Tidbits on April 15, 2011
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

This week I made a special photograph file of my Texas Wildflower Favorites


A sampling of Jensen Ancestors

You can read an autobiography by Amey Cherland at


 White Mountain News --- http://www.whitemtnews.com/


Tidbits on April 15, 2011
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/

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

Japan’s Earthquake & Tsunami: How They Happened --- Click Here

Animated Maps 1939-1945 ---

Video:  Farewell Sidney Lumet, 1924-2011 --- Click Here

How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Were Made --- Click Here

Computer Animation of the 21st Century --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animation_software

Create Cartoons With Anime Studio Debut Create South Park-like cutout and simple 2D animation easily using the bone structure of a drawing," by Steve Horton, PC World, via The Washington Post, August 6, 2009 --- Click Here

From Michigan State University (Audio)
Vincent Voice Library --- http://vvl.lib.msu.edu/

Video:  The billion-insect highway in the sky --- Click Here

Singing Insects of North America --- http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/walker/buzz/

"Beyond Timothy Leary: 2002 Film Revisits History of LSD" (56 minute video) --- Click Here

How Venice Works (video) --- Click Here

Double-entry and Events Accounting - Part 1 (by Rick Newmark) ---

David Letterman - Apple iPad Top Ten List ---

David Letterman - Homer Sompson Top Ten List

The Onion: Fake News Site Launches Real Archive (of old editions) ---

Billy Collins Poetry Brought to Animated Life ---

Huge ice chunk floating down river in front of Wabasha, MN 4-2-11 ----

Cheap Flights (Irish Music Video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPyl2tOaKxM

Inside Job: 2010 Oscar-Winning Documentary Now Online --- Click Here

In late February, Charles Ferguson’s film – Inside Job – won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. And now the film documenting the causes of the 2008 global financial meltdown has made its way online (thanks to the Internet Archive). A corrupt financial industry, its corrosive relationship with politicians, academics and regulators, and the trillions of damage done, it all gets documented in this film that runs a little shy of 2 hours.

To watch the film, you will need to do the following. 1.) Look at the bottom of the film. 2.) Click the forward button twice so that it moves beyond the initial trailer and the Academy Awards ceremony. 3.) Wait for the little circle to stop spinning. And 4.) click play to watch film.

Inside Job (now listed in our Free Movie Collection) can be purchased on DVD at Amazon. We all love free, but let’s remember that good projects cost real money to develop, and they could use real financial support. So please consider buying a copy.

Hopefully watching or buying this film won’t be a pointless act, even though it can rightly feel that way. As Charles Ferguson reminded us during his Oscar acceptance speech, we are three years beyond the Wall Street crisis and taxpayers (you) got fleeced for billions. But still not one Wall Street exec is facing criminal charges. Welcome to your plutocracy…

Bob Jensen's threads on the global financial meltdown and its aftershocks are at


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

Classical Comedy: 'A Little Nightmare Music' ---

Star Wars the Musical: The Force is Strong in this One (hard to see anything for the first two minutes) --- Click Here

Amazing Grace --- http://www.clarrissegill.com/videoclips/amazing_grace.php

Steve Martin Writes Song for Hymn-Deprived Atheists --- Click Here

'Carmen': Bizet's One-Opera Hit Parade (Introduction to the Opera) ---

Los Angeles Philharmonic On Tour In London ---

Cheap Flights (Irish Music Video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPyl2tOaKxM

The Quadrocopter Opera (Video) --- Click Here

Punk Rock
The Ramones Live in 1978: 26 Songs in 54 Minutes (video) --- Click Here


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

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

BioEd Online: Japanese Earthquake and Tsunamis, Before and After ---

Night Photography: Painting Darkness with Light --- Click Here

African American Women in Iowa Digital Collection --- http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/aawiowa/index.php 

Ready for Takeoff: China's Advancing Aerospace Industry --- http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG1100.html

From Southwest Texas State University (Photography)
The Wittliff Collection --- http://www.thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu/

Casasola Studio Photo Database (history of El Paso) --- http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/casasola/

Remember Me: Displaced Children of the Holocaust --- http://rememberme.ushmm.org/

UCSF Japanese Prints Collection --- http://asian.library.ucsf.edu/

Japanese Fine Prints, Pre-1915 --- http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/jpdhtml/jpdabt.html

Japanese and Chinese Prints and Drawings donated by Gillette G. Griffin ---

Chicago Newspaper Photographs
Hyde Park Herald Digital Collections --- http://www.hpherald.com/archive/

Chicago History Museum [Flash Player] http://blog.chicagohistory.org/ 

Tate Archive Journeys --- http://www.tate.org.uk/archivejourneys/

Leodis - A Photographic Archive of Leeds --- http://www.leodis.org/

ARTicle (art history museum) --- http://blog.artic.edu/

Images of Colonialism (such as in Africa) --- http://hcl.harvard.edu/collections/digital_collections/colonialism.cfm

Aesthetics + Computation Group: MIT Media Laboratory --- http://acg.media.mit.edu/projects/

American Museum of Natural History: The Horse --- http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/horse/

Steppenwolf Theatre Company --- http://www.steppenwolf.org/

Civil War anniversary: Songs, literature and films about the Civil War

Bob Jensen's threads on history, literature and art ---

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

From Michigan State University (Audio)
Vincent Voice Library --- http://vvl.lib.msu.edu/

National Academy of Sciences: Distinctive Voices @ The Jonsson Center [Real Player]

American Museum of Natural History: The Horse --- http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/horse/

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

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on April 15, 2011


Peter G. Peterson Website on Deficit/Debt Solutions ---

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

"Bungled Nazi Sub Mission Revealed in New Files:  The sheer clumsiness of the mission almost sounds like the makings of the screwball comedy," Discovery News, April 4, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
The U.S. Coast Guard was equally inept. Sort of reminds me of the movie entitled
The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Russians_Are_Coming,_the_Russians_Are_Coming

Lady Gaga in skimpy underwear tops anything with intellectual or political content
Top 10 YouTube Videos of All Time --- http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/top_10_youtube_videos_of_all_time.php

Jensen Comment
Makes us wonder if the Top 10 porno videos leave the top 10 YouTube video statistics in the dust. However, I've no idea how to find the Top 10 porno videos of all time, and I wouldn't believe the numbers in any case since most porno sites are run by some really dangerous Webmasters of low integrity.

Concentrate on Output Instead of Input:  The Error of Billing on the Basis of Hours Spent on the Job
Productivity Secrets of a Very Busy Man, Audio Clip from the Harvard Business Review Blog, April 7, 2011 --- Click Here

Common sense is also inclined to conclude that individual successes (and failures) are determined by inherent qualities rather than by unpredictable circumstance. Mr. Watts asks why the “Mona Lisa” is the most admired painting in the world today—why most ­people believe it to possess unique, timeless features that set it apart.
Duncan Watts as quoted by Christopher Chabris below

"Knowing What Isn't So," by Christopher F. Chabris, The Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2011 ---

During World War II the U.S. military surveyed 600,000 soldiers for a ­research project. Two of its many findings were that better-educated soldiers suffered more psychological distress from their wartime experience than their less-educated comrades and that soldiers from rural areas were happier than those from urban backgrounds. These conclusions are hardly surprising: Effete intellectuals should have more trouble handling the stress of war, and farmers are more accustomed than city folk to harsh, army-like conditions. What could be more obvious? A grandstanding politician could easily ­denounce the entire study—or the entire enterprise of social-science research—as a massive waste of money on the basis of "discoveries" like these.

Wait, change that: The military study actually arrived at the opposite conclusions. The sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld—aiming to show how "common sense" justifications can be found for ­almost any conclusion—pulled the switcheroo in a 1949 review of the survey's results. In fact, educated soldiers were less troubled than uneducated ones, and urban soldiers were happier than their rural counterparts. The real findings are just as explainable as the fake ones; perhaps education equips us to cope with stress and urbanites are more­ ­accustomed to living in close quarters.

Duncan Watts uses Lazarsfeld's ruse to frame the central concern of "Everything Is Obvious": that common sense is a shockingly unreliable guide to truth and yet we rely on it virtually to the ­exclusion of other methods of reasoning. Mr. Watts, a former sociology professor and physicist who is now a researcher for Yahoo, has written a fascinating book that ranges through psychology, economics, marketing and the science of social networks.

He is especially interested in the mistakes we make when we reason about how people influence one another—such as our tendency to think of groups in terms of representative or important members rather than as whole entities. The writings of New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell take heavy fire in "Everything Is Obvious." Mr. Gladwell's book "The Tipping Point" (2000) argued that social epidemics are launched by a few "exceptional people" who possess the ability to make ideas go viral. When ­hipsters suddenly started wearing Hush Puppies shoes, Mr. Gladwell's story goes, they started a fashion trend that ­rescued the brand from terminal uncoolness and made it profitable again.

"The Tipping Point" reads so well that its explanations have been widely accepted. At first blush they seem novel, but they mainly reflect what common sense tells us about how social networks work. The problem with the Hush Puppies story is that the computational analysis of actual networks, such as a study that Mr. Watts conducted of 74 million Twitter message chains, shows that influencers, if they exist, are more common and less special than Mr. Gladwell thinks. Paying Kim Kardashian $10,000 to tweet about a product may well buy less buzz than paying 10,000 ordinary Twitter users $1 each. The Hush Puppies tale is a just-so story ­written after the fact—and an example of what Mr. Watts calls the "special ­people" fallacy.

Common sense is also inclined to conclude that individual successes (and failures) are determined by inherent qualities rather than by unpredictable circumstance. Mr. Watts asks why the "Mona Lisa" is the most admired painting in the world today—why most ­people believe it to possess unique, timeless features that set it apart.

Before the 20th century, the "Mona Lisa" wasn't even the most popular painting in the Louvre. But in 1911 it was stolen, smuggled to Italy and exhibited widely before being returned to France, whereupon Marcel Duchamp defaced a reproduction of it and labeled his work with an obscene pun. The painting rocketed to fame, its pigments and brushstrokes unchanged. The "Mona Lisa" is the artistic equivalent of the investor who did nothing special until he got lucky a few years (or quarters) in a row and was fêted as a genius. Ecclesiastes told us that time and chance happeneth to all, but we easily forget.

The enterprise of prediction-making is another casualty of the limits of common sense. Mr. Watts suggests that the entire field of business strategy suffers from a delusion that the future can be forecast with enough numerical precision to enable accurate planning. One solution he endorses is a systematic process of imagining detailed alternative narratives of the future. Such an exercise may have the salutary effect of ­raising possibilities that were not ­considered seriously, but it risks playing into our bias to believe well-crafted, emotionally satisfying stories that aren't likely to come true.

Continued in article

Databuse: Digital Privacy and the Mosaic --- http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2011/0401_databuse_wittes.aspx

Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age --- http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11896 

Forwarded by Jagdish Gangolly on April 8, 2011

"There used to be a joke in Paris. What is the difference between the Chief Rabbi in France and the Cardinal of Paris ? The Cardinal speaks Yiddish!"

Jean Marie Cardinal Lustiger was buried yesterday. He died this week of cancer. He was born almost 81 years ago to Polish parents who ran a dress shop in Paris. When the German army marched into their city, his parents sent him and his sister into hiding with a Catholic family in Orleans. Their mother was captured and sent to Auschwitz.

In 1999 as Cardinal of Paris , Jean Marie Lustiger took part in reading of the names of France 's day of remembrance of Jews who had been deported and murdered. He came to the name of Gesele Lustiger,paused, teared and said, "my Mama!" The effect in France during a time of revived anti-Semitism was electric.

He was just 13 and in hiding when he converted to Catholicism, not to escape the Nazis he always said, because no Jew could escape by conversion, and not of trauma, he said. Among his most controversial observation, I was born Jewish and so I remain, even if that is unacceptable for many. For me, the vocation of Israel is bringing light to the goyem. That is my hope and I believe that Christianity is the means for achieving it.

There were a great number of Rabbi's who consider his conversion a betrayal, especially after so many European Jews so narrowly escaped extinction. Cardinal Lustiger replied, "to say that I am no longer a Jew is like denying my father and mother, my grandfathers and grandmothers. I am as Jewish as all other members of my family that were butchered in Auschwitz and other camps."

He confessed to a biographer that he had a spiritual crisis in the 1970's provoked by persistent anti-Semitism in France. He studied Hebrew and considered emigrating. He said, "I thought that I had finished what I had to do here and I might find new meaning in Israel." But just at that time the Pope appointed him bishop of Orleans . He found purpose in the plight of immigrant workers. Then he was elevated to Cardinal, the Archbishop of Paris .

Jean Marie Lustiger was close to the Pope. They shared a doctrinal conservatism. He also battled bigotry and totalitarianism. For years, Cardinal Lustiger's name was among those who was considered to succeed John Paul. Without putting himself forth, the Cardinal joked that few things would bedevil bigots more that a Jewish Pope. They don't like to admit it, but he said, "What Christians believe, they got--through Jews."

The funeral for Cardinal Lustiger began at Notre Dame Cathedral yesterday with the chanting of Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

Sometimes there are profound inconsistencies in our world.


No Fooling: Try This One Out With Students (adding sensitivity analysis with interest rates and inflation)
"Slow Compounding," by Floyd Norris, The New York Times, April 1, 2011 ---

American Express has a full-page ad in today’s Times offering a savings account yielding 1.15 percent.

These days that is a good rate, a fact the people of my generation find astonishing. Such amazingly low rates cause great anxiety for those who saved money in the past and now find it yields so little.

I did a little arithmetic. My son is an 18-year-old college freshman. If he puts $100 into such an account now, and rates remain constant, he will have doubled his money in time for his 79th birthday party.

Of course, if you are investing for a child in kindergarten, there is still hope. A $100 investment today would double about the time he or she goes on Medicare.

Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers are at

The more you make the less income tax you pay

"How to Pay No Taxes Eleven shelters, dodges, and rolls—all perfectly legal—used by America's wealthiest people," by Jesse Dricker, Business Week, April 7, 2011 ---

For the well-off, this could be the best tax day since the early 1930s: Top tax rates on ordinary income, dividends, estates, and gifts will remain at or near historically low levels for at least the next two years. That's thanks in part to legislation passed in December 2010 by the 111th Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.

"This is clearly far and away the most generous tax situation that's existed," says Gregory D. Singer, a national managing director of the wealth management group at AllianceBernstein (AB) in New York. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

For the 400 U.S. taxpayers with the highest adjusted gross income, the effective federal income tax rate—what they actually pay—fell from almost 30 percent in 1995 to just under 17 percent in 2007, according to the IRS. And for the approximately 1.4 million people who make up the top 1 percent of taxpayers, the effective federal income tax rate dropped from 29 percent to 23 percent in 2008. It may seem too fantastic to be true, but the top 400 end up paying a lower rate than the next 1,399,600 or so.

That's not just good luck. It's often the result of hard work, as suggested by some of the strategies in the following pages. Much of the top 400's income is from dividends and capital gains, generated by everything from appreciated real estate—yes, there is some left—to stocks and the sale of family businesses. As Warren Buffett likes to point out, since most of his income is from dividends, his tax rate is less than that of the people who clean his office.

The true effective rate for multimillionaires is actually far lower than that indicated by official government statistics. That's because those figures fail to include the additional income that's generated by many sophisticated tax-avoidance strategies. Several of those techniques involve some variation of complicated borrowings that never get repaid, netting the beneficiaries hundreds of millions in tax-free cash. From 2003 to 2008, for example, Los Angeles Dodgers owner and real estate developer Frank H. McCourt Jr. paid no federal or state regular income taxes, as stated in court records dug up by the Los Angeles Times. Developers such as McCourt, according to a declaration in his divorce proceeding, "typically fund their lifestyle through lines of credit and loan proceeds secured by their assets while paying little or no personal income taxes." A spokesman for McCourt said he availed himself of a tax code provision at the time that permitted purchasers of sports franchises to defer income taxes.

