Tidbits on June 11, 2009
Bob Jensen

Erika chopped up some orange peelings and placed them in the bottoms of flower pots.
This morning there was a terrible mess with the flower pot dirt all turned upside down.
It's an unsolved mystery as to what happened, but the leading suspect is Woody,
the woodchuck that lives under my outdoor studio. He's not uprooted the hundreds of
flowers that I planted for Erika. Luckily I did not plant those on top of orange peelings.
Woody may be innocent. Bears also like orange peelings.

Across from our front lawn is a lookout perch overlooking Lafayette. Lincoln, and Cannon mountains
To the right of Cannon are the three Cannon Balls (i.e., the Three Graces)

It's Lupine season in our mountains. Below are some lupines that grew up in
the garden beside our pond. This picture was taken two years ago.

Sugar Hill makes a big deal by having a Lupine Festival in June, complete
with rides through lupine fields on a wagon pulled by dapple gray Percheron draft horses.

Below is a picture of Erika planting wild flowers three years ago in the field south of our cottage.
Below that picture are the fruits of her labor.
You can see the golf carts on the golf course beyond the fence.
I never have the time or inclination to golf.


God Bless Jonathon
Sometimes bloggers feel closer even though they’ve not met face-to-face. One of my blogger friends blogs as “The Unknown Professor” even though he revealed, in a private message a couple of years ago, his name and affiliation as an associate professor of finance.

Those of us who follow his clever and often humorous blog have been recently following the birth of his new daughter and the downward suffering spiral of his young son.

You can read June 8 sad news at http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/

I’m sure there’s not a person reading this message who will not have sympathy for this Unknown Professor and his wife and daughters. It has been a long and difficult struggle shared by countless families in the world, but it always seems more tragic when it’s someone you “know.”

Children With Cancer --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsuYJ8BWtIc

Make a Difference to Children With Cancer --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NONB23i0KSY

 

Tidbits on June 11, 2009
Bob Jensen

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

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


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


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

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

CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 --- http://snipurl.com/411directory       [www_public-records-now_com] 
 Free online 800 telephone numbers --- http://www.tollfree.att.net/tf.html
 Google Free Business Phone Directory --- 800-goog411
To find names addresses from listed phone numbers, go to www.google.com and read in the phone number without spaces, dashes, or parens
Bob Jensen's search helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm

 

Bob Jensen's essay on the financial crisis bailout's aftermath and an alphabet soup of appendices can be found at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

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


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

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

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

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




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




Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Baseball Legends: The Shot Heard Around the World ---   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrI7dVj90zs
Also see http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C02E7DE1730F93AA1575AC0A9609C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

Breathtaking Videos Of Human Impact On The Planet - The Earth From Above ---
http://www.simoleonsense.com/breathtaking-videos-of-human-impact-on-the-planet-the-earth-from-above/

Laughing is Optional
Comedian Jon Stewart (The Daily Show on Comedy Central) has generally been a force for the Democratic Party and was a strong supporter of Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Campaign as he hammered on President Bush and GOP Candidate John McCain. Belatedly Jon Stewart's beginning to see the light on how President Obama's unrestrained spending and failures of the Stimulus Act are bringing the U.S. economy to the brink of disaster. Watch his recent interview with Peter Schiff. Laughing is optional ---
http://www.thedailyshow.com/tagSearchResults.jhtml?term=Peter+Schiff
Jon also ran s how on how NBC is "kissing President Obama's ass" ---
Click Here
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/06/05/video-nbcs-ass-kissing-of-obama-too-much-even-for-jon-stewart/
Also see http://www.thedailyshow.com/tagSearchResults.jhtml?term=Brian+Williams  

David Letterman's 2008 campaign video calling Palin a slut --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MvaXBlGg0o 
David Letterman's 2009 campaign video calling Palin a slut --- Click Here
Good work David. Don't stop until you call the Governor the whore that she is according to MSNBC.
I can see her legs from my house in New Hampshire.

Video:  Is Anyone Minding the Store at the Federal Reserve? --- http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/05.09/mindingthestore.html

The Jim Rogers video that everyone seems to be talking about Have had a couple of people ask me about the video and more directly the US Dollar and potential inflation ---
http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/jim-rogers-video-that-everyone-seems-to.html

Video: "Nobelist Daniel Kahneman On Behavioral Economics (Awesome)!" Simoleon Sense, June 5, 2009 ---
http://www.simoleonsense.com/video-nobelist-daniel-kahneman-on-behavioral-economics-awesome/

Remember Erik Lie (pronounced Lee), the Iowa finance professor who's primarily credited for revealing options backdating scandals of executive compensation fraud. Now Erik has a video on why bankruptcy is a costly government-funded enterprise that won't really help General Motors (and Chrysler by analogy since Fiat has no cash and makes unreliable cars relative to Japanese cars) ---
http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2009/june/060109lie-GM.html
I got this video to play in the free Apple Quicktime Version 7.6.2 after downloading Erik's video file and changing its name to LieGM.mp4
It will not run in Windows Media Player
Erik received the American Accounting Association's 2007 Notable Contribution to the Literature Award ---
http://www.brattle.com/NewsEvents/NewsDetail.asp?RecordID=445

Also watch another famous finance professor discuss the GM Bankruptcy mess --- http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/10346
Edward Altman is the Max L. Heine Professor of Finance at the Stern School of Business, New York University. Since 1990, he has directed the research effort in Fixed Income and Credit Markets at the NYU Salomon Center and is currently the Vice-Director of the Center. Prior to serving in his present position, Professor Altman chaired the Stern School’s MBA Program for 12 years. He has been a visiting Professor at the Hautes Etudes Commerciales and Universite de Paris-Dauphine in France, at the Pontificia Catolica Universidade in Rio de Janeiro, at the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney and Luigi Bocconi University in Milan. Prof. Altman has an international reputation as an expert on corporate bankruptcy, high yield bonds, distressed debt and credit risk analysis. He was named Laureate 1984 by the Hautes Etudes Commerciales Foundation in Paris for his accumulated works on corporate distress prediction models and procedures for firm financial rehabilitation and awarded the Graham & Dodd

50 Great Examples of Data Visualization --- http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/06/50-great-examples-of-data-visualization/
Bob Jensen's threads on visualization of multivariate data --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/352wpvisual/000datavisualization.htm

Our Fifty States --- http://oldbluewebdesigns.com/mybeautifulamerica.htm

Nevada Test Site Oral History Project --- http://digital.library.unlv.edu/ntsohp/

http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/06/50-great-examples-of-data-visualization/

C-SPAN: The Communicators [iTunes] http://www.c-span.org/Series/Communicators.aspx

Introduction to (video) Game Design 2009 --- http://pod.gscept.com/intro2gd2009.xml

90-year old Rachel is an Energizer Bunny --- http://growingbolder.com/media/technology/vehicles/romancing-the-road-259598.html

Breathtaking Videos Of Human Impact On The Planet - The Earth From Above:--- http://www.simoleonsense.com/ 
Scroll down to June 3, 2009

Exciting Cruise Slide Show --- Click Here

Fantastic Trip (Powers of 10) --- http://www.slideshare.net/bpk_matrix/fantastic-trip-83039

The Library of Dead Animals --- http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/06/mvz-museum/

Top 12 WebMD Health Videos

 


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

Video:  When you're good to momma, momma's good to you --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdn3kdW7if8

Haydn In Concert: Cue The 'Drum Roll' --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104701801

Monterey Jazz Festival Digital Collection --- http://collections.stanford.edu/mjf/page.action?forward=home

Web outfits like Pandora, Foneshow, Stitcher, and Slacker broadcast portable and mobile content that makes Sirius look overpriced and stodgy ---
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2009/tc20090327_877363.htm?link_position=link2

TheRadio (my favorite commercial-free online music site) --- http://www.theradio.com/
Slacker (my second-favorite commercial-free online music site) --- http://www.slacker.com/

Gerald Trites likes this international radio site --- http://www.e-radio.gr/
Songza:  Search for a song or band and play the selection --- http://songza.com/
Also try Jango --- http://www.jango.com/?r=342376581
Sometimes this old guy prefers the jukebox era (just let it play through) --- http://www.tropicalglen.com/
And I listen quite often to Soldiers Radio Live --- http://www.army.mil/fieldband/pages/listening/bandstand.html
Also note
U.S. Army Band recordings --- http://bands.army.mil/music/default.asp

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


Photographs and Art

Never-Berfore-Seen Pictures of Hitler --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2264546/posts

A is for Animals: An A to Z of Animals in War --- http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/animals/

The Birth of a Hummingbird --- http://community-2.webtv.net/Velpics/HUM/

History Slide Show:  The Nation at War --- http://www.thenation.com/slideshow/20090601/slideshow_nationatwar

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Interactive --- http://americanart.si.edu/interact/index.cf

Smithsonian American Art Museum: The Lincoln Connection --- http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/online/artfulabe/

From the European Union:  World Tourism News --- http://www.world-tourism-news.eu/

Possibly the Largest Horse in the World (among known record holders) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104894717

William Gedney Photographs and Writings --- http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gedney/

Alley Oop: 75 Years of the Comic World of V.T. Hamlin ---  http://mulibraries.missouri.edu/specialcollections/exhibits/alleyoop75th.htm

Back when life was fun, drug free, and innocent --- http://www.billsretroworld.com/RETROLIFE.HTM

Photos of Bugatti’s Stunning Bugatti --- http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/06/bugatti/

Unusual Resting Places (tombstones) --- Click Here
Could this be the place where conversations interface between worlds?


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

2009 WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/webwise/090226/

Mickle Street Review: An Electronic Journal of Whitman and American Studies [iTunes] http://micklestreet.rutgers.edu/index.htm

Alley Oop: 75 Years of the Comic World of V.T. Hamlin ---  http://mulibraries.missouri.edu/specialcollections/exhibits/alleyoop75th.htm

PhilPapers is a comprehensive directory of online philosophy articles and books by academic philosophers.
We monitor journals in many areas of philosophy, as well as archives and personal pages. We also accept articles directly from users, who can provide links or upload copies. Some features require that you sign in first, but creating an account is easy and free ---
http://philpapers.org/
Jensen Comment
Some of the submissions to this site are not available elsewhere.
Chronicle of Higher Education review on June 2, 2009 ---
http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3803&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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




It was not uncommon in the late nineteenth and early 20th century for female teachers to be dismissed if they married. In more liberal districts where married women were allowed to teach, they had to resign if they became pregnant. It also was quite common during that period for male teachers to be paid more than female teachers for the same work. The Irascible Professor, in fact, attended Agassiz grammar school in Cambridge, MA from 1945 to 1952 where almost all the teachers were unmarried women.)
Susanne Shaphren, "Longing for the Good Old Days," The Irascible Professor, June 2, 2009 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-06-02-09.htm

Laughing is Optional
Comedian Jon Stewart (The Daily Show on Comedy Central) has generally been a force for the Democratic Party and was a strong supporter of Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Campaign as he hammered on President Bush and GOP Candidate John McCain. Belatedly Jon Stewart's beginning to see the light on how President Obama's unrestrained spending and failures of the Stimulus Act are bringing the U.S. economy to the brink of disaster. Watch his recent interview with Peter Schiff. Laughing is optional ---
http://www.thedailyshow.com/tagSearchResults.jhtml?term=Peter+Schiff
Jon also ran s how on how NBC is "kissing President Obama's ass" ---
Click Here
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/06/05/video-nbcs-ass-kissing-of-obama-too-much-even-for-jon-stewart/
Also see http://www.thedailyshow.com/tagSearchResults.jhtml?term=Brian+Williams  

“The Center for Labor Market Studies is at Northeastern University in Boston. A memo that I received a few days ago from the center’s director, Andrew Sum, notes that ‘no immediate recovery of jobs’ is anticipated, even if the recession officially ends, as some have projected, by next fall The memo said: ‘Since unemployment cannot begin to fall until payroll growth hits about 1%–and payroll growth will not hit 1% until [gross domestic product] growth hits at least 2.5% to 3%–we may not see any substantive payroll growth until late 2010 or 2011, and unemployment could rise until that time.’ “We’ve already lost nearly 5.7 million jobs in this recession. Those losses, the center says, ‘have been overwhelmingly concentrated among male workers, especially among men under 35.’”
Rich Karlgaard, "The Incrediby Uneven Recovery," Pajamas Media, May 28, 2009 --- http://pajamasmedia.com/edgelings/2009/05/28/the-incredibly-uneven-recovery/

These two (internal GM) memos, written by men devoted to the company, get to the heart of G.M.’s problems. Bureaucratic restructuring won’t fix the company. Clever financing schemes won’t fix the company. G.M.’s core problem is its corporate and workplace culture — the unquantifiable but essential attitudes, mind-sets and relationship patterns that are passed down, year after year. Over the last five decades, this company has progressively lost touch with car buyers, especially the educated car buyers who flock to European and Japanese brands. Over five decades, this company has tolerated labor practices that seem insane to outsiders. Over these decades, it has tolerated bureaucratic structures that repel top talent. It has evaded the relentless quality focus that has helped companies like Toyota prosper.
David Brooks, "The Quagmire Ahead," The New York Times, June 1, 2009 ---
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/02/opinion/02brooks.html?_r=1&hpw

Mrs. Fagan (from Dicken's Oliver Twist) found in Phoenix
Police in Phoenix say they've arrested a woman accused of leading an armed robbery gang involving her 12- and 14-year-old sons. Police say 51-year-old Cynthia White Roberson coached some of the four boys and three men who would face charges with her. The suspects are accused of at least 20 armed robberies in Phoenix and Glendale since late April. Police say Roberson lost her job six weeks ago and guilted her sons and some of the others into committing the robberies to pay for rent and a car loan.
Yahoo News, June 1, 2009 --- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090602/ap_on_re_us/us_armed_robberies_mother

A major corruption scandal involving the smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip is making waves throughout the Strip. The affair began shortly before Israel's incursion into Gaza in December, when tunnel owners affiliated with the ruling Hamas party offered Gazans an opportunity to invest in the goods smuggled through the tunnels. It was a good investment, they argued, because goods bought in Egypt can be sold in Gaza for two or three times their purchase price. To market their proposal, they hired salesmen who solicited investments from thousands of Gazans, primarily prominent businessmen.
Avi Issacharoff, "How Gazan cash got buried in tunnels," Haaretz, June 2, 2009 --- http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1089724.html

Changing Priorities to Equalize the Balance of Power in the Middle East
"Obama blocks sale of 6 AH-64D helicopters to Israel - approves 12 to Egypt,"
Independent Media Review Analysis,  June 1, 2009 ---  http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=43763
Jensen Comment
Obama expressed fears that Israel might use these high tech helicopters against Palestinians. Although I don't defend many initiatives taken by President Obama, I do applaud his speech in Egypt and his outreach to the Muslim peoples of the world. Our first line of defense agains Muslim extremists/terrorists is the rank and file of the Muslim world. In America we are living quite amicably with our Muslim friends and depend heavily upon them to preserve freedom in the world.

Whew! At least they did not resort to waterboarding! Sen.Leahy that's a worse form of terror.
Al Qaeda's North African wing said on Wednesday it had carried out its threat to kill a British hostage it was holding in the Sahara. The announcement of the killing came as U.S. President Barack Obama headed to the Middle East hoping to start mending U.S. ties with the Islamic world in a speech that will tackle issues including extremist violence. The British Foreign Office said Dyer was kidnapped on the border between Niger and Mali in late January, but declined to give any more details about him.
Reuters
, June 3, 2009 --- http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5521HO20090603

U.S. counterterrorism officials have authenticated a video by an al-Qaida recruiter threatening to smuggle a biological weapon into the United States via tunnels under the Mexico border, the latest sign of the terrorist group's determination to stage another mass-casualty attack on the U.S. homeland. The video aired this year as a recruitment tool makes clear that al-Qaida is looking to exploit weaknesses in U.S. border security and also is willing to ally itself with white militia groups or other anti-government entities interested in carrying out an attack inside the United States, according to counterterrorism officials interviewed by The Washington Times.
Sara A.Carter, "Al-Qaida Eyes Anthrax Attack on U.S. From Mexico," Washington Times, June 3, 2009 --- http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/qaida_bio_attack_mexico/2009/06/03/220962.html

New Homeland Security Policy
FBI Instructed to Back Off Investigations of Americans Who Convert to Islam (even if they attend terrorist training camps?)
As STRATFOR has previously noted, the FBI has a culture that is very conservative and risk-averse. Many FBI supervisors are reluctant to authorize investigations that they believe may have negative blow-back on their career advancement. In light of this institutional culture, and the order to be careful in investigations relating to Black Muslim converts, it would not be at all surprising to us if a supervisor refused to authorize a full-field investigation of Muhammad that would have included surveillance of his activities. Though in practical terms, even if a full-field investigation had been authorized, due to the caution being exercised in cases related to Black Muslim converts, the case would most likely have been micromanaged to the point of inaction by the special agent in charge of the office involved or by FBI headquarters. Even though lone wolves operate alone, they are still constrained by the terrorist attack cycle, and because they are working alone, they have to conduct each step of the cycle by themselves. This means that they are vulnerable to detection at several different junctures as they plan their attacks, the most critical of which is the surveillance stage of the operation. Muhammad (the Muslim convert who allegedly shot two Army recruiters in Little Rock) did not just select that recruiting center at random and attack on the spot. He had cased it prior to the attack just as he had been taught in the militant training camps he attended in Yemen. Law enforcement officials have reported that Muhammad may also have researched potential government and Jewish targets in Little Rock, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Louisville and Memphis.
Scott Stewart and Fred Burton, "Lone Wolf Lessons," Stratfor Global Intelligence, June 3, 2009 --- http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20090603_lone_wolf_lessons

Ask Jews which country they consider to be the European hotbed of anti-Semitism, and you will probably get a variety of responses. Some will no doubt invoke Poland and Germany, in light of the Holocaust, while others will insist that France has become the home of modern anti-Jewish sentiment on the continent. Still others may argue that the Swiss or the Hungarians are competitive candidates for this dubious distinction. And yet, if three recent studies and a host of nasty incidents are any indication, then the top spot, as it were, would belong to Spain, which is far and away the most rabidly anti-Semitic country in Europe.
Michael Freund,"Fundamentally Freund: Spain's Jewish problem," Jerusalem Post, June 2, 2009 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
Other studies indicate the land of my ancestors is the most anti-Semitic in Europe --- Norway
Norway consistently sides against Israel in the United Nations and harbors some of the most Jew-hating, terror promoting fundamentalists in the world.

Harvard University plans to announce this week that it is creating an endowed visiting professorship in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies, and that it believes that its chair will be the first of its kind in American higher education, The New York Times reported. (In 2003, the University of Maryland at College Park announced a planned bequest to endow such a chair, so Maryland may have bragging rights on the first announced plans.) The Harvard chair will be named for F.O. Matthiessen, a Harvard literary scholar whom -- as described by a draft press release quoted by the Times -- was "an unusual example of a gay man who lived his sexuality as an ‘open secret’ in the mid-twentieth century,” and who “leapt to his death from the window of a Boston hotel room” in 1950, despondent over the death of his partner.
Inside Higher Ed, June 3, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/06/03/qt#200294
Jensen Comment
It will be interesting to see what Harvard does is some of the top scholars for the chair are happily married heterosexuals.

Introduced with great fanfare by Ford in 1958, the Edsel had terrible sales and was junked after only three years. But if Congress had been running Ford, the Edsel would still be on the market.
Steve Chapman, "If Congress Ran a Car Company," Townhall, June 7, 2009 ---
http://townhall.com/columnists/SteveChapman/2009/06/07/if_congress_ran_a_car_company

I wonder if long-time residents are greeting their new neighbors with fresh-baked pies and welcoming dinner party invitations?
The condos couldn't attract buyers in the current housing market. Now they're filling a need for some of the city's "unprecedented" number of homeless families, according to a report in The Daily News. The apartments in Crown Heights were supposed to sell for $250,000 to $350,000. The amenities include granite countertops, terraces, marble bathrooms and walk-in closets . . . The city is paying about $2,700 a month for each apartment. The figure also covers social services, including job counseling.
HDTV Channel 2 in New York, June 4, 2009 --- http://wcbstv.com/local/nyc.homeless.luxury.2.1030856.html
Jensen Comment
It's unfortunate that Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn are not available for a new Hollywood movie entitles "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Part 2."

Russia: Poland responsible for WW II 04.06.2009 13:08 Russian Defence Ministry has accessed Poland of being responsible for World War II in an article published on its official web site. The article was written by Colonel Sergey Kovalov from the Institute of War History at the Russian Defence Ministry and published in a War Encyclopedia under the title “History – against lies and falsification”. “Everyone who studies the history of WW II without prejudice knows that the war started because Poland refused to satisfy German claims. However, not everyone knows what exactly Adolf Hitler wanted from Poland.
"Russia: Poland responsible for WW II ," Russian Defence Ministry, June 4, 2009 --- http://polskieradio.pl/thenews/news/artykul109516_russia_poland_responsible_for_ww_ii_.html
Jensen Comment
That's a little like blaming obesity on the invention of the ice cream cone.

