Tidbits on March 18, 2010
Bob Jensen

A glorious sunrise (the photo has not been retouched in any way)

We have a wild cranberry bush on each corner of the front of our cottage.
I look at wild cranberries most of the year because of where my desk is located.
They begin in July as tiny beads on blossoms
By late summer they are red as shown below

This is how the cranberries looked in the middle of summer

Morning dew clings to the bottom of each wild cranberry

Wearing Caps of Snow

The birds really don't care for wild cranberries most of the year
Although birds dart about these bushes in all seasons
They end up leaving most of the cranberries until early spring (which is really still winter up here)
By March the birds are so hungry they will even eat the wild cranberries


This is a dreary time of year in these mountains
Wind and rain took away most of our beautiful snow
And the nights are too cold to bring on tree buds and spring blossoms
Nature seems to know that we can have another six feet of snow up to the end of May
I never plant anything until June 10
But things grow fast up here in the long summer daylight
In the late June we will once again have lupine in our south field

Last summer I mostly planted snap dragons, verbena, alyssum, and bordering yellow-bidens
I prefer the alyssum and bidens because of the way they spread
And crowd out most of the weeds

Erika on the other hand insists on planting roses
I think roses are a dumb thing to plant
All summer long she then has to fight WW II all over again
Against the thousands upon thousands of invading Japanese beetles

In winter, WW II is happily paused. Erika can't even find her rose bushes that I cover with burlap

But in July and August her roses are beautiful


Pictures Below Were Sent Mostly by Auntie Bev and Paula

Which one is the blind date?

Dream The Impossible Dream

This is my reply to somebody on the AECM who is becoming increasingly cynical about our profession in the wake of the Lehman Report.


As with most things in life, especially in accounting, law, medicine, politics, and war, it’s easily to get discouraged and even cynical because of all the bad things that are in the media.

However, all of our academic background has convinced us to balance everything. In virtually every instance we must balance the bad things with the countless good things that counterbalance the bad. For example, Sarbox has failed us in the publicized articles, but the countless successes of Sarbox just don’t get balanced in the media. The bad is seldom counterbalanced by the good in the media, including our listserv messaging.

The thing to pass on to students is to build on the bad and not get buried under it.

There is one writer in accounting and finance, Prem Sikka, that particularly gets my goat in his published Guardian articles, because he is always one-sided. I often learn things from his articles and sometimes pass them along in my tidbits, but just once I would like to hear him say one thing positive about the auditing profession, banking, business, capitalism, and politics.

I write a lot of negative things, but if you carefully examine all of my writings you will find what I hope is more academic counterbalancing ---
I even, with great effort and a clothes pin on my nose, write some positive tidbits about accountics.

We must agree to disagree but not always disagree in the academy.

If we become too one-sided in the academy, it’s a big turn off for students and colleagues.
I once had a colleague in the political science department who was known for constantly bashing multinational corporations. My students who took his courses hammered him in course evaluations for preaching rather than teaching. The university tired of his rants and persuaded him to retire early.

I cling to a belief that one-sided professors eventually lose their credibility in the academy, because they become virtually blind to contradictory evidence and argument. We expect this in politics, but we do not respect it in the academy (at least not me). There students want to learn both sides of every controversial topic in a course.


Success in marriage and academe lies in first agreeing to disagree and
second in not taking disagreements personally


 A Belated Irish Blessing --- http://www.andiesisle.com/ThisBlessingIsForYou.html

God Bless America (history from Kate Smith) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnQDW-NMaRs

 Snow Pictures of of Lessons in Life (Slide Show) --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/temp/SnowPicturesLessonsOfLife.pps

Ode to Forgetfulness --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=7lSliucgygc

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on March 18, 2010
To Accompany the March 18, 2010 edition of Tidbits

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


Tidbits on March 18, 2010
Bob Jensen


Video:  Saturday Night Live Takes on "Extremely Unpopular" Healthcare Plan ---

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google --- http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/06/coolsearchengines

World Clock and World Facts --- http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf

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

Free Residential and Business Telephone Directory (you must listen to an opening advertisement) --- dial 800-FREE411 or 800-373-3411
 Free Online Telephone Directory --- http://snipurl.com/411directory       [www_public-records-now_com] 
 Free online 800 telephone numbers --- http://www.tollfree.att.net/tf.html
 Google Free Business Phone Directory --- 800-goog411
To find names addresses from listed phone numbers, go to www.google.com and read in the phone number without spaces, dashes, or parens

Daily News Sites for Accountancy, Tax, Fraud, IFRS, XBRL, Accounting History, and More ---

Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google --- http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/06/coolsearchengines
Bob Jensen's search helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm
Education Technology Search --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm
Distance Education Search --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm
Search for Listservs, Blogs, and Social Networks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

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

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

I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbitsdirectory.htm

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


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

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

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

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

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

574 Shields Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---


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

"Financial Reform Bill Comedy Video," by Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, Comedy Central, March 16, 2010 ---

The Ohio Channel: Remarkable Ohio: Marking Ohio's History [video] http://www.ohiochannel.org/your_state/remarkable_ohio/index.cfm?mh=ohs

South Asian Oral History Project --- http://content.lib.washington.edu/saohcweb/index.html

Voices from Afghanistan --- http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/voicesfromafghanistan/Pages/default.aspx

Forwarded by a friend
This video was on CNBC about 4 months ago (re: Israel ) Better review it shortly - don't know how long CNBC archives their videos. Refreshing to hear a positive piece on Israel . Very interesting points on the difference between Israeli and American young people. (business leadership, and innovation)

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

God Bless America (history from Kate Smith) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnQDW-NMaRs

Duo Siqueira Lima - one guitar, two guitarists --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzFmLGVG2fY

Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/dcmhtml/dmhome.html 

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

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

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

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

Photographs and Art

Nickel Weeklies (American History) --- http://drc.library.bgsu.edu/handle/2374.BGSU/744 
Many Pen and Ink Sketches

New Mexico Museum of Art [Flash Player, pdf] http://www.nmartmuseum.org/

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: Digital Collections --- http://chwmaah-archive.com/?page_id=18

Hogenberg: Franz and Abraham Hogenberg Engravings --- http://diglib.princeton.edu/xquery?_xq=getCollection&_xsl=collection&_pid=pudl0051

The Reverend Claude L. Pickens, Jr. Collection on Muslims in China and Tibet (over 1,000 photographs) ---

African American History (photographs)
Documenting Our Past: The Teenie Harris Archive Project --- http://www.cmoa.org/teenie/intro.asp

MoMa: William Kentridge [Flash Player Art] http://moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/williamkentridge/ 

Teaching Images Digital Experiences --- http://tides.sfasu.edu/index.html

Southern California Butterflies --- http://socalbutterflies.com/

The Frank M. Hohenberger Photograph Collection (Brown County, Indiana) --- http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/lilly/hohenberger/

British Museum: A catalogue of the Russian icons in the British Museum

Museum of Contemporary Art: Podcasts [iTunes] --- http://www.mcachicago.org/interactive/podcasts.php?page=podcast

NYPL Digital Gallery: Turn of the Century Posters ---

Family Learning Forum --- http://familylearningforum.org/

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

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

Fascinating Statistics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FascinatingStatistics/Statistics.htm

United Nations World Digital Library --- http://www.wdl.org/en/

BBC: Learning English --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/

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

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on March 18, 2010
To Accompany the March 18, 2010 edition of Tidbits


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

Roger Collins shows why accountants may maybe would prefer to become a rocket scientist---

"Are we over estimating remembering and underestimating learning?"
by Joe Proctor, Williams College
Memory And Learning: Recent Research
Main Category: Psychology /
Psychiatry Also Included In: Neurology /
Neuroscience Article Date: 08 Mar 2010 - 2:00 PST

Are we over estimating remembering and underestimating learning?

Current research by Nate Kornell, an assistant professor of psychology at Williams College, and Robert A. Bjork of the University of California, Los Angeles address this question and was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

In their paper titled A Stability Bias in Human Memory: Overestimating Remembering and Underestimating Learning, Kornell and Bjork write: "To manage one's own conditions of learning effectively requires gaining an understanding of the activities and processes that do and do not support learning."

In psychology, experts use the term metacognition to talk about how people think about their own cognitive processes - in essence, thinking about thinking.

To probe the way people think about their capacity for remembering, Kornell and Bjork asked people to look at a list of words and predict how well they would be able to remember the words after subsequent periods of study and testing.

Their results led the researchers to the suggestion that people are under confident in their learning abilities and overconfident in their memories. That is, people failed to predict that they would be able to remember more words after studying more - although in reality, they learned far more -- instead basing their predictions on current memory. Kornell and Bjork call this a "stability bias" in memory.

Kornell's work also has been published in Scientific American, Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, and Applied Cognitive Psychology, among other journals.

Robert Bjork is a leader in the impact of metacognition in learning.
Bob Jensen's threads on metacognition (including references to Robert Bjork) are at

March 11, 2010 reply from Fordham, David [fordhadr@JMU.EDU]

Bob, this bring up a related question:

Are we over-valuing remembering and undervaluing learning?

Given the nature of today's emphasis on "assurance of learning", "standards of learning", etc., I would say we probably are. This kind of "misguided inadvertant malfeasance" is infiltrating up from K-12 and can now be found contaminating higher ed to a greater degree day by day.

Most of the standards of learning, assessment strategies, and other fads that education management seems to be pre-occupied with these days concentrate on remembering, and ignore true learning -- understanding, cognition, innovative application, contextual interpretation -- probably because remembering is so much easier to evaluate and numerically asess than are the higher-level elements of true learning.

The type of learning that I personally feel is most valuable is next to impossible to assess while the student is still in the classroom. But accreditation teams don't want to wait five to ten years to see whether the education was successful, they want evidence here and now, and thus we gather evidence on remembering rather than learning.... because it can be done.

Astute educators know that you never get what expect, you only get what inspect, and since we are now concentrating our inspections on remembering, well, that is where all the effort is going to be concentrated.

Of course, students have been doing this for generations, and professors have always lamented the fact that students study for the tests rather than studying to learn. And today's educational environment seems conducive to making the professors accomplices in that crime if we aren't very careful.

David R. Fordham
James Madison University

March 11, 2010 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

I think we must distinguish education on the basis of foundations for learning versus superstructures built on foundations. But I think we can use competency-based grading at all levels of education. The key to competency-based testing is not to have the teachers grading their own students.

Foundations include reading, writing, and arithmetic, and I’m all for standardized testing (competency-based learning) when teachers cannot be trusted. I skimmed the March 15, 2010 cover story in Newsweek (“We must fire bad teachers”) that claims teachers tend to come from the bottom 25% of their graduating class and are given lifetime job tenure irrespective of how bad they really are performing their jobs. At the same time they are faced with increasing problems of overly large classes and a cultural decline in obedience and learning motivation in classrooms. If competency-based testing help improve the foundation thresholds then I’m all for standardized testing to drill the basics into students who are not likely to get those basics in their home lives. It’s hard to become a scholar if you cannot read properly. At the same time, I think competency-based testing may lower creative scholarship in advanced collegiate courses and should be avoided in many of those courses where we trust the scholarship and standards of their professors.

I fully support the NETP report and think it is sad that only Texas and Alaska chose to go their own route. NETP report is http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/index.html

As to higher education, I might agree with you more, David, if I was not so discouraged with the nationwide explosion in grade inflation (the number one disgrace in higher education) and the watering down of standards in fear of bad teaching evaluations --- http://www.gradeinflation.com/ Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#RateMyProfessor

In spite of the drawbacks, this leads me to favor competency-based assessments such as the assessment methods used in Canada’s Chartered Accountancy School of Business (CASB) --- http://www.casb.com/

Having said this, however, I think that experiential learning such as the BAM metacognitive model may improve competency-based learning much like it improved CPA examination performance at the University of Virginia --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/265wp.htm The problem with the BAM model is that students tend to hate having to learn things on their own. They want to sit in nests like baby birds and have teachers fly in and stuff the testing answers down their throats like semi-digested worms of knowledge.

Competency-Based Grading May Have Varying Degrees of Standardization An advantage of competency-based learning is that it usually is much more difficult for teachers to buy higher teaching evaluations with easier courses and grading. A drawback is that it tends to make teachers teach to the testing content. The challenge is to be creative in the testing content. At the advanced levels of higher education, compentency-based tests need not be standardized. This is what we strive for in doctoral program “comprehensive tests.” This could also apply to lower level masters and maybe even senior level testing.

The key to competency-based testing is not to have the teachers grading their own students.

Bob Jensen

March 11, 2010 reply from AMY HAAS [haasfive@MSN.COM]

Interesting article in last Sunday's N.Y.Times on teaching, Building a Better Teacher by ELIZABETH GREEN. The writer suggests that often the difference between good and bad teaching comes down to learning the tools of good classroom management. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/magazine/07Teachers-t.html?hpw


 It's now possible to make multimedia pdf “portfolios”  and do other things with Adobe Acrobat Version 9-Extended

Here’s a video describing what can be done with Acrobat 9-Extended (not free):
Also see

It is my understanding that these portfolios work a lot like multimedia MS Office files but have certain advantages to authors such as customized levels of security (for example not being able to select text as text or not being able to select or copy multimedia files in a pdf portfolio).

To the user, a huge advantage of pdf files over MS Office files is that pdf users do not have to worry about macro viruses or other malware infections that are always worries with MS Office files.

However, I occasionally get security patches from Adobe signalling that Acrobat Readers are not immune from security risks ---

Acrobat 9 options are linked at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/

These must be purchased from  Adobe online “stores” linked under “buy now” at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/

U.S. buyers must pay $699 for an individual, single license or $299 for an upgrade.
There are some offers to download free or at huge discounts, but I frankly do not trust these sources.
Academic pricing is about $250.

Acrobat provides many advantages, not the least of which is the ease of capturing and printing Web pages in WYSIWYG as was pointed out to us on the AECM by Shari Thompson --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI1bt2cf-8w

There is an optical character recognition utility that will convert pictures of text into searchable text.

This may well be the format of the future for some large publishing companies.

Google Voice (via telephone) --- http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html

Video Summary of Google Voice --- http://www.youtube.com/googlevoice

"Google Voice Helps Students Learn Spanish," by Tanya Roscorla, Converge Magazine, March 1, 2010 ---

At Holmdel High School in New Jersey, students speak Spanish in front of their class, but they also practice their language skills on the phone.

This year, Spanish 2 teacher Katy Taylor wanted to find a different way to assess their progress in addition to listening to oral presentations in class. So, she asked them to call her Google Voice number and leave a message.

On their own time, the students read something in Spanish or create a dialogue, which could take up to 1 1/2 minute. Google Voice captures the audio and sends her an e-mail with the recording attached. Then she listens to their recordings and e-mails them feedback — and it's all free.

Google Voice, a telecommunications service by Google launched in March 2009, provides a U.S. phone number, chosen by the user from available numbers in selected area codes, free of charge to each user account.

“It was kind of just fun to experiment and see how it works in the classroom," Taylor said, "and the kids respond really well to it.”

Instead of taking up clas time, they dial in to her phone number, and then she can go online that evening to hear what they've done.

Many students are afraid to make mistakes in front of their peers, so when they do receive a recording assignment, they're more apt to take risks because they have some privacy.

“I’m hoping that the end result will be that students are speaking more and getting feedback," Taylor said. "Every time I think it gets a little better.”

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade are at

"Catalyst: Women MBAs Lag Behind Men in Jobs, Pay, Promotions," by Luis Lavelle, Business Week, March 3, 2010 ---

There’s a really interesting, albeit not all that surprising, report from Catalyst, the group working to expand opportunities for women in business.

In 2007 and 2008, Catalyst surveyed 9,927 alumni who graduated from 26 leading business schools in Asia, Canada, Europe, and the United States. Less than half, 4,143, were men and women who graduated from full-time MBA programs and were working full-time at the time of the survey. The goal was to find how women with MBAs fared (relative to men) in terms of pay and career trajectory after receiving their degrees.

The answer: not well. Even after correcting for years of experience, industry, and global region, Catalyst found that women were more likely than men to start their first post-MBA job at a lower level. That basic finding held even when considering only men and women who aspired to senior executive level positions, and even among survey respondents who did not have children. Overall, 60% of women started on the post-MBA career ladder at the lowest of rungs, entry-level positions. For men, that number was 46%.

Men also had higher starting salaries than women—even after taking all the same factors into account. Overall, men had a pay premium in their first post-MBA jobs of $4,600.

It would be nice to think that once hired women eventually catch up to men on the career ladder, but you'd be wrong. Catalyst also found that at the time of the survey men were twice as likely to have reached the CEO/senior executive level, and had higher salary growth. Even among men and women who started in entry-level positions and were otherwise identical in all ways that matter (received their MBAs in the same year, had the same amount of experience), men still outpaced women in terms of promotions and pay.