For those who can afford a shrewd accountant or attorney, our era is rife with opportunity to avoid, or at least defer, tax bills, according to tax specialists and public records. It's limited only by the boundaries of taste, creativity, and the ability to understand some very complex shelters.

Watch the video --- http://feedroom.businessweek.com/?fr_story=cc41b0edf7d0818141dd982fb38791199425504a

How to Pay No Taxes --- http://www.businessweek.com/mediacenter/video/index.html

Bob Jensen's taxation helpers are at

"Why People Pay Income Taxes," by Casey B. Mulligan, The New York Times (Economix), April 6, 2011 ---

Millions of taxpayers are filling out their tax returns over the next several days. Economists are still not sure whether taxpayer honesty or fear of the Internal Revenue Service explains why taxpayers’ income reporting is pretty accurate.

But with the Treasury spending more than ever, it’s important to know why people pay their taxes and what will continue to motivate them to pay in the future.

It’s difficult to get exact numbers on income tax cheating, but I.R.S. studies (read about them and other tax-evasion analysis in Prof. Joel Slemrod’s paper) suggest that reporting of wages and salaries is so high that the Treasury receives 99 percent of what it would if all taxpayers were honest about that income (see Page 2 of this I.R.S. report).

You might think that people pay taxes merely to stay out of trouble with the I.R.S. But 99 percent of people are not audited by the I.R.S., and even the remaining 1 percent are penalized only about 10 percent of the amount underpaid. (The I.R.S. is, however, increasing its audits of the wealthy.)

From a financial point of view, underpaying taxes looks like a high expected return investment: a 99 percent chance of keeping the, say, $10,000 that you underpaid the Treasury and a 1 percent chance of having to pay the $10,000 plus a $1,000 penalty (on average, you get $9,790 for every $10,000 you hold back from the Treasury).

Some economists have tried to reconcile low penalties with high compliance, arguing that people obey the tax laws for non-economic reasons – people want to be honest and pay their share. Or perhaps individuals don’t understand that any one person’s tax payment is not critical to the functioning of our government, while the aggregate of millions of tax payments are.

To the extent that much of the Treasury’s revenue arrives because taxpayers are honest, public policy might not want to take honesty for granted. For example, the Treasury may receive less revenue over time if taxpayers increasingly distrust government because they perceive their tax dollars are wasted.

There’s some truth to the honesty theory (I’ll write next week about a study of integrity and tax compliance), but tax compliance still responds to incentives. When the probability of audit falls, compliance falls.

It’s difficult for the I.R.S. to verify many types of business income: as a result the amount of proprietor, rent and royalty income that is reported is actually less than the amount unreported.

Nanny taxes -– self-employment taxes paid for household employees -– are another type of tax on which many people cheat, and enforcement on this front is weak. Though on this and other tax issues, high-profile people –- like political appointees –- should beware.

Among those whose failure to pay various taxes were widely publicized were Tom Daschle, President Obama’s nominee as secretary of health and human services; Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Zoe Baird, President Clinton’s nominee for attorney general.

Continued in article

"Who Cheats on Their Taxes?" by Casey B. Mulligan, The New York Times (Economix), April 13, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
Note that there's a huge difference between "cheating" and playing by the rules to minimize/avoid taxation. Cheating is especially common in trades where cash is paid without filing W-2 or 1099 forms such as paying house cleaners for a few hours work per week, hiring day laborers off the streets, cash tipping, paying guys who plow snow from your driveway, and crime dealings, including drug dealings and prostitution. The IRS has made it increasingly more difficult to under report income. For example, most casinos now withhold taxes from significant winnings, although some players may walk away without reporting small winnings. House cleaners now may want to have their earnings reported for Social Security purposes.

Tax cheating and most financial crimes could be eliminated in a cashless world of all-electronic transfers, but don't hold your breath for our legislators to agree to that solution to crime. Too many of them might might be prevented tax cheating and crime in a cashless society. Smart criminals now are either avoiding bank accounts or laundering money before depositing it into bank accounts.

Tax cheating is much less of a problem in the U.S. than in most other nations such as Greece and Italy where tax cheating is virtually a way of life. Studies show that most U.S. taxpayers have greatly exaggerated fears of full tax audits, which is comes as a delight to tax collectors who better understand the real odds of being audited. Of course there are those pesky partial audits and the things taxpayers can do to increase the odds of a partial audit such as taking a huge deduction for a home office. Many people are likely to overpay taxes out of fear of audits such as people who qualify for more deductions than they actually declare simply to avoid the stress of worrying about letters from the IRS.

I should preface this by stating that I think it is unfair in states that have sales taxes on such businesses as bookstores and sporting goods stores to not be able to tax sales on books and air bicycles purchased through Amazon and LL Bean. Be that as it may, it will probably take a U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow states to tax sales from such vendors as Amazon and LL Bean.

In the meantime states like Illinois and Massachusetts that try to collect taxes from online vendors probably are only killing jobs in their states. Amazon in particular has added tens of thousands of "affiliates" around the world that carry inventories of new and used merchandise that can be sold and billed through Amazon. For example, if I buy a used copy of the book War and Peace from Jane Doe in Illinois, Jane Doe actually sends her copy of the book to me and collects her selling  price from Amazon. Similarly, a hardware store in Illinois can ship a new air conditioner to me and be paid through Amazon where I placed the order. What Governors Pat Quinn and Duval Patrick are doing is simply blocking sales of Amazon affiliates in their states. Killing off the Jane Doe sellers hurts a little, but killing off the corporate affiliates will put people out of work in Illinois and Massachusetts.

Of course online vendors like Wal-Mart, Sears, and Jggock Pennaaey charge an Internet sales tax in Illinois and Massachusetts because they also have big stores in those states. Residents of selected states that do not have sales taxes (I think there are five such states including my state) do not have to pay any sales taxes on online purchases from anybody.

Amazon is different from Wal-Mart, Sears, and Jggock Pennaaey unless Amazon has a warehouse in a particular state. Illinois and Massachusetts, however, are trying to kill off Amazon affiliates. Whether this is just or unjust will have to be ultimately decided in our now sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy upon whom swing votes rest is now is the most powerful person in the United States.

I think Pat Quinn and Duval Patrick should wait and see what happens to the pending New York lawsuit on this issue.


"The Internet Tax Mirage Politicians try to drive online commerce—and revenue—out of state," The Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2011 ---

Governor Pat Quinn recently added to his reputation as America's most taxing politician by signing a law applying the state's 6.25% sales tax to Internet purchases made in Illinois. Within hours, Amazon, the online book and merchandise seller, announced it would discontinue using any of its 9,000 Illinois small business affiliates to avoid having to collect the tax. Congratulations, Governor.

The issue of whether and how states should tax Internet sales is back as one of the hottest in state legislatures. Colorado, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island already impose some version of what has become known as the "Amazon tax," and at least a dozen other deficit-plagued states are advancing similar bills. This political brawl unites liberals with brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target, against taxpayers and such online retailers as Amazon and Overstock. Internet sales reached $165 billion last year and have been growing by nearly 15% annually.

The first issue is whether the Amazon tax is constitutional. New York's law is now being challenged in court as a violation of the Supreme Court's landmark 1992 Quill decision. In that case the High Court ruled that a state cannot impose a tax on a company if it does not have a physical presence in that state.

Continued in article

Prezi in place of PowerPoint and Camtasia?
Nope --- I don't think so!

Fill-In the Blanks for the 2011 N.C.A.A. Championship Game ---
Scroll Down

"A Browser that Speaks Your Language:  The latest version of Google's Chrome shows the potential of HTML5," by David Zax, MIT's Technology Review, April 6, 2011 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/37166/?nlid=4318&a=f

You might want to download this excellent article while it's still in front of the NYT's new  paywall

"The Logic of Cutting Corporate Taxes," by UC Berkeley Business Professor Laura D'Andrea Tyson, The New York Times, April April 8, 2011 ---
Full Article --- http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/08/the-logic-of-cutting-corporate-taxes/#more-106953

Corporate taxes –- or rather their absence –- have jumped to the top of the news in recent weeks, even drawing humorous commentary from Jon Stewart and Bill Maher. Many Americans are outraged to learn that some profitable American corporations pay little or no taxes in the United States, especially when corporate profits enjoyed their fastest growth ever in 2010.

Shouldn’t the government raise the corporate tax rate to require corporations to contribute their “fair share” to deficit reduction and to enhance the progressivity of the tax system? The answer is no.

In today’s world of mobile capital, increasing the corporate tax rate would be a bad way to generate revenues for deficit reduction, a bad way to increase the progressivity of the tax code and a bad way to help American workers and their families.

After the 1986 tax overhaul, the United States had one of the lowest corporate tax rates among the advanced industrial countries. Since then, these countries have been slashing their rates both to attract investment by American and other foreign companies and to discourage their own companies from shifting operations and profits to foreign locations offering even lower tax rates.

The resulting “race to the bottom” in corporate tax rates has made the United States a less attractive place for both domestic and foreign investments, and that has encouraged American multinational companies to shift more of their income abroad, in ways permitted by the United States tax code.

The United States now has the highest corporate tax rate of all developed countries –- and is alone in its attempt to impose taxes on the worldwide income of its resident corporations. All other developed countries and most major emerging countries have adopted a territorial system that exempts most foreign income of their resident corporations from taxes.

Continued in article

Laura D’Andrea Tyson is a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and served as chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton.

My distant cousin Bob Overn clued me into the Bing aerial view maps. These are great!!

Let me walk you through an example.
I have to take Erika to the New England Baptist Hospital next week for more tests on her broken back.


I tried this for the address in Baltimore where my friend Barry Rice lives.
I then got a good view of his townhouse.

I found that it's not always possible to get a Bing map to come up for an address
For example, the Cannon Mountain Ski Resort mailing address is
9 Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia, NH 03580
Using the above address I do not get an option for a Bing map
But you can use the Franconia Hardware address
334 Main St., Franconia 03580

When I tried this on our cottage I got a map but our cottage was hidden beneath the clouds on the day this aerial view photo was taken
190 Sunset Hill Road, Sugar Hill, NH 03586

The Bing areal views are photographs that do not change from day to day such that you will still get a cloudy view of Sugar Hill even if we're having a clear day.



Now let's try a great Microsoft Silverlight Map Application
I think you have to have the free Silverlight installation for this one ---

Then go to
Microsoft Virtual Earth Amazing 3D Modeling Fly Over Aerial View Bing.com

I then move about with my mouse pointer and zoom with the wheel of my mouse.
Wow --- I can zoom in on the New England Baptist Hospital without having to enter an address (as long as I know where it's located in the Boston area)



"Bing's Travel Search, So Much Better Than Google, Gets Even Better," by Marshall Kirkpatrick, ReadWriteWeb, February 25, 2011 ---

Google does almost nothing interesting in travel search. Bing offers a much more compelling travel search experience and today added a new little feature that makes me want to use it even more.

Search on Bing for the phrase "fly to..." and the name of a major destination city and you will now see an automatic display of the best dates to fly from where you are to that place, with the lowest price for a round trip ticket and advice about whether the price is likely to go up or down if you waited to buy the ticket later. It's really cool.

Google now provides users access the its Map Labs work in progress
"All Things Google: Google Maps Labs," by Brian Croxall, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 5, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's travel helpers ---

How to view a street-level picture of an address keyed into Google Maps ---  http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/

April 1, 2011 message from Barry Rice

1- Use Google maps to find an address;

2- Grab the little guy above the + sign on the slider and drag him to the street location you want to view;

3- That will give you a 360 degree view of the street location if you click and drag (I also like to click the + sign at the top right of the picture to view it in full screen.);

4- Click anywhere on the street where your cursor gets a circle and you can “drive” anyplace that Google filmed.

Of course, Google is not nearly as good at showing you the exact map location for an address as is MapQuest. Therefore, you may be up to ¼ mile off in what you are looking at as was my experience when I “drove by” Bob’s house.

Hope this answered your question. The primary reason I posted the picture (from a screen capture) of Bob’s house was to encourage AECM subscribers to use the “drive” feature in Google maps.

Barry Rice

April 1, 2011 reply from David Fordham

Of course, this assumes that the address has been "driven by" by Google.

I don't know how much of the U.S. has been "driven by" -- It appears that most urban areas in large cities are covered, but most of the rural U.S. is not.  For example,  I tried six of my friends here in the Shenandoah Valley, plus my sister's in rural Georgia, and even my own, and none of them were shown.

My address is 131 Wayside Drive, Weyers Cave, Virginia.     The "little guy" would drag just fine, but wouldn't drop.

My own address shows up correctly on Google maps (the street has been there for over 150 years -- Lee and Jackson both rode down the street during the Civil War on their way over Brown's Gap ... the farmhouse behind us was built in 1790 -- and our house was built in 1984.)  But alas, no pictures from Google.

But my mother's house in suburban Jacksonville showed up just fine, as did my daughter's in suburban Seattle, and my son's in Fort Lauderdale.

Perhaps a few more years and the Google picture truck will get around making it out of the cities to the more out-of-the-way places.  For now, it's nice to live out in the country.  I'm happy in spite of the lack of a Google picture, I love my rural lifestyle.  When I went out to the mailbox to get the paper this morning, I heard the horses and cows down the street announcing the arrival of the neighbor kids' schoolbus.

David Fordham

Also see Google Maps --- http://maps.google.com/

Jensen Comment
The picture of my mail box that Barry obtained using Google Maps Street View was not a current picture where my mail box in deep in snow. The picture must've been taken by Google sometime in early June when the snow was gone and the wild roses had not yet started to bloom. Hence, do not expect that the Street View picture will be a current picture.

Louis Mathern reported that whenever Google got a picture of his mother's mailbox, Google also photographed his mother getting the mail. Now that's a bit scary.

"Video: Salman Khan @ Google 'Free World Class Virtual School(s)'," Simoleon Sense, March 28, 2011 ---

Salman Khan is the founder and faculty of Khan Academy http://www.khanacademy.org/ a not-for-profit educational organization. With the stated mission “of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere”, the Academy supplies a free online collection of over 2,000 videos on mathematics, history, finance, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and economics.

In late 2004, Khan began tutoring his cousin in mathematics using Yahoo!’s Doodle notepad. When other relatives and friends sought his tutorial, he decided it would be more practical to distribute the tutorials on YouTube. Their popularity there and the testimonials of appreciative students prompted Khan to quit his job in finance in 2009 and focus on the Academy full-time.

Khan Academy’s channel on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy has 45+ million views so far and it’s one of YouTube’s most successful academic partners.

In September 2010, Google announced they would be providing the Khan Academy with $2 million to support the creation of more courses and to enable the Khan Academy to translate their core library into the world’s most widely spoken languages, as part of Project 10^100, http://www.project10tothe100.com/.

Continued in article

1,400+ Open Sharing "Tutorials" On YouTube from a Harvard Business School Graduate
Khan Academy Home Page --- http://www.khanacademy.org/
This site lists the course categories (none for accounting)

Bob Jensen's threads on open sharing tutorials and videos ---

Statement of Lynn E. Turner Before the Senate Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment; 
OnThe Role of the Accounting Profession in Preventing Another Financial Crisis

Dirksen Senate Office Building
April 6, 2011


Where were the auditors when over 1,000 banks failed in 2008 and 2009?

Risk Management: it’s not rocket science:
It’s more complicated
Framing devices for thinking about risk

Grant's London Investment Conference February 24, 2011
The Dorchester London

Forged mortgage paperwork mess: the next housing shock and toxic mold threats?

I have written tens of thousands of tidbits over the years. Aside from my tidbits on wars, deficits/entitlements, and unemployment, I think my most depressing tidbits are on the corrupted real estate deed registries of virtually all counties in the 50 states if America. The major reason for this corruption is that, after the subprime bubble burst in 2008, megabanks and Wall Street brokerage houses lost track of mortgage paperwork on millions of real estate parcels. These banks/brokerages then forged new copies of the mortgages, often with fictitious names of bank officials where the loans originated. When these properties were then foreclosed or otherwise resold to new buyers, the forged mortgages became part of recorded deeds, thereby corrupting the deed registries across the entire United States.

