Tidbits on August 10, 2012
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Bob Jensen's Second Set of White Mountain Cloud Favorite Photographs


More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories


Tidbits on August 10, 2012
Bob Jensen

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

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

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

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

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

The Cult of Statistical Significance: How Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives ---

How Accountics Scientists Should Change: 
"Frankly, Scarlett, after I get a hit for my resume in The Accounting Review I just don't give a damn"
One more mission in what's left of my life will be to try to change this


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

A Really Great Video Commercial --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=player_embedded&v=341rybZ42vA
Gets better in the middle

A Not-So-Great Video Commercial
Automation Gone Bad (for all dog lovers)

Portrait of a Warrior --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=lRGWUFEeXZw&vq=medium

Israel --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/tLgdb6r0MQ4?rel=0

Salk Institute: Videos --- http://www.salk.edu/news/videos.htm


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

My Theme Song (that I want played at my ultimate memorial service in Sugar Hill)
Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
Click Here

Those Old  '45s --- http://oldfortyfives.com/TakeMeBackToTheFifties.htm

Bring Back the 50s (Carolyn) --- http://carolynspreciousmemories.com/50s/sitemap.html

National Jukebox --- http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/

Canadian Olympians: Win Or Lose, They Play A Good (classical music) Tune ---

Tanglewood At 75: Opening Night With The Boston Symphony Orchestra ---

Copland's 'Lincoln Portrait': Honest Abe's Oratory, Tailored For Orchestra  ---

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

Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line (art history) ---  http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/klimt/index.html

Sakura: Cherry Blossoms as Living Symbols of Friendship --- http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/cherry-blossoms/Pages/default.aspx

The Dingman Collection (Old Neon Signs) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=6IYISQ6DVwk&vq=medium

What is This Thing Called Snow? --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=xkk7DX0l95A&Lid=12

Great Smoky Mountains --- http://libguides.utk.edu/smokies

University of Tennessee Libraries-Great Smoky Mountains Regional Collection ---

The Daily Palette Digital Collection (Iowa Artists) ---  http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/dp/index.php

Puerto Rican Cultural Center Collection --- http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm4/index_uic_prcc.php?CISOROOT=/uic_prcc

The Country Dog Gentlemen Travel to Extraordinary Worlds --- http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/multimedia/interactive_features/81

WPA Art Inventory Project --- http://wpa.cslib.org/

WPA/TVA Archaeological Photographs --- http://diglib.lib.utk.edu/wpa/

American Railroad Journal --- http://digital.library.umsystem.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?page=home;c=arj

Railroad Picture Archives --- http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

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

Center for Research Libraries --- http://www.crl.edu/

Forgotten Chapters of Boston's Literary History (Feud Between Longfellow and Poe) --- http://www.bostonliteraryhistory.com/

"I shall ever be your dearest love": John Keats and Fanny Brawne http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/exhibits/keats/

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum --- http://www.jfklibrary.org/Exhibits/Interactive-Exhibits.aspx

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

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations on August 10, 2012

The booked National Debt on January 1, 2012 was over $15 trillion ---
U.S. National Debt Clock --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/
Also see http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

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

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

Amazon's Free Shipping for College Students

As the textbook purchasing season begins, I noticed that Amazon.com has free two-day shipping for college students.

I did not investigate the terms and limitations of this offer or whether it applies to used books and food items as well as new books. I was purchasing a case of China Green Tips tea when I noticed the free shipping announcement for college students.

Imagining the Internet (focus is on K-12 education) ---  http://www.elon.edu/predictions/

Yale National Initiative (K-12 teaching) --- http://teachers.yale.edu/default.php

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology ---

The AAA's Pathways Commission Accounting Education Initiatives Make National News
Accountics Scientists Should Especially Note the First Recommendation

"Accounting for Innovation," by Elise Young, Inside Higher Ed, July 31, 2012 ---

Accounting programs should promote curricular flexibility to capture a new generation of students who are more technologically savvy, less patient with traditional teaching methods, and more wary of the career opportunities in accounting, according to a report released today by the Pathways Commission, which studies the future of higher education for accounting.

In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department's  Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession recommended that the American Accounting Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants form a commission to study the future structure and content of accounting education, and the Pathways Commission was formed to fulfill this recommendation and establish a national higher education strategy for accounting.

In the report, the commission acknowledges that some sporadic changes have been adopted, but it seeks to put in place a structure for much more regular and ambitious changes.

The report includes seven recommendations:

According to the report, its two sponsoring organizations -- the American Accounting Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants -- will support the effort to carry out the report's recommendations, and they are finalizing a strategy for conducting this effort.

Hsihui Chang, a professor and head of Drexel University’s accounting department, said colleges must prepare students for the accounting field by encouraging three qualities: integrity, analytical skills and a global viewpoint.

“You need to look at things in a global scope,” he said. “One thing we’re always thinking about is how can we attract students from diverse groups?” Chang said the department’s faculty comprises members from several different countries, and the university also has four student organizations dedicated to accounting -- including one for Asian students and one for Hispanic students.

