It will soon be the season for spring lambs.
A wonderful farm two miles down the road has a few lambs every year.
This is a beautiful mountain farm with a few horses, Scottish cows, and lambs.
Below are lamb pictures that I took about one year ago.
The farmer puts the sheep inside every night because of coyotes.

The farm down the road has beautiful pastures for the animals.

The three mountains to the right of Cannon Mountain are called name the Three Graces
We call them the Cannon Balls.


Auntie Bev in Florida forwarded the following warning.
Just proves that sign makers overlooked a few dangers.
This reminds me of special interest groups lined up for the latest budget legislation.


The Lamb by William Blake
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!



Tidbits on March 24, 2009
Bob Jensen

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

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

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Bob Jensen's Threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at

CPA Examination ---

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


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

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

Global Incident Map ---

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

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

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

Video:  Almost makes you want to hit your head against a wall
Kim Peek was born with macrocephaly, damage to the cerebellum, and, perhaps most important, agenesis of the corpus callosum, a condition in which the bundle of nerves that connects the two hemispheres of the brain is missing; in Peek’s case, secondary connectors such as the anterior commissure are also missing. There is speculation that his neurons make other connections in the absence of a corpus callosum, which results in an increased memory capacity. According to Peek’s father, Fran, Peek was able to memorize things from the age of 16-20 months. He read books, memorized them, and then placed them upside down on the shelf to show that he had finished reading them, a practice he still maintains. He reads a book in about an hour and remembers approximately 98.7% of everything he has read, memorizing vast amounts of information in subjects ranging from history and literature, geography, and numbers to sports, music, and dates. He can recall the content of some 12,000 books from memory.
Video Of Savant Kim Peek- The Real Rain Man or Human Google ---

The Nurture Movie (Link forwarded by Scott Stratton) ---

Repeat of that interesting "Did You Know?" video ---

Harvard College's Computer Science 50 (video tutorials for learning about computers) ---

America [multimedia] ---

Liberal Lies in K-12 Textbooks (a series on Fox TV)  ---

David Fingar on Cloud Computing ---

Fly Interactively Over High Mountains ---

Co-founder of Apple Computer
Steve Wozniak & Karina Smirnoff Dancing with the Stars 2009 Season8 Episode1 ---

Wonders Never Cease
Jon Stewart rips Obama over Veteran's injury medical insurance (due to huge public reaction, Obama withdrew the unpopular proposal) ---

Some members of Congress defending accounting fraud so CEO Frank Raines can receive over a million dollar bonus ---
More details of the fraud can be found at

Free music downloads ---

Frogs thinking negative except for one ---

Banjo Tour of Dixie (slide show) ---

Hilarious Handel ---

Hit song on each date in history ---

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

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

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

Photographs and Art

Free Images from the U.S. Government ---

Aerial combat over Lake Tapps, WA ---

NASA: Exploration in 3D ---

Victorian Britain: Early photographically illustrated books ---

American Presidential Portraits ---

National Portrait Gallery: Presidents in Waiting ---

Jewelry at Historic New England ---

Civil Air Transport/Air America Collection ---

The Minassian Collection: Persian, Mughal, and Indian Miniature Paintings (art history) ---

Archaeology: Screaming Mummies ---

Magic Lantern Slides Collection from Japan ---

Japanese Fine Prints, Pre-1915 ---

Tales in Sprinkled Gold: Japanese Lacquer for European Collectors ---

Japanese Old Photographs of the Bakumatsu-Meiji Periods ---

JGuide (Japan) ---

March 21, 2009 message from Gene and Joan

What did your town look like according to Penny Postcards?

Check out your old stomping grounds during the times of the penny postcard. By the way, none of us were alive when postcards only cost 1�.

Click on the state and then on the county name to see old penny postcards from that area....pretty neat.

Click here>>


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 ---

JURN (search engine for humanities and social science research) ---

No Brief Candle:  Reconceiving Research Libraries for the 21st Century ---

The Best Review --- 

Free Images from the U.S. Government ---

Free Federal Resources in Various Disciplines ---

Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts ---


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

Forwarded by a friend at Trinity University

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
Thomas Jefferson

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Thomas Jefferson

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Thomas Jefferson

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
Thomas Jefferson

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government..
Thomas Jefferson

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Thomas Jefferson

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

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

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

At the end of the day, flushing more debt through the system is the only lever policy-makers know how to pull. Lower interest rates, quantitative easing, deficit spending, it’s all the same. It’s all borrowing against future income. Each time we bump up against recession, we borrow a bit more to keep the economy going. With garden variety recessions, this can work. Everyone wants the good times to continue, so no one demands debts be paid back. Creditors accept more IOUs and economic “growth” continues apace. If it sounds like Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, that’s because it is.


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

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

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


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

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

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

Continued in article

"DC to Wall Street:  Drop Dead," by Daniel Gross, Newsweek Magazine, March 23, 2009, Page 20 ---

He (Obama) should be ignoring the Dow.
The index has fallen about 50 percent from its closing peak of 14,164 on Oct. 9, 2007. (That was the week the Fox Business Channel debuted. Coincidence? I report, you decide.) Everything about the markets has been chopped in half—their value, their moral authority and hence their claim on Washington's attention. Having deprived Americans of so much of their wealth, the market is today like Rush Limbaugh: an unpopular loudmouth prone to emotional outbursts.

When Obama compared the Dow to a "tracking poll in politics," he made an error commonly seen in the Washington– Wall Street corridor. Securities markets are decidedly not public-opinion polls. In the fall of 2007, when the Dow was at its peak, only 25 percent of Americans thought the country was on the right track, according to the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. And since Obama's election, the right-track number has exploded to the upside, from 11 percent in early November to 41 percent this month—even as the markets plunged.

No Need to Invest and Save:  The U.S. Government, Not Business Firms Will Provide for Everybody (by simply printing money as needed)
"Bubble Capitalism," The Nation, August 1, 2002 ---

Reversing the nation's deformed priorities will be a hard struggle but has renewed promise now that the stock market bubble and other New Economy delusions have been demolished. People do not live and work in order to buy stocks. People exist in complex webs of relationships with family, work, community and many other rewarding adventures and obligations. The larger purpose of the economic order, including Wall Street, is to support the material conditions for human existence, not to undermine and destabilize them. If that observation sounds quaint, it's what most Americans, regardless of ideology, happen to believe. If our progressive objectives are deeply aligned with what people truly seek and need in their lives, the ideas will prevail.

Last weekend, Harvard University sponsored a conference called (I am not making this up) "The Free Market Mindset: History, Psychology, and Consequences." Its purpose was to try to figure out why, since everyone knows the current crisis amounts to a failure of the market economy, the stupid rubes continue to believe in it. The promotional literature for the conference opened with That Quotation from Alan Greenspan — the one in which he suggested that there was, after all, a "flaw" in the free market he hadn't noticed before.
Thomas E. Wood, Jr., "Supporters of Capitalism Are Crazy, Says Harvard," Ludwig von Mises, Institute, March 17, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
Conservatism's hero Bill Buckley once commented, after the implosion of the Soviet Union and the tearing down of the Iron Curtain, that the only communists left in the world worked along the banks of the Charles River (read that Cambridge, Mass.). Communists can take heart that the person virtually in charge of the U.S. economy, Lawrence Summers, is a Harvard Professor.

Aides say that Obama was drawn to Summers (his main economic advisor) in part because the former Harvard president shares the president-elect’s passion for a more equitable distribution of economic benefits. Obama was impressed during campaign policy discussions that Summers would often pull the conversation away from general talk about economic growth to a concern with the living standards of families with average incomes.” There’s an irony here . . . As Dem-oriented economists go, Summers used to be known as among the more laissez-faire oriented. As Dan Froomkin recently wrote at the Washington Post, citing the Nation’s Christopher Hayes, “It’s hard to imagine the Larry Summers of 1993 saying that income inequality is the ‘defining issue of our time,’ as he recently did.” But a couple years ago, perhaps sensing the changing political sands, Summers became a born-again redistributionist. And that made him attractive to Barack Obama.
Mark Finkelstein, "Obama Dug Summers’ Redistributionist Rap," Finkel Blog, March 19, 2009 ---
Mark got the quote from E.J. Dionne’s Washington Post column ---

While holding on to their monopoly in Congress and the White House, how far will our liberal leaders go to  further populism in this crisis?
Long Term:  There's no limit to unbooked entitlements
(a likely outcome in this golden opportunity for Democrats in Congress)
Short Term:  There's a limit to booked deficit spending:  Until nobody will lend any more money to the United States Treasury
(Obama quote)
The President said there is a limit to the amount of money the government can spend and print to solve the crisis. Asked if the government is getting close to that limit, Obama said, "The limit is our ability to finance these expenditures through borrowing.
"Obama On AIG Anger, Recession, Challenges Also Tells 60 Minutes How He Is Adjusting To The Job, And His Family To The White House," CBS Sixty Minutes, March 22, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
President Obama was very cool and charming in this interview with Steve Croft. I truly admire President Obama for his talent and dedication. I despise him for ignoring the fact that his entitlement programs and labor union concessions make the U.S. economy, business opportunities, and career opportunities unsustainable. Actually, this debt limit is just a minor constraint for openers. Most of the pending legislation for economic recovery, universal health care, universal education, labor union concessions, and social welfare will be funded with unbooked debt tied to entitlements for the long-term future. That money does not have to be borrowed now but will burden future taxpayers until the U;.S. economy sinks to oblivion. The problem is that President Obama is very good at selling wealth redistribution and social programs. But all these social contract entitlements fail to make a contract for business and career opportunity outside the realm of public works paid for by the government. What's worse is that President Obama has surrounded himself with economic advisors who value wealth redistribution above business opportunity. Non-financial corporations are already sitting on over a trillion dollars of cash and cash equivalents. These business firms are more desperate for profit opportunities than they are credit to invest in losing propositions due to high taxes and huge labor concessions that make virtually impossible to compete profitably amidst global competition. As I said before, all those college graduates in the future will be like atheists in coffins. They're all dressed up with their new diplomas and no place to go other than to public works jobs or welfare ---

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
Alexander Tyler. 1787 - Tyler was a Scottish history professor that had this to say about 2000 years after "The Fall of the Athenian Republic" and about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution.
As quoted at (where the debt clock in real time is a few months behind)
The National Debt Amount This Instant (Refresh your browser for updates by the second) ---

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

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
Winston Churchill
(Good thing Obama sent Churchill's bust back to the U.K. from the Oval Office and replaced it with a bust of Lincoln who wrote that Government should print all the money it needs without borrowing)

In his old age, perhaps Bob Jensen is becoming too negative
I have a neighbor up the street, however, who looks for the positive side of all this
Frogs thinking negative except for one ---

"Yes We Can:  In the 'graveyard of empires,' we are fighting a war we can win,"  by Max Boot, Frederick W. Kagan & Kimberly Kagan, The Weekly Standard, March 23, 2009 --- 
Link forwarded by Aaron Konstam

If you believe the headlines, Afghanistan is "the graveyard of empires," a "quagmire" and a "fiasco," the place where President Barack Obama will meet his "Vietnam." In the media's imagination, the Taliban are on the march, and Kabul is on the verge of falling to a resurgent insurgency that already controls much of the countryside. Increasing numbers of voices, on both the left and the right, counsel that the war is unwinnable and that we need to radically "downsize" our objectives in order to salvage something from a failing war effort lest we go the way of the Russians or British, previous conquerors who foundered in this merciless land of violence and fanaticism.

Evidence to support the pessimists isn't hard to find. Violence has increased every year since 2001. The United Nations recently reported that there was an especially big jump last year, with civilian deaths up nearly 40 percent, from 1,523 in 2007 to 2,118 in 2008. Coalition deaths were up 27 percent, rising to 294 in 2008 from 232 in 2007. Because of the improving situation in Iraq, there have been a number of months when more U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan. Meanwhile the number of Afghans surveyed by ABC, the BBC, and the German network ARD who said that their country was headed in the right direction fell to 40 percent, down from 54 percent in 2007, with security rated as by far the worst problem, outpacing corruption and the economy.

The sense of doom is fed by news reports on spectacular attacks, such as the February 11 raid in which suicide bombers and gunmen attacked several government sites across Kabul, killing at least 20 people; the June 13, 2008, raid on the main prison in Kandahar, which freed 1,200 prisoners; and the April 27, 2008, attempted assassination of President Hamid Karzai at a public ceremony.

Fears of impending disaster are hard to sustain, however, if you actually spend some time in Afghanistan, as we did recently at the invitation of General David Petraeus, chief of U.S. Central Command. Using helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and bone-jarring armored vehicles, we spent eight days traveling from the snow-capped peaks of Kunar province near the border with Pakistan in the east to the wind-blown deserts of Farah province in the west near the border with Iran. Along the way we talked with countless coalition soldiers, ranging from privates to a four-star general. We also attended a tribal shura or council-a fantastic affair straight out of an earlier century-to sample opinion among bearded Afghan elders. What we found is a situation that is cause for concern but far short of catastrophe-and one that is likely to improve before long.

To start with, much of the north, center, and west remains relatively secure. Attacks have increased in those areas but are still extremely low. Figures showing large increases are deceptive because the total numbers to begin with were so small and because most of the attacks produced few if any casualties. For instance, the Brookings Afghanistan Index shows a 48 percent increase in attacks last year in Regional Command-Capital, which encompasses Kabul and its environs and has a population of more than 4 million people. But the total (157 attacks in 2008) would have represented just four days of violence in Baghdad in the summer of 2006. (Overall civilian casualties in Afghanistan, while rising, are still 16 times lower than the comparable figure for Iraq in the pre-surge year of 2006.)

Continued in article

"Now Is No Time to Give Up on Markets (or fair value accounting)," by Anastasia O'Grady, The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2009 ---

Gary Becker, the winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, is in New York to speak to a special meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society on the global meltdown. He has agreed to sit down to chat with me on the subject of his lecture.

Slumped in a soft chair in a noisy hotel coffee lounge, the 78-year-old University of Chicago professor is relaxed and remarkably humble for a guy who has achieved so much. As I pepper him with the economic and financial riddles of our time, I am impressed by how many times his answers, delivered in a pronounced Brooklyn accent, include an "I think" and sometimes even an "I don't know the answer to that." It is a reminder of why he is so highly valued. In contrast to a number of other big-name practitioners of the dismal science, he is a solid empiricist genuinely in search of answers -- not the job as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. What he sees is what you get.

. . .

Mr. Becker sees the finger prints of big government all over today's economic woes. When I ask him about the sources of the mania in housing prices, the first culprit he names is the Fed. Low interest rates, he says, were "partly, maybe mainly, due to the Fed's policy of keeping [its] interest rates very low during 2002-2004." A second reason rates were low was the "high savings rates primarily from Asia and also from the rest of the world."

"People debate the relative importance of the two and I don't think we know exactly," Mr. Becker admits. But what is clear is that "when you have low interest rates, any long-lived assets tend to go up in price because they are based upon returns accruing over many years. When interest rates are low you don't discount these returns very much and you get high asset prices."

On top of that, Mr. Becker says, there were government policies aimed at "extending the scope of homeownership in the United States to low-credit, low-income families." This was done through "the Community Reinvestment Act in the '70s and then Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac later on" and it put many unqualified borrowers into the mix.

. . .