"In my view the strongest force of all, one which grew and took fresh shapes and forms every day was the force not of any one individual, but was that unmistakable sense of unanimity among the peoples of the world that war must somehow be averted..... The peoples of the British Empire were at one with those of Germany, of France and of Italy, and their anxiety, their intense desire for peace, pervaded the whole atmosphere ... Ever since I assumed my present office my main purpose has been to work for the pacification of Europe, for the removal of those suspicions and those animosities which have so long poisoned the air. The path which leads to appeasement is long and bristles with obstacles. The question of Czechoslovakia is the latest and perhaps the most dangerous. Now that we have got past it, I feel that it may be possible to make further progress along the road to sanity.
Neville Chamberlain, House of Commons, October 3, 1938.

Part of being a good friend is being honest.
President Barack Obama, "Obama's missed opportunity in Cairo," Boston Globe, June 7, 2009 --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
I think he's an honest man who never studied economics and is a bit weak some aspects of history.

"I can speak forcefully," he told The New York Times, "about the need for Muslim countries to reconcile themselves to modernity in ways they have failed to do." But he didn't do so. Instead Obama pandered to his audience. He repeatedly praised Islamic history and teachings, repeatedly drew attention to American or Western shortcomings - and repeatedly avoided speaking frankly about the dysfunctions in contemporary Islam.
Jeff Jacoby, "Obama's missed opportunity in Cairo," Boston Globe, June 7, 2009 --- Click Here

Obama is not much of a “student of history” if he believes this. Almost every advance he attributes to the Muslims was due to someone else. The non-Muslim Chinese invented the magnetic compass and printing (Gutenberg invented not printing, but movable type). The non-Muslim Hindu Indians invented algebra and the decimal numbering system. The non-Muslim European Christians invented the university. I can’t address advances in medicine, but I have studied the history of astronomy and physics. The Muslims contributed nothing. All modern physics descends from Galileo (1564 -1642); all modern astronomy from Copernicus (1473-1543). If you study Galileo’s works carefully, as I have, you see that he started with the achievements of the Greek mathematical physicist Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287 BC - c. 212 BC). If you study Copernicus’ works carefully, as I have, you will see that Copernicus’ great book On the Revolutions is essentially a heliocentric re-working of the geocentric astronomy textbook by the Greek Ptolemy (c. 90 AD - 168 AD). Copernicus mostly used even Ptolemy’s data for the positions of the planets. Note the dates for Archimedes/Galileo and Ptolemy/Copernicus. It is as if the Muslim world never existed. As far as their fundamental contributions to physics and astronomy, it did not.
Frank J. Tipler, "Obama Flunks History at Cairo U," Pajamas Media, June 7, 2009 ---
http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/obama-flunks-history-at-cairo-u/
Jensen Comment
The Muslim world did advance mathematics in an important and fundamental way --- it invented (well . . . er  . . . maybe just distributed) the zero in the vital "Arabic Numeric System" that is still hat the heart of the modern mathematics. We might facetiously call this a "zero contribution" but the concept of a zero in the numeric system was a giant leap for mankind. But alas, the Arabs probably borrowed their numbering system (including the zero) from the Hindus --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_number_system

Equally important was the decimal system that was invented in India. Of course the decimal system relies in a fundamental way upon the concept of zero. Negative numbers are also very important and rely upon zero. They appear to have been invented in China --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_numbers#History

Of course all fundamental mathematics was invented by the ancient bloodlines of Al Gore.

The liberal-leaning Washington Post, often noted as reflecting U.S. policy, editorialized Sunday that U.S. President Barack Obama’s demand that Israel stop all building for Jews in Judea and Samaria may leave him without Israel as an ally and without Arab support. The daily traditionally has taken a harsh view of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria. “The problem is that no Israeli government -- not Mr. Netanyahu's, not even one led by the current opposition -- is likely to agree to a total construction ban,” The Washington newspaper stated in its editorial. “By insisting on one, the administration risks bogging it down in a major dispute with its ally, while giving Arab governments and Palestinians a ready excuse not to make their own concessions.”
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, "Washington Post to Obama: Back Down on ‘Settlements'," Israel National News, June 8, 2009 --- http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/131763
Jensen Comment
At this juncture I blame Israel for defiance on the West Bank settlements. The current Jewish stand on this issue will be suicidal if Israel continues this self-destructive madness. But there may be hidden motives that I'm commencing to suspect. For one thing, President Obama shows no restraint spending whether it's in the billions or trillions. The day will probably come when the U.S. will buy the entire West Bank (maybe for $100 trillion) at a fantastic return to West Bank property owners. Then in an effort to promote Middle East peace, the property on the West Bank will all be given to Palestinians. It's a win-win-win situation where Israel makes trillions in profits, Palestine gets free housing, and the cost to the U.S. is only the price of the paper and ink needed to print $100 trillion dollars given to Israel. Actually the transfer will be electronic into Swiss banks such that there won't even be a cost for paper and ink. Economists make economics much too difficult!

Of course, the inability to measure Mr. Obama's jobs formula is part of its attraction. Never mind that no one -- not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- actually measures "jobs saved." As the New York Times delicately reports, Mr. Obama's jobs claims are "based on macroeconomic estimates, not an actual counting of jobs." Nice work if you can get away with it. And get away with it he has. However dubious it may be as an economic measure, as a political formula "save or create" allows the president to invoke numbers that convey an illusion of precision. Harvard economist and former Bush economic adviser Greg Mankiw calls it a "non-measurable metric." And on his blog, he acknowledges the political attraction.
"The Media Fall for Phony 'Jobs' Claims:  The Obama Numbers Are Pure Fiction," The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124451592762396883.html

 




Video:  Is Anyone Minding the Store at the Federal Reserve? ---
http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/05.09/mindingthestore.html
Bob Jensen’s threads on the Fed/Treasury disaster --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm
Thus far the Fed/Treasury spent more on the banks than was spent on Katrina disaster recovery
The good news --- there is not one single homeless banker

EGADs! Pending Collapse of the Overspending U.S. Economy to Be Financed With Hot Air
President Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed budget rules that would allow Congress to borrow tens of billions of dollars and put the nation deeper in debt to jump-start the administration's emerging health care overhaul. The "pay-as-you-go" budget formula plan is significantly weaker than a proposal Obama issued with little fanfare last month. It would carve out about $2.5 trillion worth of exemptions for Obama's priorities over the next decade. His health care reform plan also would get a green light to run big deficits in its early years. But over a decade, Congress would have to come up with money to cover those early year deficits. Obama's latest proposal for addressing deficits urges Congress to pass a law requiring lawmakers to pay for new spending programs and tax cuts without further adding to exploding deficits projected to total about $10 trillion over the next decade.
Andrew Taylor, "Obama: It's OK to borrow to pay for health care:  Obama-proposed budget rules allow deficits to swell to pay for health care plan," Yahoo News, June 8, 2009 ---
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Obama-Its-OK-to-borrow-to-pay-apf-15483626.html?.v=13
Jensen Comment
The frightening part of this is that the added $10 trillion does not include the entitlements obligations of Obama's Universal Health Plan. That will add up to another $100 trillion to the current $100 trillion in entitlements obligations.

President Obama's deficit spending playbook is straight out of Alice in Wonderland. The King says"
"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop."

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 --- http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200903/meltdown-geography

Meanwhile, to pay for this stimulus spending that didn't stimulate, Obama had to borrow so much money that long-term interest rates have almost doubled since he took office, forcing postponement or abandonment of business expansion and hiring across the board.  . . But the debt sure piled up. The deficit quadrupled and is sending interest rates soaring, as the government elbows aside businesses and consumers at the loan window, all in a desperate effort to borrow enough money to spend enough money to stimulate the economy, which isn't happening.
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, "The Failure of Obamanomics," Townhall, June 6, 2009 --- http://townhall.com/columnists/DickMorrisandEileenMcGann/2009/06/06/the_failure_of_obamanomics

New restrictions proposed for ratings agencies -- including Moody's, Fitch and Standard & Poor's -- could have unintended consequences, warn experts in the United States. Europe, however, has clamped down on the agencies, whose stamps of approval on a broad spectrum of subprime mortgage securities helped pave the way to the credit crash of 2007 and the continuing global recession.
"Reforming the Ratings Agencies: Will the U.S. Follow Europe's Tougher Rules?" Knowledge@Wharton , May 27, 2009 --- http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2242
Jensen Comment
Bob Jensen's threads on how lack of independence and professionalism of ratings agencies contributed to the bank failures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#Sleaze

Remember Erik Lie (pronounced Lee), the Iowa finance professor who's primarily credited for revealing options backdating scandals of executive compensation fraud. Now Erik has a video on why bankruptcy is a costly government-funded enterprise that won't really help General Motors
http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2009/june/060109lie-GM.html
I got this video to play in the free Apple Quicktime Version 7.6.2 after downloading Erik's video file and changing its name to LieGM.mp4
It will not run in Windows Media Player
Erik received the American Accounting Association's 2007 Notable Contribution to the Literature Award ---
http://www.brattle.com/NewsEvents/NewsDetail.asp?RecordID=445
Jensen Comment
According to Consumer Reports, in 2008 the least reliable automobiles manufactured in the world were Fiat, Land Rover, and Chrysler vehicles.

Also watch another famous finance professor discuss the GM Bankruptcy mess --- http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/10346
Edward Altman is the Max L. Heine Professor of Finance at the Stern School of Business, New York University. Since 1990, he has directed the research effort in Fixed Income and Credit Markets at the NYU Salomon Center and is currently the Vice-Director of the Center. Prior to serving in his present position, Professor Altman chaired the Stern School’s MBA Program for 12 years. He has been a visiting Professor at the Hautes Etudes Commerciales and Universite de Paris-Dauphine in France, at the Pontificia Catolica Universidade in Rio de Janeiro, at the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney and Luigi Bocconi University in Milan. Prof. Altman has an international reputation as an expert on corporate bankruptcy, high yield bonds, distressed debt and credit risk analysis. He was named Laureate 1984 by the Hautes Etudes Commerciales Foundation in Paris for his accumulated works on corporate distress prediction models and procedures for firm financial rehabilitation and awarded the Graham & Dodd


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
Aesop

Congress is our only native criminal class.
Mark Twain --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain

The Sorry State of Democratic Party Leadership in Combating Earmark Fraud and Pork
Democratic Earmark Fraud Nancy Pelosi Does Not Want Investigated

"Pelosi's Pork Problem:  The PMA scandal could make Abramoff look like a piker," The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124416236598887387.html

Picture a freight train roaring down the tracks. Picture House Speaker Nancy Pelosi positioning her party on the rails. Picture a growing stream of nervous souls diving for the weeds. Picture all this, and you've got a sense of the Democrats' earmark-corruption problem.

This particular choo-choo has the name John Murtha emblazoned on the side, and with each chug is proving that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Republicans got tossed in 2006 in part for failing to police the earmarks at the center of the Jack Abramoff and other corruption scandals. Mrs. Pelosi is today leaving her members exposed to an earmark mess that might make Abramoff look junior varsity.

Federal investigators are deep into a criminal investigation of PMA Group, a now-defunct lobby shop founded by a former aide to Mr. Murtha, Pennsylvania's 18-term star appropriator. The suspicion is that some members of Congress may have peddled lucrative earmarks to PMA clients in exchange for campaign contributions. To get a sense of this probe's scope, consider that last year alone more than 100 members secured earmarks for PMA clients.

Mr. Murtha, who in the past two years alone directed $78 million to PMA companies, has so far not been accused of wrongdoing and has proclaimed his innocence. The feds, for their part, are picking up speed. Federal agents have raided PMA, as well as a defense contractor to which Mr. Murtha had directed earmarks, Kuchera Defense Systems. By last week, Mr. Murtha's fellow defense appropriator and PMA-earmarker, Indiana Rep. Peter Visclosky, had disclosed he'd received subpoenas in connection with PMA, while the Navy said it had suspended Kuchera from doing business with it because of "alleged fraud."

The result is growing dissent among Democrats, on full display this week. On one side is Mrs. Pelosi, who has demanded her party protect Mr. Murtha, a man hugely responsible for her ascent. One the other side are younger, first- and second-term Democrats who won their seats off GOP scandals and who have no interest in sacrificing them at the back-scratching altar.

Republican Rep. Jeff Flake this week gave notice he was introducing his ninth resolution calling for an ethics committee investigation into PMA. This scourge of earmarks worries that, since the 1990s, some lawmakers have been "refining" earmarking, moving beyond "bring home the bacon" pork for districts and instead viewing earmarks as "fund-raising tools" -- a way to deliver money to companies that produce campaign cash. "We've crossed a line," he tells me. "And we in Congress need to understand that this is why Justice is interested."

His resolutions are forcing members to take sides, and with each vote he's peeled off a few more of Mrs. Pelosi's caucus. His first resolution, in February, got support from 17 Democrats. These were folks like California's Jerry McNerney, who spent his 2006 campaign lashing his GOP rival to Abramoff. And New Hampshire's Paul Hodes, who in the same year criticized his opponent for failing to return campaign donations from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

By last month's Flake resolution, 29 Democrats had jumped on board. Welcome Mike Quigley, newly elected in Illinois after a campaign focused on Rod Blagojevich. Welcome, too, New York's Scott Murphy, who in March squeaked out a special-election victory after attacking his opponent on ethics. Some Democrats have fretted that even lining up with Mr. Flake won't provide adequate cover from a possible Murtha train wreck. In April, Mr. Hodes and Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords debuted a bill to ban lawmakers from taking contributions from companies on whose behalf they've requested earmarks.

Mrs. Pelosi has relentlessly fought to tamp down this uprising. In April, she recruited the former top Democrat on the ethics committee, Howard Berman, to lecture members in a closed-door meeting as to why they should continue to oppose Mr. Flake. In May, as the House prepared for another vote, Mrs. Pelosi's assistant, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, sent an email to staffers warning "Don't Be a Flake" and making clear defections would not be viewed charitably.

But the news of the Visclosky subpoena, and the possibility of another Flake vote, this week threatened a mass revolt. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer pre-empted Mr. Flake with his own resolution calling on the ethics committee merely to disclose whether it is already looking at PMA. Democrats then watered this down further by referring the resolution to committee, where it can be buried. Many of the GOP's biggest earmarkers, in particular Alaska's Don Young and Florida's Bill Young, went along with this charade, proving Republicans have yet to exorcise their own earmark demons.

As political cover goes this is pretty scant, and Democrats are in control. If and when this train derails, the exposure could be huge. For Mr. Flake, it's all a bit mindboggling. "This is a well-trodden path of denial that we Republicans already walked down. Democrats are now walking down that path. Philosophically, it's nuts."

Bob Jensen's threads on lawmaker frauds --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#Lawmakers

The Sorry State of the United Nations in Standing Up to Special Interest Groups

"It's Not Too Late to Save the Tuna:  The U.S. should step forward to stop exploitation of the seas," by Albert Grimaldi and Charles Clover, The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2009 ---

June 8 marks the first United Nations-recognized World Oceans Day. Yet even as our appreciation of the world's oceans grows, we find the seas around us in crisis. The burning of fossil fuels is slowly acidifying the oceans, with disturbing implications for marine life. Meanwhile, nearly 80% of the world's wild fish are either fully or over-exploited. Catches of wild fish peaked in 1988.

Now we hear that climate change is linked to that other tragedy of the global commons, over-fishing. Scientists tell us that the droppings of bony fish play a significant but unrecognized role in keeping the upper levels of the oceans alkaline and therefore absorbing carbon dioxide. So wild fish, over-exploited in so many oceans of the world, turn out to be crucial to a healthy planet and to human survival.

Our understanding of the oceans has never been greater. Yet we seem determined to repeat the tragedies of the past. The forces of selfishness and stupidity that wiped out the great whales and the northern cod in the last century are steaming ahead at full speed. This time it is the bluefin tuna that faces extinction. This amazing creature accelerates faster than a sports car and migrates across whole oceans. But it has the misfortune to have exquisite-tasting flesh. Large specimens fetch thousands of dollars for sushi and sashimi. There may not be large specimens around much longer.

The bluefin has been listed as an endangered species for over a decade by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. It is as endangered as the giant panda and the white rhino. But to Europe and America's shame, fishermen in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean are continuing to take twice the number scientists advise and the stock is on the verge of collapse. Records suggest that the size of adult tuna migrating to the Mediterranean is half that of a decade ago, a classic indication of population collapse. The World Wildlife Fund is now predicting that bluefin spawners will be virtually eradicated by 2012.

This collapse is the result of a colossal failure by the U.N.'s International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (Iccat). Iccat's management of the bluefin has been an international disgrace. Slow to regulate the growth of tuna "farming" (in fact, ranching with wild-caught fish) when the practice began to sweep the Mediterranean more than a decade ago, it has since consistently set catch quotas far higher than scientists advise and presided over a spectacular free-for-all of illegal fishing with spotter planes and the whole modern hi-tech arsenal. Poor enforcement has meant catches in the Mediterranean peaked at 61,000 tons of bluefin in 2007, more than double the official total allowable catch and four-times what science advised. No wonder stocks are in trouble.

The last straw for environmental groups -- and a snub to the U.S., Canada and Norway, nations that have consistently argued for rational management -- was when the Iccat set a total allowable catch of 22,000 tons this year for the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, despite its own scientists recommending a quota of 8,000 to 15,000 tons. This was clearly against the long-term interests of the 500 million citizens of the European Union and indeed against the long-term interests of the fishery itself.

Conservation groups are now calling for the management of the bluefin to be taken out of Iccat's hands and placed under the control of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which is presided over by trade and environment ministers rather than fisheries ministers. Cites could then list bluefin under Appendix 1 of the Convention, which bans all international trade. This would be the first ever Appendix 1 listing for a commercial fish species, and is not surprisingly opposed by fishing nations.

Because Cites is an intergovernmental treaty, a member nation must first propose the Appendix 1 listing. Monaco, a non-EU member, is ready to champion the bluefin and propose the listing. But Monaco needs to be supported by other partners in what is sure to be a bitter fight. In 1992, the last time Cites attempted to protect the bluefin, the proposer, Sweden, eventually quailed under Japanese threats of trade sanctions.

If the listing is to succeed, Monaco's main partner needs to be the United States. It would not be the first time that the U.S. has stepped in to help a Europe that is unable to help itself. An alliance needs to be forged this summer and a listing proposal made in October in time for the next meeting of Cites in Doha, Qatar, next March. If that is to happen, decisions need to be made soon by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. and embraced by President Barack Obama over the summer.

The heartening difference between climate change and the crisis of overfishing is that we stand a far greater chance of doing something about overfishing. The costs and benefits are clear. If nothing is done, prices will rise as stocks dwindle and the bluefin goes the way of the blue whale. But if prompt action is taken millions will benefit, not only from the recovery of tuna stocks but from the many services other than food that a healthy ocean provides.

Prince Albert II is the sovereign of Monaco. Mr. Clover is the author of "The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat" (University of California Press, 2009). A documentary film with the same title will be released in the U.S. on June 8.

Perverse Incentives in the Pending Energy Bill
Economists have already pointed out at least one subtle problem that could lead to higher costs. Certain industries, such as the steel industry, will be awarded allocations for emitting greenhouse gases according to how much they produce in the first place, and these allocations will be updated periodically, as their output changes. This gives them the perverse incentive (as economists like to put it) to generate more emissions so that they can reap more of the potentially valuable allocations, which they can sell on a carbon market. The overall carbon emissions for the United States won't increase--the overall cap doesn't change. But giving more allowances to steel manufacturers means that other industries won't get as many. That could drive up the cost of electricity, for example.
Kevin Bullis, "Loopholes in the Climate Bill," MIT's Technology Review, June 5, 2009 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/energy/23610/?nlid=2084

Hiding Costs in Legislation is Nothing New to Congress
"Pricing Carbon Emissions:  A bill before Congress may prove a costly way to reduce greenhouse gases," by Kevin Bullis, MIT's Technology Review, June 5, 2009 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22755/?nlid=2081 

But David Victor, a fellow at Stanford University's program for energy and sustainable development, isn't convinced. Overall, the price for allowances, especially early on, will not be enough to convince companies to invest heavily in the technology that will be needed in the long run. One likely scenario is that utilities could rely only on switching from coal to natural gas, which emits far less carbon dioxide--a strategy that might work until 2020--and then they might not invest at all in technologies such as solar power and ways to capture and permanently store carbon dioxide--technologies that likely will be necessary to meet the far stricter caps in 2050, Victor says.

This is where the other parts of the energy legislation become important. For example, it includes a renewable electricity standard that will require states to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources (such as wind and solar), or they can get credit toward this by reducing electricity consumption. There are also incentives for developing ways to capture and store carbon dioxide.

