Tidbits Quotations on June 10, 2010
To Accompany the June 10, 2010 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at Trinity University


Video on IOUSA Bipartisan Solutions to Saving the USA

If you missed Sunday afternoon CNN’s two-hour IOUSA Solutions broadcast, you can watch a 30-minute version at
http://www.pgpf.org/newsroom/press/IOUSA-Solutions-Premiers-on-CNN/   (Scroll Down a bit)
Note that great efforts were made to keep this a bipartisan panel along with the occasional video clips of President Obama discussing the debt crisis. The problem is a build up over spending for most of our nation’s history, It landed at the feet of President Obama, but he’s certainly not the cause nor is his the recent expansion of health care coverage the real cause.

One take home from the CNN show was that over 60% of the booked National Debt increases are funded off shore (largely in Asia and the Middle East).
This going to greatly constrain the global influence and economic choices of the United States.

By 2016 the interest payments on the National Debt will be the biggest single item in the Federal Budget, more than national defense or social security. And an enormous portion of this interest cash flow will be flowing to foreign nations that may begin to put all sorts of strings on their decisions  to roll over funding our National Debt.

The unbooked entitlement obligations that are not part of the National Debt are over $60 trillion and exploding exponentially. The Medicare D entitlements to retirees like me added over $8 trillion of entitlements under the Bush Presidency.

Most of the problems are solvable except for the Number 1 entitlements problem --- Medicare.
Drastic measures must be taken to keep Medicare sustainable.


I thought the show was pretty balanced from a bipartisan standpoint and from the standpoint of possible solutions.

Many of the possible “solutions” are really too small to really make a dent in the problem. For example, medical costs can be reduced by one of my favorite solutions of limiting (like they do in Texas) punitive damage recoveries in malpractice lawsuits. However, the cost savings are a mere drop in the bucket. Another drop in the bucket will be the achievable increased savings from decreasing medical and disability-claim frauds. These are important solutions, but they are not solutions that will save the USA.

The big possible solutions to save the USA are as follows (you and I won’t particularly like these solutions):



Watch for the other possible solutions in the 30-minute summary video ---
(Scroll Down a bit)


Here is the original (and somewhat dated video that does not delve into solutions very much)
IOUSA (the most frightening movie in American history) ---
(see a 30-minute version of the documentary at www.iousathemovie.com )

If you missed Sunday afternoon CNN’s two-hour IOUSA Solutions broadcast, you can watch a 30-minute version at
http://www.pgpf.org/newsroom/press/IOUSA-Solutions-Premiers-on-CNN/   (Scroll Down a bit)
Note that great efforts were made to keep this a bipartisan panel along with the occasional video clips of President Obama discussing the debt crisis. The problem is a build up over spending for most of our nation’s history, It landed at the feet of President Obama, but he’s certainly not the cause nor is his the recent expansion of health care coverage the real cause.

Watch the World Premiere of I.O.U.S.A.: Solutions on CNN
Saturday, April 10, 1:00-3:00 p.m. EST or Sunday, April 11, 3:00-5:00 p.m. EST

Featured Panelists Include:

  • Peter G. Peterson, Founder and Chairman, Peter G. Peterson Foundation
  • David Walker, President & CEO, Peter G. Peterson Foundation
  • Sen. Bill Bradley
  • Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
  • Amy Holmes, political contributor for CNN
  • Joe Johns, CNN Congressional Correspondent
  • Diane Lim Rodgers, Chief Economist, Concord Coalition
  • Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer and columnist for CNNMoney.com

Watch for the other possible solutions in the 30-minute summary video ---
(Scroll Down a bit)


CBS Sixty minutes has a great video on the enormous cost of keeping dying people artificially alive:
High Cost of Dying --- http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5737437n&tag=mncol;lst;3
(wait for the commercials to play out)

U.S. Debt/Deficit Clock --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/

"The Looming Entitlement Fiscal Burden," by Gary Becker, The Becker-Posner Blog, April 11, 2010 ---

"The Entitlement Quandary," by Richard Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, April 11, 2010 ---

David Walker --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_M._Walker_(U.S._Comptroller_General)

Niall Ferguson --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niall_Ferguson

Call it the fatal arithmetic of imperial decline. Without radical fiscal reform, it could apply to America next.
Niall Ferguson, "An Empire at Risk:  How Great Powers Fail," Newsweek Magazine Cover Story, November 26, 2009 --- http://www.newsweek.com/id/224694/page/1
Please note that this is NBC’s liberal Newsweek Magazine and not Fox News or The Wall Street Journal.

. . .

In other words, there is no end in sight to the borrowing binge. Unless entitlements are cut or taxes are raised, there will never be another balanced budget. Let's assume I live another 30 years and follow my grandfathers to the grave at about 75. By 2039, when I shuffle off this mortal coil, the federal debt held by the public will have reached 91 percent of GDP, according to the CBO's extended baseline projections. Nothing to worry about, retort -deficit-loving economists like Paul Krugman.

. . .

Another way of doing this kind of exercise is to calculate the net present value of the unfunded liabilities of the Social Security and Medicare systems. One recent estimate puts them at about $104 trillion, 10 times the stated federal debt.

Continued in article --- http://www.newsweek.com/id/224694/page/1


Niall Ferguson is the Laurence A. Tisch professor of history at Harvard University and the author of The Ascent of Money. In late 2009 he puts forth an unbooked discounted present value liability of $104 trillion for Social Security plus Medicare. In late 2008, the former Chief Accountant of the United States Government, placed this estimate at$43 trillion. We can hardly attribute the $104-$43=$61 trillion difference to President Obama's first year in office. We must accordingly attribute the $61 trillion to margin of error and most economists would probably put a present value of unbooked (off-balance-sheet) present value of Social Security and Medicare debt to be somewhere between $43 trillion and $107 trillion To this we must add other unbooked present value of entitlement debt estimates which range from $13 trillion to $40 trillion. If Obamacare passes it will add untold trillions to trillions more because our legislators are not looking at entitlements beyond 2019.


