oversight

The U.S.'s Fly on the Wall at AIG
by: Peter Lattman
Date: Mar 27, 2009 

SUMMARY: Government-appointed lawyer James Cole has been on site and inside AIG board-committee meetings for the past four years, but his reports to regulators aren't public.


  1. What is a deferred-prosecution agreement? Why would companies agree to this? What are the costs involved versus the corresponding benefits? Why would the government agree to one of these agreements? Why do these agreements seem to be more common today than they have been in the past?
  2. What AIG activities led to its deferred-prosecution agreement? What have been the duties of the government-appointed attorney? How were day-to-day operations affected by the agreement? Have these activities corrected the problems that triggered the government actions at AIG? Were they meant to prevent further problems as well?
  3. Are deferred-prosecution agreements effective tools for punishing and preventing negative corporate activity? Should similar plans be implemented for currently troubled companies? Please give reasons for your answers.


FOCUS ARTICLE>>  Corporate Governance, Director Responsibility

Corporate Directors' Group Gives Repair Plan to Boards
by: Joann S. Lublin
The Wall Street Journal
Date: Mar 24, 2009 

SUMMARY: A directors' trade group in a new report urges boards to do a better job of governing corporate America.


  1. What is the NACD and what is its purpose? What is the reasoning for its new report and why was the report issued? What specific suggestions does it contain? What is your opinion of the ideas presented in the report? Do you think that these ideas will restore investor confidence? Why or why not?
  2. What is the purpose of a corporate board of directors? What are its duties and responsibilities? Why is the board so important? Why do business professionals serve on boards?
  3. Have any of these ideas been implemented at one of your past or current employers? What other ideas could be implemented to increase corporate governance at your current employer or other companies?


FOCUS ARTICLE>>  Executive Compensation, Nonprofits

Pay at Nonprofits Gets a Closer Look
by: Mike Spector and Shelly Banjo
The Wall Street Journal
Date: Mar 27, 2009 

SUMMARY: Furor over big AIG bonuses and other Wall Street firms is prompting nonprofits to brace for more scrutiny of their executive pay practices.


  1. What nonprofit industries and organizations are being impacted by the increase in scrutiny? What are some of the positive outcomes that could result from this closer examination of nonprofits? What would be some negative outcomes from these current pressures?
  2. Corporations are facing increased scrutiny as a result of the market meltdown. Why are nonprofits also feeling pressure from additional scrutiny for compensation and other expenses? How are nonprofits different from profit-seeking entities? Should they be held to the same standards? Why or why not?
  3. How might this additional scrutiny impact nonprofits? How might your career, business, or industry be affected by increased scrutiny of nonprofits? How will you be affected personally, either through services you receive or donations that you make?


FOCUS ARTICLE>>  Risk Management, Market Regulation

Geithner Calls for Tougher Standards on Risk
by: Damian Paletta, Maya Jackson Randall, and Michael Crittenden
The Wall Street Journal
Date: Mar 26, 2009 

SUMMARY: Geithner will call for changes in how the government oversees risk-taking in financial markets, pushing for tougher rules on how big companies manage their finances.


  1. What changes is Geithner proposing? What ideals would this new regulation support? Do you think that the newly proposed rules would achieve these goals? Are there other ways to achieve those same goals?
  2. Why is Geithner calling for changes in the regulation of risk management? What will be the costs to industry for this new government oversight? Who will pay these costs, both directly and ultimately?
  3. How will these rules change your current or future industry and career? How could these rules impact you as an investor?


"Executives Took, but the Directors Gave," by Heather Landy, The New York Times, April 4, 2009 --- 

Little of the ire against outsize C.E.O. paychecks has been aimed at the people who signed off on them: corporate directors.

Instead, the anger has been concentrated on the executives themselves, particularly those running companies at the heart of the financial crisis. And boards — thrust into the limelight only rarely, as when the directors of the New York Stock Exchange were in a legal battle over the pay collected by Richard A. Grasso — have managed to stay in the background.

The exchange’s board “really took a lot of heat for that controversy,” says Sarah Anderson, an analyst on executive pay at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. “But so far, with this crisis, I don’t feel like boards have been getting as much attention as they should be.”

Last spring, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform examined pay practices at Countrywide Financial, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup, but those issues eventually took a back seat to broader concerns about the viability of the country’s financial system. As investors frustrated by the continuing crisis start seeking ways to avoid the next one, advocates of change in corporate governance expect boards to come under renewed scrutiny that could yield big changes.

Emboldened shareholder activists are pressing more companies to hold annual nonbinding votes on executive pay packages. They’re also pursuing, and appear increasingly likely to win, rules to make it easier for investors to nominate or replace board members.

