"Yup, spring is on the way. You can see their heads now."
This Wisconsin picture was forwarded by Paula. Actually
our snow is not quite that deep this year in New Hampshire.

But we do have snow, as you can see in the pictures below.
Erika sends her best to all of you.



News Item from Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University professor and alumnus Randy Pausch continues to create an enduring legacy around the world. Because of your past interest, we wanted to make sure you knew about a new “NFL Films Presents” segment featuring Randy talking about one of his childhood dreams — playing in the National Football League. The video (following a commercial)  is available to view online at:
Please also watch for it over the coming months on networks such as ESPN and the NFL Network.

Jensen Comment
My tribute to Randy can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/tidbits/2008/tidbits080415.htm

Coaches Graham and Gazowski
Why are there so few, if any left like Coaches Graham and Gazowski?

Randy Pausch said it very well when he wrote about his tough old football coach, Coach Graham, in Chapter Seven of The Last Lecture (Hyperion Books, 2008, IABN 978-1-4013-2325-7).

. . . one of the assistant coaches came over to reassure me. "Coach Graham rode you pretty hard , didn't he?" he said.

I could barely muster a "yeah."

"That's a good thing," the assistant told me. "When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you."

. . .

There's a lot of talk these days about giving children self-esteem. It's not something you can give;  it's something they have to build. Coach Graham worked in a no-coddling zone. Self-esteem? He knew there was really only one way to teach kids how to develop it:  You give them something they can't do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and your just keep repeating the process.

When Coach Graham first got hold of me, I was this wimpy kid with no skills, no physical strength, and no conditioning. But he made me realize that if I work hard enough, there will be things I can do tomorrow that I can't do today. Even now, having just turned forty-seven, I can give you a three point stance that any NFL lineman would be proud of.

I realize that, these days, a guy like Coach Graham might get thrown out of a youth sports league. He'd be too tough. Parents would complain.

I remember one game when our team was playing terribly. At halftime, in our rush for water, we almost knocked over the water bucket. Coach Graham was livid:  "Jeez! That's the most I've seen you boys move since this game started!" We were eleven years old, just standing there, afraid he'd pick us up one by one and break us with his bare hands. "Water?" he barked. "You boys want water?" He lifted the bucket and dumped all the water on the ground.

. . .

It saddens me that many kids today are so coddled. I think back to how I felt during that halftime rant. Yes, I was thirsty. But more than that, I felt humiliated. We had all let down Coach Graham, and he let us know it in a way we'd never forget. He was right.

. . .

I haven't seen Coach Graham since I was a teen, but he just keeps showing up in my head, forcing me to work harder whenever I feel like quitting, forcing me to be better. He gave me a feedback loop for life.

Bob Jensen's football coach would've viewed Coach Graham as a wimp. My Algona High School coach's name was "The" Coach Tony Gazowski. Tony grew up Polish and tough in the shadows of the steel mills in Pittsburgh. He became an "All-Big-Ten" defensive end at the University of Iowa and never did catch on that later in life he was a football coach and not a Marine drill instructor (he was also a former Marine sergeant). Coach Gazowski did for me what Coach Graham did for Randy, but Coach Gazowski sometimes went a bit too far in urging us to play a bit rougher than the rules allowed if we thought we could get away with it. This might be a good thing to do on a wartime battlefield, but it's not something I recommend in athletics and most other aspects of life.

You can read more about Randy and find the link to the video of his "Last Lecture" and commentaries that followed at

They're prideful men. You don't get to that level (play in the Super Bowl) unless you've been pretty good at what you've done. In hard times the greatest motivation you want to hear is: Tell me I can't do something, I'll show you that I can . . . "To me sports is about mental toughness," he says. "When you take a mentally tough individual, someone who is not gonna be deterred by getting knocked down and not gonna be thinking they can walk on water when they have success, that's to me someone who's tough, mentally tough. I want my kids to be able to do that because I think it carries over in life."
Bill Cowher, former Steelers coach and the longest-serving NFL coach of the past two decades, as quoted by Matthew Komiski, "The Coach's Keys to the Game," The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123336432774935501.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

Quotations from Jack Lemmon (famous actor) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Lemmon#Personal_quotes

  • Death ends a life, not a relationship. (Tuesdays with Morrie)
  • I won't quit until I get run over by a truck, a producer or a critic.
  • Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.
  • If you think it's hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.
  • It's hard enough to write a good drama, it's much harder to write a good comedy, and it's hardest of all to write a drama with comedy. Which is what life is.
  • Nobody deserves this much money - certainly not an actor.
  • Stay humble. Always answer your phone - no matter who else is in the car.
  • [on Marilyn Monroe] Difficult? Yes. But she was a wonderful comedienne and she had a charisma like no one before or since.
  • [on Judy Holliday] She was intelligent and not at all like the dumb blonds she so often depicted. She didn't give a damn where the camera was placed, how she was made to look, or about being a star. She just played the scene -- acted with, not at. She was also one of the nicest people I ever met.
  • [on Billy Wilder] I've had directors who were marvelous at breaking scenes down and handling people. But when you would string all the pearls together, they wouldn't make a beautiful necklace. But Billy is the kind of picture-maker who can make a beautiful string of pearls. He makes the kind of movies that are classics and last forever.
  • [on Walter Matthau] Walter is a helluva actor. The best I've ever worked with.


Famous Actor James Whitmore died on February 6, 2009 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Whitmore



Tidbits on February 10, 2009
Bob Jensen

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

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

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

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

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

CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cpa_examination

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


Appendix A: Impending Disaster in the U.S.

Appendix B: The Trillion Dollar Bet in 1993

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Appendix K:  Why not bail out everybody and everything?

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

Appendix M:  Reinventing the American Dream

Appendix N: Accounting Fraud at Fannie Mae

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

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

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

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

Appendix S: Fooling Some People All the Time

Appendix T:  Regulations Recommendations

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

Appendix V: Implications for Educators, Colleges, and Students

Appendix W: The End

Appendix: X: How Scientists Help Cause Our Financial Crisis

Appendix Y:  The Bailout's Hidden Agenda Details

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

Personal Note from Bob Jensen


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verizon Math --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCJ3Oz5JVKs&feature=related
Actually, this is no difference here than in the mathematics of The Stimulus Act --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm 

Academic Earth (videos of lectures and even complete courses taught by top scholars) --- http://academicearth.org/

Stanford Humanities Center: Events Archive --- http://shc.stanford.edu/events/archive.htm 

Rocky Mountain Online Archive --- http://rmoa.unm.edu/

Respect a Senior Citizen --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F64xMEVsTew

Incredible Japanese Water Fountain Video --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2178681/posts

Incredible waves against French lighthouses --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7RSryuJAwE

Famous Actor James Whitmore died on February 6, 2009 --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Whitmore

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

Bailout Rap (link forwarded by David Albrecht) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64g_g22iEe8

Exclusive First Listen: Helene Grimaud:  Hear A Preview Of Grimaud's New Bach Album --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99962099

Rudolf Buchbinder's Robust Beethoven --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99928050

Buddy Holly: 50 Years After The Music Died --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100161470

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

Splendor and Elegance: European Decorative Arts and Drawings from the Horace Wood Brock Collection ---

Rocky Mountain Online Archive --- http://rmoa.unm.edu/

Engaging Digital Tibet --- http://digitaltibet.ccnmtl.columbia.edu/

Incredible Japanese Water Fountain Video --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2178681/posts

The Tibet Album: British Photography in Central Tibet, 1920-1950 --- http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/index.php
The Tibet Album presents more than 6000 photographs spanning 30 years of Tibet's history. These extraordinary photographs are a unique record of people long gone and places changed beyond all recognition. They also document the ways that British visitors encountered Tibet and Tibetans.

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

The Online Banned Books Page (updated in 2009) --- http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/banned-books.html

Banned Books --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_banned_books

ACLU Texas Project (comprehensive list of banned books starting with Tom Sawyer)--- http://www.aclutx.org/projects/bannedbooks.php

Also see the ACLU list of 50 Banned Books --- http://www.aclu.org/freedomwire/books/booklist.htm

Banned Books Online --- http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/banned-books.html

Forbidden Library of Banned Books (not all are free) --- http://www.forbiddenlibrary.com/

25 Banned Books That You Should Read Today --- http://degreedirectory.org/articles/25_Banned_Books_That_You_Should_Read_Today.html

When Books Burn (from the University of Arizona) --- Click Here

Index on Censorship --- http://www.indexoncensorship.org/ 

From the American Library Association --- http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/bannedbooksweek/challengedbanned/frequentlychallengedbooks.cfm

Frequently Challenged Books

Each year, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books. To ensure that we include all challenges, we wait until the very end of the year to compile the information. You can expect each year's list to appear on or before February of the following year.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom does not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges. Research suggests that for each challenge reported there are as many as four or five which go unreported.

The most frequently challenged books of 2007 |
The most frequently challenged authors of 2007 |
How is the list of most challenged books tabulated? |
Where can I find more information on why a book is banned/challenged?
| More information on frequently challenged books, including statistics from previous years |

The most frequently challenged books of 2007

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received a total of 420 challenges last year. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. According to Judith F. Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five remain unreported.

The 10 most challenged books of 2007 reflect a range of themes, and are:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
    Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
  2. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence
  3. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language
  4. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
    Reasons: Religious Viewpoint
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
    Reasons: Racism
  6. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,
  7. TTYL, by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
  8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit
  9. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
    Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit
  10. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Off the list this year are two books by author Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye and Beloved, both challenged for sexual content and offensive language.

The most frequently challenged authors of 2007

  1. Robert Cormier
  2. Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  3. Mark Twain
  4. Toni Morrison
  5. Philip Pullman
  6. Kevin Henkes
  7. Lois Lowry
  8. Chris Crutcher
  9. Lauren Myracle
  10. Joann Sfar

How is the list of most challenged books tabulated?

The American Library Association (ALA) collects information from two sources: newspapers and reports submitted by individuals, some of whom use the Challenge Database Form. All challenges are compiled into a database. Reports of challenges culled from newspapers across the country are compiled in the bimonthly Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom (published by the ALA, $40 per year); those reports are then compiled in the Banned Books Week Resource Guide. Challenges reported to the ALA by individuals are kept confidential. In these cases, ALA will release only the title of the book being challenged, the state and the type of institution (school, public library). The name of the institution and its town will not be disclosed.

Where can I find more information on why a particular book was banned?

More information on frequently challenged books

If the information you need is not listed below, please feel free to contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom at (800) 545-2433, ext. 4220, or oif@ala.org.


New Financial Terms forwarded by my good neighbors

Subject: New Financial Terms

CEO- Chief Embezzlement Officer

CFO - Corporate Fraud Officer

BULL MARKET- A random market movement causing investors to mistake themselves for financial geniuses.

BEAR MARKET- a 6-to-18-month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.

VALUE INVESTING- The art of buying low and selling lower.

P/E RATIO- The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.

BROKER - What my financial planner has made me.

STANDARD & POOR- Your life in a nutshell.

STOCK ANALYST- Idiot who just downgraded your stock.

STOCK SPLIT- When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.

MARKET CORRECTION- The day after you buy stocks.

CASH FLOW- The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.

YAHOO! - What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.

WINDOWS- What you jump out of when you're the sucker who bought Yahoo at $240 per share.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR- Past year investor who's now locked up in a nuthouse.

PROFIT - Archaic word no longer in use.

To which David Albrecht added the following:

Here's another list, from: http://247wallst.com/2008/11/26/new-bear-market/

Below is the long list:


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

The tame bird was in a cage, the free bird was in the forest,
They met when the time came, it was a decree of fate.
The free bird cries, "O my love, let us fly to wood."
The cage bird whispers, "Come hither, let us both live in the cage."
Says the free bird, "Among bars, where is there room to spread one's wings?"
"Alas," cries the cage bird, "I should not know where to sit perched in the sky."

Rabindranath Tagore , My Reminiscences (Chapter 3) --- http://www.online-literature.com/tagore-rabindranath/my-reminiscences/

Baby was so free from every tie in the land of the tiny crescent moon.
It was not for nothing he gave up his freedom.

He knows that there is room for endless joy in mother's little corner of a heart,
and it is sweeter far than liberty to be caught and pressed in her dear arms.

Rabindranath Tagore , The Crescent Moon --- http://www.eldritchpress.org/rt/cmoon.htm

500 million Americans are losing jobs each month . . .
Nancy Pelosi --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8hMJVXt09E
Also see http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=87978
Jensen Comment
Do you think our Speaker of the House has been seeing too many big numbers in her Stimulus Act that passed her House of Representatives?
Maybe she was just exaggerating a mite to get public support for the $1 Trillion pork package before the public catches onto how much is pork.
The current population of the United States (at least those that are counted) in July 2008 was estimated to be 303,824,640.

We don't have a moment to spare, but evidently we have $1 trillion (to spare).
Jacob Sullum, "The New Era of Irresponsibility," Reason Magazine, February 4, 2009 --- http://www.reason.com/news/show/131468.html
Jensen Comment
Actually a trillion dollars is small change compared to the ultimate cost of this stimulus package plus the bank bailout funding.

House Republicans have challenged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to release the details of the expected $500 billion proposed omnibus appropriations legislation encompassing the nine remaining spending bills for fiscal year 2009. Entirely separate from the $1.2 trillion Democrat “stimulus” spending bill passed by the House last week with no Republican support, this additional estimated half-trillion dollar omnibus spending bill was scheduled for consideration as early as today. Pelosi removed the bill from the legislative calendar yesterday amid Democrat fears that the actual omnibus spending bill may help scuttle passage of the trillion-dollar “stimulus” spending bill already in very deep trouble...
Connie Hair , "Pelosi Pulls Omnibus Bill Rumored To Cost $500 Billion," Human Events, February 4, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
It really is silly to worry about how much this new Democratic Party Congressional monopoly spends. Whatever they spend requires no new taxes or borrowing. The U.S. has already adopted the Zimbabwe Theory of Finance (read that just print trillions of dollars whenever they want) ---

One senses in a new way the disaster that is Nancy Pelosi. She was all right as leader of the opposition in the Bush era, opposition being joyful and she being by nature chipper. She is tough, experienced, and of course only two years ago she was a breakthrough figure, the first female speaker. But her public comments are often quite mad—we're losing 500 million jobs a month; here's some fresh insight on Catholic doctrine—and in a crisis demanding of creativity, depth and the long view, she seems more than ever a mere ward heeler, a hack, a pol. She's not big enough for the age, is she? She's not up to it.
Peggy Noonan, "Bracing Ourselves:  America prepares for the worst, and Republicans suddenly seem serious.," The Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123388255500354969.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) -- one of the lead Blue Dogs -- made a startling admission to lefty Liberadio on Sunday, suggesting the White House quietly encouraged him to buck House leadership on the stimulus. Cooper was one of 11 Dems to vote no -- joining every GOP House member. "Well, I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I actually got some quiet encouragement from the Obama folks for what I’m doing," said Cooper, one of about 55 House Democrats to sign a letter criticizing Speaker Nancy Pelosi for suspending normal debate and committee rules on the $819 billion package.
Jim Thrush, "Obama staff encouraged defiance of Pelosi," Politico, February 4, 2009 --- Click Here 
Jensen Comment
But we should not forget that speed was of the essence since 500 million Americans are losing jobs every month while awaiting passage of the Stimulus Act.

Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel, saying that former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told the panel that assets given to banks would be returned at equal value. The panel, however, found that the banks were overpaid by $78 billion.
Time Magazine, February 6, 2009 --- http://www.time.com/time/quotes 

Long Time WSJ Defenders of Wall Street's Outrageous Compensation Morph Into Hypocrites
At each stage of the disaster, Mr. Black told me -- loan officers, real-estate appraisers, accountants, bond ratings agencies -- it was pay-for-performance systems that "sent them wrong." The need for new compensation rules is most urgent at failed banks. This is not merely because is would make for good PR, but because lavish executive bonuses sometimes create an incentive to hide losses, to take crazy risks, and even, according to Mr. Black, to "loot the place through seemingly normal corporate mechanisms." This is why, he continues, it is "essential to redesign and limit executive compensation when regulating failed or failing banks." Our leaders may not know it yet, but this showdown between rival populisms is in fact a battle over political legitimacy. Is Wall Street the rightful master of our economic fate? Or should we choose a broader form of sovereignty? Let the conservatives' hosannas turn to sneers. The market god has failed.
Thomas Frank, "Wall Street Bonuses Are an Outrage:  The public sees a self-serving system for what it," The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123371071061546079.html?mod=todays_us_opinion
Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous compensation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#OutrageousCompensation
Bob Jensen's threads on the Bailout mess are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm#Governance

Consequently, though Bush hatred may weaken as the 43rd president minds his business back home in Texas, and while Obama euphoria may fade as the 44th president is compelled to immerse himself in the daunting ambiguities of power, our universities will continue to educate students to believe that hatred and euphoria reflect political wisdom. Urgent though the problem is, not even the efficient and responsible spending of a $1 trillion stimulus package would begin to address it.
Professor Peter Berkowitz (Stanford), "Bush Hatred and Obama Euphoria Are Two Sides of the Same Coin," The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123336391229335459.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

A few quick facts about Wall Street bonuses. The pretext for the political outrage was the New York comptroller's report this week on the aggregate data for bonuses in 2008. That "irresponsible" bonus pool of $18 billion was for every worker in the New York financial industry, from top dogs to secretaries. This bonus pool fell 44% in 2008, the largest percentage decline in 30 years. The average bonus was $112,000; bonuses typically make up most of an employee's salary on Wall Street. The comptroller estimates that this decline will cost New York State $1 billion in lost tax revenue and New York City $275 million. Both city and state may have to announce layoffs.
"'Idiots' Indeed," The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123336371503735447.html?mod=djemEditorialPage
Jensen Comment
Although this puts our bonus contempt somewhat in a new light, it also does not lesson opinion that John Thain and the other crooks who declared themselves multi-million bonuses are one of the reasons that America now despises Wall Street. Actually Thain wanted a $10 million bonus while captain of his sinking ship (Merrill Lynch).
Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123336371503735447.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

John Alexander Thain (born May 26, 1955) was the last chairman and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch before its merger with Bank of America. Thain was designated to become president of global banking, securities, and wealth management at the newly combined company, but he resigned on January 22, 2009. Bank of America lost confidence in Thain after he failed to tell the bank about mounting losses at Merrill in late 2008. The Associated Press identified him as the best paid among the executives of the S&P 500 companies in 2007. On December 8, 2008, Thain gave up on pursuing a controversial bonus of $10 million from the compensation committee at Merrill.[2] Thain also decided to accelerate payments of bonus to employees at Merrill, giving out between $3 billion and $4 billion using money that appeared to come directly from the $15 billion Bank of America and Merrill Lynch had received from US government taxpayers (via the Troubled Assets Relief Program). Thain has additionally become infamous for spending $1.22 million in corporate funds to decorate his office, even as he was asking the government for a bailout of his troubled company.
Quoted from Wikipedia *** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Thain
Thain has since been fired by Bank of America and has agreed to pay for over $1 million spent redecorating his new office.
My question is how Bank of America could buy Merrill without audit verification of mounting losses --- these should've never been a surprise to Bank of America unless they're just plain stupid about accounting. The final settlement price at a minimum could've been contingent on an audit of 2008 earnings.

We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes ...
Leona Helmsly (Queen of Mean) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leona_Helmsley

During the presidential campaign, Joe Biden insisted that paying your taxes is a patriotic duty. No, scratch that. He said that supporting a tax hike was the American thing to do. "It's time to be patriotic," he told America's putative tax slackers. When asked whether he might be questioning the patriotism of people who don't want higher taxes, Biden, as is his wont, took things to the next rhetorical level. Forget patriotism, insisted Joe, paying higher taxes is a religious obligation. The man who gave an average of $369 a year to charity over the previous decade fulfills his religious obligations by cutting a tax check -- a check he's required to cut by law.|
Jonah Goldberg, "Democrats are hypocrites when it comes to paying taxes," Los Angeles Times (say what?), February 4, 2009 --- http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-goldberg3-2009feb03,0,49616.column

President Obama’s choice for the position of chief White House performance officer has withdrawn from consideration for the post, an administration official said Tuesday, after coming forward with concerns about her tax returns. Nancy Killefer, appointed by the president last month to a new position to scrutinize government spending, told the administration on Monday that she intended to step down from the position at the Office of Management and Budget. An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not finalized, confirmed that Ms. Killefer’s withdrawal came because of questions with her taxes. Update: In her resignation letter to Mr. Obama, she described the problem as a tax-related issue stemming from Washington, D.C. unemployment.
Jeff Zeleny, "Citing Tax Troubles, an Obama Appointee Withdraws," The New York Times, February 3, 2009 ---

Jensen Comment
Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) consistently licks Obama's boots and never invites a guest on his show that might bring up uncomfortable facts. In trying to justify the much bigger tax troubles of Tom Daschele, another Obama Appointee strongly supported by the President in spite of Daschele's even bigger tax avoidances. Olbermann did tried to justify all Daschele's tax troubles on an innocent mistake of not reporting the value of a car and driver. Not once did Olbermann mention the more serious tax avoidance issue that Daschele did not report huge consulting fees. Failure to report consulting fees, for which Form 1099 reports must be issued, is a much less innocent tax fraud by Daschele. But Olbermann would never mention that fraud --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#28985186
Daschele got $1 million a year in consulting fees from one source with no explanation of how Daschelle earned such an enormous fee.
I'm not certain when I've witnessed a more biased commentator than Keith Olbermann. Even O'Reilly will debate guest with opposing viewpoints. No such guests appear on Olbermann's show. He only preaches to the liberal choir.

Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter.
Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

Back before Tom Daschle had dumped his first wife for Miss Kansas, and before he had figured out how to pig out at the gov't/lobbyist trough, he tried to portray himself as a man of the people, modest and frugal. My how times have changed in the past 23 years.
youtube ^ | 2/3/2009
Jensen Comment
On February 3, 2009 Tom Daschele removed his name as a candidate for Health and Human Services.

Obama vowed to ban lobbyists from his administration, promising the highest ethical standards in history; he had also pledged not to accept money from lobbyists during his presidential campaign. Once under scrutiny, Daschle's nomination gave the lie to both. While Daschle's business card doesn't list his title as 'lobbyist', he -- as Time Magazine notes -- "in fact, made millions of dollars after he left government doing stuff that looks, smells and tastes a lot like lobbying." And, as a lobbyist in all but name, Daschle contributed $2,300 to Obama's presidential campaign in March 2007 according to FEC records and another $2,000 last October. Even if one quibbles about the technicalities of Daschle's job title, it is hard to deny that his wife filled that role. In 2007, Washingtonian.com named Linda Daschle the sixth most powerful lobbyist in Washington, noting, "When her husband, former Democratic Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, was in power, eyebrows often were raised about Linda Daschle's success."
William Tate, "Inside Obama's sausage factory," American Thinker, February 5, 2009 --- http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/02/inside_obamas_sausage_factory.html

THE single mother of octuplets born in California last week is seeking $2m (£1.37m) from media interviews and commercial sponsorship to help pay the cost of raising the children. Nadya Suleman, 33, plans a career as a television childcare expert after it emerged last week that she already had six children before giving birth on Monday. She now has 14 below the age of eight. Although still confined to an LA hospital bed, she intends to talk to two influential television hosts this week — media mogul Oprah Winfrey, and Diane Sawyer, who presents Good Morning America.
"Octuplets’ mother wants Oprah to turn her into a $2m TV star," The London Times, February 1, 2009 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5627531.ece

Sad, because this is likely to be Obama's last shot at getting this economy on its feet and running by 2010. For Americans are not as patient as they were in the 1930s, when FDR could try one idea, then another, then another for five years, and continue to roll up massive electoral victories. If Obama gets this one wrong, and all this pork and welfare fail to generate real growth, his party could face a wipeout in 2010, and his opportunity could be lost forever. Does he really want to bet the farm on the nag Nancy Pelosi just trotted out of the House?
Patrick Buchanan, "Nancy Pelosi's New Deal." WorldNetDaily, February 3, 2009 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=87870

Half of the average Canadian's income is taxed mostly for health care. This is what it buys
"'Too Old' for Hip Surgery:  As we inch towards nationalized health care, important lessons from north of the border," by Nadeem Esmail, The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123413701032661445.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

President Obama and Congressional Democrats are inching the U.S. toward government-run health insurance. Last week's expansion of Schip -- the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- is a first step. Before proceeding further, here's a suggestion: Look at Canada's experience.

Health-care resources are not unlimited in any country, even rich ones like Canada and the U.S., and must be rationed either by price or time. When individuals bear no direct responsibility for paying for their care, as in Canada, that care is rationed by waiting.

Canadians often wait months or even years for necessary care. For some, the status quo has become so dire that they have turned to the courts for recourse. Several cases currently before provincial courts provide studies in what Americans could expect from government-run health insurance.

In Ontario, Lindsay McCreith was suffering from headaches and seizures yet faced a four and a half month wait for an MRI scan in January of 2006. Deciding that the wait was untenable, Mr. McCreith did what a lot of Canadians do: He went south, and paid for an MRI scan across the border in Buffalo. The MRI revealed a malignant brain tumor.

Ontario's government system still refused to provide timely treatment, offering instead a months-long wait for surgery. In the end, Mr. McCreith returned to Buffalo and paid for surgery that may have saved his life. He's challenging Ontario's government-run monopoly health-insurance system, claiming it violates the right to life and security of the person guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Shona Holmes, another Ontario court challenger, endured a similarly harrowing struggle. In March of 2005, Ms. Holmes began losing her vision and experienced headaches, anxiety attacks, extreme fatigue and weight gain. Despite an MRI scan showing a brain tumor, Ms. Holmes was told she would have to wait months to see a specialist. In June, her vision deteriorating rapidly, Ms. Holmes went to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, where she found that immediate surgery was required to prevent permanent vision loss and potentially death. Again, the government system in Ontario required more appointments and more tests along with more wait times. Ms. Holmes returned to the Mayo Clinic and paid for her surgery.

On the other side of the country in Alberta, Bill Murray waited in pain for more than a year to see a specialist for his arthritic hip. The specialist recommended a "Birmingham" hip resurfacing surgery (a state-of-the-art procedure that gives better results than basic hip replacement) as the best medical option. But government bureaucrats determined that Mr. Murray, who was 57, was "too old" to enjoy the benefits of this procedure and said no. In the end, he was also denied the opportunity to pay for the procedure himself in Alberta. He's heading to court claiming a violation of Charter rights as well.

These constitutional challenges, along with one launched in British Columbia last month, share a common goal: to win Canadians the freedom to spend their own money to protect themselves from the inadequacies of the government health-insurance system.

The cases find their footing in a landmark ruling on Quebec health insurance in 2005. The Supreme Court of Canada found that Canadians suffer physically and psychologically while waiting for treatment in the public health-care system, and that the government monopoly on essential health services imposes a risk of death and irreparable harm. The Supreme Court ruled that Quebec's prohibition on private health insurance violates citizen rights as guaranteed by that province's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

The experiences of these Canadians -- along with the untold stories of the 750,794 citizens waiting a median of 17.3 weeks from mandatory general-practitioner referrals to treatment in 2008 -- show how miserable things can get when government is put in charge of managing health insurance.

In the wake of the 2005 ruling, Canada's federal and provincial governments have tried unsuccessfully to fix the long wait times by introducing selective benchmarks and guarantees along with large increases in funding. The benchmarks and the guarantees aren't ambitious: four to eight weeks for radiation therapy; 16 to 26 weeks for cataract surgery; 26 weeks for hip and knee replacements and lower-urgency cardiac bypass surgery.

Canada's system comes at the cost of pain and suffering for patients who find themselves stuck on waiting lists with nowhere to go. Americans can only hope that Barack Obama heeds the lessons that can be learned from Canadian hardships.

Mr. Esmail, based in Calgary, is the director of Health System Performance Studies at The Fraser Institute.

Jensen Comment
The problem with so much tax for so little health care is that Canada has not resorted to the Zimbabwe Theory of Finance that will be used to finance the United States Universal Health Care Plan. Why should Canadians who currently benefit national health care have to pay something toward their own care? Let unborn babies eventually pay the price! Who really cares if if an MRI costs $1 million U.S. Zimbabwe-like dollars? Our great  grandchildren are not yet born. They can't today protest when it might've counted. Let 'em wait until we're dead and it's too late for them to protest.

The Case for Performance/Competency-Based Training and Education
One could say she has the determination ... but lacks the drive. Driving agency estimates woman has spent more than $2,888 in exam fees. A 68-year-old South Korean woman this week signed up to take her driving test once again -- after failing to earn a license the first 771 times.
"Pensioner gears up for 772nd driving test," CNN, February 5, 2009 ---
Bob Jensen's Comments
The same assessment policy exists online at Western Governor's University
One unique aspect of WGU is its dedication to competency-based assessment (administered to date by Slvan Systems).  An important article on this is entitled "Assessment Takes Center Stage in Online Learning:  Distance educators see the need to prove that they teach effectively," by Dan Carnevale, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 13, 2001 --- http://www.chronicle.com/free/v47/i31/31a04301.htm 
The sad thing about most continuing education programs in virtually all professions is that most of them are based on attendance rather than competency testing.

At least one of the private inspectors was hired by the peanut company itself, which provided the audit to customers to meet their food safety requirements. One of the private inspectors “gave the plant an overall superior rating,” the peanut company’s statement said. “The other rated the plant as ‘meets or exceeds audit expectations (Acceptable-Excellent) ratings.’ ”
Andrew Martin, "Peanut Plant Says Audits Declared It in Top Shape," The New York Times, February 4, 2009 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/05/business/05peanuts.html?_r=1&ref=business
Jensen Comment
I think that private inspector's former job was that of appraising home values for Countrywide Financial mortgage brokering. Before that he was a staff auditor for Andersen on the Enron and WorldCom audits.

A group of 16 illegal aliens is suing an Arizona rancher, claiming he violated their civil rights, falsely imprisoned them and inflicted emotional distress by holding them at gunpoint on his property along the border. The federal lawsuit against Douglas, Ariz., rancher Roger Barnett, his wife, Barbara, and his brother, Donald, is taking place before Judge John Roll in U.S. District Court and will run through Feb. 13. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, is representing the five female and 11 male illegals. Al Garza, National Executive Director for Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, attended the first...
Chelsea Schilling, "16 illegals sue rancher who catches them on his land," WorldNetDaily, February 5, 2009 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=87988
I think these 16 people just bought the farm, literally.

Full Lists of Madoff Clients, Brokers, Employees --- http://www.cnbc.com/id/29027313/
Also see http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/madoffclientlist020409.pdf
The main site is at http://www.iht.com/pdfs/business/madoff.pdf
The 13,000+ size of the client list staggers my imagination. Why didn't they inquire about audits?
Merrill Lynch is mentioned quite a few times among the brokers. Why don't I find that surprising?

What's wrong if everybody now gets a 4% or lower-rate 30-year home mortgage?
Subsidizing mortgages is an idea from the New Deal, not the Republican playbook. Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration were set up by liberal Democrats to encourage borrowing. Subsidizing interest rates appealed to big-government interventionists because the expense is kept off federal balance sheets, at least for a while. The true costs of Fannie and Freddie were long shrouded, despite the efforts of some Republican senators. Likewise, the full costs of subsidizing 4% mortgages will appear only over time, as the government is put on the hook for default after default. Good Republicans would emphasize the costs and fight against programs that vastly increase the size of government in a misguided attempt to distort markets. Good Republicans embrace fiscal prudence at both the public and private levels. We are in the ruins of a housing market made worse by subsidized lending. The government has no business egging people on to borrow as much as possible to bet on housing prices. There is plenty of room to criticize the current stimulus plan, but Republicans need to adopt Ronald Reagan or Dwight D. Eisenhower, not Harold Ickes, as their intellectual role model.
Ed Glaeser, "The GOP Has a Dumb Mortgage Idea It contradicts the ideals of Republicanism and good economics," The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123380033980550585.html?mod=djemEditorialPage
ensen Comment
But if we simply allow the banks to fail, only the government will absorb the toxic mortgages and foreclosed homes that the banks unload in bankruptcy court.
The government will end up with toxic paper one way or another, toxic paper (mortgages that will not be repaid) that carries with it the huge costs of ownership of millions of foreclosed homes, including property taxes, security, lawn care, pool cleaning, heating in cold climates that freeze up pipes, casualty insurance costs, etc. --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#HomeOwnership
Toxic investments now held by banks are like owning the Energizer Bunny --- the cash flow drain just keeps on going and going and going while trying to sell tens of millions of homes in a down real estate market.

Some Republicans now propose that mortgage rates be set at 4% or lower for 30-year mortgages, but this will simply jumpstart the mortgage brokering racket (with overvalued appraisals) that got us into this mess. Also banks are not going to make 30-year loans at such low fixed rates. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack, now owned by Congress, will have to buy up those new loans. Currently Freddie and Fannie need trillions to recover from the toxic paper they already own. If current homeowners can also refinance at such low rates we're talking tens of trillions of dollar cost in this stupid Republican plan being pushed by real estate brokers and home builders and especially mortgage brokers.

So how much are we talking about in the already-existing toxic paper already held by Fannie, Freddie, and the most poisoned banks?
Estimates place these at $6 trillion, which is well over half our out-of-control existing National Debt --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123396703401759083.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

"A Republican Fannie Mae The worst mortgage idea since Barney Frank's last one," The Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123388493959055161.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

How's this for a bright idea to boost home prices and goose the economy: Have two government-chartered entities exploit Uncle Sam's low borrowing costs to subsidize mortgage rates. Lower borrowing costs will make housing more affordable and increase demand for unsold homes. If this sounds hauntingly familiar, that's because it is.

Think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose mortgage-rate subsidy helped get us into this mess.

Well, here we go again, though this time the Republicans are offering the free lunch. Under a proposal endorsed this week by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, Fannie and Freddie would serve as the conduit for 30-year mortgages with fixed 4% interest rates. This is based on an idea that economists Glenn Hubbard and Christopher Mayer first floated on these pages, targeting a 4.5% fixed rate. Let's just say this proves we don't agree with everything we publish.

Because 10-year Treasury yields are currently around 2.9%, the government could in theory borrow the money, lend it out at 4% and make these mortgages available at minimal cost. These mortgages would encourage buyers to buy and so stem the decline in home prices. If they were made available to those refinancing, they could also help people struggling to pay their mortgage bills or facing resets on adjustable-rate loans.

That's the theory.

The problems are price-fixing, taxpayer cost, and a misunderstanding of housing trends. True, the government would not set the prices of the houses themselves. But by fixing the price of home financing, the government would be nationalizing one more branch of the housing market. The feds tried this recently with student loans, and the result is that the private market largely collapsed. After this all-too-predictable result, Congress did what comes naturally: It blamed lenders who withdrew from the market for being "greedy." And it had the government -- the taxpayer -- become the main lender to students.

If the government wanted to avoid this fate, it could instead let banks make the loans and subsidize them for the difference between the 4.5% rate and the market rate. But wait -- if the government has fixed the price, there is no market rate, so there's no way to know what a "fair" rate of subsidy is. This was one of the problems with Congress's 2007 student-loan reform. Lenders and lawmakers had different ideas about how to define fair compensation, so the lenders walked.

Proponents nonetheless claim this would help consumers by lowering their mortgage payments and stopping the house-price decline. In fact, the impact on home prices or housing demand is likely to be small. Some supporters claim a 4.5% mortgage rate could add 12% or more to house prices. But other estimates put the home-price boost at closer to 1%-3%, a tiny improvement in a dismal market. Home prices in many markets are still too high compared to long-term trends, and they are likely to keep falling until they get back to that norm.

Mr. Hubbard says 4.5% mortgages could boost homeownership back to levels last seen in 2004, at the height of the boom. That seems unlikely. Those who have had their credit destroyed by foreclosure are probably not the best candidates for jumping back into the housing pool. Most of the people who would take advantage of these loans either would have bought a home anyway, because they need one, or already own a home and want to (but don't need to) lower their rates.

But even if this did happen, it's not clear why it should. These days even Barney Frank agrees that homeownership rates were artificially high at the end of the boom. Getting back to those levels would only presage another bust. That bust would be scheduled for shortly after this supposedly temporary program ended, assuming it ever does. Right now, 30-year mortgage rates are hovering around 5.5%. These are already nearly as low as they've been in a generation. Even if they only went back up to current levels after the program ended, rates would seem high to homeshoppers merely because they are higher than they were. So any new demand generated now would have to be set against the depressed demand in the future.

Any such program would also have to be huge -- and hugely expensive. Harvard's Ed Glaeser estimated on these pages Thursday that a $10 trillion program might cost the Treasury $135 billion or so. But that assumes that all those mortgages are paid back in full. And keep in mind the money would have to be borrowed -- in addition to the $3 trillion or so the Treasury will already have to borrow in the next two years. If interest rates and thus federal borrowing costs rise to the 1990s average for the 10-year note of 6.5%, look out.

We realize Republicans feel obliged to have their own "stimulus" plan, and that doing something for housing scores well in polls. We also remember when the subsidy to Fannie and Freddie was considered costless too. Tens of billions later, the tab is still growing. This one could be larger.

"What Is Congress Stimulating? What's most striking is how much "stimulus" money will be spent on the government itself (and labor unions)," by Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123379617394050229.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

Contrary to conventional Beltway wisdom, the House Republicans' zero votes for the Obama presidency's stimulus "package" is looking like the luckiest thing to happen to the GOP's political fortunes since Ronald Reagan switched parties. If the GOP line holds, the party could win back much of the goodwill it dissipated with its big-government adventures the past eight years.

For starters, notwithstanding the new president's high approval rating, his stimulus bill (ghost-written by Nancy Pelosi) has been losing altitude with public opinion by the day. People are nervous.

Then after Tim Geithner scampered through the tax minefield and into a Cabinet seat, the Daschle tax bomb went off, laying open for public view the world of Washington's pay-for-favors that makes the average Wall Street banker look like Little Bo-Peep.

Conventional wisdom holds that the Republican refuseniks shot themselves in the foot by staying off the House stimulus package. Real wisdom holds that congressional Republicans should consider putting distance between themselves and anything Democratic just now. The party's crypts are opening.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with an apparently recession-proof cash hoard, is running radio ads against 28 House Republicans. The theme of the ads is "Putting Families First."

Families first? The only family standing at the front of the stimulus pay line is the federal family. Read the bill.

Check your PC's virus program, then pull down the nearly 700 pages of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Dive into its dank waters and what is most striking is how much "stimulus" money is being spent on the government's own infrastructure. This bill isn't economic stimulus. It's self-stimulus.

(All sums here include the disorienting zeros, as in the bill.)

Title VI, Financial Services and General Government, says that "not less than $6,000,000,000 shall be used for construction, repair, and alteration of Federal buildings." There's enough money there to name a building after every Member of Congress.

The Bureau of Land Management gets $325,000,000 to spend fixing federal land, including "trail repair" and "remediation of abandoned mines or well sites," no doubt left over from the 19th-century land rush.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are getting $462,000,000 for "equipment, construction, and renovation of facilities, including necessary repairs and improvements to leased laboratories."

The National Institute of Standards gets $357,000,000 for the "construction of research facilities." The Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gets $427,000,000 for that. The country is in an economic meltdown and the federal government is redecorating.

The FBI gets $75,000,000 for "salaries and expenses." Inside the $6,200,000,000 Weatherization Assistance Program one finds "expenses" of $500,000,000. How many bureaucrats does it take to "expense" a half-billion dollars?

The current, Senate-amended version now lists "an additional amount to be deposited in the Federal Buildings Fund, $9,048,000,000." Of this, "not less than $6,000,000,000 shall be available for measures necessary to convert GSA facilities to High-Performance Green Buildings." High performance?

Sen. Tom Coburn is threatening to read the bill on the floor of the Senate. I have a better idea: Read it on "Saturday Night Live."

Such as the amendment to Section 2(3)(F) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, which will permit payments to guys employed to repair "recreational vessels." Under Incentives for New Jobs, we find a credit to employ what the bill calls "disconnected youths," defined as "not readily employable by reason of lacking a sufficient number of basic skills."

President Obama is saying the bill will "create or save" three million new jobs. The bad news is your new boss is Uncle Sam.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says, "Everybody agrees that there ought to be a stimulus package. The question is: How big and what do we spend it on?"

Sen. McConnell should reconsider. He knows that the Bush-GOP spending spree cost them control of Congress in 2006. Thus, "How big?" is not the question his party's constituents (or horrified independents) want answered. This is a chance for the GOP to climb down from its big-government dunce chair. Until that reversal is achieved, there is no hope for this party.