The Meaning of "Unbooked" versus "Booked" National Debt
By "unbooked" we mean that the debt is not included in the current "booked" National Debt of $12 trillion. The booked debt is debt of the United States for which interest is now being paid daily at slightly under a million dollars a minute. Cash must be raised daily for interest payments. Cash is raised from taxes, borrowing, and/or (shudder) the current Fed approach to simply printing money. Interest is not yet being paid on the unbooked debt for which retirement and medical bills have not yet arrived in Washington DC for payment. The unbooked debt is by far the most frightening because our leaders keep adding to this debt without realizing how it may bring down the entire American Dream to say nothing of reducing the U.S. Military to almost nothing.

Niall Ferguson,
"An Empire at Risk:  How Great Powers Fail," Newsweek Magazine Cover Story, November 26, 2009 --- http://www.newsweek.com/id/224694/page/1

This matters more for a superpower than for a small Atlantic island for one very simple reason. As interest payments eat into the budget, something has to give—and that something is nearly always defense expenditure. According to the CBO, a significant decline in the relative share of national security in the federal budget is already baked into the cake. On the Pentagon's present plan, defense spending is set to fall from above 4 percent now to 3.2 percent of GDP in 2015 and to 2.6 percent of GDP by 2028.

Over the longer run, to my own estimated departure date of 2039, spending on health care rises from 16 percent to 33 percent of GDP (some of the money presumably is going to keep me from expiring even sooner). But spending on everything other than health, Social Security, and interest payments drops from 12 percent to 8.4 percent.

This is how empires decline. It begins with a debt explosion. It ends with an inexorable reduction in the resources available for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Which is why voters are right to worry about America's debt crisis. According to a recent Rasmussen report, 42 percent of Americans now say that cutting the deficit in half by the end of the president's first term should be the administration's most important task—significantly more than the 24 percent who see health-care reform as the No. 1 priority. But cutting the deficit in half is simply not enough. If the United States doesn't come up soon with a credible plan to restore the federal budget to balance over the next five to 10 years, the danger is very real that a debt crisis could lead to a major weakening of American power.

Video:  The Greek Economic Crisis Explained --- http://www.simoleonsense.com/video-the-greek-crisis-explained/

Critics outside the Hollywood bubble scorned CBS for its gaudy attempt to take profanity to a new level, to which CBS responds that the show will "in no way be indecent and will adhere to all CBS standards." What is clear is that there is no such thing as "CBS standards." There is only that which CBS can and can't get away with. . . . Our broadcast television networks are not being shy about their agenda. They clearly intend to drag the American people into the enlightenment of the "21st century," where all that is putrid is permissible.
Brent Bozell, "CBS: the Toilet Network," Townhall, May 28, 2010 ---


"Entitlement Reform and the Global Budget Crisis:  Putting Social Security on a sustainable path isn't nearly enough. But it would do a lot to convince markets that Washington can be serious," by Princeton Economics Professor Burton G. Malkiel, The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2010 ---

This time it started in Europe. Stock markets are turbulent throughout the world, and risk aversion is rising. The Chicago Board Options Exchange's VIX index, which measures the volatility of S&P 500 options and is widely seen as a gauge of market fear, normally measures between 10 and 20. But last month the VIX index spiked to over 40 and remains at elevated levels. European banks have become reluctant to lend to one another, and a feeling of malaise has spread throughout the world. Even China, suffering from too rapid rather than inadequate growth, has not been immune.

There are certainly enough worries around to keep investors on edge. The U.S. economy, while no longer sinking, is facing strong headwinds as it slowly recovers from a sharp recession. Consumer balance sheets are still overextended, inhibiting spending, and the banking system is still sufficiently overleveraged to constrain banks from lending freely. The hoped-for strong V-shaped recovery is highly unlikely.

Elsewhere, Greece has experienced a solvency crisis, and the bailout packages that have temporarily avoided a repudiation of its debt will require it to adopt stringent deflationary measures. Other countries in Europe find themselves in frighteningly similar fiscal situations. The strains are likely to dampen growth and even threaten the stability of the European Union. While the United States is in better shape, strong economic growth is unlikely on either side of the Atlantic.

Western governments have made entitlement promises that are increasingly difficult to keep. As populations age (and Europe is in far worse shape than the U.S. on that score as well), strains on federal budgets become increasingly grave. Ratios of debt to GDP have risen to levels where Greek-style solvency crises are likely to proliferate. And rising tax burdens can prove self-defeating by discouraging investment and limiting economic growth. The only viable solution is reform of entitlement programs. What frightens investors most is that political processes seem incapable of dealing with long-run budget deficits before an economic crisis forces action.

In the U.S., Social Security provides an apt example of an entitlement program that must be reformed. While it's not the biggest part of our long-run budgetary shortfall, it is the easiest to fix. Indeed, the system can be made solvent for at least the next 75 years by some combination of three elements:

• Retirement ages. Life expectancy has increased by almost a decade since Social Security was introduced in the 1930s. But we've made only the smallest changes in retirement ages. We could increase the current retirement age schedule by one month a year for the next 36 years—i.e., a total of three years by 2046. After that, retirement ages could be further adjusted with changes in life expectancy. Workers in their 50s might have to work one additional year. We know that those who work after their "normal" retirement age are generally healthier, happier and more mentally alert and engaged than those who don't. Those who are unable to work would be allowed to retire under current schedules. Surveys suggest that younger workers, skeptical that Social Security will be able to pay the present schedule of benefits, would welcome putting Social Security on a sustainable basis.

• Revise the indexing formula. Initial Social Security benefits are based on actual monthly earnings during the 35 years in which the person earned the most. These earnings are then indexed to account for changes in average wages since the year in which earnings were received. The indexing formula used to be based on increases in the consumer price index (CPI). During the Carter administration, the index was changed to average wages rather than prices. Changing the formula back to using CPI rather than average wage increases would make a substantial difference in the projected Social Security deficit over the next 75 years.