Watch the Video
"Mortgage paperwork mess: the next housing shock?" CBS Sixty Minutes, April 3, 2011 ---

If there was a question about whether we're headed for a second housing shock, that was settled last week with news that home prices have fallen a sixth consecutive month. Values are nearly back to levels of the Great Recession. One thing weighing on the economy is the huge number of foreclosed houses.

Many are stuck on the market for a reason you wouldn't expect: banks can't find the ownership documents.

Who really owns your mortgage?
Scott Pelley explains a bizarre aftershock of the U.S. financial collapse: An epidemic of forged and missing mortgage documents.

It's bizarre but, it turns out, Wall Street cut corners when it created those mortgage-backed investments that triggered the financial collapse. Now that banks want to evict people, they're unwinding these exotic investments to find, that often, the legal documents behind the mortgages aren't there

Continued in article

Deed Registry --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registry_of_deeds

Mortgage --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortgage_loan

Mortgage Backed Security --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortgage-backed_security

Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) or Structured Asset Backed Security (CABS) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collateralized_debt_obligation

Registered deeds keep legal track over the years of all real estate in the United States. Often the owners have taken out mortgages that give lenders priority claims on the real estate ownership when owners default on mortgage lending contracts. It's important to note that names of mortgage investors, along with the property owners, are written into the recorded deeds. Before a buyer purchases real estate the chronological records of recorded deeds on the property are generally searched by legal experts who then certify and sometimes insure that the buyer will have a clear title to the purchased property.

If mortgages referenced in recorded deeds are forged, the recorded deeds are thereby corrupted. Present owners accordingly do not have clear titles to the purchased real estate. This includes John and Jane Doe now living in their home at 123 Main Street. It also includes Fannie Mae, Freddie Mack, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan, and most of the other megabanks inside and outside the United States. All are waiting for former owners to file lawsuits claiming damages because of forged documents (including lawsuits from owners who simply abandoned their houses because they could not make the mortgage payments and those that got forced out by foreclosure proceedings).

The FDIC claims that probably the only way out of this mess is for the large banks and brokerages who in one way or another are responsible for the document forgeries to pay tens of billions into a "clean up fund" to be administered by the government to make claimants accept cash settlements and relinquish their rights to sue over forged or missing documents. This may be the only way to clear the titles to registered deeds, including the deeds on millions of empty homes that now cannot be sold until the titles are cleared of the forged recorded paperwork.


A Summary of How This Mess Came About

The main cause of this mess roots back to a time when banks and mortgage companies that initially approve mortgage contracts commenced selling all their mortgage investments to downstream investors like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and virtually all the large international banks and Wall Street brokerages. Some like Bank of America did not directly buy many of these downstream mortgages but later inherited millions of mortgages such as when Bank of America bought the troubled Countrywide and JP Morgan bought the troubled Wachovia as part of the TARP deals engineered by the U.S. Treasury Department. It took until 2011 for the FDIC to finally mandate that original lenders must retain "some skin" in the mortgages sold downstream (currently at least 5% of the financial risk skin). That was not the case when the subprime bubble burst in 2008.


Another leading cause was the common 1990s practice of issuing subprime interest rate mortgages where interest in the early years was below prime rates with a clause that higher rates would eventually kick in several years down the road. Even current owners were tempted to abandon their fixed rate mortgages and refinance with subprime mortgages with the intent of flipping their homes before the higher rates kicked in with payments they could not afford. The plan was to sell their houses at huge gains and move up the hill to bigger houses and better neighborhoods. All of this was predicated on the assumption that the price bubble in real estate would never burst. But in 2008 it did burst and millions of home owners could no longer make their mortgage payments when the subprime rates gave way to double-digit rates. Low income people defaulted in droves, but higher income people also defaulted. Some very high income people bought mansions on the hill at subprime rates hoping to turn those mansions over for enormous profits as long as housing prices in America kept going up and up. CBS Sixty Minutes captured the essence of what happened when the bubble burst.

CBS Sixty Minutes featured how bad things became when poison was added to loan portfolios. This older Sixty Minutes Module is entitled "House of Cards" --- http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=3756665n&tag=contentMain;contentBody
This segment can be understood without much preparation except that it would help for viewers to first read about Mervene and how the mortgage lenders brokering the mortgages got their commissions for poisoned mortgages passed along to the government (Freddie Mack and Fannie Mae) and Wall Street banks. On some occasions the lenders like Washington Mutual also naively kept some of the poison planted by some of their own greedy brokers.
The cause of this fraud was separating the compensation for brokering mortgages from the responsibility for collecting the payments until the final payoff dates.

First Read About Mervene --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#Sleaze


The eventual downstream owners of these risky subprime mortgages invented a way of diversifying default risk by putting together and selling portfolios of mortgages known as Collateralized Debt Obligation portfolios. Buyers included many wealthy investors in the Middle East and Asia. Forest Gump describes a CDO portfolio as a box of chocolates with mostly small pieces of good mortgages with a few turds thrown in (small pieces of mortgages are likely to go into default by owners who cannot afford their mortgage payments). Note that a CDO portfolio does not 100% of any mortgage investment. Rather it contains like a 1% piece of a mortgage spread over 100 CDO portfolios. This is important because this slicing and dicing shredding of financial risk is where much of the original paperwork got lost.

Mortgage Backed Securities are like boxes of chocolates. Criminals (bankers and brokers) on Wall Street and one particular U.S. Congressional Committee stole a few chocolates from the boxes and replaced them with turds. Their criminal buddies at Standard & Poors rated these boxes AAA Investment Grade chocolates. These boxes were then sold all over the world to investors. Eventually somebody bites into a turd and discovers the crime. Suddenly nobody trusts American chocolates anymore worldwide. Hank Paulson now wants the American taxpayers to buy up and hold all these boxes of turd-infested chocolates for $700 billion dollars until the market for turds returns to normal. Meanwhile, Hank's buddies, the Wall Street criminals who stole all the good chocolates are not being investigated, arrested, or indicted. Momma always said: "Sniff the chocolates first Forrest." Things generally don't pass the smell test if they came from Wall Street or from Washington DC.
Forrest Gump as quoted at http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Rec/rec.sport.tennis/2008-10/msg02206.html

Videos 2 and 3
Inside the Wall Street Collapse
(Parts 1 and 2) first shown on March 14, 2010

Video 2 (Greatest Swindle in the History of the World) --- http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6298154n&tag=contentMain;contentAux

Video 3 (Swindler's Compensation Scandals) --- http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6298084n&tag=contentMain;contentAux

 My wife and I watched Videos 2 and 3 on March 14, 2010. Both videos feature one of my favorite authors of all time, Michael Lewis, who hhs been writing (humorously with tongue in cheek) about Wall Street scandals since he was a bond salesman on Wall Street in the 1980s. The other person featured on in these videos is a one-eyed physician with Asperger Syndrome who made hundreds of millions of dollars anticipating the collapse of the CDO markets while the shareholders of companies like Merrill Lynch, AIG, Lehman Bros., and Bear Stearns got left holding the empty bags.


Financial WMDs (Credit Derivatives) on Sixty Minutes (CBS) on August 30, 2009
The free download will only be available for a short while. I downloaded this video (a little over 5 Mbs) using a free updated version of RealMedia --- Click Here

Steve Kroft examines the complicated financial instruments known as credit default swaps and the central role they are playing in the unfolding economic crisis. The interview features my hero Frank Partnoy. I don't know of anybody who knows derivative securities contracts and frauds better than Frank Partnoy, who once sold these derivatives in bucket shops. You can find links to Partnoy's books and many, many quotations at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#DerivativesFrauds

For years I've used the term "bucket shop" in financial securities marketing without realizing that the first bucket shops in the early 20th Century were bought and sold only gambles on stock pricing moves, not the selling of any financial securities. The analogy of a bucket shop would be a room full of bookies selling bets on NFL playoff games.
See "Bucket Shop" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucket_shop_(stock_market)


So where does mortgage/deed forgeries enter into the picture.
It turns out that the Wall Street brokerage houses and megabanks that ended up downstream with the mortgages and then sliced and diced them into new securitization instruments called Mortgage Backed Obligation (MBO) portfolios completely lost track of the millions original mortgage paper work that they were shredding into millions of MBOs. Then when owners defaulted on their original subprime mortgages the megabanks and brokerages, gasp, could not find the original paperwork. Even worse, when responsible homeowners sold their homes and wanted to pay off their mortgages the megabanks and brokerages also could not find the original paperwork.

What's a megabank  to do when new deeds have to be recorded and the current recorded deeds/mortgages cannot be located. What the megabanks essentially did was forge new paperwork. Not wanting to implicate their own employees in this fraud they hired sleazy mortgage servicing companies who in turn hired high school kids at minimum wage to forge thousands of names per hour (including forged notary public signatures). The megabanks now claim they did not know these forgeries were taking place, but if you believe this I've got some ocean front property in Arizona and the Brooklyn Bridge that I would like to sell to those megabanks.

To see how all of this forgery really took place watch the following:

Mortgage paperwork mess: the next housing shock?" CBS Sixty Minutes, April 3, 2011 ---

If there was a question about whether we're headed for a second housing shock, that was settled last week with news that home prices have fallen a sixth consecutive month. Values are nearly back to levels of the Great Recession. One thing weighing on the economy is the huge number of foreclosed houses.

Many are stuck on the market for a reason you wouldn't expect: banks can't find the ownership documents.

Who really owns your mortgage?
Scott Pelley explains a bizarre aftershock of the U.S. financial collapse: An epidemic of forged and missing mortgage documents.

It's bizarre but, it turns out, Wall Street cut corners when it created those mortgage-backed investments that triggered the financial collapse. Now that banks want to evict people, they're unwinding these exotic investments to find, that often, the legal documents behind the mortgages aren't there

Continued in article

So where does this leave us now and why is this so serious?

This leaves us with millions of corrupted deed registries containing references to forged documents. Current owners do not have clear titles to their properties, including megabanks holding corrupted titles to vacant homes.

Currently 13% of all the houses in America are vacant, including millions of double wides in mobile home parks and millions of mansions in every county of the United States. Owners, including megabanks, of these vacant houses do not have clear title do to forged documents. The houses cannot be sold with corrupted titles such that they sit vacant year after year.

Mold takes hold in the walls and ceilings of vacant homes that are not properly cooled and dehumidified in hot summer months and warmed in frigid winter months. The mold spreads more and more until it reaches toxic levels where real estate inspectors will not allow the homes to be sold. The bull dozers have to push through those double wides and even those mansions on the hill.

Now lawyers are hovering like vultures to commence the lawsuits on behalf of former owners such as owners thrown out of foreclosed houses and new owners who do not have clear titles to properties purchased in good faith ---

The FDIC is proposing a forged document cleanup fund where the megabanks responsible for using forged paperwork put up tens of billions of dollars into a fund to pay off the damaged former owners so that titles can be cleared on millions of homes now having corrupted deeds on file due to those forgeries. It's a little like how the BP fund in being administered for oil spill damages to employees and businesses along the Gulf Coast, only the forged mortgage fund has to be much, much, much larger.

What a mess!

Disability Entitlements: Being Declared Disabled has More Benefits Than Working
Between the ages of 0 and 200, disability pay and medical payments go on virtually forever
The system is racked with fraud
Cost averages $1,500 annually for each and every taxpayer in the U.S.
"College Enrollment Fell Slightly in 2010," by Catherine Rampell, The New York Times (Economix), April 9, 2011 ---

In the worst economic times of the 1950s and ’60s, about 9 percent of men in the prime of their working lives (25 to 54 years old) were not working. At the depth of the severe recession in the early 1980s, about 15 percent of prime-age men were not working. Today, more than 18 percent of such men aren’t working.

That’s a depressing statistic: nearly one out of every five men between 25 and 54 is not employed. Yes, some of them are happily retired. Some are going to school. And some are taking care of their children. But most don’t fall into any of these categories. They simply aren’t working. They’re managing to get by some other way.

For growing numbers of these men, the federal disability program is a significant source of support. Disabled workers — men and women — received $115 billion in benefits last year and another $75 billion in medical costs. (Disability recipients become eligible for Medicare two years after starting to receive benefits.) That $190 billion sum is the equivalent of about $1,500 in taxes for each American household.

Yet disability usually goes unlargely uncovered by the media. Lately, it hasn’t. Motoko Rich of The Times and Damian Paletta of The Wall Street Journal have both written richly detailed articles recently.

Continued in article

Sharpe Ratio --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharpe_Ratio

The Sortino Ratio is an adjustment on the Sharpe Ratio in that it only penalizes downside volatility ---
Thanks to Jim Mahar for this April 4, 2011 heads up ---

"Study Finds a Big Gap Between College Seniors' Real and Perceived Learning," by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 11, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
Students that face licensure examinations shortly after graduating, such as the CPA Examination, Nursing Examination, etc. often purchase review course materials or even enroll in post-graduate licensure examination coaching courses. These review materials and coaching courses can be both informative and misleading. If students find that their college courses left enormous gaps in what they need know for licensing examinations it might be a rude awakening in terms of their perceptions about what they learned for their chosen careers. But they should carefully examine the real intent of curriculum they chose in college and how well the college accomplished the goal set out in that curriculum.

The Other Side of the Coin
If graduates feel that they learned over 90% of what they need to know for their licensing examinations, their perceptions may be misleading about what they should've gotten out of a college degree. College education is supposed to focus on much more than career training. If their particular colleges were strong on training and weak on educating then they may have been short changed for the long haul. For example, if an accounting, nursing, pharmacy, or engineering degree program provides terrific technical training courses for graduates who are lousy writers, terrible public speakers, and who learned almost nothing in color book history, literature, mathematics, and language courses, then there may indeed be a "big gap between real and perceived learning."

Students who scored much higher on their SAT/ACT tests in high school than they did on their GRE or related graduate school admissions tests should question the value of college to their "real learning."

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

A Greener World
"Spraying to Make Yards Green ... but With Paint, Not Water," by Marc Lacey, The New York Times, April 8, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
One of the big problems with this environmental solution is that grass sucks in the evil carbon dioxide and expels the clean oxygen we breathe. Could this eventually come down to a fight between drinking and breathing?


Remember the good old days when it was evil corporations against Hollywood's earth-saving greens?
In those days it was timber barrens pitted against tree huggers saving spotted owls.
Now it's dark greens against light greens!

"Large North Dakota Wind Farm Falls to the Birds," Spectrum, April 6, 2011 ---

Wind power's impact on wildlife has long been a sticking point when it comes to the renewable resource's development. Ever since the Altamont, California turbines went up in the late 1970s, bird kills have been highlighted as the best reason to show some restraint on massive wind farms. Nothing has changed today: most recently, Minnesota-based utility Xcel Energy canceled a contract to build a 150-megawatt wind farm because of concerns over bird impacts.

The wind farm, which was to be built in southeastern North Dakota by enXco Development Corp., would have cost about $400 million and was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. But two endangered species have scuttled the plan: the whooping crane and the piping plover. Xcel would have had to spend time and money attempting to mitigate any threats to the birds, and apparently those requirements made the project too uncertain to move forward.

Bird groups and some other environmentalists have focused heavily on the wind turbine impacts; a recent American Bird Conservancy video showed a vulture being struck by a turbine, and there are reportedly hundreds of thousands of bird fatalities each year due to wind power. As Andy Revkin points out at Dot Earth, though, this is actually a fairly low number compared to other manmade structures. If buildings kill hundreds of millions of birds every year, stopping short on wind power entirely because of such concerns might be the wrong move.

Still, Xcel's move to protect two species that are down to only a few individuals in certain areas is commendable. Proper siting and configuration of wind farms can obviously help with this issue as well; the Altamont turbines were small and situated extremely close together. Doing things carefully, in this case, will be better than not doing them at all.