Continued in article

So our conclusion is that the net stimulus to short-term GDP will not be zero, and will be positive, but the stimulus is likely to be modest in magnitude. Some economists have assumed that every $1 billion spent by the government through the stimulus package would raise short-term GDP by $1.5 billion. Or, in economics jargon, that the multiplier is 1.5. That seems too optimistic given the nature of the spending programs being proposed. We believe a multiplier well below one seems much more likely . . . In addition, although politics play an important part in determining all government spending, political considerations are especially important in a spending package adopted quickly while the economy is reeling, and just after a popular president took office. Many Democrats saw the stimulus bill as a golden opportunity to enact spending items they've long desired. For this reason, various components of the package are unlikely to pass any reasonably stringent cost-benefit test ... Our own view is that the short-term stimulus from the legislation before Congress will be smaller per dollar spent than is expected by many others because the package tries to combine short-term stimulus with long-term benefits to the economy. Unfortunately, short-term and long-term gains are in considerable conflict with each other. Moreover, it is very hard to spend wisely large sums in short periods of time. Nor can one ever forget that spending is not free, and ultimately it has to be financed by higher taxes.
Nobel Laureate Gary S. Becker and Kevin M. Murphy, "There's No Stimulus Free Lunch:  It's hard to spend wise and spend fast," The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123423402552366409.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

Some of the research-and-education spending in the bill has attracted little attention. Senators barely blinked at the bill's $3.5-billion for the National Institutes of Health, even adding $6.5-billion more to the agency's budget during the floor debate. But a growing number of lawmakers, most of them Republican, were questioning the $16-billion in Pell money, saying it would do little to create jobs or spur economic growth. "It's not a question of the merits of Pell funding. It's a question of whether it creates jobs and qualifies as emergency spending," said Alexa Marrero, a spokeswoman for Rep. Howard P. (Buck) McKeon, the top Republican on the House education committee. "If it doesn't, it needs to be debated" in the annual appropriations process instead. Some critics go so far as to say the Pell increase would be an economic loser because it would put less money into the pockets of taxpayers who aren't attending college.
Kelly Field, "Skeptics Say Billions for Education Won't Stimulate Economy," Chronicle of Higher Education, February 13, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i23/23a00102.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
Jensen Comment
Much of the pork that has been added to the Stimulus Bill is for very worthy causes. The question is whether funding for these pork pies should come under the guise of putting unemployed workers back to work very quickly as opposed to being funded un the usual non-emergency process in Congress. Congress is attempting to lard up the emergency legislation with funding that otherwise might have a more difficult time in the normal process. This might be more acceptable if the money was actually available from taxes or borrowing. It is not available, which is why the Stimulus Bill will be heavily funded by merely printing money like they do in Zimbabwe.

Bob Jensen's essay on the bailout and stimulus efforts are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

Zimbabwe's central bank will introduce a 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar banknote, worth about $33 on the black market, to try to ease desperate cash shortages, state-run media said on Friday.
KyivPost, January 16, 2009 --- http://www.kyivpost.com/world/33522
Jensen Comment
This is a direct result of raising money by simply printing it, and the U.S. should take note since this is how our Federal government has decided to pay for anticipated trillion-dollar budget deficits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#NationalDebt


The Zimbabwe School of Finance Comes to the U.S.
"Why 'Stimulus' Will Mean Inflation In a global downturn the Fed will have to print money to meet our obligations," by George Melloan, The Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123388703203755361.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

As Congress blithely ushers its trillion dollar "stimulus" package toward law and the U.S. Treasury prepares to begin writing checks on this vast new appropriation, it might be wise to ask a simple question: Who's going to finance it?

That might seem like a no-brainer, which perhaps explains why no one has bothered to ask. Treasury securities are selling at high prices and finding buyers even though yields are low, hovering below 3% for 10-year notes. Congress is able to assure itself that it will finance the stimulus with cheap credit. But how long will credit be cheap? Will it still be when the Treasury is scrounging around in the international credit markets six months or a year from now? That seems highly unlikely.

Let's have a look at the credit market. Treasurys have been strong because the stock market collapse and the mortgage-backed securities fiasco sent the whole world running for safety. The best looking port in the storm, as usual, was U.S. Treasury paper. That is what gave the dollar and Treasury securities the lift they now enjoy.

But that surge was a one-time event and doesn't necessarily mean that a big new batch of Treasury securities will find an equally strong market. Most likely it won't as the global economy spirals downward.

For one thing, a very important cycle has been interrupted by the crash. For years, the U.S. has run large trade deficits with China and Japan and those two countries have invested their surpluses mostly in U.S. Treasury securities. Their holdings are enormous: As of Nov. 30 last year, China held $682 billion in Treasurys, a sharp rise from $459 billion a year earlier. Japan had reduced its holdings, to $577 billion from $590 billion a year earlier, but remains a huge creditor. The two account for almost 65% of total Treasury securities held by foreign owners, 19% of the total U.S. national debt, and over 30% of Treasurys held by the public.

In the lush years of the U.S. credit boom, it was rationalized that this circular arrangement was good for all concerned. Exports fueled China's rapid economic growth and created jobs for its huge work force, American workers could raise their living standards by buying cheap Chinese goods. China's dollar surplus gave the U.S. Treasury a captive pool of investment to finance congressional deficits. It was argued, persuasively, that China and Japan had no choice but to buy U.S. bonds if they wanted to keep their exports to the U.S. flowing. They also would hurt their own interests if they tried to unload Treasurys because that would send the value of their remaining holdings down.

But what if they stopped buying bonds not out of choice but because they were out of money? The virtuous circle so much praised would be broken. Something like that seems to be happening now. As the recession deepens, U.S. consumers are spending less, even on cheap Chinese goods and certainly on Japanese cars and electronic products. Japan, already a smaller market for U.S. debt last November, is now suffering what some have described as "free fall" in industrial production. Its two champions, Toyota and Sony, are faltering badly. China's growth also is slowing, and it is plagued by rising unemployment.

American officials seem not to have noticed this abrupt and dangerous change in global patterns of trade and finance. The new Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, at his Senate confirmation hearing harped on that old Treasury mantra about China "manipulating" its currency to gain trade advantage. Vice President Joe Biden followed up with a further lecture to the Chinese but said the U.S. will not move "unilaterally" to keep out Chinese exports. One would hope not "unilaterally" or any other way if the U.S. hopes to keep flogging its Treasurys to the Chinese.

The Congressional Budget Office is predicting the federal deficit will reach $1.2 trillion this fiscal year. That's more than double the $455 billion deficit posted for fiscal 2008, and some private estimates put the likely outcome even higher. That will drive up interest costs in the federal budget even if Treasury yields stay low. But if a drop in world market demand for Treasurys sends borrowing costs upward, there could be a ballooning of the interest cost line in the budget that will worsen an already frightening outlook. Credit for the rest of the economy will become more dear as well, worsening the recession. Treasury's Wednesday announcement that it will sell a record $67 billion in notes and bonds next week and $493 billion in this quarter weakened Treasury prices, revealing market sensitivity to heavy financing.

So what is the outlook? The stimulus package is rolling through Congress like an express train packed with goodies, so an enormous deficit seems to be a given. Entitlements will go up instead of being brought under better control, auguring big future deficits. Where will the Treasury find all those trillions in a depressed world economy?

There is only one answer. The Obama administration and Congress will call on Ben Bernanke at the Fed to demand that he create more dollars -- lots and lots of them. The Fed already is talking of buying longer-term Treasurys to support the market, so it will be more of the same -- much more.

And what will be the result? Well, the product of this sort of thing is called inflation. The Fed's outpouring of dollar liquidity after the September crash replaced the liquidity lost by the financial sector and has so far caused no significant uptick in consumer prices. But the worry lies in what will happen next.

Even when the economy and the securities markets are sluggish, the Fed's financing of big federal deficits can be inflationary. We learned that in the late 1970s, when the Fed's deficit financing sent the CPI up to an annual rate of almost 15%. That confounded the Keynesian theorists who believed then, as now, that federal spending "stimulus" would restore economic health.

Inflation is the product of the demand for money as well as of the supply. And if the Fed finances federal deficits in a moribund economy, it can create more money than the economy can use. The result is "stagflation," a term coined to describe the 1970s experience. As the global economy slows and Congress relies more on the Fed to finance a huge deficit, there is a very real danger of a return of stagflation. I wonder why no one in Congress or the Obama administration has thought of that as a potential consequence of their stimulus package.

Bob Jensen's threads on why Lawrence Summers is the most dangerous man in the world --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#Revolution

For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name,
He writes both that you lost and how you blew the Game.

Grantlund Rice (as revised by Bob Jensen)

A limitless life of glory can bloom and spend itself in a morning.
Rabindranath Tagore, "Chitra:  A Play in One Act," (Vasanta) --- http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/2/5/0/2502/2502.txt

"How to Spend the Stimulus," by Michael Grunwald, Time Magazine, February 16, 2009 ---

Barack Obama wanted a bill that would jump-start the economy and invest in the future. Congress has larded it with wasteful spending and special-interest tax cuts.

But there have been more serious critiques of the $900 billion--plus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act--from more serious critics. The stimulus smorgasbord does include some head scratchers, like $246 million worth of tax breaks for movie producers to buy film and $1.4 billion for "rural waste-disposal programs." Principled conservatives worry that it's so big, it will institutionalize Big Government; principled liberals worry that it won't be big enough to resuscitate a flatlined economy. And a bipartisan chorus--including Clinton Administration budget chief Alice Rivlin and Reagan Administration economist Martin Feldstein--has argued that the stimulus package ought to be all about stimulus. Those people want to focus on fighting the recession, and they don't see Pell Grants, renewable-energy subsidies, health-care technology and Head Start as the best ways to do that. "Many of them are worthy, but we can have that debate another day," argues conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks.

It really does matter how the money is spent. But actually, we had that debate in November, and Obama won. This crisis is an ideal opportunity for him to start keeping his campaign promises: providing tax relief and health security to ordinary Americans, restoring our economic competitiveness and reducing our dependence on environmentally disastrous fossil fuels, which increases the power of our enemies. It's hard to imagine when he'll have a better opportunity. Nothing in the historical record suggests that when Congress has more time to deliberate--and more time to confer with special-interest lobbyists and local-interest political advisers--it enacts fair tax policies, sustainable energy policies, wise infrastructure policies, responsible fiscal policies or any other policies tainted by long-term thinking or national-interest considerations. If Obama wants to push 21st century change through Capitol Hill, he needs to use this emergency.

Continued in article

The Washington Post says what? I can't believe it!
"If Spending Is Swift, Oversight May Suffer:  Plan's Pace Could Leave Billions Wasted," by Robert O'Harrow Jr., The Washington Post, February 9, 2009; Page A01 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/08/AR2009020802367.html?hpid=topnews

The Obama administration's economic stimulus plan could end up wasting billions of dollars by attempting to spend money faster than an overburdened government acquisition system can manage and oversee it, according to documents and interviews with contracting specialists.

The $827 billion stimulus legislation under debate in Congress includes provisions aimed at ensuring oversight of the massive infusion of contracts, state grants and other measures. At the urging of the administration, those provisions call for transparency, bid competition, and new auditing resources and oversight boards.

But under the terms of the stimulus proposals, a depleted contracting workforce would be asked to spend more money more rapidly than ever before, while also improving competition and oversight. Auditors would be asked to track surges in spending on projects ranging from bridge construction and schools to research of "green" energy and the development of electronic health records -- a challenge made more difficult because many contracts would be awarded by state agencies.

The stimulus plan presents a stark choice: The government can spend unprecedented amounts of money quickly in an effort to jump-start the economy or it can move more deliberately to thwart the cost overruns common to federal contracts in recent years.

"You can't have both," said Eileen Norcross, a senior research fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center who studied crisis spending in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "There is no way to get around having to make a choice."

The government's mounting procurement problems can be traced to the Clinton and Bush administrations. Both decided to rely far more on the private sector for technology, personnel and other services, greatly increasing the value and complexity of the contracts. At the same time, the personnel that awarded and oversaw that work was reduced in the 1990s in efforts to downsize the government.

Since 2000, procurement spending has soared about 155 percent to almost $532 billion while the growth in the acquisition workforce has fallen far short, rising about 10 percent.

Specialists say the raw numbers understate the challenges facing the 29,000 federal contracting personnel in civilian agencies across the government who will be asked to shoulder the burden of stimulus-related contracts. That's because much of the work they do now involves contracts for services, which are harder to issue and monitor than simply buying pencils and chairs.

Continued in article

"General Motors to Invest $1 Billion in Brazil Operations -- Money to Come from U.S. Rescue Program," by Russ Dallen, Latin American Herald Tribune, February 9, 2009 --- http://www.laht.com/article.asp?CategoryId=12396&ArticleId=320909

General Motors plans to invest $1 billion in Brazil to avoid the kind of problems the U.S. automaker is facing in its home market, said the beleaguered car maker.

According to the president of GM Brazil-Mercosur, Jaime Ardila, the funding will come from the package of financial aid that the manufacturer will receive from the U.S. government and will be used to "complete the renovation of the line of products up to 2012."

"It wouldn't be logical to withdraw the investment from where we're growing, and our goal is to protect investments in emerging markets," he said in a statement published by the business daily Gazeta Mercantil.

Meanwhile, he cut the company's revenue forecast for this year by 14% to $9.5 billion from $11 billion, as the economic crisis began to cause rapid slowdowns in sales.

GM already announced three programs of paid leave, and Ardila added that GM Brazil "is going to wait and see how the market behaves in order to know what decision to take" with regard to possible layoffs.

For Ardila, the injection in Brazil's automobile sector of 8 billion reais ($3.51 billion) recently announced by the federal and state governments of Sao Paulo "has already begun to revive sales," which fell by 12% in October.

The executive said that the company will operate a "conservative" scenario in 2009 with an estimated production of 2.6 million units, and another more "optimistic" that contemplates sales of 2.9 million.

This year sales will reach 2.85 million vehicles, which represents a growth of 15% over last year.

While the U.S. media turns a blind eye, analysts outside the U.S. foresee destruction of America
President Obama has had, by general consent, a torrid First Fortnight. To put it another way, it has taken precisely two weeks for the illusion that brought him to power to be exposed for the nonsense that it so obviously was. The transformational candidate who was going to sweep away pork-barrel politics, lobbyists and corruption has been up to his neck in sleaze, as eviscerated here by Charles Krauthammer. Despite the fact that he came to power promising to ‘ban all earmarks’, his ‘stimulus’ bill represents billions of dollars of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections -- which have nothing to do with kick-starting the economy and everything to do with favouring pet Democrat causes.
Mellanie Phillips, "America -- what have you done?" The Spectator,  February 7, 2009 ---

He has been appointing one tax dodger, lobbyist and wheeler-dealer after another. After appointing one official,Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who had unaccountably forgotten to pay his taxes, he then watched his designated Health Secretary Tom Daschle fall on his sword because he too had taken a tax holiday. Daschle was furthermore a prominent actor in the world of lobbying and influence-peddling. Leon Panetta, Obama’s nominee for Director of the CIA has also, according to the Wall Street Journal, consulted for prominent companies and sat on the board of a public affairs firm that lobbies Congress. The Weekly Standard reports that Secretary of Labour nominee Hilda Solis was not only involved with a private organization lobbying her fellow legislators on a bill that she helped sponsor, but she apparently kept her involvement secret and failed to reveal a clear conflict of interest.

In foreign policy, Obama has started by trashing his own country through grossly misrepresenting its history and grovelling to America’s enemies such as Iran, which has flicked him aside with undiluted contempt.  He has gratuitously upset America’s ally India by suggesting that America should muscle in and resolve the Kashmir question.

His right hand doesn’t seem to know what his left hand is doing. He reportedly asked retired Marine General Anthony Zinni to be US ambassador to Iraq, but then abruptly withdrew the appointment without explanation after it had been confirmed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And the precise role he is offering Dennis Ross – special envoy to Iran? Special adviser to Hillary? Special adviser to other special advisers? – remains mired in confusion.

I have argued before however that, given Obama’s radical roots in the neo-Marxist, nihilist politics of Saul Alinsky, it is the undermining of America’s fundamental values that is likely to be this President’s most strategically important goal. I have also suggested that, since this agenda is promoted through stealth politics which gull the credulous middle-classes while destroying the ground upon which they are standing, his second-tier appointments should be closely scrutinised.

And here’s a humdinger. Obama has picked a man called David Ogden to be deputy Attorney-General. Ogden has made his legal career from representing pornographers, trying to defeat child protection legislation and undermining family values.  As FoxNews reported this week, he once represented a group of library directors arguing against the Children's Internet Protection Act, which ordered libraries and schools receiving funding for the Internet to restrict access to obscene sites. And on behalf of several media groups, he successfully argued against a child pornography law that required publishers to verify and document the age of their models, which would have ensured these models were at least 18. 

The Family Research Council has more examples of his contribution to upholding American and western values. In one such case, he expressed the view that abortion was less damaging to a woman than having children:

In sum, it is grossly misleading to tell a woman that abortion imposes possible detrimental psychological effects when the risks are negligible in most cases, when the evidence shows that she is more likely to experience feelings of relief and happiness, and when child-birth and child-rearing or adoption may pose concomitant (if not greater) risks or adverse psychological effects ...

In another, co-authored brief, he argued that it was an unconstitutional burden on 14-year old girls seeking an abortion for their parents to be notified -- because there was no difference between adults and mid-teens in their ability to grasp all the implications of such a decision:

There is no question that the right to secure an abortion is fundamental. By any objective standard, therefore, the decision to abort is one that a reasonable person, including a reasonable adolescent, could make. [E]mpirical studies have found few differences between minors aged 14-18 and adults in their understanding of information and their ability to think of options and consequences when asked to consider treatment-related decisions. These unvarying and highly significant findings indicate that with respect to the capacity to understand and reason logically, there is no qualitative or quantitative difference between minors in mid-adolescence, i.e., about 14-15 years of age, and adults.

And how did the 44th President react to the growing public dismay over the mess he was making? He threw his toys out of the pram -- or perhaps that should read, he got into the pram. For he fled the scene of the disaster and sought the company of seven year-olds instead. As the Telegraph reported:

‘We were just tired of being in the White House,’ he told a group of excited seven-year-olds before discussing Batman and reading them a book.

Tired of being President – after two weeks!

America – what have you done?!

The State of Illinois has the most underfunded public pension plans in the nation, with a funding gap that is now approaching $50 billion. The low balances in the state's pension accounts have been made worse by the stock market crash, which has also hit Chicago's and Cook County's employee pension plans. Here's a look at the dire situation for the retirement plans of state workers ranging from police to judges to university professors to members of the Illinois General Assembly. All are counting on generous state pensions, but may soon wake up to a brutal reality.
Terry Savage, "Battle brewing over Illinois pensions," Chicago Sun-Times, January 24, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
Never fear. Porkulous funding is on the way to underfunded pension funds. What's sad is that states that were more responsible about funding pensions will get less than those that were reckless in funding state pensions. Selective funding for local irresponsible behavior is part and parcel to Congressional pork. Illinois was in pension underfunding trouble even when the stock market was at its peak.

Timothy Geithner is play an utterly stupid and dangerous game antagonizing Asia. As a nation, we’re very nearly dead of Asia does not roll over the massive investments it has already made in our $10+ trillion national debt.

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

Geitner had better learn about Hank Paulson's "Hidden Agenda" in the banking bailout ---

I can't believe the liberal-magazine source of this article criticizing the Obama team:  Would you believe the The Nation?
Will liberals attack Obama himself on this one?

"Will Geithner and Summers Destroy the US Economy?" by Christopher Hayes, The Nation, February 4, 2009 --- Click Here

That's more or less what the usually understated Yves Smith says today about the preview of the Obama TARP plan, "Team Obama is taking the cowardly approach of distributing the costs among the most disenfranchised group in the process, namely the taxpayer, when there far more obvious and logical groups to take the hits."

It's not just Smith. I got an email from a good friend at a hedge fund last week. He's a *very* moderate guy, and he had this to say:

The one thing that I disagree on is that for all the talk of making Tarp II diff from Tarp I, I don't really see it happening. An aggregator bank still just takes bad assets from a bank in exchange for capital. If you pay market, the banks will be insolvent, so they won't participate. If you pay above market, you're basically just injecting capital in to the banks, which is what they did in Tarp I. Why are they scared of nationalizing? Citi is an insolvent bank - wipe the equity, take the company, remove the bad assets, put the remaining good company back in to the public markets, repeat for the next insolvent bank. If they try to let a Citi (or maybe evan a BofA) earn their way out of this we will end up with huge parts of the banking system in zombie mode, a la Japan. That would be very bad and will only prolong the pain.

This is the where the rubber of necessity hits the road of The New Politics. In order to save the American economy, it's increasingly clear we need to kill off some banks. In words of one former Wall Streeter, play "good bank, bad bank." But playing "bad bank" means taking on Wall Street's power in a concerted way. This is not a question of technical merits of policy, it's a matter of taking on entrenched power. Unless the Obama WH can find it within itself to do it, we may all be very, very screwed.

Jensen Comment
But if we simply allow the banks to fail, only the government will absorb the toxic mortgages and foreclosed homes that the banks unload in bankruptcy court.
The government will end up with toxic paper one way or another, toxic paper (mortgages that will not be repaid) that carries with it the huge costs of ownership of millions of foreclosed homes, including property taxes, security, lawn care, pool cleaning, heating in cold climates that freeze up pipes, casualty insurance costs, etc. --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#HomeOwnership
Toxic investments now held by banks are like owning the Energizer Bunny --- the cash flow drain just keeps on going and going and going while trying to sell tens of millions of homes in a down real estate market.

Some Republicans now propose that mortgage rates be set at 4% or lower for 30-year mortgages, but this will simply jumpstart the mortgage brokering racket (with overvalued appraisals) that got us into this mess. Also banks are not going to make 30-year loans at such low fixed rates. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack, now owned by Congress, will have to buy up those new loans. Currently Freddie and Fannie need trillions to recover from the toxic paper they already own. If current homeowners can also refinance at such low rates we're talking tens of trillions of cost in this stupid Republican plan being pushed by real estate brokers and home builders and especially mortgage brokers.