And as more people start connecting the dots between pay incentives that boards laid out for executives and the risk-taking at the heart of the financial crisis, some lawmakers have been eager to step in, and many directors themselves are re-examining their approach to compensation.

“When you look at cases where compensation of senior management was out of line, or where people arguably were overpaid, it’s definitely the fault of the compensation committee of the board,” says Thomas Cooley, dean of the Stern School of Business at New York University and a director of Thornburg Mortgage. “Congress has gotten into the business of dictating executive pay now, and they shouldn’t be in that business. What they should be doing is turning the light on the committees.”

Activist shareholders have been criticizing executive pay practices for well over a decade, accusing directors of being too cozy with C.E.O.’s, too eager to lavish pay on them and too ambiguous about the formulas they use for setting compensation.

Improved standards for determining director independence and disclosing the procedures of board compensation committees were supposed to help solve those problems. And activist shareholders played a major role in spreading the notion of pay-for-performance, by which executives would be compensated based on their ability to meet board-devised financial targets.

But amid all the changes, a crucial piece of the equation — the unintended risks that could arise from these pay-for-performance incentives — went unnoticed, said James P. Hawley, co-director of the Elfenworks Center for the Study of Fiduciary Capitalism at St. Mary’s College of California.

“The problem isn’t just when people in a particular firm are getting rewarded in ways that take away from the shareholder. That’s been well recognized,” Mr. Hawley says. “What’s not been recognized is that the misalignment of incentives has resulted in firm, sector and systemic risks. None of the corporate governance activists ever made the connection.”

It took the disastrous results of 2008 to expose such links, and to make compensation a central issue for politicians and corporate America.

TWO factors contributed to the pay scales that now have C.E.O.’s earning more than 300 times the pay of the average American worker.

First was the advent of giant stock option grants, a form of compensation made all the more attractive by a 1993 change to the tax law that maintained corporate tax deductions for executive pay over $1 million, but only if the pay was tied to performance.

Second was the widespread practice of linking pay to the levels at companies of similar size or scope. Every time a board tries to keep an executive happy by offering above-average pay, the net effect is to raise the average that everyone else will use as a baseline.

In the absence of fraud or self-dealing, it’s hard for shareholders to make a legal argument that boards have failed at their job. State law in Delaware, where most big public entities are incorporated, simply requires companies to have boards that direct or manage their affairs, and it affords broad legal protection to board members so long as they act in good faith and in a manner “believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation.”

That was the basis for the recent ruling of a Delaware judge who threw out most of the claims in a shareholder lawsuit seeking to hold Citigroup directors and officers liable for big losses tied to subprime mortgages. But the judge did allow the plaintiffs to pursue one of their claims, which alleged corporate waste stemming from a multimillion-dollar parting pay package that Citigroup’s board awarded Charles O. Prince III, the former C.E.O., in 2007.

Continued in article

Outrageous Executive and Director Compensation Schemes That Reward Failure and Fraud ---

Corporate Governance is in a Crisis ---

Rotten to the Core ---

Transparency, Regulation, and XBRL

"Transparency Is More Powerful Than Regulation FDR sided with advisers who argued for disclosure," by L. Gordon Crovitz, The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2009 ---

In 1933, newly elected president Franklin D. Roosevelt had to make a tough choice in dealing with the aftermath of the stock-market crash that wiped out much of the equity in American companies. Leading members of FDR's brain trust wanted federal regulators to get the power to make key decisions over markets, such as which companies deserved to be publicly traded. Today, many of President Barack Obama's advisers want unprecedented authority to oversee details of the credit markets, and how banks lend.

FDR decided instead to side with advisers who argued for disclosure as the key operating principle of our markets. Helping markets function better, they reasoned, was a sounder safeguard than trusting regulators to decide.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis had made the point that "sunlight is the best disinfectant," and the Securities Act of 1933 mandated the information that public companies would have to share. One indicator that disclosure was more important than regulatory power is that it wasn't until the following year that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was created.

What worked to restore confidence in the equity markets then can help to restore confidence in the debt markets now: more disclosure, aimed at making the terms of debt such as mortgages more transparent. Unlike the case of stocks, under current law no one in the chain of making, insuring and rating debt is required to disclose full terms to regulators or to the market. Instead, debt markets function based on best estimates, with mathematical models determining probabilities of cash flows and defaults.

Ever since the models failed due to an unpredicted bubble, the market has been paralyzed with uncertainty. There is still a wide gap between what banks think their bad debt might be worth and what the Treasury or private investors are willing to pay.