The numbers are depressing, and the authors of the report, Nancy M. Carter and Christine Silva, were as depressed as anyone by the findings. They wrote:

Companies pinned hopes on these on these highly trained graduates from elite MBA programs to help navigate through the white-water of the global economy. With the same prestigious credentials, one would expect these women and men to be on equal footing in the pipeline and their career trajectories gender-blind. What emerged, however, is evidence that the pipeline is in peril--one that, for women, is not as promising as expected. While the overall results of the study are not all that surprising (who hasn't heard the statistic that women earn only 75 cents for every dollar men earn?), what is surprising, at least to me, is that this pay gap doesn't disappear when examining groups of "high potentials" who are virtually identical except for gender. After all, the typical rationales for the pay gap are things like career choices, interrupted work histories caused by motherhood, and other factors specific to women. Correct for them, and at least theoretically, you should get perfect parity. But you don't. So something else must be at work--either something nefarious, like discrimination against women, or something we haven't thought of yet.

I also find this interesting in connection with the statistics about the number of women pursuing MBAs, which now hovers somewhere around 30% at top full-time MBA programs. The usual explanation for this has always been that women are reluctant to enroll in full-time programs in their late 20s because they're busy starting families. But maybe something else is at work. If you take the Catalyst research at face value, then maybe some women already knew what Catalyst is just now discovering and are making a rational economic choice instead. If pay and career trajectories for women really are not all they're cracked up to be, then maybe forking over $300 grand for a top-tier MBA just isn't worth it.

Food for thought. Are there any female MBAs who feel that they've been passed over for raises or promotions in favor of men, or who feel the game is somehow rigged in men's favor? Please tell us your stories.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

March 11, 2010 message from XXXXX


I am wondering if you know of any websites where I can gain access to watch camtasia-style (or narrated powerpoints) videos/lectures of upper level accounting instruction?

My Dean asked me to look into creating an asynchronous, distance/hybrid accounting program. I want to get an idea of what is out there. I think the classes I need are:

AIS Cost Intermediate 1 and 2 Tax Auditing Advanced GNP or NFP Any other advanced accounting, like advanced cost.

Thank you,


March 11, 2010 reply from Bob Jensen

Firstly, I would begin with the asynchronous way basic accounting is taught at BYU almost entirely with variable-speed videos even to resident students living on campus ---
BYU sells these video CDs to the public at a reasonable price.

Next I would enter a number of search terms into YouTube --- http://www.youtube.com/
Examples include:
Accounting Information Systems
Accounting Ethics
Intermediate accounting
Advanced accounting
Governmental accounting
Hedge accounting
Cost Accounting
Managerial Accounting
Fair Value Accounting


I have a few accounting theory Camtasia videos at
Links to my other online materials (including PowerPoint presentations) are at


My PowerPoint presentations and Excel workbooks are linked at

I suggest you contact my good friend Amy Dunbar about how she uses Camtasia videos in her online tax courses ---

In the future U.S. accounting programs will be building in more and more IFRS. Here there’s a heck of a lot of free educational material available ---
There are some good cases available, especially from the Big Four.

There is also a lot of free XBRL material, including some good videos --- http://www.xbrl.org/Home/
Click on “Education and Training”

The AICPA has a library of both fee and free videos --- http://www.aicpa.org/
Enter the search term “video”

Other organizations have some deals on videos for courses, including the IIA, Certified Fraud Examiners, etc.

There’s a ton of free material on ethics and fraud.

The OKI --- http://www.okiproject.org/view/html/site/oki
MIT’s Open Courseware Links --- http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm
Click on the Sloan School for accounting, finance, and other business open courseware materials

Pete Wilson provides some great videos on how to make accounting judgments ---

MIT’s Video Lecture Browser (better for the sciences than business) --- http://web.sls.csail.mit.edu/lectures/

"MIT's Management School Shares Teaching Materials (Cases) Online," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 27, 2009 ---
Click Here

Though some business schools charge for the “case studies” they develop as teaching aids, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced today that it is making a set of teaching materials available free online.

MIT’s Sloan School of Management has unveiled a set of case studies, videos, interactive teaching tools, and teacher’s notes on a new Web site called MIT Sloan Teaching Innovation Resources --- https://mitsloan.mit.edu/MSTIR/IndustryEvolution/Pages/default.aspx

The announcement comes eight years after MIT created its OpenCourseWare project, which makes instructional materials for courses available online for free.

Other open sharing materials provided by prestigious universities can be found at

Oh my Gosh!

I forgot to mention the AAA Commons where there’s now a great deal of available, including syllabi, tutorials, course materials, videos, and textbook recommendations --- http://commons.aaahq.org/pages/home

Soon many of the AAA Commons pages will be available to the world in general and not just AAA members. Among other things this makes the resources available to all of your students

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education and training alternatives are at

Tools and Tricks of the Trade ---

Hollywood's Accounting, Ethics, and Business Movies

Professor Roselyn Morris has a listing of ethics movies and some accounting movies---

"Perceptions of accountants' ethics: evidence from their portrayal in cinema.: by Felton, S., Dimnik, T. and Bay, D. (2008, December).  Journal of Business Ethics, 83(2), 217-232.

Abstract: "This article examines popular representations of accountants' ethics by studying their depiction in cinema. As a medium that both reflects and shapes public opinion, films provide a useful resource for exploring the portrayal of the profession's ethics. We employ a values theoretical framework to analyze 110 movie accountants on their basic ethical character, ethical behavior, and values."

Hollywood Accounting --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting

Spout's Movies Tagged for Accounting --- http://www.spout.com/members/0/tags/accounting/MemberTagFilms.aspx

Amazon's Wall Street Movies --- http://www.amazon.com/Wall-Street-Movies/lm/R2Q5QMM6BWWEAL

And here are some entrepreneur movies. Of course there are countless movies that feature business (usually in a bad light).

"Must-See Movies for Entrepreneurs," by Anthony Tjan, Harvard Business Review Blog, March 12, 2010 ---

After the Oscars last weekend, I started to think about which movies have really inspired me as an entrepreneur. Here are three films I believe that you should not only see, but also share with your teams. Each ties to an important entrepreneurial and leadership lesson.

Man on Wire
A story of the fanatical pursuit of a dream. Philippe Petit, a French tightrope walker, was consumed by the idea of walking a wire between New York's former World Trade twin towers. To do so, he would need years of planning and would have to do it as a covert mission. When I first watched this film, I did not know if it was based on a true story or not. The narrative and grainy black-and-white shots made me constantly question whether I was wishing for this to be true or if it was just brilliant story-telling. The fact that Petit is real and actually accomplished the feat in August of 1974 is beyond incredible. In an earlier post, I wrote about the thin line that great entrepreneurs balance between what Oscar Levant described as genius and insanity. You want someone like Petit to succeed because it seems so improbable and outlandish that it takes a creative visionary with some degree of craziness to pull it off. Seeing this movie is an inspiration for those who dare to think differently and push the boundaries.

More than a Game
This is the inspiring story of a high school basketball team and their quest for the national title. It is also happens to be the documentary of the high school basketball team on which superstar Lebron James played. I loved this movie for so many reasons, but the inspiration for entrepreneurs is in the unfolding of how Lebron and four of his closest friends from childhood pursued a dream, Starting as a team of fifth graders playing and growing up together in some of the poorest neighborhoods and practicing in a Salvation Army basketball court with linoleum floors. The movie highlights how the journey is always as important as the ultimate goal and inspires us to believe that almost anything is possible with the right people and right dedication.

Slumdog Millionaire
A hugely successful film about how you can create your own luck. So many successful entrepreneurs I have met talk about the role of luck in their careers, but it is equally true that they put themselves in the pathway of opportunity. In some ways this movie was like a modern day Bollywood version of Forrest Gump (we all need a little Bubba Gump shrimp luck in our lives). Both are believable tales because of the attitudes of the protagonists who, like great entrepreneurs, have a boundless optimism and openness that allow luck to come to them.

That's it for my Siskel and Ebert moment. I'll see you all at Netflix.

March 13, 2010 reply from Elliot Kamlet [ekamlet@STNY.RR.COM]

I use Little Shop of Horrors to focus on a small business in which all three associates of that business have fallen into a pattern of interaction in a friendly, if not always respectful, manner. They also were not making much money. Then, after a change to the business (a la Enron realizing with a bit of behind the scenes trickery they could control markets) they started making lots of money – and what happened to their ethical behavior with the consequences that followed. We examine the behavior in terms of various ethical attributes. When they write their papers, they must liken the activities in the movie to real life situations we have studied.

It also forces many of the students to do what they normally would not – watch a musical.

Elliot Kamlet Binghamton University

P.S. Just for those who are interested in this kind of thing, in the original stage musical there is a very different ending that Hollywood could not accept.


Bob Jensen's threads on accounting novels, plays, and movies ---

Absolutely Must-See CBS Sixty Minutes Videos
You, your students, and the world in general really should repeatedly study the following videos until they become perfectly clear!
Two of them are best watched after a bit of homework.

Video 1
CBS Sixty Minutes featured how bad things became when poison was added to loan portfolios. This older Sixty Minutes Module is entitled "House of Cards" --- http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=3756665n&tag=contentMain;contentBody

This segment can be understood without much preparation except that it would help for viewers to first read about Mervene and how the mortgage lenders brokering the mortgages got their commissions for poisoned mortgages passed along to the government (Freddie Mack and Fannie Mae) and Wall Street banks. On some occasions the lenders like Washington Mutual also naively kept some of the poison planted by some of their own greedy brokers.
The cause of this fraud was separating the compensation for brokering mortgages from the responsibility for collecting the payments until the final payoff dates.

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

Then Watch Video 1 at http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=3756665n&tag=contentMain;contentBody


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

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

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


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


The major lessons of videos 2 and 3 went over the head of my wife. I think that viewers need to do a bit of homework in order to fully appreciate those videos. Here's what I recommend before viewing Videos 2 and 3 if you've not been following details of the 2008 Wall Street collapse closely:

This is not necessary to Videos 2 and 3, but to really appreciate what suckered the Wall Street Banks into spreading the poison, you should read about how they all used the same risk diversification mathematical function --- David Li's Gaussian Copula Function:

Can the 2008 investment banking failure be traced to a math error?
Recipe for Disaster:  The Formula That Killed Wall Street --- http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-03/wp_quant?currentPage=all
Link forwarded by Jim Mahar ---

Some highlights:

"For five years, Li's formula, known as a Gaussian copula function, looked like an unambiguously positive breakthrough, a piece of financial technology that allowed hugely complex risks to be modeled with more ease and accuracy than ever before. With his brilliant spark of mathematical legerdemain, Li made it possible for traders to sell vast quantities of new securities, expanding financial markets to unimaginable levels.

His method was adopted by everybody from bond investors and Wall Street banks to ratings agencies and regulators. And it became so deeply entrenched—and was making people so much money—that warnings about its limitations were largely ignored.

Then the model fell apart." The article goes on to show that correlations are at the heart of the problem.

"The reason that ratings agencies and investors felt so safe with the triple-A tranches was that they believed there was no way hundreds of homeowners would all default on their loans at the same time. One person might lose his job, another might fall ill. But those are individual calamities that don't affect the mortgage pool much as a whole: Everybody else is still making their payments on time.

But not all calamities are individual, and tranching still hadn't solved all the problems of mortgage-pool risk. Some things, like falling house prices, affect a large number of people at once. If home values in your neighborhood decline and you lose some of your equity, there's a good chance your neighbors will lose theirs as well. If, as a result, you default on your mortgage, there's a higher probability they will default, too. That's called correlation—the degree to which one variable moves in line with another—and measuring it is an important part of determining how risky mortgage bonds are."

I would highly recommend reading the entire thing that gets much more involved with the actual formula etc.

The “math error” might truly be have been an error or it might have simply been a gamble with what was perceived as miniscule odds of total market failure. Something similar happened in the case of the trillion-dollar disastrous 1993 collapse of Long Term Capital Management formed by Nobel Prize winning economists and their doctoral students who took similar gambles that ignored the “miniscule odds” of world market collapse -- -

The rhetorical question
is whether the failure is ignorance in model building or risk taking using the model?



For more on the inside track of all of this I highly recommend Janet Tavakili's great book entitled Dear Mr. Buffett (Wiley, 2009). Videos 1-3 will help you understand some of the technicalities in her fantastic and very depressing book.


Here are some of the take-aways from the three CBS videos above:


I highly recommend the outstanding and often humorous books of both Michael Lewis and Frank Partnoy.
My timeline of these books and the scandals they write about can be found at

Rotten to the Core --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm


Related CBS Sixty Minutes videos are as follows:


I also recommend watching all the David Walker videos on YouTube.
Watch them and weep.

March 16, 2010 reply from Paul Williams [Paul_Williams@NCSU.EDU]

Bob, I concur -- I watched 60 Minutes last night and the interview with Michael Lewis was spellbinding. What emerges from Lewis descriptions is just how much of the financial crisis can be laid at the feet of modern finance theory -- that which emerged out of Chicago and such places back in the late fifties and sixties. As Keynes remarked about practical men (the remainder of that familiar observation is even more prescient, "Mad men in authority who hear voices in the air distill their particular frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.").

In modern finance theory (starting with portfolio theory of Markowitz, then the CAPM) asset prices became simply a function of other asset prices and financial markets were made into a closed system The fixation on betas make asset prices a function of other asset prices within that market and become theoretically disconnected from the real economy that purportedly underlies the value of everything. There is a book that just came out titled, The Quants," about the takeover of Wall Street by the math types (PhDs in physics that could make more money as "analysts" than as physicists).

The tragedy in every Greek tragedy has its origins in hubris and modern finance theory has contributed more to the hubris that Lewis decribed than anything else. Lewis observation about capitalism being destroyed by the capitalists brings to mind Alan Wolfe's observation that throughout history it has always been capitalism's critics that have saved it from itself.

 This time it may not happen because financial reform seems to have no traction. Recalling an earlier photo, circulated on AECM, taken on Wall Street, if the F... won't jump on his own, maybe he needs a little push.

Watch the video! (a bit slow loading)
Lynn Turner is Partnoy's co-author of the white paper."Make Markets Be Markets"
"Bring Transparency to Off-Balance Sheet Accounting," by Frank Partnoy, Roosevelt Institute, March 2010 ---
Watch the video!

Abusive off-balance sheet accounting was a major cause of the financial crisis.  These abuses triggered a daisy chain of dysfunctional decision-making by removing transparency from investors, markets, and regulators.  Off-balance sheet accounting facilitating the spread of the bad loans, securitizations, and derivative transactions that brought the financial system to the brink of collapse.

As in the 1920s, the balance sheets of major corporations recently failed to provide a clear picture of the financial health of those entities.  Banks in particular have become predisposed to narrow the size of their balance sheets, because investors and regulators use the balance sheet as an anchor in their assessment of risk.  Banks use financial engineering to make it appear that they are better capitalized and less risky than they really are.  Most people and businesses include all of their assets and liabilities on their balance sheets.  But large financial institutions do not.

Click here to read the full chapter.---
http://www.rooseveltinstitute.org/sites/all/files/Off-Balance Sheet Transactions.pdf

Frank Partnoy is the George E. Barnett Professor of Law and Finance and is the director of the Center on Coporate and Securities Law at the University of San Diego.  He worked as a derivatives structurer at Morgan Stanley and CS First Boston during the mid-1990s and wrote F.I.A.S.C.O.: Blook in the Water on Wall Street, a best-selling book about his experiences there.  His other books include Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets and The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals.

Lynn Turner has the unique perspective of having been the Chief Accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a member of boards of public companies, a trustee of a mutual fund and a public pension fund, a professor of accounting, a partner in one of the major international auditing firms, the managing director of a research firm and a chief financial officers and an executive in industry.  In 2007, Treasury Secretary Paulson appointed him to the Treasury Committee on the Auditing Profession.  He currently serves as a senior advisor to LECG, an international forensics and economic consulting firm.

The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Roosevelt Institute, its officers, or its directors. 

Bob Jensen's threads on OBSF are at

For over 15 years Frank Partnoy has been appealing in vain for financial reform. My timeline of history of the scandals, the new accounting standards, and the new ploys at OBSF and earnings management is at

Allegory ---  a short moral story (often with animal characters)

Dan sent this to me. I cannot vouch for the claim that the monkey experiment was ever a real scientific experiment.

It’s probably best to only consider this a fictional allegory, but it does make a point well taken.

From: Dan Gheorghe Somnea [mailto:dan_somnea@yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 12:04 PM
To: Jensen, Robert
Subject: How is born a paradigm

How is born a paradigm

A group of scientists put five monkeys in a cage, and in the middle of the cage , a ladder.
Above the ladder they put a banana cluster.
When a monkey was trying to climb the stairs for a banana,
the scientists were throwing a bucket of cold water on the others.
After some time, when a monkey tried to climb the stairs, the other ones did not let it climb.
And thus no monkey didn't dare to climb the stairs anymore, despite the fact that they were tempted by the bananas.
Then, scientists replaced a monkey.
The first thing that the new member made was
to climb the stairs, but it was pulled back immediately by the other monkeys and beaten.
Then, the scientists replaced a second monkey.
It happened the same thing. All monkeys including the first replaced participated enthusiastically
to the novice beating.
A third monkey was changed and the things were repeated.Then the fourth and so on.