So how much are we talking about in the already-existing toxic paper already held by Fannie, Freddie, and the most poisoned banks?
Estimates place these at $6 trillion, which is well over half our out-of-control existing National Debt --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123396703401759083.html?mod=djemEditorialPage


Bob Jensen calls Obama's head economic advisor, Lawrence Summers, "The Most Dangerous Man in the World" ---

Now I believe what Adolph Hitler did during Holocaust was absolutely correct. He should have done this more extensively to eliminate the total Jewish population from the world.
Mohammad Asaf Ud Dowlah in a recent television program, From Shoaib Dhaka, January 30, 2009
Jensen Comment
It would be hard to find more hate in the world than wanting to exterminate over 13 million people from all parts of the world --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew
In comparison there are over 1.3 billion Muslims in the world who worship the same God as the Jews worship., and most of Muslims do not want to murder anybody in defiance of their God.

Hell arrives in England;  Is Canada next?
Other than in the Jewish press, such incidents are barely being reported. Last week, for example, there was virtually no coverage of the violent demonstration organised by the Stop the War coalition which prevented the deputy commander of Israel’s Gaza operation from speaking at London’s Jewish student centre, Hillel House, when a crowd of about 60-80 students attempted to storm the building. One of the most troubling developments is the way in which the universities have become an extension of the Middle East conflict, with a simulacrum of the aggression, intimidation and violence from which Israel is under attack by the Arabs being directed at Jewish students on British campuses, who now routinely run a gauntlet of intimidation and abuse from Arab and Muslim students. But even more worryingly, some universities are spinelessly choosing to give in to such bullying.

Melanie Phillips, "The jihad against Britain's Jews," The Spectator, February 6, 2009 --- http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3329296/the-jihad-against-britain

I saw lies. The world is already trying to fault Israel, telling everyone that civilians died, and Israelis murdered. But I was there. My feet were on the ground and I saw the truth. I saw that warnings were given, I saw the enemy that fought us. I saw the twelve year olds with missiles and RPGs strapped to their backs. I saw that it was with sadness and great anger Israeli troops recognized the need to fire on people who crossed the red line, the danger zone which meant they saw us, and knew where we were. Old people mined with bombs, children armed with detonators, tunnels that opened in the ground to swallow our soldiers. I watched my commanders passing out all of our food to the children who were taken prisoner. I received the commands "closed to fire on the right" if our intelligence had reported civilians in the area. I watched us, more often then not, taking cover when supposed civilian positions fired on us from “the right”. Yet the world thinks it can bend the truth. We were not allowed to fire on schools. We were told not to loot. We watched in anger as our bombs, so as not to fall on large civilian centers, fell on our own troops, so that we could tell the world we were attempting to scare the enemy while limiting civilian losses. Yet they won't say that in the press.
Joshua Eastman, "How I Survived Gaza,"  Shabot Shalom, January 28, 2009 --- http://www.ou.org/shabbat_shalom/article/how_i_survived_gaza/

A U.N. aid agency accused Hamas policemen on Wednesday of seizing hundreds of food parcels and thousands of blankets it had planned to distribute to 500 families in a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
"U.N. agency says Hamas seized Gaza aid," Rueters, February 4, 2009 --- http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSL4273371._CH_.2400
Also see http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1233304681684&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
Jensen Comment
Brave Hama fighters who hid out deep underground throughout the Israeli invasion are hungry and cold.

A clerical error led the UN to falsely accuse Israel of shelling one of its Gaza schools in the Jabalya refugee camp during Operation Cast Lead, the international organization admitted this week. The site hit by an IDF mortar shell near a UN school in Gaza. For close to a month, the UN accused the Israel of hitting the educational compound ran by its Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which was sheltering more than 1,300...
"UN: IDF did not shell UNRWA school," Jerusalem Post, February 5, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
Neither The New York Times nor The Nation Magazine saw fit to report this admission of error in their previous reports of the shelling.

Saudi authorities on Monday issued a list of 85 individuals living abroad, who it said had been drawn to "deviant" ideologies, a reference to Al-Qa'ida. The list included six (now raised to eleven) former detainees released from the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the Saudi newspaper Saudi Gazette reported.
"Saudi Arabia Lists 85 Wanted Terrorists," AllHeadlineNews, February 3, 2009 --- http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7013935315
Jensen Comment
Did you ever wonder why this wasn't mentioned by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC or printed by The New York Times in their want for Gitmo prisoners to be freed.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, became the first world leader yesterday to condemn Pope Benedict XVI over his rehabilitation of an ultra-conservative British bishop who denies that Jews died in the Nazi Holocaust. Ms Merkel called on the German Pope to reject publicly the views of Bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied that six million Jews were gassed in Nazi concentration camps. In a highly unusual rebuke to the Pope she said that she did not believe there had been “sufficient” clarification.
Richard Owen, "Angela Merkel rebukes Pope in Holocaust row," London Times, February 4, 2009 --- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article5653201.ece

Bill Moyers holds himself out to be a moral arbiteur, based in large part on his commitment to Christian principles. Cardinal Renato Martino is a prince of the Catholic church and President of the Council for Justice and Peace. Former President Jimmy Carter preaches peace, based on the teachings of Jesus. Yet when it comes to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, all three are morally blind. In a widely watched television assessment of the recent conflict in Gaza, here is what Moyers said: "By killing indiscriminately the elderly, kids, entire families, by destroying schools and hospitals, Israel did exactly what terrorists do…" (emphasis added) Of course he also included the obligatory hedge that: "Every nation has the right to defend its people." . . . Bill Moyers ended a letter to the New York Times in which he defended his moral equivalency statement by saying that to be indifferent to suffering is "to be as blind as Sampson in Gaza." No, Mr. Moyers, to be indifferent to the crucial difference between what terrorists do, namely try to kill as many civilians as possible from behind human shields, and what democracies such as Israel and the United States do, namely try to stop terrorists from killing with the minimum possible injury to civilians, is truly to be "eyeless in Gaza."
Alan M. Dershowitz, Harvard Law School

Those around the world who mourned for Danny in 2002 genuinely hoped that Danny's murder would be a turning point in the history of man's inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era. But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of "resistance," has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words "war on terror" cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil. I believe it all started with well-meaning analysts, who in their zeal to find creative solutions to terror decided that terror is not a real enemy, but a tactic. Thus the basic engine that propels acts of terrorism -- the ideological license to elevate one's grievances above the norms of civilized society -- was wished away in favor of seemingly more manageable "tactical" considerations.
"Daniel Pearl and the Normalization of Evil:  When will our luminaries stop making excuses for terror," by Judea Pearl, The Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123362422088941893.html

This week marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of our son, former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. My wife Ruth and I wonder: Would Danny have believed that today's world emerged after his tragedy?

The answer does not come easily. Danny was an optimist, a true believer in the goodness of mankind. Yet he was also a realist, and would not let idealism bend the harshness of facts.

Neither he, nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South Asian reports, would be planning terror acts from the safety of a Pakistani jail. Or that his murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now in Guantanamo, would proudly boast of his murder in a military tribunal in March 2007 to the cheers of sympathetic jihadi supporters. Or that this ideology of barbarism would be celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of "the resistance." Or that another kidnapped young man, Israeli Gilad Shalit, would spend his 950th day of captivity with no Red Cross visitation while world leaders seriously debate whether his kidnappers deserve international recognition.

No. Those around the world who mourned for Danny in 2002 genuinely hoped that Danny's murder would be a turning point in the history of man's inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.

But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of "resistance," has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words "war on terror" cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.

I believe it all started with well-meaning analysts, who in their zeal to find creative solutions to terror decided that terror is not a real enemy, but a tactic. Thus the basic engine that propels acts of terrorism -- the ideological license to elevate one's grievances above the norms of civilized society -- was wished away in favor of seemingly more manageable "tactical" considerations.

This mentality of surrender then worked its way through politicians like the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. In July 2005 he told Sky News that suicide bombing is almost man's second nature. "In an unfair balance, that's what people use," explained Mr. Livingstone.

But the clearest endorsement of terror as a legitimate instrument of political bargaining came from former President Jimmy Carter. In his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," Mr. Carter appeals to the sponsors of suicide bombing. "It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road-map for Peace are accepted by Israel." Acts of terror, according to Mr. Carter, are no longer taboo, but effective tools for terrorists to address perceived injustices.

Mr. Carter's logic has become the dominant paradigm in rationalizing terror. When asked what Israel should do to stop Hamas's rockets aimed at innocent civilians, the Syrian first lady, Asma Al-Assad, did not hesitate for a moment in her response: "They should end the occupation." In other words, terror must earn a dividend before it is stopped.

The media have played a major role in handing terrorism this victory of acceptability. Qatari-based Al Jazeera television, for example, is still providing Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi hours of free air time each week to spew his hateful interpretation of the Koran, authorize suicide bombing, and call for jihad against Jews and Americans.

Then came the August 2008 birthday of Samir Kuntar, the unrepentant killer who, in 1979, smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with his rifle after killing her father before her eyes. Al Jazeera elevated Kuntar to heroic heights with orchestras, fireworks and sword dances, presenting him to 50 million viewers as Arab society's role model. No mainstream Western media outlet dared to expose Al Jazeera efforts to warp its young viewers into the likes of Kuntar. Al Jazeera's management continues to receive royal treatment in all major press clubs.

Some American pundits and TV anchors didn't seem much different from Al Jazeera in their analysis of the recent war in Gaza. Bill Moyers was quick to lend Hamas legitimacy as a "resistance" movement, together with honorary membership in PBS's imaginary "cycle of violence." In his Jan. 9 TV show, Mr. Moyers explained to his viewers that "each [side] greases the cycle of violence, as one man's terrorism becomes another's resistance to oppression." He then stated -- without blushing -- that for readers of the Hebrew Bible "God-soaked violence became genetically coded." The "cycle of violence" platitude allows analysts to empower terror with the guise of reciprocity, and, amazingly, indict terror's victims for violence as immutable as DNA.

When we ask ourselves what it is about the American psyche that enables genocidal organizations like Hamas -- the charter of which would offend every neuron in our brains -- to become tolerated in public discourse, we should take a hard look at our universities and the way they are currently being manipulated by terrorist sympathizers.

At my own university, UCLA, a symposium last week on human rights turned into a Hamas recruitment rally by a clever academic gimmick. The director of the Center for Near East Studies carefully selected only Israel bashers for the panel, each of whom concluded that the Jewish state is the greatest criminal in human history.

The primary purpose of the event was evident the morning after, when unsuspecting, uninvolved students read an article in the campus newspaper titled, "Scholars say: Israel is in violation of human rights in Gaza," to which the good name of the University of California was attached. This is where Hamas scored its main triumph -- another inch of academic respectability, another inroad into Western minds.

Danny's picture is hanging just in front of me, his warm smile as reassuring as ever. But I find it hard to look him straight in the eyes and say: You did not die in vain.

Mr. Pearl, a professor of computer science at UCLA, is president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, founded in memory of his son to promote cross-cultural understanding.


Recovery Rebate Credit for Your 2008 Stimulus Payment --- http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=177937,00.html
This may apply especially to folks receiving social security benefits (like your parents) and low-wage workers (like your children).

Most taxpayers who received the economic stimulus payment last year will not qualify for the recovery rebate credit on their 2008 federal income tax return. However, some individuals who did not get the economic stimulus payment, and a smaller number of those who did, may be eligible for the recovery rebate credit. If you didn't get an economic stimulus payment in 2008, you may be eligible to receive the recovery rebate credit in 2009.

To determine if you are eligible for the recovery rebate credit you will need to know how much your 2008 economic stimulus payment was. Our online tool, How Much Was My Stimulus Payment?, can get you the answer right away.

Visit the Recovery Rebate Credit Information Center for details. 

If You Didn't File for a Stimulus Payment

If you didn't file for an economic stimulus payment in 2008 because you weren't sure  you were eligible, you may be able to file for a payment in 2009. Find out more if you:

Find Out if You're Eligible --- http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=177937,00.html

Bob Jensen's tax helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation

This Lawyer Can Really be a Drag
Yorba Linda attorney Neil B. Fineman will soon have enough women's apparel to be able to open a dress store. It seems that Fineman, 40, brought a class action by which he forced Windsor Fashions to stop committing routine violations of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act. The class was comprised of all customers who, between Nov. 29, 2006—one year before the action was filed—and Nov. 18, 2008 (when the class was preliminarily certified) “purchased merchandise from Defendant’s stores in the State of California, used a credit card to make the purchase(s), and whose address, E mail address or telephone number was requested and recorded by a Windsor Fashions employee.” Collecting “personal identification information” from credit card customers is proscribed by Civil Code §1747.08(a)(2). Under a settlement, arrived at with the assistance of a mediator, it was agreed that Fineman was entitled to a $125,000 fee for his legal services. However, customers who were subjected to the proscribed practice won’t receive any cash under the accord...only a $10 gift card. In an order signed Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brett Klein likewise provided that Fineman will be paid off in the form of such cards: “12,500 ten-dollar Windsor Fashions gift cards.”
Roger M. Grace, Metropolitan-News Service, January 21, 2009 --- http://www.metnews.com/articles/2009/perspectives012109.htm

How the Internet Began (Humor) --- http://home.comcast.net/~singingman7777/Beginning.htm
Link forwarded by Barry Rice
Of course this is fiction. In 1974 the Internet was really conceived in Al’s Reply Pleases Army NET (ARPANET)

For students of history we have the following links:

Computing History Timeline --- http://trillian.randomstuff.org.uk/~stephen/history/timeline.html
Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_computing

American University Computer History Museum --- http://www.computinghistorymuseum.org/ 

The Apple (Computer) Museum  --- http://www.theapplemuseum.com/ 

A History of Microsoft Windows (slide show from Wired News) --- http://www.wired.com/gadgets/pcs/multimedia/2007/01/wiredphotos31

Oldcomputers.com  --- http://www.old-computers.com/news/default.asp

Laid Off Employees Turning to Cybercrime
In what appears to be a growing trend, displaced employees are turning to cybercrime using their corporate data access to steal, exploit and damage information networks, and may have cost businesses as much as $1 trillion globally according to a new study from McAfee and Purdue University's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security Although insiders have always posed a threat to information security, the report warns that the global recession is putting vital information at greater risk than ever before. The report, Unsecured Economies: Protecting Vital Information was released last week at the World Economic Forum and suggests that the economic downturn is increasing the security risk for corporations with 42 percent of respondents reporting that displaced workers were the biggest threat to sensitive information on the network.
Lidija Davis, "Laid Off Employees Turning to Cybercrime," ReadWriteWeb, February 1, 2009 --- http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/laid_off_employees_turning_to.php

Recall This Tidbit
"Ex-Fannie Mae worker charged with planting computer virus," by Freeman Klopott, Washington Examiner, January 29, 2009 ---

FBI: Don’t be Fooled by Work-at-Home Scams
The FBI and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) continue to receive numerous complaints from individuals who have fallen victim to work-at-home scams and remind consumers to be vigilant when seeking employment online. These work-at-home schemes are designed by criminals to gain the trust of job seekers in order to take advantage of working relationships to further illegal activity. Most victims do not even realize they are engaging in criminal behavior until it is too late. In many of the reported scams, victims are often hired to “process payments,” “transfer funds,” or “reship products.” However, these scams exploit unwitting employees by having them cash fraudulent checks, transfer illegally obtained funds for the criminals, or receive stolen merchandise and ship it to the criminals. Other scams entice victims to sign up to be a “mystery shopper,” receiving fraudulent checks with instructions to cash the checks and wire the funds to “test” a company’s services. Victims are told they will be compensated with a portion of the merchandise or funds.
Free Republic, February 4, 2009 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2178604/posts

"Amazon’s New Kindle Is Faster, Smarter, Thinner," by Brad Stone and Motoko Rich, The New York Times, February 9, 2009 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/technology/personaltech/10kindle.html?ref=business

Escalating its efforts to dominate the fledgling industry for electronic books, Amazon introduced a new version of its electronic book reader today, dubbed Kindle 2.

Amazon said the upgraded device has seven times the memory as the original version, allows faster page-turns and has a crisper, though still black-and-white, display. The Kindle 2 also features a new design with round keys and a short, joystick-like controller — a departure from the design aspects of the previous version, which some buyers had criticized as awkward. The new device will ship on Feb. 24. Amazon did not change the price for the device, which remains $359.

Though the improvements to the Kindle are only incremental, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, defined some ambitious goals for the device. “Our vision is every book, ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds,” he said at a news conference in New York.

Amazon introduced several new features for the Kindle. A new text-to-speech function allows readers to switch between reading words on the device and having the words read to them by a computerized voice. That technology was provided by Nuance, a speech-recognition company based in Burlington, Mass.

Amazon is also allowing Kindle owners to transfer texts between their Kindle and other mobile devices. Amazon said it is working on making digital texts available for other gadgets (such as mobile phones), though it did not specify which ones.

One competitive threat Amazon is facing in its effort to dominate the world of e-books is from Google, which has scanned in some seven million books, many of them out of print. Google has also struck deals with publishers and authors to split the proceeds from the online sales of those texts.

Google recently said it would soon begin selling these books for reading on mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone and phones running Google’s Android operating system.

Implicitly addressing the threat posed by Google, Mr. Bezos said that Amazon knows better than other companies what book-buyers wants and stressed Amazon’s digital catalog of 230,000 newer books and best-sellers.

“We have tens of millions of customers who buy books from us every day and we know what they want to read,” he said. “And we are making sure to prioritize those items.”

Markus Dohle, chief executive of Random House, the world’s largest publisher of consumer books and a unit of Bertelsmann of Germany, said the company was working with Amazon and other e-book makers to digitize its so-called backlist of older titles. When asked in an interview after the news conference if he was concerned about the effects of Amazon’s dominance in the e-book market, Mr. Dohle paused and laughed.

“It is not up to us to talk about Amazon’s competition,” he said. “I don’t think that any kind of defensive business strategy will succeed. We want to grow our business in all channels and one of the fastest growing customers is Amazon in all areas.”

“We see the Kindle and we see e-books as a real opportunity because we think that it will not cannibalize the physical part of the business and it will also generate and create new readers of books,” Mr. Dohle said.

For features and pictures see http://www.pcworld.com/article/159173/amazon_unveils_kindle_2.html

$359 at Amazon --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ebooks.htm

The New Culture of Cheating

What if everything you learned about fighting plagiarism was doomed to failure?

"It’s Culture, Not Morality:  What if everything you learned about fighting plagiarism was doomed to failure?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, February 3, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/02/03/myword

What if everything you learned about fighting plagiarism was doomed to failure?Computer software, threats on the syllabus, pledges of zero tolerance, honor codes — what if all the popular strategies don’t much matter? And what if all of that anger you feel — as you catch students clearly submitting work they didn’t write — is clouding your judgment and making it more difficult to promote academic integrity?

These are some of the questions raised in My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture, in which Susan D. Blum, an anthropologist at the University of Notre Dame, considers why students so frequently violate norms that seem clear and just to their professors. The book, about to appear from Cornell University Press, is sure to be controversial because it challenges the strategies used by colleges and professors nationwide. In many ways, Blum is arguing that the current approach of higher education to plagiarism is a shock and awe strategy — dazzle students with technology and make them afraid, very afraid, of what could happen to them.

But since there isn’t a Guantanamo Bay large enough for the population that plagiarizes, Blum wants higher education to embrace more of a hearts and minds strategy in which academics consider why their students turn in papers as they do, and the logic behind those choices.

The book arrives at a time that many professors continue to voice frustration over plagiarism. Academic blogs are full of stories about attempting to deal with copying. Services such as Turnitin have grown in popularity to the extent that it is processing more than 130,000 papers a day, while Blackboard has added plagiarism detection features to its course management systems. At the same time, however, particularly in the world of college composition, there has been some backlash against the law enforcement approach, with professors saying that they fear they are missing a chance to teach students about how to write through too much emphasis on fear of detection.

Those who want to understand the ideas in the book may want to note the title; it’s no coincidence that Blum wrote about college “culture,” and not “ethics” or “morality.” And while she did use “plagiarism” in the title, she faults colleges and professors for failing to distinguish between buying a paper to submit as your own, submitting a paper containing passages from many authors without appropriate credit, and simply failing to learn how to cite materials. Treating these violations of academic norms the same way is part of the problem, she writes.

If you find yourself thinking that Blum is advocating surrender, that’s not correct. Her book doesn’t advocate waving a white flag, but a new kind of campaign against plagiarism. And in an interview, Blum said that she includes warnings against plagiarism on her syllabuses, has devoted time trying to track down evidence against a student she was convinced had copied work, and has felt anger and betrayal at students who turned in work that wasn’t original.

“That’s how I felt when I first started looking into this topic,” she said. “I was really hurt when I felt students didn’t show respect for the assignment. I felt a tension between really liking my students as individuals and that they didn’t take academic work as seriously as I wanted them to.... I felt it was a battle. It was ‘How can I make them care?’ “

Blum’s book is based on her research on the way colleges try to prevent plagiarism and the way students view college, knowledge and the writing process. Many of the ideas come from the 234 undergraduates at Notre Dame who participated in in-depth interviews. The students were given confidentiality and the procedures for the interviews were approved by Notre Dame’s institutional review board. While Blum makes clear where she did her research, she calls the institution “Saints U.” in the text, with the goal of having readers focus less on Notre Dame and more on higher education generally.