He said the university hosts guest speakers and accounting career days to provide information to prospective accounting students about career options: “They find out, ‘Hey, this seems to be quite exciting.’ ”

Jimmy Ye, a professor and chair of the accounting department at Baruch College of the City University of New York, wrote in an email to Inside Higher Ed that his department is already fulfilling some of the report’s recommendations by inviting professionals from accounting firms into classrooms and bringing in research staff from accounting firms to interact with faculty members and Ph.D. students.

Ye also said the AICPA should collect and analyze supply and demand trends in the accounting profession -- but not just in the short term. “Higher education does not just train students for getting their first jobs,” he wrote. “I would like to see some study on the career tracks of college accounting graduates.”

Mohamed Hussein, a professor and head of the accounting department at the University of Connecticut, also offered ways for the commission to expand its recommendations. He said the recommendations can’t be fully put into practice with the current structure of accounting education.

“There are two parts to this: one part is being able to have an innovative curriculum that will include changes in technology, changes in the economics of the firm, including risk, international issues and regulation,” he said. “And the other part is making sure that the students will take advantage of all this innovation.”

The university offers courses on some of these issues as electives, but it can’t fit all of the information in those courses into the major’s required courses, he said.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This is one of the most important initiatives to emerge from the AAA in recent years.

I would like to be optimistic, but change will be very slow. President Wilson, who was also an PhD professor, once remarked that it's easier to move a cemetery than to change a university.

It is easier to move a cemetery than to affect a change in curriculum.
Woodrow Wilson

President of Princeton University 1902-1910
President of the United States 1913-1921

And in the 21st Century you can imagine the lawsuits that would clog the courts if a town tried to move a cemetery.

Bob Jensen's threads on Higher Education Controversies and Need for Change ---

The sad state of accountancy doctoral programs ---

How Accountics Scientists Should Change: 
"Frankly, Scarlett, after I get a hit for my resume in The Accounting Review I just don't give a damn"
One more mission in what's left of my life will be to try to change this

July 31, 2012 reply from Paul Williams

Bob, A good place to start is to jettison pretenses of accounting being a science. As Anthony Hopwood noted in his presidential address, accounting is a practice. The tools of science are certainly useful, but using those tools to investigate accounting problems is quite a different matter than claiming that accounting is a science. Teleology doesn't enter the picture in the sciences -- nature is governed by laws, not purposes. Accounting is nothing but a purposeful activity and must (as Jagdish has eloquently noted here and in his Critical Perspectives on Accounting article) deal with values, law and ethics. As Einstein said, "In nature there are no rewards or punishments, only consequences." For a social practice like accounting to pretend there are only consequences (as if economics was a science that deals only with "natural kinds) has been a major failing of the academy in fulfilling its responsibilities to a discipline that also claims to be a profession. In spite of a "professional economist's" claims made here that economics is a science, there is quite some controversy over that even within the economic community. Ha-Joon Chang, another professional economist at Cambridge U. had this to say about the economics discipline: "Recognizing that the boundaries of the market are ambiguous and cannot be determined in an objective way lets us realize that economics is not a science like physics or chemistry, but a political exercise. Free-market economists may want you to believe that the correct boundaries of the market can be scientifically determined, but this is incorrect. If the boundaries of what you are studying cannot be scientifically determined what you are doing is not a science (23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, p. 10)." The silly persistence of professional accountants in asserting that accounting is apolitical and aethical may be a rationalization they require, but for academics to harbor the same beliefs seems to be a decidedly unscientific posture to take. In one of Ed Arrington's articles published some time ago, he argued that accounting's pretenses of being scientific are risible. As he said (as near as I can recall): "Watching the positive accounting show, Einstein's gods must be rolling in the aisles."

"How to Make Your Lost Phone Findable," by David Pogue, The New York Times, August 9, 2012 ---

Last week, I lost my iPhone on a train. I used Apple’s Find My iPhone feature to track it to a house in suburban Maryland, and the local police were able to return it to me. Because I’d tweeted about these developments, the quest for the phone became, much to my surprise, an Internet-wide, minute-by-minute real-life thriller. (You can read the whole story here.)

Several readers wrote to ask how to set up their own phones to be findable. As you’d guess, given last week’s experience, I have some strong feelings about the importance of setting up Find My iPhone or the equivalent on Android phones.

First, though, some caveats.

These phone-tracking systems work only if your lost phone is turned on and online; if its battery is dead or it’s powered off, it can’t see the Internet and can’t show you its location.

Furthermore, professionals know about Find my iPhone. As soon as they steal a phone, they connect it to a computer running the iTunes program and wipe it, so that Find My iPhone won’t work anymore.

All right — duly warned? Here’s how you set things up. iPhone first.

First, you need a free iCloud account; sign up at www.icloud.com. You’ll provide your e-mail address and a password that you make up.

Now, on the iPhone or iPad, open Settings. Tap iCloud. Scroll down and turn on Find My iPhone. When the phone asks if you’re sure, tap Allow.

While you’re at it, you might consider tapping Settings (top left corner) to back out to the main Settings screen; then tap General, tap Passcode Lock and give your phone or tablet a password.