"Scotland's wind farms 'often able only to boil 6,667 kettles'," by John Ross , Scotsman, April 7, 2011 ---

WIND farms are much less efficient than the industry claims, according to new research. A report produced for the conservation charity the John Muir Trust (JMT) says turbines are producing below 10 per cent of capacity for more than a third of the time.

It claims that for extended periods, all the wind turbines in Scotland linked to the National Grid produce less than 20MW of energy - just enough power for 6,667 households to boil their kettles

Helen McDade, JMT's head of policy, said: "This report is a real eye-opener for anyone who's been wondering how much power Scotland is getting from the fleet of wind turbines that have taken over many of our most beautiful hillsides. The answer appears to be, much less than is routinely claimed."

The research was carried out by Caithness-based Stuart Young Consulting, on electricity generated from UK wind farms between November 2008 and December 2010.

The wind industry and government have regularly said turbines will generate on average 30 per cent of their rate capacity over a year.

The study concludes there is an urgent need to re-evaluate the implications of reliance on wind for any significant proportion of our energy requirement.

Scottish Renewables policy director Jenny Hogan said it had no confidence in the figures.

"Yet again the John Muir Trust has commissioned an anti-wind farm campaigner to produce a report about UK onshore wind energy capacity output."

Continued in article

"Bribery and the Gathering Storm Over Compliance," by Peter J. Henning, The New York Times (DealB%k), April 1, 2011 ---

While insider trading cases have been attracting much of the financial headlines, there is another issue that will have a much greater impact on corporate bottom lines: bribery.

The British Ministry of Justice has announced guidelines for the implementation of the far-reaching Bribery Act of 2010, which goes into effect on July 1. Meanwhile, while the Securities and Exchange Commission is set this month to announce rules required by the Dodd-Frank Act to encourage whistleblowers to disclose information about corporate misconduct, most likely including violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The Bribery Act is sure to drive up the costs of compliance programs for American companies doing business in Britain, while the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower provisions may well render those programs superfluous, even though they will still be required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits individuals and companies from paying bribes to foreign officials to obtain or retain business in the country. It also requires corporations that file reports with the S.E.C. to maintain accurate books and records in accordance with the accounting rules. The law, first adopted in 1977, has grown in importance over the past decade as the Justice Department, working with the S.E.C., has brought a number of cases against multinational companies for corrupt payments, resulting in millions of dollars of fines and penalties.

Britain’s Bribery Act is broader in some respects than the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, most importantly applying to any type of bribery, not just payments to foreign officials. The Bribery Act makes a company liable for the actions of those “associated” with a “commercial organization,” including any employee or agent who acts on its behalf, and the organization is strictly liable for any failure to prevent the bribery.

For American companies, a key facet of the Bribery Act is its application to any organization that “carries on a business” in Britain. The Ministry of Justice’s guidance is not particularly helpful on the scope of the law, noting that it would not apply to foreign company that did not have a “demonstrable business presence” in Britain, and that a company is not necessarily liable if it lists its shares on a British exchange or maintains a subsidiary in the country. Rather than explaining what the law does cover, the guidance simply describes what might fall outside the Bribery Act, while noting that the courts will finally decide the issue. This provides little clarity about the scope of the law.

The Bribery Act provides a defense for a company accused of a violation if it can show it had in place “adequate procedures” to prevent an associated person from engaging in bribery, something the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act does not recognize as a basis to avoid liability. The Ministry of Justice outlined six principles for preventing bribery that should guide companies in adopting or expanding a compliance program to help establish a defense to a charge. The principles focus on adequately assessing the risks of a violation and implementing a sufficiently rigorous program of prevention and monitoring.

While almost every publicly traded American company already has a compliance program in place, the potentially broad scope of the Bribery Act is likely to require companies doing any substantial amount of business in Britain to devote even greater resources to preventing bribery of any type, not just that involving foreign officials. Compliance is not cheap, of course, which means the lawyers, accountants and outside consultants who specialize in this field will see an uptick in business.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Rotten to the Core are at

Bob Jensen's threads on whistleblowing are at

I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for Porter to give some evidence of contrition about his mission to Tripoli. Sir Howard Davies may have resigned as director of the LSE (“The short point is that I am responsible for the school’s reputation and that has suffered”), but being a Harvard professor apparently means never having to say you’re sorry. Perhaps instead the university will find some way to rein in on its professors’ more self-serving ambitions.
David Warsh, "A Recent Exercise in Nation-Building by Some Harvard Boys," EconomicPrincipals.com, March 27, 2011 ---
Thank you Robert Walker for the heads up.

It was worth a smile at breakfast that morning in February 2006, a scrap of social currency to take out into the world. Michael Porter, the Harvard Business School management guru, had grown famous offering competitive strategies to firms, regions, whole nations.  Earlier he had taken on the problems of inner cities, health care and climate change.  Now he was about to tackle perhaps the hardest problem of all (that is, after the United States’ wars in Afghanistan and Iraq).

He had become adviser to Moammar Khadafy’s Libya.

There at the bottom of the front page of the Financial Times was a story that no one else had that day, or any other – a scoop. It turned out that Porter and his friend Daniel Yergin and the consulting firms which they had respectively co-founded and founded, Monitor Group and Cambridge Energy Research Associates, had been working for a year on a plan to diversify the Libyan economy away from its heavy dependence on oil. Their teams had conducted more than 2,000 interviews with “small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs as well as Libyan and foreign business leaders.” (Both men are better-known as celebrated authors:  Porter for Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors and The Competitive Advantage of Nations, Yergin for The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power and The Commanding Heights: the Battle for the World Economy.)

The next day Porter would present the 200-page document they had prepared in a ceremony in Tripoli. Khadafy himself might attend. The FT had seen a copy of the report, which envisaged a glorious future under the consultants’ plan. If all went well, it said, then by 2019 – the 50th anniversary of the military coup that brought Col. Khadafy to power – Libya would have “one of the fastest rates of business formation in the world,” making it a regional leader contributing to the “wealth and stability of surrounding nations.”

. . .

We now know that Khadafy’s son bribed his way into his PhD from the London School of Economics (LSE); that Monitor Group had been paid to help him write his dissertation there (much of which apparently turns out to have been plagiarized, anyway); that the Libyan government was paying Monitor $250,000 a month for its services; that, according to The New York Times, Libya’s sovereign wealth fund today owns a portion of Pearson PLC, the conglomerate that publishes the Financial Times and The Economist; that the whole deal quietly fell apart two years later.

Sir Howard Davies resigned earlier this month as director of the LSE after it was disclosed he had accepted a ₤1.5 million donation in 2009 from a charity controlled by Saif Khadafy.

It turns out that Monitor also proposed to write a book boosting Khadafy as “one of the most recognizable individuals on the planet,” promised to generate positive press, and to bring still more prominent academics, policymakers and journalists  to Libya, according to Farah Stockman of The Boston Globe. She did a banner job of pursuing the details she found in A Proposal For Expanding the Dialogue Surrounding the Ideas of Moammar Khadafy, a proposal from Mark Fuller in 2007 that a Libyan opposition group posted on the Web.

Among those enlisted were Sir Anthony Giddens, former director of the LSE; Francis Fukuyama, then of Johns Hopkins University; Benjamin Barber, of Rutgers University (emeritus); Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT’s Media Lab; Robert Putnam and Joseph Nye, both former deans of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  Nye received a fee and wrote a broadly sympathetic account of his three-hour visit with Khadafy for The New Republic. He also told the Globe’s Stockman he had commented on a chapter of Saif’s doctoral dissertation. (When The New Republic scolded Nye earlier this month, after Mother Jones magazine disclosed the fee, Nye replied that his original manuscript implied that he had been employed as a consultant by Monitor, but that the phrase had been edited out).

. . .

I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for Porter to give some evidence of contrition about his mission to Tripoli. Sir Howard Davies may have resigned as director of the LSE (“The short point is that I am responsible for the school’s reputation and that has suffered”), but being a Harvard professor apparently means never having to say you’re sorry. Perhaps instead the university will find some way to rein in on its professors’ more self-serving ambitions.

New Book --- Yeah Right!
Harvard Business Review on Making Smart Decisions --- Click Here
http://hbr.org/product/harvard-business-review-on-making-smart-decisions/an/10323-PDF-ENG?referral=00563&cm_mmc=email-_-newsletter-_-daily_alert-_-alert_date&utm_source=newsletter_daily_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=alert_date New Book --- Yeah Right!

Jensen Comment
In Chile the Chicago Boys rebuilt a nation with honor. I Libya the Harvard Boys were apparently less honorable.

And look what a desert swamp we're mired in now!

. . . being a Harvard professor apparently means never having to say you’re sorry

What's the most fun when you're on the road Tom Selling (even if your not exactly a "tax man")?

Answer Choices

  1. The billings
  2. The expense reimbursements
  3. The tax deductions
  4. The difference between the amounts in Answers 2 and 3 above

"A Tax Man Takes Account Of His Life CPA Lives Better, Works Less Thanks to Art of Deduction," by Laura Saunders, The Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2011 ---

In the thick of tax season, most certified public accountants are chained to their desks grinding out returns.

Doug Stives, a CPA from Red Bank, N.J., went skiing in Utah.

"I always dreamed of coming here for peak conditions," he said in mid-March between runs at Snowbasin Resort.

The trip is among the many perks that have accrued from his decision, in 2006, to become, in effect, The Most Tax-Efficient Man in America. The experiment has led to a new career, frequent travel and obsessive documentation of expenses, such as a $6 hot dog he recently bought in the Philadelphia airport.

The "aha" moment came to him, he says, after a college approached him about a teaching gig and he realized he could put into practice many of the tax strategies he had learned over the decades.

Step One was to change jobs. Mr. Stives had been a partner for 36 years at The Curchin Group, an accounting firm. By accepting an offer to teach tax and accounting courses full-time at the Leon Hess Business School of Monmouth University in New Jersey, he was able to tap into a broad array of tax-free employee benefits not available to him at the firm.

Step Two was the formation of Doug Stives LLC, the separate consulting business to which he attributes an impressive array of expenses. In general, people who are employees and have side businesses are often in the best position to maximize the tax code's benefits, say experts. Mr. Stives calls this "the best of all worlds."

The result, says Mr. Stives, is that while he earns less than 75% of his earlier pay, he takes home almost 90% as much. And he says he reaps another $40,000 a year in tax-free benefits from his college gig. Among other things, the school adds to his 401(k) contribution and provides tax-free, discounted health plans for Mr. Stives and his wife, plus disability insurance. As a partner in the accounting firm, he had to fund such expenses himself.

Not that all is perfect now. One peeve: dealing with what he calls "airline nonsense"—long lines, rising fees and canceled flights. But overall, he says, "my quality of life is so much higher."

His wife of 40 years, Elizabeth Stives, agrees. "We travel so much now for his business," she says. "Next is Lake Tahoe."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Tom is probably not the best person to ask about this since I don't think he takes his wife on most of his many trips. However, back when I was consulting and/or making presentations all over the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, sometimes New Zealand and Asia I typically took my wife along for our expense-paid and/or tax-deductable holidays ---

I think I enjoyed these "holidays" more because they were tax deductible or they earned me a profit after expenses. I don't recall many away-from home adventures that were strictly out-of-pocket.

"In Case You Forgot, the Big 4 Are Hiring a Small Army of People This Year," by Caleb Newquist, Going Concern, March 31, 2011 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

"Programs that grow the next generation of global leaders," by Dan Black, Americas Director of Campus Recruitment, Ernst & Young, Ernst & Young Faculty Connection, Issue 32, April 2011 ---

Our 141,000 people are part of a global network that spans more than 140 countries, and working effectively in a global marketplace is one of our key priorities. It helps foster our inclusive culture, and promotes global assignments and working on cross-cultural teams. That is why we offer a wide range of programs and experiences for our interns, new hires and early-career professionals to build their global mindsets.

The good news is that today’s college students are the most global generation to date. Research among the attendees of the Ernst & Young 2010 International Internship Conference shows that 88% have traveled outside their home country and 36% have studied abroad. These business leaders of tomorrow are hungry for international experience, and we at Ernst & Young are passionate about providing the tools they need to develop a global mindset.

We begin providing this training long before the students are hired. Our upcoming Emerging Leaders Summit, a pre-internship conference for high-performing college sophomores and juniors, includes workshops designed to build students’ global intellectual, psychological and social capital, the building blocks of a successful global mindset. Opportunities for international geographic mobility begin with overseas assignments in the Global Student Exchange Program, an exciting opportunity for Ernst & Young interns. Internships start in the students’ home office locations, then four weeks abroad at another Ernst & Young office. Participants then return and complete their internship back home. Flights, housing and work visas costs are paid for by Ernst & Young. In addition, Ernst & Young was the only ‘Big Four’ organization to hold an International Intern Leadership Conference in both 2009 and 2010. Attended by nearly 1,400 students from over 13 countries last year, the conference allows students to meet their intern counterparts from around the world, an invaluable first step to creating their global networks.

We are also very excited to announce a new experience geared towards helping our younger employees on their journey towards developing a global mindset. Our Global Exchange Program has been extended to offer second and third-year employees short-term international rotations, allowing more of our professionals to experience geographic mobility earlier in their careers. Already enjoying several years of success in our Europe, Middle East, India and Africa areas, the Americas pilot of this program will link people in our more junior ranks from Brazil, Canada and the US so that they can team internationally on select high-profile clients.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Threads on Accountancy Careers ---

Jensen Comment
Stanford University's Graduate School of Business added a globalization program with five new assistant professorships under the leadership of senior professor Condoleezza Rice, PhD

Although Stanford's program is a multidisciplinary business globalization education and research program, that's the nature of such programs in the spirit of Dan Black's article above.

Also new programs on globalization fit nicely into the initiatives undertaken by the new Pathways Commission formed in a joint program of the AAA and the AICPA --- http://commons.aaahq.org/files/ae7732e589/AEN_Fall10_PATHWAYS.pdf
Search under Bruce Behn for more detailed information about the Pathways Commission, which Bruce now chairs.

"How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs," by Ed Vulliamy, The Guardian, April 3, 2011 ---
|Thank you Robert Walker for the heads up.

As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored

On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.

During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.

The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller's cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts. Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme. Of special significance was that the period concerned began in 2004, which coincided with the first escalation of violence along the US-Mexico border that ignited the current drugs war.

Criminal proceedings were brought against Wachovia, though not against any individual, but the case never came to court. In March 2010, Wachovia settled the biggest action brought under the US bank secrecy act, through the US district court in Miami. Now that the year's "deferred prosecution" has expired, the bank is in effect in the clear. It paid federal authorities $110m in forfeiture, for allowing transactions later proved to be connected to drug smuggling, and incurred a $50m fine for failing to monitor cash used to ship 22 tons of cocaine.

More shocking, and more important, the bank was sanctioned for failing to apply the proper anti-laundering strictures to the transfer of $378.4bn – a sum equivalent to one-third of Mexico's gross national product – into dollar accounts from so-called casas de cambio (CDCs) in Mexico, currency exchange houses with which the bank did business.

"Wachovia's blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations," said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank's $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on how the big banks and brokerages are often Rotten to the Core ---

Note that I've closed the March 31, 2011 edition of FraudUpdates ---

Importance of Internal Controls Even Among the "Good Folks"
April 3, 2011 Message from Jim McKinney

On today’s NPR Program, This American Life, there was an interesting story today about how a young untrained person was put in-charge of The Kennedy Center gift shop and learned the importance of internal controls. The shrinkage was in the 40% range initially. The main point was, here are these basically good people volunteering time, and yet many of them were stealing cash and merchandise because there were no internal controls.