While the book doesn’t claim that Notre Dame students are broadly representative of those in higher education, she suggests that these students do give an accurate portrayal of attitudes at competitive, residential colleges. Blum originally planned a similar study at a less competitive college, but didn’t have time to finish it. She said she thinks there may be some differences in attitudes, as part of the dynamic at elite institutions is a student expectation about earning A’s and succeeding in everything — an expectation that she said may not be present elsewhere.

In terms of explaining student culture, Blum uses many of the student interviews to show how education has become to many students more an issue of credentialing and getting ahead than of any more idealistic love of learning. She quotes one student who admits that he sounds “awful,” in describing decidedly unintellectual reasons for going to college and excelling there. “I think that knowledge is important to me, and to feel like I’m ahead of the game in a sense is important to me. And to move on the next step, whatever it is .. is also important.”

Students looking for the “next step” may not care as much as they should about actual learning, Blum suggests.

Then there is the student concept — or lack thereof — of intellectual property. She notes the way students routinely ignore messages from colleges and threats of legal action to share music online, in violation of business standards of copyright. As with plagiarism, she notes, the student generation has embraced an entirely different concept of ownership, and students who would never shoplift feel no hesitation about downloading music they haven’t purchased.

And she notes how much students love to quote from pop culture or other sources — feeling pride in working into conversation quotes they never invented — in a way previous generations wouldn’t have done.

“Student norms contrast with official norms not just because of this proliferation of quoting without attribution, but because students question the very possibility of originality. They often reveal profound insights into the nature of creation and demonstrate a considered acceptance of sharing and collaboration,” Blum writes. At the same time, she notes, students are less likely than previous generation to distinguish between formal and informal writing (think of the importance, to students, of instant messages). And rules about attribution are seen as silly.

Continued in article

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

Using Foucault to Deconstruct Rankings of Colleges and Universities

The Foucault work Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison provides the sociological framework for the analysis. The book explores the power of scrutiny and surveillance to pressure people who might not otherwise conform to do so and to seek ways to make the system work to their advantage. Law schools are an ideal subset of higher education to use for applying these theories to college rankings, the authors write, because the leaders of legal education spoke out against rankings when they started and the law school world is relatively small, making it possible for U.S. News or others to rank all players. The paper mixes the theory of Foucault with information gathered by the authors in interviews with law school deans and other administrators at 75 law schools, discussions with dozens of prospective law students, and analysis of 15 years of law school admissions data.
Scott Chaschik, Inside Higher Ed, February 3, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/02/03/rankings

Jensen Comment
I think
my former doctoral student, Ed Arrington, is probably the leading scholar of Foucault in the accounting academy. He spent several years in Europe studying the philosophy of Foucault --- http://web.uncg.edu/bae/directory/profile.php?username=cearring

Ed's interest in Foucault came long after he completed his doctorate. I even have to look up how to spell Michel (not Michael) Foucault whenever I need to write the name down --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Foucault

February 3, 2009 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

Ed is more a Jacque Derrida (deconstructionist/literary theorist) than a Foucauldian (history) (it is Michel). Of course, to American accounting academics, with some exceptions, it's all the same -- indecipherable, European clap-trap (we already know how the world works and we've got thousands of regression equations to prove it, so why complicate it by reading obtuse European intellectuals). The Foucauldians in accounting that have written most extensively are Peter Miller, Richard Macve, Ted O'Leary, and Keith Hoskins. The classic Foucauldian piece inspired by Discipline and Punish (inspired by Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon design for prisons, i.e., continual surveillance) is Miller and O'Leary's "Constructing the Governable Person" that appeared in AOS in (I believe) 1988.

Bob Jensen's threads on the advantages and disadvantages of rankings are at

The Market God Failed
What happened to the Theory (Law?) of Portfolio Diversification for Investment Safety?
Your investment broker, pension fund manager, and your finance/economics professor claimed that the safe investment strategy was to diversify your portfolio between bonds and stocks, between securities in diverse industries, between real estate and securities, etc. Some advocated investing in highly diverse derivative funds like the S&P Index Fund. The securities portfolio diversification theory (law?) was mathematically formulated in Nobel Prize winning legendary works of Harry Markowitz, Merton Miller, Jack Treynor, William Sharpe, John Lintner and Jan Mossin --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_Asset_Pricing_Model

Link forwarded by Jim Mahar
"Opportunities in a High Correlation World," by Geof Considine, Seeking Alpha, February 4, 2009 ---

One of the most striking features of 2008 was the fact that correlations between most asset classes went up substantially: everything declined at the same time. One of the principal motivations behind diversifying is that all of your holdings will not decline at the same time. Declines in one class will be buffered by gains in another—or at least lesser losses in others. This effect has not provided much buffer in 2008.

There are only three correlations in this matrix (not pictured here) that did not increase between 2007 and 2008—and those are marked in red. The increase in correlations is substantial: every asset class was sold off at the same time, albeit in varying degrees.

The upswing in correlations reduces the value of strategic asset allocation, because benefits of diversification decline as correlations increase. The “diversification premium” is diminished. Almost any given asset allocation will look riskier if correlations are higher. On the other hand, the increase in correlations signal that the market is treating enormous swathes of the investment landscape as less differentiated than they really are—and this provides a substantial opportunity.

How might investors deal with this environment? I see three major areas that have high potential.

1. Tactical asset allocation

At the same time that correlations have gone up, prices (obviously) have come down dramatically. The stocks of many firms are very cheap right now. The tactical side of investing (when you buy) is more important because the strategic side of investing (asset allocation) is at a low point. As Warren Buffett has famously suggested: be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy. I have personally never seen an environment in which investors are more uniformly scared than recent months.

In August of 2007, shortly before the start of the massive bear market, I showed that there had historically been a strong negative correlation between returns on major asset classes and market volatility. This means that market returns are low when volatility goes up, and vice versa. I also discussed the wide range of evidence suggesting that market risk was due for a substantial increase. This observation turned out to be quite prescient. Today, market risk is high and trending downwards—and this also has implications for returns. Declining volatility has historically been a positive sign for a range of asset classes.

I am inclined to agree with Jeremy Grantham that “high quality” stocks will deliver outsized returns over the coming years. My analysis suggests that the market has become fairly indiscriminate in separating the high quality from the low quality—and this shows up in the increase in correlations. Many investors treated almost every asset class as equally risky—so high quality stocks are available at really good prices.

The challenge of tactical strategies is that they require more active management. A position that looks attractive today may not look attractive in several months. Tactical strategies allow investors to take advantage of opportunities that may be fleeting. Similarly, the risks associated with an investment can change quickly.

2. Exploit the excessive risk aversion in the market

The higher correlations we have seen are a manifestation of excessive risk aversion: investors are trying to get out of every asset class as fast as they can. Excessive risk aversion can be judged by the prices at which options are trading—and a conservative way to exploit this is to sell options. When investors are risk averse, options prices will be high (and vice versa). Back in November of 2008, I wrote an article in which I discussed how to judge relative mis-pricing. As one example, I cited January 2010 call options on JNJ with a strike price of $65 that were selling at $5.50. My analysis suggested that these options were selling at too high a price. Today, these options are selling at $3.10. Selling options as part of a coherent strategy makes sense for the investor or advisor who understands how to value options.

3. Looking Beyond Index Investing

I have written quite a bit about the merits of investing in a portfolio of carefully selected individual stocks rather than buying into market cap weighted indexes. As correlations between the major indexes have risen, the way to exploit low correlations appears to be via a judicious combination of individual stocks. An article titled Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? [pdf file] (Campbell et al, 2001) shows that correlations between individual securities have experienced a long-term secular decline. This decline should allow for increased diversification benefits between individual securities.

Further, Fama and French (The Capital Asset Pricing Model: Theory and Evidence, 2004) [pdf file] showed that portfolios of low-Beta stocks have historically delivered consistently higher returns than the CAPM theory suggests (see Figure 2 in that article). Stocks with low correlations to one another also tend to be low Beta, and Fama and French’s results suggest that you can obtain more return with less risk than the market portfolio by building a portfolio out of low-Beta stocks. A challenge in this type of approach is to manage volatility associated with individual stocks—but this is not an insurmountable task. I have discussed this conceptual strategy previously.

The Long View

I fully expect that correlations will settle back down to historical levels, thereby providing a higher benefit to strategic asset allocation once again. The current low prices and the high implied volatilities of many stocks (as reflected in options prices) provide the ability for selective investors to lay the groundwork for a substantial boost in portfolio performance. Strategic Asset Allocation is a key part of long-term planning, but tactical opportunities appear to dominate the near term. The high correlations (which reduce the value of SAA for the time being) increase the potential for finding indiscriminate pricing of risk. When good companies are treated by the market as though they are just as risky as bad companies, there is an opportunity to pick up the good ones at low prices and/or short volatility on the good ones (by selling covered calls, for example). Further, even though correlations between indexes have increased considerably for the time being, it is still possible to find groups of stocks that exhibit low correlations to one another—thereby providing increased diversification benefits.


Jensen Comment
This once again demonstrates the difference between the physical sciences and the social sciences. Correlations in the physical sciences may have long-term, albeit sometimes not infinite, permanence to a point where the word "law" often becomes an acceptable noun. In realms other than the physical sciences, the term "law" should always be written ink that is more easily erased.

The basic problem in terms of 2008 was that securities and real estate markets themselves broke down. Causes are complex, although the most significant cause was probably that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mack, and various Wall Street investment banks and other large banks purchased (probably knowingly) many millions of fraudulent mortgages brokered on every Main Street of every town in the U.S. --- millions of mortgages that had little or no chance of repayment and loan amounts well in excess of collateral value, thereby negating recovery of loan balances in foreclosure proceedings. This, along with the re-packaging (securitization) of such investments comprise what is now called poisonous investments that threaten the survival of the firms that hold them (other than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack that will survive because they're now owned by the Zimbabwe-like U.S. Congress that turned to printing pork money it needs rather than tax or borrow).

The smart move now, in early 2009, would be for Congress to buy the largest poisoned banks in the U.S. (nationalization) at eBay prices, but Congress will most likely absorb the trillions in bad debts and allow the crooks  (oops I meant to say bank executives) that caused the problem to draw a measly $500,000 per year plus millions in new restricted stock awards in their revived, debt-free, banks.

Beneath those obvious surface causes was a combination of Congressional efforts to extend home ownership to poor people (read that Barney's ACORN) and greedy bankers on Wall Street and Main Street who cared more about their personal compensation than their fiduciary responsibilities to their companies and the public.


Long Time Wall Street Journal Defenders of Wall Street's Outrageous Compensation Morph Into Hypocrites
At each stage of the disaster, Mr. Black told me -- loan officers, real-estate appraisers, accountants, bond ratings agencies -- it was pay-for-performance systems that "sent them wrong." The need for new compensation rules is most urgent at failed banks. This is not merely because is would make for good PR, but because lavish executive bonuses sometimes create an incentive to hide losses, to take crazy risks, and even, according to Mr. Black, to "loot the place through seemingly normal corporate mechanisms." This is why, he continues, it is "essential to redesign and limit executive compensation when regulating failed or failing banks." Our leaders may not know it yet, but this showdown between rival populisms is in fact a battle over political legitimacy. Is Wall Street the rightful master of our economic fate? Or should we choose a broader form of sovereignty? Let the conservatives' hosannas turn to sneers. The market god has failed.
Thomas Frank, "Wall Street Bonuses Are an Outrage:  The public sees a self-serving system for what it," The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123371071061546079.html?mod=todays_us_opinion 
Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous compensation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#OutrageousCompensation

Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at

Bob Jensen's threads on the Bailout and Stimulus Act Mess are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

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

What's a WikiDashboard?

"Who's Messing with Wikipedia? The back-and-forth behind controversial entries could help reveal their true value." by Erica Naone, MIT's Technology Review, February 6, 2009 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/web/22076/?nlid=1757&a=f

Despite warnings from many high-school teachers and college professors, Wikipedia is one of the most-visited websites in the world (not to mention the biggest encyclopedia ever created). But even as Wikipedia's popularity has grown, so has the debate over its trustworthiness. One of the most serious concerns remains the fact that its articles are written and edited by a hidden army of people with unknown interests and biases.

Ed Chi, a senior research scientist for augmented social cognition at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and his colleagues have now created a tool, called WikiDashboard, that aims to reveal much of the normally hidden back-and-forth behind Wikipedia's most controversial pages in order to help readers judge for themselves how suspect its contents might be.

Wikipedia already has procedures in place designed to alert readers to potential problems with an entry. For example, one of Wikipedia's volunteer editors can review an article and tag it as "controversial" or warn that it "needs sources." But in practice, Chi says, relatively few articles actually receive these tags. WikiDashboard instead offers a snapshot of the edits and re-edits, as well as the arguments and counterarguments that went into building each of Wikipedia's many million pages.

The researchers began by investigating pages already tagged as "controversial" on Wikipedia: they found that these pages were far more likely to have been edited and re-edited repeatedly. Based on this observation, they developed WikiDashboard, a website that serves up Wikipedia entries but adds a chart to the top of each page revealing its recent edit history.

WikiDashboard shows which users have contributed most edits to a page, what percentage of the edits each person is responsible for, and when editors have been most active. A WikiDashboard user can explore further by clicking on a particular editor's name to see, for example, how involved he or she has been with other articles. Chi says that the goal is to show the social interaction going on around the entry. For instance, the chart should make it clear when a single user has been dominating a page, or when a flurry of activity has exploded around a particularly contentious article. The timeline on the chart can also show how long a page has been neglected.

Encyclopaedia Britannica to let readers edit content:  Too little too late
Encyclopaedia Britannica, the authoritative reference book first published in 1768, is to let readers edit its entries, it said Friday, as it battles to keep pace with Internet resources like Wikipedia. From next week, visitors to the publication's website, Britannica.com, will be able to submit proposed changes to editors, who will check them and make alterations if they think they are appropriate. Users whose suggestions are accepted will then be credited on the site, the firm said in a statement. Gorge Cauz, president of the US-based firm, insisted that the publication was not trying to be a wiki -- a collection of web pages which allows users to edit content -- like Wikipedia . . . But some technology commentators say the step is a doomed attempt to preserve Britannica's subscription-based business model in the face of the challenge from Wikipedia, which is free. The Times reported that while Britannica.com attracts 1.5 million visitors per day, Wikipedia attracts roughly six million.
, January 23, 2009 --- http://www.physorg.com/news151938162.html
Jensen Comment
Whereas full text is available on Wikipedia for fee, Encyclopeaedia Britannica only provides full text to paid subscribers. Subscriptions are about $70 per year and a complete bound set is $2,000. Britannica is more reliable for accuracy on topics covered, but Wikipedia overwhelms Britannica in terms of millions upon millions of more topics covered. A scholarly approach might be to first look up a topic in Wikipedia and then try to authenticate it in Britannica, but this will only work for topics covered in Britannica. Also Wikipedia has millions upon millions of "discussion" commentaries that vastly widen the perspectives covered on many topics.


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

How can you locate students who fail to show up for class, children who seem to have disappeared, and untrustworthy husbands?

"Do you know where your kid is? Check Google's maps," MIT's Technology Review, February 5, 2009 ---

With an upgrade to its mobile maps, Google Inc. hopes to prove it can track people on the go as effectively as it searches for information on the Internet.

The new software released Wednesday will enable people with mobile phones and other wireless devices to automatically share their whereabouts with family and friends.

The feature, dubbed "Latitude," expands upon a tool introduced in 2007 to allow mobile phone users to check their own location on a Google map with the press of a button.

"This adds a social flavor to Google maps and makes it more fun," said Steve Lee, a Google product manager.

It could also raise privacy concerns, but Google is doing its best to avoid a backlash by requiring each user to manually turn on the tracking software and making it easy to turn off or limit access to the service.

Google also is promising not to retain any information about its users' movements. Only the last location picked up by the tracking service will be stored on Google's computers, Lee said.

The software plots a user's location -- marked by a personal picture on Google's map -- by relying on cell phone towers, global positioning systems or a Wi-Fi connection to deduce their location. The system can follow people's travels in the United States and 26 other countries.

It's left up to each user to decide who can monitor their location.

The social mapping approach is similar to a service already offered by Loopt Inc., a 3-year-old company located near Google's Mountain View headquarters.

Loopt's service is compatible with more than 100 types of mobile phones.

To start out, Google Latitude will work on Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry and devices running on Symbian software or Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile. It will also operate on some T-Mobile phones running on Google's Android software and eventually will work on Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iTouch.

To widen the software's appeal, Google is offering a version that can be installed on personal computers as well.

The PC access is designed for people who don't have a mobile phone but still may want to keep tabs on their children or someone else special, Lee said. People using the PC version can also be watched if they are connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi.

Google can plot a person's location within a few yards if it's using GPS, or might be off by several miles if it's relying on transmission from cell phone towers. People who don't want to be precise about their whereabouts can choose to display just the city instead of a specific neighborhood.

There are no current plans to sell any advertising alongside Google's tracking service, although analysts believe knowing a person's location eventually will unleash new marketing opportunities. Google has been investing heavily in the mobile market during the past two years in an attempt to make its services more useful to people when they're away from their office or home computers.

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

A New (free) Famous Professor Lecture Video Site:  But Is it Legal?
The free videos are at http://www.academicearth.org/
Note that it is not a dot-com site.

"New For-Profit Web Site Repackages Free Lecture Videos From Colleges," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3591&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

A new company called Academic Earth offers free online videos of lectures from some of the world’s most renowned scholars teaching at leading universities. The company has simply grabbed the videos off the universities’ own Web sites and plans to offer tools to students who want to talk about the content — along with a chance to grade the quality of the lectures.

Richard Ludlow, the company’s CEO and founder, said in an interview today that it is allowed to republish the videos because they were released by the universities under Creative Commons licenses. Those licenses allow outside entities, even for-profit ones, to reuse the materials, provided that those entities do not use the materials for commercial purposes. Mr. Ludlow says that his company will not place any advertising on Web pages that contain university videos, though he hopes to expand the site in the future to include sections where videos from other sources are shown with advertising.

“Our business model is that we’re not going to make a dime off of any of the Creative Commons materials — we’re very respectful of the licenses,” said Mr. Ludlow. “As we integrate commercial content, then on those pages we’ll be offering commercials.”

The Academic Earth site notes that it features lectures from Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale Universities, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley. The company has no connection to the universities, however. Mr. Ludlow does plan to meet this week with officials from MIT to talk about its plans.

How do the universities feel about the company republishing their lectures?

“I haven’t looked at his example enough to give you a definite answer,” said Steve Carson, external relations director for MIT’s Opencourseware project, which publishes free materials from the institute’s courses, including complete videos from some 30 courses. “It might be OK—as long as the use adheres to the terms and conditions on our site, we encourage the material to be redistributed for educational purposes.” He said the company was “doing the right thing” by reaching out to MIT and meeting with university officials about the company’s services.

“Our focus is on being a content distributor,” said Mr. Carson. “They’re putting interactive services around it — it could be very complementary to what we’re doing.”

Gila Reinstein, a spokesperson for Yale, said, “It’s not OK to do anything for profit with the materials.” She said that she had not heard of Academic Earth but that she would check with the university’s lawyers about the site. “If it’s nonprofit, we’re thrilled,” she said. “If it’s meant to be something else, we probably will not be happy.”

Mr. Ludlow points out that some of the colleges and universities use more open Creative Commons licenses than others. MIT and Yale allow “derivative use” of their content, meaning that the company can cut the lectures into various sections, based on topics, he said. Berkeley does not allow such derivative use, nor does Stanford for some of its courses, he added.

So far the site’s main service, other than bringing together lectures from various universities, is to let visitors rate the lectures, giving them a letter grade from A to F. When the company first posted the lectures to its site a few months ago, the grades were all set to a default of B. Some quickly moved to A-plus grades, while one Harvard lecture got an F-plus.

The above article is followed by an interesting list of comments:

  1. My first question is, where is the Creative Commons license on Academic Earth’s site? One of the terms on the CC licenses used by many of the university sites (e.g., MIT’s Opencourseware) is that those who create derivative works “share alike.” Couldn’t the Academic Earth site as a whole be seen as a derivative work?

    — R. Davis    Feb 2, 06:34 PM    

  2. I am not a lawyer, but I do not believe that Mr. Ludlow understands what is meant by “commercial use.” He is running a for-profit business, therefore his use is commercial and it violates the Creative Commons Licesnse that has this exclusion.

    — Ron Heasley    Feb 2, 06:50 PM    

  3. Hi R. Davis – The license for each lecture appears on the page for that lecture, and license for full courses appear on the course page. Check out any video on the site and you’ll see the license below a link to the video’s creator. This appears to the right of the video title and professor name.