These mandates and incentives will indeed prompt investment in new technology. The problem is that mandates can be expensive. Renewable sources of energy could cost more than other options for reducing carbon emissions--such as improving efficiency. Even if the technology costs far more than other technology, companies will be forced to pay the higher prices to meet the mandate. Victor says that right now, these costs are hidden within the bill. He says that the bill should include provisions for monitoring and disclosing these costs, so that if they get to be too much, the rules can be changed. He also says the government should be funding clean energy research directly. The bill funds some basic research by giving away allowances, but the value of these allowances depends on the carbon market, so this can be an unreliable source of funding, he says.

Continued in article

And to think we may be paying for the wrong cause of climate change
A study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth's climate. The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution. Past research has shown that the sun goes through eleven year cycles. At the cycle's peak, solar activity occurring near sunspots is particularly intense, basking the Earth in solar heat. According to Robert Cahalan, a climatologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, "Right now, we are in between major ice ages, in a period that has been called the Holocene."
As quoted by Otis A. Glazebrook IV, The American Thinker, June 5, 2009 --- http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/06/nasas_latest_discovery_sun_hea.html




Accounting in the U.S. Government is all done with smoke and mirrors
The worst stuff is all off balance sheet

Question
What accounts for the difference between the booked $3.3 trillion in U.S. "National Debt" owed to foreign investors reported by Newsweek, June 8, 2009 on Page 57 compared to the booked $13.7 trillion in U.S. debt owed to foreign investors as reported in the CIA's World Fact Book?

Answer
The $13.7 trillion includes a massive amount of state and local public debt held by nonresidents as well as corporate bonds that are issued by business firms rather than government jurisdictions. Some of this non-Federal debt is becoming especially worrisome such as bond obligations of California that may have to be bailed out by the Federal Government. The massive indebtedness of California is especially worrisome since California bond defaults could rile foreign investors that we also depend upon to fund our Federal deficit --- which in 2009 will be nearly $2 trillion that must be funded in new debt. Hence we have Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Timothy Geithner recently carrying tin cups around China.

See the definition of "Debt - External" at
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/docs/notesanddefs.html#2079

Nations are ranked by "external debt" owed to investors outside their borders ---
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_external_debt
Data source:  CIA's World Fact Book ---
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2079rank.html

U.S. National Debt --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_debt
The National Debt recently spiked about 10% to over $11 trillion.

 

The projected U.S. budget annual budget spending deficits are now standing in the way of economic recovery. Deficits are also restraining our national sovereignty and public policy as we now have to beg on our hands and knees for foreign investors in Asia and the Middle East to invest trillions more in in our Treasury bonds. For example, efforts to tax or otherwise restrain imports from Asia (think automobiles) and the Middle East (think oil) could spell disaster since we must beg most to those parts of the world to invest in government debt to fund our Federal trillion-dollar deficits. This, in turn, greatly increases our own troubling foreign trade deficits.

Worse yet, we worry about foreign investors not rolling over what they've already invest in our public and private "external debt." That could lead to having to monetize our National Debt (read than print money) that almost immediately translates to Zimbabwe-like disastrous price inflation and destruction of the U.S. currency in foreign exchange markets.

Although the media tends to avoid serious discussion of deficit reduction, some big spenders in government are at last owning up to the pending time bomb of trillion-dollar deficit spending.

 

"Bernanke Urges Deficit Reduction," by Brian Blackstone, The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124403584900281215.html

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday urged lawmakers to commit to reducing the nearly $2 trillion budget deficit, warning that the government can't borrow "indefinitely" to meet the growing demand on its resources.

Mr. Bernanke also reiterated that the pace of economic contraction appears to be slowing, setting the stage for a return to growth later this year.

"Unless we demonstrate a strong commitment to fiscal sustainability in the longer run, we will have neither financial stability nor healthy economic growth," Mr. Bernanke said in prepared testimony to the House Budget Committee. (Read the full remarks.)

The White House estimates that the budget deficit will reach around $1.8 trillion this year and fall to about $900 billion by 2011. That, Mr. Bernanke said, will push the debt-to-GDP ratio from 40% before the financial crisis began to 70% by 2011, which would be the highest since after World War II.

"Certainly, our economy and financial markets face extraordinary near-term challenges, and strong and timely actions to respond to those challenges are necessary and appropriate," Mr. Bernanke told the House panel.

However, the retirement of the Baby Boom generation will place even more of a burden on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, and "we will not be able to continue borrowing indefinitely to meet those demands," he said.

Mr. Bernanke suggested that fiscal concerns may already be having an effect in the markets. Yields on longer-term Treasury securities and fixed-rate mortgages have risen, he noted.

"These increases appear to reflect concerns about large federal deficits but also other causes, including greater optimism about the economic outlook, a reversal of flight-to-quality flows, and technical factors related to the hedging of mortgage holdings," he said.

Mr. Bernanke adhered closely to the Fed's cautiously upbeat outlook for the economy. Consumer spending, he said, has been flat since the start of the year and sentiment has improved. Housing, he said, "has also shown some signs of bottoming" and lean inventories should eventually spur production.

Still, he cautioned that even when an upturn begins, growth will remain below its long-run potential "for a while."

"Sizable" job losses, he said, should continue for "the next few months," pushing the unemployment rate higher. The government releases May payroll figures Friday. Economists expect another payroll decline of over 500,000, raising the jobless rate past 9%.

Against that backdrop of widening economic slack, inflation should fall over the next year compared to 2008, Mr. Bernanke said, though an improving economy and stable inflation expectations "should limit further declines in inflation."

Meanwhile, Mr. Bernanke said the ability of banks to raise new capital "suggests that investors are gaining greater confidence in the banking system."

But while financial conditions have improved since the start of the year, they remain under stress and continue to act as a brake on the economy, he said.

 

Question
Would much smaller budget deficits forestall economic disaster in the United States?

Answer
The benefit of deficit reduction is contingent upon many factors. The immediate benefit is linked to Gross Domestic Product such that the ideal situation would be a combination of a surge in GDP coupled with significant deficit spending reductions such as when the surge in GDP greatly increases tax revenues. A plunge in GDP caused, in part, by dysfunctional taxation and deficit reduction would be very worrisome.

However, all that is written about the booked National Debt, booked External Debt, and annual deficit spending pales relative to the time bomb (usually not mentioned in the media now pushing for added social programs) of unbooked off-balance sheet entitlements obligations that are contracted or otherwise promised but are not yet due such as baby boomer Social Security benefits, Medicare obligations (including drug benefits), Medicaid obligations, military pensions, veterans medical benefits, welfare programs, etc. Milton Freedman was a wise man 40 years ago when he said that unfunded entitlement obligations should be avoided as long as we were "free to choose." The idea behind Social Security was that it should be funded by the Social Security Trust Fund which did indeed build up over the years.

The problem with the Social Security Trust Fund is that Congress unwisely commenced to massively "borrow" from it to fund other programs with no intention of taxing to replace the borrowings. Social Security benefits were initially envisioned as being like pension funds where money was taken from both a worker and an employer during all his/her working years to fund eventual small retirement benefits to be collected by that worker.

Congress, however, added unfunded hemorrhages to the Social Security Trust Fund such as the funding of monthly benefits to millions of disabled citizens, including people disabled at birth or at very young ages who never contributed a dime to the Social Security Trust Fund. Other unfunded entitlements were added decades ago such as the funding of education for dependents of soldiers who died while in military service. The point is that unfunded entitlements have been steeped upon what commenced as a funded Social Security "Retirement" Program. The unfunded drains were for worthy causes such as disability benefits that should've been part of the General Fund legislation rather than the Social Security Trust Fund that was not intended for anything other than Social Security retirement benefits.

Accounting in the proposed Universal Health Plan is all done with smoke and mirrors
Congress liked funding disability benefits from the Social Security Trust Fund because that kept the billions spent each year out of the calculation of the budget deficits. The estimated $1.8 trillion projected budget deficit would soar if we added all the payments to millions of disabled citizens that slip out the back door from the Social Security Trust Fund. Accounting in the U.S. Government is all done with smoke and mirrors.

Another huge problem is that added payroll tax funds collected for Medicare hospital, physician, and rehab benefits plus Medicare Drug benefits were collected over the years from workers and employers with vastly under-computed estimates of the soaring inflation in the medical sector of the economy. As a result there's a huge mismatch between what was collected in Medicare taxes versus what is now being paid out to our aging workers and retirees like me and my wife.

Whereas the U.S. National Debt is booked at $11 trillion dollars, the unbooked entitlements debt is now estimated to be over $100 trillion for entitlements already in place. Pending entitlements such as universal health and drug coverage will make this unfunded and unbooked obligation soar.

With the crisis, the ill-conceived government reactions, and the ensuing economic downturn, the unfunded liabilities of federal programs -- such as Social Security, civil-service and military pensions, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, Medicare and Medicaid -- are over the $100 trillion mark. With U.S. GDP and federal tax receipts at about $14 trillion and $2.4 trillion respectively, such a debt all but guarantees higher interest rates, massive tax increases, and partial default on government promises.

But as bad as the fiscal picture is, panic-driven monetary policies portend to have even more dire consequences. We can expect rapidly rising prices and much, much higher interest rates over the next four or five years, and a concomitant deleterious impact on output and employment not unlike the late 1970s. About eight months ago, starting in early September 2008, the Bernanke Fed did an abrupt about-face and radically increased the monetary base -- which is comprised of currency in circulation, member bank reserves held at the Fed, and vault cash -- by a little less than $1 trillion. The Fed controls the monetary base 100% and does so by purchasing and selling assets in the open market. By such a radical move, the Fed signaled a 180-degree shift in its focus from an anti-inflation position to an anti-deflation position.
Arthur B. Laffer, "Get Ready for Inflation and Higher Interest Rates," The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124458888993599879.html

The Jim Rogers video that everyone seems to be talking about concerns the US Dollar and potential inflation ---
http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/jim-rogers-video-that-everyone-seems-to.html
And that is before the pending Universal Health Plan is set in motion!

EGADs! Pending Collapse of the Overspending U.S. Economy to Be Financed With Hot Air
President Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed budget rules that would allow Congress to borrow tens of billions of dollars and put the nation deeper in debt to jump-start the administration's emerging health care overhaul. The "pay-as-you-go" budget formula plan is significantly weaker than a proposal Obama issued with little fanfare last month. It would carve out about $2.5 trillion worth of exemptions for Obama's priorities over the next decade. His health care reform plan also would get a green light to run big deficits in its early years. But over a decade, Congress would have to come up with money to cover those early year deficits. Obama's latest proposal for addressing deficits urges Congress to pass a law requiring lawmakers to pay for new spending programs and tax cuts without further adding to exploding deficits projected to total about $10 trillion over the next decade.
Andrew Taylor, "Obama: It's OK to borrow to pay for health care:  Obama-proposed budget rules allow deficits to swell to pay for health care plan," Yahoo News, June 8, 2009 ---
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Obama-Its-OK-to-borrow-to-pay-apf-15483626.html?.v=13
Jensen Comment
The frightening part of this is that the added $10 trillion does not include the entitlements obligations of Obama's Universal Health Plan. That will add up to another $100 trillion to the current $100 trillion in entitlements obligations.

President Obama's deficit spending playbook is straight out of Alice in Wonderland. The King says"
"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop."

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 --- http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200903/meltdown-geography

President Obama Campaigned On a Phony Promise of No New Taxes for the Middle Class (the joke's on yew)
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of the Waxman-Markey bill, the proposed Democrat cap and trade national energy tax. The CBO report confirmed that every American will pay energy taxes, with “relief” being offered only to families earning less than $42,000 per year and individuals earning under $23,000 per year.
Connie Hair, "Energy Tax Higher than Expected," Human Events, June 9, 2009 ---
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=32199
Jensen Comment
And this ignores the huge jump in your electric bills caused by this legislation that does virtually nothing to reverse climate change.

President Obama Campaigned On a Phony Promise of No New Taxes for the Middle Class (the joke's on yew)
The accounting explained in the proposed Universal Health Plan is all smoke and mirrors
Our President is embarking on a huge campaign to convince us that the U.S. health care system is broken. No surprise here! But now Obama wants to permanently disable the economy in the depths of a recession in a futile attempt to fix health care. The plan is to add $2,000-$4,000 in annual tax to every U.S. worker in addition to what each worker is contributing for family health care in his/her employer's health care plan. The plan on surface sounds great in an effort to not increase the annual deficit for the poor and/or unemployed.

But wait! Instead of adding spending stimulus money to each worker, President Obama plans to take $2,000-$4,000 away, thereby reducing about $250 billion in spending from an economy that in reality is still in a recession. This means less rather than more people finding jobs, almost no possibility for businesses to earn a profit, and more years of economic depression. So what will Congress do when unemployment gets worse instead of better? Why it will add $2,000-$4,000 of stimulus money back to each worker. Thus, the Universal Health Plan plan ostensibly coming from taxpayers runs full circle and adds another trillion in less than ten years to our staggering National Debt if we can persuade our trembling creditors in the Middle East and Asia to loan us another trillion dollars.

But wait! It gets worse! Now a universal health care plan for every person in the U.S. will be an entitlement. There will be no way to turn back as the economy plunges into a permanent dark hole --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm
Why couldn't Congress have at least waited to tax the middle class until after the economy had recovered and unemployment was back down in the 4% range? Unemployment at 10% can only get worse by taking $250 million of consumer dollars annually out of the hands of small and large businesses and putting it down the limitless hole of the health sector.

At some point we will be like Canada where half of every tax dollar goes toward medical care. But Canada eased into this system in boom times rather than when the economy was plunging into a dark hole. Also Canada has fewer unemployed people and lots of oil --- the main exporter of oil to the United State. With massive trade deficits already, what does the U.S. export to pay for health care? I suggest that we export the U.S. Congress, but nobody wants it!

But wait! It gets worse. Medicare is already over a trillion dollars in the hole and has been reducing quality of medical care by reducing what it will pay hospitals, medical labs, and physicians for medical services. The new Universal Health Plan will be even more in the hole, thereby reducing quality of services even further.

The United States might soon be providing some of the worst health care services in the world because of the low amounts given to sick patients to pay for such services and laws against using their own private funds for higher quality services (on the grounds that this creates inequities between the rich and the poor). Of course the rich will simply fly off to India, Switzerland, Sweden, or China for their surgeries. Only the middle class and the poor will be stuck with inferior and underfunded U.S. medical services.

But wait! It gets worse. Medicare, like most government spending programs, is already riddled with fraud. Rushing into an enormous program doling out trillions of dollars will make Medicare and the Pentagon look like small cheese crumbles. President Obama is pinning a lot of hopes of his Universal Health Plan on cost savings. When the rats come out of the woodwork to steal from the new big wedge of cheese added to the economy don't count of those promised savings!

President Obama's deficit spending playbook is straight out of Alice in Wonderland. The King says"
"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop."


Medical Insurance Benefits Provided by Employers Will Soon Become Taxed as Added Wages for Each Employee

"Health Care Reform Bound To Anger Some (especially employees becoming personally taxed to pay the medical costs of the uninsured)" by Linda Young, All Headline News, June 5, 2009 --- http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7015405508 

Taxing employer provided health insurance might provide an incentive to move to a national single payer plan. That's because the average annual premiums for a health insurance policy are around $8,000 for an individual and $12,000 for a family policy. Although most employees pay a portion of that premium, their share usually averages around $75 to $200 per month, leaving employers to pay the remainder of the average $666 to $1,000 per month premium cost.

The argument for taxing employer provided health insurance benefits is basically that workers who have it are actually getting another $8,000 to $12,000 in their paycheck every year tax free and that not having to pay the full cost for health care leaves workers unaware of the true costs of health care.

According to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, private-sector businesses spend about $518 billion a year on their employees health insurance. Those benefits are not taxed now, but if workers did have to pay taxes on those benefits, it would bring in about $246 billion in revenue each year and that is money that could be used to help pay for health care reform, critics argue.

Slightly more than half of all businesses in the U.S. provide health insurance coverage for their employees. And the majority of Americans who have health insurance have it through their employer or through their spouse or domestic partner's employer because it is so expensive.

Expense is the main reason that almost 90 million people went without health coverage during part or all of 2006 to 2007, according to Families USA. That amounts to more than one in three non-elderly Americans and four out of five of those Americans were in working families, Families USA notes.

But workers with employer provided health insurance who might balk at being taxed should know that the cost of treating people without health insurance who can't afford to pay for care is being tacked on to the price of health insurance policies.

According to a recent report by Families USA, health care providers pass this cost along to health insurers who pass it on to policy holders. This cost amounts to a hidden health tax of about $1,017 on family coverage and about $368 on individual policies.

The Families USA report found uninsured Americans received $116 billion worth of care from hospitals, doctors and other providers and those costs were covered in three basic ways.

The uninsured paid for, on average, more than one-third (37 percent) of the total costs of the care they received out of their own pockets. Third-party sources, such as government programs and charities, paid for another 26 percent of that care. The remaining amount, approximately $42.7 billion in 2008, was unpaid and constituted uncompensated care. Tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance and millions of others who have insurance either can't afford to use it or end up with thousands of dollars of costs out of pocket for deductibles and co-pays. In addition, health costs contribute to more than half of all bankruptcies in the U.S.

That is among the reasons why some people are still pushing for a single payer, non-profit health insurance system. But the health insurance industry has lobbied hard to avoid that and so far, Congressional lawmakers now working on health care reform have been unwilling to consider single payer.

Read more: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7015405508#ixzz0HkRQGzWq&C

Jensen Comment
President Obama is also saying that over the next decade up to $300 billion annually can be saved by centralized record technology and increased billing/payments efficiency. This, however, overlooks the likelihood of massive fraud that now drags down Medicare. Can you imagine all the scooters sold by the Scooter Store to teenage joy riders? Can you imagine the increase in taxpayer-funded "pain killers" on the streets of America?

Something will have to be done to improve medical coverage for people shut out of the insurance system. But choking the heart that send blood to all parts of our body is not the way to cure gangrene in one leg. We obviously cannot cut off 47 million uninsured people who now rely on Medicaid or free emergency room care, but will get nowhere with solutions that destroy both the U.S. economy and its medical care status as the finest medical care system in the world in terms of quality of (costly) care.

The ultimate solution with be some type of universal coverage expanded as the economy can absorb the added cost. Taxpayers will eventually have to agree that they're willing to allow half their taxes to go toward health care (like in Canada).

In old-fashioned retailing, it's called the "bait 'n' switch."
This is one of the reasons the stimulus program is having a weak impact on reducing unemployment
Using stimulus money for higher unemployment benefits does not translate to more jobs
"Con games and stimulus cash:  And you thought we were going into debt to build roads," Review Journal, June 7, 2009 ---
http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/47141292.html

More recently, remember how all those billions in "stimulus" money allocated in Washington last year were reserved for "shovel-ready" projects, creating new construction jobs and additionally re-building our infrastructure -- roads, piers, bridges, stuff like that?

Well, let the man in the plaid sport coat and the white Corfam shoes explain it all to you, Mr. and Ms. Voter. Turns out you didn't want a bunch of crummy infrastructure, after all. Instead, they found something much better to spend your money on, if you'll just step this way ...

As it turns out, most of that money is going where government always puts most of its money -- into fat paychecks for social service bureaucrats.

"Most of the roughly $300 billion coming directly to the states is being funneled through existing government programs for health care, education, unemployment benefits, food stamps and other social services," The Associated Press reported this week.

According to new data, the (Washington DC) area's unemployment rate dropped to 5.6% in April from 5.9% in March. This is the second consecutive month of improvement for Washingtonians, and it's leagues from the national unemployment rate, which hit 9.4% in May. With unemployment for all government workers about half the private sector's rate, the Beltway has been spared the tightening elsewhere. The federal government is the second largest job sector in the area, making up 11.6% of jobs, while state and local government workers add another 10.4%. According to a February survey by the Greater Washington Initiative, Washington area business executives were also "significantly more positive" about their own companies and the region's prospects than about the national economy. Translation: It's good to be close to Uncle Sam when stimulus funds start flying.
"Boom Town Washington is awash in money," The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124458850503399823.html#mod=djemEditorialPage 

The Union Label on President Obama Was Costly
'We spent a fortune to elect Barack Obama," declared Andy Stern last month, and the president of the Service Employees International Union wasn't exaggerating. The SEIU and AFL-CIO have been spending so much on politics that they're going deeply into debt. That news comes courtesy of federal disclosure forms that unions file each year with the Department of Labor. The Bush Administration toughened the enforcement of those disclosure rules, but under pressure from unions the Obama Labor shop is slashing funding for such enforcement. Without such disclosure, workers wouldn't be able to see how their union chiefs are managing their mandatory dues money. Alarm is coming even from inside the AFL-CIO -- specifically, from Tom Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, who sits on the AFL-CIO's finance committee. Bloomberg News reports that he is circulating a report claiming the AFL-CIO engaged in "creative accounting" to conceal financial difficulties heading into last year's Presidential election. As recently as 2000, the union consortium of 8.5 million members had a $45 million surplus. By June of last year it had $90.6 million in liabilities, or $2.3 million more than its $88.3 million in assets. "If we are not careful, insolvency may be right around the corner," Mr. Buffenbarger warned.
"Unions in Debt Big labor has big financial problems it wants to keep quiet," The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124458836591599769.html

Video:  When you're good to momma, momma's good to you --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdn3kdW7if8
Capitol Caper Lyrics (When you're good to obama, Obama's good to you) --- http://www.sj-r.com/archive/x1194158746/Capitol-Capers-lyrics |

Here's good news from a liberal Nobel economist
Things seem to be getting worse more slowly. There’s some reason to think that we’re stabilizing.
Princeton's Paul Krugman, London School of Economics, June 8, 2009

Fiat commits to Chrysler deal despite (Supreme) Court delay. Associated Press, June 9, 2009
Jensen Comment
Why not wait until hell freezes over --- Chrysler is paying nothing for a debt-free Chrysler. Our government made the dumbest deal in history. Of course the urgency tactic worked --- the Supreme Court decided union pensions were more important than creditors who only loaned money with supposed priority claims in bankruptcy. There will be no Supreme Court delays for Fiat's free takeover of Chrysler.