A proposal more favorable for low-wage earners is called "Progressive Price Indexing." Under this proposal, low earners would continue to receive benefits promised under "wage indexing," while high earners would have their initial benefits calculated under a formula that used "price indexing" instead. Social Security actuaries have estimated that Progressive Price Indexing could reduce the actuarial deficit by more than 70% of the 75-year shortfall.

• Changes in the amount of earning subject to Social Security tax. As of 2009, $106,800 of earnings was subject to Social Security tax. That number could be increased to $125,000 or even $150,000. While this would represent a tax increase, it would leave the top marginal tax rate—crucial for preserving incentives—unchanged.

Obviously, the devil is in the details. But some reasonable combination of all three of these measures could close the 75-year Social Security deficit. Almost more important than the progress that would be made in bringing the long-run fiscal deficit under control would be the psychological message that our political process is actually capable of tackling entitlements. Markets everywhere would celebrate our return to fiscal sanity on at least one entitlement program.

Higher prices for stocks could lower the cost of equity capital and enhance the long-run growth outlook considerably. By contrast, failure to solve problems that are easy to fix without changing the basic structure of our social safety net is likely to guarantee that our recent unsatisfactory economic performance will continue.

Mr. Malkiel is a professor of economics at Princeton University and the author of "A Random Walk Down Wall Street," 9th ed. (W.W. Norton, 2007).

Bob Jensen's threads on the entitlements crisis are at

"Lift the Siege of Gaza," by Pat Buchanan, Townhall, June 4, 2010 ---

"The Gaza Blockade and International Law:  Israel's position is reasonable and backed by precedent," by Eric Posner, The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2010 ---

Israel's raid on a fleet of activists bound for the Gaza Strip has led to wild accusations of illegality. But the international law applicable to the blockade eludes the grasp of those in search of easy answers.

The most serious charge is that by seizing control of the flotilla, Israel violated the freedom of ships to travel on the high seas. The basic law here is that states have jurisdiction over a 12-mile territorial sea and can take enforcement actions in an additional 12-mile contiguous zone, according to the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention (which Israel has not ratified, but which is generally regarded as reflecting customary international law). Outside that area, foreign ships can sail unmolested.

But there are exceptions. Longstanding customary international law permits states to enforce publicly announced blockades on the high seas. The Gaza blockade was known to all, and certainly to those who launched the ships for the very purpose of breaking it. The real question is whether the Israeli blockade is lawful. Blockades certainly are during times of war or armed conflict. The U.S.-led coalition imposed a blockade on Iraq during the first Gulf War.

The catch here is the meaning of "armed conflict." Traditionally, armed conflict can take place only between sovereign states. If Gaza were clearly a sovereign state, then Israel would be at war with Gaza and the blockade would be lawful. If, however, Gaza were just a part of Israel, Israel would have the right to control its borders— but not by intercepting foreign ships outside its 12-mile territorial sea or contiguous zone.

Gaza is not a sovereign state (although it has its own government, controlled by Hamas) and is not a part of Israel or of any other state. Its status is ambiguous, and so too is the nature of the armed conflict between Israel and Hamas. Thus there is no clear answer to the question whether the blockade is lawful.

However, the traditional idea of armed conflict involving only sovereign states has long given way to a looser definition that includes some conflicts between states and nonstate actors. The international rules governing blockades attempt to balance belligerents' interest in security and other countries' economic interests in shipping. During war, security interests prevail.

War-like conditions certainly exist between Israel and Hamas. And because Israel intercepts only self-identified blockade runners, its actions have little impact on neutral shipping. This balance is reflected in the traditional privilege of states to capture foreign pirates on the high seas.

So Israel's legal position is reasonable, and it has precedent. During the U.S. Civil War, the Union claimed to blockade the Confederacy while at the same time maintaining that the Confederacy was not a sovereign state but an agent of insurrection.

When the Union navy seized ships trying to run the blockade, their owners argued that a country cannot interfere with shipping on the high seas except during war, and one cannot be at war except with another sovereign state. The U.S. Supreme Court approved the captures in an ambiguous opinion that held that an armed conflict existed, even though one side was not a sovereign state. The opinion suggests a certain latitude for countries to use blockades against internal as well as external enemies.

Human Rights Watch argues that a blockade to strike at a terrorist organization constitutes a collective penalty against a civilian population, in violation of Article 33 of the fourth Geneva Convention. This argument won't stand up. Blockades and other forms of economic sanction are permitted in international law, which necessarily means that civilians will suffer through no fault of their own.

Most attention has focused on the question whether Israeli commandos used excessive force while taking control of one of the flotilla ships, which resulted in nine deaths. Human Rights Watch says that Israel's actions violated the 1990 United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. However, that document is not international law; its principles are akin to a set of "best practices" for advising countries with poorly trained police forces. It is also vague and it would not apply to a military operation.

Military operations must respect the principle of proportionality, which is a fuzzy, "know-it-when-you-see-it" test. But one thing is clear. Ships that run blockades may be attacked and sunk under international law. If Israel had exercised that right, far more than nine people would have been killed.

Mr. Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, is the author of "The Perils of Global Legalism" (University of Chicago Press, 2009).


Did Reuters deliberately crop the Turkish photo to remove the knife that the "peace activist" was holding?
June 7, 2010 message from naomiragen@mail-list.com

Please read this.  First, it discusses Reuters penchant for doctoring photos to make them more sympathetic to terrorists.  Taking the knife out of a flotilla terrorist's hand, for example.  And then there is an important editoral on the Prime Minister of Turkey, a Hamas sympathizer, who has been competing with Achmadinijad in wild, anti-Israel statements.  The boat filled with terrorists that attacked Israeli soldiers, sent by banned Turkish terror organization IHH, was recently unloaded in Ashdod. 

And, surprise, surprise!! Behind the sugar and flour were tons of missiles, and other heavy weapons.  Such humanitarians. If anyone should be investigated, it's Turkey!