    — Richard Ludlow    Feb 2, 06:55 PM    

  4. Interesting… the grades seem like they’ll help highlight the best content. I haven’t seen that on other OCW sites.

    — K. Thacker    Feb 2, 07:09 PM   

  5. Since the lectures themselves are presented without advertisement, doesn’t that fully adhere to the Creative Commons License?

    Also, since the videos are being used solely for educational purposes, doesn’t that completely fall in line with the goals of the educational institutions?

    — Joseph Dooley    Feb 2, 07:16 PM    

  6. i was unable to find any of these advertisements or commercial activity, so i can’t comment on the legal implications, but i do hope this site stays up because it seems like a great educational resource for those who can’t afford a $40,000/year tuition bill.

    — Aaron    Feb 2, 07:22 PM   

  7. I think it’s important to emphasize the fact that this website is delivering high quality educational content for free, and it’s extremely user friendly.

    The simple format and centralized approach is particularly important in that it makes the material far more accessible for the vast majority of people who do not know that it exists on university sites.

    In essence, by trying to appeal to a broad audience, the site has the potential to deliver really crucial educational content to people who wouldn’t be able to access it otherwise.

    Rather than needing to search around multiple university websites to find the content that I’m looking for, I can go to Academic Earth and get all the material in one place, easily searchable, etc.

    I think it’s a pretty damn cool project.

    — Jerry G.    Feb 2, 07:35 PM   

  8. Their business model is on shaky ground if its foundation is based on twisting the spirit of Creative Commons licensing.

    I appreciate what the founders are trying to do, but they really need to work on that before they can expect instructors and institutions to seriously consider using their service.

    — Jacob Richards    Feb 2, 07:35 PM   

  9. What I find amusing is that if Academic Earth is a “for-profit” entity, why are they using the .org extension? In bigger terms, I think it’s ludicrous that Mr. Ludlow feels he can profit off of Creative Commons content. Doubt he’ll be in business very long.

    — Kory    Feb 2, 11:04 PM   

  10. This strikes me as potentially problematic from the faculty perspective, as well as the general CC issues mentioned above. It is one thing to agree to have your content sent out to the world within the context of your university’s distribution system. It is another to have it aggregated by a third party for profit—even if the profits are only through indirect means. I wonder what kinds of permissions the institutions actually got from the instructors, and whether they’ll be surprised by this development. Granted that the university retains some sense of “ownership” over instances of faculty speech that occur as lectures, and so therefore feels justified in this type of sharing as a community service; however, I suspect the faculty and institutions alike will feel the ground has shifted beneath them once again with this new profit wrinkle. If somebody is going to profit from these lectures, why not the faculty themselves? Or the institutions? Can a licensing scheme be far behind?

    — VS    Feb 2, 11:30 PM   

  11. YouTube and iTunes also share Creative Commons content, and they are clearly part of for-profit organizations. Should we be angry at them too? Or are they examples of how you can share some content commercially and other non-commercially?

    From the look at this beta site, it appears that Mr. Ludlow has the potential to bring the OCW movement to a much larger mainstream audience.

    — G. Wilson    Feb 2, 11:39 PM    

Stanford YouTube channel debuts --- http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2008/june18/youtube-061808.html

The university has drawn from departments and programs across campus and uploaded videos of classes, faculty interviews, panel discussions, seminars and other events in order to showcase the breadth and caliber of academic offerings at Stanford. By launching a channel on YouTube—the leading online video community that allows people to discover, watch and share originally created videos—the university is building upon its efforts to provide online access to free educational content for the Stanford community and greater public.

Stanford's Offerings on YouTube (turn you speakers on before clicking) --- http://www.youtube.com/stanford

Academic Earth (videos of lectures and even complete courses taught by top scholars) --- http://academicearth.org/

Other universities (notably UC Berkeley) beat Stanford to YouTube. You can find the links to many of them by scrolling down my summary of open-sharing lecture videos and course materials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

A Major Project of the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching
How to educate students of business and maintain strong liberal arts components

Business, Entrepreneurship and Liberal Learning (BELL)

The BELL project is a three-year effort to determine how educators can help ensure that undergraduate students who major in business and other professional fields also gain the benefits of a strong liberal arts education.

The BELL project was developed in response to the fact that increasing numbers of undergraduates are majoring in professional fields, particularly business, and disproportionate numbers of those students are the first in their families to go to college. Unless the central goals of a liberal arts education are integrated with their educational experiences in professional disciplines, these students will be deprived of a broad education that prepares them for leadership in their work, and they will not gain the intellectual, moral, and civic learning they need to be responsible individuals and members of their communities.

Leaders in business as well as higher education have long stressed the importance of the key goals of a liberal arts education. The central problem that will be addressed is that on most college campuses students majoring in professional fields are required to take a few courses from scores of offerings in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences, but no effort is made to integrate the aims of the liberal arts with the aims of professional education.

The project will investigate promising approaches to achieving this integration in many different kinds of colleges and universities around the country. It builds on prior Carnegie Foundation work, including studies of
professional preparation in higher education, of ethical and social responsibility as educational goals, and of integrative learning in undergraduate education.

In addition to Carnegie, current funders include the Teagle Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Skoll Foundation.

Jensen Comment
Much of the difference between education and training is the inclusion of a broad-based humanities and science modules in an education. The tried and true approach is to require a core of required and elective courses taught by departments in humanities and sciences. Actually this is the approach traditionally tried, but it is not always true among students seeking easy outs for their humanities and science requirements. For example, Cornell University conducted a massive study on how students tend to choose courses and instructors --- Scroll down at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation

Under an Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC) grant the University of North Texas (which has a strong humanities division) experimented with the joint teaching of courses having accounting and humanities instructors with the goal of integrating humanities into accountancy topics. I don't know how successful this was in terms of particular courses or particular joint teaching faculty, but students wanting to learn accounting tended to avoid the jointly taught courses in favor of more traditional accountancy courses.

You can read more about the UNT's experiments in this regard in the following AAA Accounting Education Series publications listed at http://aaahq.org/market/display.cfm?catID=7

Volume No. 13. Position and Issues Statements of the Accounting Education Change Commission
By Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC). Published 1996, 80 pages.

During its 7-year existence the AECC adopted two position statements and six issues statements. The purpose of this publication is to provide a convenient resource document for all of these statements.

Members No charge–print or online
Nonmembers No charge–print or online
Volume No. 14. The Accounting Education Change Commission Grant Experience: A Summary
Edited by Richard E. Flaherty. Published 1998, 150 pages.

Members No charge–print or online
Nonmembers No charge–print or online
Volume No. 15. The Accounting Education Change Commission: Its History and Impact
By Gary L. Sundem. Published 1999, 96 pages.

Members No charge–print or online
Nonmembers No charge–print or online

Stanford Humanities Center: Events Archive --- http://shc.stanford.edu/events/archive.htm 

"An English professor takes the GRE and questions its value," by MICHAEL BÉRUBÉ, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, February 6, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i22/22b00501.htm?utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en
Jensen Comment
This article convinced me that I would not want to take the GRE at any age.

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

Some Thoughts on Facebook for Parents

The researcher, BJ Fogg, director of Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab, announced this week a free, noncredit course he plans to teach at the university called “Facebook for Parents.” He has teamed up with his sister, Linda Fogg Phillips, who has eight children of her own, to teach the course. You have to get to the university to take the course because the sessions will not be broadcast online. The instructors have built a Web site with their top five tips for parents concerning Facebook. They also offer an online newsletter that promises future guidance. “With Facebook’s massive growth, parents really need to be on board with it,” said Mr. Fogg in an interview this week. He said the goal of the course is to “help parents understand what Facebook is” so they feel comfortable enough to try it themselves.
Jeffrey R. Young, "Stanford U. Researcher Teaches Noncredit 'Facebook for Parents' Course," Chronicle of Higher Education, January 30, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3585&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

Once again that Website is at http://facebookforparents.org/

"The Flaws of Facebook," by Alex Golub, Inside Higher Ed, February 3, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2009/02/03/golub

An acquisitions editor of a major university press was nice enough to buy me a cup of coffee and a brioche and listen patiently as I pitched him my book manuscript during a recent meeting of my professional association. Things went well enough until, at the end of our meeting, he surprised me. On our way out of the café, he turned to me and asked “are you on Facebook?” “I am,” I replied, nonplussed, “but I, uh, don’t really check it very often.” “Well I do,” he said, tone heavy in significance, “so friend me.”

My dislike of Facebook is not based on ignorance or a knee-jerk academic ludism. I understand exactly what Facebook is – it’s an Internet replacement service that combines e-mail, instant messaging, photo sharing, social networking, mailing lists, asynchronous gaming, and personal Web hosting all in one. Crucially, it allows differing degrees of privacy, so you can blog safely about the antics of your adorable cat or the incredible evil of your department chair without either of them finding out unless you add them to your friends list. What bothers me about Facebook — the dilemma highlighted by my encounter with the editor — is the particular problem it presents for academics, whose professional career and personal goings-on are all rolled up together into one big life of the mind.

Teaching is an intensely public activity in a very simple way: You spend hours and hours having people stare at you. Over time this simple three-shows-a-week schedule blossoms into something infinitely weirder. It does not take long for professors to find themselves walking around a campus filled with half-remembered faces from previous classes — faces worn by people who remember you perfectly well. If you teach at a large state university, like I do, it does not take long before random waiters and pharmacists start mentioning how much they did (or didn’t) enjoy that survey class you taught. There are even apocryphal stories in Papua New Guinea — the country that I study — about a man who more or less taught every social science class at the country’s university during the late 70s. He spent the rest of his life never having to stand in line or fill out a form because he had trained the vast majority of the nation’s civil servants, who all remembered him fondly.

The public created by your teaching is much larger than just the students in your class. Whether we lament or rejoice in the purportedly poor state of teacher evaluation, it does happen. Those forms our students fill out have strange afterlives and become the source of evaluation by deans and whispering among the senior faculty. The Internet unleashes these evaluations as well, allowing our classroom antics to be shared on Ratemyprofessor.com.

So is Facebook a dream come true for academics — a private social networking site where professors can finally let down there hair because you control your audience, in the way that the average “I hate the world” anonymous adjunct blog cannot? I would say No. In the physical world professors uneasily navigate the uneasy blurring of their public and private lives, but Facebook doesn’t allow for blurring — you are either friends or not. This extremely “ungranular” system forces you to choose between two roles, private and public, that the actual, uncoded world allows us to leave ambiguous.

Which of the following people would you friend on Facebook? A friend from graduate school? Probably — Facebook is, for better or worse, a great way to take the Old Boys Club online. A fellow faculty member? If you get along with them, why not? Your graduate students? Hmmm... well I suppose some people have that sort of relationship with their graduate students. Your undergraduates? I’ve drawn a line in the sand and said no to that one.

I think these cases are actually pretty easy — categories like colleague and student are well-defined, as is the distinction between a “purely” formal relationship and the intimate friendships that grow up around it. I’m sure that many of the people reading this got to be where they were today because a professor in our lives went beyond the call of duty to become a friend and mentor. Facebook makes handling the formal and the informal tricky, but in all of these examples a lot of work has already been done for it because the relationships in question can all be neatly divided into “formal” and “informal” registers.

What Facebook makes particularly uncomfortable are relationships in which friendship and professionalism are not clear and brightly bounded, but are tied to real political economic stakes. As a young professor on the path to tenure, for instance, acquisitions editors have a certain ominous power over me that compels me to friend them on Facebook (and I did friend him, by the way) and might even include small favors up to and including shining their shoes if the end of the deal includes an advance contract. On the other hand, as someone with a tenure track job, I am also in a position of diffuse power over people like adjuncts and lecturers, who I get along well with in my department, but who do not come to faculty meetings in which we discuss the budget (read: their pay).

The more widely you friend people on Facebook — and it is a slippery slope — the more and more your Facebook page becomes a professional Web replacement on Friendster’s slick Internet replacement Web site. It becomes less and less a “private” space and more and more a place to show a public face to a very wide audience. In forcing you to craft a public persona, it raises uncomfortable issues of power and inequality and lurk under the surface of our actual world interactions — which is probably a good thing.

Continued in article

CBS Sixty Minute Module on Facebook --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cEySyEnxvU

Some Sobering Thoughts --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMWz3G_gPhU

Learn About Facebook (in a pretty good song) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpaxaxEWMSA

Facebook Fever --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHi-ZcvFV_0

Facebook Anthem --- http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Facebook&aq=f

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and tricks of the trade in education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

"FBI releases pics of low-level suspects in $9m ATM scam," by John Leyden, The Register, February 6, 2009 --- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/06/atm_hack_scam/

The FBI has released pictures of two suspects linked to a multi-million dollar ATM heist.

The man and a woman are thought to be street-level accomplices in a global cash machine heist the netted $9m from 130 ATM machines in 49 cities around the globe in a co-ordinated attack that lasted just hours. Investigators reckon the gang used data stolen from RBS WorldPay to create counterfeit payroll cards. These bogus cards were subsequently used to withdraw money from machines across the US as well as Montreal, Moscow, and Hong Kong on the night of 8 November 2008.

Around 100 payroll debit cards — which some firms use to pay wages - were used in the heist but cybercriminals were able to exploit weaknesses in the system to withdraw many times the nominal limit on each card, Fox News reports.

RBS WorldPay admitted in late December that the records of 1.5 million people had been exposed in a hacking attack investigators are linked to the ATM raids.

The FBI pictures show images of a man and a woman withdrawing money from a bank branch in Matteson and a Walgreens in Calumet City, Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Jensen Comment
Sounds to me like another crime committed by Madoff's friends (read that Bernie's Boys) in the Russian Mafia.

Some Thoughts About Library Reading Furniture

That is, of course, a wild exaggeration. The Henry Madden Library at California State University-Fresno does need a bunch of tables and chairs—nearly $8-million worth—but the new facility is set to open on February 19 anyway. After all, it does have online services and books and staff to help faculty and students find things.
Josh Fischman, "Who Needs Library Furniture Anyway? Not Fresno State," Chronicle of Higher Education, January 30, 2009 ---

Jensen Comment
A lot of newlyweds had the same problem in their first new house. They still became parents, most likely by making use of the floors. Moral of story, students can still learn from books even if they sit on the floor to read them.

Some Thoughts on Course Reading Materials

It would be unusual for campus computer labs to provide unlimited free copying since colleges discovered the uncontrolled costs of providing free services for computer printing and photocopying. Trinity University students had account numbers that they could charge in computer labs and dorms. Trinity University’s library installed a Kinko’s store in the library itself which makes it cheaper for students and academic departments to do a lot of their volume reproduction. Each academic department received its own Kinkos account. I used the Kinkos library store quite often, especially for color copies.

Since this was a Kinkos store, it was also possible for faculty to do personal jobs like Christmas letters with colored pictures. Those I paid for by check.

I provided some of my high-volume handouts either on my Web server or my Drive J LAN drive on the campus network. Faculty without their own LAN drives generally can use Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle, or whatever service their campus provides for course files. Then students can choose to either print or view items on line. For example, it’s not usually necessary to print homework solutions after due dates since students can simply compare their answers with online answer keys and fill in parts where they went wrong. My students generally limited their printing of the thousands of pages of material that I made available for my courses.

I had one diligent and risk-averse student who printed over 2,000 pages since I usually gave open-book and open-note exams. But this was of little help to her since it was almost impossible to quickly find what she wanted in so much stacked hard copy. Most students used their heads and their hand-written crib notes that they could very quickly search. Several students brought prayer books.

Eventually I allowed students to only use textbooks and hand-written notes during examinations. They had to certify that they wrote the notes themselves, and I did peruse the notes they intended to use during examinations (my courses had less than 20 students as a rule). Often there were portions of examinations that required use of computers. Wireless networks created all sorts of risks for cheating such as communicating via email. Therefore, my examinations had a Part 1 portion without computers that had to be turned in before students got to Part 2 for which they used computers. Each student got a unique Part 2 examination (usually problems with different numbers) to discourage sending answers (e.g., Excel or MS Access file attachments) to friends. I was probably being paranoid since most, but certainly not all, of my graduate students had too much integrity to cheat during examinations.

Once again a diligent and risk-averse student emerged who hand-wrote over 700 pages of notes for a final examination. I wonder when she slept --- maybe during my lectures. Sigh!

Note that copyrighted materials (even those with blanket permissions) should hide behind passwords. For example, the AAA provides blanket permission for an instructor to distribute (hard copy or online) of selected journal articles to enrolled students. However, this blanket permission does not apply to making the material available to the public on a Web server. Hence, such material should be password controlled such as password control on Moodle or a campus LAN drive or an the old-fashioned library-reserve desk.

By the way, in order to attract students to visit the library more often, Trinity University installed a Starbucks-like coffee and snack bistro where students could charge their campus meal service cards for coffee and snacks. This became an enormously popular reading area which ironically sat in the same place as a seldom-used reading area prior to installing the bistro. In the bistro area, the library actively advertises special library features such as new book exhibits, new book acquisitions, and other exhibits. Of course the library also has computer labs such that there are all sorts of attractions drawing students to the library daily.

If I were designing a campus, I think I would house the student union and library all in one building and even line the dining area rooms with reading materials such as new book acquisitions and current textbooks of active courses on campus each semester. Of course those books would have to have electronic implants so they could not easily slip out of the building.

"Blackboard 9.0," by Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, January 27, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/01/27/blackboard

Blackboard Inc., the giant among course management system (CMS) providers, today unveils Release 9.0 of Blackboard Learn. Blackboard bills the newest iteration as more open and flexible — allowing colleges to use the platform “as an open foundation for whatever complementary technologies they need to support their approach to teaching and learning.”

And the new release will feature expanded Web 2.0 and “social learning” tools, such as blogs and journals, enhanced notification capabilities (i.e., “Your paper is due in four hours” – or four days), and a redesigned, customizable user interface.

“It would definitely be an immediate, apparent change when you log into the system,” said Jessica Finnefrock, Blackboard’s senior vice president for product development.

Among the changes that will be most immediately noticeable to students and professors, aside from the redesigned, Web 2.0 interface, are the new notifications. “Probably one of the No. 1 things I heard from students is, ‘We need to more clearly manage the things that are due,’ ” said Finnefrock. She explained that the notifications for pending assignments will be visible as “dashboards” on the Blackboard site, and students can also elect to receive reminders via e-mail and, yes, Facebook (Blackboard launched a Facebook application last May). “In these focus groups, sometimes students will say, ‘I’ll log onto Blackboard and when I log in I realize my assignment was due that day. Can’t Blackboard send me something?’ ”

Students can choose when (how far in advance) and for what they’d like to receive alerts. Finnefrock said the company plans to continue expanding its notification capabilities in the future to include things like text messages and iPhone applications.

The newest version also features the SafeAssign plagiarism detection software bundled in, as opposed to it being available as an add-on. And it includes integrations to allow open-source course management systems — such as Sakai and Moodle, to which colleges have increasingly been gravitating — to be accessed within Blackboard.

While Blackboard prices change from year to year, a spokesman said that the new release has no bearing on the price structure. Colleges holding Blackboard licenses can upgrade to the 9.0 version at no extra cost; Finnefrock said she expects many institutions will pilot the new version this spring and summer and fully launch it come fall.

Blackboard declined to release the full list of universities that have been doing Beta testing for confidentiality reasons, but recommended three institutions that are now in the piloting or co-production phase. Two could be reached; both officials described only minor problems, and general satisfaction with the updated software.

Donna Wicks, senior system administrator for Blackboard at Kettering University, in Michigan, said that, in addition to the notification systems, she’s particularly impressed by the new look and ability to customize the site. “Not that the old Blackboard is terrible, but it looks out of date. This new version, it’s just, it’s a cleaner look.… I’ve been able to do more with our log-in page. I’ve really customized it. I don’t feel like I’m at a Blackboard site when I go to the page. I feel like it’s a Kettering page that’s been built.”

Lonnie Harvel, vice president of educational technology at Georgia Gwinnett College, said he was particularly pleased by the “mashup” quality of the new release — in other words, the ability to import other systems into Blackboard (and export, too). “The interface is more of a robust, portaling environment that is allowing us to bring more services from outside the Blackboard toolset into that environment,” he said. For instance, “with the new environment, I can simply connect it to my campus announcement system.... It’s all a matter of being able to weave the different information sources together in one place.”

Moving forward, Harvel said Blackboard has the daunting task of keeping two very different constituencies happy — long-time Blackboard users and clients of its old competitor WebCT, which Blackboard bought in 2005. Individuals could be religious in their original preferences, said Harvel (who described himself as an agnostic in that debate). “I think that will probably be one of the biggest challenges that Blackboard has to struggle with, bringing these two platforms together.... They’re going to be dealing with two different sets of expectations.”