Laughing is Optional
Comedian Jon Stewart (The Daily Show on Comedy Central) has generally been a force for the Democratic Party and was a strong supporter of Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Campaign as he hammered on President Bush and GOP Candidate John McCain. Belatedly Jon Stewart's beginning to see the light on how President Obama's unrestrained spending and failures of the Stimulus Act are bringing the U.S. economy to the brink of disaster. Watch his recent interview with Peter Schiff. Laughing is optional ---
http://www.thedailyshow.com/tagSearchResults.jhtml?term=Peter+Schiff
Jon also ran s how on how NBC is "kissing President Obama's ass" --- Click Here
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/06/05/video-nbcs-ass-kissing-of-obama-too-much-even-for-jon-stewart/
Also see http://www.thedailyshow.com/tagSearchResults.jhtml?term=Brian+Williams  

Bob Jensen's threads on the pending economic disaster in the United States --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#NationalDebt

Bob Jensen's threads on pending entitlements disaster are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/entitlements.htm




"Obama’s Health Care Reform “Paints the Roses Red,” by Wayne Winegarden, Townhall, June 6, 2009 --- Click Here 

Painting the roses red; And many a tear we shed; Because we know; They'll cease to grow; In fact, they'll soon be dead; And yet we go ahead…

[Alice:] Oh, pardon me; But mister three; Why must you paint them red?

Well, the fact is, miss; We planted the white roses by mistake; And...

The queen; She likes them red; If she saw white instead; She'd raise a fuss; And each of us would quickly lose his head; Since this is the thought we dread; We're painting the roses red…

Just like Alice, we are skipping our way through a Wonderland where up is down, back is front, and fact is fiction. This story will only end when, like Alice, we wake up to reality.

The latest stop on our tour of Wonderland is the debate over health care reform. President Obama has correctly identified that Americans spend a great deal more on health care than any other developed nation. According to the Administration’s website, the U.S. spent over “$2.2 trillion on health care in 2007, or $7,421 per person – nearly twice the average of other developed nations”.

Video: NBC’s ass-kissing of Obama too much even for Jon Stewart (Comedy Central's Daily Show) --- Click Here
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/06/05/video-nbcs-ass-kissing-of-obama-too-much-even-for-jon-stewart/
Also see http://www.thedailyshow.com/tagSearchResults.jhtml?term=Brian+Williams 
I was disappointed that Jon did not feature Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews kissing the hem of Obama's flowing robe.

Although I'm not a fan of Sarah Palin (she's history), the relentless and pathetic attacks on Governor Palin by Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and David Letterman do nothing but turn viewers off to the bias of repeated old jokes and innuendos.
David Letterman's 2008 campaign video calling Palin a slut --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MvaXBlGg0o 
David Letterman's 2009 mean video calling Palin a slut --- Click Here
Good work David. Don't stop until you call the Governor the whore that she is according to MSNBC.
I can see her legs from my house in New Hampshire.

Hypocrisy from one sentence to the next
Katie Couric’s speech to Class Day at Princeton was posted Monday on The Huffington Post. In her flailing attempts at humor, she mocked Rush Limbaugh, Donald Rumsfeld, Miss California, and Sarah Palin. And after all that, she counseled the students "don’t be a hater...you must really guard against the cynicism and nastiness that are so pervasive today, especially on the Internet." That’s certainly true when you count anchor snarkiness on The Huffington Post.
Tim Graham, "Couric Advises Against 'Nastiness' -- In Speech That Mocked Rush, Palin, Rumsfeld, and Miss California," Newsbusters, June 1, 2009 --- Click Here
Also read about her snarkiness and hypocrisy at http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=49244

Question:  What happens to snarky news anchors?
Answer:  They sink like anchors!
CBS EVENING NEWS FALLS TO ALL-TIME LOW; 5,180,000 VIEWERS FOR COURIC --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2268028/posts

Evan Thomas philosophy of journalism, a philosophy that is not entirely consistent in its principles. In February 2007, as NewsBusters.org noted, Thomas, editor of Newsweek, declared: "Our job is to bash the president." But a Newsbusters item last week quotes Thomas as praising Obama to the skies, literally: "I mean in a way Obama's standing above the country, above--above the world, he's sort of God."
Best of the Web, The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2009

I was reminded of the last scene of “Godfather I,” when Michael Corleone, who begins the film as a young idealistic patriot, ends it by striking the pose of a Roman emperor as subordinates kiss his ring. Obama is still idealistic and a patriot, but he is now also an emperor and his speech shows it. “Language,” Ben Jonson says in Discoveries, “shows a man; speak that I may see thee.”
Stanley Fish, "Yes I Can," The New York Times, June 7, 2009 ---
http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/yes-i-can/

You just know it has to be killing the folks at CNN and MSNBC that Fox News has completely overwhelmed them in the ratings. In fact, the combined number of viewers of both of those networks still doesn't match that of Fox News. Could it be that the public is sick of the fawning coverage given to the Obama administration by most of the mainstream media and look to Fox News for providing more balanced stories? That is something that the MSM people just can't confess.
P.J. Gladnic, "CNN Co-founder: High Fox News Ratings Caused by Anger," June 7, 2009 ---
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/p-j-gladnick/2009/06/07/cnn-co-founder-high-fox-news-ratings-caused-anger




"Ethanol's Grocery Bill:  Two federal studies add up the corn fuel's exorbitant cost," The Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124389966385274413.html

The Obama Administration is pushing a big expansion in ethanol, including a mandate to increase the share of the corn-based fuel required in gasoline to 15% from 10%. Apparently no one in the Administration has read a pair of new studies, one from its own EPA, that expose ethanol as a bad deal for consumers with little environmental benefit.

The biofuels industry already receives a 45 cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol produced, or about $3 billion a year. Meanwhile, import tariffs of 54 cents a gallon and an ad valorem tariff of four to seven cents a gallon keep out sugar-based ethanol from Brazil and the Caribbean. The federal 10% blending requirement insures a market for ethanol whether consumers want it or not -- a market Congress has mandated will double to 20.5 billion gallons in 2015.

The Congressional Budget Office reported last month that Americans pay another surcharge for ethanol in higher food prices. CBO estimates that from April 2007 to April 2008 "the increased use of ethanol accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the rise in food prices." Ethanol raises food prices because millions of acres of farmland and three billion bushels of corn were diverted to ethanol from food production. Americans spend about $1.1 trillion a year on food, so in 2007 the ethanol subsidy cost families between $5.5 billion and $8.8 billion in higher grocery bills.

A second study -- by the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Transportation and Air Quality -- explains that the reduction in CO2 emissions from burning ethanol are minimal and maybe negative. Making ethanol requires new land from clearing forest and grasslands that would otherwise sequester carbon emissions. "As with petroleum based fuels," the report concludes: "GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions are associated with the conversion and combustion of bio-fuels and every year they are produced GHG emissions could be released through time if new acres are needed to produce corn or other crops for biofuels."

The EPA study also explores a series of alternative scenarios over 30 to 100 years. In some cases ethanol leads to a net reduction in carbon relative to using gasoline. But many other long-term scenarios observe a net increase in CO2 relative to burning fossil fuels. Ethanol produced in a "basic natural gas fired dry mill" will over a 30-year horizon produce "a 5% increase in GHG emissions compared to petroleum gasoline." When ethanol is produced with coal burning mills, the process "significantly worsens the lifecycle GHG impact of ethanol" creating 34% more greenhouse gases than gasoline does over 30 years.

Both CBO and EPA find that in theory cellulosic ethanol -- from wood chips, grasses and biowaste -- would reduce carbon emissions. However, as CBO emphasizes, "current technologies for producing cellulosic ethanol are not commercially viable." The ethanol lobby is attempting a giant bait-and-switch: Keep claiming that cellulosic ethanol is just around the corner, even as it knows the only current technology to meet federal mandates is corn ethanol (or sugar, if it didn't face an import tariff).

As public policy, ethanol is like the joke about the baseball prospect who is a poor hitter but a bad fielder. It doesn't reduce CO2 but it does cost more. Imagine how many subsidies the Beltway would throw at ethanol if the fuel actually had any benefits.

An ultra-powerful laser can turn regular incandescent light bulbs into power-sippers, say optics researchers at the University of Rochester. The process could make a light as bright as a 100-watt bulb consume less electricity than a 60-watt bulb while remaining far cheaper and radiating a more pleasant light than a fluorescent bulb can. The laser process creates a unique array of nano- and micro-scale structures on the surface of a regular tungsten filament—the tiny wire inside a light bulb—and theses structures make the tungsten become far more effective at radiating light.
"Regular Light Bulbs Made Super-Efficient with Ultra-Fast Laser," PhysOrg, May 29, 2009 --- http://www.physorg.com/news162821951.html




"The Best Online Tools (software, services) for Personal Finance," by Shelly Banjo, The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2009 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/PersonalFinanceTools.htm

1. Budgeting Your Money

2. Creating a Financial Plan

3. Tracking Investments and Getting Advice
4. Checking for Fraud
5. Keeping Track of Credit
6. Managing Loans

Details at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/PersonalFinanceTools.htm

PBS Television will now answer your personal finance questions ---
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/insider/business/jan-june09/pocketchange_05-05.html

"Feed the Pig" is the AICPA's terrible name for its free site for helping people with personal finances
 http://www.aicpa.org/financialliteracy/FeedThePig/
"New Feed the Pig Curriculum Targets Younger Audience, Journal of Accountancy, December 2008 --- http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/Issues/2008/Dec/NewFTPTargetsYoungerAudience.htm

Bob Jensen's helpers for personal finance ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#InvestmentHelpers

Bob Jensen's threads on Accounting Software ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#AccountingSoftware


The 2008-2009 Economic Downfall
Great Graphic:  Infographic: Anatomy of the Crash
http://www.simoleonsense.com/infographic-anatomy-of-the-crash/
Bob Jensen's threads on the downfall --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm 

50 Great Examples of Data Visualization ---
http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/06/50-great-examples-of-data-visualization/
Bob Jensen's threads on visualization of multivariate data ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/352wpvisual/000datavisualization.htm


Summary of the Ups and Downs of the Efficient Market Hypothesis

Before reading Nocera's article you may want to consult the EMH at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient_market_hypothesis

"Poking Holes in a Theory on Markets," Joe Nocera, The New York Times, June 5, 2009 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/06/business/06nocera.html?_r=1

Jensen Comment
We need only look at the billions lost by Warren Buffett to anecdotally note that it is very difficult for anybody but insiders (who are not allowed by law to steal from the public) to consistently exploit less sophisticated investors who rely upon price movements and whims more than detailed financial analysis. Big winners are usually big risk takers and/or just darn lucky even if market researchers find, in retrospect, instances where the EMH falters.

The above article advises that investors put their money in index funds. This bothers me a bit, however, since large numbers of investors have to be buying and selling actual shares of companies in order to set the prices upon which index fund values are derived. If everybody invested in index funds it would be like gambling on race horses that never entered the races.

Are mutual fund managers with "superior skills" earning their keep?
For 1984-2006...mutual funds on average and the average dollar invested in funds underperform three-factor and four-factor benchmarks by about the amount of costs (fees and expenses). Thus, if there are fund managers with skill that enhances expected returns relative to passive benchmarks, they are offset by managers whose stock picks lower expected returns. We attempt to identify the presence of skill via bootstrap simulations. The tests for net returns say that even in the extreme right tails of the cross-sections of three-factor and four-factor t(α) estimates, there is no evidence of fund managers with skill sufficient to cover costs.
Eugene F. Fama and Kenneth R. French, "Luck versus Skill in the Cross Section of Mutual Fund Alpha Estimates," SSRN, March 9, 2009 --- http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1356021

Abstract:
The aggregate portfolio of U.S. equity mutual funds is close to the market portfolio, but the high costs of active management show up intact as lower returns to investors. Bootstrap simulations produce no evidence that any managers have enough skill to cover the costs they impose on investors. If we add back costs, there is some evidence of inferior and superior performance (non-zero true alpha) in the extreme tails of the cross section of mutual fund alpha estimates. The evidence for performance is, however, weak, especially for successful funds, and we cannot reject the hypothesis that no fund managers have skill that enhances expected returns.

Professors Fama and French operate a very informative Q&A Blog at
http://www.dimensional.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?blog_id=1&tag=Research&limit=20

Bob Jensen's threads on the EMH are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#EMH


An Illustration of Misleading and Poorly Conducted Research

How could the outcome of this study been have been anything else to students familiar with only one real treatment is being compared with a hypothetical treatment in an experimental design?

How can students evaluate virtual worlds like Second Life if they've never experienced one, especially a well designed and executed virtual world for a given college course?

Virtual worlds cannot be compared meaningfully with traditional classrooms since they compare apples to oranges. In a traditional classroom students get face-to-face interactions (including sexual attractions) that have nothing to do with virtual worlds on the learning content of the course. In virtual worlds they get communicative interactions (including interactions with the instructor) that are different, and possibly more intense than face-to-face superficial contacts. But the interactions are fundamentally different.

Virtual worlds are usually asynchronous whereas traditional classrooms are synchronous learning experiences. Why can't virtual worlds be an asynchronous supplement to synchronous classroom lectures?

"Students Prefer Real Classroom to Virtual World," by Marc Beja, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 1, 2009 ---
Click Here 

College students were given the chance to ditch a traditional classroom for an online virtual world. Fourteen out of fifteen declined.

When Catheryn Cheal, assistant vice president of e-learning and instructional support at Oakland University, was designing a course on learning in virtual worlds, she thought the best way to research the topic would be to immerse her class into one such world. Her thought was that the “motivating factors identified in games, such as challenge, curiosity, control, and identity presentation” would help the course along.

The result: a course taught by using Second Life, an online environment.

While the interactive style could be fun, Ms. Cheal’s students worried they were having too much fun.

In her recently published study, “Student Perceptions of a Course Taught in Second Life,” Ms. Cheal wrote that the 15 undergraduate students enrolled in the course raised concerns that too much “play” in the assignments inhibited learning. The students also cited problems with the program’s slow speed and with challenges acclimating to virtual life.

Although Ms. Cheal admits that the sample size was small, she warns others to be careful when designing new courses that may use a similar approach.

“While there is potential for interactive and engaging education in virtual worlds, those possibilities may be negated if students feel lost with a difficult interface and hardware problems or if students characterize the virtual world as a venue for play incompatible with learning,” she wrote.  

Introduction to (video) Game Design 2009 --- http://pod.gscept.com/intro2gd2009.xml
"Georgia Tech Plays Video Games to Save Journalism," by Dan Turner, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 5, 2009 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on Second Life and other virtual worlds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#SecondLife


This suggests that education and research must consider evolution in brains when reaching out to the Y Generation and beyond

We are indeed getting smarter. Further, it has been suggested that the data deluge now available via the Internet makes the scientific method obsolete and reduces enormously our dependence on models versus the real, measurable world.
"Yes, the Web Is Changing Your Brain," by Kim Solez, Internet Evolution, March 12, 2009 ---
http://www.internetevolution.com/author.asp?section_id=567&doc_id=173469&

More than a year ago on ThinkerNet, I described a new kind of human intelligence particularly suited for the digital age.  It involves strong multitasking ability, rapid switching between tasks, logical statements, and an ability to identify and take advantage of potential connections, to separate information into transformable chunks, and to reassemble these chunks for new purposes. 

Today, my question is whether digital intelligence, and intelligence in general, is something innate and determined by our genes -- or whether, as some suggestInternet stimuli and other aspects of our  environment actually change the wiring in our brains to increase or decrease intelligence.

Put another way, will there be more geniuses, more Renaissance men and women, more big conceptual breakthroughs, because of easier access to information and knowledge via the Internet? Or is mankind limited by the number of people with high IQs, which will not change until our biology changes via genetic evolution?

To begin with, the idea of measuring IQ may be misleading.  New forms of intelligence require new types of intelligence tests.  The original assertion by Nicholas Carr in last summer's Atlantic that the Internet is making us stupid just reflects the fact we may be testing the wrong thing, thinking the wrong way about brain functioning.

As new intelligences suited for this new age we live in evolve, performance on old-fashioned IQ tests may decrease exactly because of distraction and task switching, which are disadvantageous for the old IQ test but advantageous in everyday life in 2009 and beyond.

We also tend to view the Internet's effects negatively. The Internet is changing us, but the changes are positive: Use of the Internet makes our brains more active, with more neurons firing. It stimulates parts of the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning. It is hard to imagine that that is a bad thing!

In a study in which people's brains were observed reading a book vs. searching the Web, language and visual centers were stimulated in both, but decision making and complex reasoning centers were stimulated only in the Web group and not in the reading group.

At the same time, thinking deeply, while still of value, is needed less in day-to-day living.

When a common situation was a lack of information and no possibility of getting more, then deep contemplation of the limited knowledge we had seemed reasonable. Now we are more likely to find an answer and move on.

It is not that we have lost the ability to read War and Peace, it is just that in the modern world we would seldom opt to spend a long period reading one book. It is more practical to carry out other, shorter tasks, to divide things up, and that is what we mostly choose to do.

There have always been attempts to resist the inevitable pace of progress and human evolution.  Recent books like Enough and In Praise of Slowness are two examples.  But we cannot really slow the pace of evolution of our species -- nor should we want to!

As I observed in an earlier blog, it was probably always man's destiny to have the kinds of communication devices we have now and the even better ones we will have in the future as extensions of ourselves.  It is not predominantly a shifting of cognitive responsibility from our biological brains to the silicon extension of those brains, but rather an augmentation of overall cognitive capacity. 

We are indeed getting smarter. Further, it has been suggested that the data deluge now available via the Internet makes the scientific method obsolete and reduces enormously our dependence on models versus the real, measurable world.

So yes, the Internet does make us smarter.  We just need to pause every now and then to contemplate and enjoy it!

— Kim Solez, MD, Director of NKF cyberNephrology at the University of Alberta

Jensen Comment
Among less than seven billion people in the world there are one billion YouTube streaming videos each day of every week according to:
Michael Arrington, The Washington Post, June 9, 2009 --- Click Here
Seems like that will change brains of great numbers of users.

"How cell phones will replace learning," by Mike Elgan, Computer World, June 6 --- Click Here
Thank you to Glen Gray for this link.
 

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


Video 1: "Nobelist Daniel Kahneman On Behavioral Economics (Awesome)!" Simoleon Sense, June 5, 2009 ---
http://www.simoleonsense.com/video-nobelist-daniel-kahneman-on-behavioral-economics-awesome/

Introduction (Via Fora.Tv)

Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman addresses the Georgetown class of 2009 about the merits of behavioral economics.

He deconstructs the assumption that people always act rationally, and explains how to promote rational decisions in an irrational world.

Topics Covered:

1. The Economic Definition Of Rationality

2. Emphasis on Rationality in Modern Economic Theory

3. Examples of Irrational Behavior (watch this part)

4. How to encourage rational decisions

Speaker Background (Via Fora.Tv)

Daniel Kahneman - Daniel Kahneman is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Professor of Public Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University. He was educated at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and obtained his PhD in Berkeley. He taught at The Hebrew University, at the University of British Columbia and at Berkeley, and joined the Princeton faculty in 1994, retiring in 2007. He is best known for his contributions, with his late colleague Amos Tversky, to the psychology of judgment and decision making, which inspired the development of behavioral economics in general, and of behavioral finance in particular. This work earned Kahneman the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 and many other honors

Video 2:  Nancy Etcoff is part of a new vanguard of cognitive researchers asking: What makes us happy? Why do we like beautiful things? And how on earth did we evolve that way?
Simoleon Sense, June 10, 2009
http://www.simoleonsense.com/science-of-happiness/ 

"Must Read: Why People Fall Victim To Scams," Simoleon Sense, March 18, 2009 ---
http://www.simoleonsense.com/must-read-why-people-fall-victim-to-scams/
The paper is at http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/reports/consumer_protection/oft1070.pdf 


PhilPapers is a comprehensive directory of online philosophy articles and books by academic philosophers.
We monitor journals in many areas of philosophy, as well as archives and personal pages. We also accept articles directly from users, who can provide links or upload copies. Some features require that you sign in first, but creating an account is easy and free ---
http://philpapers.org/
Jensen Comment
Some of the submissions to this site are not available elsewhere.