How about getting rid of the mark-to-market pricing of bank assets [that is, pricing assets at the current market price] that some say has destroyed bank capital? Mr. Becker says he prefers mark-to-market over "pricing by cost because costs are often completely out of whack with what the real prices are." Then he adds this qualifier: "But when you have a very thin market, you have to be very careful about what it means to mark-to-market. . . . It's a big problem if you literally take mark-to-market in terms of prices continuously based on transactions when there are very few transactions in that market. I am a mark-to-market person but I think you have to do it in a sensible way."

However that issue is resolved in the short run, there will remain the problem of institutions growing so big that a collapse risks taking down the whole system. To deal with the "too big to fail" problem in the long run, Mr. Becker suggests increasing capital requirements for financial institutions, as the size of the institution increases, "so they can't have [so] much leverage." This, he says, "will discourage banks from getting so big" and "that's fine. That's what we want to do."

Mr. Becker is underwhelmed by the stimulus package: "Much of it doesn't have any short-term stimulus. If you raise research and development, I don't see how it's going to short-run stimulate the economy. You don't have excess unemployed labor in the scientific community, in the research community, or in the wind power creation community, or in the health sector. So I don't see that this will stimulate the economy, but it will raise the debt and lead to inefficient spending and a lot of problems."

There is also the more fundamental question of whether one dollar of government spending can produce one and a half dollars of economic output, as the administration claims. Mr. Becker is more than skeptical. "Keynesianism was out of fashion for so long that we stopped investigating variables the Keynesians would look at such as the multiplier, and there is almost no evidence on what the multiplier would be." He thinks that the paper by Christina Romer, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, "saying that the multiplier is about one and a half [is] based on very weak, even nonexistent evidence." His guess? "I think it is a lot less than one. It gets higher in recessions and depressions so it's above zero now but significantly below one. I don't have a number, I haven't estimated it, but I think it would be well below one, let me put it that way."

As the interview winds down, I'm thinking more about how people can make pretty crazy decisions with the right incentives from government. Does this explain what seems to be a decreasing amount of personal responsibility in our culture? "When you get a larger government, when you have the government taking over Social Security, government taking over health care and with further proposals now for the government to take over more activities, more entitlements, the rational response is to have less responsibility. You don't have to worry about things and plan on your own as much."

That suggests that there is a risk to the U.S. system with more people relying on entitlements. "Well, they become an interest group," Mr. Becker says. "The more you have dependence on the government, the stronger the interest group of people who want to maintain it. That's one reason why it is so hard to get any major reform in reducing government spending in Scandinavia and it is increasingly so in the United States. The government is spending -- at the federal, state and local level -- a third of GDP, and that share will go up now. The higher it is the more people who are directly or indirectly dependent on the government. I am worried about that. The basic theory of interest-group politics says that they will have more influence and their influence will be to try to maintain this, and it will be hard to go back."

Still, there remain many good reasons to continue the struggle against the current trend, Mr. Becker says. "When the market economy is compared to alternatives, nothing is better at raising productivity, reducing poverty, improving health and integrating the people of the world."

Bob Jensen's threads on the attacks on fair value accounting by bankers, regulators, and billionaires Steve Forbes and Warren Buffett are at

Bob Jensen's arguments for not extending fair value accounting to non-financial items ---

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements peril for sustainability of the United States---

IOUSA (the most frightening movie in American history) --- (see a 30-minute version of the documentary at ).
A Must Read for All Americans


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

Tiltfactor and the collaborative Values at Play project are proud to announce the release of the new casual computer game, LAYOFF.

Developed by the Tiltfactor Lab, Dartmouth College, and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Game Design and Development program, LAYOFF is an examination of the current financial scandal.

LAYOFF uses a simple casual game paradigm to comment on the current state of the US financial crisis. Both friends and strangers face tough times in an unstable economy. Part dark humor, part grim portent, in the game players play from the side of management needing to cut jobs, and match types of workers in groups in order to lay the workers off and increase workforce efficiency.

Jensen Comment
This Layoff Game is favorably reviewed on March 18 in the Chronicle of Higher Education --- Click Here

An earlier bailout game with lots of video clips is also available.
Bailout Game Humor (actually an entertaining chronology of events to date more than a game) ---
Bob Jensen's hints on how to blow up this game ---

Living in this country today is like sitting in the back seat of a car that's hurtling towards the edge of a cliff at a hundred miles an hour while the driver fiddles with the radio and the guy in the passenger seat mocks the very idea of using brakes.
John Hawkins, "Five Ways that Insanity Has Become the New Normal in America," FrontPage, March 17, 2009 ---

IOUSA (the most frightening movie in American history) --- (see a 30-minute version of the documentary at ).
A Must Read for All Americans --- The Fact Accountant That Liberals Progressives Will Never Interview or Even Discuss
Jon Stewart, Chris Mathews, and Keith Olbermann would not dare interview David Walker
They do not want facts about the non-sustainability of $100 trillion in entitlement programs.

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

This $100 trillion Zimbabwe bill will buy about three eggs ---

U.S. Treasury Notes Not as Good as Gold

Gold futures climbed to top $950 an ounce after the Federal Reserve pledged to purchase as much as $1.15 trillion in U.S. bonds and mortgage-backed securities to encourage lending, sparking worries of inflation ahead. The U.S. dollar's losses in the wake of the Fed's move also lifted gold prices. Investors typically buy gold as a hedge against inflation and a weaker dollar.
Morning Zhou, "Gold rallies over 7% as Fed move fuels inflation fears," Marketwatch, March 19, 2009 --- Click Here

"Mr. Wen's Debt Bomb," The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2009 --- 

President Obama's stimulus plan and new budget will require an additional $3 trillion to $4 trillion in new borrowing over the next two or three years, and that's if the economy recovers smartly. Adding it all up, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last week estimated that U.S. public debt-to-GDP would reach 60% over the next few years, up from 40% before the financial panic hit -- and the highest level since the aftermath of World War II. He must be an optimist. As the nearby chart shows, Mr. Obama's budget anticipates a decade of outlays far above postwar spending and revenue averages. And even that assumes, implausibly, that most "stimulus" spending will be temporary.

That's a lot of T-bills to flog, and the world is taking note. Our colleagues at MarketWatch reported last week that the cost to buy insurance against U.S. sovereign debt default has surged in the past year. The spreads on credit default swaps for U.S. government debt hit 97 basis points last week -- or $97,000 to buy insurance on $10 million in debt -- nearly seven times higher than a year ago and 60% higher than the end of 2008.

Mr. Wen called on the U.S. to "maintain its credibility, honor its commitments and guarantee the safety of Chinese assets." Little wonder: China, like other trading nations, has a big stake in this fiscal free-for-all. Although it doesn't release detailed data, roughly two-thirds of Beijing's $1.9 trillion foreign-exchange reserves are likely parked in U.S. Treasury debt.

The Obama Administration revealed its sensitivity on the issue by responding quickly, with Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs saying Friday "there's no safer investment in the world than in the United States." Mr. Obama added Saturday that "not just the Chinese government, but every investor can have absolute confidence in the soundness of investments in the United States."

The White House is almost certainly right that the U.S. won't default; the consequences would be too dire. But there are risks well short of formal debt repudiation. As the supply of U.S. debt increases, investors may demand a higher yield and interest rates would rise, reducing the tradable value of current Treasury bonds. The other temptation will be to inflate away the debt, which would also devalue dollar-denominated assets.

What Mr. Wen is really saying is that even the U.S. national balance sheet has limits. The dollar is the world's reserve currency, so the U.S. has the rare privilege among nations of being able to borrow (and then repay its debts) in its own currency. America also remains the world's main safe haven in a crisis, as the flight to the dollar and T-bills in recent months underscores.

But reserve currency status isn't a birthright and it can vanish when nations are irresponsible. Deficits are sometimes necessary to finance tax cuts and investments that promote economic growth. The tragedy of Mr. Obama's $787 billion stimulus and $410 billion 2009 budget is that they spend principally on transfer payments that have little growth payback. The U.S. received another foreign rebuke on this score this weekend, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Europeans rejected Mr. Obama's calls for a comparable spending binge on the Continent.

Mr. Wen may have been trying to placate his domestic Chinese audience, which is suffering through its own economic slowdown. Or perhaps he was trying to repay Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for his nomination-hearing comments on Chinese currency "manipulation." Mr. Wen doesn't have much room to lecture the U.S., having done too little in his nearly six years in office to liberalize the Chinese economy.

But the Chinese Premier is right to warn the U.S. political class that the global demand for American debt will continue only if the U.S. runs economic policies that make U.S.-dollar assets worth the risk.

Bob Jensen's threads on entitlements are at

The US government is on a “burning platform” of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon.
David M. Walker, Former Chief Accountant of the United States ---
Also see his dire warnings on CBS Sixty Minutes on the unbooked national debt for entitlements ---

As Obama and his party continue headstrong with their plans to subvert the engine of free-market capitalism that has made this country the economic wonder of the world, the federal government's chief banker is starting to have reservations about funding such a fiscally reckless scheme. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao recently noted that Beijing is the biggest foreign creditor to the United States and called on Washington to see that its response to the global slowdown does not damage the value of Chinese holdings. Although the Democrats seem oblivious to the deleterious consequences of their proposed fiscal scheme, the Chinese realize that the scope of borrowing inherent in Obama's budget will lead to higher interest rates, a debasing of our currency, and inflation. In order to compensate for the increased risk of devaluation, the Chinese will demand a higher rate of return in exchange for their continued purchasing of U.S. Treasury securities. This will dramatically increase the debt-servicing costs to the federal government. Democrats like to argue that Obama inherited a deficit from the Bush Administration. That's true, but it is the staggering and historically unprecedented sum he wants to add on top of the existing national debt that is so mind-boggling. Over the next five years, Obama's budget calls for the federal government to rack-up more debt than it has incurred in the history of the Republic. Although these numbers don't seem to phase Democrats in the least, they certainly have raised some eyebrows in Beijing.
John Kinsellagh, "Communist China balks at funding Obama's fiscally reckless budget," Boston Republican Examiner, March 17, 2009 --- Click Here

Congress has jumped into the Madoff cauldron and come up with a juicy apple in its mouth. Taxpayers who got stung in the Madoff Ponzi scheme and others like it will be able to take a tax deduction for up to 95 percent of their loss. Don't worry about the taxpayers having to foot the bill for this benefit. The Feds have every intention of recouping as much of the money as possible from the perpetrators of the schemes.
Gail Perry, Managing Editor of the AccountingWeb, March 18, 2009
Jensen Comment
Will the Madoff Fund special legislation for loss deductions be extended to other hedge funds that go belly up?

March 19, 2009 reply from Pat Walters
I think there is a difference between tax deductions offered to Madoff's victims and potential deductions offered to investors in hedge funds. Madoff's victims paid income taxes (assuming the accounts were taxable) on fictitious income. They were sent statements and tax documents when no trades had ever occurred and no real income was earned. As one Madoff victim said on the day Madoff pleaded guilty, other than Madoff, the IRS was the biggest beneficiary of his scheme. Shouldn't they be able to collect the taxes that they paid on fictitious income.

On the other hand, assuming the hedge funds actually made trades, investors in those funds took risks and received real returns, whether increases or decreases. Taxes should have been paid and future losses shouldn't be eligible for any differential treatment that anyone else receives when a real investment turns sour.


President Obama giveth middle class families $800 and taketh away $1,800 --- not exactly true to his campaign promises
President Obama’s energy tax plan -- a version of the failed European “cap and trade” global warming fiasco -- may cost families $1,800 yearly in higher utility bills, far exceeding his promised $800 a year tax cut for 95% of Americans. While campaigning, Obama admitted that his energy plan would cause electric bills to “skyrocket.” Few took note, perhaps because Sen. John McCain also backed some form of a “cap-and-trade” energy tax. Obama’s official budget claims that his proposed energy tax would add $646 billion to energy costs over 8 years. But that’s low-balling it . . . Nevertheless, one major man-made threat of global warming should never be overlooked -- the quantity of hot air being emitted in Washington, DC.
Ernest Istook, Human Events, March 19, 2009 ---

"Half Of Hedge Funds Will Go Bust," by Henry Blodget, Business Insider, March 17, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
It's hard to feel sorry for hedge fund investors who, in search of higher returns, were willing to invest in funds that were virtually unregulated. Most were not even audited by reputable auditing firms. You often reap what you sow.

"What Have We Learned from the Economic Collapse?" by Sean Hannon, Seeking Alpha, March 19, 2009 ---

The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
William Blake

 I hope William Blake was correct. Over the past 30 years, Americans have lived a lifestyle of excess based on asset inflation and debt accumulation. As one bubble after another was inflated by the Federal Reserve, we spent more, saved less, and grew lazy and complacent.

In 1980, total credit market debt was 158% of gross domestic product (GDP). By 2008, total debt was 359% of GDP. In 1990, no state had greater than 15% of its population afflicted by obesity. By 2007, only one state had a prevalence of obesity below 20%, 30 states were greater than 25%, and three states had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 30%. By spending more than we had and indulging in unhealthy lifestyles, Americans, both individuals and corporations, traveled down a road of excess with the false promise of perpetual prosperity.

Over the past 18 months, that myth has been shattered and we are left with a much different perception of the world. During 2008, Federal Reserve data shows that households lost $11.2 trillion of wealth. With housing and equity markets remaining under stress, the 2009 results will show additional declines.

Having clearly traveled down the road to excess, we must now ask what wisdom has been gained. After all, the only positive of the current deep recession is the awakening that our prior path was both unwise and unsustainable. While I cannot speak for everyone, most corporations and individuals should have learned these three lessons:

  1. Credit does not equal liquidity - Everyone knows the wisdom of saving for a rainy day. Most financial planners say individuals should have three to six months of living expenses on hand. Corporate managers know the importance of not relying on fickle credit markets to fund their daily operations. However, in the past many mistakenly viewed credit as liquidity. Corporate treasurers felt they could tap the commercial paper market and homeowners looked to credit cards and home equity lines for quick cash. Over the last six months, many of those credit options have disappeared and entities who thought they were financially secure have been ruined. Credit does not equal cash. We should all remember that fact.
  2. Prudence pays - Inherently we know we should live within our means and not spend more than we earn. In reality, few follow this advice. The personal savings rate has hovered near 2% since 2000. Banks have leveraged themselves to obscene levels. Asset appreciation was interpreted as savings and increasing stock and housing prices encouraged people to spend more and save less. The consequences were predictable. When using borrowed money, things implode at the worst possible time. Borrowers never get asked to meet margin calls when their wealth is increasing. Only when markets have fallen are you forced from positions. Going forward, a prudent approach to debt and savings will avoid these mistakes from recurring.
  3. Crisis creates the unknown - Many of the actions taken over the past few years seemed reasonable at the time. Investors diversified their assets. Investment banks used sophisticated models to manage risk. However, when crisis strikes, all assumptions are rendered mute. As correlations move to one, all asset classes suffer and the unimaginable occurs. Witness the collapse of investment banks that had survived the Great Depression and the inherent nationalization of the world's largest insurance company. In times of crisis, we should never be surprised by the depths to which markets may plunge.

We have traveled down a difficult period in history. Whether markets have bottomed and the recession is ending remains to be seen. All we know for certain is the pain has been widespread and the consequences severe. Going forward, I hope the lessons learned will have a profound impact on behavior. If we conduct ourselves in a more reasoned manner and abandon the need to acquire lifestyles beyond our reach, some good will have come from the past 18 months.