Continued in article

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

The Secret Lives Of Philosophers

"Are Philosophers Really Lovers Of Wisdom?" Simoleon Sense, February 2, 2009 ---

I’ve always been interested in becoming an academic philosopher. My interest is so profound that I even majored as one during undergrad, only to quickly switch to Psychology & Neuroscience. Here’s an article brought to my attention by a friend and philosopher.
 Click Here To Read About The Secret Lives Of Philosphers

Article Introduction (Via Philosopher’s Net)

Although academics will hardly raise an eyebrow about this “open secret”, it comes as a surprise to many others to learn that many philosophers, in fact an increasing number by my lights, are little devoted to the love of wisdom. In only a merely “academic” way do they aspire to intellectual virtue. Even less often do they exhibit qualities of moral excellence. On the contrary, many philosophers, or what pass as philosophers, are, sadly, better described as petty social climbers, meretricious snobs, and acquisitive consumerists.

I blush a bit now to confess that part of what drove me into philosophy in the first place was the naive conviction that among those who call themselves lovers of wisdom I would find something different in kind from the repugnant and shallow brutalism of the worlds of finance, business, and the law to which I had suffered some exposure in Ronald Reagan’s America.

Article Excerpts (Via Philsopher’s Net)

“Instead, I’ve found that the secret lives of philosophers are more often than not pre-occupied with status and acquisition.”

“Like debutantes at the ball, philosophers now often spend much of their time dropping names, gossiping, promoting their connections, hawking their publications, passing out business cards and polishing their self-promotional web sites.”

“Attitudes toward material consumption are not, I’m afraid much better. Philosophers seem to pepper their conversations more and more with remarks about the perks or bonuses they receive – how much money they have available for travel, what sort of computer allowances, how big their research grants are.”

“All of this suggests a philosophical culture that imitates the business world not only in its emphasis on product (publication) but also in its adopting the criteria and trappings of professional success characteristic of commercial life.

Conclusions (Via Philosopher’s Net)

“One implication of this little secret is that professional philosophers have become less and less egalitarian in their view of education.”

“Finding philosophers devoted principally to the love of wisdom and to sharing it broadly has become, as Spinoza said of all excellent things, as difficult as it is rare.”

Click Here To Read About The Secret Lives Of Philosphers

The following are included in Bob Jensen's listing of free online videos and tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials

Gateway to Philosophy --- http://www.bu.edu/paideia/index.html

Teach Philosopy 101  --- http://www.teachphilosophy101.org/
This site presents strategies and resources for faculty members and graduate assistants who are teaching Introduction to Philosophy courses; it also includes material of interest to college faculty generally. The mission of TΦ101 is to provide free, user-friendly resources to the academic community. All of the materials are provided on an open source license. You may also print as many copies as you wish (please print in landscape). TΦ101 carries no advertising. I am deeply indebted to Villanova University for all of the support that has made this project possible.
John Immerwahr, Professor of Philosophy, Villanova University

Ask Philosophers --- http://www.amherst.edu/askphilosophers/


  • This site puts the talents and knowledge of philosophers at the service of the general public. Send in a question that you think might be related to philosophy and we will do our best to respond to it. To date, there have been 1375 questions posted and 1834 responses.

    Philosophy Talk (Audio) --- http://www.philosophytalk.org/

  • February 4, 2009 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

    Like debutantes at the ball, philosophers now often spend much of their time dropping names, gossiping, promoting their connections, hawking their publications, passing out business cards and polishing their self-promotional web sites. Attitudes toward material consumption are not, I'm afraid much better. Philosophers seem to pepper their conversations more and more with remarks about the perks or bonuses they receive “ how much money they have available for travel, what sort of computer allowances, how big their research grants are."

    Ah, sounds like an AAA annual meeting.

    Paul Williams

    February 4, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

    Hi Paul,

    Maybe the best philosophy like art, literature, and music is generated by starving philosophers, artists, writers, and composers.

    There's just not enough starvation when all of them have tenure, carry business cards, and are given funds for travel and research.

    Bob Jensen

    Hi Again Paul,

    Bacon would’ve approved that you’ve never been accused of being meek.

    As long as we’re taking on philosophers at the moment, today one of my favorite writers, Scott McLemee writes as follows in “The Mind on Fire,” Inside Higher Ed, February 4, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2009/02/04/mclemee

    Begin Quote
    For Robert D. Richardson – the author of, among other things, William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), which won the Bancroft Prize for 2007 – one such landmark passages appears in “The American Scholar.” There, Ralph Waldo Emerson writes: “Meek young men grow up in libraries believing it their duty to accept the views that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote those books.”

    In First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process (to be published in March by University of Iowa Press), Richardson says the line “still jolts me every time I run into it.” I think I know what he means, but the quality and intensity of the jolt varies over time. Reading “The American Scholar” as a meek young man, I just found it irritating – as if Emerson were translating the anti-intellectualism of my small town into something more refined and elegant, if scarcely less blockheaded.

    This was a naive reading of a remarkable and (at times) very weird essay. “The American Scholar” is actually something like a Yankee anticipation of Nietzsche’s “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life” – with the added strangeness that, when Emerson gets around to pointing out a prototype of the new-model American scholar, the example he gives is ... Emanuel Swedenborg, the 18th century Swedish polymath. Who, when not writing huge works on the natural sciences, spent his time talking to angels and devils and the inhabitants of other planets. WTF?

    Rereading Emerson a couple of decades beyond adolescence, I saw that the target of his scorn was meekness — not bookishness, as such. He was in any case not so genteel as he first appeared. There was a wild streak. There were depths beneath the oracular sentences that made him a kind of cultural revolutionary. You are not necessarily prepared to detect this when reading Emerson as a teenager. Like Bob Dylan says, “Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

    Richardson’s award-winning Emerson: The Mind on Fire (University of California Press, 1996) retraced his subject’s voracious and encyclopedic reading regimen, which seems to have been tinged with the urgency of addiction. That book was intellectual biography. The new one, which is far shorter, is something else again — a synthesis of all the moments when Emerson muses over his own process, a distillation of his ethos as a reader and (especially) as writer.

    “A good head cannot read amiss,” says Emerson. “In every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides, hidden from all else, and unmistakeably meant for his ear.” Full attention and active engagement are always, by Emerson’s lights, present-minded: “I read [something] until it is pertinent to me and mine, to nature and to the hour that now passes. A good scholar will find Aristophanes and Hafiz and Rabelais full of American History.”

    Not being prone to foolish consistency, Emerson also maintains that some academic works are incapable of coming to life themselves, let alone revitalizing anyone else. “A vast number of books are written in quiet imitation of the old civil, ecclesiastical, and literary history,” he says. (One may quietly updates this by thinking of comparable 21st century tomes.) “Of these we need take no account. They are written by the dead to be read by the dead.”

    By contrast, meaningful writing is an effort “to drop every dead word.” Emerson rules out any effort to rub pieces of jargon together in hopes they will generate sparks. “Scholars are found to make very shabby sentences out of the weakest words because of exclusive attention to the word,” he notes. You don’t say.

    The struggle to connect with living currents of thought and meaning should begin with a notebook — the place to cultivate, as Emerson puts it, “the habit of rendering account to yourself of yourself in some rigorous manner and at more certain intervals than mere conversation.” The important thing is to keep at it: “There is no way to learn to write except by writing.”

    This may sound like generic advice, and to some degree it is. But from long years of scholarly attention to the daily progress of the essayist’s labors, Richardson hears the anxious undercurrents in Emerson’s reflections on writing. “There is a strangely appealing air of desperation, finality, of terminal urgency,” he writes, “to many of Emerson’s observations.... In every admonition we hear his willingness to confront his own failures; indeed, he never seems more than a few inches from total calamity. He urges us to try anything – strategies, tricks, makeshifts. And he always seems to be speaking not only of the nuts and bolts of writing, but of the grain and sinew of his – and our – determination.”

    When necessary, Richardson points out, Emerson would “just sit down and start writing – anything – to see whether something would happen. He was quick to spot the same trick in others. ‘I have read,’ he noted, ‘that [Richard Brinsley] Sheridan made a good deal of experimental writing with a view to take what might fall, if any wit should transpire in all the waste of pages.”

    Kenneth Burke once described Emerson’s prose as a “happiness pill” – that being a common enough assessment, though there is more to the sage than his role as dispenser of transcendental Prozac. It makes some difference to know that the pharmacist also had to heal himself. He cannot have been free from all of the worldly desires felt by lesser writers. The same wishes mean the same frustrations. The challenge is to keep faith with the rest of one’s reasons for writing – the motivations that break through the rubble.

    End Quote

    Continued in article


    "'No Frills' Campus in New Hampshire Saves Students Tens of Thousands of Dollars," by Andrew Mytelka, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 3, 2009 --- Click Here

    Two weeks ago, Pennsylvania’s State Board of Education drew attention for proposing to create a “no frills” four-year college that would offer a cut-rate bachelor’s degree by focusing on instruction and skipping amenities, like sports teams and posh dorms, that run up tuition bills. For pointers on how to bring about such a stripped-down college, the board might look to the satellite campus of Southern New Hampshire University in Salem, N.H.

    As described in today’s Boston Globe, the campus, for first- and second-year students, is housed in a “nondescript suburban office park” off an Interstate highway. The university’s full curriculum of introductory courses is available to students, who pay 40 percent of what their counterparts on the main campus shell out.

    After two years at Salem, they can move to the main campus. They may miss the residential experience of being underclass students, but they also save tens of thousands of dollars. To some observers, this sounds like what for-profit and community colleges have been doing for years. To many of the students, it’s the only way they could afford to go to college in a recession.

    Jensen Comment
    This is controversial since book learning today is as effective or more effective online. Interactive communications between faculty-students and students-students are generally more intense in online courses.

    This begs the question of what students gain from onsite versus online education. In modern times, the answer lies mostly in the value of social interactions and maturation that accompany face-to-face learning, living, and playing.

    There are also questions about how much a library is a "frill." Given that students use the library stacks less and less vis-a-vis networked databases, perhaps students who use libraries today are seeking the "frills" of face-to-face encounters and quiet places to read and study. Given that quiet places to read and study are available in places other than a library, perhaps the main "frill" of a library has become social interaction.

    In any case, I'm not convinced that the no-frills education in Salem is the way to go given the power of online education for learning. The power of onsite learning lies in the "frills" of libraries, dorm living, athletic fields, gymnasiums, team spirit, and the benefits of fraternal life. Parents like to send their children to college because college life serves as a cushion between sheltered home living and the mean streets (like Wall Street and job life on any Main Street).

    I might add that the no-frills college is in Salem, New Hampshire and not Salem, Mass. where the witches roamed.

    Bob Jensen's threads to these and related matters are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

    February 4, 2009 reply from Barbara Scofield [barbarawscofield@GMAIL.COM]

    So would you recommend a "no frills" college to non-traditional students who are balancing work and kids and getting their degrees later in life? Many of these students aren't as comfortable in the online world and don't need more social interactions and college life experiences. I wonder what the demographic profile is at a "no frills" school?

    For many years UT Permian Basin would have fit the definition of a "no frills" school. Now it has dorms and sports teams and an inviting library and it has grown 50% filling with the less mature, more easily distracted 18 to 20 year olds, and the faculty has had to adapt to the new lower maturity levels and developmental needs.

    Barbara W. Scofield, PhD, CPA
    Professor of Accounting
    The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
    4901 E. University Dr.
    Odessa, TX 79762 432-552-2183 (Office)



    February 4, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

    Hi Barbara,

    You should know that I’m a strong believer in online education for non-traditional (usually older) students who are more mature and perhaps have less need for the socialization “frills” of onsite education. Of course I do realize that not all courses are alike in this sense, and there are obviously some courses where onsite learning is probably superior, especially when faculty give more time and attention to onsite versus online course delivery.

    I also realize that many laboratory courses are best administered in onsite labs, which would also leads me to question the quality of the onsite labs on the “no frills” campuses like the strip mall campus in Salem, NH.

    I guess I always envision online learning in its ideal delivery form ala Amy Dunbar. This I must admit may be unrealistic since many online courses are delivered by less enthused and less dedicated online instructors. However, we also have many lousy onsite instructors as well.

    I do think that most of the onsite courses at the “no frills” site in Salem, NH can be administered as effectively or more effectively as online courses.

    Ceteris paribus, I firmly believe that the onsite education is primarily advantageous for the socialization comparative advantages where the “frills” are very important, although obviously the cost-benefit of frills vary with each frill.

    That being said, this does not necessarily justify building one more frill-filled campus like UT Permian Basin. I suspect in that particular instance I would’ve rather seen the money go toward building the best online university in Texas rather than adding another bricks and mortar campus to the many onsite campuses already available in Texas. But I am aware that the Texas Railroad Commission that controls the Texas oil money going to campus buildings was influenced by the fact that a lot of the oil flows from the Permian Basin and maybe should be returned somewhat to the wells from which it flows.

    Such is the nature of geographical politics. Since the Permain Basin does not serve large numbers of commuting students in such a rural location, I question whether this would be a good site for serving older students in less need of socialization frills. If a no-frills campus is to be built, it seems better to locate it in Houston, Dallas, or San Antonio, where some of the branch campuses are now mostly no-frills. For example, the downtown branch of UTSA in San Antonio is an old city jail where there aren't many frills.

    Bob Jensen

    Help Save the Fireflies

    February 3, 2009 message from Ben Pfeiffer [ben@distance-education.org]

    I wanted to point out a new site that might be of interest to your visitors. It’s about the disappearance of fireflies in the US and abroad. Due to a variety of factors is appears their populations have dropped significantly from development and light pollution.




    Thanks Ben!

    How to Help
    Fireflies are disappearing all over the world, and it’s believed to be because of human encroachment on habitat and increased light pollution from development and traffic. But there are a few things you can do to help fireflies make a comeback in your area  --- http://www.firefly.org/how-you-can-help.html

    None of these steps have been proven to work, mainly because scientists have only been studying firefly populations for a few years and data is still inconclusive. But signs point to human development, light pollution and toxic chemicals as likely culprits behind the dwindling of firefly populations. Follow these steps, and with luck your yard will once again sparkle on summer nights.

    Turn off outside lights at night. Fireflies use their flashing lights to signal each other, attract mates and warn of danger. While the science is still preliminary, it’s likely that human light pollution can disrupt their flashes—making it harder for fireflies to find mates and breed. This leads to fewer fireflies mating and smaller numbers in subsequent generations. You can make your yard a haven for fireflies by turning off exterior and garden lights, and drawing your blinds at night so that interior light doesn’t brighten your yard too much.

    Let logs and litter accumulate. Some species of firefly larvae grow up in rotten logs and the litter that accumulates beneath the forest canopy. To encourage their growth, plant some trees on your property. If you have trees in your yard, consider leaving some natural litter around them to give firefly larvae a place to grow.

    Create water features in your landscape. Most species of fireflies have one thing in common: they thrive around standing water and marshy areas. Ponds, streams and rivers can all provide good habitats for fireflies, but even a small depression full of water can cause them to congregate. Build a small pond or divert a small stream to run through your property, and it’s more likely you’ll see fireflies at night. Chemically treated swimming pools aren’t a good substitute; fireflies are believed to eat the smaller insects, grubs and snails that thrive in natural ponds and streams, and these don’t live in chlorinated environments.

    Avoid use of pesticides. It’s likely that chemical pesticides and weed killers may also have a negative effect on firefly populations. Fireflies and their larvae may come into contact with other insects that have been poisoned, or they may ingest the poisons from plants that have been sprayed. Avoid using pesticides on your lawn and you may boost firefly populations.

    Use natural fertilizers. While no conclusive studies have been done, it’s possible that chemical fertilizers may have a harmful effect on firefly populations as well—especially since many harmful chemicals in pesticides are also found in chemical fertilizers. Using natural fertilizers may make your yard a more healthy place for fireflies.

    Don’t over-mow your lawn. Fireflies mainly stay on the ground during the day, and frequent mowing may disturb local firefly populations. While you may feel that you need to keep your lawn mowed for aesthetic purposes, consider incorporating some areas of long grasses into your landscaping. Fireflies prefer to live in long grasses, and doing this may boost their population in your yard.

    Talk to your neighbors. If you live in a suburban area in close proximity to others, what you do in your own yard will help—but you can create even more habitat for fireflies by enlisting your neighbors in your efforts. Tell your neighbors about your concern over dwindling firefly populations and what they can do to help. If you convince even one or two people on your street, you could help increase firefly habitat in your area even more.

    Fireflies are disappearing all over the world. But there are a few things you could do to help—and every little bit counts. Allow some room for wildness on your property—low-hanging trees, forest litter, and long grasses all create welcoming environments for fireflies. Ponds and streams are crucial to firefly populations, and you can further encourage their numbers by reducing the amount of light in your yard at night and by cutting back on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Follow these tips, and it’s possible you could see a resurgence of fireflies in your area.

    Jensen Comment
    Fortunately up here in the mountains we have less light pollution,  and our woods are littered with dead logs following bad wind storms over the past two years. I clean the sticks off my lawn but leave most of the fallen wood alone in my woods. I think a lot of creatures depend on the dead wood. I do probably mow the front lawn too short. But I let the back lawn get more shaggy. And my lawn is so huge that I leave the fertilizing to birds overhead and night critters that roam while I sleep.

    Next summer I will now be more on the lookout for fireflies.

    January 30, 2009 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]


    For teaching online "[i]t is not sufficient to be a content expert. Nor is it sufficient to be 'tech-savvy.' It is not even sufficient to be an excellent traditional classroom teacher. Because the online world is a categorically different environment[,] a particular blend of skills and knowledge is necessary if success is to be found in this domain."

    Authors Jim Henry and Jeff Meadows, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, draw upon their own online teaching experience and that of others in the field to compile a list of principles to guide new online instructors and course developers. Some of their principles include:

    Technology is a vehicle, not a destination.

    Great online courses are defined by teaching, not technology.

    A great web interface will not save a poor course; but a poor web interface will destroy a potentially great course.

    Excellence comes from ongoing assessment and refinement.

    The paper, "Absolutely Riveting Online Course: Nine Principles for Excellence in Web-Based Teaching" (CANADIAN JOURNAL OF LEARNING AND TECHNOLOGY, vol. 34, no. 1, Winter 2008), is available at http://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/view/179/177 

    The Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology [ISSN: 1499-6685], published by the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education, is a peer-reviewed journal that welcomes papers on all aspects of educational technology and learning. For more information, contact CNIE/RCIE, 260 Dalhousie Street, Suite 204, Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1N 7E4; email: cjlt@ucalgary.ca ; Web: http://www.cjlt.ca/  



    "In the past two years, over 300 colleges and universities have claimed virtual land in Second Life and in other virtual environments in an attempt to enhance content delivery, raise institutional profiles, and explore new frontiers in education." The latest issue of INNOVATE (vol. 5, no. 2, December 2008/January 2009) explores how virtual environments provide opportunities and challenges for educators and their institutions. Papers include:

    "Hacking Say and Reviving ELIZA: Lessons from Virtual Environments" By Rochelle Mazar and Jason Nolan

    "Using Second Life with Learning-Disabled Students in Higher Education" By Stephanie McKinney, et al.

    "Knowledge-Driven Design of Virtual Patient Simulations" By Victor Vergara, et al.

    The entire issue is available at http://innovateonline.info/ 
    Registration is required to access the complete articles; registration is free.

    Innovate: Journal of Online Education [ISSN 1552-3233], an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal, is published bimonthly by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University. The journal focuses on the creative use of information technology (IT) to enhance educational processes in academic, commercial, and governmental settings. For more information, contact James L. Morrison, Editor-in-Chief; email: innovate@nova.edu ;
    Web: http://innovateonline.info/ 

    Bob Jensen's threads on teaching in virtual environments are at



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

    REMIX: MAKING ART AND COMMERCE THRIVE IN THE HYBRID ECONOMY By Lawrence Lessig New York: Penguin Group, 2008 ISBN 9781594201721

    "For more than a decade, we've been waging a war on our kids in the name of the 20th Century's model of 'copyright law.' In this, the last of his books about copyright, Lawrence Lessig maps both a way back to the 19th century, and to the promise of the 21st. Our past teaches us about the value in 'remix.' We need to relearn the lesson. The present teaches us about the potential in a new 'hybrid economy' -- one where commercial entities leverage value from sharing economies. That future will benefit both commerce and community. If the lawyers could get out of the way, it could be a future we could celebrate."

    An interview podcast with Lessig discussing his new book is available from the journal FIRST MONDAY at http://www.firstmondaypodcast.org/audio/lessig_final.mp3 

    A transcript of the podcast is also available at http://www.firstmondaypodcast.org/transcript_nov08.htm 



    From The Scout Report on January 23, 2009

    TinEye Reverse Image Search 0.4 --- http://tineye.com/login 

    TinEye is essentially a reverse image search engine that allows users to submit images in order to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions. The site includes a FAQ area and a demonstration video. Visitors will need to sign and create a password, and afterwards they will be able to use the search engine. This version is compatible with computers running all operating systems.

    Mailplane 2.0.1 --- http://mailplaneapp.com/ 

    Mac users who are looking to integrate Gmail into their daily routine will find Mailplane to be quite useful. This application integrates Gmail into the Mailplane application in order to allow users to send optimized photos, send screenshots instantly, and also drag and drop files and folders. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS 10.4 and newer, and can be used for thirty days for no charge.