Though no bucket with cold water was thrown over the monkeys, they continued to hit each other
trying to reach upstairs for the bananas.

If it were possible to ask the monkeys: "why were you fighting with each monkey that intended to
climb up the stairs?".
A possible answer would be:
"We don't know why. Things have always been here so...!"

I think, it sounds familiar !

"It's much easier the atom disintegration than a prejudice elimination !"
Albert Einstein

Who are the scientists ? The banks, I mean the Bank Executive Boards !
Who are the monkeys: all of the CEO corporations, the Governmental Agencies etc.
Which is the ladder: the linked dirty affairs !
Which are the bananas: ... the fraud's temptation.
Who is the monkey wanting banana eagerly: less scrupulous CEO.

No one can destroy "the obsessive greed" of unscrupulous business men.

Fortunately, they are not so clever !

Jensen Comment
Don’t forget to watch the monkeys in the cage.

Video 1
 CBS Sixty Minutes featured how bad things became when poison was added to loan portfolios. This older Sixty Minutes Module is entitled "House of Cards" --- http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=3756665n&tag=contentMain;contentBody

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

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

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

It's not just financial markets that experience bubbles, society does too.
And the Human Genome Project is a perfect example, says a new study.

"The Rise and Fall of the Human Genome Project," MIT's Technology Review, March 17, 2010 ---

The world has become painfully familiar with the notion of financial bubbles in the last two years. These are periods of in which prices are temporarily raised above their fundamental value, sometimes by orders of magnitude.

[The graph shown here is bell-shaped with some kurtosis]

But the contention put forward by Monika Gisler and a couple of pals at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich is that it's not just financial markets that experience bubbles. They say there is good evidence for the existence of social bubbles too. They point to the great boom of railway building in Britain in the 1840s, cloning of mammals such as Dolly the sheep, and the craze over Haute Couture, the so-called democratisation of fashion design.

All of these were characterised not by prices rising far above fundamental values, but by human expectations being inflated beyond reason. "These cases were all characterized by extremely high expectations concerning the outcome of the proposed research and/or innovation project," say Gisler and her colleagues.

Today, they show how the Human Genome Project is a particularly good example of a social bubble. They give a fascinating history of the project and the expectations associated with it and focus in particular on how it was funded. This, they say, is an objective way of assessing the enthusiasm for it project, at the time.

The Human Genome Project generated huge expectations that it would revolutionise the treatment of illness and disease and huge commercial opportunities for the development of drugs . The belief that this would dramatically change our society eventually persuaded the US government to spend around $3billion on the project.

It also led to a fierce battle between this government-funded project and a private company called Celera that aimed to complete the task first using cheaper, more powerful sequencing techniques.

This battle led to a kind of virtuous circle which reinforced investors' belief in the potential benefits and caused the scientists themselves to redouble their efforts.

But it also deflected attention from the huge uncertainties about the project. The fear, more or less ignored, was that the benefits would not be as great as imagined.

These fears have more or less come to pass. "Having the complete gene set on the table, the knowledge of the genetic map and sequence is now considered by experts to be only a starting point for future research in biology and medicine," says Gisler and co.

That's not to say it has been of little value. On the contrary, they say. "While there is little to show in terms of progress in medical diagnosis and treatment, in pharmaceutical development, in agriculture, and in other industrial sectors, the HGP catalyzed enormous technological progresses in DNA-based methods."

Gisler's point is that if managed correctly social bubbles can be hugely beneficial, even if they don't produce the desired outcome. But they require a careful hand on the tiller and that's not easy since they require the combined forces of industry, academia and government working towards a common goal.

There are various bubbles in the making today, such as the UK's investment in offshore windfarms in the North Sea, a project that will produce a quarter of the UK's electricity by 2020. This project is huge by any standards: equivalent to building 8 channel tunnels in the next ten years and requires the same kind of link between government, industry and academia to make it work.

There are other efforts that have not yet achieved the kind of terminal velocity necessary for bubble status. One of them is the human genome project''s successor: proteomics, the characterization of the entire array of proteins encoded by our genes, a task that is an order of magnitude more complex than the genome project.

Gisler and co say that the lessons from the Human Genome project could be used to create the same kind of bubble for proteomics. For the moment, however, investors, government and perhaps even the scientists themselves, have yet to achieve critical mass.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1003.2882: Exuberant Innovation: The Human Genome Project


No National Accrediting Agencies in Canada
Simon Fraser University is currently in the process of being reviewed for accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, an agency for colleges in the United States. Simon Fraser was prompted to do so because it is joining the National Collegiate Athletic Association, but its decision also points to the lack of any national accreditation agency in Canada, Maclean's reported. In some cases, the magazine reported, differing provincial requirements mean that some universities' degrees are accepted as valid in some but not all parts of the country.
Inside Higher Ed, March 15, 2010 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/03/15/qt#222494
Bob Jensen's threads on accreditation issues --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#AccreditationIssues

IRS Telephone Tax Map
March 12, 2010 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@BONACKERS.COM]


About IRS Tax Map

IRS Tax Map began in 2002 as a prototype to address the business need for improved access to tax law technical information by our telephone assistors. Tax Map is built on two technologies: semantic integration and the Topic Maps international standard (ISO/IEC 13250).


IRS began implementing standard markup languages and creating structured content for our tax law information in the late 1980s. XML/SGML has allowed IRS to standardize document syntax and structure but additional standards were needed to integrate our information sources. IRS chose the Topic Maps international standard for IRS Tax Map.

IRS Tax Map

IRS Tax Map is a web presentation of an underlying "topic map", best understood as a kind of subject-oriented database — a database designed to organize information around subjects of interest to taxpayers. Each subject has a "topic page" in Tax Map. This page provides central access to everything that Tax Map knows about the subject. It may have links to the topic pages of related topics, as well as to relevant forms, instructions, and publications.

The Tax Map production process adapts to the different kinds of information produced by the various groups at IRS, and incorporates input and feedback from IRS Tax Specialists and Tax Map users. Adherence to the principles of the ISO Topic Maps standard protects the value of this knowledge, allowing it to be exploited and maintained under changing conditions.

For more information on the Topic Maps international standard see Cover Pages hosted by OASIS and the ISO working group maintaining the standard. For additional information or comments on IRS Tax Map email us at: topicmap@irs.gov

Bob Jensen's taxation helpers are at

"National Ed Tech Plan Advocates Radical Reforms in Schools, "by David Nagel. T.H.E. Journal, March 5, 2010 ---

If there were any doubts about the Obama administration's intentions toward education technology, the United States Department of Education settled them Friday with the release of the first public draft of the National Education Technology Plan (NETP). The 114-page document reveals an intent not only to infuse technology throughout the curriculum (and beyond), but to implement some major--sometimes radical--changes to education itself.

The plan, titled "Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology," sets forth, in part, a manifesto for change, questioning many of the basic structures of American education, enumerating the principles of change that are the foundation for the plan, and setting goals and recommendations for achieving this change.

Questioning Assumptions and Establishing Principles
Some of the assumptions the plan questions are foundational in public education, including age-determined grade levels, measuring achievement through "seat time," keeping students in the same classes throughout the year, and even keeping individual academic disciplines separate. It also, however, seems to advocate a "more is more" approach, continuing Education Secretary Arne Duncan's previous call for longer school days and school weeks (spent in physical classrooms), in addition to the extension of learning though technological means.

The draft also seems to question, at times, the basic premise that K-12 should be limited to the confines of kindergarten through 12th grade. The plan advocates tighter integration between K-12 and higher education, using the phrase "K-16" on a few occasions and referencing "K-12" generally (but not exclusively) in relation to higher education, and, in particular, in the context of collaboration between secondary and post-secondary institutions.

For example:

Postsecondary education institutions--community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities--will need to partner more closely with K-12 schools to remove barriers to postsecondary education and put plans of their own in place to decrease dropout rates.

And elsewhere:

The Department of Education should promote partnerships between two- and four-year postsecondary education institutions, K-12 schools, and educational technology developers in the private and public sectors to design programs and resources to engage students and motivate them to graduate from high school ready for postsecondary education. Support should start as soon as possible in students' educational careers and intensify for students who need it. States, districts, and schools should experiment with such resources as online learning and online tutoring and mentoring, as well as with participatory communities and social networks both within and across education institutions to give students guidance and information about their own learning progress and their opportunities for the future.

Meanwhile, the guiding principles behind NETP, as stated in the draft, follow along these lines as well, rejecting many current practices and favoring new approaches to everything from teaching and assessment to the role of the federal government in education.

At the core is the principle that technology should be the driving force behind implementation of the education plan. As stated in the NETP draft:

The model depends on technology to provide engaging and powerful learning content, resources, and experiences and assessment systems that measure student achievement in more complete, authentic and meaningful ways. Technology-based learning and assessment systems will be pivotal in improving student learning and generating data that can be used to continuously improve the education system at all levels. The model depends on technology to execute collaborative teaching strategies combined with professional learning strategies that better prepare and enhance educators' competencies and expertise over the course of their careers.

The model also depends on every student and educator having Internet access devices and broadband Internet connections and every student and educator being comfortable using them. It depends on technology to redesign and implement processes to produce better outcomes while achieving ever-higher levels of productivity and efficiency across the education system.

The document also lists several other principles on which the plan is based, including:

  1. The education system is failing in large part owing to a failure to engage students.
  2. Learning experiences need to change with the times.
  3. Assessment needs to be more formative.
  4. Data collected on students would be better used if it could be shared amongst agencies.
  5. There should be new approaches to teaching, including collaborative teaching teams and technology-driven distance programs.
  6. Groundwork should be laid to make learning resources available everywhere at all times to all students.
  7. Industry can serve as a model for leveraging technology.
  8. The federal government has a larger role to play in education than it has in the past.

Goals and Recommendations
NETP sets out goals in five broad areas: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity.And it lays out 23 recommendations to help achieve those goals.

In the category of learning, NETP strongly advocates a 21st century skills approach . . .

Continued in article

The link to the NETP report is http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/index.html

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology (the good and the bad) are linked at

"Why Women Are the Biggest Emerging Market," by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Harvard Business Review Blog, March 8, 2010 ---

What's the biggest emerging market of them all? I'll give you a hint: The answer isn't geographic but demographic. The answer is...women.

Women leaders are the new power behind the global economy, proclaims Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu's announcement of its second annual webcast celebrating International Women's Day. In developing nations, women's earned income is growing at 8.1 percent, compared to 5.8 percent for men. Globally, women control nearly $12 trillion of the $18 trillion total overall consumer spending, a figure predicted to rise to $15 trillion by 2014.

More significant, the majority of tertiary degrees are now being awarded to women. Highly qualified, well-educated and ambitious, these women are taking over the talent pool from Delhi to Dubai and bringing new urgency to the issue of managing diversity.

In a speech at the Hidden Brain Drain Summit held in New York last November, the Right Honorable Paul Boateng, the U.K.'s first black cabinet minister and most recently the British High Commissioner to South Africa, urged representatives of the 57 member organizations to overcome the obstacles placed in the path of emerging talents. "If you're serious about growth, if you're serious about innovation, if you're serious about getting a global reach, then the evidence tells you that you've got to overcome those obstacles," he said. "The imperative is to move from sentiment to strategy, to make the leap from survival to success."

Here's how two smart companies are making that leap:

By investing in women in emerging markets, companies are betting on a brighter future — for a workforce just waiting to blossom, for economies whose development depends on this new crop of talent, and, of course, for themselves.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers, including working women opportunities ---

"Teaching Is Serious Business," by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Financial Accounting Blog, March 9, 2010 ---

Jensen Comment
Joe's recommendations probably don't work for large classes where it's impossible for an instructor to know about the special needs of each of 13 "Billys" or "Karens" amidst a sea of faces in a huge lecture hall.

. . .

A good basketball coach adapts to the talents of his or her players. A good teacher does the same. You cannot take an identical approach with every student. Some love to be pushed and pushed hard. They enjoy “in-your-face” challenges. Others are more fragile. You have to coax and nurture them. So toughness comes into my class where toughness is necessary. You teach each student, not each group. However, every student needs to be willing to prepare and to think. That is not negotiable.

One of the keys to becoming a good teacher is learning to walk into a room of students and “see” what is happening to the individual members: Billy needs a few extra seconds to formulate an answer, Susan loves to be called on, Andy doesn’t know what is happening right now, Ellen is not prepared. You have to be able to adapt to your students on the spot every day.

Our students can do amazing things, but if we don’t challenge them fully, they will never realize what marvelous talents they truly possess. Signing up for demanding classes might hurt a student’s GPA, but which is more important: developing a good mind or a good GPA?

"Big Classes Encourage Experiments in Teaching:  Cal State U. at Chico reworks courses, while instructors worry," by David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 7, 2010 --- http://chronicle.com/article/Bigger-Classes-Encourage/64525/

Back in 2005, officials at California State University at Chico asked students how to improve English 130, a composition course that almost every undergraduate there takes. One consistent response: Class sections should be smaller.

But in the years since then, the enrollment cap on English 130 sections has actually crept upward, from 22 to 30. That's no great surprise. Across the country, budget-straitened colleges have been quietly increasing the sizes of all sorts of courses. At some institutions, introductory-level lectures are now capped at whatever the fire code will allow, and upper-level seminars are drifting from 12 students to 20 and beyond.

Many instructors are deeply uneasy about those changes. With rooms bursting at the seams, they say, faculty members are less likely to interact personally with students—and are less likely to use essay tests or to assign serious amounts of writing.

Still, some administrators and professors say they are trying to make the best of a bad situation by redesigning courses for a new era of high student-faculty ratios. Chico State, for example, has rolled out six experimental course redesigns this year. Some feel bulging class sizes provide an overdue opportunity for faculty members to think about how to use new learning technologies, such as online instruction.

"I want to use all the tools that are out there to help people design a curriculum that has students fully engaged," says Sandra M. Flake, Chico State's provost. "In the long run, I don't even really care if it saves money, as long as it improves student learning."

But others worry that the redesigns are merely papering over the problem of overcrowded classrooms.

"I'm afraid that we're going to dilute the product and cheapen the value of our degrees," says Susan M. Green, an associate professor of Chicano studies and history and president of the faculty union at Chico. "I've heard many people here say that last semester was their worst semester of teaching." Some of her students are first-generation Latinos whose families work on the farms west of here. Campus officials are kidding themselves, she says, if they think those students have easy access to the Internet for online classes.

'Let's Blow It Up' Some of Chico State's newly redesigned courses, rather than turning to the Internet, use classroom time in a new way. English 130, the composition course, is one of them.

This semester three experimental sections of that course have ballooned beyond 30 students. Far beyond—all the way to 90.

It was a deliberate change. "When the English 130 sections moved above 22 students, it really didn't seem to be working well," says Kim D. Jaxon, a lecturer in composition. "So I thought, Fine. Let's blow it up. Let's try 90."

Ms. Jaxon and a colleague submitted a proposal to Chico State's course-redesign competition last year. They suggested the experimental sections, in which students meet for two hours a week in a roomful of 90 students and spend another two hours meeting in small groups of 10. When they meet in those small groups, they are supervised not by a faculty member but by teams of undergraduate teaching assistants. (Chico State, like most campuses in the California State University system, has few graduate students, so it can't deploy the armies of graduate TA's that are found at large research universities.)

Ms. Jaxon herself is not leading any of the experimental sections this semester; instead, she supervises the undergraduate teaching assistants, most of , whom are students in an upper-level teacher-training course that she directs.

A crucial aspect of the experiment, Ms. Jaxon says, is that when the students meet in their large sections of 90, they are not passively absorbing reply  lectures. Even in the large classroom meetings they are generally broken up into small groups, working on short assignments and reviewing drafts of one another's essays. "One of the best ways to learn deeply," she says, "is to work with your peers and to try to explain to others what you've done."

Ms. Green is not so sure. Her faculty union has filed a grievance over the use of undergraduate assistants in the classroom. "I've talked to students who have said that it just feels like babysitting," she says.

In one of the small English 130 sections on a recent afternoon, the undergraduate teaching assistants seemed thoughtful and dedicated; if they're babysitters, they're skilled ones. According to Ms. Jaxon, of the 178 students who took the course in this experimental mode last fall, all but five passed the course. Standard sections of the course have an average failure rate of roughly 15 percent, according to Aiping Zhang, chair of the English department.

But Ms. Jaxon herself doubts that her experimental model could ever be scaled up to serve every section of English 130. (This semester there are 28 "normal" sections with 30 students each, plus the three experimental sections with 90 each.)

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Some nations like Germany have endured huge classes forever in higher education. However,  many of those nations, like Germany, the students are cream of the crop students emerging from lower-level education systems that divert lower-ranking ranking students away from universities.

In comparison, in California there are extreme pressures to admit almost any wannabe college students. This leads to much greater variations in intellectual ability in large classes, thereby making teaching such large classes much more of a challenge than in Germany, Japan, China, and elsewhere. I think teachers adapt to these variations in small classes, but in large classes it is virtually an impossible task to provide value-added learning to all the students.