Jim McKinney, Ph.D., C.P.A.
Tyser Teaching Fellow
Accounting and Information Assurance
Robert H. Smith School of Business
4333G Van Munching Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-1815



When the homeowner mortgage deduction hurts versus helps a local real estate market
"Study finds key tax break has adverse effect on homeownership, social welfare,"  by Greg Tammen, PhysOrg, March 30, 2011 ---

The American dream of owning a home with a white picket fence may stay a dream for many, according to a recent study by a Kansas State University economist.

Tracy Turner, associate professor of economics at K-State, and Christian Hilber, a professor at the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom, completed a study on America's mortgage interest deduction and how effectively it promotes homeownership.

The mortgage interest deduction, also called the MID, is the second largest tax break in the federal tax code and is meant to promote homeownership by allowing itemizing homeowners to deduct the annual interest payments they make on their primary residence and second home real estate loans. For the 2011 fiscal year, the deduction will account for an estimated $104.5 billion in revenue loss for the U.S. Treasury.

However, since the Reagan administration, the deduction has been viewed as a vehicle for promoting homeownership, Turner said.

"In urban places suffering from neighborhood instability, underperforming schools, low social capital and poor governance, increasing homeownership rates may improve conditions in these communities. This is because when households own their housing, they have more of a stake in the success of their communities," Turner said. "But in these urban places the MID is doing the opposite; it's actually lowering the likelihood of owning a home."

The duo's study analyzed household data collected from 1984-2007 by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

Findings showed that the mortgage interest deduction boosts homeownership rates only in areas with an abundant housing supply, like the Midwest -- but only for higher-income households. In denser urban cities with limited housing available, the deduction actually has a negative impact, reducing homeownership and instead inflating housing prices.

According to Turner, the finding is consistent with economic theory: tight land restrictions mean that the higher demand for owner-occupied housing – because of increases in the mortgage interest deduction -- will only bid up house prices without expanding the house stock, which in turn means higher down payments.

Consequently, though households may be able to make monthly payments, low-wealth households can't afford the elevated down payment. These high house prices, and therefore higher transaction costs, also make homeownership a less attractive option to mobile households that may not be looking for a long-term purchase.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Clearly the mortgage deduction issue gets confounded by other factors affecting the motivation to buy a home in a given neighborhood. In a great location with good schools, scenic views, ease of commuting, etc. one's investment in a home is more apt to make a capital gain as well as provide fine living while owning the home. In a rundown neighborhood with crime problems, poor schools, etc. an investment in a home is more apt result in a capital loss. Why buy a home in a neighborhood that you're trying to escape from as soon as you can afford better and/or as soon as you have school-age children?

Hence the mortgage deduction motivation may not be as important as other factors driving incentives to own rather than rent.

Making Home Affordable --- http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/pages/default.aspx

Making Home Affordable is a key part of the Obama Administration's effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. If you are struggling with your monthly mortgage payments or have already missed a payment, now is the time to take action. Start today by learning more about the options available to you through MHA

Help for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Help for Homeowners Struggling With Mortgage Payments

Help for Homeowners Trying to Avoid Mortgage Troubles

Attend an MHA event in your area

Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers ---

"Who’s Got the Best April Fool’s Pranks?" The New York Times (Pogue's Posts), April 1, 2011 ---

Issues in Computing a College's Cost of Degrees Awarded and the "Worth" of Professors

April 7, 2011 message from Francine McKenna

Huffington Post:
$817 an hour. Are professors worth what they're getting paid?

Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/HuffingtonPost/statuses/55973110557581312

April 7, 2011 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Francine

I think the title put on this by Huffington Post is misleading. The "worth" of somebody in a profession must focus as much or even more on the worth of the benefits of that person vis-a-vis the cost. My wife had four (soon to be five) very expensive surgeries from one of the outstanding spine surgeons in the world. We can aggregate the cost of this Boston surgeon's billings, but how in the world would we ever measure his benefit or worth?

Incidentally he's also one of the most important surgical residency teachers in the shadows of the Harvard Medical School. Residents seek him out because he's such a superb teacher. How do we measure the value of his contributions to the future surgeries performed by all the surgical residents who've worked closely with this surgeon?

Similarly we can aggregate the cost of having Dennis Beresford for 14 years at the University of Georgia. But how in the world would we ever measure his "worth?" How do we measure the value of his contributions to all the accounting students who've worked closely with this remarkable professor of accountancy?.

Of course we could also argue that the benefit of 23-year old Ms. Kinder teaching kindergarten in South Chicago is invaluable. About the only way we have of comparing a unique Harvard spine surgeon with a kindergarten teacher is how much it takes to replace them with professionals having comparable skills. I would argue that Ms. Kinder can be replaced for a whole lot less money than my wife's very uniquely qualified spine surgeon.

However, comparing their annual compensation is only a very, very rough way to measure "worth" to society. Like you, I hesitate to conclude that the "worth" of Stanley O'Neal was the $160 million it took to get him out the door. Compensation is confounded by a whole lot of factors other than societal "worth."
"Stanley O'Neal who is leaving Merrill Lynch after giving it a big fat gift of a $8 billion dollar write-off thanks to risky investments. The board just can't help but feed this obesity epidemic. They're giving him $160 million plus in severance for his troubles as he heads for the door. At some point, the nation's corporations, or most pointedly, their corporate boards, will realize throwing money at their CEOs is probably not the best idea"
"Obesity Epidemic Among CEO Pay," The Huffington Post, November 1, 2007 ---

Related to this is the vexing issue of computing the cost of degrees awarded such as an undergraduate degree in art history versus a PhD in accountancy ---
Issues in Computing a College's Cost of Degrees Awarded ---

Here are my earlier threads on the controversial Texas A&M costing study that focused more on comparing the cost of degrees awarded than the "worth" of Aggie professors like Ed Swanson.or Tom Omer.

Also see ---

Texas A&M Case on Computing the Cost of Professors and Academic Programs

Jensen Comment
In an advanced Cost/Managerial Accounting course this assignment could have two parts. First assign the case below. Then assign student teams to write a case on how to compute the cost of a given course, graduate in a given program, or a comparison of a the cost of a distance education section versus an onsite section of a given course taught by a tenured faculty member teaching three courses in general as well as conducting research, performing internal service, and performing external service in his/her discipline.

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on November 5, 2010

Putting a Price on Professors
by: Stephanie Simon and Stephanie Banchero
Oct 23, 2010
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Contribution Margin, Cost Management, Managerial Accounting

SUMMARY: The article describes a contribution margin review at Texas A&M University drilled all the way down to the faculty member level. Also described are review systems in place in California, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and other locations.
CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Managerial concepts of efficiency, contribution margin, cost management, and the managerial dashboard in university settings are discussed in this article.

1. (Introductory) Summarize the reporting on Texas A&M University's Academic Financial Data Compilation. Would you describe this as putting a "price" on professors or would you use some other wording? Explain.

2. (Introductory) What is the difference between operational efficiency and "academic efficiency"?

3. (Advanced) Review the table entitled "Controversial Numbers: Cash Flow at Texas A&M." Why do you think that Chemistry, History, and English Departments are more likely to generate positive cash flows than are Oceanography, Physics and Astronomy, and Aerospace Engineering?

4. (Introductory) What source of funding for academics is excluded from the table review in answer to question 3 above? How do you think that funding source might change the scenario shown in the table?

5. (Advanced) On what managerial accounting technique do you think Minnesota's state college system has modeled its method of assessing campuses' performance?

6. (Advanced) Refer to the related article. A large part of cost increases in university education stem from dormitories, exercise facilities, and other building amenities on campuses. What is your reaction to this parent's statement that universities have "acquiesced to the kids' desire to go to school at luxury resorts"?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

Letters to the Editor: What Is It That We Want Our Universities to Be?
by Hank Wohltjen, David Roll, Jane S. Shaw, Edward Stephens
Oct 30, 2010
Page: A16

"Putting a Price on Professors," by Stephanie Simon and Stephanie Banchero, The Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2010 ---

Carol Johnson took the podium of a lecture hall one recent morning to walk 79 students enrolled in an introductory biology course through diffusion, osmosis and the phospholipid bilayer of cell membranes.

A senior lecturer, Ms. Johnson has taught this class for years. Only recently, though, have administrators sought to quantify whether she is giving the taxpayers of Texas their money's worth.

A 265-page spreadsheet, released last month by the chancellor of the Texas A&M University system, amounted to a profit-and-loss statement for each faculty member, weighing annual salary against students taught, tuition generated, and research grants obtained.

Ms. Johnson came out very much in the black; in the period analyzed—fiscal year 2009—she netted the public university $279,617. Some of her colleagues weren't nearly so profitable. Newly hired assistant professor Charles Criscione, for instance, spent much of the year setting up a lab to research parasite genetics and ended up $45,305 in the red.

The balance sheet sparked an immediate uproar from faculty, who called it misleading, simplistic and crass—not to mention, riddled with errors. But the move here comes amid a national drive, backed by some on both the left and the right, to assess more rigorously what, exactly, public universities are doing with their students—and their tax dollars.

As budget pressures mount, legislators and governors are increasingly demanding data proving that money given to colleges is well spent. States spend about 11% of their general-fund budgets subsidizing higher education. That totaled more than $78 billion in fiscal year 2008, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.

The movement is driven as well by dismal educational statistics. Just over half of all freshmen entering four-year public colleges will earn a degree from that institution within six years, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

And among those with diplomas, just 31% could pass the most recent national prose literacy test, given in 2003; that's down from 40% a decade earlier, the department says.

"For years and years, universities got away with, 'Trust us—it'll be worth it,'" said F. King Alexander, president of California State University at Long Beach.

But no more: "Every conversation we have with these institutions now revolves around productivity," says Jason Bearce, associate commissioner for higher education in Indiana. He tells administrators it's not enough to find efficiencies in their operations; they must seek "academic efficiency" as well, graduating more students more quickly and with more demonstrable skills. The National Governors Association echoes that mantra; it just formed a commission focused on improving productivity in higher education.

This new emphasis has raised hackles in academia. Some professors express deep concern that the focus on serving student "customers" and delivering value to taxpayers will turn public colleges into factories. They worry that it will upend the essential nature of a university, where the Milton scholar who teaches a senior seminar to five English majors is valued as much as the engineering professor who lands a million-dollar research grant.

And they fear too much tinkering will destroy an educational system that, despite its acknowledged flaws, remains the envy of much of the world. "It's a reflection of a much more corporate model of running a university, and it's getting away from the idea of the university as public good," says John Curtis, research director for the American Association of University Professors.

Efforts to remake higher education generally fall into two categories. In some states, including Ohio and Indiana, public officials have ordered a new approach to funding, based not on how many students enroll but on what they accomplish.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This case is one of the most difficult cases that managerial and cost accountants will ever face. It deals with ugly problems where joint and indirect costs are mind-boggling. For example, when producing mathematics graduates in undergraduate and graduate programs, the mathematics department plays an even bigger role in providing mathematics courses for other majors and minors on campus. Furthermore, the mathematics faculty provides resources for internal service to administration, external service to the mathematics profession and the community, applied research, basic research, and on and on and on. Faculty resources thus become joint product resources.

Furthermore costing faculty time is not exactly the same as costing the time of a worker that adds a bumper to each car in an assembly line. While at home in bed going to sleep or awakening in bed a mathematics professor might hit upon a Eureka moment where time spent is more valuable than the whole previous lifetime of that professor spent in working on campus. How do to factor in hours spent in bed in CVP analysis and Cost-Benefit analysis? Work sampling and time-motion studies used in factory systems just will not work well in academic systems.

In Cost-Profit-Volume analysis the multi-product CPV model is incomprehensible without making a totally unrealistic assumption that "sales mix" parameters are constant for changing levels of volume. Without this assumption for many "products" the solution to the CPV model blows our minds.

Another really complicating factor in CVP and C-B analysis are semi-fixed costs that are constant over a certain time frame (such as a semester or a year for adjunct  employees) but variable over a longer horizon. Of course over a very long horizon all fixed costs become variable, but this generally destroys the benefit of a CVP analysis in the first place. One problem is that faculty come in non-tenured adjunct, non-tenured tenure-track, and tenured varieties.

I could go on and on about why I would never attempt to do CVP or C-B research for one of the largest universities of the world. But somebody at Texas A&M has rushed in where angels fear to tread.

Bob Jensen's threads on managerial and cost accounting are at

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at



Computing a College's Cost of a College Degree: 
This illustrates problems managerial accountants face when estimating various types of costs in industry

"What Does a Degree Cost?" by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, May 19, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/05/19/degree

College tuition prices keep rising. State budgets are stagnant or shrinking. And policy makers, from President Obama on down, are increasingly calling for increases in the number of Americans who get some higher education or training.

Those factors have led more state legislators, trustees and others to argue that, to accomplish the latter goal given the former circumstances, colleges are going to have to lower what they spend to produce the average credential they award. But any discussion of lowering the "cost per degree" must start with a more fundamental question: What does a degree cost to produce now?

That question may be basic, but it is not simple, as a new report from the Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability makes clear. The paper, prepared by Nate Johnson, associate director of institutional planning and research at the University of Florida, lays out a range of possible approaches to calculating the cost of a college degree and then calculates them using a rich set of data from the State University System of Florida, where Johnson formerly worked.

The paper shows that it is distinctly possible to come up with such a figure, but the wide variation in the numbers -- based on institution type, program, degree level, and other factors -- suggests that the answer will depend in large part on how the question is framed. And that decision is a surprisingly value-laden one, says Johnson. "You frame the question one way if you are only interested in students who graduate, and another way if you want to know the cost for people who go to college and don't complete," he says. "The point is, this is not just a data question. It's a question of what it is that we want from our colleges and universities."

The broad work of the Delta Project and its founder, Jane Wellman, is to analyze the "spending side" of the higher education cost and price picture; the group has released a series of reports that try to document the interplay of colleges' revenues and expenditures, and how those trends affect what they charge to students. The new study, which grew out of Johnson's work in Florida, he says, aims to develop a "common language," if not a common format, for focusing the discussion about how one might measure the cost of a degree in a particular institution, system or state. Toward that end, Johnson proposes several possible ways of calculating the average cost of a degree.

The analyses are based on data showing that the Florida university system incurred an average of $288 in direct and indirect instructional expenditures per credit hour, with wide variation by level ($188 for lower division undergraduate, $537 for master's, etc.), institution ($240 for an upper level undergraduate credit at the massive University of Central Florida, $677 for the same credit at the 700-student New College), and field of study ($159 in family/consumer sciences, $509 for natural resources/conservation). The analysis counts only those expenditures derived from state appropriations and student tuition, excluding endowment and other funds.

The first estimate, which Johnson calls the "catalog cost," calculates what a college would spend to educate a student who fulfills the "catalog requirements" of the average degree to the letter -- no more, no less. (The equation: cost per credit hour x instructional expenditures/credit hours.) The average cost is $26,485, with institutions within the Florida system ranging from $22,440 to nearly double that. Johnson also found significant variation by field because of vastly different requirements and program length, with mechanical engineering averaging $37,870 vs. $27,159 for elementary education.

The catalog method is easily understood, but it "does not reflect actual student behavior," Johnson notes. More accurate in gauging how students actually maneuver through institutions, he writes, is the "transcript method" of cost analysis, in which the total number of credit hours students take are multiplied by the cost per credit hour, and then divided by the number of degrees awarded. The average freshman who entered a Florida system university and graduated in 2003-4 "attempted" 131 credits, including failed or withdrawn courses and subtracting for any AP or dual enrollment courses that reduced their course requirements.

The average "transcript cost," then, was $31,763; converting to 2006 dollars, to make parallel to the figures from the "catalog cost" analysis, Johnson writes, the average figure is $33,672. (The 2003-4 figure for mechanical engineering was $47,257.)

Both the catalog and transcript cost methods factor into the calculation only those costs incurred by students who actually graduate. The third major analysis, "full cost attribution," examines the entire amount that an institution or system spent on instructional purposes to achieve an "aggregate level of degree completion." The equation looks like this: all credits taken at an institution over three years x the three-year average cost per credit hour/three years of degrees.