    Hollywood and the movie-going public learn this year's Razzie nominations 'Guru' finds love at Razzies

    Myers 'Guru' up for year's worst

    Spirit-Bashing Trailer Spearheads 'Worst Movie' Campaign

    A Brief History of The Razzies

    The Razzies

    Village Voice: 100 Best Films

    Tool: Taxable-Equivalent Yield Calculator » --- Click Here 

    Bob Jensen's threads on investment calculators --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#080512Calculators

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

    Education Tutorials

    Academic Earth (videos of lectures and even complete courses taught by top scholars)

    Digital Research Tools --- http://digitalresearchtools.pbwiki.com/

    Stanford Humanities Center: Events Archive --- http://shc.stanford.edu/events/archive.htm 

    Independent Lens: Please Vote For Me (Inside a Chinese Classroom) --- http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/pleasevoteforme/

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

    'Top 10 Web 2.0 Tools for Young Learners," by Chris Riedel, T.H.E. Journal, February 2009 --- http://www.thejournal.com/articles/23898_1

    Gail Lovely is adamant about the nature and potential of Web-based learning tools. "Web 2.0 is about trust," she said at a recent talk. "It's about sharing and collaborating." And, she insisted, it's about putting the power to learn and create in the hands of the students.

    Technology needs to trickle up, she said, not down. We need to give the most powerful tools to the most vulnerable populations because they are the ones who need it. "Young learners, non-readers," she continued, "need high-speed access, they need animation and graphics and sound. And that's the truth."

    According to Lovely, and education technology consultant and speaker at the FETC 2009 conference in Orlando, FL in January, it was the recognition of those needs that led her to develop a "top 10 list" of go-to technology tools to help inspire young students and empower under-funded teachers. "The important thing to remember here," she said, "is that this isn't about simply providing you with 10 links. It's much more important to ask, 'What are you going to do with these things? How are you going to use these tools?' That's why we're here," she said. "So I can show you not only what's out there but also how other educators are using these resources to teach their students right now."

    10. Kerpoof
    Kerpoof is a site that provides a variety of creative tools for animation, drawing, and movie creation. Users can choose from a range of preset characters and environmental options, or they can create their own. The site offers drag-and-drop simplicity coupled with advanced animation and editing capabilities that, according to Lovely, open the platform up to a range of curricular applications.

    9. Voki
    No. 9 on the list is Voki, a text to speech generator that, according to Lovely, has a lot of very interesting applications. "This is more than just something cute that can be embedded in a Web site," she said, referring to the animated figure being projected on the screen. "What if the Voki was reading a list of spelling words? What if it was speaking another language? What if I had a Web site that had a Voki embedded to tell my kids what was going on so that the one's that couldn't read could hear it? What if kids used Voki to say something important?"

    The site offers a high level of customization ranging from the overall look of the Voki to the sound of its voice. But, Lovely warned, "as with all tools, there has to be a task and a deadline." Let them play with it once, she said, and then have them get to work.

    8. Create-A-Graph
    "This may be an odd choice for the list," Lovely conceded as she revealed her No. 8 pick, "because, in some ways, it's not really Web 2.0. It's not quite as collaborative as some of these other tools. But if you want to cut to the chase and teach kids about creating graphs and reading data, this is a great tool."

    Create-A-Graph is a Web-based tool aimed at giving students an accessible way to learn graphing fundamentals. The tool is easy and flexible, according to Lovely, and allows them to learn important concepts using their own information.

    7. Yack Pack
    Coming in at No. 7 on Lovely's list was "Yack Pack," an Internet-based voice communication tool that works a lot like voicemail for the Web. Users define a "pack"--a group of individuals they want to communicate with--and then record messages for the group, an individual, or even a subset within the group using a standard computer microphone. When members of the pack log in, they can listen and respond to the messages.

    Using Yack Pack Live--a component of Yack Pack--users have the added ability of broadcasting their messages in real time using a small widget that can be embedded in a website. Uses of the platform, said Lovely, include multi-class collaboration, or even parent-teacher communications.

    6. Animoto
    Animoto is an automated presentation generator that focuses on using images to communicate a message. "This tool is great for class collaboration," said Lovely, and it is easier than using PowerPoint.

    Two versions of the platform are currently available: a paid version for general public use and a free education version offering unlimited use for teachers and students.

    5. Skype
    This tool, according to Lovely, not only has the potential to improve class participation and collaboration, but it can also help cut costs by providing free voice and video calling to other Skype users worldwide. Some uses of the platform include multi-class and cross-district collaboration, professional development, and virtual field trips.

    4. Glogster
    While referred to as an "interactive poster," Glogster--Lovely's No. 4 pick--is, in effect, a personal Web page complete with embedded media links, sound, and video capabilities. Students can work with Glogster individually or as a group to create presentations, share information, and interact with their peers. Lovely stressed the importance of signing up for the "EDU" version, which prevents other users from viewing class-specific "Glogs."

    3. Voicethread
    Coming in at No. 3, Voicethread is audiovisual tool that gives users the ability to upload images or video files and then add audio or text comments. "The power of this," said Lovely, "is in the commenting."

    2. Blogs
    Nearing the top of the list, the versatility of blogs, said Lovely, is what makes them so valuable. Blogs provide opportunities to reach out to a range of community stakeholders including administrators, other teachers and students, parents, and the community at large. "Blogs have the power to give kids an authentic audience," she said. "It gives them a voice."

    1. Wikis
    Lovely rounded out her top 10 with Wikis and Wiki platforms, citing these as the most powerful of the Web 2.0 tools. "Wikis," she said, "are even more versatile than blogs. You can do anything with a Wiki," from embedding all kinds of content to promoting collaboration to creating an entire community all on a single platform. "In fact," she said, pointing to her presentation slides on the giant screen behind her, "You've been looking at a wiki this whole time during our discussion."

    Note the excellent tutorial course at http://newmediaocw.wordpress.com/


    Bob Jensen's threads on listservs and blogs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm

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

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

    Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

    Academic Earth (videos of lectures and even complete courses taught by top scholars)

    RAND: Health Compare (health policy options research) --- http://www.randcompare.org/

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

    National Institutes of Health: History of Medicine --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/
    Includes books, reports, pictures, videos, etc.

    Center for Aging Services Technologies --- http://www.agingtech.org

    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation tutorials in medicine, medical insurance, healthcare administration ---  http://www.rwjf.org/

    Walter Reed Army Institute of Research --- http://wrair-www.army.mil/

    Digital Research Tools --- http://digitalresearchtools.pbwiki.com/

    Social Science and Economics Tutorials

    Academic Earth (videos of lectures and even complete courses taught by top scholars)

    National Journal Magazine --- http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/

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

    RAND: Health Compare (health policy options research) --- http://www.randcompare.org/

    National Institutes of Health: History of Medicine (England) --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/
    Includes books, reports, pictures, videos, etc.

    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation tutorials in medicine, medical insurance, healthcare administration ---  http://www.rwjf.org/

    Center for Aging Services Technologies --- http://www.agingtech.org

    American Social History --- http://www.dlfaquifer.org/home 

    Virginia Emigrants to Liberia --- http://www.vcdh.virginia.edu/liberia/index.php?page=Virginia Emigrants To Liberia 

    Digital Research Tools --- http://digitalresearchtools.pbwiki.com/

    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

    Academic Earth (videos of lectures and even complete courses taught by top scholars)

    Digital Research Tools --- http://digitalresearchtools.pbwiki.com/

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

    Math and Statistics Tutorials

    Academic Earth (videos of lectures and even complete courses taught by top scholars)

    Digital Research Tools --- http://digitalresearchtools.pbwiki.com/

    Center for the Teaching of Statistics --- http://cts.stat.ucla.edu/

    Survey and Questionnaire Tutorial --- http://www.statpac.com/surveys/

    Future Accountant (statistics and probability tutorials) --- http://www.futureaccountant.com/probability/

    Exploring Data (Statistics Tutorials) --- http://exploringdata.cqu.edu.au/

    Statistics: Cast Your Vote! --- http://www.learner.org/interactives/statistics/index.html

    More or Less (economics and statistics tutorials) --- http://www.open2.net/moreorless/

    From Dartmouth College
    Chance News --- http://chance.dartmouth.edu/chancewiki/index.php/Main_Page
    Tutorial on Statistics (focus is on learning exercises and how to view media reports critically)

    Probability Tutorials --- http://www.probability.net/

    Statistical Guide to Poker
    "A Physicist's Guide to Texas Hold 'Em," PhysOrg, April 4, 2007 --- http://physorg.com/news94907470.html

    AuditNet provides resources for statistical sampling at http://www.auditnet.org/sampling.htm

    Journal of Statistics Education --- http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/

    Statistics Education Research Journal --- http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/publications.php?show=serj

    Teaching Statistics --- http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/publications.php?show=serj

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

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

    History Tutorials

    Academic Earth (videos of lectures and even complete courses taught by top scholars)

    Stanford Humanities Center: Events Archive --- http://shc.stanford.edu/events/archive.htm 

    Splendor and Elegance: European Decorative Arts and Drawings from the Horace Wood Brock Collection ---

    Rocky Mountain Online Archive --- http://rmoa.unm.edu/

    Virginia Emigrants to Liberia --- http://www.vcdh.virginia.edu/liberia/index.php?page=Virginia Emigrants To Liberia 

    Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads --- http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/ballads/ballads.htm

    Engaging Digital Tibet --- http://digitaltibet.ccnmtl.columbia.edu/

    The Tibet Album: British Photography in Central Tibet, 1920-1950 --- http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/index.php
    The Tibet Album presents more than 6000 photographs spanning 30 years of Tibet's history. These extraordinary photographs are a unique record of people long gone and places changed beyond all recognition. They also document the ways that British visitors encountered Tibet and Tibetans.

    New Jersey Historical Maps --- http://mapmaker.rutgers.edu/MAPS.html

    How the Internet Began (Humor) --- http://home.comcast.net/~singingman7777/Beginning.htm
    Link forwarded by Barry Rice

    Computing History Timeline --- http://trillian.randomstuff.org.uk/~stephen/history/timeline.html
    Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_computing

    American University Computer History Museum --- http://www.computinghistorymuseum.org/ 

    The Apple (Computer) Museum  --- http://www.theapplemuseum.com/ 

    A History of Microsoft Windows (slide show from Wired News) --- http://www.wired.com/gadgets/pcs/multimedia/2007/01/wiredphotos31

    Oldcomputers.com  --- http://www.old-computers.com/news/default.asp

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

    Language Tutorials

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

    Writing Tutorials

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

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


    Penis Growth Linked to Weight Loss

    Whereas women tend to put on weight in buttocks and thighs, men tend to get those telltale beer bellies. On February 5, 2009 while watching Good Morning America, my wife learned that a man's height should be twice his belt size. For example, a man with a 40-inch waste should be six feet plus eight inches tall.

    The incentive for a man to lose weight is that his penis grows an inch for each 25 pounds of weight loss. At least it seems to grow that much because he can see more of it after significant weight loss.

    "Medical Mystery: : The Baby Who Wouldn't Grow Docs Are Baffled by 14-Month-Old Baby Who Weighs Only as Much as a Newborn," ABC News Medical Unit, February 4, 2009 --- http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessNews/story?id=6797798&page=1

    More ABC News health items --- http://abcnews.go.com/health

    How can you continue taking statin drugs for cholesterol control and still drink grapefruit juice?

    "Edible Mushrooms Absorb Drug-Altering Chemicals From Grapefruit Juice," by Daniel J. DeNoon, WebMD, February 3, 2009 --- http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20090203/mushrooms-cut-grapefruit-drug-effect

    Edible mushrooms counteract the medication-altering effects of grapefruit juice, USDA researchers report.

    Aside from being tasty, grapefruit juice is pretty darn good for you. It's full of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. There's some evidence it may even help protect against cancer and heart disease.

    But there's a downside to grapefruit juice. It carries a class of compounds that inhibit the liver enzymes your body needs to eliminate many widely used medications. This grapefruit/drug interaction increases the risk of drug side effects.

    Recently, USDA researcher Kyung Myung, PhD, and colleagues found that an inedible fungus somehow absorbs the compounds responsible for the grapefruit/drug interaction.

    Now Myung's team has found that an edible mushroom -- Morchella esculenta, better known as the yellow morel -- does the same thing. And, to a slightly lesser extent, so do other edible fungi. So far, the list includes an oyster mushroom variant, red yeast, and even the common button mushroom.

    The USDA researchers macerated the mushrooms and killed them by heating them to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Then they vacuum-filtered the mushroom mash and mixed them with either fresh grapefruit juice or grapefruit juice made from concentrate.

    At the highest concentration tested -- about two-thirds of a tablespoon of yellow morel mushroom per 1.7 ounces of juice -- most of the target compounds were removed from grapefruit juice. Lesser effects were seen with the other fungi.

    Separate experiments showed that mushrooms didn't remove all of the unwanted compounds from grapefruit juice. The treated juice still had more interactions with liver enzymes than orange juice. But the treated juice was only about half as active as untreated grapefruit juice.

    However, Myung and colleagues did not report on how the grapefruit juice tasted after they (presumably) strained off the mushroom mash.

    Jensen Comment
    For most people this will probably be more trouble and expense than it's worth, although in the future juice manufacturers may begin to sell treated grapefruit juice. Not a whole lot can be done for fresh grapefruit itself.

    "The 7 Things You Should Know About Hormones," by Melinda Beck, The Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2009 ---

    A muddle of misinformation keeps clouding the debate over hormone-replacement therapy for women.

    Last week, millions of women tuned into "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to hear actress Suzanne Somers sympathize with women suffering from what she called "The Seven Dwarfs of Menopause: Itchy, Bitchy, Sleepy, Sweaty, Bloated, Forgetful and All Dried Up." As she's done in her best-selling books, Ms. Somers, age 62, credited a custom-made blend of "bio-identical" hormones with maintaining her youthful zest and told viewers that the hormone debate boils down to a choice between "restoration versus deterioration."

    There was little discussion of potential risks of HRT. The compounding pharmacies that make up such custom blends of hormones without oversight by the Food and Drug Administration often claim their products are so natural that they confer the benefits of hormone replacement (from restoring sleep, mood, memory and sexiness to protecting against osteoporosis) without the risks.

    Millions of women abandoned menopause hormones after the big Women's Health Initiative trial was halted early in 2002 amid signs that they increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. A growing number of experts now believe that the women in the WHI -- average age 63 -- do not reflect the typical women entering menopause, and that the same risks may not apply to younger women.

    Even so, women seeking safer alternatives have turned to "bio-identicals" -- a trend that worries mainstream medical groups. "Women who were afraid after the WHI, as were their doctors, are going to alternative approaches that have little or no scientific information behind them," says Margaret Weirman, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Denver and a spokeswoman for the Endocrine Society, a professional organization devoted to hormone research. "These women may be putting themselves at much higher levels of risk."

    Amid all the confusion, here are seven things women should know about the HRT debate now:

    1) 'Bio-identical' hormones are available in FDA-approved forms.

    Though many experts dismiss "bio-identical" as a meaningless term, proponents use it to mean hormones with the same molecular structure as those that women's bodies make. The main one lost at menopause is estradiol, which affects functions throughout the female body, from skin to bones, hearts and brains. Chemically equivalent estradiol is available in many FDA-approved pills, patches, creams and gels from traditional drug companies, generally made from the exact same plant sources that compounding pharmacies use. What's more, the FDA-approved varieties are covered by insurance, unlike compounded blends that can cost hundreds of dollars a month.

    A growing number of doctors prescribe these estradiol-based products instead of Premarin, the estrogen made from horse urine that was used in the WHI. Many also prefer natural progesterone, available in FDA-approved Prometrium, to the synthetic form that was used in the WHI. But there is little evidence comparing one HRT variety against another.

    2) Hormones from compounding pharmacies aren't safer than conventional HRT.

    Compounded drugs don't carry warnings or list side effects on their labels, but that's because they are not made under FDA scrutiny. In fact, they can vary greatly in strength and potency and little is known about how they release active ingredients over time. "We don't know if it comes out in peaks and valleys or continuously," says Dr. Weirman. "Some people may be getting very high doses, and some people may be getting very little or none."

    The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists contends that its members perform a valuable service in making drugs and strengths that aren't commercially available, that they are providing women with freedom of choice in health-care decisions and that much of the criticism is coming from groups funded by makers of traditional HRT.

    3) Don't trust saliva tests.

    Some compounding pharmacies use saliva tests to monitor women's hormone levels and develop custom blends. But many experts say such tests (which can cost hundreds of dollars) are unreliable and lack uniform standards.

    Blood tests are more accurate -- but monitoring how women feel is just as key. Many doctors believe that HRT should be used mainly to treat actual symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, sleep problems, foggy thinking and other symptoms, rather than arbitrary blood levels since individual ranges vary widely. FDA-approved estradiol products are available in a wide variety of strengths that can be tapered as a woman's symptoms change.

    4) There's a critical window of time for starting HRT.

    There's a growing consensus that the risks and benefits are different for younger and older women, and that for women who start HRT shortly after menopause, the benefits may outweigh the risks. Women in the WHI who were 20 years past menopause had a 71% higher risk of heart attack on estrogen and progesterone than those taking placebos, but women closer to menopause had an 11% lower risk of heart problems. One theory is that estrogen helps keep healthy blood vessels supple, but make atherosclerosis worse once it has set in.

    Similarly, HRT seems to help preserve thinking ability when started just after menopause, but it may hasten the progression of pre-existing memory problems when started later in life, writes JoAnn E. Manson, a Harvard Medical School professor who was a lead investigator on both the WHI and the long-running Nurses' Health Study, in her new book, "Hot Flashes, Hormones and Your Health."

    HRT was associated with a lower risk of fractures and colorectal cancer regardless of age. The WHI did not assess whether HRT improved quality-of-life issues such as mood, sleep and hot flashes. Women experiencing such symptoms were excluded from the study on the grounds that immediate effects might prompt some to guess whether they were in the control or placebo group.

    5) The increased risk of breast cancer appears related to progesterone rather than estrogen.

    Women taking both estrogen and progesterone in the WHI had eight more cases of breast cancer per 10,000 than the control group; women taking estrogen alone had six fewer cases. Women who still have a uterus need some progesterone to guard against uterine cancer, but many doctors now try to give the lowest dose possible to prevent a build-up of uterine lining.

    6) Estrogen applied to the skin, in patch, cream or gel form, may have a lower risk of blood clots and strokes than in pill form.

    A large study in France published in the Lancet found that women taking estrogen in pill form were three times as likely to develop blood clots than non-users, while women using the estradiol patch had no increased risk. But more study is needed to determine this conclusively.

    7) Stay tuned.

    Several of these new theories are being tested in another trial called KEEPS (for Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study) that is comparing 720 newly menopausal women on oral Premarin, an estrogen patch or placebo. Investigators will monitor their arteries, as well as quality-of-life aspects like mood, fatigue, sleep, bone health and cognition.

    In the meantime, women entering menopause should discuss all the risks and benefits with their doctors, as well as their symptoms, health and family history, and make an individual, informed decision.


    RAND: Health Compare (health policy options research) --- http://www.randcompare.org/

    An Alleged Harvard Test for Alzheimer's
    I did not verify that this is an urban legend, but I have my suspicions since folks at Harvard do not use common words like "fart."
    Whatever this is, I do not recommend it as poetry.

    Forwarded by Niki

    The following was developed as a mental age assessment by the School of Psychiatry at Harvard University . Take your time and see if you can read each line aloud without a mistake. The average person over 50 years of age cannot do it!

    1. This is this cat.
    2. This is is cat.
    3. This is how cat.
    4. This is to cat.
    5. This is keep cat.
    6. This is an cat.
    7. This is old cat.
    8. This is fart cat.
    9. This is busy cat
    10. This is for cat.
    11. This is forty cat.
    12. This is seconds cat.

    Now go back and read the third word in each line from the top down and I bet cha' you cannot resist passing it on.


    Forwarded by Paula

    F16 vs C-130:  THERE IS WISDOM HERE!

    A C-130 was lumbering along when a cocky F-16 flashed by. The jet jockey decided to show off.

    The fighter jock told the C-130 pilot, 'watch this!' and promptly Went into a barrel roll followed by a steep climb. He then finished With a sonic boom as he broke the sound barrier. The F-16 pilot Asked the C-130 pilot what he thought of that?

    The C-130 pilot said, 'That was impressive, but watch this!' The C-130 droned along for about 5 minutes and then the C-130 Pilot came back on and said: 'What did you think of that?' Puzzled, the F-16 pilot asked,

    'What the heck did you do?' The C-130 pilot chuckled. 'I stood up, stretched my legs, walked To the back, went to the bathroom, then got a cup of coffee and a Cinnamon bun.'

    When you are young & foolish - speed & flash may seem a good thing !!!

    When you get older & smarter - comfort & dull is not such a bad thing !!!

    Us old folks understand this one.

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

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

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

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

    Three Finance Blogs

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

    Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

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

    Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

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

    Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

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

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

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


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