From: Tom Gross [mailto:tomgross100@yahoo.com
Subject: Did Reuters deliberately crop the Turkish photo to remove the knife that the "peace activist" was holding?

 Following up on my earlier email ("Turkish paper publishes photos of stabbed, beaten Israeli soldiers"

www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/001117.html ), it appears that the Reuters news agency may have deliberately cropped the Hurriyet photo so as to remove the knife that the "peace activist" was holding.


If so, it wouldn't be the first time Reuters had been caught altering photos to make them less sympathetic to Israel. Reuters did so, for example, in the 2006 Hizbullah-Israel war.

 See Reuters and AP photos from today here:

 (For background on Reuters, please see here:
www.tomgrossmedia.com/Reuters.htm )




I recommend taking the time to read The Washington Post editorial, below.

(The Washington Post's editorial page editor and deputy editorial page editor are both subscribers to this email list.)

Turkey's Erdogan bears responsibility in flotilla fiasco Editorial The Washington Post June 5, 2010

WESTERN GOVERNMENTS have been right to be concerned about Israel's poor judgment and botched execution in the raid against the Free Gaza flotilla.

But they ought to be at least as worried about the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which since Monday has shown a sympathy toward Islamic militants and a penchant for grotesque demagoguery toward Israel that ought to be unacceptable for a member of NATO.

On the opposite page today, Turkey's ambassador to the United States makes the argument that Israel had no cause to clash with the "European lawmakers, journalists, business leaders and an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor" who were aboard the flotilla. But there was no fighting with those people, or with five of the six boats in the fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic "charity" that owned the ship, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).

The relationship between Mr. Erdogan's government and the IHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation into the incident. The foundation is a member of the "Union of Good," a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008. In discussions before the flotilla departed, Turkish officials turned down offers from both Israel and Egypt to deliver the "humanitarian" supplies on the boats to Gaza and insisted Ankara could not control what it described as a nongovernmental organization.

Yet the IHH has certainly done its best to promote Mr. Erdogan. "All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdogan,"

IHH chief Bulent Yildirim proclaimed at a Hamas rally in Gaza last year. And Mr. Erdogan seems to share that notion: In the days since an incident that the IHH admits it provoked, the Turkish prime minister has done his best to compete with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah's Hasan Nasrallah in attacking the Jewish state.

"The heart of humanity has taken one of her heaviest wounds in history," Mr.

Erdogan claimed this week. He has had next to nothing to say about the slaughter of Iranians protesting last year's fraudulent elections, but he called Israel's actions "state terrorism" and a "bloody massacre" and described Israel itself as an "adolescent, rootless state." His foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said in Washington on Tuesday that "this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey" -- an obscene comparison to events in which more than 2,900 genuinely innocent people were killed.

Mr. Erdogan's crude attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil's president in linking arms with Mr. Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new U.N. sanctions.

What's remarkable about his turn toward extremism is that it comes after more than a year of assiduous courting by the Obama administration, which, among other things, has overlooked his antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide. Israel is suffering the consequences of its misjudgments and disregard of U.S. interests. Will Mr. Erdogan's behavior be without cost?


"College Groups Share Health Care Worries With White House," Inside Higher Ed, June 3, 2010 ---

Supporters of student health insurance plans who saw provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act threatening the plans were reassured Wednesday in a meeting with President Obama’s chief health care deputy. Representatives of the American College Health Association, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, College and University Professional Association for Human Resources and the six presidential higher education associations met Wednesday with Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, to share their concerns. They worry that student plans -- currently defined as "limited duration," a category that exempts the plans from being part of the individual market -- would under the new law become too expensive for colleges and universities to offer.

One person in the room for the meeting, Steven Bloom, assistant director of government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, said that DeParle assured the group that the absence of language making clear that the plans could continue to operate just as they do today was "not intentional." The Obama administration has emphasized that "if you like the insurance you have, you get to keep it," Bloom said, "and they view student insurance as part of that.... It's just fallen through the cracks."

College health advocates first met with Congressional aides last fall to discuss this same concern, but language supporting student health insurance plans never made it into the final bill. Now that the bill has been passed and legislation is all but frozen on Capitol Hill, Bloom and his peers expect that a fix will come through regulations

Bob Jensen's threads on healthcare in the U.S. are at

"Report Assails 'Liberal Political Agenda' of Summer Reading Programs for Freshmen," by Kelly Truong, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 4, 2010 ---

Complaints of liberal bias often arise over a college's choice of reading assignment over the summer for new freshmen. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Washington State University, for example, have been the targets of such criticism in recent years.

Now a scholarly group says it has more than anecdotal evidence that such a bias exists and is pervasive.

The National Association of Scholars says it looked at common-reading selections for this summer at 290 colleges and universities and found that 70 percent of the books "either explicitly promote a liberal political agenda or advance a liberal interpretation of events."

The association's report, "What Do Colleges Want Students to Read Outside Class?," also faults the assignments as insufficiently intellectually challenging.

The report includes a series of recommendations, advising colleges to select classic works and avoid books that "cheerlead for popular causes or reinforce a political sensibility."

Alix Schwartz, director of academic planning at the University of California at Berkeley, defended the common-reading assignments as a starting point from which students explore a variety of views. The books are not chosen to indoctrinate students with a particular viewpoint, but are intended as a means of providing students with a common basis for dialogue, she said.

"It's a way of starting an intellectual conversation," said Ms. Schwartz. "We certainly don't think the book is the last word on any subject. It's the first word."

Berkeley's reading selection for the 2009-10 academic year, The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, was identified in the report's book list as promoting environmentalism and animal rights. Ms. Schwartz said that the university had engaged students about the book through faculty discussions, freshman seminars, expert lectures, and panels.

"It's not a monolithic thing, where everyone bows down to Michael Pollan," she said.

Some colleges allow their incoming freshman to choose from among more than one book. San Diego State University, for example, sponsors both the Common Experience program, whose 2010 theme is specifically centered on social justice, and the One Book, One San Diego program, which engages the entire San Diego community and has no such theme. In its study, however, the association included only the Common Experience book, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, by Ray Anderson.