March 9, 2010 reply from Steven Hornik [shornik@BUS.UCF.EDU]

I truly do wish class sizes weren't as big as they are in large state institutions, but I have to humbly disagree with Bob on his comment:

"I think teachers adapt to these variations in small classes, but in large classes it is virtually an impossible task to provide value-added learning to all the students."

 My classes regularly approach 1000 and 800 for fall/spring semester in financial accounting.  Because of that size I have introduced many tools to as best I can keep the students engaged and giving them a sense of being part of a course vs an assembly line.  Some of the tools are by necessity using Camatasia and Jing to create videos for mass distribution.  Using a web-based, agnostic IM client to communicate (Meebo).  Using an online HW manager system for assigning and grading HW (I use MyAccountingLab).  These have all made my life easier.  But I also require rather time consuming elements and those are supported with TA's (and my graying hair) - so I use Second Life and also use a Concept Mapping program.

I'm working on a merit award file for teaching that UCF supports and while I'm utterly depressed at the GPA for this course (though I think it's badly biased by students who receive an F but haven't completed all the course - usually taking 1 or 2 exams), so my F's are inflated and my W's deflated - of course none of which are any good at all.  But to my surprise my highest GPA for this course was in Spring 2009 (the latest data I'm reporting), so the larger the class and the more tools I provide the better they have done.

It's A LOT of work but I know I'm not alone (but may be the most insane) in trying to leverage the tools we now have available to us when teaching large classes.



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

yahoo ID: shornik

March 9, 2010 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]

I taught managerial accounting with class sizes of 250-300. There were 6 TAs who conducted small group problem solving sessions. I also had what we called my "bouncer" who took attendance and made sure nothing terrible happened in the lecture hall.

I believe one needs to be a certain type of teacher and/or teach something other than accounting to do this effectively.

I hated teaching these classes. I had to use powerpoint slides. I kept the room light to minimize sleeping and other activities and walked up and down the aisles to keep people alert and call on people. I also had those 6 TAs to manage to be sure that there was some level of consistency in what they did in the small groups.

After exams, instead of 8 people (20% of the class) with issues about my grading, I had 50-60 students with issues.

I even attended some sessions on teaching large classes effectively (to little avail). I applaud anyone that can do this.

Also, learning everyone's name was next to impossible for me.




Class Size Matters, But the Importance of This Factor is Highly Variable ---

"Does class size matter?" PhysOrg, February 28, 2008 --- http://physorg.com/news123418382.html 

No more vexing problem in education exists today than the achievement gap in this country. The difference between the extremes has rightfully attracted national attention, and one of the most popular policy proposals is to reduce class size—not surprising, since benchmarks are easily measured.

In his provocative article for the March 2008 issue of Elementary School Journal, “Do Small Classes Reduce the Achievement Gap between Low and High Achievers? Evidence from Project STAR”, Spyros Konstantopoulos (Northwestern University) explores the hard data and finds that some of our basic assumptions about class size may be incorrect.

Konstantopoulos worked with data on mathematics and reading achievement provided by Tennessee’s Project STAR (Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio), an unprecedented four-year longitudinal class-size study encompassing over 11,000 K-3 students in 79 schools.

The project found, not surprisingly, that smaller class size is a better situation for the children at all achievement levels, and previous analyses saw rising achievement on average. For most advocates, parents, and policy makers, this was enough. But when Konstantopoulos dug deeper, he found that the children who are already high achievers benefited the most from the extra attention afforded by smaller classes.

Low achievers also benefited from being in small classes (compared to low achievers in regular size classes), but they did not benefit not as much as high achievers. Unfortunately, he also found that the smaller classes produced higher variability in achievement which indicates that the achievement gap between low and high achievers is larger in small classes than in regular size classes, especially in kindergarten and first grade.

Do smaller classes help students? Yes...and no. Konstantopoulos finds that “although all types of students benefited from being in small classes, reductions in class size did not reduce the achievement gap between low and high achievers” He concludes by calling for more observational studies of classrooms themselves, as we still do not know how to address one of the most vexing problems—the achievement gap between students—facing educators and policy-makers, today.

Source: University of Chicago 

"2-Year Colleges Help Learning-Disabled Students Break Into Math and Science," Chronicle of Higher Education, March 7, 2010 ---

For as long as he can remember, Robert T. Calloway has had a fascination with engineering and all things mechanical. He wanted to pursue an engineering career despite a diagnosis of dyslexia, which challenged both his confidence and his ability in the classroom.

"I first learned I had dyslexia when I was in the Army," he says. "My platoon sergeant would make us read technical manuals. He noticed that I had a problem with loop letters, like p's, b's, d's, and q's."

Mr. Calloway, who is 42, weighed his options as he neared the end of his military service, in 2005. He decided that somehow, some way, he had to pursue a higher education, to better provide financially for his two teenagers.

That fall he enrolled in the Community College of Allegheny County, in Pittsburgh, where professors and the college's academic-support staff helped him work around his dyslexia.

Now, a program being developed by a two-year college in Vermont aims to assess the successful practices of Allegheny and other colleges to help more students, like Mr. Calloway, succeed academically in math and the sciences.

Landmark College, in Putney, Vt., was created to serve students with learning disabilities. It has a 25-year history of preparing students for a range of fields, including the STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The college won two federal grants last year and one grant this year, totaling more than $1-million, that will be used to help finance its STEM project. The grants, from the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation, are a part of the government's larger focus on producing more math-and-science graduates.

Steve Fadden, vice president for research and institute operations at Landmark, is using the money to develop a curriculum to teach educators how to support students in the STEM fields who have various learning disabilities, including dyslexia, autism, Asperger's syndrome, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Arne Duncan, U.S. secretary of education, expressed concern in October that only 23 percent of college freshmen were declaring STEM majors. What's more, "just 40 percent of those that elect STEM majors freshman year receive a STEM degree within six years," he told the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

To develop its one-semester course for educators, Landmark is collaborating with three other community colleges—Western Nevada College, in Carson City; Lone Star College, in Houston; and the Community College of Allegheny County—because students with disabilities tend to be overrepresented in two-year institutions.

Students with learning disabilities, Mr. Fadden says, have hidden problem-solving strengths. They live in a world that does not often conform to their learning style, constantly presenting challenges that require solutions. Instructors, he says, need to know how to tap into those strengths.

Meeting Outside Class Two years after he enrolled at Allegheny, Mr. Calloway graduated with an associate degree in precision fabrication, another in robotics and automation technology, and a professional certificate in computer-aided drafting and design. He has since transferred to Point Park University, where he is a junior double-majoring in mechanical-engineering technology and global cultural studies.

Key to his success, Mr. Calloway says, were community-college professors who met with him before or after class to offer extra help on assignments. They also introduced him to tools for students with learning disabilities, including a software program that essentially scans text to create an audio version of a book.

He now trains other students to use the same tools, working as a technical-support specialist for students with disabilities at Allegheny.

Mr. Fadden, of Landmark, intends to capitalize on the role that both instructors and support-staff members can play in helping students with learning disabilities succeed in the STEM fields. The college's project will culminate in an interactive pilot course, which is expected to be put into use for technology instructors and academic-support staff members this fall at the participating community colleges.

The course will teach instructors how to help students with learning disabilities study better, prepare for job interviews, use assisted-learning software, and work in groups, among other skills that Mr. Fadden says students are ordinarily expected to know instinctively.

"You might have a professor who says, 'I want a 15-page paper that's due by a certain time on a certain topic,'" Mr. Fadden explains. But some students "don't really know what that means, because no one has truly sat down and told them, 'Here's what a college-level paper looks like.'"

The results of the educator-training program could enable community-college faculty and staff members to help not only students with learning disabilities, Mr. Fadden says, but also a broader range of students who might enter college in need of academic assistance—for example, those learning English who are struggling with reading comprehension.

Sandi H. Patton, director of disability services at Lone Star College, says the college has about 730 students with diagnosed learning disabilities out of a total enrollment of about 62,000.

In joining with Landmark, Ms. Patton says, she hopes to create "a culture of inclusion" by increasing awareness, among administrators and faculty and staff members alike, of students with learning disabilities and their needs. Another goal is to increase the retention and graduation rates of students with learning disabilities, who she says often have a talent for the "hands on" subjects offered in the STEM fields.

"We want to see these students be successful," she says. "We want to help and retain them in achieving their educational and vocational goals."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on technology aids for handicapped learners are at

"Distance Ed Continues Rapid Growth at Community Colleges," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/04/07/distance

Community colleges reported an 18 percent increase in distance education enrollments in a 2007 survey released this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges, in Philadelphia.

The survey on community colleges and distance education is an annual project of the Instructional Technology Council, an affiliate of the AACC. The survey is based on the responses of 154 community colleges, selected to provide a representational sample of all community colleges. Last year’s survey found community colleges reporting an increase in distance education enrollments of 15 percent.

This year’s survey suggests that distance education has probably not peaked at community colleges. First there is evidence that the colleges aren’t just offering a few courses online, but entire programs. Sixty-four percent of institutions reported offering at least one online degree — defined as one where at least 70 percent of the courses may be completed online. Second, colleges reported that they aren’t yet meeting demand. Seventy percent indicated that student demand exceeds their online offerings.

The top challenge reported by colleges in terms of dealing with students in distance education was that they do not fill out course evaluations. In previous surveys, this has not been higher than the fifth greatest challenge. This year’s survey saw a five percentage point increase — to 45 percent — in the share of colleges reporting that they charge an extra fee for distance education courses.

Training professors has been a top issue for institutions offering distance education. Of those in the survey of community colleges, 71 percent required participation (up from 67 percent a year ago and 57 percent the year before). Of those requiring training, 60 percent require more than eight hours.

Several of the written responses some colleges submitted suggested frustration with professors. One such comment (included anonymously in the report) said: “Vocal conservative faculty members with little computer experience can stymie efforts to change when expressing a conviction that student learning outcomes can only be achieved in a face-to-face classroom — even though they have no idea what can be accomplished in a well-designed distance education course.” Another response said that: “Our biggest challenge is getting faculty to participate in our training sessions. We understand their time is limited, but we need to be able to show them the new tools available....”

In last year’s survey, 84 percent of institutions said that they were customers of either Blackboard or WebCT (now a part of Blackboard), but 31 percent reported that they were considering a shift in course management platforms. This year’s survey suggests that some of them did so. The percentage of colleges reporting that they use Blackboard or WebCT fell to 77 percent. Moodle showed the largest gains in the market — increasing from 4 to 10 percent of the market — while Angel and Desire2Learn also showed gains.

The survey also provides an update on the status of many technology services for students, showing steady increases in the percentage of community colleges with various technologies and programs.

Status of Services for Online Students at Community Colleges

Service Currently Offer Offered a Year Ago
Campus testing center for distance students 73% 69%
Distance ed specific faculty training 96% 92%
Online admissions 84% 77%
Online counseling / advising 51% 43%
Online library services 96% 96%
Online plagiarism evaluation 54% 48%
Online registration 89% 87%
Online student orientation for distance classes 75% 66%
Online textbook sales 72% 66%

Education & Learning: Asia Society --- http://www.asiasociety.org/education-learning Latino Distance Education

Latino Distance Education
American RadioWorks: Rising by Degrees [iTunes] http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/latino_college/index.html

Rate of Growth in Online Enrollments --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm#OnlineGrowthRates

Bob Jensen's links to online training and education programs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm


Full Disclosure to Consumers of Higher Education?

"Accountability System Launched," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, November 12, 2007 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/11/12/nasulgc

A new way for students and their families to compare colleges — and for legislators and others to evaluate them — was unveiled Sunday with the start of a campaign to get institutions to sign up to use it.
“College Portrait,” as the effort is called, is a template for information that public, four-year institutions will provide online in an easily comparable way. Some of the information — statistics on the student body, figures on college costs — is fairly commonly found (if not always in comparable ways) on colleges’ Web sites today. But the program also includes a new method for measuring graduation and retention rates and, controversially, a requirement that institutions that choose to participate conduct and release results from standardized tests as a means of measuring the learning that goes on at their institutions. Those tests would be administered to small, representative cohorts of students — possibly 100 or fewer freshmen and a similar group of seniors — and would not be generally offered or required of all students.

College Portrait was released at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, whose members – along with those of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities — developed the system. Association leaders have viewed the effort as a way to respond to the Spellings Commission and other demands for greater accountability for higher education, but to do so in a way that was more sophisticated than a legislatively designed system might be. And one emphasis of the effort has been the importance of such a system being voluntary (College Portrait is part of what the associations call the Voluntary System of Accountability) and designed from within higher education, rather than imposed by others on colleges and universities.

Peter McPherson, president of NASULGC and the prime mover behind the effort, was blunt in an interview about why colleges should embrace this process — or risk having federal officials come up with another system. “If we can’t figure out how to measure ourselves, someone else will figure out how to measure us,” he said. “It’s inevitable.”

A key part of the push for more accountability in higher education — at least as voiced by the Bush administration — has been on the need for comparative data and College Portrait would provide that. But one question mark about the effort has been whether any voluntary program would attract enough participation to enable comparisons to be made. At the NASULGC meeting, in New York City, organizers noted that they had pledges of participation — even before Sunday’s official invitation for participations — from such prominent and large higher education systems as the California State University, University of North Carolina and University of Wisconsin systems, as well as the Universities of Iowa and Tennessee.

But what NASULGC leaders didn’t announce was that the University of California’s nine universities have all decided not to participate, citing the testing requirement as something that “usurps the role of campus and departmental faculty in assessing student learning.”

California’s decision raises the question of whether a system that will allow for comparisons of Chapel Hill and Madison but not Berkeley or UCLA will have the national value that its supporters hope. McPherson said that in any voluntary effort, some colleges would opt out, and he predicted that in the end, participation would be “wide and deep.”

College Portrait has three parts: student and family information, student experiences and perceptions, and student learning outcomes.

Continued in article

November 12, 2007 reply from Peter Kenyon [pbk1@HUMBOLDT.EDU]

I've been asked (provost through dean through chair) to submit my senior strategic management students to the following assessment.


With all the professional meetings and papers on the subject, it was inevitable that we'd see a growth industry of assessment tools.

Peter Kenyon |
Humboldt State
(in California)

In one of the most sweeping responses to calls for accountability in higher education yet, a public-university association has adopted a template, called the College Portrait, that will give institutions the ability to share with outsiders similar data about such matters as students' academic progress. Use of the portrait will be voluntary, but its approval on Sunday by the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges marked the beginning of a formal effort by the association, known as Nasulgc, to encourage institutions to use it. The board's action came during the group's annual meeting here, and the portrait was later discussed in a public session.
David L. Wheeler, "State-University Association Adopts a Voluntary Template for Accountability Measures," Chronicle of Higher Education, November 12, 2007 --- http://chronicle.com/subscribe/login?url=/daily/2007/11/662n.htm

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

How is accountancy practice like mystery writing?

"Mystery Writer," by Gail Farrelly, Journal of Accountancy, March 2010 ---

As different as they seem, accounting and mystery writing actually have a lot in common: Both deal with details. Both are structured. Both require intricate and involved thinking. And, on a personal level, both have been an important and fulfilling part of my life.


Writing mysteries was not one of my early life goals. Armed with an MBA as well as an M.A. in philosophy, I taught business subjects in a junior college. Then, in 1977 The George Washington University was searching for an accounting teacher who would earn a stipend and free tuition to work on a doctorate. I jumped at the opportunity to apply. Being able to teach at a higher level appealed to me. I was accepted, and I earned my doctorate in business administration from GWU, with a major in accounting and a minor in finance.


The more I studied accounting, the more I discovered how much I liked it—so much so that I sat for the CPA exam while I was still in graduate school. After earning my doctorate, I chose to continue teaching accounting, first at Southern Methodist University for three years, then at Rutgers University for 18 years.


I began “serious” writing long before I published my first mystery novel. “Publish or perish” is the unwritten rule for those of us in academia, so throughout my university career I published a number of papers. One of them, co-authored with another professor, caught the eye of Quorum Books. We added another author and published Shaping the Corporate Image: An Analytical Guide for Executive Decision Makers. It was my first book.


Sometimes, when I was doing a serious paper or an op-ed article for the newspapers, I began to dream about writing for fun, which, to me, was to write a novel. I finally decided to see if I could make my dream come true and started my first work of fiction.


Mysteries have always topped my list of leisure reading. As a girl, I read all of the Nancy Drew books, then worked my way through Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. From an interest perspective, it was natural for me to tackle the mystery genre for my fiction work. After a five-year effort, in 1995 I published my first novel. Seeing my name on the book cover— an experience that is hard to describe—motivated me to start on my second mystery. Because I wrote after hours, it took me another five years to finish it.


In 2002, I was ready to begin the next chapter in my life—to become a full-time writer. With my future financially secure, I took an early retirement from the university and devoted myself to writing. My biggest adjustment has been budgeting my time, since as a writer I do not have short-term deadlines as I did as a professor.


My CPA background has helped me in an unexpected way: I’ve called upon it to develop plots for two of my books—Beaned in Boston: Murder at a Finance Convention and Duped by Derivatives.  Likewise, I used my academic experience as a backdrop for my third novel, Creamed at Commencement.