What haven't we learned from the economic crisis?
We haven't learned how to stop throwing more money at the bad guys!
Forget the executive bonuses, the former Countrywide executives that issued fraudulent mortgages who are now buying up real estate and fire sale prices, and the big auditing firms that did not warn shareholders of a single bank failure but are now consulting with the U.S. Treasury and auditing TARP funding. Aside from the fraudulent mortgage brokers, the worst of the worst were the credit rating agencies that lost all integrity when rating toxic CDO bonds of Wall Street clients.
Credit-rating companies, widely assailed for their role in fueling the financial crisis with overly rosy debt ratings, stand to make a billion-dollar windfall in the government's latest attempt to heal the credit markets. The new rescue effort, run by the Federal Reserve, kicked off Thursday with bond deals totaling more than $7 billion. Each bond issue will need to be blessed by at least two of the three big rating firms: Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services and Fitch Ratings.
Serena Ng and Liz Rappaport, "Raters See Windfall in Bailout Program," The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
Sometimes I really hope hell is worse than the preachers try to make us believe.

Some members of Congress defending accounting fraud so CEO Frank Raines can receive over a million dollar bonus ---
More details of the fraud can be found at

Obama's Union-Favoring and Treaty-Violating Trade Wars Begin
President Obama often campaigned as a trade warrior, and now he's getting his wish. Mexico announced yesterday that it will raise tariffs on 90 U.S. products, affecting some $2.4 billion in goods across 40 states. The move was retaliation for the recent decision by Congress, signed into law by Mr. Obama, to close the Southern U.S. border to Mexican trucks . . . By rejecting Mexican trucks, the Administration violated the North American Free Trade Agreement and picked a needless fight with a good neighbor. The White House scrambled yesterday in the wake of the Mexican announcement, saying it wants to work with Mexico to come up with a new trucking plan. But unilateral treaty violations aren't the way to get other nations to negotiate concessions.
"The Teamsters War," The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2009 ---

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley suggested that AIG executives should accept responsibility for the collapse of the insurance giant by resigning or killing themselves. The Republican lawmaker's harsh comments came during an interview Monday with Cedar Rapids, Iowa, radio station WMT . . . Sen. Charles Grassley wants AIG executives to apologize for the collapse of the insurance giant — but said Tuesday that "obviously" he didn't really mean that they should kill themselves. The Iowa Republican raised eyebrows with his comments Monday that the executives — under fire for passing out big bonuses even as they were taking a taxpayer bailout — perhaps should "resign or go commit suicide." But he backtracked Tuesday morning in a conference call with reporters. He said he would like executives of failed businesses to make a more formal public apology, as business leaders have done in Japan.
Noel Duara, "Grassley: AIG execs should repent, not kill selves," Yahoo News, March 17, 2009 ---

Who helped AIG fail?
Answer:  Why the government's own industry-infested regulators
"The Real AIG Outrage," The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2009 ---

Since September 16, AIG has sent $120 billion in cash, collateral and other payouts to banks, municipal governments and other derivative counterparties around the world. This includes at least $20 billion to European banks. The list also includes American charity cases like Goldman Sachs, which received at least $13 billion. This comes after months of claims by Goldman that all of its AIG bets were adequately hedged and that it needed no "bailout." Why take $13 billion then? This needless cover-up is one reason Americans are getting angrier as they wonder if Washington is lying to them about these bailouts.

Given that the government has never defined "systemic risk," we're also starting to wonder exactly which system American taxpayers are paying to protect. It's not capitalism, in which risk-takers suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And in some cases it's not even American. The U.S. government is now in the business of distributing foreign aid to offshore financiers, laundered through a once-great American company.

The politicians also prefer to talk about AIG's latest bonus payments because they deflect attention from Washington's failure to supervise AIG. The Beltway crowd has been selling the story that AIG failed because it operated in a shadowy unregulated world and cleverly exploited gaps among Washington overseers. Said President Obama yesterday, "This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed." That's true, but Washington doesn't want you to know that various arms of government approved, enabled and encouraged AIG's disastrous bet on the U.S. housing market.

Scott Polakoff, acting director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, told the Senate Banking Committee this month that, contrary to media myth, AIG's infamous Financial Products unit did not slip through the regulatory cracks. Mr. Polakoff said that the whole of AIG, including this unit, was regulated by his agency and by a "college" of global bureaucrats.

But what about that supposedly rogue AIG operation in London? Wasn't that outside the reach of federal regulators? Mr. Polakoff called it "a false statement" to say that his agency couldn't regulate the London office.

And his agency wasn't the only federal regulator. AIG's Financial Products unit has been overseen for years by an SEC-approved monitor. And AIG didn't just make disastrous bets on housing using those infamous credit default swaps. AIG made the same stupid bets on housing using money in its securities lending program, which was heavily regulated at the state level. State, foreign and various U.S. federal regulators were all looking over AIG's shoulder and approving the bad housing bets. Americans always pay their mortgages, right? Mr. Polakoff said his agency "should have taken an entirely different approach" in regulating the contracts written by AIG's Financial Products unit.

Jensen Comment
When then Treasury Secretary
Hank Paulson gave the first $85 billion to AIG, we did learn that the money was mostly going to credit derivative counterparties. The names of the counterparties, however, was a carefully guarded secret. Hank was the former CEO of Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs received favorable publicity by declaring it did not need any TARP bailout money. It now turns out, however, that AIG was laundering TARP money for banks like Goldman Sachs that received at least $13 billion while pretending it did not receive any TARP bailout money. This certainly does not pass the smell test if Paulson was in fact trying to keep it secret that his former bank was receiving the TARP money he was doling out as Treasury Secretary.

On March 15, 2009 belatedly disclosed the names of the largest credit derivatives counterparties ---

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

Monday, Obama asked: "How [does AIG] justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?" Simple - Obama's own Treasury Department gave them the go-ahead. Yes, Treasury will now seek to extract $165 million from AIG future bailout booty, making the taxpayers whole. But the bonuses stand, Geithner's already shaky credibility has received another blow - and the president's feigned anger is fooling no one . . . Senator Dodd - not the appointed CEO of AIG needs to be in the witness chair. Senator Dodd is responsible more than anyone else for this. The bonus system apparently was known for months perhaps as far as back last October. Senator Dodd and others including the President received large campaign donations from this company.
"MANUFACTURED OUTRAGE," The New York Post, March 18, 2009 ---

Here's the problem," Mr. Obama said, "It's almost like they've (AIG managers) got--they've got a bomb strapped to them and they've got their hand on the trigger. You don't want them to blow up. But you've got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger.
Wall Street Journal Best of the Web newsletter, March 19, 2009

How is bank regulation going in the United Kingdom?
Answer:  Like the U.S., the U.K. has let the regulated control the regulators
"Distancing regulator from regulated:  A public debate on effective regulation is long overdue, and would put an end to the constant pandering to private interests," by Prem Sikka, The Guardian, March 17, 2009 ---

The 1995 collapse of Barings Bank drew attention to organised gambling, but no regulator questioned it. The high court ruled that accountancy firm Deloitte & Touche was negligent in its audit of Barings. Rather than exerting pressures on auditors to improve quality of their work, the Limited Liability Partnership Act 2000 and the Companies Act 2006 gave auditing firms liability concessions and made it harder for injured parties to get redress from negligent auditors.

In 1996, after an explained 11 year delay, a report on the alleged insider dealings at Guinness was finally published. It concluded that the City of London is rife with "cynical disregard of laws and regulations ... cavalier misuse of company monies ... contempt for truth and common honesty". Some 12 years later the FSA chairman admitted that the City did not take insider trading seriously.

Accountants and lawyers indulged in money laundering, but regulators preferred cover-up to clean-up. UK-based companies plundered developing countries through numerous tax avoidance schemes. Former Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha transferred billions of pounds of stolen money via UK banks. Successive governments have failed to repatriate the funds and refused to name the banks that played a central role.

With complete failure of social steering mechanisms, banks continued to pick people's pockets through exorbitant bank charges, overdraft fees, credit card rates and payment protection insurance (PPI), eventually culminating in the biggest financial crisis of all time. There have been plenty of warnings, but successive governments and regulators have been too enthralled with markets and business interests.

At the very least, an effective system of regulation requires that there should be distance between the regulators and the regulated. The regulators should not promote the industry and should not have a cosy relationship with those to be regulated. Their prime concern should be to protect the interests of stakeholders, consumers, depositors, borrowers and citizens generally, even if that goes against the interests of the industry. No industry should ever have an in-built majority on any regulatory body. Thus regulatory practices would need to be negotiated with other stakeholders. The possibilities of "capture" should be further checked by ensuring that all meetings of the regulators are held in the open and all files are on the public record.

A public debate on creating effective regulatory system is long overdue and should be embedded to principles of democracy, openness and accountability rather than pandering to private interests.

He loved his daughter in his own way for 24 years. Yeah Right!
The beast shielded himself from reporters as he faced a raft of charges including murder, rape, incest, coercion, false imprisonment and enslavement. . . . Prosecutor Christiane Burkheiser said: "She had no washbasin, no bath, no shower, often no heat. He would come, switch the lights off, rape her, leave. Lights off. "Rape. Lights on. Mould. Damp. Leave." "There was no fresh air. In those first years the air came through gaps in the walls. He used her like a toy. He came, he took her, he left. . . .  Mr. Mayer has sought to play down allegations his client is a “sex monster” and has even said he loved his daughter “in his own way”.

But one journalist, sitting in the row in front of me, was far from courteous and I have today posted on YouTube a video of her extraordinary tirade against Danny Ayalon, in which she harangues and berates him, uses expletives and calls him "fascist, fascist."   You can watch it here:    
The journalist in question is Nidal Rafa, who for some years has been one of CNN's senior producers in Jerusalem , during which time she has been as partisan as she continues to be now.   None of the other four dozen journalists present witnessing the episode, including Ethan Bronner of The New York Times, seem to have mentioned Rafa's outburst in their reports.
Naomi Ragen, March 22, 2009 email message from
Jensen Comment
Purportedly CNN terminated its contract with NIdal Rafa although Rafa apparently is still in denial and still hands out her CNN business cards.

A southwest Ohio county is threatening to ignore new food stamp rules because officials say relatively well off people are getting benefits. Commissioners in Warren County near Cincinnati said Tuesday they want to go back to the old eligibility standards. They were angry after learning that a woman with $80,000 in the bank, a paid-off $311,000 home and a Mercedes qualified for $500 a month in food stamps after she lost her job. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says a change made in October bases eligibility on income.
"Ohio rules that let Mercedes-driving woman collect food stamps called 'offensive'," The Columbus Dispatch, March 18, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
The AIG executives that get fired for keeping their million dollar bonuses will be relieved that they're eligible for food stamps.

Duke Energy
Between Regulatory Rocks and Hard Places

Under a ruling by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Raleigh, N.C., Duke Energy, Charlotte, N.C., is ineligible to recover its full costs for its $50-million solar rooftops initiative. Duke claims that under the ruling it may violate federal tax law, which could cost Duke more than $250 million in tax credits for solar and other renewable energy projects. "That's just a risk that we can't take as a company," says Keith Trent, Duke's chief strategy and policy officer. "Unless the terms are revised, we don't really see a pathway that would work for us in pursuing this program."
"Duke Energy Reconsiders Rooftop Solar Program," EC&M Web, March 13, 2009 ---

Obama Campaign Versus the ACLU
But ACLU's Romero wasn't phoning his supporters to share the joy--he was calling to plead for cash after a season (actually, several seasons) of thwarted solicitations. Throughout the spring and summer, would-be donors had explained, over and over again, that they were too busy writing checks to the Obama campaign. By the time Obama mounted the stage to deliver his acceptance speech in Chicago on election night, many had become preoccupied with something else: the implosion of the economy. As Romero worked the phone from his office on the nineteenth floor of the downtown high-rise, around the corner from the New York Stock Exchange, he could feel the aftershocks of the collapse.
Eyal Press, "The Perfect Storm," The Nation, March 11, 2009 ---

The buck stops where?
Sen. Dodd admitted he lied when he denied creating a loophole to protect the whopping bonuses AIG doled out. Dodd claimed the Obama admin bullied him into adding the exception to a provision that would have blocked companies receiving federal assistance from giving out bonuses......."I apologize if I caused some confusion .......but I didn't write at my own behest," Dodd told CNN. Dodd claimed he was bullied by the Obama administration into adding a major exception to his provision that would have blocked companies receiving federal assistance from giving generous bonuses to employees.
"I apologize if I caused some confusion about whether or not we wrote it exactly, but I didn't write at my own behest," Dodd (D-Conn.) said in a CNN appearance yesterday evening. "They came to us and asked for modifications to the amendment. The alternative was, of course, losing the amendment entirely, which was a possibility," Dodd told CNN.
Daffine Retter
, New York Post, March 19, 2009 --- Click Here

Friends of Angelo
Executives at Countrywide Financial Corp., one of the biggest names of the housing boom, routinely violated internal company policies to provide below-market rates on home loans to the politically connected and powerful, according to a congressional report to be released today. Loan documents show how far Calabasas-based Countrywide went to give loans to VIPs through a special program known as "Friends of Angelo," named after former Chief Executive Angelo R. Mozilo, according to congressional investigators.
Zachary A. Goldfarb, "Report details Countrywide's efforts to benefit VIPs," Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2009 ---,0,4389863.story?track=rss

Executives manually overrode the company's computer software that routinely warned that certain additional fees would be necessary to accommodate below-market rates. That was in addition to lengthy discussions on the merits of giving a special deal to a particular borrower, missives from Mozilo to employees telling them to give VIPs breaks and other activities.

A report by House Republicans on the investigation was obtained by the Washington Post in advance of its release.

Recipients of special loans included Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), former U.N. Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, former Fannie Mae Chief Executive James A. Johnson and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson.

Countrywide, which handed out many of the loans that turned out to be toxic waste on the books of banks, faltered in 2007 at the onset of the financial crisis and was sold to Bank of America Corp.

Bank of America said it would cooperate fully with any official inquiry into this Countrywide program.

Most recipients of VIP loans have said in news accounts that they had no idea they were receiving a special deal. But the report states that Countrywide clearly indicated to borrowers they were getting special deals, usually by including business cards indicating the loan came from a VIP unit.

Robert Feinberg, a 12-year Countrywide employee who processed VIP loans, told investigators that it was standard practice to tell borrowers, "Your loan was specially priced by Angelo."

Jensen Comment
Because the name “Countrywide Financial” has become synonymous with fraudulent mortgage brokering, Bank of America is tearing down the Countrywide logo on all of Countrywide’s places of business.

The Sleazy Subprime Mortgage Lending Companies Have a New (actually renewed old) Scheme to Make Billions at Taxpayer Expense
 As if they haven't done enough damage. Thousands of subprime mortgage lenders and brokers—many of them the very sorts of firms that helped create the current financial crisis—are going strong. Their new strategy: taking advantage of a long-standing federal program designed to encourage homeownership by insuring mortgages for buyers of modest means. You read that correctly. Some of the same people who propelled us toward the housing market calamity are now seeking to profit by exploiting billions in federally insured mortgages. Washington, meanwhile, has vastly expanded the availability of such taxpayer-backed loans as part of the emergency campaign to rescue the country's swooning economy.
 Chad Terhune and Robert Berner, "FHA-Backed Loans: The New Subprime:  The same people whose reckless practices triggered the global financial crisis are onto a similar scheme that could cost taxpayers tons more," Business Week, November 19, 2008 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the Subprime Scandal's sleaze, sex, bribery, and lies --- 

It is un-American"to enforce current U.S. immigration laws.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:  Watch the video at

"Keep Gitmo open and detainees locked up," Washington Examiner, March 20, 2009 ---

President Barack Obama not only plans to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, but Janet Napolitano, his Secretary of Homeland Security, recently announced the government will stop referring to the 240 terrorist suspects detained there as “enemy combatants.” But no amount of semantic whitewashing by Obama and Napolitano will change the fact that this group includes dozens of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet, all of whom are sworn enemies of America. Human Events reports that a senior U.S. intelligence official estimated that as many as 102 of the detainees previously released from Gitmo have returned to terrorism, a figure significantly higher than the 61 publicly acknowledged by the Defense Intelligence Agency. They include:

* Said Ali al-Shihiri, released in 2007, who is now the deputy leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen and is believed to have been involved in the bombing of the U.S. embassy there.

* Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, former deputy to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar, who was released after a U.S. review board decided he was no longer a threat. Rasoul is now the Taliban’s operations chief in southern Afghanistan, where attacks on U.S. troops are increasing.

 * Abdullah Mehsud, released in 2004, who died in a 2007 suicide attack in Pakistan that killed 31 people three years after being released from Guantanamo.
* Mohammad Naim Farouq, released in 2003, who was listed in 2006 as one of the Pentagon’s “20 Most Wanted” terrorists.

A Teaching Case:  Why are corporations hoarding so much cash?
In many ways the "credit problem" is not the main issue for cash-laden business firms. The problem is perceived lack of opportunity for returns on risky investments coupled with increased taxation on returns and risk aversion in declining markets and rampant governmental deficit financing for populist wealth redistributions. The non-financial publically-traded corporations have nearly a trillion dollars in cash or cash equivalents? Why so much hoarding?

What if the stock market never recovers after adjusting for inflation?
Stock market recovery is becoming less and less a priority in Washington DC. This is particularly sad for workers hoping their pension and savings plans will recover before they reach retirement age.
Retirement? What's retirement?

Homeowners have a ray of hope as the economic recovery plan places a priority on pumping up home values. But many workers hope for more --- to live as well or better in a home while cashing in on recovering retirement savings plans that may well plunge further with the "unimportant" stock market. Social Security benefits will not even pay the soaring property taxes of many homeowners.

Forwarded on March 21, 2009 by Linda Pfingst, CPA [lcpfingst@EARTHLINK.NET]

Have you evaluated your 401(k)/403(b) lately? Fidelity Independent Adviser is reaching out to a select group of professionals whose 401(k)/403(b) investments have been impacted by recent market turmoil. Recently:

"DC to Wall Street:  Drop Dead," by Daniel Gross, Newsweek Magazine, March 23, 2009, Page 20 ---

He (Obama) should be ignoring the Dow.
The index has fallen about 50 percent from its closing peak of 14,164 on Oct. 9, 2007. (That was the week the Fox Business Channel debuted. Coincidence? I report, you decide.) Everything about the markets has been chopped in half—their value, their moral authority and hence their claim on Washington's attention. Having deprived Americans of so much of their wealth, the market is today like Rush Limbaugh: an unpopular loudmouth prone to emotional outbursts.

When Obama compared the Dow to a "tracking poll in politics," he made an error commonly seen in the Washington– Wall Street corridor. Securities markets are decidedly not public-opinion polls. In the fall of 2007, when the Dow was at its peak, only 25 percent of Americans thought the country was on the right track, according to the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. And since Obama's election, the right-track number has exploded to the upside, from 11 percent in early November to 41 percent this month—even as the markets plunged.

No Need to Invest and Save:  The U.S. Government, Not Business Firms Will Provide for Everybody (by simply printing money as needed)
"Bubble Capitalism," The Nation, August 1, 2002 ---

Reversing the nation's deformed priorities will be a hard struggle but has renewed promise now that the stock market bubble and other New Economy delusions have been demolished. People do not live and work in order to buy stocks. People exist in complex webs of relationships with family, work, community and many other rewarding adventures and obligations. The larger purpose of the economic order, including Wall Street, is to support the material conditions for human existence, not to undermine and destabilize them. If that observation sounds quaint, it's what most Americans, regardless of ideology, happen to believe. If our progressive objectives are deeply aligned with what people truly seek and need in their lives, the ideas will prevail.

A second paper in this series will examine the theoretical justifications for the importance of the stock market as perhaps the central financial institution in the United States.
"Who Needs the Stock Market? Part I: The Empirical Evidence," by Lawrence E. Mitchell George Washington University - Law School, SSRN, October 30, 2008 ---

Data on historical and current corporate finance trends drawn from a variety of sources present a paradox. External equity has never played a significant role in financing industrial enterprises in the United States. The only American industry that has relied heavily upon external financing is the finance industry itself. Yet it is commonly accepted among legal scholars and economists that the stock market plays a valuable role in American economic life, and a recent, large body of macroeconomic work on economic development links the growth of financial institutions (including, in the U.S, the stock market) to growth in real economic output. How can this be the case if external equity as represented by the stock market plays an insignificant role in financing productivity? This paradox has been largely ignored in the legal and economic literature.

This paper surveys the history of American corporate finance, presents original and secondary data demonstrating the paradox, and raises questions regarding the structure of American capital markets, the appropriate rights of stockholders, the desirable regulatory structure (whether the stock market should be regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, for example), and the overall relationship between finance and growth.

The answers to these questions are particularly pressing in light of a dramatic increase in stock market volatility since the turn of the century creating distorted incentives for long-term corporate management, especially trenchant in light of the recent global financial collapse.

A second paper in this series will examine the theoretical justifications for the importance of the stock market as perhaps the central financial institution in the United States.

So why are corporations hoarding so much cash?
rom The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on March 20, 2009

Corporate-Cash Umbrellas: Too Big for This Storm
by Jason Zweig
Mar 14, 2009

Click here to view the full article on ---


TOPICS: Cash Flow, Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting

SUMMARY: "The nonfinancial firms in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index have a total of $811 billion in cash and marketable securities on their books, calculates Goldman Sachs. That's just shy of a record high in nominal terms and up $43 billion from the depths of the financial crisis last fall."

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: The article covers topics in cash and marketable securities, with a focus on cash management issues.

1. (Introductory) What analysis has been undertaken on which this article reports? Who conducted this analysis? Where does the information come from?

2. (Introductory) In general terms, why is it not the best use of cash for companies to hold a large amount of it, even if much of it is invested in marketable securities?

3. (Advanced) Why is hoarding cash in corporations a particular problem in today's economic circumstances, at least according to this article? In contrast, what have been the recent returns to companies that have done just that?

4. (Advanced) "During bear markets over the long run...stocks with the biggest cash hoards have underperformed those with the least amount of extra cash...." Why? Be sure to put your answer in your own words.

5. (Introductory) What is the author of the article suggesting shareholders should do to address the issues related to hoarding cash in corporations? What are the arguments against effectiveness of this shareholder effort to influence management behavior?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

Jensen Comment
Foreign governments and some corporations see the dangers of hoarding cash. China for example is buying huge portions of commodities like copper. Some companies are leading oil tankers and hoarding oil. Others are buying precious metals. This can be risky on a short-term basis but is sounding better and better for the long term.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
Alexander Tyler. 1787 - Tyler was a Scottish history professor that had this to say about 2000 years after "The Fall of the Athenian Republic" and about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution.
As quoted at (where the debt clock in real time is a few months behind)
The National Debt Amount This Instant (Refresh your browser for updates by the second) ---

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

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
Winston Churchill
(Good thing Obama sent Churchill's bust back to the U.K. from the Oval Office and replaced it with a bust of Lincoln who wrote that Government should print all the money it needs without borrowing)


"Dartmouth Professor Creates Recession-Inspired Video Game," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 18, 2009 ---

Some academics may deride video games as mindless escapism, but Mary Flanagan and her collaborators are trying to push the medium into service as a tool to educate gamers on pressing social issues.

Ms. Flanagan—who is a digital humanities professor at Dartmouth College—and her colleagues with the Values at Play research project design video games that seek to engage players with the real world, rather than distract them from it. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation and Microsoft, the project aspires to “harness the power of video games in the service of humanistic principles, or human values, knowing that their work can have a tremendous and wide-ranging impact on our world,” according to its Web site.

Ms. Flanagan’s latest creation, called Layoff, is a puzzle-style game (similar to Solitaire or MineSweeper) aimed at exposing the outrages of the financial crisis and subsequent bailout. The gamer is presented with an 11-by-8-inch grid populated by tiny workers—some wearing hard hats, some wearing glasses, some reading books, and some holding spare tires. The objective is to shuffle these characters into groups of three of a kind, at which point they can be banished to mill aimlessly about the unemployment line (a pen that resembles a prison yard below the grid).

Players who want to learn more about the workers they’re firing can hover their cursors over a character and get a brief character sketch. In addition to names, ages, and job titles, those descriptions include humanizing facts about the workers—their dreams, their fears, their custody arrangements, and more. Of course, this pathos is merely incidental; players are to fire as many workers as possible.

Ms. Flanagan told The Chronicle that one of her objectives with the game is to remind people of the human cost of the financial crisis—something that tends to be obscured by the scope of the figures released each month by the U.S. Department of Labor. She also said the game provides non-executives the chance to sample the burden of the bosses doing the layoffs.

The fired workers are replaced by new ones, including suit-wearing bankers and financiers, who cannot be laid off. (When a player hovers over those characters, they spout self-justifying platitudes or blithe appraisals of their company’s outlook.) As those well-heeled Masters of the Universe take over more and more spots on the grid, the gamer’s task becomes more challenging. All the while, unflattering facts about how certain companies have behaved after receiving emergency subsidies scroll in a large font on a ticker beneath the game board.

Although she admits that her game vilifies bankers and financiers, Ms. Flanagan insisted that her only agenda was to raise consciousness and encourage people to “take a stand.” It’s up to them to decide what that stand entails, she said.

Ms. Flanagan is just one of the professors who are building video games about social issues.


The Woman Who Tried Early On to Save Our Money and Prevent This Economic Crisis and Countless Financial Frauds
Brooksley Born ---
In 1964, Brooksley was the first female student in history to become President of Stanford's Law Review.

The Obama administration has pledged an overhaul of the financial system, including the way derivatives are regulated. Worrisome to some observers is the fact that his economic team includes some former Treasury officials who were lined up in opposition to Born a decade ago.
"Prophet and Loss," by Rick Schmitt, Stanford Magazine, March/April 2009, pp. 40-47.

Brooksley Born (the first woman at Stanford to be president of the Law Review) was named to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 1996. She “advocated reigning in the huge and growing market for financial derivatives…Back in the 1990’s, however, Born’s proposal stirred an almost visceral response from other regulators in the Clinton administration (notably explosive and rude 1998 reactions from Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Deputy Secretary Larry Summers and SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt to her suggestion that derivatives swap markets be regulated)  as well as members of Congress and lobbyists…Ultimately Greenspan and the other regulators foiled Born’s efforts and Congress took the extraordinary step of enacting legislation that prohibited her agency from taking any action…Speaking out for the first time, Born says she takes no pleasure from the turn of events. She says she was just doing her job based on the evidence in front of her. Looking back, she laments what she says was the outsized influence of Wall Stret lobbyists on the process, and the refusal of her fellow regulators, especially Greenspan, to discuss even modest reforms. ‘Recognizing the dangers…was not rocket science, but it was contrary to the conventional wisdom and certainly contrary to the economic interests of Wall Street at the moment,‘ she says.”
As quoted on March 20, 2009 at

Bob Jensen's timeline of derivatives markets scandals the evolution of accounting standards for derivative financial instruments ---

Ethanol:  The uneconomic drop of gold in every gallon of gas will soon become two drops
"Everyone Hates Ethanol ," The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2009 ---

These days, it's routine for businesses to fail, get rescued by the government, and then continue to fail. But ethanol, which survives only because of its iron lung of subsidies and mandates, is a special case. Naturally, the industry is demanding even more government life support.

Corn ethanol producers -- led by Wesley Clark, the retired general turned chairman of a new biofuels lobbying outfit called Growth Energy -- want the Obama Administration to make their guaranteed market even larger. Recall that the 2007 energy bill requires refiners to mix 36 billion gallons into the gasoline supply by 2022. The quotas, which ratchet up each year, are arbitrary, but evidently no one in Congress wondered what might happen if the economy didn't cooperate.

Now the recession is hammering demand for gas. The Energy Information Administration notes that U.S. consumption fell nearly 7% in 2008 and expects another 2.2% drop this year. That comes as great news for President Obama, who is achieving his carbon-reduction goals even without a new carbon tax, but the irony is that the ethanol industry is part of the wider collateral damage.

Americans are unlikely to use enough gas next year to absorb the 13 billion gallons of ethanol that Congress mandated, because current regulations limit the ethanol content in each gallon of gas at 10%. The industry is asking that this cap be lifted to 15% or even 20%. That way, more ethanol can be mixed with less gas, and producers won't end up with a glut that the government does not require anyone to buy.

The ethanol boosters aren't troubled that only a fraction of the 240 million cars and trucks on the road today can run with ethanol blends higher than 10%. It can damage engines and corrode automotive pipes, as well as impair some safety features, especially in older vehicles. It can also overwhelm pollution control systems like catalytic converters. The malfunctions multiply in other products that use gas, such as boats, snowmobiles, lawnmowers, chainsaws, etc.

That possible policy train wreck is uniting almost every other Washington lobby -- and talk about strange bedfellows. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Motorcycle Industry Council and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, among others, are opposed, since raising the blend limit will ruin their products. The left-leaning American Lung Association and the Union of Concerned Scientists are opposed too, since it will increase auto emissions. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club agree, on top of growing scientific evidence that corn ethanol provides little or no net reduction in CO2 over the gasoline it displaces.

The biggest losers in this scheme are U.S. oil refiners. Liability for any problems arising from ethanol blending rests with them, because Congress refused to grant legal immunity for selling a product that complies with the mandates that it ordered. The refiners are also set to pay stiff fines for not fulfilling Congress's mandates for second-generation cellulosic ethanol. But the cellulosic ethanol makers themselves already concede that they won't be able to churn out enough of the stuff -- 100 million gallons next year, 250 million gallons in 2011 -- to meet the targets that Congress wrote two years ago.

So successful but politically unpopular businesses will be punished for not buying a product that does not exist -- from companies that haven't yet found a way to succeed despite generous political and taxpayer advantages. The next step is to use cap and trade to make green alternatives look artificially good by comparison. Even then they'll probably still be bottomless money pits.

To recap: Congress and the ethanol lobby argue that if some outcome would be politically nice, it should be mandated (details to follow). Then a new round of market interventions is necessary to fix the economic harm resulting from the previous requirements, while creating more damage in the process. Ethanol is one of the most shameless energy rackets going, in a field with no shortage of competitors.

Smile Professor, You're on Candid Camera
Remember that with today's technology it is rather simple for students to secretly video lectures or to video lectures with permission

"Caught (Unfortunately) on Tape:  More colleges are recording lectures, so more professors are learning to watch their words," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 18, 2009 ---

Recording class sessions so students can review them online is becoming routine on many campuses. But all that taping can lead to "uh-oh moments," such as when a professor's joke about the college dean ends up on YouTube, or a private comment to a student after class is inadvertently broadcast.

Phyllis Tutora, director of George Washington University's master's program in project management, says she's recently gotten a few frantic phone calls from professors seeking to edit out portions of their lecture videos. In one case, she says, a professor let the class out early, and the system recorded his conversation with a student over why she was failing the course. Officials removed the exchange before the video went out to other students — which was good, since federal law requires colleges to keep students' grades private.