Chronicle of Higher Education review on June 2, 2009 ---
http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3803&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en


"The Top Ten Stock Market Authors," Seeking Alpha, May 2009 --- http://seekingalpha.com/leader-board/top-authors


2009 Best Careers:  Forget Accounting and Think Usability Experience Specialist or Ghostwriting
Comparing Career Apples vs. Oranges vs. Fiats

Jensen Comment
To me this listing is nonsense. Anybody who thinks the job outlook and employment security for management consulting and ghostwriting is better than for a tenured college professor or CPA is nuts. Anybody who attempts to compare engineering and veterinarian careers with hair styling, physical therapy, and ghostwriting has to be nuts.

The above listing ignores some of the job attributes that make some careers the most satisfying. For example, college professors generally love their 40-50 year careers because of the independence they have in choosing work-day schedules, to say nothing of the generous term breaks and summer freedom months, although there are pressures to conduct research and write that fill much of this supposedly "free time." But many college professors would not trade their time-freedom jobs for twice the pay on a routine grind that forced them to work under close supervision eight hours each day for 50 weeks per year. K-12 teachers do not get the daily time independence of college professors but they do get the summer freedoms (teaching summer school is usually an option rather than a requirement).

Many people love their careers because of how the career itself expands their minds across the 40-50 years. College professors and physicians have to constantly renew their research and scholarship in order to keep up with or stay ahead of the times. Physical therapists and pharmacists who fill physician prescriptions at Wal-Mart also have to keep up with the times, but the effort needed to stay on top of their day-to-day jobs just cannot be compared with academic scholarship.

I often thought that the most boring careers for 50 years running have to be such things as physical therapy, audiology, pharmacy, fund raising, hair styling, locksmithing, etc. What in the heck is a Usability Experience Specialist and how can I compare it with being a forensic accountant?

The 30 careers mentioned above are too varied in terms of skill sets, income, and types of alternatives within a career. We can pretty well picture what a Hairstylist/ Cosmetologist will be doing for 50 years, but it is harder to envision what a management consultant or engineer will be doing from year to year. If a  person is a very good writer, why not write for yourself rather than write for a ghost?

Some of the careers listed in the above top 30 have to be terribly boring day in and day out for 40-50 years. I'd rather be a college professor than be stuck in any of the 30 alternatives listed above. At the moment careers in accounting have stronger outlooks, although "job satisfaction" is hard to generalize since there are so many different types of accounting jobs ranging from the FBI to IRS agent to corporate accountant to being an auditor for an international firm to being a sole CPA practitioner on Main Street, USA.

My advice to a young person is to take early moves that provide wide-ranging opportunities later in life, especially when entering the first year of college. I know a recent high school graduate who had to choose between a major state university and a pharmacy school (six years). She chose the pharmacy school in Boston. I think that was a mistake for an eighteen year old graduate from high school, because she's becoming too specialized before the first day of college. Going to a traditional university for the first year or two and then making some narrowing choices would be far better. Even majoring in accounting after the first year at a state university, she would have wide-ranging career alternatives vis-a-vis pharmacy school.

I know some young clergy that are miserable in their careers. They love counseling and mission work and preaching. But the fund raising demands and the need to constantly draw in new people into the church in order to maintain sagging church budgets, building funds, and money for your own salary becomes depressing year after year --- and there's the reality of having to suck up to irritating, often elderly, people who constantly let you know that their happiness in the church is essential to your success. Clergy face the constant threat that irritating benefactors will join another church. At least a college professor is not stuck with the same irritating students for 40-50 years of life. I would rather have new and varied irritating students than Ebenezer Scrooge on my church board for 20 years.

I think the above listing of supposedly top careers is more misleading than helpful to young people and their parents. Comparing such varied careers is even worse than comparing vegetables --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#BadNews

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers


"Medical Bills Driving Most Middle-Class Bankruptcies: Private insurance isn't covering costs as promised, report's authors say," HealthDay News via Forbes, June 4, 2009 ---
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/hscout/2009/06/04/hscout627785.html

June 4 (HealthDay News) -- In 2007, medical problems and expenses contributed to nearly two-thirds of all bankruptcies in the United States, a jump of nearly 50 percent from 2001, new research has found.

Since the data used in the study were collected prior to the current economic downturn, it's likely that the current rate of medical-related bankruptcies is even higher, said the researchers at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University.

They randomly surveyed 2,314 bankruptcy filers in early 2007 and found that 77.9 percent of those bankrupted by medical problems had health insurance at the start of the bankrupting illness, including 60 percent who had private coverage.

Most of those bankrupted by medical problems were "solidly middle class" before they suffered financial disaster -- two-thirds were homeowners and three-fifths had gone to college. In many cases, these people were hit at the same time by high medical bills and loss of income as illness forced breadwinners to take time off work. It was common for illness to lead to job loss and the disappearance of work-based health insurance.

The study also found that well-insured families often had to cope with high out-of-pocket medical costs for co-payments, deductibles and uncovered services. Medical bills for medically bankrupt families with private insurance averaged $17,749, compared to $26,971 for the uninsured and $22,568 for those who initially had private coverage but lost it during their illness.

The highest average costs were incurred by people with diabetes ($26,971) and neurological disorders ($34,167), the researchers found.

Hospital bills were the largest single expense for about half of all medically bankrupt families, while prescription drugs were the largest expense for 18.6 percent, according to the study in the August issue of the American Journal of Medicine, which was published online June 4.

"Our findings are frightening. Unless you're Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," lead author Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a news release from the Physicians for a National Health Program.

"For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection. Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, co-payments and deductibles that illness can put you in the poorhouse. And even the best job-based health insurance often vanishes when a prolonged illness causes job loss -- precisely when families need it most. Private health insurance is a defective product, akin to an umbrella that melts in the rain," Himmelstein said.

The findings show that, as a nation, "we need to rethink health reform," added study co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care physician.

"Covering the uninsured isn't enough. Reform also needs to help families who already have insurance by upgrading their coverage and assuring that they never lose it. Only single-payer national health insurance can make universal, comprehensive coverage affordable by saving the hundreds of billions we now waste on insurance overhead and bureaucracy," Woolhandler said in the news release.

"Unfortunately, Washington politicians seem ready to cave in to insurance firms and keep them and their counterfeit coverage at the core of our system. Reforms that expand phony insurance -- stripped-down plans riddled with co-payments, deductibles and exclusions -- won't stem the rising tide of medical bankruptcy," Woolhandler concluded.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about health insurance.

Bob Jensen's threads on insurance fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#Insurance


(FSP) FAS 117-1:  University Endowments and Accounting Controversies

Harvard -24, Yale -17:  Banks aren't the only ones that swallowed poison
"The Age of Diminishing Endowments:  Yale's president on campus politics and the future of higher education," by Matthew Kaminski, The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124425383780391015.html

Richard Levin, the longest serving president in the Ivy League, had enjoyed a charmed run at Yale. In his first 15 years Yale's endowment notched up the best returns of any university's, and its innovative investment strategy became a model for many others. Mr. Levin rode the bull market to restore morale, launch a building spree, and strengthen the school in sciences and internationally. Yale dollars even spruced up shabby New Haven.

Then came the Great Recession. What went up so fast for elite universities -- Yale's endowment grew to $23 billion last summer from $3.1 billion in 1993, Mr. Levin's first year -- dropped like a stone. The impact was immediate: Mr. Levin announced a 5% spending cut in December (later adjusted to 7.5%), then froze faculty pay and most large capital projects. By the end of this month he says the endowment will be marked down by a quarter to around $17 billion. Harvard, the only university with a larger endowment, got caught out on arcane fare like interest rate swaps and now projects a 30% decline, to about $24 billion.

"We had a run that was historically unprecedented, and at the tail end of that it looked like we were getting too rich," Mr. Levin says, recalling that members of Congress were then starting to complain about rich private universities' "hoarding" money. "Well, that's quickly been amended," he deadpans.

University endowments once invested primarily in stocks and bonds. Yale's longtime chief investment officer, David Swensen, pioneered a new strategy that found better returns in less traditional vehicles like hedge funds, private equity partnerships and real estate. The Swensen approach produced a 16% average annual return the past decade through last June. But the steep and sudden drop has left schools heavily invested in assets that can't be quickly sold for cash.

An academic economist who sounds as if he knows his school's finances as well as anyone here, Mr. Levin defends the so-called Yale Model against emboldened critics. "We made huge excess returns on the way up. When it's all over and things stabilize I think we'll find the overall long-run performance [of the endowment] is better than if we didn't." But he acknowledges the downside. "The challenge for the Swensen strategy is in the area of liquidity. I think it is fair to say all of us, including Yale, didn't anticipate that." In response, universities are borrowing at unprecedented levels. Harvard recently tapped the bond market for $1.5 billion, Stanford and Princeton borrowed $1 billion each, and Yale $800 million "just to support our liquidity," says Mr. Levin.

So what does the dawn of the era of unplenty mean for the future of his university, and others? Mr. Levin, a youthful 62, finds some comfort in the numbers to downplay the impact on Yale.

Long ago, private universities designed "spending rules" for their endowments to support them less lavishly in flush years and more in the tough. That cushions the blow to the budget. "We'll spend 6.5% or 6.7% of our endowment next year when the endowment declines," he says. "That's the flip side of the spending of 3.8% we were spending when the endowment was rising very rapidly." While the endowment will provide some 43% of next year's budget, tuition -- once the principal source of income -- accounts for just 11% after financial aid. Yet if the investments don't rebound over the next few years, Yale and other schools in its league will have to rethink long-term priorities and expansion plans.

Universities weren't the only lavish spenders in the bubble years, and they dodged a bullet when only two years ago Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) tried to pass legislation to force them to shell out even more of their endowments to slow tuition increases. The current crisis vindicates relatively conservative endowment spending rules. "Managing university finances is very tricky business," Mr. Levin says. "We're nonprofits. We're not supposed to accumulate large surpluses."

Tuition is always a big issue. Earlier this year, smack in the midst of the recession, Yale raised it 3.2% to $47,500, including room and board. Mr. Levin is unapologetic. "If we are to maintain a 10-to-one ratio of students to faculty, if professors get average salary increases, we're going to go up faster than inflation" -- during his tenure, on average, a percentage point above inflation.

Four years of college at $200,000 strikes lots of people as indecent. "You're talking about sticker prices," Mr. Levin says. "The actual net price people pay, tuition minus financial aid, is basically not changed at all. If you look at the average net price for all of our students, it's actually declined over the last decade." That makes for an average cost of $18,000 per student per year now, compared to $19,000 a decade ago. Mr. Levin says the boom provoked "something of an arms race to give more financial aid," and opened private schools up to a larger -- and as a result stronger -- pool of students "that used to think that elite private schools were inaccessible to them." Yale may be "more affordable than ever," he says. But then Yale's president admits "this logic only applies to five schools" who offer "need blind" admissions.

Some schools may go belly-up because of the crisis. Ohio's Antioch College closed last year. "As always happens in a recession, we'll see some of the tuition-dependent institutions run into trouble," Mr. Levin says. "Sadly, it hits some schools that play an important social role like the historically black schools. And then state schools get hit. Though they don't get shut down, their budgets get starved."

As Mr. Levin points out, tuition at public schools has gone up faster than at private schools -- on average, 2.5% plus inflation -- to make up for state budget cuts. "They've not kept pace with the private institutions in terms of resources. That's very sad, because the great state universities here are really unique and fabulous institutions."

The financial pinch is forcing schools to impose hiring freezes and consider shuttering departments with lower enrollments -- say, French literature. This trend also calls into question America's long-held commitment to a liberal over a vocational higher education. Mr. Levin is quick to say "that's not a worry for flagship universities."

Rick Levin knows plenty about troubled institutions. In the early 1990s, Yale fit that bill. Its neglected and aging physical plant required urgent renovation. The budget was deep in the red. A faculty revolt helped force the resignation of senior administrators, who included prominent conservatives disliked on the liberal campus. In addition, Yale had the worst record of labor strife of virtually any school and found itself in one of America's most crime-ridden towns. (In 1991, a 19-year-old student named Christian Prince was gunned down near campus.)

The economic revival and endowment boom helped turn things around. But Mr. Levin also brought a vision: America's third-oldest university needed to shape up or lose its leading position. He focused on boosting science, sometimes neglected at a place renowned for its humanities, and taking the university global. He expanded ties with China. A tenth of Yale's undergraduate student body now comes from outside the U.S. When Mr. Levin took over, only 3% did.

As with other schools that might like to switch neighborhoods -- think of Penn, Columbia, the University of Chicago -- the economic downturn exposes Yale's New Haven handicap. In recent years, the city's largest employer and landowner tried to improve long-strained town-gown relations and gentrify the areas around campus. So when Mayor John DeStefano came with an emergency request to help cover New Haven's $29 million deficit, Yale in February increased its voluntary financial contribution to the city by 50%, to $7.6 million -- despite its own shortfall. (As a nonprofit, Yale pays little in taxes.) Financially, he says, "the city is in deep trouble."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Other projected declines include Cornell (-27%), Columbia (-22%), Princeton (-25%), and Stanford (-25%).
Other relatively double digit endowment losers included the University of Virginia, Duke, Barnard College, and Swarthmore College.  Contrary to early reports that Dartmouth College lost only 6%, an estimated 23% loss is more realistic. Brandeis University lost 71% of its endowment with the majority of the losses being stolen by Bernie Madoff. Heavily endowed state university losses were more varied, but some like West Virginia lost a quarter of their endowments. The University of Texas has an endowment second only to Harvard. Texas lost about 20% in this economic crisis.

In September 2007, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) held hearings on hedge fund transparency that morphed into a criticism of university endowment spending relative to performance, with Harvard as exhibit A. After all, according to the 2007 NACUBO Endowment Study, Harvard had a $34.6 billion endowment after growing 19.8 percent from 2006. (As always, Harvard gathers accolades in every field but football.) It's a fine university, but it's atypical. The average endowment can't spend anywhere near what Harvard does, nor can endowment managers make up the difference with performance.
Ann C. Logue, "Five Percent of Very Little Is Even Less," University Business, March 2008 (before the crash) --- http://www2.universitybusiness.com/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=1024&p=1

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued FASB Staff Position (FSP) FAS 117-1, "Endowments of Not-for-Profit Organizations: Net Asset Classification of Funds Subject to an Enacted Version of the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA), and Enhanced Disclosures for All Endowment Funds." The FSP applies to not-for-profit organizations with donor-restricted endowment funds. Consequently, the FSP will result in possibly significant net asset category reclassifications for independent institutions and the not-for-profit foundations of public institutions that are in UPMIFA states. In addition, all independent institutions and foundations affiliated with public institutions will be subject to new endowment disclosure requirements - regardless of the status or adoption of UPMIFA in their state.
NACUBO, August 14, 2008 --- Click Here

"Moody's Warns of 'Sharp Deterioration' in College Finances," by Mark Beja, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 8, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/daily/2009/06/19501n.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en 

Despite the deep recession, the latest report from Moody’s Investors Service on private colleges, released on Friday, shows that they are only now starting to feel the pinch and warns that a “sharp deterioration” is expected in the 2009 data. The new report looks at private colleges’ data only through June 2008.

Although there has been growth over the last four years in colleges’ total financial resources, the report says, negative investment returns and lower gift revenue led to a decline of almost 3 percent in 2008.

Roger Goodman, a vice president of the credit-rating agency, which monitors 285 private colleges and universities, said it only makes sense that the report for 2009 will be even worse because most of the economic downturn, including the stock-market collapse and heavy job losses, has occurred since June 2008. He added that, for the 2009 fiscal year, which ends on June 30 for many institutions, most colleges will probably report investment losses of 20 percent to 30 percent.

“I don’t know that there’s anything in here that’s a new worry for colleges,” Mr. Goodman said. “Even more so than in the past, we already know there will be substantial changes for most organizations.”

“We really think that this is a precursor of the direction that these ratios are heading in the next year,” he added.

 

Liquidity Problems

 

While total enrollment continued to grow slightly in 2008, the report says, several colleges are already reporting slower growth for 2009 and expect an increase in demand for financial aid. In addition, students are choosing lower-priced public colleges over more-expensive private ones.

Last month, Moody’s outlined factors it will consider when determining whether to downgrade the credit ratings of colleges and universities, including a decline in student demand, investment losses, weakened financial standing, and liquidity problems.

Continued in article

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


My Project Files Got Corrupted (it used to be that the files just got lost)
I wonder if this will also extend the tenure clock?

"The New (phony) Student Excuse?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/06/05/corrupted 

Most of us have had the experience of receiving e-mail with an attachment, trying to open the attachment, and finding a corrupted file that won't open. That concept is at the root of a new Web site advertising itself (perhaps serious only in part) as the new way for students to get extra time to finish their assignments.

Corrupted-Files.com offers a service -- recently noted by several academic bloggers who have expressed concern -- that sells students (for only $3.95, soon to go up to $5.95) intentionally corrupted files. Why buy a corrupted file? Here's what the site says: "Step 1: After purchasing a file, rename the file e.g. Mike_Final-Paper. Step 2: E-mail the file to your professor along with your 'here's my assignment' e-mail. Step 3: It will take your professor several hours if not days to notice your file is 'unfortunately' corrupted. Use the time this website just bought you wisely and finish that paper!!!"

The site promises that students can stop using "lame excuses" like the deaths of grandmothers or turning in poor work.

While the Web site attempts to distinguish its service from cheating, it also advises students on how its services could make it easier for them to get away with turning in a file they know won't open. "This download includes a 2, 5, 10, 20, 30 and 40 page corrupted Word file. Use the appropriate file size to match each assignment. Who's to say your 10 page paper didn't get corrupted? Exactly! No one can! Its the perfect excuse to buy yourself extra time and not hand in a garbage paper. Cheating is not the answer to procrastination! - Corrupted-Files.com is!"

Who would be behind such an operation? Is this the latest form of cheating?

Inside Higher Ed e-mailed the site's proprietor via e-mail and learned the following (obviously not verifiable, and the site owner did not give a name, nor is one listed on the site's registration). The site was created in December "as a goof" by its owner.

"I didn't think anyone would actually pay for an excuse but lo and behold.... It was never meant to sell one file but I get about 3-4 downloads a day (over 10 a day during finals) and don’t advertise the site," the owner wrote back. "I used the corrupted file excuse back in my college days (I’m 25) as I started my first business at 19 so I didn't have much time to do my schoolwork. When I couldn't get an extension, I sent my professors a corrupted file to buy me time. I know this was not the most ethical thing but as a young entrepreneur, I did not have much of a choice as I valued my employees well above my academics." (People commenting on the blogs that have noticed the trend note that they have been receiving papers such as those described.)

Asked if he or she had ever received complaints from professors that this was cheating, the site's owner said that a faculty member had asked that question and that this was roughly the answer: "Well ... it's a fine line Prof. H. It's basically just a good excuse vs. outright cheating. Let's face it, how many times have you heard, 'I had a family emergency' or 'my grandma passed away?' I am simply offering a better excuse. It's not cheating in the traditional sense as the student is still doing their own work and not using a roommates' old paper or being foolish enough to purchase one online. If the student is desperate, it is fair to assume he/she has considered these paths. In such a situation, would you rather have a student make up an excuse and hand in their own work a bit late or submit someone else's work on time?"

Who are the best customers? "Not to anyone's surprise, but my best clients are from Ivy and top tier schools. I guess the more perfect people think you are, the more likely in life you are to cheat to keep that perception."

One irony that the site developer noted: He or she gave a guest lecture at a university and assigned a project to students at the professor's request. "One student e-mailed me a corrupted file -- I couldn't help but to laugh and accept the student’s excuse."

Why keep the site going? "Everyone at my current venture finds the site humorous so I keep it up. Plus, it does help students save face with their professors as CF is an alternative to buying a paper online or using a friend's old paper. CF simply buys the student time and encourages them to do their own work and not to procrastinate next time around."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Students who visit porn sites a log may be giving reasons rather than excuses for file corruption. Jensen Comment
Students who visit porn sites a log may be giving reasons rather than excuses for file corruption. One way to fight the file corruption scam is to state (bold face) in the syllabus that students are responsible for backing up files at least every fifteen minutes. That way less work is lost if files are corrupted or lost.

June 5, 2009 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]

I provide a filenaming protocol for every assignment.  Filenames must start with the student's last name and a name for the assignment determined by me.  If it doesn't meet that protocol, I send it back.