Writing is more than putting words on paper and organizing them to tell a story. Writing involves hard work—even after a book is written. I am constantly looking to promote my books by giving talks, blogging, arranging book signings and exploring ways to expand distribution, such as through e-publishing.


Writers are dreamers. Two of my dreams have been fulfilled teaching at the university level and publishing novels. My wildest dream is to get on The New York Times best-seller list! I don’t know if I will ever reach that goal, but I know I will have a lot of fun trying. Many people have a similar dream; they would like to write a book. My advice: Just do it—but in little chunks each day. Once you see your name in print, you’ll never regret the sacrifice it took to get it there.

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting novels are at

Collaboration Software --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaboration_software

From Rick Lillie's on Thinking Outside the Box Blog on March 7, 2010 ---

Collanos Workplace: Free Collaboration Workspace

In an earlier post, I wrote about the latest book by Curtis J. Bonk, The World Is Open:  How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education.  Bonk’s book is an excellent read.  I highly recommend it to educators at all levels.

While I am familiar with most of what Bonk writes about, just about every chapter introduces me to something new.  For example, Chapter 8, “Collaborate or Die!” introduced me to Collanos Workspace, a free collaboration workspace software tool developed by Collanos Software, AG (Zurich, Switzerland).  Collanos Workspace is a workspace tool similar in design to Groove workspace, originally developed by Ray OzzieGroove is now integrated into Microsoft Office .  Ray Ozzie is the guiding light for Microsoft’s move toward cloud computing.

"Update to Posting about Collanos Workspace — Exceptional Program," by Rick Lillie, Thinking Outside the Box Blog, March 11, 2010 ---

Last week, I posted comments about Collanos Workspace I asked several Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) grad students that I will direct in a self-study project during Spring Quarter 2010 to download Collanos Workspace.  They have gotten up and running very quickly.  So far, I am really impressed with the features of Collanos Workspace and how easy it is to use.

While Collanos Workspace does not have all the built-in bells and whistles of Microsoft Groove, the bells and whistles are easily replaced by Web 2.0 tools (e.g., Skype, TokBox, and Google Docs and Spreadsheets).  Web 2.0 sharing/collaboration tools can be used in conjunction with the Collanos Workspace.  This is very easy to do.

This morning, one of my students called me on SkypeHe shared his desktop with me and then opened his Collanos Workspace.  I have two monitor screens, so I opened my Collanos Workspace on my other monitor.  We talked on Skype.  He added files and posted a note to his workspace.  Since we were both online, the items he added instantly added and displayed on my workspace.  Outstanding performance!

I am working on papers with a couple of colleagues.  I am going to do my best to persuade them to download and use Collanos Workspace.  We can work together both live and offline.  I cannot say enough about the convenience that Collanos Workspace offers.

This new tool is taking me back to my “Groove” days.  I really liked Groove and hated to see it get buried as an advanced feature of Microsoft Office.

Continued in article

Interactive Network Simulation
Inspiration: Games versus Teachers
"Creator of 'The Sims' Talks Educational Gaming," Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2009 ---
Introduction to (video) Game Design 2009 --- http://pod.gscept.com/intro2gd2009.xml 
Bob Jensen's threads on edutainment and learning games --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment
Bob Jensen's threads on virtual worlds in education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#SecondLife

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade are at

Should Classroom Lectures Remain Privileged and Private?
But no. "I find myself playing devil's advocate all the time" in class, he said. "I don't want to be on the record saying something I don't even believe" if the lectures go out on the Web. He considers the classroom a "sacred space" that may need to stay private to preserve academic freedom. Professors across the country are now wrestling with this issue. More and more colleges have installed microphones or cameras in lecture halls and bought easy-to-use software to get lecture recordings online. The latest Campus Computing Survey, which gathers data on classroom technology nationwide, found that 28 percent of colleges have a strategic plan to provide coursecasting equipment, and 35 percent more are working on a plan now.
Jeffrey R. Young, "College 2.0: More Professors Could Share Lectures Online. But Should They?" Chronicle of Higher Education, March 7, 2010 ---

I don’t buy into the “devil’s advocate” excuse since a good video of a lecture has the same contextual disclosures as the live classroom event.

Jensen Comment
I think by now most everybody who knows me knows my position. I think all knowledge and challenges to knowledge should be shared. There are some reasons that some knowledge cannot be open source, including the invisible hand of Adam Smith. Knowledge might also be contextual even to the point whether it is or is not knowledge depends a lot about context such as the study of religious faith and the history of such faith.

One advantage is that students can watch live lectures first by not being distracted by note taking. They can take written notes from the replays.

Ideally they have a pause button on the replays to give them time to write notes. This can be a tremendous advantage to some handicapped learners.

Private knowledge should probably not be shared in the classroom since the classroom is at least a semi-public place. For example, if psychiatric professor studies the private thoughts and brain scans of a serial rapist/killer who agrees to such study provided the outcomes remain confidential for no less than 100 years. Such research outcomes can sometimes be published as coming from an anonymous source, but if the subject's crimes are so notorious it may be virtually impossible to share the results of this confidential research for 100 or more years. Priests, physicians, lawyers, and even accountants on occasion face these horrible circumstances.

Another example is where a researcher discovers some event that, if shared with the world, could trigger World War III. It is rather a fun parlor game to speculate on what events could fall under this category.

March 7, 2010 reply from Tom Oxner [TOxner@UCA.EDU]

A number of years ago I had a student who recorded my lectures. He went to work for a large accounting firm and did very well. Years later, he indicated that listening to those lectures really helped him learn financial accounting. He also added that the lectures provided a source of entertainment. I was quite puzzled by this statement. When I asked how that could be, he indicated that after having quite a bit to drink, he and his friends would listen to the lectures on fast forward!

Who says accountants have no sense of humor?

Tom Oxner

March 7, 2010 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Tom,

I do get your point and your humor.
They probably like to speed you up just to get you to the main points.

On a more sobering note, I might note that almost all BYU basic accounting classes are taught only by video. There is one lecture a year on technical content, although the classes meet now and then for career inspiration, visiting speakers, etc.

Related to your message below, BYU students (who seldom if ever drink alcohol or even coffee/tea) were among the first students to have the ability to speed up variable-rate video lectures to their preferred rates of viewing. Experiments in BYU's accounting classes found that students could often learn as much at higher rates of replay, like double time, and thereby be more efficient with their learning time.

You can read about the BYU variable-speed experiments at

Sadly it's not possible for our students to speed up live lectures, although most of us would've like to be able to when we were students years ago.

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on Tools and Tricks of the Trade ---

How to Value a Website

March 8, 2010 message from Roger Collins [Rcollins@TRU.CA]


I came across this site by accident. Quite apart from the reservations/limitations concerning the specific components of the valuation there  are some interesting questions about the relationship between the value of a Web site on a "stand alone" basis and its contribution to the overall value of an organisation that I'm planning to put to my Accounting Theory students.

Roger Collins
TRU School of Business & Economics

Jensen Comment
Thank you for this Roger.
I find it interesting that a featured Website valuation ($ 107,863.70) for Cardiff University in England ---
I would've guessed Cardiff's Website to have a much higher value.

March 8, 2010 reply from James R. Martin/University of South Florida [jmartin@MAAW.INFO]

The peekstats.com website valuation tool is not even in the ball park on MAAW's web traffic and page views. I think this is because it only picks up visits from those who have the Alexa toobar installed. I noticed that several years ago. Those who want accurate traffic statistics should look at Google Analytics. You have to add some code to the bottom of your pages, but the information you get is really detailed.

Bob Jensen's threads on valuation are at

U. of Alabama's National Title Tab: $4.3 Million
The University of Alabama spent a total of $4.3 million for its football team to participate in the Bowl Championship Series title game in January, The Birmingham News reported based on a review of National Collegiate Athletic Association expense reports. Not all of that total came from the costs of travel for its team and 83-member "official party," though those costs were heavy: $1.2 million in airfares, $700,000 for food and lodging for the team, and nearly $200,000 to house and feed the rest of its traveling contingent. The $4.3 million bottom line also included $1.2 million in bonuses paid to the coaches for winning the national championship game, the newspaper reported.
Inside Higher Ed, March 16, 2010 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/03/16/qt#222593

"Crimson Tide's $4.3 million trip," by Jon Solomon. The Birmingham News, March 14, 2010 ---

The SEC provided Alabama with a travel-expense allowance of $505,400. But there is much more money Alabama re­ceives from the game not in­cluded in the NCAA report.

SEC rules stipulate that Alabama gets $1.925 million off the top of the game's $18.3 million payout. The remaining $16.375 million from the payout gets di­vided into 13 equal shares ($1.26 million to each SEC member and the league of­fice).

That puts Alabama's reve­nue from the national title game at $3,690,400. How­ever, that doesn't include an unspecified amount each SEC school receives by shar­ing revenue from other bowls, including a second Bowl Championship Series game.

Texas reported a net profit of $603,149 from its Big 12 expense allowance of $2,962,200 to Pasadena.

The largest single-line ex­pense for Alabama was $1,256,631 for bonuses, which included $200,000 to Nick Saban for winning the national championship. Texas spent $495,391 on bo­nuses.

Flying Alabama's team, staff, band, cheerleaders and official party to Pasa­dena cost $1,219,455. Texas, which had a shorter dis­tance to travel, spent $590,126 on transportation.

The Longhorns' priciest single-line item was $602,579 on meals and lodg­ing for the team and staff. Texas counted its official party within that figure, whereas Alabama spent $701,847 for meals and lodging for the team and staff and $193,987 for 83 members of its official party. The Crimson Tide spent $89,959 more than the Longhorns on entertain­ment and $91,256 more on awards.

Alabama absorbed a loss of $329,250 from 1,605 game tickets it didn't sell. Univer­sities keep some as compli­mentary tickets given to coaches, administrators, band members and cheerleaders.

The Crimson Tide pur­chased 19,035 tickets priced at $200 each and another 1,820 at $275 apiece. Ala­bama sold a total of 19,200 tickets.

Texas absorbed a loss of $429,600 by not selling 2,148 tickets from its allotment of 19,000, all priced at $200. Ticket allotment and cre­dentialing were sore points for Texas Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds in his NCAA survey of the game.

Dodds noted he was "very dissatisfied" that the 19,000-ticket requirement fell far short of the school's demand. He wants the BCS to provide a larger allotment to participating schools in the future.

"We have to turn thou­sands of potential donors away and the limited num­ber of tickets creates a sig­nificant public relations and customer service issue for us in dealing with our loyal constituencies," Dodds wrote.

Dodds also was dissatis­fied with the BCS limit of 60 bench credentials and five "wildcards" on the sideline. He wrote that severely lim­ited Texas' ability to allow all of its working equipment and medical, operations and coaching staff on the sideline, describing the pol­icy as the "single biggest headache" large schools en­counter in BCS games.

By working closely with Alabama, Dodds said that both schools left many stu­dent workers in the locker room or in the stands in­stead of providing their usual important functions on the sideline. Dodds stressed the Rose Bowl was not at fault for the credential issue and that bowl officials were frustrated with the pol­icy, too.

"All aspects of participat­ing in a Rose Bowl event are outstanding and second to none," Dodds wrote.

The only complaint from Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore in his survey was the condition of the practice field. Otherwise, Moore wrote the game was well-or­ganized and accommodat­ing.

Auburn expenses at Outback Bowl

Meanwhile, Auburn re­ported spending $1,363,096 at the Outback Bowl in Tampa after receiving $1,212,200 from the SEC as an expense allowance. Au­burn did not lose money be­cause a second SEC team in the BCS provided additional revenue not reflected in the NCAA report, said Scott Carr, Auburn senior associ­ate athletics director.

Auburn's largest single-­line expense was $427,823 on meals and lodging for the team and staff over eight days. The Tigers absorbed a loss of $260,110 in 3,229 un­sold tickets, which include complimentary tickets.

Auburn purchased 13,000 tickets from the Outback Bowl at $70 apiece and an­other 2,000 tickets at $150 each. The school sold a total of 11,771 tickets -- 10,197 at the $70 level and 1,574 at the $150 price.

In his bowl survey, Au­burn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs noted that the lack of locker room and shower space at the practice facility presented logistical issues. Supplies such as towels, soap and soft drinks were available at a charge, so Au­burn transported its own supplies, he said.

Jacobs noted that VIP transportation was not pro­vided and would have been utilized if offered. Auburn received one complimen­tary hotel suite and would have liked additional free suites for President Jay Go­gue and coach Gene Chizik rather than paying a "rea­sonable" rate for them, Ja­cobs wrote.

Jacobs said the Outback Bowl did not provide social events geared specifically toward children and sug­gested a trip to the aquar­ium. He concluded there were no major issues for the bowl to address, writing that it was "very accommodating and provided a memorable experience for our travel party."

Jensen Comment
Accounting for athletics is a lot like accounting for a division or product within a large corporation. First and foremost there's no accounting for the intangibles such as future revenues arising from reputation, goodwill, loyalty, brand recognition, esprit de corps, morale (student, employee, and alumni), etc. Secondly, there are huge joint costing problems when a division or product is embedded within other divisions or products. Thirdly, to be a winner in business and athletics it often strains ethics and standards. Especially in athletics, maintaining academic and recruiting standards is particularly dicey for Division 1 universities. In business it is most difficult to achieve global success when having to deal in nations that are themselves highly corrupt.

And think of what it's costing the teams consistently near the bottom of the SEC conference.

Bob Jensen's threads on athletic controversies are at

"The Difference Between Political Journalists and B-School Profs," by Justin Fox, Harvard Business Review Blog, March 9, 2010 ---

The other night I went to see Mark Halperin and John Heilemann talk about their 2008 campaign bestseller, Game Change, at Harvard's Kennedy School. They were very sharp and entertaining, and they persuaded me to buy the book (the $8.61 Kindle price was a factor, too). They were also touchier than I would have expected about the criticism their book has received for its focus on the trivial and the personal.

Their defense was that political campaigns turn on the trivial and the personal, so if you ignore it you ignore the essence of why one candidate prevails over another. As Heilemann put it (I wasn't taking notes so this is a bad paraphrase, not a real quote): Voters didn't choose based on the fact that Hillary Clinton wanted a health insurance mandate and Barack Obama didn't.

As a defense of the book, I thought this was valid enough. It was kind of funny when a student in the audience asked Halperin (a former colleague of mine at Time) what lessons could be learned from Game Change, and all he could come up with was: Candidates whose private and public personas are more or less the same (Barack Obama) tend to have fewer troubles than those with private doings and attributes that they try to hide or at least play down (John Edwards, Hillary Clinton). Gee, thanks, guys. That's really informative.

This is of course the core of a long-running and entirely valid criticism of how the mainstream media cover politics: The narrative is all about personal characteristics and fleeting controversies, and leaves those who consume it intellectually undernourished. That debate gets enough play elsewhere that I won't go into it here, other than link to this fine Ezra Klein post about the differing fortunes of political and policy journalists. But what struck me while listening to Halperin and Heilemann defend their approach were the echoes of a different debate that runs through a book I've been reading, Walter Kiechel's Lords of Strategy (it's an HBS Press book, so you can discount anything I say as biased, but it really is excellent).

Kiechel tells of the rise of gurus — from the consultants of Boston Consulting and Bain to Harvard professor Michael Porter — who cut through the messy realities of business with strategic abstractions that purported to explain why companies succeed and fail. By the 1980s, critics were beginning to complain that the whole strategy exercise was too abstract, that what mattered were people or quirks of history. Even these critics (Tom Peters, Richard Pascale, Jeffrey Pfeffer) were operating at level of abstraction that consumers of political journalism would find deeply foreign. But the basic question was the same: Are you better off learning the particulars of how a candidate won or a corporation made money, or focusing on more universal explanations that can presumably be applied elsewhere?

My general sense is that most of us could use more of the latter (I like Malcolm Gladwell's line that "People are experience-rich and theory-poor"). But, clearly, you can overdo it with the abstraction (a case in point that I've spent way too much time studying: the efficient market hypothesis). The real lesson may be that we always need to be mixing and matching the two approaches, taking caution not to go too far in one direction or another. Which is why I'd like to propose a job exchange: Michael Porter takes over Halperin's political site The Page for six months, and Halperin comes to HBS to teach strategy. Just think: campaign hacks poring over Porter's Five Forces of Political Competition; MBA students digging through Indra Nooyi's latest speech in search of gaffes. Wouldn't it be fun?

Project for Excellence in Journalism: Analysis: Our Studies --- http://www.journalism.org/research_and_analysis/Studies

Liberal Bias in the Media and in Academe ---

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

Bonuses for What?
The only guy to make almost a $100 Million dollars at GE is the CEO who destroyed shareholder value by nearly 50% in slightly less than a decade

"GE has been an investor disaster under Jeff Immelt," MarketWatch, March 8, 2010 ---

When things go well, chief executives of major companies rack up hundreds of millions of dollars, even billions, on their stock allotments and options.

It's always justified on the grounds that they've created lots of shareholder value. But what happens when things go badly?