The association's president, Peter Wood, said that the study had considered all programs that were not for academic credit. "We were looking for programs that were general to the public," he said.

"The Lessons of the GM Bankruptcy Everybody knew it was ridiculous and unsustainable to pay UAW workers not to work," by Paul Ingrassia, The Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2010 ---

Today is the first anniversary of one of this country's less-than-crowning milestones: the bankruptcy of General Motors, once the largest and richest company in the country, and indeed the world.

Keeping GM alive, albeit in shrunken form, was an expensive undertaking for America's taxpayers: about $65 billion in all, if one counts government aid to the company's former financial arm, formerly GMAC, now renamed Ally Bank. For all that money we, as a country, should take away some lessons from the experience. The following get my vote for the three most important:

• Problems denied and solutions delayed will result in a painful and costly day of reckoning.

• In corporate governance, the right people count more than the right structure.

• Appearances can be deceiving.

All three might sound blindingly obvious, but it's amazing how frequently they're ignored. That's especially true for the first lesson, about denial and delay.

Everybody knew it was ridiculous and unsustainable to pay workers indefinitely not to work (in the United Auto Workers union's Jobs Bank), to keep brands such as Saturn and Saab that hardly ever made money, and to pay gold-plated pension and health-care benefits to employees. But all of these practices, paid for by mounting debt obligations, continued for decades in GM's 30-year, slow-motion crash.

Yet there were plenty of warnings. A dramatic one came in a January 2006 speech by auto-industry veteran Jerome B. York, who represented the company's largest individual shareholder at the time, Kirk Kerkorian. Unless GM undertook drastic reforms "the unthinkable could happen" within 1,000 days, predicted York (who died recently). As things turned out he was a mere 30 days off.

The relevant question looking forward is whether the unthinkable—going broke—also could happen to America.

Everybody knows that we're running unsustainable federal deficits. And that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created financial sinkholes by helping lenders make mortgages to people who couldn't afford them. And that many states' public-employee pensions funds are hopelessly underfunded for the level of benefits they provide. And that shoveling more money into the public schools without insisting on structural reforms and accountability hasn't produced results and won't do so in the future.

Addressing these issues inevitably means enforcing spending discipline and standing up to public-employee unions in a way that GM failed to do with the UAW. Continued denial and delay will prove ruinous. To put it another way: America bailed out General Motors, but who will bail out America?

The second lesson is almost as important as the first, even though the term "corporate governance" sounds about as exciting as, well, dental floss. But good governance is critical because it is private enterprise that creates capital and funds government (though few people in Washington seem to recognize this). What happened at GM, in contrast to its crosstown rival Ford, is instructive.

On paper General Motors was a model of good corporate governance, while Ford was (and is) a disaster. The Ford family's super-voting Class B shares give it 40% of the votes with less than 4% of the shareholder equity. Class B shares get about 31 votes for every share of the Class A stock that nonfamily members own. And the Ford family gets veto power over any corporate merger or dissolution.

This structure seems to fly in the face of what is generally understood to be sound principles of good corporate governance. Such "undemocratic" provisions are sure to be lamented this month at two major corporate-governance conferences: the ODX (Outstanding Directors Exchange) in New York, and the annual confab at the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance at Yale.

But the Ford board of directors and family came together in 2006 to seek a new CEO from outside the struggling company, even though that meant family scion Bill Ford Jr. had to relinquish command. He volunteered to do so and remains chairman, but not CEO. Meanwhile, the GM board, consisting of blue-chip outside directors who chose a "lead director" from their ranks, steadfastly backed an ineffective management from one disaster to another and wrung its collective hands while the company ran out of cash. Some GM retirees dubbed the directors the "board of bystanders."

Ford's governance might be undemocratic. But at least it concentrates decision-making power in the hands of a few people with a significant emotional and financial stake in the company, and they proved willing to act. Absolutely no one on the General Motors board had either such stake, which helps explain why the directors did nothing.

GM's current board—appointed by the company's controlling shareholder, the U.S. government—has a handful of holdovers from the prior board. Maybe they aren't bad people, but they surely showed judgment that was beyond bad. As the new GM prepares for an initial public offering of stock—so that the government can recoup the taxpayer investment—it will need credibility at the board level. The holdover directors should resign.

As for appearances versus facts, the GM bailout—along with the similar exercise at Chrysler—offers ample evidence. The understandable objection to bailouts is that they foster moral hazard, the willingness to act recklessly without fear of consequences. Yet the bailouts of these two companies had painful consequences aplenty for the major actors.

Shareholders of both companies got wiped out. Creditors took major hits, including those who held secured debt at Chrysler. (Their loans to the company were reckless, the equivalent of subprime mortgage loans, but they did recover more than they would have in a Chrysler liquidation.) Many workers and executives lost their jobs. Many dealers lost franchises. The Jobs Bank was abolished, albeit belatedly. So was no-cost health insurance.

All this seems plenty of pain to discourage future moral hazard. Letting the companies liquidate would have produced far more pain, of course, but much of it would have fallen on innocent bystanders—the ordinary citizens who participate in an economy that was on its knees last spring. The Obama administration, to its credit, tried to walk a fine line: doing enough for Detroit to protect the economy, but not doing so much to foster future irresponsible behavior.

Nobody on any point of America's political spectrum really liked this bailout. But having paid for it, let's hope that we as a nation are willing to learn from it.

Mr. Ingrassia, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and former Detroit bureau chief for this newspaper, is author of "Crash Course: the American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster," published recently by Random House.

Revolving Door Rapist
Illegal Immigrant Rapist Had Been Deported 9 Times  --- http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2010/may/illegal-alien-rapist-deported-9-times


Ten Highest and Ten Lowest States in Terms of Taxpayer Liability
A Lot of Taxpayers in the South Pay Zero Taxes (Non-Payers)  Due to Credits, Deductions, and Poverty

Source:  Scott A. Hodge, Tax Foundation, May 24, 2010 ---
According to the latest IRS figures for 2008, a record 52 million filers—36 percent of the 143 million who filed a
tax return—had no tax liability because their credits and deductions reduced their liability to zero.
Indeed, tax credits such as the child tax credit and earned income tax credit have become so generous
that a family of four earning up to about $52,000 can expect to have their income tax liability erased entirely.