I was very glad I had protected my phone this way when it got lost; the password meant the thief couldn’t actually use the phone or access my e-mail, photos and so on.

All right. Now suppose the worst has come to pass. Your phone is gone.

Go to any computer and log into icloud.com. (Or use the Find My iPhone app on another iPhone or iPad.) There, when you click Find My iPhone, you’ll see the location of your phone on a map. You can switch to satellite-photo view to see the actual building or land.

If the phone is offline, a check box lets you request an e-mail alert if the phone ever pops back online. That’s precisely how I found my own phone. The thief turned it off on a Monday, so I couldn’t use Find My iPhone. On Thursday, an e-mail message let me know it had been turned back on, and showed me where it was.

Often, the phone is somewhere in your car or your house. If that’s the case, you can make it ping loudly for two minutes, even if it the ringer was on Mute, and even if the phone is asleep.

You can also make a message pop up on the screen; if you left the phone in a taxi or a meeting room, for example, you can offer a reward this way, or transmit your phone number. If a well-meaning person finds your phone, you might get it back.

If you didn’t protect the phone with a password, you can either click Lock (to password-protect the phone by remote control) or, if you’re really concerned, click Remote Wipe. That’s a means of erasing the phone by remote control. So the bad guy gets away with your phone, but your e-mail, photos and other digital treasures remain private. Of course, at that point, you can no longer find the phone or send messages to it using Find My iPhone.

If you have an Android phone, you have to visit Google Play, the new name for the Android app store, and download an app in advance. One great, free option is Find My Droid. Despite the name, it works on any recent Android phone.

If your phone gets lost, you text a password to the phone to activate the app. Suddenly your ringer turns on at maximum volume and rings for 30 seconds. You can send a different code to request a link to the phone’s location; you get coordinates and a link to a Google map. The Remote Wipe feature requires the Pro version, $4.

Another app, Plan B, lets you see where your Android phone is, in much the same way, but you can download it after the phone’s gone missing. That’s right; you can remotely download it. When you do, the app self-opens and sends the phone’s location to your registered Gmail address.

These apps are amazing; they even out the odds of recovery when your phone has gone missing. A couple of readers even felt sorry for the person who took my phone, maintaining that Find My iPhone rendered him hopelessly outmatched, and asserting that it was an invasion of his privacy for me to be able to see where he took my phone.

Continued in article

August 10, 2012 reply from Elliot Kamlet

I’ve used my lookout (mylookout.com) to provide virus protection and to find my phone (when I leave it around the house, I can have it emit a siren sound with my lookout) and it has GPS tracing too.  And it’s free.

For those not with iPhone (Android phone are shipping 4-1 over iPhones).

Elliot Kamlet
Binghamton University


MOOC --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mooc

"Who Takes MOOCs?" by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2012 ---

"Coursera Tops 1 Million Students," Inside Higher Ed, August 10, 2012 ---

Coursera, the company that provides support and Web hosting for massive open online courses at top universities, announced Thursday that more than 1 million students have registered for its courses. The company now serves as a MOOC platform for 16 universities and lists 116 courses, most of which have not started yet. The students registering for the courses are increasingly from the United States. Coursera told Inside Higher Ed earlier this summer that about 25 percent of its students hailed from the United States; that figure now stands at 38.5 percent, or about 385,000 students. Brazil, India and China follow, with between 40,000 to 60,000 registrants each. U.S. students cannot easily get formal credit through Coursera or its partners institutions, but some universities abroad reportedly have awarded credit to students who have taken the free courses.

Bob Jensen's threads on educating the masses ---

Planning for the Bad as Well as the Good in Retirement

"CPAs Stress the Importance of Long-Term Care," AICPA, August 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
Note that Medicare does not pay for long-term care even though it does pay for short-term crisis moments that qualify for admission to a hospital. The largest single Medicare expenditure by far is for the hospital costs of dying, but between the stroke and dying hospital periods that are covered by Medicare can be months and even years of long-term care not covered.

I learned at the 2012 AAA Annual Meetings that a really close former friend and colleague has been paying out over $150,000 per year for 24/7 home nursing care for a number of years. Because this former accounting professor can afford such level of care, it's not been necessary to be admitted into a lower costing nursing care facility. But such nursing care facilities are still very expensive for very long-term care.

A friend committed suicide about three years ago in Manchester, New Hampshire. We were close years ago when we were both masters degree students at the University of Denver. Interestingly, he had an expensive paid-up insurance policy for long-term nursing care.  Sherman never married and had no family left whatsoever. My guess is that when his health and quality of life started going downhill he just did not want to waste away in a nursing home even though he had premium insurance coverage for long-term care.

By the way I am not advising for or against long-term care insurance.
Such insurance is quite expensive and increases greatly in cost with age. I did not conduct research for this email message, but I think that the odds are still relatively low for incurring very expensive long-term care. But "odds" are computed on the basis of a large population of elderly people. The odds for a given individual can be quite different. The mother-in-law of one of my cousins back in Iowa has been in a nursing home for over ten years in a small Iowa town. In no way could she have paid for such care all these years without having had such insurance. Hence, I do not give advice regarding whether to buy or not buy long-term care insurance. I did not buy such insurance.