It didn't get much attention, but earlier this month Congress got a lesson on the potential of better disclosure. "Today's financial crisis was driven in part by a lack of accurate, easily usable information to give investors what they need to make informed, responsible decisions," testified Mark Bolgiano, chief executive of a nonprofit technology and accounting consortium called XBRL US. "The value of toxic asset-backed securities remains a mystery because information on the underlying loans and ongoing viability of those loans and the securities themselves was not collected consistently and even if it had been, it would not have been in a usable, portable form."

XBRL sounds complicated, but eXtensible Business Reporting Language is simply a new technology language that allows data to be easily extracted, searched and analyzed. XBRL is already being used for some equity disclosures, tagging financial information into a globally consistent, computer-readable format.

Philip Moyer, who runs the Edgar Online service that distributes SEC data, studied more than 500 mortgage-backed securities priced between 2006 and mid-2008. He found there were only 600 relevant data points needed to assess the risk of a mortgage, which is many fewer than the tens of thousands of factors used to report on stocks. "This crisis has proven that lack of transparency ultimately destroys a market," Mr. Moyers said.

The good news is that with the innovation of XBRL, tracking debt instruments is no longer a technological challenge. Instead, it's a political challenge.

Regulators would need to define new disclosures robust enough that data can be collected and compared, even as credit instruments continue to be rolled into complex securities and their derivatives. Other factors would include tracking the institutions holding various positions and how much leverage is involved. Put another way: If bar codes can track down bad peanuts on store shelves, shouldn't we be able to use technology to track details of mortgages and other debt instruments?

Paul Wilkinson, a lawyer who worked with former SEC Chairman Chris Cox to support the development of XBRL, has set the goal of making debt markets as regularized as titling property or registering shares. "Thanks to XBRL, there is a means to achieve the goal of moving from pseudocapitalism based on speculation to real capitalism based on facts, and a world where willing buyers and sellers can make markets based on those facts," he said.

This is an encouraging vision during these anxious times. But even with the country's long tradition of relying on disclosure, the discussion in Washington has focused almost exclusively on new powers for regulatory agencies.

FDR was no Milton Friedman, and neither was Brandeis, but they grasped what we seem to be forgetting, which is that markets are too complex for even the most powerful regulators to dictate. Better transparency is the surest way to make markets more efficient and less volatile. Market wisdom results when more people access better information.

The global credit crisis was made possible by real-time markets powered by new technologies that enabled massive global trading and the creation of opaque securities. It would be fitting now to use another new technology, in the form of XBRL, to make the credit markets simpler, more transparent and better insulated against bubbles.

Bob Jensen's threads on XBRL are at

No fines for parking illegally at the University of British Columbia:  But consider the alternatives
A Vancouver accountant has won a victory for all of those who have clashed with the all-powerful campus parking police. Ruling in a class action, a provincial court has found that the University of British Columbia never had the power to issue parking tickets, The Vancouver Province reported. While the university has the right to remove cars that are illegally parked, the court ruled that the university could only charge for costs, not impose additional fines. As a result, the university has been ordered to repay million of dollars of fines it has collected. The case was started by an accountant who was fined and had his Jaguar impounded. Court records in the case suggest that many of those who park at the university weren't waiting for a court ruling: From 1990 through 2005, 432,847 traffic tickets were issued and more than half were never paid.
Inside Higher Ed, April 3, 2009
Jensen Comment
A large fleet of tow trucks and drivers on call 24/7 can be very, very expensive. If the ownership depreciation/leasing costs along with licensed driver salaries can be allocated to "costs" and not paid for with fines, parking violators may be sorry that this issue was ever resolved by courts to not allow "fines" but to allow "costs." As an alternative, UBC could hire at great cost, Vancouver police on overtime pay to issue fines large enough to cover the cost of of the overtime. Plus the violators would then have to deal with the "all-powerful" City of Vancouver Court. Sometimes success is trouble turned inside out!

From the Scout Report on March 27, 2009

WinPatrol 16.0.2009 --- 

The goal of the WinPatrol program is quite simple: to help users identify which programs are running on their computer and to alert them to any new programs that might be added without their permission. The WinPatrol mascot is a Scotty, and this dog serves as an appropriate symbol for their work. The program works to look for alterations created by various malware programs and visitors can view full reports about what WinPatrol finds during the course of its work. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.