"Fight Bigotry Without Government," by John Stossel, Townhall, June 2, 2010 ---

"Backwards and hateful ideas ... oust John Stossel," said Colorofchange.org. In a newspaper, the organization went on: "It's time that FOX drop Stossel ... we'll go directly after the network with a public campaign unlike anything we've pursued to date.". Media Matters joined: "By airing Stossel's repugnant comments, Fox legitimizes his indefensible position." What "indefensible" position did I take? I said this: "Private businesses ought to get to discriminate. I won't ever go to a place that's racist, and I will tell everybody else not to, and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist."

"Backwards and hateful ideas ... oust John Stossel," said Colorofchange.org. In a newspaper, the organization went on: "It's time that FOX drop Stossel ... we'll go directly after the network with a public campaign unlike anything we've pursued to date.". Media Matters joined: "By airing Stossel's repugnant comments, Fox legitimizes his indefensible position." What "indefensible" position did I take? I said this: "Private businesses ought to get to discriminate. I won't ever go to a place that's racist, and I will tell everybody else not to, and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist."

Read that carefully: I condemned racism. I said I'd speak out against and boycott a racist's business. But to some people, I committed heresy. I failed to accept the entire catechism. I didn't say that we need government to fight racism and prohibit racist policies in private establishments.

For this, they demand that I be fired.

This controversy started when Rand Paul, who had just won a senatorial primary, told TV talker Rachel Maddow that the part of the Civil Rights Act that bans discrimination by private business is improper interference with property owners' rights. He, too, condemned racism.

But the chattering class's reaction to Paul's statements must have made him uncomfortable. The next day, he issued a statement saying that he would have voted for the entire act because federal intervention was needed.

Maybe. At the time, racism was so pervasive that such an intrusive law may have been a good thing. But, as a libertarian, I say: Individuals should be surrounded by a sphere of privacy where government does not intrude. Part of the Civil Rights Act violates freedom of association. That's why I told Fox's Megyn Kelly, "It's time now to repeal that part of the law."

You can't say that in America?

America's fundamental political philosophy has deteriorated quite a bit if we can't distinguish between government and private conduct. I enthusiastically support the parts of the civil rights act that struck down Jim Crow laws, which required segregation in government facilities, mass transit, and sometimes in private restaurants and hotels. Jim Crow was evil. It had no place in America.

Racist policies in private restaurants are also evil, but they do not involve force. Government is force, so it should not be used to combat nonviolent racism on private property, even property open to the public

Continued in article



"The Union Pension Bailout:  A scheme for taxpayers to cover mismanaged multi-employer plans," The Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2010 ---

Feeling tapped out after stimulus, ObamaCare and everything else? Senator Bob Casey has one more deal for you. If the Pennsylvania Democrat gets his way, U.S. taxpayers will also pick up the astonishing tab for poorly managed union pension plans.

Mr. Casey is gathering support for his curiously named "Create Jobs and Save Benefits Act," a bailout for union-run retirement plans. Similar to House legislation from North Dakota Democrat Earl Pomeroy and Ohio Republican Patrick Tiberi, the bill would transfer tens of billions of dollars worth of retiree liabilities to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, i.e., to taxpayers.

At issue are multi-employer pension plans, in which companies across an industry pay into a single pension pool. The plans are predominately run by unions and for years have distinguished themselves by poor management. The Labor Department in 2008 listed 230 multi-employer plans that were either endangered (less than 80% funded), or critical (less than 65% funded), or that had applied to government for funding relief. By 2009 that number had soared to 640.

The financial crash is partly to blame, but even before 2006 only about 6% of multi-employer plans were fully funded, compared to about 31% of single-employer plans. The real problem is that multi-employer plans have become a sort of pension Ponzi scheme.

Unions love multi-employer plans because they let workers keep their retirement benefits even if they switch jobs to another participating company. This encourages lifelong union membership. Unions are less enthusiastic about paying the bills. The negotiating priority of union leaders is to get hefty wage increases and benefits for current workers, leaving the scraps to the pensions of retirees who no longer vote in union elections.

When a company in an industry goes out of business, meanwhile, the remaining firms are still on the hook for all costs of the multi-employer plan. This explains why the trucking industry is backing Mr. Casey's bill, and why Mr. Casey announced his legislation at a Pennsylvania facility of YRC Worldwide, a Kansas trucking outfit. Someone has to pay for years of the industry agreeing to Teamster demands.

Mr. Casey's bill would cordon off "orphaned" pensions—those for which an employer has stopped contributing or withdrawn from a multi-employer fund—and put them into a separate account. Surviving companies would pay benefits to these orphans for five years, after which they'd get kicked to the PBGC, which would shoulder the benefits until the last retiree or beneficiary dies. The remaining multi-employer plan would be back in the black, free to start the negative-feedback loop of underpayments and overpromises again.

All of this is a raw deal for union pensioners who worked a lifetime in expectation of certain benefits. The PBGC's current maximum payment to any plan participant is $12,800 a year. Mr. Casey's bill raises that to $21,000 year, still only a fraction of existing pension promises.

Not that the PBGC has the cash to pay more. The agency's deficit was $21 billion as of last September, and it is expected to rise to an estimated $34 billion by 2019. Mr. Casey is claiming his multi-employer-bailout scheme will cost a mere $8 billion, but Moody's estimated last year that multi-employer plans were $165 billion underfunded.

The tab is likely to be much higher given the moral hazard Mr. Casey would create. As Hudson Institute economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth notes, the bill creates "a vicious circle. Once PGBC took over some plans, other employers would want to declare bankruptcy, unload plans on the PGBC, and reorganize under another name. The incentives to do this would be enormous."