Keep in mind that most long-term care insurance policies do not cover all long-term care costs. Some policies only pay a pittance of these costs.

My point that all retirees are subject to the financial risks of long-term care. These should be factored into dreams of that condo on a golf course or that small hobby farm with occasional luxury cruises.

Bob Jensen's threads on personal finance are at

"More Details on the New Mountain Lion OS," by David A. Pogue, The New York Times, July 26, 2012 ---

In my New York Times column on Thursday, I reviewed Apple’s latest operating system for the Mac, OS X Mountain Lion, which came out Wednesday. It’s not a very flashy upgrade, I concluded, and many of its “200 new features” aren’t anything to write home about — but it has maybe 10 new features that you’ll use every day, and it’s easily worth the $20 Apple is asking.

(A note: I have written a how-to manual to Mountain Lion for an independent publisher; it was neither commissioned by nor written in cooperation with Apple.)

If I’d had some additional space and time, I might have delved deeper into what’s new — and what’s been taken away.

First, there are the name changes. To make the Mac look and feel more like Apple’s hit phone/tablet operating system, iOS, Apple renamed a bunch of things. iCal is now Calendar, iChat is now Messages, Address Book is now Contacts. (To its credit, Apple rigged it so that if you use the search command to find “iCal,” “Address Book” or “iChat,” the first hit is the renamed version, so you don’t freak out thinking they’re gone.)

“Mac OS X” itself is now just “OS X,” too — a switch that began in Apple’s labeling last year — which strikes me as less descriptive and more intimidating.

Some things have moved around, too. The Speakable Items feature, which lets you perform simple commands by voice (“Open Safari,” “Close window,” and so on) has been moved within the control panel (from Speech to Accessibility).

In the previous version, both Mail and Safari could handle RSS feeds, those free and useful Web site news feeds. That feature has vanished; you’re now encouraged to download a dedicated RSS reader from the App Store.

Web Sharing is gone, too — the ability to turn your Mac into a host for Web sites. The underlying Apache server software is still there, but the graphic interface that gave you control has been relegated to the $20 OS X Server Mountain Lion software. Techies might mourn the loss of the X11 app and Xgrid support.

Several readers have taken me to task for raving about AirPlay, which transmits the Mac’s screen image and stereo sound wirelessly to a nearby TV, without mentioning that it’s compatible only with recent Mac models — 2011 or later MacBook Pros, mid-2011 or later other Mac models. You’ve been warned (finally).

Apple giveth, too. In the column, I discussed the big-ticket items: dictation, AirPlay, Notification Center, Power Nap, Reminders, the universal Share button, and so on.

But there are dozens of tiny touch-ups and improvements. One of the most useful: Apple introduced Reading List in the previous OS X version. It’s a way to save Web pages for reading later, within the Safari Web browser, something like Instapaper. Unfortunately, you couldn’t retrieve them without an Internet connection, which made Reading List not much more useful than bookmarks.

In Mountain Lion, that’s fixed. Reading List stores the whole page — and any additional pages you’ll need to finish the article.

Apple is trying to do away with scroll bars, favoring instead a two-finger swipe on a trackpad. But the scroll bars reappear when you move the mouse or trackpad — and in Mountain Lion, they actually fatten up as you approach, to give you an easier target. (The horizontal scrollbar fattens up so much, in fact, that it blocks the bottom item of a list, if that was your aim.)

The Time Machine automatic backup program is now capable of creating backups on multiple disks — a great feature if you have a laptop that you carry between work and home. You can have a backup drive at both places; Time Machine will seamlessly switch between them.

Search boxes now appear in Launchpad (the iPad-like Home screen) and in the Dashboard widget browser, which itself is new. The screensaver control panel has been gutted and nicely revamped, with some new, gorgeous photo modules. When you’re copying files between disks, a tiny progress bar appears right on the icon itself.

The Safari Web browser offers something called iCloud tabs. It’s a button on the toolbar that lists whatever windows and tabs you last had open on your other Apple gadgets — iPad, iPhone, another Mac, and so on. Again, the idea is to make switching among gadgets seamless; but if you’re worried that another family member will see what you’ve been up to, you can, of course, turn it off.

Safari has always been able to memorize Web passwords for you — but you had to go into a different program to see and edit the list. Now that list is built right into the browser. (And I didn’t mention how fast Safari feels. Very.)

More tweaks: When you’re using screen sharing (lets you take control of another Mac’s mouse and keyboard over the Internet), you can now drag files off the other Mac onto your own desktop, just the way you’d copy them between windows.

Continued in article

"Is Windows 8 Really a ‘Catastrophe’ for Content Creators?" by Matt Peckham, Time Magazine, July 27, 2012 ---

Valve Software bigwig Gabe Newell has his long knives out and he’s slashing in Windows 8′s direction, going so far as to call Microsoft’s imminent operating system makeover a “catastrophe.”