Some lecture bloopers caught on tape are funny (well, for those who enjoy a certain kind of humor). At the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, one professor left his wireless microphone on while taking a bathroom break, and watery sounds were audible on the class recording until officials cut out that section.

Such mishaps underline a much bigger issue, though: How can colleges and professors protect the traditional freewheeling spirit of the classroom while still offering students the benefits of online recordings?

'Cold Feet'

The question recently faced Eric H. Cline, an archaeology professor at George Washington, after administrators asked him to allow one of his classes to be recorded (just audio, not video). He is well known on the campus for his lively teaching style, and at first he was enthusiastic about the idea — until he listened to the first class session and was struck by how the previously private activity of teaching now seemed all too public.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Candid Camera are at

Smiles will not help save your research publications from being ignored professor
This article extrapolates to many disciplines outside humanities

"Unread Monographs, Uninspired Undergrads," by Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, March 18, 2009 --- 

Scholarly output rises; undergraduates are disengaged. “This is the real calamity of the research mandate -- 10,000 harried professors forced to labor on disregarded print, and 100,000 unwitting students missing out on rigorous face-to-face learning,” Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, writes in a new paper on relieving research expectations in the humanities.

“I think these two trends -- to do more and more research and less academic engagement on the freshman level -- are not unrelated,” Bauerlein said in an interview about “Professors on the Production Line, Students on their Own." The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research released the paper Tuesday.

“The incentives are obvious. If you’re a professor whose future depends on the amount of pages you produce, then all those hours you spend talking to freshmen about their majors, about their ideas, about their summer reading … really paying attention to these wayward 18-year-olds who are fresh out of high school, you’re hurting yourself," says Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Penguin, 2008).

Bauerlein considers research on student engagement and data on trends in scholarly publishing -- and sales -- in arguing his case. He cites 2008 National Survey of Student Engagement figures showing that 38 percent of first-year students “never” discuss ideas from readings with their instructors outside of class, while 39 percent do "sometimes."

Meanwhile, he writes that scholarly book output in literary studies has outpaced growth of the professoriate by a magnitude of three. Scholarly consumption has not kept up accordingly. Average sales for literature and language monographs are in the low to mid-hundreds, Bauerlein writes, and he cites Association of Research Libraries data finding that the number of monographs purchased by research libraries rose just 1 percent between 1986 and 2006.

Bauerlein writes of “a disturbing possibility” -- that “literature professors feel no urge or need to monitor publications in the discipline in order to keep up with research in the area. … If they overlook much of it, they don’t suffer. Meanwhile, throngs of scholarly compositions appear each year only to sit in distribution warehouses unread and unnoticed. The fields and subfields proceed without them, and the grand vision of a community of experts advancing knowledge, broadening understanding, and closing holes in the historical record fades to black.”

“The fifth and sixth and seventh book on Moby Dick matter,” Bauerlein said via telephone. “The 105th and the 106th, the 107th, they just get lost, even if they’re brilliant. How can you really take them into account when you’ve already got 105 out there? Things just start to blur.”

The report includes a number of recommendations -- that, following the model of liberal arts colleges, language and literature departments in research universities hire professors based on teaching capacity, as opposed to research expertise; that departments evaluate no more than 100 pages of scholarship in tenure decisions (eliminating the expectation of a book); that foundations funding humanities research shift some funds from research to teaching activities; and that the Modern Language Association convene a committee to follow up on the work of its Ad Hoc Committee on Scholarly Publishing. (The MLA's executive director was not immediately available for an interview Tuesday afternoon.)

Gerald Graff, a professor of English and education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, emphasized teaching issues during his tenure as MLA president in 2008. "I agree that requiring a Book (or more) for promotion has gotten way out of control and that quality should replace quantity as the primary measure,” Graff said via e-mail, in response to the report. “But I'd rather see research used in teaching instead of replaced by teaching. I like the idea of undergraduate research, which overcomes the old research-teaching split by encouraging us to teach our research and to make it worthy of being taught.”

Bauerlein said he hoped that a decrease in raw output of scholarship would lead to it being better utilized in the classroom. But he said the focus on research over teaching must shift, at least at most universities. “I’ll tell you, I think we should have maybe 20 to 25 research institutions in language and literature in this country. I do not think that we should have professors at 500 universities who conceive of themselves primarily as researchers," said Bauerlein.

“We should really say that for the vast, vast majority of language and literature professors, your job is primarily an educational one, a teaching one, and that your main job is to reach the entire undergraduate population and acquaint them with the literary and language inheritance.”

“I’m hoping,” Bauerlein said, toward interview’s end, “that this paper isn’t viewed as an attack on research in humanities in language and literature but actually points the way to self-preservation. I believe everyone should take a couple of years of language and literature. I think we should have a freshman comp course, a sophomore comp course, a junior comp course, a senior comp course. ... But in a research-oriented world, the undergraduate classroom is a throwaway in all too many places."

Does faculty research improve student learning in the classrooms where researchers teach?
Put another way, is research more important than scholarship that does not contribute to new knowledge?

Major Issue
If the answer leans toward scholarship over research, it could monumentally change criteria for tenure in many colleges and universities.

AACSB International: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, has released for comment a report calling for the accreditation process for business schools to evaluate whether faculty research improves the learning process. The report expresses the concern that accreditors have noted the volume of research, but not whether it is making business schools better from an educational standpoint.
Inside Higher Ed, August 6, 2007 ---

"Controversial Report on Business School Research Released for Comments," AACSB News Release, August 3, 2007 ---

FL (August 3, 2007) ― A report released today evaluates the nature and purposes of business school research and recommends steps to increase its value to students, practicing managers and society. The report, issued by the Impact of Research task force of AACSB International, is released as a draft to solicit comments and feedback from business schools, their faculties and others. The report includes recommendations that could profoundly change the way business schools organize, measure, and communicate about research.

AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, estimates that each year accredited business schools spend more than $320 million to support faculty research and another half a billion dollars supports research-based doctoral education.

“Research is now reflected in nearly everything business schools do, so we must find better ways to demonstrate the impact of our contributions to advancing management theory, practice and education” says task force chair Joseph A. Alutto, of The Ohio State University. “But quality business schools are not and should not be the same; that’s why the report also proposes accreditation changes to strengthen the alignment of research expectations to individual school missions.”

The task force argues that a business school cannot separate itself from management practice and still serve its function, but it cannot be so focused on practice that it fails to develop rigorous, independent insights that increase our understanding of organizations and management. Accordingly, the task force recommends building stronger interactions between academic researchers and practicing managers on questions of relevance and developing new channels that make quality academic research more accessible to practice.

According to AACSB President and CEO John J. Fernandes, recommendations in this report have the potential to foster a new generation of academic research. “In the end,” he says, “it is a commitment to scholarship that enables business schools to best serve the future needs of business and society through quality management education.”

The Impact of Research task force report draft for comments is available for download on the AACSB website: The website also provides additional resources related to the issue and the opportunity to submit comments on the draft report. The AACSB Committee on Issues in Management Education and Board of Directors will use the feedback to determine the next steps for implementation.

The AACSB International Impact of Research Task Force
Joseph A. Alutto, interim president, and
John W. Berry, Senior Chair in Business, Max M. FisherCollege of Business, The Ohio State University

K. C. Chan, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Richard A. Cosier, Purdue University
Thomas G. Cummings, University of Southern California
Ken Fenoglio, AT&T
Gabriel Hawawini, INSEAD and the University of Pennsylvania
Cynthia H. Milligan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Myron Roomkin, Case Western Reserve University
Anthony J. Rucci, The Ohio State University

Teaching Excellence Secondary to Research for Promotion, Tenure, and Pay ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the sad state of academic accountancy research are at 

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Micro Lectures:  The panacea for dealing with student attention deficits and budget deficits

"The One Minute Egg(head)," by Carolyn Foster Segal, The Irascible Professor, March 23, 2009 ---

This exciting new pedagogical development should be a relief to everyone and has arrived just in time, for it's the perfect answer to current economic concerns. Instead of cutting course offerings, we can save our classes by simply cutting 95% of the course content. Students, who have long complained about tedious class sessions and the price (and contents) of textbooks, will now be able to complete a traditional four-year program in just one semester. Administrators will be delighted to find that enrollments will "quickly balloon." In its second semester, enrollment in that program on occupational safety "grew to 449." (What is the maximum capacity for a program on "occupational safety" in cyberspace?) Nor should faculty members despair -- they should have no difficulty in creating and executing hundreds of these new online lectures. The article reassures readers that "course development is relatively quick" as indeed it must be, since the new verbiage-free micro-lectures should take about as much time to design and/or deliver as it takes to compose a quick e-mail message. Course content should be slightly less heavier, in other words, than the home page of

In all fairness, as Shieh noted, there was an earlier precedent: it seems that the University of Pennsylvania has a 60-second lecture series "to showcase its faculty." The Penn organizer does note that "such short lectures . . . have their limitations." As Special Agent Gibbs of NCIS would say, "You think?" (The answer to Gibbs's rhetorical question is that we may not have to require much of that activity at all.) Administrators and instructors at San Juan "said the format may not work as well [emphasis mine] in classes requiring sustained discussion or explanation of complicated processes." You must remember those -- classes formerly known as college courses. Forget debates about traditional-semester length courses versus accelerated weekend models; forget debates about the liberal arts (forget debates on any subject). It's apparently possible to complete a class session in the amount of time Jeopardy contestants have to guess the final question. (The time involved for the entire set of lectures for a three-credit course -- will now be slightly less than the running time for back-to-back episodes of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.)

I decided to perform an experiment, to see how much I could cram into a minute. I teach American literature and "creative writing: poetry," so my test subjects were Walt Whitman (I made it to the third line of the second of the 52 sections of "Song of Myself") and Emily Dickinson (I made it through one poem -- #67 -- "Success is counted sweetest" [12 lines] and 7 lines of a second 12-line poem -- #449 -- "I died for Beauty." Without the last five lines of that Dickinson poem, however, much of the irony was lost, and it was soon apparent that for maximum effect it would be best in all future micro-lectures to paraphrase the first stanza so that I would have adequate time (15 seconds) to read the last stanza. After that second trial, I decided to take a lengthy break (5 minutes), during which time I pondered what exactly the students in "occupational safety" covered in their 60 seconds.

There is help for those who wish to join the mini-revolution of the micro-lesson. A sidebar captioned "How to Create a One Minute Lecture," provides David Penrose's handy five-step guide. Penrose, according to the head-note, is the course designer for SunGard Higher Education who designed San Juan College's micro-lectures.

Step one addresses the pesky problem of lecture content: "List the key concepts you are trying [emphasis mine] to convey in the [traditional] 60-minute lecture. That series of phrases [emphasis mine] will form the core of your micro-lecture." My personal best (three attempts) was 53 minutes and 47 seconds (52 minutes and 47 seconds too long), but then I kept falling into the trap of using full sentences. And I hadn't even allowed precious time for Step 2: Write a 15- to 30 second introduction and conclusion. They will provide context for your key concepts! [emphasis and punctuation mine].

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Customized Collaborative Term Paper and Dissertation Ghost Writing Goes Big Time

Bob Jensen's Ghost Writing Prices
I tested a few term paper and dissertation writing sites. I could not find any term papers on how to account for derivative instruments, CDO bond sales, channel stuffing sales, or fair value accounting in broken markets. There are vendors above who now claim to have writers on most any topic who will write customized collaborative papers. When it comes to technical aspects of accounting, these customized term paper vendors may find it difficult to find experts to write the essays. However, when it comes to more general term papers on ethics and professionalism, accounting instructors should be very careful how they word the term paper instructions and topics.

On surface this sounds like a black and white issue of morality and professionalism. But there's an immense gray zone that's especially encountered by, but not limited to, foreign doctoral students seeking help with the writing of their dissertations. We don't have much problem with doctoral students having dissertation chapters edited by expert writers in the English language, although there may be some question about experts who totally rewrite each chapter. We cringe more when the editors are also experts on the topic of research in the paper and provide input on every stage of the research from the choice of topic to the collection of data to the analysis of data to the writing of drafts.

Doctoral dissertations are not intended to be co-authored collaborative projects. I am aware of a past incident where a wealthy doctoral student paid for what I consider to be the lion's share of the work at all stages of the dissertation effort. In that case, the student was collaboratively involved but more as an observer which I think defeated the intent of the university that required the dissertation for the awarding of a doctoral degree.

For Work-at-Home Professors
Retired or other work-at-home accounting professors might be able to supplement their incomes by writing term papers and dissertations for accounting students. When it comes to relative situational morality, I have my price. For one million dollars, I will write a term paper on most any topic in accountancy, fraud, or statistics. Complete dissertations are $5 million each. All fees must be paid in full in cash up front since people who will hire these services might also run off with the completed effort and not pay.

Why hasn't anybody contacted me with an offer?
Please advertise my credentials and my prices!

P.S. and by the way
I'm no longer contracted to finish my book on IAS 39. The publisher that engaged me cancelled all contracts will all authors of unfinished works. The firm apparently got clobbered by the economic downturn. The good news, however, is that I got paid anyway. This is an ethical company that just decided to get out of the publishing side of its operations and not incur any added costs of publishing other than paying off on authoring contracts. I don't think sales of its published technical works were selling very well before the economic crash.

Sadly, however, my fee for the IAS 39 research was nowhere near $5 million. But then writing that particular manuscript in my own name was not unethical. It's the AIG, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Bros., and the Maxine Waters Schools of Finance that show us the key ethical difference between fees and FEES.


"Cheating Goes Global as Essay Mills Multiply From Virginia to Manila: on the trail of papers for cash," by Thomas Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 20, 2009 ---

The orders keep piling up. A philosophy student needs a paper on Martin Heidegger. A nursing student needs a paper on dying with dignity. An engineering student needs a paper on electric cars.

Screen after screen, assignment after assignment — hundreds at a time, thousands each semester. The students come from all disciplines and all parts of the country. They go to community colleges and Ivy League universities. Some want a 10-page paper; others request an entire dissertation.

This is what an essay mill looks like from the inside. Over the past six months, with the help of current and former essay-mill writers, The Chronicle looked closely at one company, tracking its orders, examining its records, contacting its customers. The company, known as Essay Writers, sells so-called custom essays, meaning that its employees will write a paper to a student's specifications for a per-page fee. These papers, unlike those plucked from online databases, are invisible to plagiarism-detection software.

Everyone knows essay mills exist. What's surprising is how sophisticated and international they've become, not to mention profitable.

In a previous era, you might have found an essay mill near a college bookstore, staffed by former students. Now you'll find them online, and the actual writing is likely to be done by someone in Manila or Mumbai. Just as many American companies are outsourcing their administrative tasks, many American students are perfectly willing to outsource their academic work.

And if the exponential surge in the number of essay mills is any indication, the problem is only getting worse. But who, exactly, is running these companies? And what do the students who use their services have to say for themselves?

Go to Google and type "buy an essay." Among the top results will be Best Essays, whose slogan is "Providing Students with Original Papers since 1997." It's a professional-looking site with all the bells and whistles: live chat, flashy graphics, stock photos of satisfied students. Best Essays promises to deliver "quality custom written papers" by writers with either a master's degree or a Ph.D. Prices range from $19.99 to $42.99 per page, depending on deadline and difficulty.

To place an order, you describe your assignment, the number of pages, and how quickly you need it. Then you enter your credit-card number, and, a couple of days later, the paper shows up in your in box. All you have to do is add your name to the top and turn it in. Simple.