I also don't accept emails with file attachments but no message.

This may be one of the few areas where I am very inflexible.

Pat

June 6, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

There are various other security measures to consider, because even trustworthy students may innocently pass along infected files.

In the case of MS Word and Excel documents it is very simple to eliminate most virus risks by simply requiring each student to submit a MS Word document as a HTML (htm) or XML (xml) file instead of a doc or xls file.

MS Word and Excel files can also be submitted by students as much safer PDF files.

For example, open Excel and then click on “ Save as” to see the various options other than xls.

Of course some functionality may be lost such as embedded macros in xls or doc files, but these macros are the most dangerous infection sources.

Another safety measure that I used when I was still teaching was to go to a university computer lab and read student project files and other attached email files on a lab computer. This protected my office computers. The lab computers were often more up to date for virus protection, and the university techies had a daily routine of rebuilding infected lab machines. Techies could rebuild a lab machine in short time since there were only “core” system files to be put back on the hard drive. For faculty office computers there are many more files to be replaced when a faculty computer machine must be rebuilt.

Four weeks ago I had to have Trinity University rebuild my main computer that was downed by malware (it was infected by a so-called computer protection site). I’m pretty good about backup files, but it was much more of an ordeal for tech support folks and me relative to the simple process of rebuilding an on-campus lab computer.

By the way, Trinity University still provides tech support on my home computer only because I purchased it from the virtual Dell Store administered on the Trinity campus (for a time but not currently). Besides software savings, the big advantage was lifetime software support from Trinity.

Bob Jensen

June 8, 2009 reply from Tom Selling [tom.selling@GROVESITE.COM]

Shameless plug – If anyone thinks the following constitutes inappropriate use of this listserv, please let me know:

We market our collaboration software ( www.grovesite.com ) principally to commercial organizations (btw, Chronicle of Higher Education is one of our customers), but it is very easy to use and straightforwardly adaptable to class administration and filing sharing. Student “drop boxes” for assignments would be a piece of cake – although it may not have the exact same bells and whistles as Blackboard.

If anyone would like to try GroveSite for FREE through the end of the fall semester, please contact me at tom.selling@grovesite.com . Another way to go about it is to provision yourself with a fully-functional free trial from our home page. We can then give you a phone tour and set up some basic pages, including the assignment drop box for you.

Best, Tom Selling

"'The Computer Ate My Homework':  How to Detect Fake Techno-Excuses," by Mark Beja, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 10, 2009 --- Click Here

Forget about making up stories about sick relatives. There’s a new way to get around homework deadlines by sending professors corrupted documents, buying a student extra time because the professor will likely blame computer errors and take hours or days to ask for a new version. There are, however, ways to identify the frauds.

Corrupted-Files.com, a Web site developed in December as a joke, its owner says, offers unreadable Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files that appear, at first glance, to be legitimate. Students can submit them via e-mail to professors in place of real papers to get a deadline extension without late penalties. For $3.95, the site promises a “completed” assignment file will be sent to the buyer within 12 hours, to be renamed and submitted by the new owner. By the time a professor gives up on the bogus file, in theory, a student will have been able to complete the actual assignment.

“I made CF in 3 hours while watching old episodes of Seinfeld, so if any inspiration, it was George Costanza, the sad king of excuses,” the site’s owner, Gianni Martire, said in an e-mail message. “The site was really all just one big goof.”

Mr. Martire confirmed yesterday that he was the New York City-based entrepreneur behind the site. He said that he planned to continue collecting data on Corrupted-Files.com for a possible study, but that his work as co-founder of Hotlist, a new social-networking Web site, and on the executive board of Arts Horizons, a not-for-profit arts-in-education organization, had been keeping him busy.

Mr. Martire added that he didn’t believe his Web site promoted cheating, since its users are not plagiarizing others or using an essay mill, but just buying some extra time.

The corrupted-file idea could work, said T. Mills Kelly, an associate dean at George Mason University, because faculty members are often busy with work and grading, and used to getting an occasional corrupted file. But Mr. Kelly says it would not work with him.

“Every time a student e-mails me a paper, I open the file to make sure that it will open so I know that the paper is turned in, and if it doesn’t work, I write them on the spot: ‘You have to send me a new copy,’” he said. “If they don’t send it right away, my brain starts ticking over.”

Mr. Mills said that by checking a document’s properties, anyone can see what computer the file was created on and on what date, as well as how many times the file has been edited.

“What are the odds that you wrote a 10-page paper 10 minutes before you e-mailed it to me, without an edit?” he asked, adding that circumventing the system by intentionally using a corrupted file was cheating. “I always recommend failure for the course.”

It seems a corrupted file purchased by The Chronicle — which had a glitch and arrived several hours late — would pass some of Mr. Kelly’s tests, but not all of them: The file’s original author was hidden, but the creation and edit dates and times were marked for the time the document was downloaded from the Web site.

After Mr. Martire was contacted by reporters, the Web site changed slightly. Now the comments section reads: “If you need an extension, just be honest and ask your professor before you use a corrupted file.”

Bob Jensen threads on cheating in academe are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Plagiarism.htm


Wanted:  More African Americans in MBA Programs
The Graduate Management Admission Council announced a new campaign Friday to recruit more black students into M.B.A. programs and to help them do well on the GMAT, the admissions test sponsored by the council and used for most M.B.A. programs. The mean score of black students taking the GMAT -- 434 -- is about 100 points lower than the mean for all test takers. The council is starting a series of programs, including the distribution of test preparation materials to historically black colleges and a pledge to those colleges that it will waive fees for any of their student who want to take the test but feel unable to do so for financial reasons.
Inside Higher Ed, June 8, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/06/08/qt#200622


These Clemson University policies remind me of the X Generation
where high grades are more important than learning itself

"Researcher Offers Unusually Candid Description of University's Effort to Rise in Rankings," by Martin Van Der Werf, Chronicle of Higher Education,  June 3, 2009 --- Click Here 

Clemson University is run in an almost single-minded direction, with nearly all policies driven by how they will help the land-grant institution rise in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings, according to a university official whose candid comments stirred debate among conference-goers here on Tuesday.

Clemson has doubled its tuition this decade, manipulated class sizes, and even sought to downgrade the academic reputations of other institutions when answering surveys, all in an attempt to meet the goal of pushing the university into the ranks of the top-20 public research institutions, said Catherine E. Watt, the former director of institutional research at Clemson.

In terms of the rankings, the strategy has worked. Clemson was 38th among public research universities in the magazine’s 2001 rankings, she said. In 2008, it had risen to 22nd.

Ms. Watt, who is now director of the Alliance for Research on Higher Education, part of the university’s Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs, spoke at a session at the annual conference of the Association for Institutional Research, which concludes here today.

University representatives could not be reached for comment late Tuesday, after Ms. Watt's afternoon session.

The U.S. News rankings are built on seven basic categories meant to measure the quality of colleges and universities, including academic reputation, financial resources, and graduation rates. Academic reputation, which is determined by surveying officials at institutions about how they rate other universities, carries the greatest weight in the rankings formula, accounting for 25 percent of the total.

While many institutions pay close attention to the rankings, Ms. Watt’s description of the methods used by Clemson was startling in its bluntness and for how pervasively she said the rankings figure in every decision made by administrators.

Robert Morse, who directs the rankings for U.S. News and is attending the meeting, said after the session that her comments probably gave public voice to conversations held privately at many universities about how to rise in the rankings.

A Vision and a Goal

In her presentation, Ms. Watt said that Clemson’s president since 1999, James F. Barker, had established in 2001 the goal of reaching the top 20. Soon thereafter, the university adopted a policy to “affect every possible indicator to the greatest extent possible,” she said.

“Clemson has a specific, year-directed vision,” said Ms. Watt. “I can promise you, everyone on the Clemson campus can tell you what the campus vision is. Every president’s speech starts with the ranking; every policy starts there. Like it or not, you always know where you stand.”

For example, the university has doubled its tuition since 2001, she said, reasoning that the extra proceeds could be dumped into the academic budget and used to reduce student-faculty ratios, one of the criteria used by U.S. News. When course sections had 21 to 23 students in them, administrators ordered that more sections be opened to reduce the class size to 19 students or less, she said. The percentage of courses with fewer than 20 students is another of the criteria used in the magazine's rankings.

Conversely, if a course was looking as if it would have more than 50 students, Clemson administrators would simply let it continue to grow. “Any class over 50 may as well grow larger,” she said. “There wasn’t much containment there.”

The percentage of courses with more than 50 students is also a factor in the rankings. But Clemson decided to direct its resources toward reducing the percentage of classes under 20 students, she said, and didn’t worry about the number of classes with more than 50.

In the magazine's academic-reputation surveys, Ms. Watt said, administrators rated all institutions other than Clemson as below average.

Following the session, Ms. Watt clarified that administrators had not been directed to deride the reputations of other institutions as far as she knew, but she said, “I saw copies of a couple of surveys myself that had that effect.”

Faculty salaries are another factor in the rankings. Ms. Watt said Clemson attempted to inflate its faculty salaries by including the value of benefits.

Mr. Morse later clarified, however, that Clemson was supposed to be including the value of benefits all along, and had previously been misreporting salary information.

Nervous Response

People attending the session seemed stunned by some of Ms. Watt's comments. The presentation was met with gasps, guffaws, nervous laughter, and incredulity. “You’re pandering,” said one audience member. “What are you trying to accomplish? How does this help the students?” said another. “How can you justify doing it?” asked another.

“Well, to do anything else is not an option,” said Ms. Watt. “It’s just that frank.”

And the strategy has had positive effects for students, she said. They have smaller classes and have more professors in classrooms, rather than teaching assistants. The six-year graduation rate, another factor measured by U.S. News, has increased from 72 percent to 78 percent this decade, possibly in part because of the increased attention to academic resources, Ms. Watt said.

“Clemson has always had a happy, loyal student body,” she said. “It still is, and, by some measures, it’s even happier today.”

However, the university is probably guilty of neglecting its mission, she said. “We have favored merit over access in a poor state,” she said. “We are more elite, more white, more privileged.”

But in measuring the tradeoffs, the university has not wavered from the policy, she said.

“We have been criticized for not fulfilling the mission of a public land-grant institution,” she said. “On the other hand, we have gotten really good press. We have walked the fine line between illegal, unethical, and really interesting.”

Continued in article

Clemson's harsh rebuttal --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/06/04/clemson

Also see http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/06/03/rankings

Bob Jensen's threads on college ranking controversies --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#BusinessSchoolRankings


This study is published in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

"Why Things Become Unpopular," by Lisa Zyga, PhysOrg, June 4, 2009 --- http://www.physorg.com/news163333282.html

In their study, Jonah Berger from the University of Pennsylvania and Gaël Le Mens from Stanford University and Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona have investigated why things become unpopular, and have found some surprisingly counterintuitive results. Their study is published in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“While it is easy to see products, ideas, or behaviors catch on in popular culture, less in known about why such things become unpopular,” Berger told PhysOrg.com. “We show how social dynamics drive cultural change, and examine the reciprocal interplay between individual decisions and collective outcomes. Aggregate changes in popularity shape individual choice, which in turn drives aggregate popularity.”

To investigate how cultural tastes change over time, Berger and Le Mens analyzed thousands of baby names from the past 100 years in France and the US. (Because there is less of an influence of technology or advertising on name choice, baby names provide a way to study how adoption depends on primarily internal factors.) The researchers found a consistent symmetry in the rise and fall of individual names; in other words, the longer it took for a name to become popular, the longer it took for the name to fade out of popularity, and thus the more staying power it had compared to names that quickly rose and fell. The effect was robust, occurring in both countries and across various time windows.

To find additional support for this relationship, the researchers also interviewed expecting parents on how likely they would be to give their children certain names. Afterwards, participants rated their perception of how trendy each name was. The results showed that parents viewed names that had experienced sharper recent increases in usage as fads, and avoided these names in accordance with this concern.

As the scientists explain, these findings suggest that beliefs about the evolution of popularity may be self-fulfilling. There is no mathematical necessity that forces cultural items (such as names) that sharply increase in popularity to die out faster, but people’s beliefs have the ability to create this reality, since people don’t want to be seen as following the herd. This effect is an example of how psychological processes shape culture, in addition to the more widely known reciprocal dynamic, that culture can shape thought processes.

Besides baby names, the symmetry between popularity rise and fall can carry over to other cultural items. For example, the scientists noted that similar outcomes have been observed in the music industry, where new artists who shoot to the top of the charts right away also fall quickly, and so have lower overall sales than those who rise more slowly. While this finding seems counterintuitive, since a quick rise in popularity would seem like a good thing, it shows that a backlash to perceived fads should be taken into account. As the researchers explain, people who want to ensure the persistence and success of particular items should seek to popularize the items at a slow but steady pace.

“Managers often want their products to catch on quickly, and conventional wisdom would say that products which catch on quickly should be more likely to succeed,” Berger said. “Our results, however, show that the exact opposite can occur. Fast adoption can hurt success. We think these findings extend to a broad range of areas where choices signal identity. People often join social movements, choose products, or wear styles because of what it communicates about them to others, and in these domains of life, adoption speed should influence cultural success.”

More information: Jonah Berger and Gaël Le Mens. “How adoption speed affects the abandonment of cultural tastes.” PNAS, 8146-8150, May 19, 2009, vol. 106, no. 20.

Jensen Comment
Be careful when extrapolating these findings to other contexts. There are many factors that contribute to the rise and fall of popularity, and much depends upon how those factors in particular circumstances fade. For example, consider the great popularity of Harleys in 1950 versus 2000. In 1950 Harley Davidson had a near monopoly on motorcycle sales. Factors contributing to the downturn of Harley-Davidson fortunes, including the cost/quality of imports, Harley-Davidson's unpopular move in 1952 to restrict foreign inputs, diminished quality following a 1969 strike, Hollywood's association of gangs with Harleys, and other factors noted at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harley_Davidson#Tarnished_reputation
The rise and fall of Harley-Davidson has certainly not be symmetrical and cultural as depicted by Berger and Le Mens. The demise of Harley-Davidson motorcycles was caused by much more than a shift in cultural taste. By the way, Harleys that used to be made in Milwaukee are now made in Mexico.

The point is that we can find countless counter examples to their findings. I'm beginning to think that the exceedingly popular GM cars in the 1950s had much to do with design because most cars sold in the U.S. had about the same life expectancy (upper limit of around 100,000 miles). Design became less important in the 1980s when Japanese cars began to prove they had five times greater life expectancy and less lifetime repair hassles than GM, Ford, and Chrysler domestic cars. The downturn of GM, Ford, and Chrysler had less to do with design appeal than it did with newer reliability alternatives.


Are we witnessing the birth of a new challenger to Google?

Data from monitoring service StatCounter suggests that Bing, Microsoft's new search decision engine, has overtaken Yahoo Search as the number two search service in the U.S. and worldwide in large part thanks to stealing market share from leader Google . . . Are we witnessing the birth of the first true Google challenger or is this nothing but launch momentum bound to fade away?
Robin Wauters, "Did Bing Just Leapfrog Yahoo Search?" The Washington Post, June 4, 2009 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
When I first saw the title to this article I thought it was referring to the new Mayor of Detroit (Dave Bing). Shows what I know about Microsoft's Bing up to now. Many of Microsoft's late entries to the market fail to compete such as when it belatedly attempted to compete with IPOD.

Microsoft Bing --- http://www.bing.com/

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


Introduction to (video) Game Design 2009 --- http://pod.gscept.com/intro2gd2009.xml

"Georgia Tech Plays Video Games to Save Journalism," by Dan Turner, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 5, 2009 --- Click Here


"How Hillsdale Beats Harvard:  The Ivy school sells out its 'principles'," The Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124389872115674363.html#mod=djemEditorialPage

This week the 1,600 or so members of Harvard's Class of 2009 will leave campus with a coveted Ivy degree. Of this number, seven will leave with something else: the gold bars of a second lieutenant.

At a time when institutions from our banks and auto makers to our churches and public schools seem to have trouble honoring their most basic promises, these young officers enter a life where words have meaning, meaning has consequences, and those consequences can include a flag-draped coffin. Tomorrow on Harvard Yard, Gen. David Petraeus will address these young men and women -- four Army, three Marines -- at their commissioning ceremony. On a campus where the military is officially unwelcome, that ceremony offers an interesting perspective on what the modern academy teaches us about living by our principles.

The operative principle defining Harvard's relationship to the military is the university's non-discrimination policy. Specifically, Harvard's prohibition on discrimination based on sexual orientation conflicts with the military's prohibition on gays serving openly. So the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) remains banned from Harvard's campus. Military recruiters are grudgingly permitted only because the Solomon Amendment requires the university either to grant them access or to give up its government funding -- about 15% of its operating budget, according to the latest annual financial report.

Harvard, of course, is not the only campus that has faced such a conflict. Like Harvard, Hillsdale College does not like the strings attached to federal dollars. Like Harvard, Hillsdale does not permit ROTC on campus. Unlike Harvard, however, when it came to choosing between money and principle, Hillsdale chose principle. I was struck by the contrast between the two schools this past fall, when I spent a week at the tiny Michigan college teaching a course on journalism and delivering a lecture.

Back in the 1970s the Department of Health, Education and Welfare demanded that Hillsdale begin counting its students by race and sex as a condition of federal loans some of its students were receiving. For a college whose charter was the first to declare itself open to all students "irrespective of nation, color, or sex," this was insulting. Hillsdale, after all, was the school whose undefeated football team refused to play in the 1956 Tangerine Bowl when game officials said Hillsdale's black players would not be allowed to join their white teammates on the field. Still, the feds persisted and in 1984 won on a related case before the Supreme Court.

By that time, however, Hillsdale had already made a decision it thought crucial for its continued independence: The college would not accept any federal dollars, including financial aid for its students.

How different this is from Harvard. On its Web page, Harvard Law School cites the university's nondiscrimination policy and then goes on to describe how it lives up to that principle:

"The Harvard Law School makes one exception to this policy. Under threat of loss of funding to the University resulting from the Solomon Amendment, the Law School has suspended the application of its nondiscrimination policy to military recruiters."

You don't have to be a lawyer to get the point: Even though we are one of the world's wealthiest universities, we'd rather make an exception to our principles than give up the money. So we'll do what the Solomon Amendment requires and hold our noses.

The different reaction to federal funding also translates into different reactions to the uniform. Hillsdale's decision means it's free to tell the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines to go fly a kite. But that hasn't happened. To the contrary, during my visit I found two Marine recruiters happily sitting at a table in the new student union. And they were upbeat about both the number (four for 2009 alone) and quality of Marine officers they were getting.

"Hillsdale is the only college where every interaction I've had with school personnel has been positive and encouraging," says Capt. Elliott R. Peterson, one of those Marine recruiters. "Professors, deans and even the school president have gone out of their way to ensure I am being accommodated. And yet, Hillsdale is the only school in my area that does not have to allow me on campus."

Merely by attending tomorrow's commissioning ceremony, Harvard President Drew Faust will continue a tradition started a few years ago. That's progress from the days when Harvard presidents simply ignored the whole thing. Yet the ceremony highlights a disquieting contrast: between those young Harvard officers who will take an oath requiring adherence to principle even at the cost of their lives -- and leaders, such as those at their university, whose actions make clear their principles have a price.

If Harvard believes that our Armed Forces are inconsistent with its values, surely the honest thing to do is to stand on principle and accept the funding consequences. The folks at Hillsdale would be glad to show the way.

Bob Jensen's threads on ROTC and Military Recruiting and the Solomon Amendment --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#MilitaryRecruiting

Bob Jensen's threads on affirmative action in student admissions ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#AffirmativeAction


Bloggers won't quit as easily as Jacksonville State University

Bloggers are embarrassing the plagiarism investigators at Jacksonville State University: 
Do investigators have any standards at JSU or the university that awarded the doctorate?
The sad part is that in addition several articles by this man were subsequently and admittedly plagiarized

That’s the question that resurfaced Tuesday, when a compelling graphic popped up on Internet blogs illustrating “what plagiarism looks like.” The graphic shows dozens of instances where a dissertation written by William Meehan, now president of Jacksonville State University, used verbatim passages from another professor’s research. Meehan has denied any wrongdoing, and he's backed by Jacksonville State officials who say they've reviewed the work.
"In Living Color," by Jack Stripling, Inside Higher Ed, June 3, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/06/03/plagiarism

Question
What message is this sending to our students?
Meehan's in big trouble if the unrelenting Nancy Grace picks up on this.

In one of the rare surveys conducted about plagiarism, two University of Alabama asked 1,200 of their colleagues if they believed their work had been stolen.  A startling 40 percent answered yes.
Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, "Professor Copycat," The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2004, Page A8.
The number of articles in this particular issue of the Chronicle make it a must reference for anybody studying plagiarism by college faculty.