It’s not the first time for Newell, who allegedly took umbrage with Windows 8 while visiting with Linux community buff Michael Larabel, who wrote[Newell's] level of Linux interest and commitment was incredible while his negativity for Windows 8 and the future of Microsoft was stunning.”

(MORE: Steam Native Linux Client Near? Gabe Newell Trashes Windows 8?)

No, I don’t think Newell means the operating system itself is the devil, as some seem to be reading it, but rather that he’s addressing a few significant platform-related features launching with Windows 8, and what they entail for what he refers to as “the openness of the platform.”

Here’s what he had to say during a recent Q&A at the Casual Connect games conference that ran July 24-26 in Seattle
(courtesy a Venturebeat transcript):

I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space. I think that we’re going to lose some of the top-tier PC [original equipment manufacturers]. They’ll exit the market. I think margins are going to be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, it’s going to be a good idea to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality.

Steam, Valve’s digital distribution platform, is, by leaps and bounds, most pervasive on Windows (it’s also available for OS X, and there’s a Linux version in the offing). Windows, therefore, is no doubt where Steam makes most of its bones.

Newell’s concern: That Windows 8 is a platform-closer, by which he means Microsoft’s forthcoming “Windows Store.” Windows Store is essentially Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s App Store — a digital distribution platform for both paid and free applications that support Windows 8′s tile-like “Metro” interface. The kicker: Metro-enabled apps will only be allowed over Windows 8′s guardrails by going through the Windows Store itself. And like Apple, Microsoft intends to take a 30% cut of any sales made through the store.

That, argues Newell, means some PC makers may be forced out of the market because of dwindling sales margins (in turn because, presumably, they’d depend on revenue from bundled apps or their own Metro-enabled apps, from which Microsoft will, under Windows 8, be taking a much bigger cut). And since Valve’s revenue model is currently driven foremost by the PC, the loss of PC makers could indeed be a huge blow to its own profits. Anything that threatens Valve’s ability to access its biggest audience is a threat to its bottom line.

What about the argument that third-party software makers have generally benefitted from Apple’s App Store, despite Apple’s 30% profit “tax”? This argument goes that, without Apple, these developers would be making far less or nothing at all without their exposure, through the App Store, to a rising tide of iOS devices (and, more recently, the Mac App Store in OS X). If that argument is valid, does it suggest that Newell’s crying wolf?

Any answer’s going to be a guess, since it involves speculation about whether third parties are going to support the Windows Store. In order for developers to do well, Windows Store has to do well, and so forth — it’s an interdependent feedback loop, and the contingencies are innumerable. But a few points in Windows Store’s favor: The 30% cut drops to 20% once the applications exceeds $25,000 in revenue, and Microsoft doesn’t take anything from third-party transactions.

(MORE: 6 Tablets to Consider for Windows 8′s October Launch)

What’s more, you only have to enter Windows 8 through Windows Store’s gates if you’re designing a Metro-interface application. If your app isn’t Metro-enabled, you can bypass those gates entirely. So say Valve releases a Metro-enabled version of Steam — a freely downloadable app today — to distribute through the Windows Store. It benefits from any exposure, especially if it’s a popular download and consistently ranking in Windows Store’s charts.

Of course Newell’s broader point about the recent regulation by companies like Apple and now Microsoft of the process whereby we shop for and consume content on our computers shouldn’t be simply waved off. Yes, “catastrophe” sounds a little apocalyptic to me, too, especially given the pot/kettle issue. Look at what Steam itself is, how it’s grown and taken control of PC gaming and what Valve itself does in policing its turf as well as aggregating and sharing data about its users. It’s all, no doubt to Valve’s mind (just as Microsoft’s) for the “greater benefit” of its users.

But yes, there’s reason for anyone to be concerned when a company takes an open system and replaces it with one that, in addition to requiring content creators pay at the toll booth, includes strictures that prohibit content that doesn’t meet, say, a company’s definition of what is and isn’t morally acceptable. Is it a violation of free speech when a private company chooses to censor an app containing nudity or overt political themes, as Apple has itself done in the past? Maybe not. But what happens if the market shifts so that the only way to access such apps is through a private distribution system with those restrictions?

Valve’s reaction to platform lockdowns, according to Newell: Hedge your bets.

Why do we have people working on Linux? That’s the second part of the problem. In order for this innovation to happen, a bunch of things that haven’t been happening on closed platforms have to occur and continue to occur.


So we’re looking at the [PC] platform, and up until now we’ve been a free rider. We’ve been able to benefit from everything that’s gone into the PC and the Internet. Now we have to start finding ways that we can continue to make sure there are open platforms.


So we’re going to continue working with the Linux distribution guys, shipping Steam, shipping our games, and making it as easy as possible for anybody who’s engaged with us — putting their games on Steam and getting those running on Linux, as well.

Is Linux a “hedging” strategy? An analysis of traffic patterns provided by Wikimedia for June 2012 has 70% of requests coming from Windows devices, compared with about 7% from OS X, 6% from Linux, 7% from iPhones and 3% from iPads. As a profit-minded hedging strategy today, therefore, Linux looks like a pretty dismal bet.