Not surprisingly, because all courses taken by all students would be allocated to the smaller proportion who actually earned degrees, this produces the highest cost per degree number; $37,757 in 2002-3 dollars, equivalent to $40,645 in 2005-6, Johnson writes. This analysis grows less predictable and valid the more narrowly it is drawn, he adds, because programs with high attrition, or into which many students transfer late in the game, can have their figures drastically altered. The overall high and low for the Florida university system, for example, were $170,831 for "multidisciplinary studies" and $21,473 for parks and recreation, and the variation by degree level was enormous: $33,425 for a law degree, $259,781 for an M.D., and $121,725 for a doctorate.

So which is the most accurate assessment of what a university spends to educate a graduate? The catalog cost of $26,485, the transcript cost of $33,672, or the "full cost" $40,645? The last is "probably closer to an answer" to the question that policy makers are increasingly asking now, about "what would we have to spend to get more graduates," though that assumes that colleges maintained their current enrollment and expenditure levels, he notes.

But the other key point, Johnson says, is that the choice of how you measure cost depends, to an extent, on how you perceive the role of colleges. Using the "full cost" measure, he asserts, more or less says that most of what a university does is designed to educate students, and that "all of those costs could be attributed to the cost of producing college graduates," as overhead, he says.

"If you highly value research or public service," though, "you could almost say that the graduates are free -- a byproduct" of what you spend on those other purposes.

Jensen Comment
See Bob Jensen's threads on "Systemic" problems of accountancy --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#BadNews
Especially note the problems of joint costing that plague college cost accounting.

A course illustration of ethics and questionable uses of misleading cost accounting

"Colleges Spend Far Less on Educating Students Than They Claim, Report Says," by Robin Wilson, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 7, 2011 ---

While universities routinely maintain that it costs them more to educate students than what students pay, a new report says exactly the opposite is true.

The report was released today by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, which is directed by Richard K. Vedder, an economist who is also an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a Chronicle blogger. It says student tuition payments actually subsidize university spending on things that are unrelated to classroom instruction, like research, and that universities unfairly inflate the stated cost of providing an education by counting unrelated spending into the mix of what it costs them to educate students.

"The authors find that many colleges and universities are paid more to provide an education than they spend providing one," says a news release on the report, "Who Subsidizes Whom?"

The report's authors used data from the U.S. Education Department's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or Ipeds, to conclude that more than half of students attend institutions that take in more per student in tuition payments than what it actually costs them to deliver an education.

The chief reason universities inflate the figures on what they spend to educate students, says the report, is that institutions include all of their spending—whether it is directly related to instruction or not—when calculating what it costs them to provide an education. In reality, says the report, depending on the type of institution, it can cost universities much less to educate students than what the institutions bring in through tuition charges.

"This study finds that education and related spending is only a portion of many institutions' budgets," says a news release on the study, "and that many schools spend large amounts on things unrelated to educating students."

The report uses Dartmouth College as a poster child to illustrate the gap between the actual costs of providing an education and what an institution says it spends. On its Web site, the report says, the Dartmouth College Fund maintained that while the institution charged undergraduates about $50,000 each in academic 2009-10, the college actually spent about $104,400 per student. While the center's report notes that Dartmouth indeed spent more over all per student than what it took in through tuition payments, "this does not mean that students are being subsidized because not all of that spending is used toward specifically educational purposes."

For example, says the report, Dartmouth said it spent $37,000 per student on "academic support," $24,000 per student for research, $15,000 for "institutional support," and $12,000 for "student services." But, says the report, "very little of that $88,000 is properly attributed to the cost of providing an education."

A spokesman for Dartmouth said it is legitimate for institutions to count research expenditures as part of instruction. Dartmouth faculty members are "renowned as teacher-scholars who involve their students in their scholarship," said the spokesman. "Discovery of knowledge is a key part of Dartmouth’s fundamental mission and a liberal-arts education."

The report criticizes colleges for stating that they subsidize their students' education, saying "conventional wisdom is often wrong" in that regard.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on cost accounting are at

Remember the Roaring 1990s, the Tech Bubble, that burst for all those startup companies and their IPOs that splattered on the walls
Remember the Roaring 1990s, the Tech Bubble, when computer science graduates were getting signing bonuses and million-dollar stock option deals
Remember the Roaring 1990s, the Tech Bubble, when investors and bank lenders lost billions at the end of the 20th Century when the bubble burst

Some analysts argue that the next Tech Bubble is growing larger and larger and larger

"Debate:  Is This Tech Boom Different?" The New York Times (DealB%k), March 31, 2011 ---

"New Million-Syllabi Repository Could Reveal Trends in Teaching," by Ben Weidner, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 31, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
I attempted to search for syllabi in accounting, finance, and other business administration courses at

At the above site on April 1, 2011 I received the following message which I don't think is an April Fools joke:

Unfortunately, Google has deprecated the use of the Google SOAP Search API which this tool uses. We are hoping to update the code to use a different solution in the future. Thank you for your patience.

Cheated in Online Tests?
"Medical Students, Accused of Cheating, Face Possible Expulsion," Chronicle of Higher Education, March 28, 2011 ---

The State University of New York Upstate Medical University is investigating allegations that some fourth-year students cheated in a medical-literature course, reports The Post-Standard, in Syracuse. The students, who are scheduled to graduate in May, could be expelled, or face lesser punishment, if the charges are true, said the dean, Steven Scheinman. One student told school officials that some students in the course had collaborated in taking online tests, which is not permitted.

Bob Jensen's threads on online cheating are at

One Impact of Higher Admission Standards --- Less Revenue
"New Approach at U. of Phoenix Drives Down Parent Company's Stock," Inside Higher Ed, March 30, 2011 ---

The Apollo Group on Tuesday announced a quarterly loss and enrollment declines at the University of Phoenix that were largely attributable to changes in the for-profit institution's policies aimed at ensuring that more of the students it enrolls can succeed academically. The company's announcement of its second quarter results drove down its stock price, Bloomberg reported. Apollo saw enrollment of new students in University of Phoenix degree programs fall by 45 percent from a year ago, and said its policy of requiring new students with few academic credits to enroll in a free orientation program to see if they are cut out for college-level work had suppressed enrollments in the short term but put it "on a path of more consistently delivering high quality growth" in the future. Phoenix, as the biggest and most visible player in the for-profit higher education sector, has been under intense scrutiny amid discussion of increased federal regulation, and it has put in place a series of changes (including changing how it compensates recruiters), its officials have said, to try to lead the industry in a new direction.

Bob Jensen's threads on for-profit universities ---

"Save a Forest: Print Your Emails:  It's okay to use paper. Trees are renewable, recyclable and sustainable," by Chuck Leavell and Carlton Owen, The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2011 ---

Chuck's email tagline reads: "Notice: It's OK to print this email. Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees. Growing and harvesting trees provides jobs for millions of Americans. Working forests are good for the environment and provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Thanks to improved forest management, we have more trees in America today than we had 100 years ago."

Now, understand that we don't advocate wanton waste of paper or any other material, but avoiding the print option does absolutely nothing to save the planet or forests. More forests are dying of insect infestation and disease or being paved over across this country right now than could be converted to an email print-out in a thousand years.

Paper is good. Around 105 A.D., man discovered that paper traveled and transcribed better than stone; it became the renewable medium of choice. Frankly, the human eye can only stare at a computer screen for so long.

We appreciate and applaud people who are sensitive to environmental issues. We both love forests and are avid environmentalists. But we are going to continue to print out those necessary emails without guilt.

Honest, it's okay to print. Trees are renewable, recyclable and sustainable.


Jensen Comment
The paper companies are the largest single landowners in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont --- owning millions of acres of mostly conifer forests used for making paper pulp. I view paper manufacturing as good for the environment since bad types of forest removal is typically forestalled as long as the paper companies can harvest and replant the timber.

Think of the air we breathe. Much of the oxygen in that air was generated by our forests. Then think of how we are depleting the oxygen when we ravage our forests.

Sadly the last paper mill in New Hampshire closed its doors as the world transitions to electronic books, eReader newspapers, and PDF legal documents stored only in hard drives. Some efforts are being made to revive the paper mill in Gorham, but similar closings have taken place in other paper mills around the world.

My wife actually had tears in her eyes when she informed me this year that JC Penney (pronounced Zjjock Penaaayyy) was dropping its big catalog. She still has a bit of a stub left on the finger she uses to dial 1-800.

We might naively hope that these vast forests will be replanted with beautiful hardwood trees for fine furniture, but the fact of the matter is that hardwood trees are too slow growing to be a profitable replacement of the fir, pine, and spruce forests used in paper making. Meanwhile the rain forests in the tropics are being ravaged for hardwood furniture.

Softwood trees can be replanted for home building, but new and better materials are replacing much of the wood in home building, especially materials that are more fire and termite resistant.

Hence, I encourage printing computer documents since this helps to save the forests that transform our harmful carbon dioxide into wonderful oxygen in a photosynthesis process that went on for millions of years before animal forms of life commenced on this beautiful planet.

Fortunately, there's not been technology to replace the paper tissue rolls beside our commodes even if the commode sitters are now holding Kindles and iPads while they do their bathroom business. Fortunately we've not yet completely wiped out the paper industry that still provides much of the oxygen we breathe.

Contrary to folklore, Iowa farmers did not use corn cobs in their outhouses. I'm not lying when I say that on our family farm we tore out pages of Sears Catalogs stored in the outhouse. People don't believe me these days when I tell them we did not use toilet paper on the farm, but I'm telling truth about this part of my childhood. I mentioned to you before that, as a young boy, I tore out the women's underwear pages and hid them in the hay loft of the barn. This was long before there were such things as Playboy Magazines. I guess Hugh Hefner doesn't get enough credit for his part in providing the air we breathe.

Where were the internal controls?
"Woman Admits Million-Dollar Bank Ripoff," WTAE, April 6, 2011 ---

A Pittsburgh woman has pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering for taking advantage of an online glitch that enabled her to make $1.1 million in overdraft withdrawals.

Regulators say that contributed to the failure of a tiny minority-owned bank.

Forty-six-year-old Jammie Harris learned of the glitch from another woman. That woman was indicted in January on charges that she stole more than $900,000 from Dwelling House Savings and Loan.

Prosecutors say Harris was seen "living the high life with new-found wealth" when she stole the money in 272 separate transactions from February to December 2008.

Dwelling House closed down in 2009 because it couldn't absorb $3 million in fraud losses.

A federal prosecutor says Harris and the other woman are the only people charged "so far."

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

RLC = Return on Lobbying Congress
"G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether," by David Kocieniewski, The New York Times, March 24, 2011 ---

General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.

The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.

Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies.

Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm. Indeed, the company’s slogan “Imagination at Work” fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress.

While General Electric is one of the most skilled at reducing its tax burden, many other companies have become better at this as well. Although the top corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, companies have been increasingly using a maze of shelters, tax credits and subsidies to pay far less.

In a regulatory filing just a week before the Japanese disaster put a spotlight on the company’s nuclear reactor business, G.E. reported that its tax burden was 7.4 percent of its American profits, about a third of the average reported by other American multinationals. Even those figures are overstated, because they include taxes that will be paid only if the company brings its overseas profits back to the United States. With those profits still offshore, G.E. is effectively getting money back.

Such strategies, as well as changes in tax laws that encouraged some businesses and professionals to file as individuals, have pushed down the corporate share of the nation’s tax receipts — from 30 percent of all federal revenue in the mid-1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009.

Yet many companies say the current level is so high it hobbles them in competing with foreign rivals. Even as the government faces a mounting budget deficit, the talk in Washington is about lower rates. President Obama has said he is considering an overhaul of the corporate tax system, with an eye to lowering the top rate, ending some tax subsidies and loopholes and generating the same amount of revenue. He has designated G.E.’s chief executive, Jeffrey R. Immelt, as his liaison to the business community and as the chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and it is expected to discuss corporate taxes.

“He understands what it takes for America to compete in the global economy,” Mr. Obama said of Mr. Immelt, on his appointment in January, after touring a G.E. factory in upstate New York that makes turbines and generators for sale around the world.

A review of company filings and Congressional records shows that one of the most striking advantages of General Electric is its ability to lobby for, win and take advantage of tax breaks.

Over the last decade, G.E. has spent tens of millions of dollars to push for changes in tax law, from more generous depreciation schedules on jet engines to “green energy” credits for its wind turbines. But the most lucrative of these measures allows G.E. to operate a vast leasing and lending business abroad with profits that face little foreign taxes and no American taxes as long as the money remains overseas.

Company officials say that these measures are necessary for G.E. to compete against global rivals and that they are acting as responsible citizens. “G.E. is committed to acting with integrity in relation to our tax obligations,” said Anne Eisele, a spokeswoman. “We are committed to complying with tax rules and paying all legally obliged taxes. At the same time, we have a responsibility to our shareholders to legally minimize our costs.”

The assortment of tax breaks G.E. has won in Washington has provided a significant short-term gain for the company’s executives and shareholders. While the financial crisis led G.E. to post a loss in the United States in 2009, regulatory filings show that in the last five years, G.E. has accumulated $26 billion in American profits, and received a net tax benefit from the I.R.S. of $4.1 billion.

But critics say the use of so many shelters amounts to corporate welfare, allowing G.E. not just to avoid taxes on profitable overseas lending but also to amass tax credits and write-offs that can be used to reduce taxes on billions of dollars of profit from domestic manufacturing. They say that the assertive tax avoidance of multinationals like G.E. not only shortchanges the Treasury, but also harms the economy by discouraging investment and hiring in the United States.

Continued in article

From CBS Sixty Minutes on March 27, 2011
How to Shift Profits Offshore --- http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7360934n&tag=contentMain;contentBody
Economist Martin Sullivan explains to Lesley Stahl how American multi-national companies shift their profits overseas.
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7360934n&tag=contentMain;contentBody#ixzz1HvmebOLs

Comedian Jon Stewart Reacts to GE’s Tax Savviness ---

"GE Responds to Hoax Tax Press Release in Least Hoaxy Way Possible," by Caleb Newquist, Going Concern, April 13, 2011 ---

March 31, 2011 reply from Francine McKenna

I wrote at Forbes yesterday about KPMG's lack of independence with regard to their audit client GE.


My other problems with GE go back to the legacy of Jack Welch, GE’s insidious influence on how people all over the corporate world aremeasured and rewarded, and their history as a bad actor when it comes to internal controls and accounting manipulation.

So it’s not surprising that GE uses their auditor, KPMG, to help them put their “zero” tax return together.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 started out tough on tax. The rules regarding prohibited activities by the auditor, intended to preserve their independence, scared the living daylights out of the largest firms. It appeared initially that the SEC would prohibit the tax side of the firms from providing highly lucrative tax advice to their audit clients. Many of those professionals started planning an exit from their firms so they could continue working with long time clients.

A compromise was reached. The result is one of the loosest and most generous exceptions to auditor independence rules on the books.

Francine McKenna
Managing Editor
@ReTheAuditors on Twitter

Bob Jensen's threads on KPMG are at

"Since Alan Failed, the Job Must Be Impossible," by Floyd Norris, The New York Times, March 30, 2011 ---

Alan Greenspan is back, lecturing the regulators that they can’t possibly hope to do the jobs the Dodd-Frank law assigned to them.

In an op-ed piece in Wednesday’s Financial Times, Mr. Greenspan writes:

In pressing forward, the regulators are being entrusted with forecasting, and presumably preventing, all undesirable repercussions that might happen to a market when its regulatory conditions are importantly altered. No one has such skills. Regulators were caught “flat-footed” by a breakdown we had erroneously thought was more than adequately reserved against.

In other words, the fact that he completely failed to do his job — and in the process brought on a financial crisis whose effects are still felt — is ample evidence that it is futile to try to do the job at all.