GIMP 2.6.6 --- 

As it may be time to get out the digital family photo album, it's nice to have a bit of help along the way. That's where the GIMP program can be of assistance. GIMP stands for GMU Image Manipulation Program and it performs as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, and a mass production image renderer. The program also includes a full suite of advanced painting tools and it has compatibility with a wide range of file formats. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.5.6 and newer

Food activists seek to change agricultural policy from Oakland to Orono Sustainable-food campaign reaches a critical mass of influence in the United States 

With Food Democracy now, Iowan Dave Murphy Is Challenging Corporate Farming 

Safeguard Food Supply But Respect Small Farms

Big Island Video News: Sustainable farming with tilapia 

Even city folk can make vegetable gardens flower,0,4687726.column

USDA: Sustainable Agriculture 

University of California: Agriculture and Natural Resources Free Publications ---


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

Education Tutorials

From PBS:  Touch Table Computing Video ---

Using MindMaps To Teach, Learn, & Much More (video), Simoleon Sense, March 27, 2009 ---
Bob Jensen's threads and tricks and tools of the trade ---

There are now nearly 7,000 accounting education videos on YouTube, most of which are in very basic accounting.
But there are nearly 150 videos in advanced accounting.
Sometimes the videos are advertisements such as an advertisement for downloading

There are nearly 70 YouTubevideos on XBRL.

Great Scholarly Video:  The MediaScape from YouTube to Blogosphere to Social Networks
YouTube distributes more original programming in six months than the U.S. TV networks did in 30 years
Highly Educational and Entertaining About the YouTube Generation
Forwarded by anthropology professor John Donahue
An anthropological introduction to YouTube
(and social networks) by Michael Wesch (55 minute video)---

More than 100 colleges have set up channels on YouTube ---
Many universities offer over 100 videos, whereas Stanford offers a whopping 583

"YouTube Creates New Section to Highlight College Content," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27, 2009 ---

More than 100 colleges have set up channels on YouTube, and this week the popular video service unveiled a new section that brings together all of that campus content in one area.

It had been difficult to find college lectures on YouTube, since they are generally far less popular than the site’s humorous and outrageous clips, and so they do not show up in lists of the most viewed videos on the site. Although YouTube has long had an education category, it relies on users who post videos to decide whether to categorize their videos as educational, and as a result the definition of education is very broad. The new YouTube EDU page includes only material submitted by colleges and universities.

Spencer Crooks, a spokesman for YouTube, said in a statement that the site now features complete lectures for some 200 full college courses. “Subjects range from computer science to literature, biology to philosophy, history, political science, psychology, law, and much more,” he said. “You can search within YouTube EDU to find videos on topics of interest.”

The new section makes it possible to find out which college-produced video is most popular. The winner so far is an interview with a University of Minnesota professor discussing the science behind the new movie Watchmen. That video has been viewed about 1.5 million times. The most popular lecture video on YouTube is from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, on the subject of “Advanced Finite Elements Analysis” (which has been viewed about 19,000 times).

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing are at

A Nursery of Patriotism: The University at War, 1861-1945 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

A Video Version of the Periodic Table (a video for each element) --- 

Beautiful Science: Ideas That Changed The World ---

The Atlas of Early Printing (interactive slide show) ---

Nevada Natural Heritage Program ---

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event --- 

World Food:  International Year of Natural Fibres ---

Yahoo Science ---

The American Journal of Science ---

Physics Question of the Week ---

PhysOrg Science Newsletter ---

From PBS:  Touch Table Computing Video ---

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

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Great Scholarly Video:  The MediaScape from YouTube to Blogosphere to Social Networks
YouTobe distributes more original programming in six months than the U.S. TV networks did in 30 years
 Highly Educational and Entertaining About the YouTube Generation
 Forwarded by anthropology professor John Donahue
 An anthropological introduction to YouTube
(and social networks) by Michael Wesch (55 minute video)---

More than 100 colleges have set up channels on YouTube ---
Many universities offer over 100 videos, whereas Stanford offers a whopping 583
"YouTube Creates New Section to Highlight College Content," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27, 2009 ---

New Europe ---

American Women's History:  A Research Guide ---

Women's History Month ---


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

Law and Legal Studies

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

Math Tutorials

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

History Tutorials

More than 41,000 Spanish-language songs that go back to the early 1900s were placed online this week by the Chicano Studies Center, a research unit at the University of California at Los Angeles ---

A Nursery of Patriotism: The University at War, 1861-1945 ---

Eisenhower National Historic Site --- 

Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800 ---

The Bunraku (Puppet Theatre) Collection ---

Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice ---

Images of Russia and Caucasus Region, 1929-1933 ---

Arabic Script: Mightier than the Sword ---

Arab Media & Society ---

American Women's History:  A Research Guide ---

Women's History Month ---

The Art of the First Fleet ---

Art 21 (art and war video) ---

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

Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Music Tutorials

More than 41,000 Spanish-language songs that go back to the early 1900s were placed online this week by the Chicano Studies Center, a research unit at the University of California at Los Angeles ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Writing Tutorials