What's going on behind the scenes, however, is another story.

The address listed on the site is in Reston, Va. But it turns out that's the address of a company that allows clients to rent "virtual office space" — in other words, to claim they're somewhere they're not. A previous address used by Best Essays was a UPS store in an upscale strip mall. And while the phone number for Best Essays has a Virginia area code, that line is registered to a company that allows customers to forward calls anywhere in the world over the Internet.

The same contact information appears on multiple other essay-mill Web sites with names like Rush Essay, Superior Papers, and Best Term Paper. All of these sites are operated by Universal Research Inc., also known as Essay Writers. The "US/Canada Headquarters" for the company, according to yet another Web site, is in Herndon, Va. An Essay Writers representative told a reporter that the company's North American headquarters was a seven-story building with an attached garage and valet parking.

That was a lie. Drive to the address, and you will find a perfectly ordinary suburban home with a neatly trimmed front lawn and a two-car garage. The owner of the house is Victor Guevara and, ever since he bought it in 2004, he has received lots of strange mail. For instance, a calendar recently arrived titled "A Stroll Through Ukrainian Cities," featuring photographs of notable buildings in Odessa and Yalta. Not all of the missives, however, have been so benign. Once a police officer came to the door bearing a complaint from a man in India who hadn't been paid by Essay Writers. Mr. Guevara explained to the officer that he had no idea what the man was talking about.

So why, of all the addresses in the United States, was Mr. Guevara's chosen? He's not sure, but he has a theory. Before he bought the house, a woman named Olga Mizyuk lived there for a short time. The previous owner, a friend of Mr. Guevara's, let her stay rent free because she was down on her luck and she promised to teach him Russian. Mr. Guevara believes it's all somehow connected to Ms. Mizyuk.

That theory is not too far-fetched. The state of Virginia listed Olga Mizyuk as the agent of Universal Research LLC when it was formed in 2006, though that registration has since lapsed (it's now incorporated in Virginia with a different agent). The company was registered for a time in Nevada, but that is no longer valid either. The managing member of the Nevada company, according to state records, was Yuriy Mizyuk. Mr. Guevara remembers that Ms. Mizyuk spoke of a son named Yuriy. Could that all be a coincidence?

Hiring in Manila

Call any of the company's several phone numbers and you will always get an answer. Weekday or weekend, day or night. The person on the other end will probably be a woman named Crystal or Stephanie. She will speak stilted, heavily accented English, and she will reveal nothing about who owns the company or where it is located. She will be unfailingly polite and utterly unhelpful.

If pressed, Crystal or Stephanie will direct callers to a manager named Raymond. But Raymond is almost always either out of the office or otherwise engaged. When, after weeks of calls, The Chronicle finally reached Raymond, he hung up the phone before answering any questions.

But while the company's management may be publicity shy, sources familiar with its operations were able to shed some light. Essay Writers appears to have been originally based in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. While the company claims to have been in business since 1997, its Web sites have only been around since 2004. In 2007 it opened offices in the Philippines, where it operates under the name Uniwork.

The company's customer-service center is located on the 17th floor of the Burgundy Corporate Tower in the financial district of Makati City, part of the Manila metropolitan area. It is from there that operators take orders and answer questions from college students. The company also has a suite on the 16th floor, where its marketing and computer staff members promote and maintain its Web sites. This involves making sure that when students search for custom essays, its sites are on the first page of Google results. (They're doing a good job, too. Recently two of the first three hits for "buy an essay" were Essay Writers sites.) One of its employees, who describes herself as a senior search-engine-optimization specialist at Uniwork, posted on her Twitter page that the company is looking for copy writers, Web developers, and link builders.

Some of the company's writers work in its Makati City offices. Essay Writers claims to have more than 200 writers, which may be true when freelancers are counted. A dozen or so, according to a former writer, work in the office, where they are reportedly paid between $1 and $3 a page — much less than its American writers, and a small fraction of the $20 or $30 per page customers shell out. The company is currently advertising for more writers, praising itself as "one of the most trusted professional writing companies in the industry."

It's difficult to know for sure who runs Essay Writers, but the name Yuriy Mizyuk comes up again and again. Mr. Mizyuk is listed as the contact name on the domain registration for, the Web site where writers for the company log in to receive their assignments. A lawsuit was filed in January against Mr. Mizyuk and Universal Research by a debt-collection company. Repeated attempts to reach him — via phone and e-mail — were unsuccessful. Customer-service representatives profess not to have heard of Mr. Mizyuk.

Installed in its Makati City offices, according to a source close to the company, are overhead cameras trained on employees. These cameras reportedly send a video feed back to Kiev, allowing the Ukrainians to keep an eye on their workers in the Philippines. This same source says Mr. Mizyuk regularly visits the Philippines and describes him as a smallish man with thinning hair and dark-rimmed glasses. "He looks like Harry Potter," the source says. "The worst kind of Harry Potter."

Writers for Hire

The writers for essay mills are anonymous and often poorly paid. Some of them crank out 10 or more essays a week, hundreds over the course of a year. They earn anywhere from a few dollars to $40 per page, depending on the company and the subject. Some of the freelancers have graduate degrees and can write smooth, A-level prose. Others have no college degree and limited English skills.

James Robbins is one of the good ones. Mr. Robbins, now 30, started working for essay mills to help pay his way through Lamar University, in Beaumont, Tex. He continued after graduation and, for a time, ran his own company under the name Mr. Essay. What he's discovered, after writing hundreds of academic papers, is that he has a knack for the form: He's fast, and his papers consistently earn high marks. "I can knock out 10 pages in an hour," he says. "Ten pages is nothing."

His most recent gig was for Essay Writers. His clients have included students from top colleges like the University of Pennsylvania, and he's written short freshman-comp papers along with longer, more sophisticated fare. Like all freelancers for Essay Writers, Mr. Robbins logs in to a password-protected Web site that gives him access to the company's orders. If he finds an assignment that's to his liking, he clicks the "Take Order" button. "I took one on Christological topics in the second and third centuries," he remembers. "I didn't even know what that meant. I had to look it up on Wikipedia."

Most essay mills claim that they're only providing "model" papers and that students don't really turn in what they buy. Mr. Robbins, who has a law degree and now attends nursing school, knows that's not true. In some cases, he says, customers have forgotten to put their names at the top of the papers he's written before turning them in. Although he takes pride in the writing he's done over the years, he doesn't have much respect for the students who use the service. "These are kids whose parents pay for college," he says. "I'll take their money. It's not like they're going to learn anything anyway."

That's pretty much how Charles Parmenter sees it. He wrote for Essay Writers and another company before quitting about a year ago. "If anybody wants to say this is unethical — yeah, OK, but I'm not losing any sleep over it," he says. Though he was, he notes, nervous that his wife would react badly when she found out what he was doing. As it happens, she didn't mind.

Mr. Parmenter, who is 54, has worked as a police officer and a lawyer over the course of a diverse career. He started writing essays because he needed the money and he knew he could do it well. He wrote papers for nursing and business students, along with a slew of English-literature essays. His main problem, he says, is that the quality of his papers was too high. "People would come back to me and say, 'It's a great paper, but my professor will never believe it's me,'" says Mr. Parmenter. "I had to dumb them down."

Eventually the low pay forced him to quit. In his best months, he brought home around $1,000. Other months it was half that. He estimates that he wrote several hundred essays, all of which he's kept, though most he can barely remember. "You write so many of these things they start running together," he says.

Both Mr. Parmenter and Mr. Robbins live in the United States. But the writers for essay mills are increasingly international. Most of the users who log into the Essay Writers Web site are based in India, according to Alexa, a company that tracks Internet traffic. A student in, say, Wisconsin usually has no idea that the paper he ordered online is being written by someone in another country.

Like Nigeria. Paul Arhewe lives in Lagos, that nation's largest city, and started writing for essay mills in 2005. Back then he didn't have his own computer and had to do all of his research and writing in Internet cafes. Now he works as an online editor for a newspaper, but he still writes essays on the side. In the past three years, he's written more than 200 papers for American and British students. In an online chat, Mr. Arhewe insisted that the work he does is not unethical. "I believe it is another way of learning for the smart and hardworking students," he writes. Only lazy students, Mr. Arhewe says, turn in the papers they purchase.

Mr. Arhewe started writing for Essay Writers after another essay mill cheated him out of several hundred dollars. That incident notwithstanding, he's generally happy with the work and doesn't complain about the pay. He makes between $100 and $350 a month writing essays — not exactly a fortune, but in a country like Nigeria, where more than half the population lives on less than a dollar a day, it's not too bad either.

Mr. Arhewe, who has a master's degree from the University of Lagos, has written research proposals and dissertations in fields like marketing, economics, psychology, and political science. While his English isn't quite perfect, it's passable, and apparently good enough for his clients. Says Mr. Arhewe: "I am enjoying doing what I like and getting paid for it."

Write My Dissertation

Some customers of Essay Writers are college freshmen who, if their typo-laden, grammatically challenged order forms are any indication, struggle with even the most basic writing tasks. But along with the usual suspects, there is no shortage of seniors paying for theses and graduate students buying dissertations.

One customer, for example, identifies himself as a Ph.D. student in aerospace engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He or she (there is no name on the order) is interested in purchasing a 200-page dissertation. The student writes that the dissertation must be "well-researched" and includes format requirements and a general outline. Attached to the order is a one-page description of Ph.D. requirements taken directly from MIT's Web site. The student also suggests areas of emphasis like "static and dynamic stability of aircraft controls."

The description is consistent with the kind of research graduate students do, according to Barbara Lechner, director of student services at the institute's department of aeronautics and astronautics. In an initial interview, Ms. Lechner said she would bring up the issue with others in the department. Several weeks later, Ms. Lechner said she was told by higher-ups not to respond to The Chronicle's inquiries.

The head of the department, Ian A. Waitz, says he doesn't believe it's possible, given the highly technical subject matter, for a graduate student to pay someone else to research and write a dissertation. "It seems like a bogus request," says Mr. Waitz, though he wasn't sure why someone would fake such an order. However, like Ms. Lechner, Mr. Waitz acknowledged that the topics in the request are consistent with the department's graduate-level research.

Would-be aerospace engineers aren't the only ones outsourcing their papers. A student at American University's law school ordered a paper for a class called "The Law of Secrecy." She didn't include her full name on the order, but she did identify one of her two professors, Stephen I. Vladeck. Mr. Vladeck — who immediately knew the identity of the student from the description of the paper — was surprised and disappointed because he tries to help students who are having trouble and because he had talked to her about her paper. Mr. Vladeck argues that a law school "has a particular obligation not to tolerate this kind of stuff." The student never actually turned in the paper and took an "incomplete" for the course.

Essay Writers attempts to hide the identities of its customers even from the writers who do the actual work. But it's not always successful. Some students inadvertently include personal information when they upload files to the Web site; others simply put their names at the bottom of their orders.

Jessica Dirr is a graduate student in communication at Northern Kentucky University and an Essay Writers customer. She hired the company to work on her paper "Separated at Birth: Symbolic Boasting and the Greek Twin." Ms. Dirr says she looked online for assistance because the university's writing center wasn't much help and because she had trouble with citation rules. She describes what Essay Writers did as mostly proofreading. "They made some suggestions, and I took their advice," she says. Unfortunately, Ms. Dirr says, the paper "wasn't up to the level my professor was hoping for."

Mickey Tomar paid Essay Writers $100 to research and write a paper on the parables of Jesus Christ for his New Testament class. Mr. Tomar, a senior at James Madison University majoring in philosophy and religion, defends the idea of paying someone else to do your academic work, comparing it to companies that outsource labor. "Like most people in college, you don't have time to do research on some of these things," he says. "I was hoping to find a guy to do some good quality writing."

Nicole Cohea paid $190 for a 10-page paper on a Dove soap advertising campaign. Ms. Cohea, a senior communications major at the University of Southern Mississippi, wrote in her order that she wanted the company to "add on to what I have already written." She helpfully included an outline for the paper and wondered whether the writer could "add a catchy quote at the beginning."

When asked whether it was wrong, in general, to pay someone else to write your essay, Ms. Cohea responded, "Definitely." But she says she wasn't planning to turn in the paper as her own; instead, she says, she was only going to use it to get ideas. She was not happy with the paper Essay Writers provided. It seemed, she says, to have been written by a non-native English speaker. "I could tell they were Asian or something just by the grammar and stuff," she says.

James F. Kollie writes a sporadically updated blog titled My Ph.D. Journey in which he chronicles the progress he's making toward his doctorate from Walden University. He recently ordered the literature-review portion of his dissertation, "The Political Economy of Privatization in Post-War Developing Countries," from Essay Writers. In the order, he explains that the review should focus on privatization efforts that have failed.

Mr. Kollie acknowledged in an interview that he had placed an order with Essay Writers, but he said it was not related to his dissertation. Rather, he says, it was part of a separate research project he's conducting into online writing services. When asked if his university was aware of the project, he replied, "I don't have time for this," and hung up the phone.

Policing Plagiarism

Some institutions, most notably Boston University, have made efforts to shut down essay mills and expose their customers. A handful of states, including Virginia, have laws on the books making it a misdemeanor to sell college essays. But those laws are rarely, if ever, enforced. And even if a case were brought, it would be extremely difficult to prosecute essay-mill operators living abroad.

So what's a professor to do? Thomas Lancaster, a lecturer in computing at Birmingham City University, in England, wrote his dissertation on plagiarism. In addition, he and a colleague wrote a paper on so-called contract-cheating Web sites that allow writers to bid on students' projects. Their paper concludes that because there is almost never any solid evidence of wrongdoing, catching and disciplining students is the exception.

Continued in this very long article

March 16, 2009 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]

This message is partly on point and partly a "vent".

I think I could tell a "customized" term paper from one by my students because the grammar would be correct. The paper might communicate and be coherent. But then again, maybe not.

My most recent experience in this regard is a 1-page assignment consisting of ratio calculations and a discussion of the business, strategy, opportunities and challenges of a particular company's MD&A. The discussion was assigned with the objective of having the students go beyond simply calculating ratios without thinking about what the company is in business to do and how the strategies might impact and be impacted by the reported numbers.

This is a special grad class and I am trying to teach them the basics of financial accounting and financial statement analysis. I have 7 hours per weekend for 4 weekends to do this. Students are in teams for the analysis assignments on the company I am using. The instructions clearly and I emphasized in class that the discussion had to be in the students' own words and they were not to copy the company's language. Every team used at least some of the company's phrases for the strategy (without quotation marks) which made it clear none of the teams had a clue about what the strategy meant "in plain English."

One team's grammar was incredibly bad and had several incomplete sentences. Their ability to communicate and grammar affected the grade. They told me that, since this was a short paper for homework, they didn't think they needed to worry about grammar.

My question to those who give written assignments: How do you have the time to teach your students writing skills as well as accounting? Do you have students re-write papers/


Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at

Extracurricular Reading Says Something About Our Students
"they're choosing books like 13-year-old girls -- or their parents."

"These Kids Today!" by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, March 18, 2009 ---

At the National Book Critics Circle awards event last Thursday, I had the pleasure of presenting this year’s Balakian citation for excellence in book reviewing to Ron Charles, the weekly fiction critic for The Washington Post -- and once, in a previous incarnation, an assistant professor of English at Principia College. He has been a finalist for the award several times, displaying great patience with NBCC as we’ve climbed the learning curve. His acceptance speech was, by acclaim, the highlight of the evening.