Continued in article

"5 Reasons Why I Ditched My iPad for a Google Nexus 7," by Taylor Hatmaker, ReadWriteWeb, August 1, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
These days, many people will still prefer the iPad for a number of reasons, including their favorite apps.

Many of the comments following this article are very favorable.

I still think Apple's decision to be a monopoly manufacturer of the iPad and not live by open standards is a bummer even though there is a work around for the open standard. Apple just did not seem to learn from its massive loss of PC market share to Windows. Now it may eventually lose market share to Android or Suirfac or whatever. Consumers really do tend to hate monopoly dictators.

Evernote --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evernote

"6 Awesome Evernote Apps That We Guarantee You've Never Seen," by Jon Mitchell, ReadWriteWeb, July 27, 2012 ---

"A Brief Word from an Evernote Convert," by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 6, 2010 ---

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

Unfunded Pension Woes:  Shows the Danger of Pay-as-You-Go Plans
No Worry:  The Government Will Just Print Whatever Money is Needed (like Zimbabwe)
That's what happens every time you hear (like on CBS News last night) that the Fed is going to buy U.S. Treasuries
Most viewers do not understand what "buying U.S. Treasuries means)

"As Default Looms, Postal Service Sees Deeper Woes," by Ron Nixon, The New York Times, July 31, 2012 ---

The Postal Service, on the verge of its first default on Wednesday, faces a cash shortage of $100 million this October stemming from declining mail volume that could balloon to $1.2 billion next year, newly available documents show.

¶ Confronting $11.1 billion in payments over the next two months for future benefits, the service said it would fail to pay about half that amount, which is due Wednesday, and does not foresee making the other half, which is due in September. An additional $5.6 billion payment due next year is also in question.

¶ The service is struggling for ways to cut costs, but it cannot eliminate Saturday delivery, as it wants to, without Congressional approval, nor can it slow delivery of the mail without regulatory approval.

¶ The Postal Service had hoped that Congress would help stanch the losses, as it did last year when it deferred the payment that is due again on Wednesday. But the House has taken no action. The Senate passed a measure that provided incentives to retire about 100,000 postal workers, or 18 percent of its employees, and allowed the post office to recoup more than $11 billion it overpaid into an employee pension fund. The Senate declined to act to stop Saturday deliveries.

¶ For now, the agency said its operations would not be affected by the defaults. Mail and packages will continue to be delivered, and employees and vendors will be paid.

¶ The post office wants to reduce operating hours or close more than 13,000 post offices. It has also announced plans to close half of its processing centers. It wants Congress to give it more flexibility in setting prices. And it also wants to lower service standards to largely eliminate next-day delivery for first-class mail.

¶ But even if the post office were to get these changes from Congress, including eliminating Saturday delivery and the multibillion-dollar payments on future retiree programs, the agency would still be losing money, it said. Since 2007, it has lost $25 billion — $20 billion of which is attributable to the payments for future benefits, required by law since 2006.

¶ “We are continuing to monitor our liquidly situation as we go into the new fiscal year and looking at all of our options,” said David Partenheimer, a spokesman for the Postal Service.

¶ The Postal Service inspector general, David C. Williams, reviewed the post office’s financial statements and confirmed its projected cash shortages last week in a memorandum to the postmaster general, Patrick A. Donahoe. It noted that if the service does not receive an anticipated $300 million windfall from political mailings before the elections on Nov. 6, the cash crisis could grow.

¶ “The impact of this default may not be seen by the public, but it will be felt by the business community,” said Arthur B. Sackler, co-coordinator of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, a trade group representing larger mailers like FedEx.

¶ “This default couldn’t come at a worse time, as many major and midsized mailers are preparing their budgets for next year,” he said. “With Congress delaying action on a postal bill, mailers will be increasingly wary about the stability of the Postal Service and will likely divert more mail out of the system. It would be the perfect storm of negatives for the Postal Service.”

¶Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on government bailouts for everybody ---

"Calif. Student Sues Teacher, District Over C+ Grade," by Katie Kindelan, ABC News Blogs, July 26, 2012 ---

A C+ is considered average on the grading scale but for one California high school student it was well below average, enough so that he filed a lawsuit against both his teacher and school district.

Bowen Bethards, 17, was a sophomore in Peggy Carlock's chemistry class at Albany High School in Albany, Calif., outside of San Francisco, in the 2010-11 school year when she gave him the C+ grade at the center of the suit, according to court records first reported by the Albany Patch.

Bethards, in a lawsuit filed with his mother, Laureen, in Contra Costa County Superior Court last month, claims that he has suffered severe physical and emotional suffering, damage to his academic reputation, and diminished chances of getting into his college of choice because of the grade.

The Bethards claim that Carlock, who no longer teaches at the school, punished Bowen for missing class on a day that his fellow students performed a lab. Bethards, according to the suit, had to miss class to attend the adoption hearing for his younger sister and so informed Carlock of his absence ahead of time. The two agreed upon a make-up date but when Bethards showed up on the agreed-upon date, he says, Carlock said he could not make up the lab and was instead, "going to fail him," according to court documents.