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Updates from WebMD ---


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event --- 

"Brain Images Reveal the Secret to Higher IQ:  The integrity of neural wiring is a big factor in determining intelligence. It's also inheritable," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, March 24, 2009 ---

New research suggests that the layer of insulation coating neural wiring in the brain plays a critical role in determining intelligence. In addition, the quality of this insulation appears to be largely genetically determined, providing further support for the idea that IQ is partly inherited.

The findings, which result from a detailed study of twins' brains, hint at how ever-improving brain-imaging technology could shed light on some of our most basic characteristics.

"The study answers some very fundamental questions about how the brain expresses intelligence," says Philip Shaw, a child psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health, in Bethesda, MD, who was not involved in the research.

The neural wires that transmit electrical messages from cell to cell in the brain are coated with a fatty layer called myelin. Much like the insulation on an electrical wire, myelin stops current from leaking out of the wire and boosts the speed with which messages travel through the brain--the higher quality the myelin, the faster the messages travel. These myelin-coated tracts make up the brain's white matter, while the bodies of neural cells are called grey matter.

White matter is invisible on most brain scans, but a recently developed variation of magnetic resonance imaging, called diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI), allows scientists to map the complex neural wiring in our brains by measuring the diffusion of water molecules through tissue. Thanks to the fatty myelin coating, water diffuses along the length of neural wires, while in other types of brain tissue it moves in all different directions. Researchers can calculate the direction of fastest diffusion at each point in the brain and then construct a picture of the brain's fiber tracts. A well-organized brain has well-functioning myelin, in which water can be seen clearly moving along specific paths. "Diffusion imaging gives a picture of how intact your brain connections are," says Paul Thompson, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who lead the study.

Thompson and his colleagues took DTI scans of 92 pairs of fraternal and identical twins. They found a strong correlation between the integrity of the white matter and performance on a standard IQ test. "Going forward, we are certainly going to think of white matter structure as an important contributor of intelligence," says Van Wedeen, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who was also not involved in the research. "It also changes how you think about what IQ is measuring," says Wedeen. The research was published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience.


This forward from Bud could easily be urban legend, but it does hit home

When my dad attended Texas Tech, he had an economics professor that said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said ok, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism.

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too; so they studied little. The second Test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because the harder to succeed the greater the reward but when a government takes all the reward away; no one will try or succeed.

Diners Can 'Have a Ball' at Testicle Festival"--headline, Associated Press, March 27 ,2009

Forwarded by my good neighbors

The economy is so bad:

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

Even people who have nothing to do with the Obama administration aren't paying their taxes.

Hotwheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

Obama met with small businesses to discuss the Stimulus Package: GE, Pfeizer and Citigroup.

PETA serves chicken wings at their meetings

McDonalds is selling the 1/4- ouncer.

People in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.

A truck of Americans got caught sneaking into Mexico ...

The most highly-paid job is now jury duty.

Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

People in Africa are donating money to Americans.

Mothers in Ethiopia are telling their kids, "finish your plate, do you know how many kids are starving in the US ?"

Motel Six won't leave the light on.

The Mafia is laying off judges.


Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. So, the guy that made $64 billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $750 billion disappear.


Tidbits Archives ---

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

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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---

Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities ---

Free Textbooks and Cases ---

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---

Free Science and Medicine Tutorials ---

Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials ---

Free Education Discipline Tutorials ---

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature ---

Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness ---

Teacher Source: Math ---

Teacher Source:  Science ---

Teacher Source:  PreK2 ---

Teacher Source:  Library Media ---

Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University ---

VYOM eBooks Directory ---

From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department ---

Online Mathematics Textbooks --- 

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---

Moodle  --- 

The word moodle is an acronym for "modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment", which is quite a mouthful. The Scout Report stated the following about Moodle 1.7. It is a tremendously helpful opens-source e-learning platform. With Moodle, educators can create a wide range of online courses with features that include forums, quizzes, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and surveys. On the Moodle website, visitors can also learn about other features and read about recent updates to the program. This application is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer.

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accounting program news items for colleges are posted at
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
AECM (Educators) 
AECM is an email Listserv list which provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets, multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc

Roles of a ListServ ---

CPAS-L (Practitioners) 
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
Yahoo (Practitioners)
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
Business Valuation Group 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) ---


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