He goes on:

The problem is that regulators, and for that matter everyone else, can never get more than a glimpse at the internal workings of the simplest of modern financial systems. Today’s competitive markets, whether we seek to recognise it or not, are driven by an international version of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque. With notably rare exceptions (2008, for example), the global “invisible hand” has created relatively stable exchange rates, interest rates, prices and wage rates.

I really like that part about “notably rare exceptions.” It reminds me of a defense lawyer arguing that while his client may have committed a few murders on one particular day, his conduct on all the other days of his life had been exemplary.

Bob Jensen's threads on the economic collapse are at

Don't let those kids play outdoors in this neighborhood

Watch the Video
A Central Florida homeowners association is preparing to vote on banning children from playing outside.
"HOA Wants Kids Banned From Playing Outside Edgewater Association:  To Vote On Proposal April 27, Click Orlando, March 31, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
Better yet post a billboard at the entrance quoting WC Fields:
"The best way to have kids is cooked.

The Pot Calling the "Do No Evil" Kettle Black
"Microsoft's Antitrust Turnabout:  Now it's calling Google a monopolist," The Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2011 ---

Invoking Romeo and Juliet's Mercutio seems like the most natural response to Microsoft's complaint to the European Commission over Google's allegedly anticompetitive behavior—a plague on the houses of Gates-Ballmer and Page-Brin would be well deserved. Even Brad Smith, Microsoft's long-time general counsel, was compelled to call attention to the "irony"—his word—of Microsoft's calling in the Commission to investigate the search giant.

Microsoft, after all, suffered more than perhaps any other at the hands of Brussels's antitrust cops, and the company knows full well how difficult it is to run a business in the fast-moving tech space with regulators rummaging through your virtual file cabinets for evidence of ill-intent.

Not that Google is above playing pin-the-regulator-on-the-rival, either. It milked the net neutrality crusade for as long as it was useful in keeping Internet service providers at bay. And four years ago Google filed a brief in court arguing that Microsoft's Vista operating system violated the Redmond, Washington company's consent decree stemming from the Justice Department's interminable case against the software maker.

It's hard to believe now, but Microsoft's decade of Brussels purgatory began with a complaint that Microsoft's Media Player was illegally bundled with the Windows operating system. The European Commission made the world safe for competition again by ordering Microsoft to sell a version of Windows in Europe without a media player. This all seemed very important to the antitrust gnomes at the time, which goes to show why bureaucrats shouldn't design software. In the midst of that brouhaha, iTunes came along and made all that huffing about "lock-in" and "network effects" look like the self-serving rationalization of the antitrust guild that some of us said it was at the time.

Now it's Microsoft's turn, and its complaint shows that it has also learned to speak regulator-ese. According to Mr. Smith, Google's sins include: denying competitors the ability to index YouTube's cache of laughing-baby videos (although a nonscientific sampling of Microsoft's Bing search results suggests that Microsoft has nevertheless indexed some pretty obscure YouTube clips); restricting advertisers' ability to copy their search campaigns to competitors' sites; and locking in large European websites to the exclusive use of Google search boxes.

Continued in article


What's a financial long bet and how does it win or lose?
What's the distinction between a long bet speculation versus hedge?

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on April 1, 2011

Hedge Funds Had Bets Against Japan
by: Gregory Zuckerman and Tom Lauricella
Date: Mar 15, 2011 

SUMMARY: The catastrophe in Japan has placed renewed focus on the country's already fragile economy-and brought unexpected profits to investors who have long bet that the nation eventually will be dragged down by its debt problems.


  1. What is a hedge fund? How is a hedge fund different from mutual funds or individual investing? What type of investor would invest in such funds? What are the risk levels involved with investing in hedge funds?
  2. How did these hedge funds 'bet against Japan'? Why did some investors think it wise to invest this way? How has the earthquake in Japan impacted this type of investment?
  3. What were the issues facing Japan before the earthquake? How has the earthquake changed the situation? What is the long-term outlook for business in the country? What are Japan's borrowing levels? How would this impact investment in the country by businesses? By individuals?

"Hedge Funds Had Bets Against Japan," by: Gregory Zuckerman and Tom Lauricella, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2011 ---

The catastrophe in Japan has placed renewed focus on the country's already fragile economy—and brought unexpected profits to investors who have long bet that the nation eventually will be dragged down by its debt problems.

In recent years, a chorus of voices has warned that Japan is facing an inevitable crisis to be brought on by a stagnant economy, a shrinking population and the worst debt profile of any major industrialized country.

Hedge-fund managers from Kyle Bass of Hayman Advisors LP in Dallas to smaller firms like Commonwealth Opportunity Capital have made money since the earthquake on long-held bets on Japan's government and corporate bonds.

Though the economic toll of the earthquake is far from clear, the immediate response in the financial markets has been a decline in stock prices, with the Nikkei Stock Average down 7.8% in two days (including Friday, when the quake hit near the end of the trading day). The price for insuring against a default by Japan on its government debt, a popular way to position for a financial crisis in Japan, has jumped. But in a move that runs counter to the expectations of some long-term Japan bears, the yen has strengthened on expectations that Japanese investors and corporations will be buying yen as they bring money home in coming weeks and months.

The price for insuring $10 million of Japanese sovereign debt for five years in the credit-default-swap market soared to $103,000 on Monday, from $79,000 on Friday, according to data provider Markit.

Reflecting the skepticism about Japan's outlook, even before the disaster, the net notional amount of Japanese debt being insured in the swaps market had surged to $7.4 billion from $4.1 billion a year ago, according to data from the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. through March 4. The number of contracts outstanding has more than doubled.

Fresh DTCC data are due on Tuesday and will include only the early effects of the earthquake.

Credit-default swaps of many corporate bonds have become even more valuable, rewarding those that bet on them. Among the biggest moves was in Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner of the nuclear-power plants crippled by the earthquake.

Commonwealth Opportunity Capital, a $90 million hedge fund in Los Angeles, made a profit of several million dollars on Tokyo Electric on Monday, from an investment of less than $200,000. The annual cost of protecting $10 million of Tokyo Electric's debt jumped to $240,000 on Monday from $40,700 on Friday.

"Nobody wants bad things to happen to people," said Adam Fisher, who helps run Commonwealth Opportunity Capital. He said the firm has been betting against Japanese corporate bonds for two years. "But it shows how fragile that heavily levered nation is; there's very little margin for error."

Betting against Japan has been a losing proposition for many investors for years. Despite all the debt problems, bond prices have continued to move higher partly because deflation, not inflation, has been the concern. Also, domestic investors own most of the government's debt and have been reluctant to sell.

But now, facing at least a short-term hit to the economy from the earthquake and the likely need to issue more debt to pay for reconstruction efforts, Japan is seeing its problems magnified.

"Japan's choices are very, very bad," said John Mauldin, president of Millennium Wave Advisors. "Japan has an aging population, which is saving less, their savings rate will go negative sometime in the next few years at which point they will have to significantly reduce their spending, increase taxes or print money or some combination of the three.

"In the grand scheme of things, does the earthquake technically move it up further? Yes, but they were already well down the path."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Note how long positions on national debt are often a losing proposition unless they are hedges. In hedging situations these gains and losses are offset by gains and losses on the hedged items to the extent that the hedging contracts are effective. For example, a hedge fund might invest in U.S. Treasury bonds paying a fixed rate. There is no cash flow risk on interest payments or repayment of the face value of the bonds. However, there is value risk since the price of these outstanding bonds in the financial markets goes up and down daily. The hedge fund can lock in fixed value by entering into a fair value hedge such as by entering into a plain vanilla interest rate swap in which the fixed-amount interest payments are swapped for variable rate payments. The value of the bonds plus the value of the swap is thereby locked into a fixed value for which there is no value risk. However, when hedging value risk the investor has inevitably taken on cash flow risk. It's impossible to hedge both fair value risk and cash flow risk. Investors must choose between one or the other.

Hedging against debt default entire is an extreme form of fair value hedging and is usually done with a different type of hedging contract. Here the investor is not so much concerned with interim interest payments (or interim changes in value due to shifts in market interest rates) as he/she is concerned with possible default on payback of the entire principal of the debt. In other words it's more like insurance against a creditor declaring bankruptcy to get out of repayment of all or a great portion of debt repayment.

Credit Default Swap --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_default_swap

A credit default swap (CDS) can almost be thought of as a form of insurance. If a borrower of money does not repay her loan, she "defaults." If a lender has purchased a CDS on that loan from an insurance company, the lender can then use the default as a credit to swap it in exchange for a repayment from an insurance company. However, one does not need to be the lender to profit from this situation. Anyone (usually called a speculator) can purchase a CDS. If a borrower does not repay his loan on time and defaults not only does the lender get paid by the insurance company, but the speculator gets paid as well. It is in the lender's best interest that he gets his money back, either from the borrower, or from the insurance company if the borrower is unable to pay back his loan. However, it is in the speculator's best interest that the borrower never repay his loan and default because that is the only way that the speculator can then take that default, turn it into a credit, and swap it for a cash payment from an insurance company.

A more technical way of looking at it is that a credit default swap (CDS) is a swap contract and agreement in which the protection buyer of the CDS makes a series of payments (often referred to as the CDS "fee" or "spread") to the protection seller and, in exchange, receives a payoff if a credit instrument (typically a bond or loan) experiences a credit event. It is a form of reverse trading.

A credit default swap is a bilateral contract between the buyer and seller of protection. The CDS will refer to a "reference entity" or "reference obligor", usually a corporation or government. The reference entity is not a party to the contract. The protection buyer makes quarterly premium payments—the "spread"—to the protection seller. If the reference entity defaults, the protection seller pays the buyer the par value of the bond in exchange for physical delivery of the bond, although settlement may also be by cash or auction. A default is referred to as a "credit event" and includes such events as failure to pay, restructuring and bankruptcy.[2] Most CDSs are in the $10–$20 million range with maturities between one and 10 years.

A holder of a bond may “buy protection” to hedge its risk of default. In this way, a CDS is similar to credit insurance, although CDS are not similar to or subject to regulations governing casualty or life insurance. Also, investors can buy and sell protection without owning any debt of the reference entity. These “naked credit default swaps” allow traders to speculate on debt issues and the creditworthiness of reference entities. Credit default swaps can be used to create synthetic long and short positions in the reference entity. Naked CDS constitute most of the market in CDS. In addition, credit default swaps can also be used in capital structure arbitrage.

Credit default swaps have existed since the early 1990s, but the market increased tremendously starting in 2003. By the end of 2007, the outstanding amount was $62.2 trillion, falling to $38.6 trillion by the end of 2008.

Most CDSs are documented using standard forms promulgated by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), although some are tailored to meet specific needs. Credit default swaps have many variations.[2] In addition to the basic, single-name swaps, there are basket default swaps (BDS), index CDS, funded CDS (also called a credit linked notes), as well as loan only credit default swaps (LCDS). In addition to corporations or governments, the reference entity can include a special purpose vehicle issuing asset backed securities.

Credit default swaps are not traded on an exchange and there is no required reporting of transactions to a government agency. During the 2007-2010 financial crisis the lack of transparency became a concern to regulators, as was the trillion dollar size of the market, which could pose a systemic risk to the economy. In March 2010, the DTCC Trade Information Warehouse (see Sources of Market Data) announced it would voluntarily give regulators greater access to its credit default swaps database

Credit Default Swap (CDS)
This is an insurance policy that essentially "guarantees" that if a CDO goes bad due to having turds mixed in chocolates in a diversified portfolio, the "counterparty" who purchased the CDO will recover the value fraudulently invested in turds. On September 30, 2008 Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times aptly explained that the huge CDO underwriter of CDOs was the insurance firm called AIG. She also explained that the first $85 billion given in bailout money by Hank Paulson to AIG was to pay the counterparties to CDS swaps. She also explained that, unlike its casualty insurance operations, AIG had no capital reserves for paying the counterparties for the the turds they purchased from Wall Street investment banks.

"Your Money at Work, Fixing Others’ Mistakes," by Gretchen Morgenson, The New York Times, September 20, 2008 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/business/21gret.html
Also see "A.I.G., Where Taxpayers’ Dollars Go to Die," The New York Times, March 7, 2009 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/business/08gret.html

What Ms. Morgenson failed to explain, when Paulson eventually gave over $100 billion for AIG's obligations to counterparties in CDS contracts, was who were the counterparties who received those bailout funds. It turns out that most of them were wealthy Arabs and some Asians who we were getting bailed out while Paulson was telling shareholders of WaMu, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch to eat their turds.

You tube has a lot of videos about a CDS. Go to YouTube and read in the phrase "credit default swap" ---
In particular note this video by Paddy Hirsch --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaui9e_4vXU
Paddy has some other YouTube videos about the financial crisis.


Bob Jensen's discussion of accounting rules for credit default swaps can be found under the C-Terms at

Credit default swaps turned into a disaster for AIG and the U.S. Government when black swans flew over in 2008 ---

The Commission's Final Report --- http://c0182732.cdn1.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/fcic_final_report_full.pdf
(This report is really more of a misleading whitewash of government agencies and Congress relative to the real causes of the subprime disaster.)

Greatest Swindle in the History of the World ---

Bob Jensen's discussion of accounting rules for credit default swaps can be found under the C-Terms at

"For New Ph.D.'s Who Must Lower Their Sights, Some Lessons From an Earlier Generation," by Audrey Williams June, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 4, 2011 ---

Jensen Comment
Although this article focuses upon humanities doctoral graduates who were forced to give up hope of starting out in tenure track positions at prestigious research universities, this article repeats things that I've heard and learned about accounting hires at major research universities that did not make tenure and/or otherwise went to colleges that had heavier teaching loads and lower research/publication expectations.

The article stresses the mind set changes that are necessary. Some faculty are glad they are at colleges more focused on teaching whereas others never quite overcome their frustrations. Much depends upon the attitude going into more teaching and less research.

The findings from the 1970s do not entirely extrapolate to the 21st Century. In the 1970s, most graduates from humanities doctoral programs could land tenure track positions in respected colleges that were not prestigious research universities. In the 21st Century, the majority of humanities doctoral graduates cannot find similar tenure track positions. Those that do get tenure track positions probably have greater job appreciation.

"Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go; It's hard to tell young people that universities view their idealism and energy as an exploitable resource," by Thomas H. Benton, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 30, 2009 ---

"Earnings effects of personality, education and IQ for the gifted," by Steve Hsu, MIT's Technology Review, April 2, 2011 ---

Thanks to a reader for pointing me to this recent paper by Heckman and collaborators, which makes use of data from the Terman study of gifted individuals (minimum IQ of 135 on the Stanford-Binet).

Of the personality factors, Conscientiousness and Extraversion had the largest (positive) effect on lifetime earnings -- see figures below. See
here for more on Big 5 personality factors and a link to a personality test.

The Effects of Education, Personality, and IQ on Earnings of High-Ability Men

This paper estimates the internal rate of return (IRR) to education for men and women of the Terman sample, a 70-year long prospective cohort study of high-ability individuals. The Terman data is unique in that it not only provides full working-life earnings histories of the participants, but it also includes detailed profiles of each subject, including IQ and measures of latent personality traits. Having information on latent personality traits is significant as it allows us to measure the importance of personality on educational attainment and lifetime earnings.

Our analysis addresses two problems of the literature on returns to education: First, we establish causality of the treatment effect of education on earnings by implementing generalized matching on a full set of observable individual characteristics and unobserved personality traits. Second, since we observe lifetime earnings data, our estimates of the IRR are direct and do not depend on the assumptions that are usually made in order to justify the interpretation of regression coefficients as rates of return.

For the males, the returns to education beyond high school are sizeable. For example, the IRR for obtaining a bachelor's degree over a high school diploma is 11.1%, and for a doctoral degree over a bachelor's degree it is 6.7%. These results are unique because they highlight the returns to high-ability and high-education individuals, who are not well-represented in regular data sets.