For one example, take a look at General Electric Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!ge/quotes/nls/ge (GE 16.27, +0.04, +0.22%) , one of America's biggest and most important companies. It just revealed its latest annual glimpse inside the executive swag bag.

By any measure of shareholder value, GE has been a disaster under Jeffrey Immelt. Investors haven't made a nickel since he took the helm as chairman and chief executive nine years ago. In fact, they've lost tens of billions of dollars.

The stock, which was $40 and change when Immelt took over, has collapsed to around $16. Even if you include dividends, investors are still down about 40%. In real post-inflation terms, stockholders have lost about half their money.

So it may come as a shock to discover that during that same period, the 54-year old chief executive has racked up around $90 million in salary, cash and pension benefits.

GE is quick to point out that Immelt skipped his $5.8 million cash bonus in 2009 for the second year in a row, because business did so badly. And so he did.

Yet this apparent sacrifice has to viewed in context. Immelt still took home a "base salary" of $3.3 million and a total compensation of $9.9 million.

His compensation in the previous two years was $14.3 million and $9.3 million. That included everything from salary to stock awards, pension benefits and other perks.

Too often, the media just look at each year's pay in isolation. I decided to go back and take the longer view.

Since succeeding Jack Welch in 2001, Immelt has been paid a total of $28.2 million in salary and another $28.6 million in cash bonuses, for total payments of $56.8 million. That's over nine years, and in addition to all his stock- and option-grant entitlements.

It doesn't end there. Along with all his cash payments, Immelt also has accumulated a remarkable pension fund worth $32 million. That would be enough to provide, say, a 60-year-old retiree with a lifetime income of $192,000 a month.

Yes, Jeff Immelt has been at the company for 27 years, and some of this pension was accumulated in his early years rising up the ladder. But this isn't just his regular company pension. Nearly all of this is in the high-hat plan that's only available to senior GE executives.

Immelt's personal use of company jets -- I repeat, his personal use for vacations, weekend getaways and so on -- cost GE stockholders another $201,335 last year. (It's something shareholders can think about when they stand in line to take off their shoes at JFK -- if they're not lining up at the Port Authority for a bus.)

Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation are at

My Hero Lawyer, Professor, and Wall Street Financial Expert Weighs In

In the bankruptcy court examiner's report on Lehman's downfall, is Volume 3 more or less important than Volume 2?

For Ernst & Young it is probably Volume 3, but my true hero exposing Wall Street scandals opts for Volume 2.

My favorite Wall Street books exposing the inside greed and fraud on Wall Street are those written by Frank Partnoy. My timeline of his exposes can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#DerivativesFrauds .

Professor Partnoy's Senate Testimony was among the first solid explanations of how derivative financial instruments frauds took place at Enron. His entire testimony can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#FrankPartnoyTestimony
See his explanation of the infamous Footnote 16 of the Year 2000 Enron Annual report ---

His books are among the funniest and best books I've ever read in my life, even better than the books of Michael Lewis.
They are the most dog-eared and scruffed up books in my entire library.

"Lehman Examiner Punted on Valuation,"
by Frank Partnoy, Professor of Law and Finance University of San Diego School of Law and author of Fiasco, Infectious Greed, and The Match King
Naked Capitalism, March 14, 2010 --- http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/03/frank-partnoy-lehman-examiner-punted-on-valuation.html

The buzz on the Lehman bankruptcy examiner’s report has focused on Repo 105, for good reason. That scheme is one powerful example of how the balance sheets of major Wall Street banks are fiction. It also shows why Congress must include real accounting reform in its financial legislation, or risk another collapse. (If you have 8 minutes to kill, here is my recent talk on the off-balance sheet problem, from the Roosevelt Institute financial conference.)

But an even more troubling section of the Lehman report is not Volume 3 on Repo 105. It is Volume 2, on Valuation. The Valuation section is 500 pages of utterly terrifying reading. It shows that, even eighteen months after Lehman’s collapse, no one – not the bankruptcy examiner, not Lehman’s internal valuation experts, not Ernst and Young, and certainly not the regulators – could figure out what many of Lehman’s assets and liabilities were worth. It shows Lehman was too complex to do anything but fail.

The report cites extensive evidence of valuation problems. Check out page 577, where the report concludes that Lehman’s high credit default swap valuations were reasonable because Citigroup’s marks were ONLY 8% lower than Lehman’s. 8%? And since when are Citigroup’s valuations the objective benchmark?

Or page 547, where the report describes how Lehman’s so-called “Product Control Group” acted like Keystone Kops: the group used third-party prices for only 10% of Lehman’s CDO positions, and deferred to the traders’ models, saying “We’re not quants.” Here are two money quotes:

While the function of the Product Control Group was to serve as a check on the
desk marks set by Lehman’s traders, the CDO product controllers were hampered in
two respects. First, the Product Control Group did not appear to have sufficient
resources to price test Lehman’s CDO positions comprehensively. Second, while the
CDO product controllers were able to effectively verify the prices of many positions
using trade data and third‐party prices, they did not have the same level of quantitative sophistication as many of the desk personnel who developed models to price CDOs. (page 547)

Or this one:

However, approximately a quarter of Lehman’s CDO positions were not affirmatively priced by the Product Control Group, but simply noted as ‘OK’ because the desk had already written down the position significantly. (page 548)

My favorite section describes the valuation of Ceago, Lehman’s largest CDO position. My corporate finance students at the University of San Diego School of Law understand that you should use higher discount rates for riskier projects. But the Valuation section of the report found that with respect to Ceago, Lehman used LOWER discount rates for the riskier tranches than for the safer ones:

The discount rates used by Lehman’s Product Controllers were significantly understated. As stated, swap rates were used for the discount rate on the Ceago subordinate tranches. However, the resulting rates (approximately 3% to 4%) were significantly lower than the approximately 9% discount rate used to value the more senior S tranche. It is inappropriate to use a discount rate on a subordinate tranche that is lower than the rate used on a senior tranche. (page 556)

It’s one thing to have product controllers who aren’t “quants”; it’s quite another to have people in crucial risk management roles who don’t understand present value.

When the examiner compared Lehman’s marks on these lower tranches to more reliable valuation estimates, it found that “the prices estimated for the C and D tranches of Ceago securities are approximately one‐thirtieth of the price reported by Lehman. (pages 560-61) One thirtieth? These valuations weren’t even close.

Ultimately, the examiner concluded that these problems related to only a small portion of Lehman’s overall portfolio. But that conclusion was due in part to the fact that the examiner did not have the time or resources to examine many of Lehman’s positions in detail (Lehman had 900,000 derivative positions in 2008, and the examiner did not even try to value Lehman’s numerous corporate debt and equity holdings).

The bankruptcy examiner didn’t see enough to bring lawsuits. But the valuation section of the report raises some hot-button issues for private parties and prosecutors. As the report put it, there are issues that “may warrant further review by parties in interest.”

For example, parties in interest might want to look at the report’s section on Archstone, a publicly traded REIT Lehman acquired in October 2007. Much ink has been spilled criticizing the valuation of Archstone. Here is the Report’s finding (at page 361):

… there is sufficient evidence to support a finding that Lehman’s valuations for its Archstone equity positions were unreasonable beginning as of the end of the first quarter of 2008, and continuing through the end of the third quarter of 2008.

And Archstone is just one of many examples.

The Repo 105 section of the Lehman report shows that Lehman’s balance sheet was fiction. That was bad. The Valuation section shows that Lehman’s approach to valuing assets and liabilities was seriously flawed. That is worse. For a levered trading firm, to not understand your economic position is to sign your own death warrant.



  • Selected works of FRANK PARTNOY
    Bob Jensen at Trinity University

    1.  Who is Frank Partnoy?

    Cheryl Dunn requested that I do a review of my favorites among the “books that have influenced [my] work.”   Immediately the succession of FIASCO books by Frank Partnoy came to mind.  These particular books are not the best among related books by Wall Street whistle blowers such as Liar's Poker: Playing the Money Markets by Michael Lewis in 1999 and Monkey Business: Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle by John Rolfe and Peter Troob in 2002.  But in1997.  Frank Partnoy was the first writer to open my eyes to the enormous gap between our assumed efficient and fair capital markets versus the “infectious greed” (Alan Greenspan’s term) that had overtaken these markets.

    Partnoy’s succession of FIASCO books, like those of Lewis and Rolfe/Troob are reality books written from the perspective of inside whistle blowers.  They are somewhat repetitive and anecdotal mainly from the perspective of what each author saw and interpreted. 

    My favorite among the capital market fraud books is Frank Partnoy’s latest book Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets (Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated, 2003, ISBN: 080507510-0- 477 pages).  This is the most scholarly of the books available on business and gatekeeper degeneracy.  Rather than relying mostly upon his own experiences, this book drawn from Partnoy’s interviews of over 150 capital markets insiders of one type or another.  It is more scholarly because it demonstrates Partnoy’s evolution of learning about extremely complex structured financing packages that were the instruments of crime by banks, investment banks, brokers, and securities dealers in the most venerable firms in the U.S. and other parts of the world.  The book is brilliant and has a detailed and helpful index.


    What did I learn most from Partnoy?

    I learned about the failures and complicity of what he terms “gatekeepers” whose fiduciary responsibility was to inoculate against “infectious greed.”  These gatekeepers instead manipulated their professions and their governments to aid and abet the criminals.  On Page 173 of Infectious Greed, he writes the following: 

    Page #173

    When Republicans captured the House of Representatives in November 1994--for the first time since the Eisenhower era--securities-litigation reform was assured.  In a January 1995 speech, Levitt outlined the limits on securities regulation that Congress later would support: limiting the statute-of-limitations period for filing lawsuits, restricting legal fees paid to lead plaintiffs, eliminating punitive-damages provisions from securities lawsuits, requiring plaintiffs to allege more clearly that a defendant acted with reckless intent, and exempting "forward looking statements"--essentially, projections about a company's future--from legal liability.

    The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 passed easily, and Congress even overrode the veto of President Clinton, who either had a fleeting change of heart about financial markets or decided that trial lawyers were an even more important constituency than Wall Street.  In any event, Clinton and Levitt disagreed about the issue, although it wasn't fatal to Levitt, who would remain SEC chair for another five years.


    He later introduces Chapter 7 of Infectious Greed as follows:

    Pages 187-188

    The regulatory changes of 1994-95 sent three messages to corporate CEOs.  First, you are not likely to be punished for "massaging" your firm's accounting numbers.  Prosecutors rarely go after financial fraud and, even when they do, the typical punishment is a small fine; almost no one goes to prison.  Moreover, even a fraudulent scheme could be recast as mere earnings management--the practice of smoothing a company's earnings--which most executives did, and regarded as perfectly legal.

    Second, you should use new financial instruments--including options, swaps, and other derivatives--to increase your own pay and to avoid costly regulation.  If complex derivatives are too much for you to handle--as they were for many CEOs during the years immediately following the 1994 losses--you should at least pay yourself in stock options, which don't need to be disclosed as an expense and have a greater upside than cash bonuses or stock.

    Third, you don't need to worry about whether accountants or securities analysts will tell investors about any hidden losses or excessive options pay.  Now that Congress and the Supreme Court have insulated accounting firms and investment banks from liability--with the Central Bank decision and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act--they will be much more willing to look the other way.  If you pay them enough in fees, they might even be willing to help.

    Of course, not every corporate executive heeded these messages.  For example, Warren Buffett argued that managers should ensure that their companies' share prices were accurate, not try to inflate prices artificially, and he criticized the use of stock options as compensation.  Having been a major shareholder of Salomon Brothers, Buffett also criticized accounting and securities firms for conflicts of interest.

    But for every Warren Buffett, there were many less scrupulous CEOs.  This chapter considers four of them: Walter Forbes of CUC International, Dean Buntrock of Waste Management, Al Dunlap of Sunbeam, and Martin Grass of Rite Aid.  They are not all well-known among investors, but their stories capture the changes in CEO behavior during the mid-1990s.  Unlike the "rocket scientists" at Bankers Trust, First Boston, and Salomon Brothers, these four had undistinguished backgrounds and little training in mathematics or finance.  Instead, they were hardworking, hard-driving men who ran companies that met basic consumer needs: they sold clothes, barbecue grills, and prescription medicine, and cleaned up garbage.  They certainly didn't buy swaps linked to LIBOR-squared.


    The book Infectious Greed has chapters on other capital markets and corporate scandals.  It is the best account that I’ve ever read about Bankers Trust the Bankers Trust scandals, including how one trader named Andy Krieger almost destroyed the entire money supply of New Zealand.  Chapter 10 is devoted to Enron and follows up on Frank Partnoy’s invited testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, January 24, 2002 --- http://www.senate.gov/~gov_affairs/012402partnoy.htm

    The controversial writings of Frank Partnoy have had an enormous impact on my teaching and my research.  Although subsequent writers wrote somewhat more entertaining exposes, he was the one who first opened my eyes to what goes on behind the scenes in capital markets and investment banking.  Through his early writings, I discovered that there is an enormous gap between the efficient financial world that we assume in agency theory worshipped in academe versus the dark side of modern reality where you find the cleverest crooks out to steal money from widows and orphans in sophisticated ways where it is virtually impossible to get caught.  Because I read his 1997  book early on, the ensuing succession of enormous scandals in finance, accounting, and corporate governance weren’t really much of a surprise to me.

    From his insider perspective he reveals a world where our most respected firms in banking, market exchanges, and related financial institutions no longer care anything about fiduciary responsibility and professionalism in disgusting contrast to the honorable founders of those same firms motivated to serve rather than steal.

    Young men and women from top universities of the world abandoned almost all ethical principles while working in investment banks and other financial institutions in order to become not only rich but filthy rich at the expense of countless pension holders and small investors.  Partnoy opened my eyes to how easy it is to get around auditors and corporate boards by creating structured financial contracts that are incomprehensible and serve virtually no purpose other than to steal billions upon billions of dollars.


    Most importantly, Frank Partnoy opened my eyes to the psychology of greed.  Greed is rooted in opportunity and cultural relativism.  He graduated from college with a high sense of right and wrong.  But his standards and values sank to the criminal level of those when he entered the criminal world of investment banking.  The only difference between him and the crooks he worked with is that he could not quell his conscience while stealing from widows and orphans.


    Frank Partnoy has a rare combination of scholarship and experience in law, investment banking, and accounting.  He is sometimes criticized for not really understanding the complexities of some of the deals he described, but he rather freely admits that he was new to the game of complex deceptions in international structured financing crime.

    2.  What really happened at Enron? --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#FrankPartnoyTestimony 


    3.  What are some of Frank Partnoy’s best-known works?

    Frank Partnoy, FIASCO: Blood in the Water on Wall Street (W. W. Norton & Company, 1997, ISBN 0393046222, 252 pages). 

    This is the first of a somewhat repetitive succession of Partnoy’s “FIASCO” books that influenced my life.  The most important revelation from his insider’s perspective is that the most trusted firms on Wall Street and financial centers in other major cities in the U.S., that were once highly professional and trustworthy, excoriated the guts of integrity leaving a façade behind which crooks less violent than the Mafia but far more greedy took control in the roaring 1990s. 

    After selling a succession of phony derivatives deals while at Morgan Stanley, Partnoy blew the whistle in this book about a number of his employer’s shady and outright fraudulent deals sold in rigged markets using bait and switch tactics.  Customers, many of them pension fund investors for schools and municipal employees, were duped into complex and enormously risky deals that were billed as safe as the U.S. Treasury.

    His books have received mixed reviews, but I question some of the integrity of the reviewers from the investment banking industry who in some instances tried to whitewash some of the deals described by Partnoy.  His books have received a bit less praise than the book Liars Poker by Michael Lewis, but critics of Partnoy fail to give credit that Partnoy’s exposes preceded those of Lewis. 

    Frank Partnoy, FIASCO: Guns, Booze and Bloodlust: the Truth About High Finance (Profile Books, 1998, 305 Pages)

    Like his earlier books, some investment bankers and literary dilettantes who reviewed this book were critical of Partnoy and claimed that he misrepresented some legitimate structured financings.  However, my reading of the reviewers is that they were trying to lend credence to highly questionable offshore deals documented by Partnoy.  Be that as it may, it would have helped if Partnoy had been a bit more explicit in some of his illustrations.

    Frank Partnoy, FIASCO: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader (Penguin, 1999, ISBN 0140278796, 283 pages). 

    This is a blistering indictment of the unregulated OTC market for derivative financial instruments and the million and billion dollar deals conceived in investment banking.  Among other things, Partnoy describes Morgan Stanley’s annual drunken skeet-shooting competition organized by a “gun-toting strip-joint connoisseur” former combat officer (fanatic) who loved the motto:  “When derivatives are outlawed only outlaws will have derivatives.”  At that event, derivatives salesmen were forced to shoot entrapped bunnies between the eyes on the pretense that the bunnies were just like “defenseless animals” that were Morgan Stanley’s customers to be shot down even if they might eventually “lose a billion dollars on derivatives.”
    This book has one of the best accounts of the “fiasco” caused almost entirely by the duping of Orange County ’s Treasurer (Robert Citron) by the unscrupulous Merrill Lynch derivatives salesman named Michael Stamenson. Orange County eventually lost over a billion dollars and was forced into bankruptcy.  Much of this was later recovered in court from Merrill Lynch.  Partnoy calls Citron and Stamenson “The Odd Couple,” which is also the title of Chapter 8 in the book.Frank Partnoy, Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets (Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated, 2003, ISBN: 080507510-0, 477 pages)Frank Partnoy, Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets (Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated, 2003, ISBN: 080507510-0, 477 pages)

    Partnoy shows how corporations gradually increased financial risk and lost control over overly complex structured financing deals that obscured the losses and disguised frauds  pushed corporate officers and their boards into successive and ingenious deceptions." Major corporations such as Enron, Global Crossing, and WorldCom entered into enormous illegal corporate finance and accounting.  Partnoy documents the spread of this epidemic stage and provides some suggestions for restraining the disease.