In 2006 Congress passed the Pension Protection Act to prod companies and unions to shape up their pension plans, whether by lowering benefits, increasing contributions from employers and workers, or even raising retirement ages. The fact that many unions and companies have refused to use these tools does not make their mistake the obligation of U.S. taxpayers. If unions really cared about protecting retirees, they'd ditch defined-benefit plans and adopt 401(k) plans that give workers control over their retirement assets.

Union chiefs prefer the power that comes with managing huge pension investments—even if they're failing. They are now counting on Mr. Casey to preserve their power by making taxpayers pick up the tab for years of pension mismanagement. With the union priority of "card check" stalled, word is that the Casey bailout is Big Labor's consolation prize. Taxpayers should let Congress know they don't want to pay.

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements ---

"Entitlements Are Forever:  The legal fight over California's attempt to balance its budget," The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2010 ---

At least in the Western Hemisphere, there isn't a better example of the way entitlements capture and then overrun government budgets than California. Amid a fiscal crisis approaching Grecian urgency, the courts are now bidding to turn back even the fitful efforts of the Sacramento political class to close a $19 billion deficit.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is embroiled in a fight with the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which over the last 18 months has invalidated about $2 billion and counting in emergency spending cuts that were approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor. In this case, the fiscal hatchet was taken to the state's $40 billion Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal. If the Ninth Circuit has its way, California—and other ailing states—will lose whatever flexibility they have left after ObamaCare to manage an entitlement-driven budget crisis without raising taxes.

The Ninth Circuit wants to overrule the elected branches of government on the basis of an "equal access" clause in the original 1965 Medicaid statute. This joint state-federal program originally meant for poor women and children—ObamaCare will expand Medicaid to roughly a quarter of the U.S. population—is price controlled like Medicare. States are required to set rates that "are sufficient to enlist enough providers so that care and services are available under the plan at least to the extent that such care and services are available to the general population in the geographic area."

In the 1990s, hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and other providers started suing states over rate cuts they claimed violated this amorphous law. If a state set its price controls too low, they argued, Medicaid recipients wouldn't receive the same standard of care as everyone else. These suits were an invitation for the federal courts to install themselves as the ultimate arbiters of equal access, and thus control all political decisions about Medicaid itself.

This campaign was stopped in 2002, however, with the Supreme Court's watershed 7-2 ruling in Gonzaga v. Doe. The majority held that government spending programs do not create judicially enforceable rights like those in the Constitution. Thus providers didn't have standing to sue over Medicaid, regardless of the merits of their case.

But the saga didn't end there, thanks to the Ninth Circuit's bottomless well of legal creativity. A decade ago, the appellate court had invented an alternative standing to sue under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, which overturns state laws that contravene federal ones. The court repeatedly strolled through this backdoor to second-guess the latest rounds of Medi-Cal cuts.

Sacramento slashed rates for providers between 5% and 10% across the board, which is the kind of arbitrary cost-cutting that states always do when they get themselves in a fiscal jam. Cranking down price controls—already well below private rates and bearing little relation to medical costs—is politically easier than reducing benefits, increasing co-pays or kicking people out of the program.

California is a particular offender: Physician fees are the 47th lowest in the U.S., while the state has so expanded eligibility during boom revenue years that 29% of the population is covered by Medi-Cal.

Still, the Ninth Circuit standard will make it impossible for any state to ever rationalize the Medicaid status quo, whose incentives are hard enough to change as it is. By this point spending limitation is the state's only option, yet the Ninth Circuit reasons that the public interest of averting a debt crisis isn't good enough to justify Medi-Cal cuts.

The court further holds that any reimbursement change "might still conflict with the statute if at least some providers stop treating Medi-Cal beneficiaries" (their emphasis). On that basis, it has even enjoined wage and benefit cuts for some in-home state health workers after a union filed suit.

This doctrine will entrench the open-ended entitlement state, as law, in perpetuity. The Ninth Circuit is also attempting to overturn Gonzaga and breathe new life into the legal left's view that there is an individual right to entitlement spending. Some 40 lawsuits have been filed in a dozen states citing the circuit's reading of the Supremacy Clause—not only in health care but education, nutrition and public assistance. Governors like Wisconsin's Tommy Thompson and Michigan's John Engler never could have spearheaded welfare reform in the 1990s if the courts accepted this premise.

California recently filed a cert petition with the Supreme Court, joined by 22 other states including Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Court declined to hear a similar California appeal last year; this is a good opportunity to rectify the error.

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements ---


"BP Misleads You With Charts," by Andrew Price, Good Blog, May 27, 2010 --- Click Here

Kent Wells, BP's Senior Vice President of Exploration and Production, has a "technical briefing" video up. Its aim is to give the public a little more detail about their efforts to stop the leak. After explaining what all their different ships and robots are doing, he gets into their containment efforts and talks about how they're collecting oil directly from the leak with their "riser insertion tool." He uses this chart (bigger version here) to illustrate the amount they've been collecting.

case you can't read the chart, it has time on the x-axis and the volume of oil collected on the y-axis. Wells explains (at around 4:10) that since they got the riser insertion tool in there, they've been tweaking a few different variables to maximize the amount of oil it collects and points to the chart, saying that it illustrates how they've been "ramping up."

Here's the problem
(first caught by Rachel Maddow's blog): The volume of oil represented by those green bars is cumulative. It's the running total amount of oil the riser insertion tool has collected, not each day's individual total. So of course it's increasing. It couldn't possibly decrease. In the context of the video, however, you might well think that these ever-taller green bars represent an ever-more effective oil collection thanks to the parameter tweaking he's just been talking about.

And worse, if you look at the amounts of oil collected on each day, they don't steadily increase. Here's a chart from Stephen Few:

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on data visualization are at

"What if Sestak Wasn't the Only One?" by David Harsanyi, Townhall, May 28, 2010 ---

Political payoffs are so commonplace in Washington that I was initially unable to muster an appropriate level of outrage at hearing that Rep. Joe Sestak had accused the Obama administration of offering him a job in exchange for his withdrawal from the Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial primary.