"My son was denied his rights and they stole his grade from him," Laureen Bethards told ABCNews.com. "He had a 106 percent and he always went to class and he missed that one class and he was entitled to make up that missed lab and they didn't let him."

Complaints placed by Laureen Bethards on her son's behalf escalated all the way to the Albany Unified School District's superintendent, Marla Stephenson, and resulted in a $10,000 government claim filed against the District by the Bethards last year.

The school district rejected the claim in January but did change the grade for Bethards, who by then had transferred to another high school, to a B.

The Bethards are requesting in the lawsuit, which names the district superintendent and school principal in addition to Carlock, that, along with the monetary damages, the district change the grade to an A+.

"We did everything we could to get the school to allow him to make up that lab and they assured us they would," Bethards said. " It was an excused absence. I don't think he missed more than one or two days the entire year before that."

The suit says Carlock's refusal to allow the teen to make up the lab violated California Education Code Section 88205. The missed lab, according to Bethards, dropped his overall grade from an A+ to a C+.

Court documents filed on Bethards' behalf also state that, "Carlock was aware, at all relevant times, that a 'C+' in chemistry would effectively destroy plaintiff Bowen Bethards' chances of being accepted to either of his two colleges of choice, as well as his chances of getting a scholarship to attend to the programs of his choice."

Continued in article

Wharton Professor Olivia Mitchell on Worldwide Financial Literacy
http://www.ssga.com/definedcontribution/docs/Olivia_Mitchell_GlobalFinancialLiteracy_SSgADC_The Participant02.pdf
Thank you Jim Mahar for the heads up.

Bob Jensen's threads on financial literacy are at

"True Lies Scam artists claim they work for the government. Not all of them do," by James Taranto, The Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2012 ---

"The latest scam designed to separate Missouri residents from their money involves phony letters from the State Attorney General's office, the IRS and other government agencies," St. Louis Public Radio reports.

Attorney General Chris Koster explains how the fraud works: "I have in my hand a letter from 'the FBI.' [It] claims that, 'you have won $3.5 million, but you owe $2,600 in a winner's fee, and you need to submit it' to this address, which so far we have traced to Florida."

We know how that is. Not long ago we received a similar letter. It purported to be from the Social Security Administration. The gist of it was that the government was promising to pay for our retirement, but only if we cough up more money now: "Without changes, by 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted and there will be enough money to pay only about 76 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits. We need to resolve these issues soon."

The letter bore the signature "Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner." We laughed and put it aside, digging it out of our files when we read about the similar letters from Missouri. We've now traced it to an address near Washington, D.C. In an unlikely twist, Michael Astrue actually is the commissioner of the Social Security Administration. Even so, we're glad we didn't send any money.

The federal government has been making such too-good-to-be-true offers for decades--the "Social Security" game dates all the way back to 1935--but such scams seem to be multiplying of late. An example appears on the White House website under the heading "Did You Get a Check?"

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on Fraud Reporting ---

Inforgraphic:  Where Malware Comes From ---

Bob Jensen's threads on malware ---

When Your Child's Teacher Can't Read

First I want to put this story in context. Tallahassee is a city in the deep south that's just 17 miles from the Georgia line. When we moved to Tallahassee in the 1970s it had not been all that many years since the K-12 schools became integrated. Our son Marshall entered the third grade on the north side of town near where we lived on Oxbottom Road.

Before school commenced the Principal had a private meeting with us and explained that Marshall's teacher taught for many years under the old system She was a very loving, caring, and inspirational teacher. However, she could not functionally read. He further explained that another teacher would be brought in each week to teach reading and that, when Marshall moved on to the fourth grade, he would be given the best teacher in the school.

This and our other experiences with the Tallahassee public schools were terrific. We were more frustrated with the San Antonio Public schools some years later. The problem in San Antonio was that the schools were terribly overcrowded. Our daughter Lisl loved Tallahassee High and hated her last two years at MacArthur High School in San Antonio where her graduating class had well over 3,000 students. Then she went to the University of Texas which was even more overcrowded. For Grades 8-12 we did end up sending Marshall to a military school called Wentworth Academy in Missouri, but this had nothing to do with his Grades 3-6 years in Tallahassee. Over twenty years later he still maintains active Facebook communications with his mates from Wentworth. But all his classes at Wentworth had less than ten students.

My point is that there are often ways around issues with K-12 teachers provided these teachers care and have a strong work ethic. It's more difficult to deal with situations where the schools are badly overcrowded.

Now when we confront the NYC zero-based budgeting issue in 2012, things must be put into context. I suspect that all NYC teachers can read. We really don't know why the Mayor of NYC wants to give pink slips to several thousand teachers. If it is an attitude problem where a teacher just does not care and has a poor work ethic then such terminations are justified. Whatever the reasons, the Mayor and the school administrators no longer have the authority to close schools and terminate teachers. It's nearly all in the hands of the teachers' unions.

It's somewhat interesting to compare the way the NYT reports the Mayor's quest to close some schools and terminate thousands of teachers versus how the WSJ reported it. The WSJ reports it more in the context of "worst teachers" whereas the NYT takes a "special needs students" tack. But in both instances readers are really not informed about the records of the teachers who would've been terminated.