    "The Siskel and Ebert of Financial Matters: Two Thumbs Down for the Credit Reporting Agencies" by Frank Partnoy, Washington University Law Quarterly, Volume 77, No. 3, 1999 --- http://ls.wustl.edu/WULQ/ 

    4.  What are examples of related books that are somewhat more entertaining than Partnoy’s early books?

    Michael Lewis, Liar's Poker: Playing the Money Markets (Coronet, 1999, ISBN 0340767006)

    Lewis writes in Partnoy’s earlier whistleblower style with somewhat more intense and comic portrayals of the major players in describing the double dealing and break down of integrity on the trading floor of Salomon Brothers.

    John Rolfe and Peter Troob, Monkey Business: Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle (Warner Books, Incorporated, 2002, ISBN: 0446676950, 288 Pages)

    This is a hilarious tongue-in-cheek account by Wharton and Harvard MBAs who thought they were starting out as stock brokers for $200,000 a year until they realized that they were on the phones in a bucket shop selling sleazy IPOs to unsuspecting institutional investors who in turn passed them along to widows and orphans.  They write. "It took us another six months after that to realize that we were, in fact, selling crappy public offerings to investors."

    There are other books along a similar vein that may be more revealing and entertaining than the early books of Frank Partnoy, but he was one of the first, if not the first, in the roaring 1990s to reveal the high crime taking place behind the concrete and glass of Wall Street.  He was the first to anticipate many of the scandals that soon followed.  And his testimony before the U.S. Senate is the best concise account of the crime that transpired at Enron.  He lays the blame clearly at the feet of government officials (read that Wendy Gramm) who sold the farm when they deregulated the energy markets and opened the doors to unregulated OTC derivatives trading in energy.  That is when Enron really began bilking the public.

    Some of the many, many lawsuits settled by auditing firms can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud001.htm




    The End of Wall Street?

    Liars Poker II is called "The End"
    The Not-Funny Punch Line is Not Until Page 9 of This Tongue in Cheek Explanation of the Meltdown on Wall Street!

    Now I asked Gutfreund about his biggest decision. “Yes,” he said. “They—the heads of the other Wall Street firms—all said what an awful thing it was to go public (beg for a government bailout) and how could you do such a thing. But when the temptation arose, they all gave in to it.” He agreed that the main effect of turning a partnership into a corporation was to transfer the financial risk to the shareholders. “When things go wrong, it’s their problem,” he said—and obviously not theirs alone. When a Wall Street investment bank screwed up badly enough, its risks became the problem of the U.S. government. “It’s laissez-faire until you get in deep shit,” he said, with a half chuckle. He was out of the game.

    This is a must read to understand what went wrong on Wall Street --- especially the punch line!
    "The End," by Michael Lewis December 2008 Issue The era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over. Michael Lewis, who chronicled its excess in Liar’s Poker, returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong.

    To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall. The essential function of Wall Street is to allocate capital—to decide who should get it and who should not. Believe me when I tell you that I hadn’t the first clue.

    I’d never taken an accounting course, never run a business, never even had savings of my own to manage. I stumbled into a job at Salomon Brothers in 1985 and stumbled out much richer three years later, and even though I wrote a book about the experience, the whole thing still strikes me as preposterous—which is one of the reasons the money was so easy to walk away from. I figured the situation was unsustainable. Sooner rather than later, someone was going to identify me, along with a lot of people more or less like me, as a fraud. Sooner rather than later, there would come a Great Reckoning when Wall Street would wake up and hundreds if not thousands of young people like me, who had no business making huge bets with other people’s money, would be expelled from finance.

    When I sat down to write my account of the experience in 1989—Liar’s Poker, it was called—it was in the spirit of a young man who thought he was getting out while the getting was good. I was merely scribbling down a message on my way out and stuffing it into a bottle for those who would pass through these parts in the far distant future.

    Unless some insider got all of this down on paper, I figured, no future human would believe that it happened.

    I thought I was writing a period piece about the 1980s in America. Not for a moment did I suspect that the financial 1980s would last two full decades longer or that the difference in degree between Wall Street and ordinary life would swell into a difference in kind. I expected readers of the future to be outraged that back in 1986, the C.E.O. of Salomon Brothers, John Gutfreund, was paid $3.1 million; I expected them to gape in horror when I reported that one of our traders, Howie Rubin, had moved to Merrill Lynch, where he lost $250 million; I assumed they’d be shocked to learn that a Wall Street C.E.O. had only the vaguest idea of the risks his traders were running. What I didn’t expect was that any future reader would look on my experience and say, “How quaint.”

    I had no great agenda, apart from telling what I took to be a remarkable tale, but if you got a few drinks in me and then asked what effect I thought my book would have on the world, I might have said something like, “I hope that college students trying to figure out what to do with their lives will read it and decide that it’s silly to phony it up and abandon their passions to become financiers.” I hoped that some bright kid at, say, Ohio State University who really wanted to be an oceanographer would read my book, spurn the offer from Morgan Stanley, and set out to sea.

    Somehow that message failed to come across. Six months after Liar’s Poker was published, I was knee-deep in letters from students at Ohio State who wanted to know if I had any other secrets to share about Wall Street. They’d read my book as a how-to manual.

    In the two decades since then, I had been waiting for the end of Wall Street. The outrageous bonuses, the slender returns to shareholders, the never-ending scandals, the bursting of the internet bubble, the crisis following the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management: Over and over again, the big Wall Street investment banks would be, in some narrow way, discredited. Yet they just kept on growing, along with the sums of money that they doled out to 26-year-olds to perform tasks of no obvious social utility. The rebellion by American youth against the money culture never happened. Why bother to overturn your parents’ world when you can buy it, slice it up into tranches, and sell off the pieces?

    At some point, I gave up waiting for the end. There was no scandal or reversal, I assumed, that could sink the system.

    The New Order The crash did more than wipe out money. It also reordered the power on Wall Street. What a Swell Party A pictorial timeline of some Wall Street highs and lows from 1985 to 2007. Worst of Times Most economists predict a recovery late next year. Don’t bet on it. Then came Meredith Whitney with news. Whitney was an obscure analyst of financial firms for Oppenheimer Securities who, on October 31, 2007, ceased to be obscure. On that day, she predicted that Citigroup had so mismanaged its affairs that it would need to slash its dividend or go bust. It’s never entirely clear on any given day what causes what in the stock market, but it was pretty obvious that on October 31, Meredith Whitney caused the market in financial stocks to crash. By the end of the trading day, a woman whom basically no one had ever heard of had shaved $369 billion off the value of financial firms in the market. Four days later, Citigroup’s C.E.O., Chuck Prince, resigned. In January, Citigroup slashed its dividend.

    From that moment, Whitney became E.F. Hutton: When she spoke, people listened. Her message was clear. If you want to know what these Wall Street firms are really worth, take a hard look at the crappy assets they bought with huge sums of ­borrowed money, and imagine what they’d fetch in a fire sale. The vast assemblages of highly paid people inside the firms were essentially worth nothing. For better than a year now, Whitney has responded to the claims by bankers and brokers that they had put their problems behind them with this write-down or that capital raise with a claim of her own: You’re wrong. You’re still not facing up to how badly you have mismanaged your business.

    Rivals accused Whitney of being overrated; bloggers accused her of being lucky. What she was, mainly, was right. But it’s true that she was, in part, guessing. There was no way she could have known what was going to happen to these Wall Street firms. The C.E.O.’s themselves didn’t know.

    Now, obviously, Meredith Whitney didn’t sink Wall Street. She just expressed most clearly and loudly a view that was, in retrospect, far more seditious to the financial order than, say, Eliot Spitzer’s campaign against Wall Street corruption. If mere scandal could have destroyed the big Wall Street investment banks, they’d have vanished long ago. This woman wasn’t saying that Wall Street bankers were corrupt. She was saying they were stupid. These people whose job it was to allocate capital apparently didn’t even know how to manage their own.

    At some point, I could no longer contain myself: I called Whitney. This was back in March, when Wall Street’s fate still hung in the balance. I thought, If she’s right, then this really could be the end of Wall Street as we’ve known it. I was curious to see if she made sense but also to know where this young woman who was crashing the stock market with her every utterance had come from.

    It turned out that she made a great deal of sense and that she’d arrived on Wall Street in 1993, from the Brown University history department. “I got to New York, and I didn’t even know research existed,” she says. She’d wound up at Oppenheimer and had the most incredible piece of luck: to be trained by a man who helped her establish not merely a career but a worldview. His name, she says, was Steve Eisman.

    Eisman had moved on, but they kept in touch. “After I made the Citi call,” she says, “one of the best things that happened was when Steve called and told me how proud he was of me.”

    Having never heard of Eisman, I didn’t think anything of this. But a few months later, I called Whitney again and asked her, as I was asking others, whom she knew who had anticipated the cataclysm and set themselves up to make a fortune from it. There’s a long list of people who now say they saw it coming all along but a far shorter one of people who actually did. Of those, even fewer had the nerve to bet on their vision. It’s not easy to stand apart from mass hysteria—to believe that most of what’s in the financial news is wrong or distorted, to believe that most important financial people are either lying or deluded—without actually being insane. A handful of people had been inside the black box, understood how it worked, and bet on it blowing up. Whitney rattled off a list with a half-dozen names on it. At the top was Steve Eisman.

    Steve Eisman entered finance about the time I exited it. He’d grown up in New York City and gone to a Jewish day school, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard Law School. In 1991, he was a 30-year-old corporate lawyer. “I hated it,” he says. “I hated being a lawyer. My parents worked as brokers at Oppenheimer. They managed to finagle me a job. It’s not pretty, but that’s what happened.”

    He was hired as a junior equity analyst, a helpmate who didn’t actually offer his opinions. That changed in December 1991, less than a year into his new job, when a subprime mortgage lender called Ames Financial went public and no one at Oppenheimer particularly cared to express an opinion about it. One of Oppenheimer’s investment bankers stomped around the research department looking for anyone who knew anything about the mortgage business. Recalls Eisman: “I’m a junior analyst and just trying to figure out which end is up, but I told him that as a lawyer I’d worked on a deal for the Money Store.” He was promptly appointed the lead analyst for Ames Financial. “What I didn’t tell him was that my job had been to proofread the ­documents and that I hadn’t understood a word of the fucking things.”

    Ames Financial belonged to a category of firms known as nonbank financial institutions. The category didn’t include J.P. Morgan, but it did encompass many little-known companies that one way or another were involved in the early-1990s boom in subprime mortgage lending—the lower class of American finance.

    The second company for which Eisman was given sole responsibility was Lomas Financial, which had just emerged from bankruptcy. “I put a sell rating on the thing because it was a piece of shit,” Eisman says. “I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to put a sell rating on companies. I thought there were three boxes—buy, hold, sell—and you could pick the one you thought you should.” He was pressured generally to be a bit more upbeat, but upbeat wasn’t Steve Eisman’s style. Upbeat and Eisman didn’t occupy the same planet. A hedge fund manager who counts Eisman as a friend set out to explain him to me but quit a minute into it. After describing how Eisman exposed various important people as either liars or idiots, the hedge fund manager started to laugh. “He’s sort of a prick in a way, but he’s smart and honest and fearless.”

    “A lot of people don’t get Steve,” Whitney says. “But the people who get him love him.” Eisman stuck to his sell rating on Lomas Financial, even after the company announced that investors needn’t worry about its financial condition, as it had hedged its market risk. “The single greatest line I ever wrote as an analyst,” says Eisman, “was after Lomas said they were hedged.” He recited the line from memory: “ ‘The Lomas Financial Corp. is a perfectly hedged financial institution: It loses money in every conceivable interest-rate environment.’ I enjoyed writing that sentence more than any sentence I ever wrote.” A few months after he’d delivered that line in his report, Lomas Financial returned to bankruptcy.

    Continued in article

    Michael Lewis, Liar's Poker: Playing the Money Markets (Coronet, 1999, ISBN 0340767006)

    Lewis writes in Partnoy’s earlier whistleblower style with somewhat more intense and comic portrayals of the major players in describing the double dealing and break down of integrity on the trading floor of Salomon Brothers.

  • Continued at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

    Bob Jensen's threads on the Lehman Examiner's Report ---

    A Rare Event:  Convicted of Defrauding the Federal Government
    Three individuals have pleaded guilty in a federal court to scamming the Federal Communications Commission out of over $2.5 million with organizations they owned that were designed to help people with hearing impairments. The FCC has a program called Video Relay Service (VRS) for deaf people and those with related hearing problems. It partners with local organizations to provide interpreting services over the Internet to allow these people to communicate with others through webcams and other video-to-video channels. The local organizations pay their interpreters and are then reimbursed by the FCC for providing the service, at a generous rate of $390 per hour ($6.50 per minute).
    Mike Luttrell, "Three plead guilty to defrauding FCC of millions of dollars." TG Daily, March 9, 2010 ---

    Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudUpdates.htm

    When can terminally ill people achieve popularity and great fortune?
    Is it worth dying for?
    What are the accounting issues is these unusual circumstances for both the investors and the debtors?

    "Investors Tap Into Deathbed Bond Deal," by Mark Maremont and Aparajita Saha-Bubna, The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2010 ---

    Billions of dollars in corporate bonds sold to retail investors come with an unusual provision that could be used to generate a fast profit. There's just one catch: Investors must team up to buy the bonds with someone who is about to die

    American International Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Caterpillar Inc., General Electric Co.'s GE Capital unit and other major U.S. companies often issue bonds with what is known as a survivor's option.

    In a little-known practice, investors can recruit a terminally ill person and together they can scoop up these bonds on the open market at a discount. When the ailing bondholder dies, the surviving co-owner can then redeem them at face value and potentially turn a quick profit.

    Companies have typically included the macabre provision as a way to allay fears among ordinary individual investors—elderly couples who might worry that one spouse could die before the bonds mature, possibly exposing the survivor to a loss.

    But the market's turmoil has made this arrangement more attractive for professional investors, since some bonds are trading at a steep discount. Legal and financial experts say there is nothing to prevent investors from buying the bonds with a dying relative or even a stranger who is terminally ill.

    It isn't clear how many investors have piled into such bonds since the financial crisis hit, which initially pushed some below 50 cents on the dollar.

    Prices have rebounded from their lows. But some so-called survivor's-option corporate bonds issued by auto lender GMAC Financial Services, AIG unit American General Financial Services and student-loan provider SLM Corp. are still being offered at discounts of more than 20%, according to Knight BondPoint, a unit of Knight Capital Group Inc.

    Companies typically issue the bonds because they want to tap into a regular, stable funding source through retail investors. Such companies often sell a small amount of bonds each week, say $25 million, through retail brokers.

    Usually, there are two ways an investor can cash in a bond: by selling it to another investor on the open market, or by waiting until the issuer redeems the bond upon its maturity.

    One investor who scored big on the money-back guarantee is Joseph A. Caramadre, an estate-planning lawyer in Cranston, R.I. From 2006 to 2009, Mr. Caramadre recruited several dozen terminally ill people to serve as joint brokerage-account holders. He then bought survivor's-option bonds trading below face value for each account, according to Mr. Caramadre's lawyer and federal court records filed in Providence, R.I., over how to pay out proceeds from the investments.

    Continued in article

    "A Dangerous Pattern: Rewarding Failure," by Ron Kensas, Harvard Business Review Blog, March 9, 2010 ---

    Over the past few months there has been growing anger and frustration about outsized Wall Street bonuses awarded by institutions that were rescued by taxpayer funds. At the core of this anger is the feeling that the pursuit of big payoffs caused bankers to develop complex products and take big risks which ultimately caused the financial system to crash — and if this dynamic is not curbed, it will happen again. At the same time, there is also a feeling, reinforced by President Obama, that Wall Street bankers have not really been held accountable for their risky actions and, in fact, are being unduly rewarded while everyone else continues to suffer.

    Unfortunately, the focus on Wall Street masks a more dangerous pattern of rewarding failure that is deeply embedded in the highest levels of corporate and governmental culture. For example, President Obama's point person for reforming Wall Street is Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. But somehow Geithner himself has not been held accountable for the financial crisis. This is despite the fact that as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Geithner was responsible for the supervision of Wall Street banks. His reward for allowing these banks to create unsustainable balance sheets: He was made Treasury Secretary.