Until, that is, I heard President Barack Obama's senior advisor David Axelrod explain to CNN's John King that though there was "no evidence" (hey, if the administration's senior advisor claims there is no evidence we should move along) if such an offer were made, it would constitute "a serious breach of the law."

If the Democratic Party's choice for the Senate in Pennsylvania is a fabulist -- as Axelrod is effectively saying -- why does Sestak's story sound so familiar to one in the Democratic Senate primary in Colorado?

In a September 2009 article headlined "D.C. job alleged as attempt to deter Romanoff," the Denver Post's Michael Riley reported that Andrew Romanoff, former speaker of the Colorado House, then still contemplating a run again against the governor-installed administration-sanctioned foot solider Michael Bennet, received an "unexpected communication" from a renowned kingmaker in Washington.

"Jim Messina, President Barack Obama's deputy chief of staff and a storied fixer in the White House political shop," wrote Riley at the time, "suggested a place for Romanoff might be found in the administration and offered specific suggestions, according to several sources who described the communication to The Denver Post."

Apparently, if you're running against the establishment's preference, a communication from Messina should not be entirely unexpected.

Shortly before Riley's thoroughly sourced piece ran, my colleague, Denver Post editorial board member Chuck Plunkett, asked Romanoff if he had been offered a position within the administration. The answer was "no." But did the White House ever "chat" or "suggest" that a job might perhaps open up if, for whatever reason, Romanoff decided not to run? (Romanoff's campaign did not return my call.)

It should be noted there are differences between the Romanoff and Sestak cases. One: Romanoff, it seems, was not directly offered a position. Two: Romanoff was not yet officially a candidate when the administration was not offering him a position.

Continued in article

In return for all this, the Administration gets weak sanctions similar to the three sets the Bush Administration won without paying such a high tribute. If this represents what the Administration calls "smart diplomacy," we'd hate to see what we give up when we're dumb.

"Obama's Russia Tribute:  What he gave away in return for watered-down Iran sanctions," The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2010 ---

When the Obama Administration last week secured the Kremlin's support for U.N. sanctions on Iran, the White House touted a big dividend from its "reset" in relations with Russia. Now the price for Moscow's cooperation is becoming clearer, and the only ones who should be cheering are the Russians and Iranians.

Three days after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the deal on a diluted Security Council resolution, she quietly met an explicit demand from Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Buried in last Friday's Federal Register, the State Department announced it was ending long-standing sanctions against four Russian entities that had helped Iran's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The draft U.N. resolution also includes a loophole for Russia, which would be allowed to deliver the five S-300 surface-to-air missiles that Moscow agreed to sell Tehran in 2005. The S-300s can intercept missiles and aircraft but fall outside the U.N. resolution's ban on the sale of eight categories of conventional weapons to Iran. Mikhail Margelov, the head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, crowed last Friday that sanctions "will not hit current contracts between Russia and Iran."

All of this came on top of the White House decision a week earlier to resubmit to Congress a civilian nuclear cooperation pact with Russia. This was another goodie for Moscow.

These so-called "123 agreements"—named after a section of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954—open the door to technology transfers, commerce in nuclear materials and joint research between the U.S. and select countries. The Bush Administration negotiated the deal with the Kremlin but shelved it after the Russians invaded Georgia in August 2008.

President Obama said that "the situation in Georgia need no longer be considered an obstacle" and that "the level and scope of U.S.-Russia cooperation on Iran are sufficient to justify" the deal. Unlike a treaty, Congress doesn't ratify the pact but has 90 days to act or the deal automatically goes into force. Democrat Edward Markey and Republican Jeff Fortenberry last week introduced a resolution in the House to stop the deal.

It's an uphill but worthy effort. Russia continues illegally to occupy Georgian territory, but the larger problem is its proliferation. Both Republican and Democratic Administration have turned a blind eye to Russian misbehavior. When the Bush Administration submitted the agreement for review, the Government Accountability Office criticized the mandatory accompanying "proliferation statement" on Russia as shoddy and incomplete.

Starting in the 1990s, Moscow sold Iran nuclear centrifuges and missile technology. One company sanctioned until last week, the state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, was put on the list as recently as 2008, while the Moscow Aviation Institute helped Iran develop ballistic missiles.

Nonetheless, the Obama Administration now says "Russia's approach to Iran has evolved," in the words of State spokesman P.J. Crowley. Gary Samore, the White House arms control coordinator, insists that "the Russians understand that the consequences [of shipping the S-300s] would be very severe."

These assurances don't square with Russian statements or actions. The week that President Obama sent the nuclear cooperation pact to Congress, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was in Damascus touting future nuclear business with Iran's close ally in terrorism. "Cooperation [with Syria] on atomic energy could get a second wind," he said.

In return for all this, the Administration gets weak sanctions similar to the three sets the Bush Administration won without paying such a high tribute. If this represents what the Administration calls "smart diplomacy," we'd hate to see what we give up when we're dumb.

"Palin Will Earn $75,000 for Cal State," Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2010 ---

Sarah Palin will earn $75,000 (and travel expenses) for a speech at California State University at Stanislaus, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing sources who have seen the contract. The appearance at a fund-raising event has been controversial, and there has been much speculation about the fees involved, which the university has declined to reveal. Many have questioned why a large sum would be paid amid deep budget cuts -- especially to a figure about whom views are sharply divided. While Palin's visit continues to be controversial, the Associated Press reported that a local district attorney has found no criminal acts in an investigation of documents about the appearance that were destroyed.


Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm

Return to the Tidbits Archives ---


Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---

Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TheoryTAR.htm
By Bob Jensen

What went wrong in accounting/accountics research?  ---

The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most Accountants ---


Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics ---

Systemic problems of accountancy (especially the vegetable nutrition paradox) that probably will never be solved ---

Bob Jensen's economic crisis messaging http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

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

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