Our results highlight the importance of personality and intelligence on our outcome variables. We find that personality traits similar to the Big Five personality traits are significant factors that help determine educational attainment and lifetime earnings. Even holding the level of education constant, measures of personality traits have significant effects on earnings. Similarly, IQ is rewarded in the labor market, independently of education. Most of the effect of personality and IQ on life-time earnings arise late in life, during the prime working years. Therefore, estimates from samples with shorter durations underestimate the treatment effects.

Here are a couple of interesting excerpts from the paper:

... Our third contribution is to show how the effect of personality on earnings varies through-out the men’s working lives. We find that without access to long follow-up data, the estimated effect would be understated. Note that even though the Terman sample has a restricted range of IQ, there is substantial variation in personality. In fact, the Terman men do not differ from the general population in terms of personality.

... note that even when controlling for rich background variables, IQ maintains a statistically significant effect on lifetime earnings. Even though the effect is slightly diminished from the un-controlled association of the first column, it is still sizable. Malcolm Gladwell claims rather generally in his book Outliers that for the Terman men, IQ did not matter once family background and other observable personal characteristics were taken into account. While we do not want to argue that IQ has a larger role for the difference between 50 and 100, for example, than for the difference between 150 and 200, we do want to point out that even at the high end of the ability distribution, IQ has meaningful consequences. [The syntax of this last sentence is strange. Presumably the impact of IQ variation from 50 to 100 (from severely handicapped to average) is larger than for 150 to 200, even though their results show a significant effect even in the very high range.]

Below are some nice figures (click for larger versions). Note the personality factor distribution among Termites was similar to that of the overall population, whereas the IQ range was restricted due to selection. Typical lifetime earnings for this group of exceptionally able men ranged from $2 to $3 million in 2008 dollars.

Continued in article

April 5, 2011 reply from Jim Fuehrmeyer

In my start group in Chicago over thirty years ago, there were six of us who were Sells award winners including the gold medalist. The gold medalist could take a test with the best of them but she couldn’t carry on an intelligent conversation and she lacked the ability to make judgments. Like I tell my students, accounting is not about solving problems; it’s about identifying the problem to be solved. I’m sure some of the smartest PhDs you’ve known in your career ended up being the poorest teachers; being smart doesn’t mean you can communicate your knowledge to others effectively.


Research that equates income levels to predictor factors suffers inevitably to the "criterion problem" discussed  at

"Northwestern Details Dispute With Journalism Professor," Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2011 ---

David Protess, a leading journalism professor at Northwestern University known for his work investigating wrongfully convicted individuals, has been in a high profile dispute with the institution, which suspended his teaching duties this semester. Protess and his supporters have accused the university of failing to protect his rights as law enforcement officials have questioned his tactics. But on Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune  reported, Northwestern officials told faculty members that Protess had doctored records and lied repeatedly to the journalism dean,

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

From the Scout Report on April 1, 2011

MenuPrefs 2.6 --- http://ithinksw.com/menuprefs 

With all the steps required for changing the energy saver preferences on a Mac, things can get a bit annoying. Fortunately, MenuPrefs 2.6 can be quite helpful with this process. MenuPrefs provides a "menu-bar-based front-end application" that gives users access to everything from sound preferences to system access preferences. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3 and newer.

After a decision by Maine's governor, a mural is removed Maine governor removes pro-union mural http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/03/29/maine.mural.removed/index.html?hpt=T2 

Maine labor mural comes down on governor's orders http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2011/03/28/maine_labor_mural_comes_down_on_governors_orders/ 

Maine Arts Commission http://mainearts.maine.gov/ 

Detroit Industry: The Murals of Diego Rivera http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103337403 

The public can't be trusted to commission art http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2009/may/20/public-art-jonathan-jones  

Public art gives Seattle its spirit http://host.madison.com/wsj/travel/national/article_c48ce772-e264-5464-9327-ab1ef8d7eb65.html 

From the Scout Report on April 8, 2011

VirtuaWin 4.3 --- http://virtuawin.sourceforge.net /

Are you looking for a few more workspaces? Well, look no further, as VirtuaWin 4.3 might be just the ticket. This virtual desktop manager gives users the opportunity to organize applications over several virtual desktops. Visitors should also note that there is a FAQ section that is quite helpful, and there are a number of customizable icon sets and modules that can also be used in conjunction with VirtuaWin. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.

TwitterFeed --- http://twitterfeed.com/ 

If you are using Twitter for your small business or other related endeavor, you will also want to give TwitterFeed a look. Visitors can sign up here to have their blog entries fed directly to their Facebook or Twitter accounts, and they will also be able to use the real-time stats feature. Also, visitors should check out TwitterFeed's own in-house blog and the help section here. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

As the sesquicentennial of the Civil War approaches, exhibits and other activities raise important questions The civil war: Finally passing

The Civil War started in the Panhandle

Civil War faces live again at Library of Congress

Civil War anniversary: Songs, literature and films about the Civil War

Civil War Trust: Civil War Sesquicentennial http://www.civilwar.org/150th-anniversary/ 

Virginia Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War http://www.virginiacivilwar.org/


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

Education Tutorials

How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Were Made --- Click Here

American Council on Education - GED Testing --- http://www.acenet.edu/Content/NavigationMenu/ged/index.htm

Computer Animation of the 21st Century --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animation_software

Create Cartoons With Anime Studio Debut Create South Park-like cutout and simple 2D animation easily using the bone structure of a drawing," by Steve Horton, PC World, via The Washington Post, August 6, 2009 --- Click Here

Business School Zone --- http://www.businessschoolzone.com/

Aesthetics + Computation Group: MIT Media Laboratory --- http://acg.media.mit.edu/projects/

"Mapping Novels with Google Earth," Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2011 ---

Super Teacher Joe Hoyle lists the five biggest mistakes of teachers in classrooms ---
I might add that in terms of pedagogy Joe is almost 100% Socratic Method.
His criticisms tend to be somewhat more appropriate for Lecture Method enthusiasts.
For example, using too much PowerPoint is often more of a problem of a lecturer vis-a-vis a case method teacher.

Socratic Method --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_method

The big question mark in Socratic Method is whether a teacher ultimately certifies the best answers.
Former Harvard case method enthusiast Bill Bruns claimed to almost never give his blessings on particular answers.
He felt students should walk away still debating in their heads the answers given in case discussions by fellow students.
This is why "Teaching Notes" provided to instructors using Harvard Cases are often terribly disappointing to instructors seeking answer sheets.
Perhaps this is why Tuck's Richard Sansing will not provide Teaching Notes to cases that he shares on the AAA Commons.

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

Video:  The billion-insect highway in the sky --- Click Here

Deciphering the Genetic Code: M. Nirenberg --- http://history.nih.gov/exhibits/nirenberg/

Singing Insects of North America --- http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/walker/buzz/

Extreme Planet Makeover (NASA) --- http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/planetMakeover/planetMakeover.html

BioEd Online: Japanese Earthquake and Tsunamis, Before and After ---

Michigan Department of Natural Resources --- http://www.michigan.gov/dnr

PMEL CO2: Carbon Dioxide Program (ocean cycles) ---  http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/

New England Complex Systems Institute --- http://www.necsi.edu/

"Beyond Timothy Leary: 2002 Film Revisits History of LSD" (56 minute video) --- Click Here

Aesthetics + Computation Group: MIT Media Laboratory --- http://acg.media.mit.edu/projects/

How Venice Works (video) --- Click Here

American Museum of Natural History: The Horse --- http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/horse/

American Association of Colleges of Nursing --- http://www.aacn.nche.edu/index.htm

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

"Beyond Timothy Leary: 2002 Film Revisits History of LSD" (56 minute video) --- Click Here

"B-School Research Tackles the Big Questions:  Business school faculty members have been churning out research on green initiatives, terrorism, and happiness," by Francesca Di Meglio, Business Week, March 24, 2011 ---

There's not much credit given here to accounting research, but mention is made of research on vocal intonations of CEOs and CFOs on 1,647 earnings conference calls for 691 companies in 2007, a study by Duke's accounting professors William Mayew Mohan Venkatachalam.

Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center --- http://kltprc.info/

African American Women in Iowa Digital Collection --- http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/aawiowa/index.php 

Ready for Takeoff: China's Advancing Aerospace Industry --- http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG1100.html

Texas Public Interest Research Group --- http://www.texpirg.org/

Australian Institute of Criminology - Cybercrime --- http://www.aic.gov.au/en/crime_types/cybercrime.aspx

Land of (Un)Equal Opportunity: Documenting the Civil Rights Struggle in Arkansas ---

Inside Job: 2010 Oscar-Winning Documentary Now Online --- Click Here

In late February, Charles Ferguson’s film – Inside Job – won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. And now the film documenting the causes of the 2008 global financial meltdown has made its way online (thanks to the Internet Archive). A corrupt financial industry, its corrosive relationship with politicians, academics and regulators, and the trillions of damage done, it all gets documented in this film that runs a little shy of 2 hours.

To watch the film, you will need to do the following. 1.) Look at the bottom of the film. 2.) Click the forward button twice so that it moves beyond the initial trailer and the Academy Awards ceremony. 3.) Wait for the little circle to stop spinning. And 4.) click play to watch film.

Inside Job (now listed in our Free Movie Collection) can be purchased on DVD at Amazon. We all love free, but let’s remember that good projects cost real money to develop, and they could use real financial support. So please consider buying a copy.

Hopefully watching or buying this film won’t be a pointless act, even though it can rightly feel that way. As Charles Ferguson reminded us during his Oscar acceptance speech, we are three years beyond the Wall Street crisis and taxpayers (you) got fleeced for billions. But still not one Wall Street exec is facing criminal charges. Welcome to your plutocracy…

Bob Jensen's threads on the global financial meltdown and its aftershocks are at


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

Australian Institute of Criminology - Cybercrime --- http://www.aic.gov.au/en/crime_types/cybercrime.aspx

Land of (Un)Equal Opportunity: Documenting the Civil Rights Struggle in Arkansas ---

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

Math Tutorials

Aesthetics + Computation Group: MIT Media Laboratory --- http://acg.media.mit.edu/projects/

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

History Tutorials

From Michigan State University (Audio)
Vincent Voice Library --- http://vvl.lib.msu.edu/

National Academy of Sciences: Distinctive Voices @ The Jonsson Center [Real Player]

Tate Archive Journeys --- http://www.tate.org.uk/archivejourneys/

Animated Maps 1939-1945 ---

Casasola Studio Photo Database (history of El Paso) --- http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/casasola/

UCSF Japanese Prints Collection --- http://asian.library.ucsf.edu/

Japanese Fine Prints, Pre-1915 --- http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/jpdhtml/jpdabt.html

Japanese and Chinese Prints and Drawings donated by Gillette G. Griffin ---

African American Women in Iowa Digital Collection --- http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/aawiowa/index.php

Chicago Newspaper Photographs
Hyde Park Herald Digital Collections --- http://www.hpherald.com/archive/

Chicago History Museum [Flash Player] http://blog.chicagohistory.org/ 

American Museum of Natural History: The Horse --- http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/horse/

Ready for Takeoff: China's Advancing Aerospace Industry --- http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG1100.html

Australian Institute of Criminology - Cybercrime --- http://www.aic.gov.au/en/crime_types/cybercrime.aspx

From Southwest Texas State University (Photography)
The Wittliff Collection --- http://www.thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu/

Leodis - A Photographic Archive of Leeds --- http://www.leodis.org/

Steppenwolf Theatre Company --- http://www.steppenwolf.org/

Images of Colonialism (such as in Africa) --- http://hcl.harvard.edu/collections/digital_collections/colonialism.cfm

Remember Me: Displaced Children of the Holocaust --- http://rememberme.ushmm.org/

African tribe colonized world 70,000 years ago
Research by geneticists and archaeologists has allowed them to trace the origins of modern homo sapiens back to a single group of people who managed to cross from the Horn of Africa and into Arabia. From there they went on to colonise the rest of the world. While there are 14 ancestral populations in Africa itself, just one seems to have survived outside of the continent, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The Times of India, May 11, 2009 --- Click Here

ARTicle (art history museum) --- http://blog.artic.edu/

Land of (Un)Equal Opportunity: Documenting the Civil Rights Struggle in Arkansas ---

"Mapping Novels with Google Earth," Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2011 ---

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

Classical Comedy: 'A Little Nightmare Music' ---

Civil War anniversary: Songs, literature and films about the Civil War

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

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/

March 30, 2011

March 31, 2011

April 2, 2011

April 4, 2011

April 5, 2011

April 6, 2011

April 7, 2011

April 8, 2011

April 9, 2011

April 11, 2011

April 13, 2011

April 14, 2011

"Who’s Got the Best April Fool’s Pranks?" The New York Times (Pogue's Posts), April 1, 2011 ---

From NPR
Classical Comedy: 'A Little Nightmare Music' ---

Link forwarded by Amy Haas
Video of Moses and Google --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIxToZmJwdI

The Onion: Fake News Site Launches Real Archive (of old editions) ---

General Electric's Aggressive Tax Strategy. The Onion, April 6, 2011 ---

Cheap Flights (Irish Music Video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPyl2tOaKxM

David Letterman's Ten Reasons Why Men Prefer Guns to Women

And here we go...

#10 - You can trade an old 44 for a new 22.

#9 - You can keep one gun at home and have another for when you're on the road.

#8 - If you admire a friend's gun and tell him so, he will probably let you try it out a few times.

#7 - Your primary gun doesn't mind if you keep another gun for a backup.

#6 - Your gun will stay with you even if you run out of ammo.

#5 - A gun doesn't take up a lot of closet space.

#4 - Guns function normally every day of the month.

#3 - A gun doesn't ask , "Do these new grips make me look fat?"

#2 - A gun doesn't mind if you go to sleep after you use it.

And the Number One reason Why Men Prefer Guns over women.....


#1 - You can buy a silencer for a gun

You can find other "Top Ten" clips by David Letterman by doing a "David Letterman Top 10" search on YouTube.

David Letterman - Apple iPad Top Ten List ---

David Letterman - Homer Sompson Top Ten List

Forwarded by Lisl

A Day in the Life of a Senior Citizen

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/

Find a College
College Atlas --- http://www.collegeatlas.org/
Among other things the above site provides acceptance rate percentages
Online Distance Education Training and Education --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm
For-Profit Universities Operating in the Gray Zone of Fraud  (College, Inc.) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#ForProfitFraud

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

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 ---


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.

Free (updated) Basic Accounting Textbook --- search for Hoyle at

CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cpa_examination
Free CPA Examination Review Course Courtesy of Joe Hoyle --- http://cpareviewforfree.com/

Rick Lillie's education, learning, and technology blog is at http://iaed.wordpress.com/

Accounting News, Blogs, Listservs, and Social Networking ---

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

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


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

Some Accounting History Sites

Bob Jensen's Accounting History in a Nutshell and Links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#AccountingHistory

Accounting History Libraries at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) --- http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/accountancy/libraries.html
The above libraries include international accounting history.
The above libraries include film and video historical collections.

MAAW Knowledge Portal for Management and Accounting --- http://maaw.info/

Academy of Accounting Historians and the Accounting Historians Journal ---

Sage Accounting History --- http://ach.sagepub.com/cgi/pdf_extract/11/3/269

A nice timeline on the development of U.S. standards and the evolution of thinking about the income statement versus the balance sheet is provided at:
"The Evolution of U.S. GAAP: The Political Forces Behind Professional Standards (1930-1973)," by Stephen A. Zeff, CPA Journal, January 2005 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2005/105/infocus/p18.htm
Part II covering years 1974-2003 published in February 2005 --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2005/205/index.htm 

A nice timeline of accounting history --- http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2187711/A-HISTORY-OF-ACCOUNTING

From Texas A&M University
Accounting History Outline --- http://acct.tamu.edu/giroux/history.html

Bob Jensen's timeline of derivative financial instruments and hedge accounting ---

History of Fraud in America --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud.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