    Similarly Geithner's boss in the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, was not held accountable for the interest rate and regulatory policies that some say caused the crisis. Instead, he was confirmed for a second term by a wide margin in the Senate. And to complete the failure trifecta, Lawrence Summers, who supported many of the policies that caused the financial crisis and resigned from his position as President of Harvard after making unfortunate statements about the capabilities of women, was given a senior role as a White House economic policy advisor.

    But this culture of rewarding failure is not limited to the highest levels of government. Virtually every senior corporate leader of a failed institution walks away with millions of dollars. Many move on to other senior corporate jobs or board positions. Take Robert Nardelli as an example. After not getting the top job at GE in 2001, Nardelli became the CEO of Home Depot where he made a series of strategic missteps and displayed an arrogance that alienated employees and customers. After being ousted from that job (with millions of dollars) he was hired by Cerberus to turn around Chrysler — another failure which ultimately resulted in its acquisition by Fiat. And while thousands of Chrysler employees and dealers lost their jobs and their incomes, again Nardelli walked away with his fortune intact and enhanced.

    None of this is to blame Geithner, Bernanke, Summers or Nardelli. The point of this argument is that at the highest levels of government and corporations, we have accepted a culture of rewarding failure. That is why perhaps the best job in America is to be a failed CEO. You receive millions in severance and are once more given opportunities to either try it again, or serve on a board of directors where you can again escape accountability for failure. In fact, while President Obama calls for "clawbacks" of banker's bonuses, nobody seems to be calling for directors to return the compensation that they received for poorly "supervising" financial institutions and other corporations that struggle or fail.

    Steve Kerr, former chief learning officer of GE and Goldman Sachs, notes that the biggest problem with compensation is what he calls "asking for A while rewarding B." If we are serious about asking for excellent performance, then we have to stop rewarding failure. It's a simple equation — and until we get it right, the President's calls for greater accountability will have a hollow ring.

    What do you think?

    "Five Ways to Heal American Capitalism," by Roger Marti, Harvard Business Review Blog, March 3, 2010 ---

    March 10, 2010 reply from Malcolm McLelland [mjmclell@INDIANA.EDU]

    Here's an interesting article written by George Soros in 1997 that is (was) prescient, I think, regarding the financial crisis and related issues http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/97feb/capital/capital.htmIt seems to get at the core issue quite well.



    Bob Jensen's threads on outrageous executive compensation are at

    From the Scout Report on March 5, 2010

    CrossLoop 2.71 --- http://www.crossloop.com/mktg/screensharing_123 

    If you're working on a project or you need to share timely information, you might want to check out CrossLoop 2.71. After installing this program, visitors can share a 12-digit access code with others to allow them to access their desktop. It's a good way to collaborate on a group presentation, share data, and there are a myriad of other uses. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 or later and Windows 2000 and newer.

    Darq Software Transmute 2.03 --- http://www.gettransmute.com/ 

    If you want to move around your bookmarks to a new and improved browser, Transmute 2.03 might be just the application for you. The user interface is quite elegant, and visitors just need to select the browsers they're transferring the bookmarks to and from, and the program makes it happen. The program supports a number of browsers, including Opera, Chrome, and Safari. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer.

    Admiral Ackbar for Ole Miss Mascot --- http://www.notatrap.org/

    University of Mississippi Library: Digital Collections --- http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/archives/

    From the Scout Report on March 12, 2010

    WinUtilities Free Edition 9.44 --- http://www.ylcomputing.com/content/view/327/135/ 

    Installing and uninstalling various programs can leave behind annoying detritus on a computer, and WinUtilities can help out with this predicament. The application brings together a number of tools designed to free up disk space and improve overall system performance. The application includes a "One-Click Maintenance" feature, and visitors can also use the application to shred files, locate duplicate files, and schedule various maintenance tasks. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2003 and newer.

    Courseware 1.1.2 ---  http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/scholarpress-courseware/ 

    The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University is always working on new projects, and their Courseware plug-in for Word Press is worth a look. Visitors can use this latest version of Courseware to publish class schedules, assignments, and bibliographies. Courseware is primarily intended for use by the higher education community, but it could easily be used in high school classrooms or other collaborative environments. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux.

    Legendary Architect Bruce J. Graham Dies http://www.som.com/content.cfm/030810_legendary_architect_bruce_j_graham_dies

    Chicago Tribune Profile: Bruce Graham [pdf] http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/files/brucegrahamstory.pdf

    Biography and oral history: Bruce Graham http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/research/specialcollections/oralhistories/graham.html

    Willis Tower --- http://www.willistower.com/

    Chicago Landmarks --- http://egov.cityofchicago.org/Landmarks/

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

    Education Tutorials

    Family Learning Forum --- http://familylearningforum.org/

    Education & Learning: Asia Society --- http://www.asiasociety.org/education-learning

    Portal to Asian Internet Resources --- http://webcat.library.wisc.edu:3200/PAIR/index.html 

    Latino Distance Education
    American RadioWorks: Rising by Degrees [iTunes] http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/latino_college/index.html

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

    Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

    ChemEd DL [Chemestry Education Digital Library --- http://www.chemeddl.org/ 

    Bringing food chemistry to life --- http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/deliciousnessw09/

    Exploratorium: Science Snacks --- http://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/index.html 

    Canadian Space Agency Kid Science --- http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/kidspace/kidspace.asp

    Biography and oral history: Bruce Graham (architecture) ---  http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/research/specialcollections/oralhistories/graham.html

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

    Social Science and Economics Tutorials

    Department of Defense Social Media Hub --- http://socialmedia.defense.gov/

    Project for Excellence in Journalism: Analysis: Our Studies --- http://www.journalism.org/research_and_analysis/Studies

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Gender and Land Rights Database --- http://www.fao.org/gender/landrights

    Education & Learning: Asia Society --- http://www.asiasociety.org/education-learning

    South Asian Oral History Project --- http://content.lib.washington.edu/saohcweb/index.html

    Measuring Underemployment Among Military Spouses --- http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2010/RAND_MG918.pdf

    United Nations Economic Commission for Europe: Statistical Database --- http://w3.unece.org/pxweb/Dialog/

    United Nations World Digital Library --- http://www.wdl.org/en/

    OECD Factbook eXplorer --- http://stats.oecd.org/oecdfactbook/

    HotDocs Doc Library [Canadian Social Communities] http://hotdocslibrary.ca/en/ 

    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: Digital Collections --- http://chwmaah-archive.com/?page_id=18

    Voices from Afghanistan --- http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/voicesfromafghanistan/Pages/default.aspx

    Afghanistan Analyst --- http://afghanistan-analyst.org/default.aspx 

    The Reverend Claude L. Pickens, Jr. Collection on Muslims in China and Tibet (over 1,000 photographs) ---

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

    Law and Legal Studies

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Gender and Land Rights Database --- http://www.fao.org/gender/landrights

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

    Math Tutorials

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

    History Tutorials

    National American History: Museum Stories of Freedom and Justice [iTunes] http://americanhistory.si.edu/freedomandjustice/

    NYPL Digital Gallery: Turn of the Century Posters ---

    Nickel Weeklies (American History) --- http://drc.library.bgsu.edu/handle/2374.BGSU/744 
    Many Pen and Ink Sketches

    Hogenberg: Franz and Abraham Hogenberg Engravings --- http://diglib.princeton.edu/xquery?_xq=getCollection&_xsl=collection&_pid=pudl0051

    MoMa: William Kentridge [Flash Player Art] http://moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/williamkentridge/ 

    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: Digital Collections --- http://chwmaah-archive.com/?page_id=18

    African American History (photographs)
    Documenting Our Past: The Teenie Harris Archive Project --- http://www.cmoa.org/teenie/intro.asp

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announces the availability of a newly-digitized collection of Abraham Lincoln books accessible through the Open Content Alliance and displayed on the University Library's own web site, as the first step of a digitization project of Lincoln books from its collection. View the first set of books digitized at: http://varuna.grainger.uiuc.edu/oca/lincoln/

    Abraham Lincoln Association Publications --- http://quod.lib.umich.edu/a/alapubs/ 

    Lincoln Memorial Interactive [Flash Player] http://www.nps.gov/featurecontent/ncr/linc/interactive/deploy/index.htm#/introduction

    The Lincoln Log --- http://www.thelincolnlog.org/view

    Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers --- http://www.loc.gov/chroniclingamerica/home.html

    The Ohio Channel: Remarkable Ohio: Marking Ohio's History [video] http://www.ohiochannel.org/your_state/remarkable_ohio/index.cfm?mh=ohs

    History of Central Florida
    Central Florida Memory --- http://www.cfmemory.org /

    New Mexico Museum of Art [Flash Player, pdf] http://www.nmartmuseum.org/

    Museum of Contemporary Art: Podcasts [iTunes] --- http://www.mcachicago.org/interactive/podcasts.php?page=podcast

    Teaching Images Digital Experiences --- http://tides.sfasu.edu/index.html

    Florida Digital Newspaper Library --- http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/UFDC/?c=fdnl1

    British Museum: A catalogue of the Russian icons in the British Museum

    Ordnance Survey: History of Maps [England] --- http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/aboutus/history/index.html

    .The Frank M. Hohenberger Photograph Collection (Brown County, Indiana) --- http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/lilly/hohenberger/

    The Reverend Claude L. Pickens, Jr. Collection on Muslims in China and Tibet (over 1,000 photographs) ---

    The History Education Network [Canada] http://www.thenhier.ca/

    Hogenberg: Franz and Abraham Hogenberg Engravings --- http://diglib.princeton.edu/xquery?_xq=getCollection&_xsl=collection&_pid=pudl0051

    South Asian Oral History Project --- http://content.lib.washington.edu/saohcweb/index.html

    HotDocs Doc Library [Canadian Social Communities] http://hotdocslibrary.ca/en/ 

    Voices from Afghanistan --- http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/voicesfromafghanistan/Pages/default.aspx

    Afghanistan Analyst --- http://afghanistan-analyst.org/default.aspx 

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

    Language Tutorials

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

    Music Tutorials

    Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/dcmhtml/dmhome.html 

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

    Writing Tutorials

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

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

    March 9, 2010

    March 10, 2010

    March 11, 2010

    March 12, 2010

    March 13, 2010

    March 15, 2010

    March 16, 2010



    Dan Ariely --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Ariely

    "The Power of Defaults in How We Eat," by Dan Ariely, MIT's Technology Review, March 15, 2010 ---

  • A few months ago I attended a conference held by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. One of the interesting things they noted this year was about their lunch offering.

    You might be surprised to know that meat production, between raising, processing, packaging, and preserving meat uses a lot of energy. In fact, Michael Pollan, author of The Omivore’s Dilemma once asserted that “A vegan in a Hummer has a lighter carbon footprint than a beef eater in a Prius” (it turns out that this was a bit of an exaggeration).

    If you’ll note in the picture below, it seems that in this meeting (2009) the council was able to convince attendees to switch to a vegetarian lunch.

    The trick, as I’ve blogged about before, was making the vegetarian option the default option! For the past two years, the council did not have any default and the vast majority of the attendants picked the meat option. This year they set up the vegetarian option as the default, and this yielded a more environmentally friendly results, with a mere 20 percent insisting on having their steaks (see the column for 2009).

    The other good news is that the vegetarian option was also (in this case) more tasty and healthy.

    It's not just financial markets that experience bubbles, society does too.
    And the Human Genome Project is a perfect example, says a new study.

    "The Rise and Fall of the Human Genome Project," MIT's Technology Review, March 17, 2010 ---

    "Revealing the Source of Ritalin's Brain Boosting Benefits:  The ADHD drug improves attention by enhancing neural plasticity," by Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, March 8, 2010 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24902/?nlid=2802

    New research in animals sheds light on how Ritalin, the stimulant drug prescribed to millions of children each year in the United States for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sheds light on how the drug works. The molecule appears to boost both attention and enhance the speed of learning by increasing the activity of the chemical messenger dopamine, according to new research in Nature Neuroscience.

    Rats given Ritalin were able to more quickly learn that a combination of signals--a flash of light and sound--meant they could get a sugar water reward. But if the rats were also given a drug to block one type of dopamine receptor, the effect was lost. Treated animals also focused more intently on the task at hand, engaging in less unrelated behavior. Another drug, designed to block a second type of dopamine receptor, blocked Ritalin's ability to increase focus.

    Researchers also found that drug-treated animals had enhanced neural plasticity, or changes in strength of the connections between nerve cells. The ability of our neural circuits to change strength in response to new information underlies our ability to learn.

    "Since we now know that Ritalin improves behavior through two specific types of neurotransmitter receptors, the finding could help in the development of better targeted drugs, with fewer side effects, to increase focus and learning," said Antonello Bonci, MD, principal investigator at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center and professor of neurology at UCSF, in a statement from the university. The Gallo Center is affiliated with the UCSF Department of Neurology.

    While Ritalin is mostly prescribed for children with ADHD, it also boosts cognitive function in healthy people. A number of studies suggest that a growing number of healthy adults and teens are taking Ritalin and similar drugs to aid in studying or work performance.

    Forwarded by Roger Collins
    Canadians Also Win Gold For Synchronized Peeing (with a great tell-tale picture) ---

    "NBC's Saturday Night Live (Comedy) 'Presidents' Reunite to Promote Wall Street Reform," SmartPros, March 8, 2010 ---

    A new online video released from the creators and producers of Funny Or Die kicked off a week of action to urge Congress to act and pass real financial reform.

    The video, directed by Ron Howard, brings together all the actors who portrayed “Presidents” on “Saturday Night Live,” including Will Ferrell (George W. Bush), Fred Armisen (Barack Obama), Darrell Hammond (Bill Clinton), Chevy Chase (Gerald Ford), Dan Aykroyd (Jimmy Carter), and Dana Carvey (George H. W. Bush). In addition, Jim Carrey rounds out the cast with his portrayal of Ronald Regan, and “SNL” alum Maya Rudolph (Michelle Obama) is also featured.

    The video was created in association with Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition of more than 200 national, state and local consumer, labor, investor, civil rights, community, small business and senior citizen organizations, to urge Congress to act now on Financial Reform and to make sure the cornerstone or real reform, a strong and independent consumer agency, is included in any final bill.

    “To see all these fake Presidents together at once in a fake White House Bedroom with fake wigs was very fake inspiring,” said Adam McKay, co-founder of Funny Or Die and co-writer of the video.

    In addition to the “Presidential Reunion” video, Funny and Die is working on additional videos to be released soon to urge Congress to act and pass financial reform.

    The videos will be on www.funnyordie.com  and link to information and actions on www.mainstreetbrigade.org  and www.ourfinancialsecurity.org  .

    Heather Booth, Executive Director of Americans for Financial Reform: “For months, the Big Banks and their army of high priced lobbyists have been swarming Capitol Hill looking to either kill or weaken real reform – including a strong and independent agency focused on standing up for consumers. We are thrilled the folks at Funny or Die, and their friends in Hollywood, are joining this fight. The Big Banks have had their say in Washington for long enough. It is time for Congress to listen to the American people and pass real financial reform, including a strong and independent CFPA, to ensure the Big Banks can not lead our economy over a cliff again.”


    Bob Jensen's more serious threads on the needs for reform are at

    Here are some little known, very interesting facts about Texas:

    1.....Beaumont to El Paso : 742 miles
    2... Beaumont to Chicago : 770 miles
    3... El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas
    4... World's first rodeo was in Pecos , July 4, 1883.
    5... The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water. Destroyed by Hurricane Ike -2008!
    6. The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach at Rice University in Houston .
    7. Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America
    8. Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America 's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.
    9. Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978. 10. The worst natural disaster in U.S.... history was in 1900, caused by a hurricane, in which over 8,000 lives were lost on Galveston Island .
    11. The first word spoken from the moon, July 20,1969, was " Houston ," but the space center was actually in Clear Lake City at the time.
    12. King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island ..
    13. Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43' in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July of 1979...
    14. Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union ) instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as the U.S. Flag, and may divide into 5 states.
    15. A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.
    16. Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
    17. Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period in Dr Pepper..
    18. Texas has had six capital cities:
    Washington -on- the Brazos, Harrisburg , Galveston ,Velasco, West Columbia and Austin ...
    19. The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. which is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington DC (by 7 feet).
    20. The San Jacinto Monument is the tallest free standing monument in the world and it is taller than the Washington monument.
    21. The name ' Texas ' comes from the Hasini Indian word 'tejas' meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas ..
    22. The State Mascot is the Armadillo (an interesting bit of trivia about the armadillo is they always have four babies. They have one egg, which splits into four, and they either have four males or four females.).
    23. The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston .

    Y'all git all that?

    Forwarded by Paula

    It takes your food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.

    One human hair can support 3kg (6.6 lb).

    The average man's private area is three times the length of his thumb.

    Human thighbones are stronger than concrete.

    A woman's heart beats faster than a man's...

    There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.

    Women blink twice as often as men.

    The average person's skin weighs twice as much as the brain.

    Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.

    If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it. Women reading this will be finished now.

    Men are still busy checking their thumbs.




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

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

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

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

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


    Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

    Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics ---

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

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

    Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

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

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

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

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


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

    Some Accounting History Sites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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