But to judge by the blog chatter, the high point of Ron’s public impact actually came earlier this month, when his essay on the extracurricular reading habits of college students appeared. Citing recent best sellers reported from campus bookstores, he noted that you found nothing even vaguely akin to The Autobiography of Malcolm X or the poetry of Sylvia Plath or Allen Ginsberg. Instead, there were novels about wizardry and adolescent vampire romance.

“The only title that stakes a claim as a real novel for adults was Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns, the choice of a million splendid book clubs. Here we have a generation of young adults away from home for the first time, free to enjoy the most experimental period of their lives, yet they're choosing books like 13-year-old girls -- or their parents. The only specter haunting the groves of American academe seems to be suburban contentment. ... In the conservative 1950s, when Hemingway's plane went down in Uganda, students wore black armbands till news came that the bad-boy novelist had survived. Could any author of fiction that has not inspired a set of Happy Meal toys elicit such collegiate mourning today?”

As much as I like its author, some aspects of this complaint strike me as problematic. In general, of course, Ron Charles is pointing to a real phenomenon, a tendency towards juvenilization that seems all-pervasive at times. His observations call to mind Andrew Calcutt’s Arrested Development: Pop Culture and the Erosion of Adulthood (Castells), an insightful book from the late 1990s that still seems quite on-target.

To suppose that things were really that much better in decades past, though, may be the historical equivalent of an optical illusion. I don't know whether anyone was tracking campus bookstore sales in the 1950s or '60s. If so, the record would probably show Peyton Place and Happiness is a Warm Puppy doing pretty well – and Diana diPrima's poetry, or Herbert Marcuse's social criticism, not so much. When I arrived on campus as a freshman in 1981, my first roommate was quite devoted to Jonathan Livingston Seagull while the rest of my dorm was trying to imitate Hunter S. Thompson (in lifestyle, not prose style). The number of young people reading anything serious at any given time tends to be pretty small.

Via e-mail, I ran some of these thoughts by Ron -- who answered with good humor that he’d “just [been] giving a twist to the Old Man rant about Young People Nowadays,” after all.

“The presence of a few numbers and stats gave my essay the gloss of a piece of sociology that it doesn't really deserve,” he says. “I couldn't find much data about what college kids were reading in the '50s and '60s, and even the data available today are far more suspect than we usually acknowledge. For one thing, Follett and Barnes & Noble control a huge portion of the college bookstore market, so what's promoted on college campuses is far more homogenized and commercialized than in earlier decades. Also, many of the reporting college bookstores serve their communities at large, so there's no way to tell what's really being bought by college students and what's being bought by the professors' own young children or just people who happen to live near the university.”

Much of the discussion generated by his article has ignored such questions and gone directly to the argument that Ron Charles is a conservative dinosaur who must have been a teenager circa World War Two.

Either that, or he lives on a commune in Vermont where he went into hiding during the Nixon years and wrote his essay out of disappointment that he can’t recruit kids to the Weather Underground. (Possibly both.) Actually he is in his 40s, lives in a suburb, and has the demeanor of someone who sat out the Culture Wars as a conscientious objector.

“I was surprised and disappointed,” he told me, “by the number of respondents who felt I wanted college students to start reading the works of Abbie Hoffman and other '60s and '70s writers. Or that I was complaining that they weren't reading more Serious Literature. That wasn't really my point: I was actually disappointed that they weren't reading more age-appropriate material: not stuff for middle schoolers and not stuff for adults, but all the kinds of crazy, wild, naïve, in-your-face, big-think literature that young people should be reading during that magical moment between high school and the first soul-crushing job.”

Continued in article


"Whoa Twitter Mania," by Erick Schonfeld, The Washington Post, March 13, 2009 ---   [www_washingtonpost_com] 

Maybe it is all the TV news mentions, but Twitter is seeing the growth in U.S visitors to its site accelerating. In February, 4 million people in the U.S. visited the site, up from 2.6 million the month before, according to the latest data from comScore. That represents a 55 percent month-over-month growth rate, compared to 33 percent growth in each of the two months prior. (ComScore has yet to release February figures for worldwide visitors, but for January that number is 6 million).

These numbers are only for visitors to, and they do not capture usage on desktop or mobile clients. And the apps just keep on coming. For instance, Twitdom now counts 529 Twitter apps. But the site visitor numbers are indicative of the steep growth ramp Twitter is enjoying right now. It is still early days. Can its growth keep accelerating or is it unsustainable?

"Tim Berners-Lee is cybercrime victim:  Discovered the fraud after buying a gift online," by Carrie-Ann Skinner, Computer World, March 16, 2009 ---

Tim Berners-Lee, who is known as the founder of the World Wide Web, has revealed that he was the victim of online fraud after purchasing a gift online.

Berners-Lee, who is credited with developing the idea of the World Wide Web 20 years ago, told the Telegraph: "The worst thing that has happened to me was when I tried to buy a Christmas present from a company that looked like a bona fide company on the Internet and then actually they were a completely fake company. I think I am yet to get the money back, but it wasn't a lot."

Continued in article

Conficker Cabal
What fragile information systems can do to uproot and defraud the entire networked world

An extraordinary behind-the-scenes struggle is taking place between computer security groups around the world and the brazen author of a malicious software program called Conficker. The program grabbed global attention when it began spreading late last year and quickly infected millions of computers with software code that is intended to lash together the infected machines it controls into a powerful computer known as a botnet. Since then, the program’s author has repeatedly updated its software in a cat-and-mouse game being fought with an informal international alliance of computer security firms and a network governance group known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Members refer to the alliance as the Conficker Cabal.
John Markoff, "Computer Experts Unite to Hunt Worm," The New York Times, March 19, 2009 ---

A report scheduled to be released Thursday by SRI International, a nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, Calif., says that Conficker C constitutes a major rewrite of the software. Not only does it make it far more difficult to block communication with the program, but it gives the program added powers to disable many commercial antivirus programs as well as Microsoft’s security update features.

“Perhaps the most obvious frightening aspect of Conficker C is its clear potential to do harm,” said Phillip Porras, a research director at SRI International and one of the authors of the report. “Perhaps in the best case, Conficker may be used as a sustained and profitable platform for massive Internet fraud and theft.”

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at

"Massive Profits Fueling Rogue Antivirus Market." by Brian Krebs, The Washington Post, March 17, 2009 --- Click Here 

In the cyber underworld, more and more individuals are generating six-figure paychecks each month by tricking unknowing computer users into installing rogue anti-virus and security products, new data suggests.

One service, that exemplifies a very easy way these bad guys can make this kind of money is, one of the leading "affiliate programs" that pays people to distribute relatively worthless security software. Affiliates are given a range of links and Javascript snippets they can use to embed the software in hacked and malicious Web sites, or tainted banner advertisements online.

Unsuspecting users who view one of these hacked sites or ads see a series misleading warnings saying their computers are infected with malware, and offering a free scan. Those who agree are prompted to download a program that conducts a bogus scan and warns of non-existent threats on the user's system. The software also blocks the user from visiting legitimate security Web sites. The user is then pestered with increasingly deceptive and incessant prompts to purchase the software (see the screen shots above and below for some of the more subtle examples).

The user's system remains in this state until he or she figures out how to remove the software or relents and pays for a license. At that point, the affiliate responsible for generating that installation is paid by about $30. The software is sold for between $50 and $75 per license.

Whether the distribution of this software violates the law may depend on how it is distributed. The Federal Trade Commission has taken civil actions against purveyors of this rogue anti-virus software for unfair and deceptive trade practices. If, however, affiliates are distributing this software via Web sites or PCs that they have hacked, that would be illegal by almost any standards. was dismantled on Nov. 29, 2008, most likely because the same domain was referenced deep inside the guts of the Conficker worm, a family of malware that is estimated to have infected at least 10 million Microsoft Windows systems.

Prior to site's demise, security researchers managed to snag a copy of the database for the TrafficConverter affiliate program. While that data set is incomplete, the information available on the top-earning affiliates helps explain why so many consumers are reporting infections from rogue anti-virus products: Successful affiliates are making money hand over fist with these programs.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security ---

It just gets deeper and deeper for Deloitte

Why would four universities (Carnegie-Mellon, Pittsburgh, Bowling Green, and Ohio Northern) invest hundreds of millions dollars in a fraudulent investment fund and what makes this fraud different from the Madoff and Stanford fund scandals?

One of the reasons is that the fraudulent Westridge Capital Management Fund was audited by the reputable Big Four firm of Deloitte. It seems to be Auditing 101 to verify that securities investments actually exist and have not be siphoned off illegally. Purportedly, Paul R. Greenwood and Stephen Walsh siphoned off hundreds of millions to fund their lavish personal lifestyles

Koch recently told state lawmakers that Iowa officials believed they had "covered the bases" but that "obviously, something went wrong." He and Cochrane, in an interview, said that there was no apparent problem with Westridge that would raise concerns. Numerous government regulatory agencies had audited the company and the venerable Deloitte and Touche firm was Westridge's auditor. The company's investment returns did not raise suspicion because they generally followed market trends: The firm gained and lost money when the rest of the market did.
Stephen C. Fehr, "Iowa, N.D. victims of investment fraud," McClatchy-Tribune News Service, March 16, 2009 ---

As with the investors who lost $65 billion in the Madoff Fund, word of mouth from respected people and institutions seem to weigh more than factual analysis for countless investors? Rabbi Ragan says a good man runs this fund? If Carnegie-Mellon's investing in it it most be safe? Yeah Right!
Various other investors and investment funds allegedly lost millions in the Greenwood-Walsh Fund Fraud --- greenwood&st=cse
The Pennsylvania Employees’ Retirement System  was saved in the nick of time from investing nearly a billion dollars in the fund upon discovering that the National Futures Association began an investigation of the Greenwood-Walsh Fund. For other duped investors it was too late.

But in some cases the auditing firm is reputable and has deep pockets.

"A 4th University Is Missing Money in Alleged $554-Million Swindle," by Paul Fain, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 19, 2009 --- Click Here

Ohio Northern University is the fourth higher-education institution to announce that it is seeking to recoup money in an alleged $554-million investment fraud, university officials said today. Ohio Northern’s endowment had $10-million invested with two Wall Street veterans who face criminal charges for allegedly using investors’ money as a “personal piggy bank,” spending at least $160-million on mansions, horses, rare books, and collectible toys.

Also tied up in the apparent swindle is $65-million from the University of Pittsburgh, $49-million from Carnegie Mellon University, and $15-million from Bowling Green State University. Securities lawyers say little value from the original investments will be recovered. Officials from all of the universities say the potential losses will have no immediate impact on their operations.

Most college endowments rely on outside investment consultants to help direct their money. Hartland & Company, a financial firm in Cleveland, steered the now-missing investments by Ohio Northern and Bowling Green to the firm running the allegedly-fraudulent scheme. Pitt and Carnegie Mellon relied on the advice of Wilshire Associates, a major California-based consulting firm.

Paul R. Greenwood and Stephen Walsh, the two Wall Street traders who owned the suspect firm, face charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. Federal regulators have also sued the men, and are pursuing their assets.

"Pitt, CMU money managers arrested in fraud FBI says they misappropriated $500 million for lavish lifestyles," by Jonathon Silver, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 26, 2009 ---

Two East Coast investment managers sued for fraud by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University misappropriated more than $500 million of investors' money to hide losses and fund a lavish lifestyle that included purchases of $80,000 collectible teddy bears, horses and rare books, federal authorities said yesterday.

As Pitt and Carnegie Mellon were busy trying to learn whether they will be able to recover any of their combined $114 million in investments through Westridge Capital Management, the FBI yesterday arrested the corporations' managers.

Paul Greenwood, 61, of North Salem, N.Y., and Stephen Walsh, 64, of Sands Point, N.Y., were charged in Manhattan -- by the same office prosecuting the Bernard L. Madoff fraud case -- with securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy.

Both men also were sued in civil court by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which alleged that the partners misappropriated more than $553 million and "fraudulently solicited" $1.3 billion from investors since 1996.

The Accused

Paul Greenwood and Stephen Walsh are accused of misappropriating millions from investors. Here is a look at some of their biggest personal purchases:

• HOME: Mr. Greenwood, a horse breeder, owned a horse farm in North Salem, N.Y., an affluent community that counts David Letterman as a resident.

• BEARS: Mr. Greenwood owns as many as 1,350 Steiff toys, including teddy bears costing as much as $80,000.

• DIVORCE: Mr. Walsh bought his ex-wife a $3 million condominium as part of their divorce settlement.

"This is huge," said David Rosenfeld, associate regional director of the SEC's New York Regional Office. "This is a truly egregious fraud of immense proportions."

Lawyers for the defendants either could not be reached or had no comment.

Mr. Greenwood and Mr. Walsh, longtime associates and former co-owners of the New York Islanders hockey team, ran Westridge Capital Management and a number of affiliated funds and entities.

As late as this month, the partners appeared to be doing well. Mr. Greenwood told Pitt's assistant treasurer Jan. 21 that they had $2.8 billion under management -- though that number is now in question. And on Feb. 2, Pitt sent $5 million to be invested.

But in the course of less than three weeks, Westridge's mammoth portfolio imploded in what federal authorities called an investment scam meant to cover up trading losses and fund extravagant purchases by the partners.

An audit launched Feb. 5 by the National Futures Association proved key to uncovering the alleged deceit and apparently became the linchpin of the case federal prosecutors are building.

That audit came about in an indirect way. The association, a self-policing membership body, had taken action against a New York financier. That led to a man named Jack Reynolds, a manager of the Westridge Capital Management Fund in which CMU invested $49 million; and Mr. Reynolds led to Westridge.

"We just said we better take a look at Jack Reynolds and see what's happening, and that led us to Westridge and WCM, so it was a domino effect," said Larry Dyekman, an association spokesman. "We're just not sure we have the full picture yet."

Mr. Reynolds has not been charged by federal authorities, but he is named as a defendant in the lawsuit that was filed last week by Pitt and CMU.

"Greenwood and Walsh refused to answer any of our questions about where the money was or how much there was," Mr. Dyekman continued.

"This is still an ongoing investigation, and we can't really say at this point with any finality how much has been lost."

The federal criminal complaint traces the alleged illegal activity to at least 1996.

FBI Special Agent James C. Barnacle Jr. said Mr. Greenwood and Mr. Walsh used "manipulative and deceptive devices," lied and withheld information as part of a scheme to defraud investors and enrich themselves.

The complaint refers to a public state-sponsored university called "Investor 1" whose details match those given by Pitt in its lawsuit.

The SEC's Mr. Rosenfeld said the fraud hinged not so much on the partners' investment strategy but on the fact that they are believed to have simply spent other people's money on themselves.

"They took it. They promised the investors it would be invested. And instead of doing that they misappropriated it for their own use," Mr. Rosenfeld said.

Not only do federal authorities believe Mr. Greenwood and Mr. Walsh used new investors' funds to cover up prior losses in a classic Ponzi scheme, they used more than $160 million for personal expenses including:

• Rare books bought at auction;

• Steiff teddy bears purchased for up to $80,000 at auction houses including Sotheby's;

• A horse farm;

• Cars;

• A residence for Mr. Walsh's ex-wife, Janet Walsh, 53, of Florida, for at least $3 million;

• Money for Ms. Walsh and Mr. Greenwood's wife, Robin Greenwood, 57, both of whom are defendants in the SEC suit. More than $2 million was allegedly wired to their personal accounts by an unnamed employee of the partners.