In Germany and other parts of Europe, professors get credit for passages or even entire works written by their students citing the original author and, in most cases, without giving any form of credit whatsoever.  The work of the student, including that student's writing, is deemed the property of his or her professor.  Although this practice is not ver botten in Europe, it is considered unethical in North America.  But is does happen on this side of the globe and is sometimes not punished as heavily as plagiarism if the original writer is a student assistant.  
See Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, "Mentor vs. Protégé," The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2004, Page A14

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


"Dumbest Generation Getting Dumber," by Walter E. Williams, Townhall, June 3, 2009 --- http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2009/06/03/dumbest_generation_getting_dumber 

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international comparison of 15-year-olds conducted by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that measures applied learning and problem-solving ability. In 2006, U.S. students ranked 25th of 30 advanced nations in math and 24th in science. McKinsey & Company, in releasing its report "The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools" (April 2009) said, "Several other facts paint a worrisome picture.

First, the longer American children are in school, the worse they perform compared to their international peers. In recent cross-country comparisons of fourth grade reading, math, and science, US students scored in the top quarter or top half of advanced nations. By age 15 these rankings drop to the bottom half. In other words, American students are farthest behind just as they are about to enter higher education or the workforce." That's a sobering thought. The longer kids are in school and the more money we spend on them, the further behind they get.

While the academic performance of white students is grossly inferior, that of black and Latino students is a national disgrace. The McKinsey report says, "On average, black and Latino students are roughly two to three years of learning behind white students of the same age. This racial gap exists regardless of how it is measured, including both achievement (e.g., test score) and attainment (e.g., graduation rate) measures. Taking the average National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores for math and reading across the fourth and eighth grades, for example, 48 percent of blacks and 43 percent of Latinos are 'below basic,' while only 17 percent of whites are, and this gap exists in every state. A more pronounced racial achievement gap exists in most large urban school districts." Below basic is the category the NAEP uses for students unable to display even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at their grade level.

The teaching establishment and politicians have hoodwinked taxpayers into believing that more money is needed to improve education. The Washington, D.C., school budget is about the nation's costliest, spending about $15,000 per pupil. Its student/teacher ratio, at 15.2 to 1, is lower than the nation's average. Yet student achievement is just about the lowest in the nation. What's so callous about the Washington situation is about 1,700 children in kindergarten through 12th grade receive the $7,500 annual scholarships in order to escape rotten D.C. public schools, and four times as many apply for the scholarships, yet Congress, beholden to the education establishment, will end funding the school voucher program.

Any long-term solution to our education problems requires the decentralization that can come from competition. Centralization has been massive. In 1930, there were 119,000 school districts across the U.S; today, there are less than 15,000. Control has moved from local communities to the school district, to the state, and to the federal government. Public education has become a highly centralized government-backed monopoly and we shouldn't be surprised by the results. It's a no-brainer that the areas of our lives with the greatest innovation, tailoring of services to individual wants and falling prices are the areas where there is ruthless competition such as computers, food, telephone and clothing industries, and delivery companies such as UPS, Federal Express and electronic bill payments that have begun to undermine the postal monopoly in first-class mail.

At a Washington press conference launching the McKinsey report, Al Sharpton called school reform the civil rights challenge of our time. He said that the enemy of opportunity for blacks in the U.S. was once Jim Crow; today, in a slap at the educational establishment, he said it was "Professor James Crow." Sharpton is only partly correct. School reform is not solely a racial issue; it's a vital issue for the entire nation.

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


 


"Florida stands to lose $1 billion because of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy," by Sydney P. Freeberg and Connie Humburg, St. Petersburg Times, June 5, 2009 http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/article1007445.ece

A price tag is now emerging for what last year's collapse of investment giant Lehman Brothers could cost the state of Florida: more than $1 billion.

The losses could make Florida and its citizens among the biggest casualties in the biggest bankruptcy ever.

More than $440 million disappeared from the pension fund that pays benefits for some 1 million retirees and public employees.

Counties, cities and school districts face a loss of more than $300 million for roads, sewers and schools.

The state has $290 million less to pay for everything from hurricane claims to health care, community colleges and care for infants with disabilities.

While the general losses have been expected, this is the first public accounting of the magnitude of the Lehman-related public losses for Florida.

The outlook is bleak in bankruptcy court. In years to come, the state will be lucky to collect pennies on the dollar.

In an interview, even the ever-optimistic Gov. Charlie Crist could not muster a sunny side: "It is, to say the least, an unfortunate situation.''

• • •

Lehman Brothers, which built the nation's railroads and survived the Great Depression, filed for bankruptcy protection last September.

Its failure sank banks and stocks, but the fallout reverberated far beyond Wall Street.

In Florida, Lehman Brothers was an icon of finance and real estate, managing public assets, selling securities, underwriting bond deals and handling residential and commercial mortgages.

In the last decade, Florida paid Lehman at least $27 million in fees for managing public investments and brokering and underwriting bond deals.

The storied bank hired former Gov. Jeb Bush as a consultant in June 2007, five months after he left office. As governor, Bush also served as a trustee for the State Board of Administration, which invests public money.

Lehman was the dominant Wall Street broker that sold the SBA $1.4 billion of risky, mortgage-related securities that started tanking in August 2007.

Bush has said he had nothing to do with those sales.

"As Governor Bush has stated several times in response to your inquiries, his role as a consultant to Lehman Brothers was in no way related to any Florida investments,'' said his spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell.

"It is unfortunate the St. Petersburg Times continues to perpetuate this incorrect and baseless conjecture.''

Bob Jensen's threads on the economic crisis and the bankruptcy of Lehman Bros. are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm


Are accounting internal controls at universities lax?

"This person was a dean," says Ms. Willihnganz, the provost. "And deans here have a very wide breadth of control. They have a lot of authority. I think, in fact, no one else here at this university could have gotten some of those things through. Because he was a dean, he was trusted."

"Education Dean's Fraud Case Teaches U. of Louisville a Hard Lesson:  The former official now awaits trial. Some colleagues say the university should have caught him earlier," by David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12,. 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i39/39a00102.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

At the end of 2005, Robert D. Felner was riding high. A well-paid dean at the University of Louisville, he had just secured a $694,000 earmarked grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create an elaborate research center to help Kentucky's public schools.

The grant proposal, which Mr. Felner had labored over for months, made some impressive promises. Five Louisville faculty members would devote time to the center, and four other people would be hired. The advisory board would be led by Virginia G. Fox, Kentucky's secretary of education.

On paper this all seemed plausible: From 1996 until 2003, Mr. Felner directed the University of Rhode Island's education school, where he helped create a well-regarded statewide research center.

To put it gently, Mr. Felner did not duplicate that feat at Louisville.

By the spring of 2008, all but $96,000 of the grant had been spent, but none of the tasks listed in Mr. Felner's proposal had been accomplished. Hundreds of thousands of surveys of students, teachers, and parents? School officials in Kentucky say they know of no such studies. Conferences and special issues of education journals? None. An advisory committee led by the state's top education officials? They say they never heard of Mr. Felner's center.

At this point, Mr. Felner was heading for the exit, continuing his climb up the academic ladder. Late in May 2008, he told his colleagues that he had been hired as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, effective August 1.

During his final weeks at Louisville, Mr. Felner pressed his luck one last time. Even though only $96,000 remained in the account, he implored Louisville officials to approve a $200,000 subcontract with a nonprofit organization in Illinois that had already received $450,000 from the grant. Perhaps, he suggested, the university could draw on a special fund that had been established by the daughter of a former trustee.

The Illinois group, Mr. Felner said, had been surveying students and teachers in Kentucky. That survey would "let us give the feds something that should make them very happy about the efficiency and joint commitment of the university to doing a good job with an earmark, as I know we will want more from this agency," he wrote in an e-mail message on June 18.

Two days later, Mr. Felner's offices were raided by federal agents who took away his files and laptops. He was questioned for hours by a U.S. Postal Service inspector and a member of the University of Louisville's police department. That weekend he called Wisconsin officials: Sadly, he wouldn't be coming to Parkside after all.

In October a federal grand jury indicted Mr. Felner on nine counts of mail fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. According to the indictment, the Illinois nonprofit group, known as the National Center on Public Education and Prevention, was simply a shell that funneled money into the personal bank accounts of Mr. Felner and Thomas Schroeder, a former student of his and the group's "executive director." Prosecutors say the two men siphoned away not only the $694,000 earmarked grant, but also $1.7-million in payments from three urban school districts, money that ought to have gone to the legitimate public-education center that Mr. Felner had created in Rhode Island.

Mr. Felner and Mr. Schroeder now await trial on charges that could send them to prison for decades. No trial date has been set.

None of the accusations have been proved in court, and Mr. Felner's lawyers have signaled in pretrial briefs that they will defend him aggressively. (They declined to comment for this article.)

But two facts seem hard to avoid: All but $96,000 of the earmarked grant has been spent. And there is no evidence that the activities listed in Mr. Felner's grant proposal have been carried out.

A Question of Oversight

When Louisville accepted the earmarked grant, its officials signed the boilerplate language attached to most federal contracts. The university, they promised, had "the institutional, managerial, and financial capability ... to ensure proper planning, management, and completion of the project."

But did it in fact have that capability? For several months in 2007, Mr. Felner charged almost $37,000 of his salary against the grant, but there is no evidence that he ever worked on the project. (In an October 2008 memorandum, Robert N. Ronau, the college of education's associate dean for research, declared that he knew of no reports, articles, or other products that resulted from the grant.). Federal regulations require that universities use "suitable means of verification that the work was performed" when they prepare time-and-effort reports; Louisville officials declined to comment on how Mr. Felner's time-and-effort reports were processed.) And when he sent his first big payment to the Illinois group, Mr. Felner constructed the deal as a personal-services contract instead of a formal subcontract, which would have been subject to more oversight by the university. But no one corrected that error for more than a year.

In the months since Mr. Felner's indictment, Louisville has seen a parade of blue-ribbon committees, auditors, and management consultants. University leaders insist that they have streamlined their research-compliance systems to prevent any more trouble. They also emphasize that it was a university employee who tipped off law enforcement to Mr. Felner's actions. (Who did this and when remains a mystery — but e-mail records obtained by The Chronicle make clear that by May 2008, Louisville's research administrators were becoming more openly skeptical of Mr. Felner's claims.)

"What these reports have affirmed is that we basically have pretty good practices in place," says Shirley C. Willihnganz, Louisville's provost. "I think what we had in this case was a person who abused the system. And so it's not so much that our policies were bad or that our procedures were bad. We had a person who did not follow them and did not respect them."

But some of Mr. Felner's former colleagues insist that he should have been stopped long before the spring of 2008. They say the university coddled Mr. Felner and turned a blind eye to his grant management, in part because the doctoral program in education rose impressively in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings after his arrival. If the university had paid more attention to the many faculty and student grievances against Mr. Felner — and especially to a 2006 faculty vote of no confidence in his leadership — the grant money might never have gone missing, they say.

"The University of Louisville, like everybody, is aspiring to bring in more grant dollars," says Bryant A. Stamford, a professor of exercise science at Hanover College who left Louisville's faculty in 2005 after a dispute with Mr. Felner. "When you put yourself in that position, it's pretty amazing what you're willing to do. You sacrifice the infrastructure of the university in order to put out a report that says, Look, grants are up by 60 percent this year."

The Louisville affair comes at a time when officials of Emory University, Harvard University, and other institutions have faced Senate investigations revealing that scholars had failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars they had received from pharmaceutical companies. Throughout the country, research administrators are asking themselves if tougher rules could detect miscreants, or whether determined liars will always find a way around the rules.

Throwing a Bone

In 2005, two years after he arrived at Louisville, Mr. Felner won his $694,000 earmarked federal grant, which was billed as "Support and Continuous Improvement of No Child Left Behind in Kentucky."

The earmark was sponsored by U.S. Representative Anne M. Northup, a Republican who then represented Kentucky's third district. It is easy to see what might have attracted Ms. Northup to Mr. Felner's proposal: He claimed to have lined up cooperation from a host of Kentucky school districts and public officials, and he could point to the track record of his Rhode Island center.

In fact, the proposal promised not only to replicate the success of Mr. Felner's Rhode Island center. It promised to bring the Rhode Island center to Louisville. The National Center on Public Education and Social Policy was "formerly located at the University of Rhode Island" and would "now be subsumed under the aegis of" Mr. Felner's Louisville office, the proposal said.

So maybe it should have raised eyebrows among Louisville's research administrators when in March 2006, only a few months after he had won the earmark, Mr. Felner sent $60,000 of the grant money to Rhode Island.

The "work plan" attached to that subcontract was a blizzard of verbiage that said nothing very specific about what the Rhode Island center was supposed to do with the $60,000. "The National Center on Public Education and Social Policy at the University of Rhode Island agrees to provide data analysis and support relating to critical questions and educational research issues focused on No Child Left Behind Initiatives for project work conducted by the University of Louisville," the plan read. "By subcontracting with the University of Rhode Island, the NCLB Center can begin work immediately with data collected by the Center. URI's established level of expertise and technological capabilities are sophisticated enough to assimilate endeavors of this magnitude seamlessly while the Center is in the process of building their systems and personnel."

The $60,000 actually had nothing to do with Mr. Felner's earmark, according to federal prosecutors and officials at Rhode Island. Instead, they say, Mr. Felner was throwing a bone to his former colleagues, whom he and Mr. Schroeder had cheated out of more than $1.7-million in income.

Here we need to make a quick detour into the heart of the prosecutors' allegations. Between 2000 and 2003, the Rhode Island center conducted tens of thousands of surveys in public schools in Atlanta, Buffalo, and Santa Monica. But Mr. Felner and Mr. Schroeder allegedly tricked the three districts into sending their payments to their fraudulent Illinois organization, whose name was very similar to the Rhode Island center's. (In Rhode Island: the National Center on Public Education and Social Policy. In Illinois: the National Center on Public Education and Prevention.) The Illinois money then flowed into the two men's bank accounts, prosecutors say. Mr. Felner owns four houses whose combined value is more than $2-million.

Stephen Brand, a professor of education at Rhode Island who worked on the three survey projects, says that Mr. Felner strung the center along with vague promises and explanations about why the school districts' money had not materialized. But Mr. Brand says he does not know many details. "I haven't seen copies of those three contracts," he says. "I don't think anyone here has ever seen them." (Anne Seitsinger, the Rhode Island center's director, declined repeated requests for an interview.)

In any case, the Rhode Island center managed to survive for several years without the $1.7-million because it had accumulated a substantial surplus from its multiyear, multimillion-dollar survey contract with the state of Rhode Island. But by 2005 it was facing a deficit. That year, according to The Providence Journal, the center's business manager wrote to Mr. Felner in Louisville: "Are you giving out loans? We sure need one right now."

The $60,000 subcontract was apparently just such a "loan." The money was used only to cover the Rhode Island center's operating deficit. Despite its purported power to "assimilate endeavors of this magnitude seamlessly," the Rhode Island center never actually did any work on the earmarked Louisville grant.

Robert A. Weygand, Rhode Island's vice president for administration, concedes that it was wrong for the center to accept the $60,000, and he says the university has tightened the oversight of all its research centers. But he emphasizes that federal prosecutors have not charged anyone at Rhode Island with any crime. "What they've told us is that we're a victim of a million-dollar theft," Mr. Weygand says. "We have a right to compensation from any funds that may be recovered from Mr. Felner. We've been working with the Secret Service."

Budget Details

The $60,000 Rhode Island subcontract was only a prelude. At the end of 2006, Mr. Felner told his colleagues that Louisville needed to sign a $250,000 personal-services contract with the Illinois center. His grant proposal had said nothing about the Illinois center, but Mr. Felner now declared that that center, as the "developer/owner of the High Performance Learning Communities Assessments," was the only entity that could effectively survey students and teachers in Kentucky. At the end of 2007, he sent another $200,000 to Illinois. According to prosecutors, the entire $450,000 eventually ended up in Mr. Felner's and Mr. Schroeder's wallets.

Where the work plan on the Rhode Island subcontract had been flowery and vague, the work plans on the Illinois subcontracts were curt and vague. The first one said only that the Illinois center would "provide for the use" of the survey assessments "and the use of data derived therefrom." The second one said that the Illinois center would provide survey data from 135,000 students, 50,000 parents, and 10,500 teachers — but it did not name any Kentucky school districts where the surveys would be conducted.

E-mail records offer a detailed tracing of how that second Illinois subcontract was constructed. The process suggests how Mr. Felner tended to parry research administrators' efforts — such as they were — to wring accurate information from him.

On November 9, 2007, Jennifer E. Taylor, director of grant support and sponsored programs at the college of education, wrote to Mr. Felner to report that she had spoken with B. Ann LaPerle, an assistant in the university's office of grants management. "I just spoke with Ann about the subcontract with Tom [Schroeder]'s group," Ms. Taylor wrote. "We are going to need a detailed budget, so if you have time today, we can get this out and processed."

Mr. Felner replied with a small tantrum. "I have no idea what that means but will try as we have never done such a thing," he wrote. "We tend to pay them by the number of students and surveys but since we do not have enough to actually pay for it all so they are giving us some for free this could be tricky. And given the delays already if it takes another week or so we simply will not be able to do it this year nor finish the work. Unbelievable!"

Later that day, Ms. Taylor wrote to Ms. LaPerle, instructing that the subcontract's detailed budget should read simply "$1 per survey for 200,000 surveys."

But hours later, Mr. Felner weighed in with a more detailed budget — the one that ultimately appeared on the subcontract. Mr. Felner's version stipulated 135,000 student surveys at a price of $1.25 each, 10,500 teacher surveys at $1.45 each, and so on through several more categories.

Apparently no one questioned the discrepancy between the two versions. And neither Ms. LaPerle nor Ms. Taylor asked for any proof that the Illinois center had done any work on its first subcontract, which had been signed almost a year earlier.

It is that last element that seems most startling. It must have been an open secret in Ms. Taylor's office that the Illinois group had received $250,000 at the beginning of 2007 but that no surveys had been conducted. Ms. Taylor has left the university. Her supervisor, Mr. Ronau, declined requests for an interview.

So why did Louisville officials not catch this apparent fraud for a full two years? The Rhode Island subcontract said the center was supposed to submit a final report by the end of September 2006, but no report was ever submitted. The Illinois contracts likewise specified report dates, and one of them said that its work would require approval by a human-subjects-protection board. None of that ever happened — but there is no evidence that anyone objected before the spring of 2008.

"This person was a dean," says Ms. Willihnganz, the provost. "And deans here have a very wide breadth of control. They have a lot of authority. I think, in fact, no one else here at this university could have gotten some of those things through. Because he was a dean, he was trusted."

Misplaced Trust

But that is exactly what many of Mr. Felner's former colleagues dispute. Louisville's leaders, they say, had plenty of reason to distrust Mr. Felner long before he began to send six-figure checks to Illinois.

Continued in article

"Senator Grassley Pressures Universities on Conflicts of Interest," by Jeffrey Brainard, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 8, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i48/48a01201.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on Financial and Academic Lack of Accountability and Conflicts of Interest ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Accountability


"Online Educators Won't Have to Spy on Students Under New Federal Rules," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 3, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3805&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Distance educators won’t have to become FBI-style investigators, scanning fingerprints and installing cameras in the apartments of online students to ensure that people are who they say they are.

At least not yet.

The recently reauthorized Higher Education Act required accreditors to monitor the steps that colleges take to verify that an enrolled student is the same person who does the work, leaving distance educators worried they would have to buy expensive technology to ensure that students didn’t have other people take their tests. They feared the cost could be so high that programs would be in danger.

But, as The Chronicle reports on its Web site today, proposed federal regulations would allow colleges to satisfy the mandate with techniques like secure log-ins and passwords or proctored examinations, according to people involved in the negotiations that ended last month.

After an emotional controversy that touched on cheating, privacy, and Congress’s lingering discomfort with distance education, some in the field are welcoming the developments.

Some distance educators believed they were being held to a higher standard than their peers at bricks-and-mortar institutions. And some technology vendors exacerbated the anxiety through “purposeful distortion” of the law, said Fred B. Lokken, an associate dean at Truckee Meadows Community College, in Nevada.

“There were companies who saw a chance here to get their business base by, I think, exaggerating what the [act] was requiring for distance-education programs,” said Mr. Lokken, chair of the Instructional Technology Council, an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Do you think secure log-ins and passwords are enough to verify a student’s identity?

"Proctor 2.0," by Elia Powers, Inside Higher Ed, June 2, 2006 ---
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/02/proctor

Online there's a simple way to authenticate honesty online. One way is to have a respected person sign an attestation form. In 19th Century England the Village Vicar signed off on submissions of correspondence course takers. There are also a lot of Sylvan Centers throughout the U.S. that will administer examinations.