"Defendants treated investor money -- some of which came from a public pension fund -- as their own piggy bank to lavish themselves with expensive gifts," said Stephen J. Obie, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's acting director of enforcement.

It is not clear how Pitt and CMU got involved with Mr. Greenwood and Mr. Walsh. But there is at least one connection involving academia. The commission suit said Mr. Walsh represented to potential investors that he was a member of the University at Buffalo Foundation board and served on its investment committee.

Mr. Walsh is a 1966 graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo where he majored in political science.

He was a trustee of the University at Buffalo Foundation, but the foundation did not have any investments in Westridge or related firms.

Universities, charitable organizations, retirement and pension funds are among the investors who have done business with Mr. Greenwood and Mr. Walsh.

Among those investors are the Sacramento County Employees' Retirement System, the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System and the North Dakota Retirement and Investment Office, which handles $4 billion in investments for teachers and public employees.

The North Dakota fund received about $20 million back from Westridge Capital Management, but has an undetermined amount still out in the market, said Steve Cochrane, executive director.

Mr. Cochrane said Westridge Capital was cooperative in returning what money it could by closing out their position and sending them the money.

"I dealt with them exclusively all these years," Mr. Cochrane said.

"They always seemed to be upfront and honest. I think they're as stunned and as victimized as we are, is my guess."

He said Westridge Capital had done an excellent job over the years.

The November financial statement indicated that the one-year return from Westridge Capital was a negative 11.87 percent, but the five-year annualized rate of return was a positive 8.36 percent.

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at

Bob Jensen's Rotten to the Core threads are at

Deloitte is getting deeper and deeper into new lawsuits, one of which is the huge Washington Mutual (WaMu) failed bank lawsuit ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Deloitte are at

From the Scout Report on March 13, 2009

Wise Registry Cleaner 4.14 --- 

If you're new to the world of disk cleaning utilities, you'll appreciate the easy-to-use interface and flexibility of Wise Registry Cleaner. This application helps users select which drives or folders they wish to clean, and then they can customize their cleaning options to delete cookies and temporary files. Additionally, the program includes a help wizard to keep new users on the right track. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer.

Jing 2.0.14405 --- 

If you're looking to share videos of onscreen action or screen shots with friends or business associates, the latest version of Jing will be most welcome. This edition allows users to capture screenshots, and then add captions, highlights, or directional arrows. Also, users can add their own voice to the onscreen action and then they can also upload the image or video. After uploading the image or video, they can also send a URL for the newly created document to anyone they choose. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer or MAC OS X 10.4.11, or 10.5.5 or later.


From the Scout Report on March 20, 2009

Miro 2.0.3 --- 

Created as an open-source and cross-platform application, Miro 2.0.3 allows users to subscribe to and download video podcasts. Visitors can use the program to manage their existing videos, and they can also search for videos via major online video sharing sites, such as Yahoo and Google. Additionally, users can view over 6000 free Internet TV shows and make their way through a host of video podcasts. This version of Miro is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer and Macs running OSX 10.3 and newer.

Songbird 1.1.1 --- 

Appropriately named, the Songbird application allows users to manage their own digital media collection and learn about new types of music via Internet radio stations and also maintain links to various bookmarked sites. The program also features a number of add-ons, such as a "LyricMaster", which displays lyrics interactively and "MediaFlow", which offers a visually- enhanced trip through one's music collection. This version of Songbird is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer and Macs running OSX 10.5 and newer.

March 20, 2009 reply from Steve Hornik

Thanks Robert,

I had the pleasure of giving an exam last night and that allowed me to catch up on some of my Scout Report reading, here are a few things that caught my eye that others might find interesting:

 Foxit Reader 3.0
Foxit Reader was created to provide an alternative to Adobe Reader, and it seems to succeed quite nicely on all fronts. Foxit Reader allows users to draw graphics, highlight text, type text, and make notes on PDF documents, and then save the entire thing (or print it out). This version is compatible with computers running Windows Me and newer.

 MailStore Home
People who need to backup their emails with little fuss will want to give MailStore Home a whirl. The programs works with a variety of email account types (including Thunderbird and Outlook) to provide a complete backup of all email files. After the backup is created, users can leave it in the MailStore application or export it as a file. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer.

 Digital Research Tools
As more and more scholars grow interested in the world of digital research, this tremendously useful wiki will be one that they will tell their colleagues about. Created by Lisa Spiro, the director of the Digital Media Center at Rice University, this collaborative wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars conduct research more efficiently or creatively. Visitors can browse through topical headings that include "Authoring", "Blogging", and "Data Mining", among others. Within each heading, visitors can read short descriptions about each resource. Under the "Types of Tools" section visitors can search for specific tools that can help them collect data, edit images, make a dynamic map, and so on. Additionally, visitors can sign up to join the wiki here and also learn more about Spiro and her other projects.

Enhancing Education
Educators who are interested in incorporating new technologies into their classroom experience often wonder where to start. They may want to start by visiting the Enhancing Education site, which is maintained by staff members at the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning at Columbia University. The site is organized a bit like a weblog, as there are different posts organized into subjects that include "Noted", "Solutions", and "Primers". The "Noted" postings highlight interesting technologies that may be of interest to educators, and the "Solutions" entries are composed of a quick "how-to" that addresses a broad range of technologies and approaches to classroom learning. Finally, the "Primers" posts cover the basic elements of a compelling new technology or idea, including incorporating a weblog into the class or peer editing. Visitors can also view the top ten tags on the site, or take a look at the most recent posts.

Dr. Steven Hornik
University of Central Florida
Dixon School of Accounting
Second Life: Robins Hermano
yahoo ID: shornik

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

Education Tutorials

JURN (search engine for humanities and social science research) ---

Free Images from the U.S. Government ---

America [multimedia] ---

Free Federal Resources in Various Disciplines ---

No Brief Candle: Reconceiving Research Libraries for the 21st Century ---

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation ---

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at

Harvard College's Computer Science 50 (video tutorials for learning about computers) ---

"U. of Manitoba Researchers Publish Open-Source Handbook on Educational Technology," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 19, 2009 ---

Technology is changing the way students learn. Is it changing the way colleges teach?

Not enough, says George Siemens, associate director of research and development at the University of Manitoba’s Learning Technologies Centre.

While colleges and universities have been “fairly aggressive” in adapting their curricula to the changing world, Mr. Siemens told The Chronicle, “What we haven’t done very well in the last few decades is altering our pedagogy.”

To help get colleges thinking about how they might adapt their teaching styles to the new ways students absorb and process information, Mr. Siemens and Peter Tittenberger, director of the center, have created a Web-based guide, called the Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning.

Taking their own advice, they have outfitted the handbook with a wiki function that will allow readers to contribute their own additions.

In the its introduction, the handbook declares the old pedagogical model—where the students draw their information primarily from textbooks, newspapers, and their professors—dead. “Our learning and information acquisition is a mash-up,” the authors write. “We take pieces, add pieces, dialogue, reframe, rethink, connect, and ultimately, we end up with some type of pattern that symbolizes what’s happening ‘out there’ and what it means to us.” Students are forced to develop new ways of making sense of this flood of information fragments.

But Mr. Siemens said that colleges had been slow to appreciate this fact. “I don’t see a lot of research coming out on what universities might look like in the future,” he said. “If how we interact with information and with each other fundamentally changes, it would suggest that the institution also needs to change.”

Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning ---


This Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning (HETL) has been designed as a resource for educators planning to incorporate technologies in their teaching and learning activities.


How is education to fulfill its societal role of clarifying confusion when tools of control over information creation and dissemination rest in the hands of learners[3], contributing to the growing complexity and confusion of information abundance?

Change Pressures and Trends

Global, political, social, technological, and educational change pressures are disrupting the traditional role (and possibly design) of universities. Higher education faces a "re-balancing" in response to growing points of tension along the following fault lines...

What we know about learning

Over the last century, educator’s understanding of the process and act of learning has advanced considerably.

Technology, Teaching, and Learning

Technology is concerned with "designing aids and tools to perfect the mind". As a means of extending the sometimes limited reach of humanity, technology has been prominent in communication and learning. Technology has also played a role in classrooms through the use of movies, recorded video lectures, and overhead projectors. Emerging technology use is growing in communication and in creating, sharing, and interacting around content.

Media and technology

A transition from epistemology (knowledge) to ontology (being) suggests media and technology need to be employed to serve in the development of learners capable of participating in complex environments.

Change cycles and future patterns

It is not uncommon for theorists and thinkers to declare some variation of the theme "change is the only constant". Surprisingly, in an era where change is prominent, change itself has not been developed as a field of study. Why do systems change? Why do entire societies move from one governing philosophy to another? How does change occur within universities?

New Learners? New Educators? New Skills?

New literacies (based on abundance of information and the significant changes brought about technology) are needed. Rather than conceiving literacy as a singular concept, a multi-literacy view is warranted.


Each tool possesses multiple affordances. Blogs, for example, can be used for personal reflection and interaction. Wikis are well suited for collaborative work and brainstorming. Social networks tools are effective for the formation of learning and social networks. Matching affordances of a particular tool with learning activities is an important design and teaching activity


Evaluating the effectiveness of technology use in teaching and learning brings to mind Albert Einstein’s statement: "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted". When we begin to consider the impact and effectiveness of technology in the teaching and learning process, obvious questions arise: "How do we measure effectiveness? Is it time spent in a classroom? Is it a function of test scores? Is it about learning? Or understanding?"


Through a process of active experimentation, the academy’s role in society will emerge as a prominent sensemaking and knowledge expansion institution, reflecting of the needs of learners and society while maintaining its role as a transformative agent in pursuit of humanity’s highest ideals.


Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---


Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

NASA: Exploration in 3D ---

Reclaiming the Everglades: South Florida's Natural History, 1884-1934 ---

Virginia M. Kline Collection: Ecological Communities of Wisconsin

Transforming Agricultural Education ---

University of Alabama Digital Collections (including agriculture history) ---

International Centre for Human Resources in Nursing ---

National Institute on Aging ---

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

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

JURN (search engine for humanities and social science research) ---

America [multimedia] ---

The Federal Reserve (a five part video series) ---

Brookings Institution: Initiative on Business and Public Policy ---

The UN Secretary-General's Database on Violence Against Women ---

Freedom House: Freedom of the Press ---

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (urban history) ---

Maynard Institute for Journalism Education ---

Poynter Online: Reporting, Writing & Editing ---

Livable Streets ---

Archaeology: Screaming Mummies ---

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

Law and Legal Studies

From the Scout Report on March 20, 2009

Ubiquity of technology in (and outside) the courtroom present substantial challenges to the conduct of jury trials As Jurors Turn to Web, Mistrials Are Popping Up [Free registration may be required]  --- 

Facebook, Twitter throw US legal system into disarray 

Fumo Guilty on All Counts 

The Curse of the Information Society  

Stanford Technology Law Review 

Scientific American: Technology's Toll on Privacy and Security


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

Math Tutorials

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

History Tutorials

JURN (search engine for humanities and social science research) ---

Free Images from the U.S. Government ---

Free Federal Resources in Various Disciplines ---

Roll Call (government news and history)

Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts ---

Archaeology: Screaming Mummies ---

Egypt Eternal
This is a really neat site for history and art history enthusiasts, including accounting historians! --- 
"Museum without walls' displays Egypt's glories," by Stephen Strauss, The Globe and Mail, February 24, 2004 --- 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (urban history) ---

Jewelry at Historic New England ---

The Best Review ---

Civil Air Transport/Air America Collection --- 

In Our Own Backyard: Resisting Nazi Propaganda in Southern California, 1933-1945 ---

Victorian Britain: Early photographically illustrated books ---

American Presidential Portraits ---

National Portrait Gallery: Presidents in Waiting ---

The Minassian Collection: Persian, Mughal, and Indian Miniature Paintings (art history) ---

Magic Lantern Slides Collection from Japan ---

Japanese Fine Prints, Pre-1915 ---

Tales in Sprinkled Gold: Japanese Lacquer for European Collectors ---

Japanese Old Photographs of the Bakumatsu-Meiji Periods ---

JGuide (Japan) ---

Search for historic pictures of towns and counties on penny postcards --- 

From the Scout Report on March 13, 2009

Original Shakespeare portrait unveiled Is This a Shakespeare Which I See Before Me? 

Why is this the definitive image of Shakespeare? 

Shakespeare's first theatre found 

William Shakespeare at the National Portrait Gallery 

William Shakespeare Quiz 

William Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

The Complete Works of William Shakepeare

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

Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Writing Tutorials

Poynter Online: Reporting, Writing & Editing ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at

Updates from WebMD ---

Identifying At-Risk Mental Health Students
Ultimately, the goal is to identify and refer the at-risk students to the counseling center, either by walking them over, setting up an appointment for them, or giving them a number to call. "This is not about treatment" -- or diagnoses, Goldman stressed. "This is about identifying, approaching and if necessary referring the student."
Elizabeth Redden, "On Mental Health, an Online Tool ," Inside Higher Ed, March 17, 2009 ---

One out of every 100 African Americans will die of heart failure before the prime of life
That's 20 times white Americans' risk of heart failure before age 50. A telling statistic: Three-fourths of the African-American study participants who suffered heart failure had uncontrolled high blood pressure by age 40.  ---

"Illuminating Parkinson's Disease:  New technique suggests how deep brain stimulation ameliorates symptoms," by Jocelyn Rice, MIT's Technology Review, March 20, 2009 ---

Because he's often superficial and gets a lot of things wrong, I'm not a huge Ben Stein fan.
But this is one thing he got right for certain.
This was forwarded by James Don Edwards.

For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called 'Monday Night At Morton's.' (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.) Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life.

Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.

How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I 'slug' it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This headline is 'eonline FINAL,' and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end..

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a 'star' we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit , Iraq . He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad . He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordinance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded.. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad .

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.

But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York . I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Dolly Parton and Queen Elizabeth Outside the Pearly Gates

Both die on the same day and they both go before an St. Peter to find out if they'll be admitted to Heaven.

Unfortunately, there's only one space left that day, so the angel must decide which of them gets in. The Angel asks Dolly if there's some particular reason why she should get into Heaven.

Dolly takes off her top and says, 'Look at these, they're the most perfect breasts God ever created, and I'm sure the angels will be pleased to see them every day, for eternity.'

The Angel thanks Dolly, and asks Her Majesty the same question.

The Queen takes a bottle of Perrier out of her purse, shakes it up, and gargles. Then, she spits into a toilet and pulls the lever.

The angel chuckles and says, 'Okay, Your Majesty, you may go in.'

Dolly is outraged and asks, 'What was that all about? I show you two of God's own perfect creations and you turn me down. She spits into a commode and gets in! Would you explain that to me?'

'Sorry, Dolly,' says the angel, 'but, even in Heaven, a royal flush beats a pair - no matter how big they are.'


Tidbits Archives ---

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

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

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

Three Finance Blogs

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

Some Accounting Blogs

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

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

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

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

Free Textbooks and Cases ---

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials ---

Free Science and Medicine Tutorials ---

Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials ---

Free Education Discipline Tutorials ---

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature ---

Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness ---

Teacher Source: Math ---

Teacher Source:  Science ---

Teacher Source:  PreK2 ---

Teacher Source:  Library Media ---

Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University ---

VYOM eBooks Directory ---

From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department ---

Online Mathematics Textbooks --- 

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives ---

Moodle  --- 

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

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accounting program news items for colleges are posted at
Sometimes the news items provide links to teaching resources for accounting educators.
Any college may post a news item.

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

Roles of a ListServ ---

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

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) ---


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