Is That Online Student Who He Says He Is?" by Sara Lipka, Chronicle of Higher Education,
http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3455&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Bob Jensen's threads on how to verify the integrity of online and onsite academic assessment processes --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#OnsiteVersusOnline

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


Most Popular American Bar Association (ABA) Blogs

Recent Posts from The Becker-Posner Blog ---
http://abajournal.com/blawgs/the-becker-posner-blog

Bob Jensen's threads on blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on free online law and legal studies tutorials and videos ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social


June 5,  2009 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

ARE LOWER GRADES LINKED TO FACEBOOK USE?

When doctoral student Aryn Karpinski's unpublished study connecting students' heavy Facebook use and lower grades was presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association in April it created a "media sensation" both in the press and among academic blogs. Not everyone found her conclusions convincing.

Three researchers attempted to replicate Karpinski's findings using three datasets: (1) a large sample of undergraduate students from the University of Illinois at Chicago, (2) a nationally representative cross sectional sample of American 14– to 22–year–olds, and (3) a longitudinal panel of American youth aged 14–23. They report (in "Facebook and Academic Performance: Reconciling a Media Sensation with Data," by Josh Pasek, Eian More, and Eszter Hargittai, FIRST MONDAY, vol. 14, no. 5, May 4, 2009) that "[i]n none of the samples do we find a robust negative relationship between Facebook use and grades. Indeed, if anything, Facebook use is more common among individuals with higher grades."

The article is available at
http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/2498/2181

First Monday [ISSN 1396-0466] is an online, peer-reviewed journal whose aim is to publish original articles about the Internet and the global information infrastructure. It is published in cooperation with the University Library, University of Illinois at Chicago. For more information, contact: First Monday, c/o Edward Valauskas, Chief Editor, PO Box 87636, Chicago IL 60680-0636 USA;
email: ejv@uic.edu;
Web: http://firstmonday.org/

 See also:
"Study Finds Link between Facebook Use, Lower Grades in College"
http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2009/05/facebook.html

Poster of Karpinski's study
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/facebook2009.jpg

......................................................................

 LEARNING IN VIRTUAL WORLDS

 "Virtual worlds as educational spaces--with their three-dimensional landscapes and customizable avatars--seem so similar to video games that educators may assume . . . that students will become as motivated by virtual worlds as they are by video games. However, these same similarities may also lead students to perceive virtual worlds as play spaces rather than as innovative educational environments. If students feel that learning opportunities offered in such spaces are not valid, they are likely to feel that they are not learning."

      -- Catheryn Cheal, "Student Perceptions of a Course Taught in Second Life"

 The June/July 2009 issue of INNOVATE (vol. 5, issue 5) focuses on the theme of virtual worlds and simulations in education. The papers reflect the maturing of the study of virtuality in education that grew out of early discussions and the formation of the League of Worlds, a conference whose mission is to "stimulate and disseminate research, analysis, theory, technical and curricular developments in the creative, educational, training-based and social use of role-playing, simulations and virtual worlds."

 The journal is available http://innovateonline.info/ Registration is required to access articles; registration is free.

 Innovate: Journal of Online Education [ISSN 1552-3233], an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal, is published bimonthly by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University.

The journal focuses on the creative use of information technology (IT) to enhance educational processes in academic, commercial, and governmental settings. For more information, contact James L. Morrison, Editor-in-Chief;
email: innovate@nova.edu;
Web: http://innovateonline.info/

 For more information about the League of Worlds, go to http://www.ubiqlab.org/low/

......................................................................

 IP POLICIES AND E-LEARNING

 "When we contrast the face-to-face learning environment with the online

(e-learning) environment, nearly all assumptions about IP [intellectual property] and copyright are called into question. Virtually all materials that contribute to e-learning are (or can be) digitized, retained, archived, attributed and logged. This single fact raises questions about IP [intellectual property] ownership, responsibility, policies, and procedures that are newly on the table."

In "Intellectual Property Policies, E-Learning, and Web 2.0:

Intersections and Open Questions" (ECAR Research Bulletin, vol. 2009, issue 7, April 7, 2009), Veronica Diaz discusses how online learning has necessitated revising IP policies that were created for face-to-face instructional settings. She notes that higher education IP policies need to go beyond the assumption that "e-learning is contained within an institutional system" as Web 2.0 technologies and social networking expand the reach of the learning environment.

 The report is available online to members of ECAR subscribing institutions at http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ecar_so/erb/ERB0907.pdf
To find out if your institution is a subscriber, go to
http://www.educause.edu/ECARSubscribingOrganizations/957

 ECAR (EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research) "provides timely research and analysis to help higher education leaders make better decisions about information technology. ECAR assembles leading scholars, practitioners, researchers, and analysts to focus on issues of critical importance to higher education, many of which carry increasingly complicated and consequential implications." For more information go to
http://www.educause.edu/content.asp?SECTION_ID=4

......................................................................

 NEW JOURNAL COVERS HIGHER ED INFORMATION LITERACY

 The NORDIC JOURNAL OF INFORMATION LITERACY IN HIGHER EDUCATION, published by the University of Bergen, is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal created to encourage "research-based development of information literacy teaching within the educational programmes of universities and higher education colleges" and to establish "a forum for the investigation and discussion of connections between information literacy and general learning processes within subject-specific contexts."

 Papers in the inaugural issue include:

 "A New Conception of Information Literacy for the Digital Environment in Higher Education" by Sharon Markless  

 To provide an information literacy (IL) framework for a virtual learning environment, the author considered the "relevant principles of learning, the place of student reflection when learning to be information literate, what IL in higher education (HE) should encompass, the importance of context in developing IL, and the influence of the digital environment, especially Web 2.0."

 "Google Scholar compared to Web of Science. A Literature Review" by Susanne Mikki

 According to the author, "Google Scholar is popular among faculty staff and students, but has been met with scepticism by library professionals and therefore not yet established as subject for teaching." In her paper, Mikki makes a case for including Google Scholar as a library resource by comparing it favorably with the more-highly-regarded Web of Science database.

 The journal is available at https://noril.uib.no/index.php/noril

 Nordic Journal of Information Literacy in Higher Education (NORIL) [ISSN 1890-5900] is published biannually by the University of Bergen Library. For more information, contact: Anne Sissel Vedvik Tonning, University of Bergen Library, Psychology, Education and Health Library, PO Box 7808, N-5020 Bergen, Norway; tel: +47 55588621; fax: +47 55884740;
email: anne.tonning@ub.uib.no;
Web:  https://noril.uib.no/index.php/noril

......................................................................

 NEW JOURNAL ON DIGITAL CULTURE

 DIGITAL CULTURE & EDUCATION is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal devoted to analyzing the "impact of digital culture on identity, education, art, society, culture and narrative within social, political, economic, cultural and historical contexts." Readers can interact with the authors by posting online comments on the journal's website. Paper submissions can include scholarly reviews of books, conferences, exhibits, games, software, and hardware. 

Papers in the first issue include:

 "Revisiting Violent Videogames Research: Game Studies Perspectives onAggression, Violence, Immersion, Interaction, and Textual Analysis" by Kyle Kontour, University of Colorado at Boulder

 "Look at Me! Look at Me! Self-representation and Self-exposure through Online Networks" by Kerry Mallan, Queensland University of Technology

 "Playing at Bullying: The Postmodern Ethic of Bully (Canis Canem Edit) by Clare Bradford, Deakin University

 Digital Culture & Education (DCE) [ISSN 1836-8301] is published as an ongoing journal with content added to the journal's website as papers are accepted. For more information, contact: Christopher Walsh, Editor;
email: editor@digitalcultureandeducation.com;
Web: http://www.digitalcultureandeducation.com/

......................................................................

 HELPING COMPUTER-LITERATE STUDENTS BECOME RESEARCH-LITERATE

 "While college students may be computer-literate, they are not, as a rule, research-literate. And there's a huge difference between the two."

In "Not Enough Time in the Library" (THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, May 14, 2009), Todd Gilman, librarian for literature in English at Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library, offers faculty suggestions for partnering with their campus library staff to help their students become research-literate learners.

Some of his tips include:-- have a librarian conduct a session on effective search strategies that help students "avoid frustration and wasted time."

 -- provide an assignment that applies what the students have learned i nthe session, one that will "incorporate a component that challenges students to evaluate the quality of information they find."

 -- schedule library tour that takes students beyond the study areas and into the reference and stack areas

The article is available at
http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2009/05/2009051401c.htm?utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

(Online access may require a subscription to the Chronicle.)

 The Chronicle of Higher Education [ISSN 0009-5982] is published weekly by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inc., 1255 Twenty-third Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 USA; tel: 202-466-1000; fax: 202-452-1033;
Web: http://chronicle.com/

......................................................................

TWO VIEWS OF ONLINE INSTRUCTION

 "The Excellent Inevitability of Online Courses" by Margaret Brooks

THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION May 29, 2009 http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i38/38a06401.htm?utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

 "Within our lifetimes, technology has fundamentally changed the way we get the news, make purchases, and communicate with others. The Internet provides a platform for learning about and interacting with the world.

It should be no surprise that students line up for courses that make the best use of technologies that are so integral to their lives. It's not just the economy. It's not just the convenience. It's the integration of technology within society that's driving the development of online courses."

 "I'll Never Do It Again" By Elayne Clift
THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, May 29, 2009
http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i38/38a03302.htm?utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

 "I trained for it, I tried it, and I'll never do it again. While online teaching may be the wave of the future (although I desperately hope not), it is not for me. Perhaps I'm the old dog that resists new tricks. Maybe I am a technophobe. It might be that I'm plain old-fashioned. This much I can say with certainty: I have years of experience successfully teaching in collegiate classrooms, and online teaching doesn't compare."

......................................................................

 RECOMMENDED READING

 "Recommended Reading" lists items that have been recommended to me or that Infobits readers have found particularly interesting and/or useful, including books, articles, and websites published by Infobits subscribers. Send your recommendations to carolyn_kotlas@unc.edu for possible inclusion in this column.

"How People are using Twitter during Conferences"

By Wolfgang Reinhardt, et al.
http://lamp.tu-graz.ac.at/~i203/ebner/publication/09_edumedia.pdf

 (Draft version. Originally published in: CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION COMPETENCIES ON THE WEB, Hornung-Prahauser, V., and M. Luckmann, (Ed.), pp. 145-56.)

June 6, 2009 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

A negative relationship seems plausible, and at first glance I'm skeptical of any study that does not find one.

If someone had done a study of my age group (American) when it was in college, they would have found a negative correlation between card playing and GPA. The negative correlation would have been there, also, between beer drinking and GPA. There were times when amorous relations with the opposite sex had a negative impact on GPA. Today, there would be a negative correlation, also between depression/anxiety and GPA.

Causality seems to be present. If you spend time on Facebook that would otherwise have been spent studying, then the GPA is lower. Is anyone surprised?

If I watch a movie instead of grading tests, then it will take longer for me to return results to students.

What I haven't seen is a study that compares students that spend 3 hours per day on Facebook vs. those that spend 3 hours per day on video games, with everything else in the universe held constant. Nor have I seen a good solid rationale as to why time spent on Facebook is more injurious to GPA than, say, booze/drugs, opposite (or same) sexual activity, computer games, working, or whatever.

David Albrecht

The press release published by the Ohio State University similarly juxtaposed recognition of the study’s limitations with broad–sweeping claims about the implications of the findings. At one point, Karpinski emphasizes that “we can’t say that use of Facebook leads to lower grades” but is also quoted as saying that “there’s a disconnect between students’ claim that Facebook use doesn’t impact their studies, and our finding showing that they had lower grades” (Grabmeier, 2009). Further, the only alternative explanation proposed in either the press release or the draft manuscript involved the suggestion that Facebook users might “still find other ways to avoid studying.” Yet it is quite possible that Facebook use is common for individuals in disciplines where lower grades are the norm, that both Facebook use and low academic performance are caused by some other untested factor, or that the relationship is entirely a function of a small unrepresentative sample of students at a single university.
"First Monday, Volume 14, Number 5 - 4 May 2009 --- http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/2498/2181#p2

Bob Jensen's threads on the pros and cons of education technology, including distance education, can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on Education/Learning Applications of ListServs, Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking, and Twitter in education are at
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

Bob Jensen’s threads on the dark side of education technology ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm


From the Scout Report on May 29, 2009

ZoneAlarm 8.0.065 --- http://www.zonealarm.com/ 

ZoneAlarm is a piece of firewall software designed to protect computers from hackers. It features four interlocking security services, including an application control, an Internet lock, and a firewall. The program also includes an easy-to-use wizard device which will help less-experienced users with setting up the program. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer.


Floola 5.1.1 --- http://www.floola.com/modules/wiwimod/ 

If you are looking for a way to organize all of your Bach and Basie tunes, you would do well to give the Floola application a glance. The program works much like iTunes, and it includes music, video, note taking, and photo support. It can also grab videos from the web and convert them to audio-only files. Finally, Floola also supports podcast catching and playlist conversion. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer, Mac OS X 10.3.9 and newer, and Linux.


Team building is the focus of a rather unique version of the Tour de France Cycling jailbirds get their own Tour de France http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/feedarticle/8524818 

Nearly 200 prisoners to bicycle across France
http://www.collegenews.com/index.php?/article/close_to_200_prisoners_bicycle_across_france_05272009304/ 

The Prison Workout: A Total Body Exercise Routine
http://health-fitness-solutions.blogspot.com/2007/05/prison-workout-total-body-exercise.html  

Teampedia http://www.teampedia.net/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page 

Prison Reform http://books.google.com/books?id=m8MXAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA182&dq=prison+exercise&lr=&as_brr=1#PPP1,M1

Tour de France http://www.letour.fr/indexus.html

 


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


Education Tutorials

Introduction to (video) Game Design 2009 --- http://pod.gscept.com/intro2gd2009.xml

"Georgia Tech Plays Video Games to Save Journalism," by Dan Turner, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 5, 2009 --- Click Here

2009 WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World
http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/webwise/090226/ 

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


Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

National Science Foundation: Science and Engineering Statistics --- http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/

Physics for Humanists --- http://ocw.tufts.edu/Course/30

Nevada Test Site Oral History Project --- http://digital.library.unlv.edu/ntsohp/

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


Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Video:  Is Anyone Minding the Store at the Federal Reserve? ---
http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/05.09/mindingthestore.html

The Liberal Republic (civics, governance, public space, and other related matters) ---
http://www.demos.co.uk/files/LiberalRepublic_web2bb.pdf?1242120969

Governing.com (a magazine for state and local government) --- http://www.governing.com/

PhilPapers is a comprehensive directory of online philosophy articles and books by academic philosophers.
We monitor journals in many areas of philosophy, as well as archives and personal pages. We also accept articles directly from users, who can provide links or upload copies. Some features require that you sign in first, but creating an account is easy and free ---
http://philpapers.org/
Jensen Comment
Some of the submissions to this site are not available elsewhere.

Chronicle of Higher Education review on June 2, 2009 ---
http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3803&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

 

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


Law and Legal Studies

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


Math Tutorials

50 Great Examples of Data Visualization ---
http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/06/50-great-examples-of-data-visualization/
 

The Educational Multimedia Visualization Center (video) ---  http://emvc.geol.ucsb.edu/

IBM's Website for Data Visualization --- --- http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/app 
IBM's site lets people collaborate to creatively visualize and discuss data on fast food, Jesus' apostles, greenhouse-gas trends, and more.

"Sharing Data Visualization," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, April 11, 2007 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/18516/ 

Bob Jensen's threads on visualization of multivariate data ---
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/352wpvisual/000datavisualization.htm

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


History Tutorials

Digital Defoe Reviews of 18th Century Literature --- http://www.english.ilstu.edu/digitaldefoe/features/index.shtml

2009 WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World
http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/webwise/090226/ 

storySouth (showcases top fiction) --- http://www.storysouth.com/

Mickle Street Review: An Electronic Journal of Whitman and American Studies [iTunes] http://micklestreet.rutgers.edu/index.htm

Nevada Test Site Oral History Project --- http://digital.library.unlv.edu/ntsohp/

History: 1901 to World War II --- http://www.fsmitha.com/h2/

A is for Animals: An A to Z of Animals in War --- http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/animals/

UC Libraries Calisphere: California Cultures --- http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/calcultures/ 

University of Delaware Library: Historic Map Collection --- http://fletcher.lib.udel.edu/collections/hmc/index.htm

William Gedney Photographs and Writings --- http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gedney/

C-SPAN: The Communicators [iTunes] http://www.c-span.org/Series/Communicators.aspx

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Interactive --- http://americanart.si.edu/interact/index.cf

Smithsonian American Art Museum: The Lincoln Connection --- http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/online/artfulabe/

Alley Oop: 75 Years of the Comic World of V.T. Hamlin ---  http://mulibraries.missouri.edu/specialcollections/exhibits/alleyoop75th.htm

PhilPapers is a comprehensive directory of online philosophy articles and books by academic philosophers.
We monitor journals in many areas of philosophy, as well as archives and personal pages. We also accept articles directly from users, who can provide links or upload copies. Some features require that you sign in first, but creating an account is easy and free ---
http://philpapers.org/
Jensen Comment
Some of the submissions to this site are not available elsewhere.

Chronicle of Higher Education review on June 2, 2009 ---
http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3803&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

 

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


Language Tutorials

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


Music Tutorials

 

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


 


Writing Tutorials

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


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

"Making Fat Disappear:  Engineering mice with a fat-burning strategy from bacteria keeps the animals thin," by Courtney Humphries, MIT's Technology Review, June 8, 2009 ---
http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/22757/?nlid=2084


"Diet may reduce risk of prostate cancer," PhysOrg, June 3, 2009 --- http://www.physorg.com/news163255437.html


"Diabetes Study Questions Expensive Treatments NIH Finds Patients," by Keith J. Winstein, The New York Times, June 9, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124441644145192397.html

Diabetes, in which the body can't control the amount of sugar in the blood, often leads to heart attacks. The five-year study of 2,368 diabetics was an effort to answer two major questions about how to treat diabetics with heart disease: One, does aggressively reopening clogged arteries with stents or with bypass surgery work better than inexpensive pills, such as beta blockers and other generic heart drugs? And do diabetes drugs that help the body use insulin more efficiently, such as GSK's Avandia or Takeda's Actos, work better than injecting insulin?

"The results show that it really didn't matter at all which treatment you had" in terms of deaths, heart attacks and strokes, said Trevor Orchard, an epidemiologist at the University of Pittsburgh who helped run the trial, which is called BARI 2D. "We're a little disappointed that there was not a clear mortality benefit for any of the treatments," he said. The results were unveiled at a big diabetes conference Sunday.

Patients who took Avandia or Actos, or other drugs aimed at helping the body use insulin better, had an 11.8% death rate over five years, compared with 12.1% for those taking insulin -- a statistical dead heat.

Avandia and the other pills do have other advantages over insulin: They prevent patients from falling into low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, and don't require an injection.

Patients who had an immediate stenting angioplasty, a $15,000 procedure to open a clogged artery, had a 10.8% death rate over the five-year study period, compared with 10.2% for those who took generic medicines and waited.

For those with more severe heart disease, the study compared an immediate heart-bypass surgery -- instead of the less-invasive stenting -- against pills. There, the bypass procedure won out. Bypass patients had a 22.4% rate of dying or having a heart attack or strokes during the five years, compared with 30.5% for those who waited.

For diabetics, the angioplasty results reinforced the findings of a 2007 study, called Courage, which concluded that aggressive stenting didn't save lives or avert heart attacks compared with cheap pills in patients with stable heart disease. Stents do alleviate chest pain more quickly than drugs, the study found.

Keith Dawkins, a senior doctor at Boston Scientific, said the study was "not another Courage" and pointed out that many patients who weren't in the early-stenting group still eventually needed a stent. About 40% of patients who were to have drug therapy ended up having an angioplasty or bypass surgery during the five years. By contrast, only 24% of the patients who were immediately stented required a second operation.




Forwarded by Maureen

A Woman's Perfect Breakfast

She's sitting at the table with her gourmet coffee.
Her son is on the cover of the Wheaties box.
Her daughter is on the cover of Business Week.
Her boyfriend is on the cover of Playgirl.
And her husband is on the back of the milk carton


Forwarded by Gene and Joan

Did you hear about the 83 year old woman who talked herself out of a speeding ticket by telling the young officer that she had to get there before she forgot where she was going?

Makes perfectly good sense to me.....


Forwarded by Gene and Joan

 In the British game of cricket, the first testicular guard was used in 1874.

The first helmet was used in 1974.

It took 100 years for men to realize that their brain could also be important.


Forwarded by Maureen

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.

'You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. 'Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.'

The American said, 'The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it.

'Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France !'

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, 'Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to.'

You could have heard a pin drop.

 




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

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

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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

The Master List of Free Online College Courses --- http://universitiesandcolleges.org/

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

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

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a ListServ (usually for free) go to   http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
AECM (Educators)  http://pacioli.loyola.edu/aecm/ 
AECM is an email Listserv list which provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets, multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc

Roles of a ListServ --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
 

CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/ 
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
Yahoo (Practitioners)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
Business Valuation Group BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM

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

 

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