Are these teachers proposed for termination mostly great special needs teachers who simply became overwhelmed with the magnitude of the quantity of special needs students and other issues (like gangs and a drug-addicted single parent)? Or are these lousy teachers who got assigned to the worst schools because they are such lousy teachers and/or teachers with a lousy work ethic? We cannot really tell from either the NYT or the WSJ articles.

I don't define a third grade teacher who cannot read as ipso facto a lousy teacher. I do define a teacher who turns the class over to a teacher's aid so he or she can watch  the Olympics on television as a lousy teacher. I remember reading about a teacher who won a big wrongful-termination lawsuit even though she spent more time each day watching soap operas than teaching class.

There are also widely differing degrees of "special needs." One of my cousin's grandsons in Iowa was a special needs autistic child who had to have his own private teacher through all 13 grades of public school, and in some years there was a private teacher plus a private teacher's aid. Special Ed can be a very costly proposition in such instances. For some cases, specially trained nurses must assist Special Ed teachers. I'm not arguing that this is a student who should not be served by the school system. I merely point out that many such students can be very costly. I also remember reading about an instance where blind students un upstate New York were flown in their own private planes daily to a special school for the blind.

"City Plans to Address Distribution of Students With Special Needs," by  Al Baker, The New York Times, July 26, 2012 ---

New York City public school officials have told state education officials that they will work to balance the enrollment of pupils in city schools to ensure that children with high needs are not overly concentrated in a handful of institutions.

In a letter to the city’s schools chancellor in May, John B. King Jr., the state’s education commissioner, outlined concerns about schools with disproportionate numbers of disabled and underperforming students and those learning to speak English — factors that education analysts, union leaders and a study cited as factors in the failure of some schools.

The city’s efforts were laid bare in its response last month to Mr. King as part of a continuing dialogue between the city and the state over the Bloomberg administration’s plan to close and overhaul 24 schools.

An arbitrator halted the plan for those turnaround schools in a ruling that a state court judge backed up this week.

Dennis M. Walcott, the city schools chancellor, wrote to Mr. King on June 22, saying that the city was committed to working with the state “to develop an action plan to further monitor and refine our enrollment practices to address your concerns about high concentrations of particular populations in high schools citywide.”

That action plan is to be developed by October.

Citing schools that show declining enrollments and increasing numbers of students with special needs, Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, said the conditions showed that the city’s strategies for opening and closing schools had done “harm to individual student education.”

“If they know it’s happening, and they have done it for years, and they have done nothing to stop it — they have exacerbated it, actually — and if they are letting it happen, then in my belief, they are doing it on purpose and it is reckless,” said Mr. Mulgrew, citing the study done for the city several years ago by the Parthenon Group.

The union pointed to figures from Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx, which was slated to close and reopen in September, but whose situation is now in flux. There, enrollment fell to 3,593 students last year, from 4,120 in 2005-6, while, in the same period, the population of special education students rose to 751, from 606.

Marc Sternberg, a deputy chancellor in the city Education Department, tied the issue to the city’s commitment over the last 18 months to providing a wider group of parents with choices on the schools their children can attend — a process he said also addressed Mr. King’s concerns about the mix of special needs students.

He said the Parthenon Group had also showed that some schools, with equal proportions of students with special needs as those that were underperforming, had in fact succeeded — “knocked the cover off the ball,” he said — because of things like leadership, effective teachers and strong academic programs.

Mr. Sternberg said any suggestion that the city purposefully sabotaged certain schools was wrong.


Why President Obama's Zero-Based Budgeting Won't Work:  Protecting the Worst Faculty at the Expense of the Students

"The Dirty Two Dozen Why New York City can't close 24 of its worst schools," The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2012 ---

One of the modern civil-rights tragedies is the immutability of public education, especially at the lousiest schools run for the benefit of their employees rather than students. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's latest lesson in teachers union intransigence is a case in point.

The saga began this spring, when Mr. Bloomberg backed an ambitious plan to revamp 24 of the city's worst performing schools. Under President Obama's Race to the Top program, the dirty two dozen would officially close down and then reopen this fall with new missions, curricula, faculty and administrators. The point is to zero out failing institutional cultures and start over.

This reform strategy is known as the "turnaround" model, which emphasizes higher standards and accountability for tangible results, and it qualifies the city for $58 million in federal grants. Mr. Bloomberg's original Race to the Top plan was a new teacher evaluation program in part to smoke out the lowest-performing educators. But the dominant United Federation of Teachers scotched that option, and the city switched to the turnaround replumbing as a second resort.

So at the end of the school year, 3,600 pink-slips went out to the teachers, administrators and principals of the bottom 24. Those laid off were told they could be rehired if they reapplied, but they'd be competing on merit against 26,000 fresh applicants.

The unions threatened to sue, claiming the move violated collective bargaining and in particular their first-in, last-out rules that protect the jobs of the longest serving teachers without regard to effectiveness. The city submitted to voluntary arbitration—given that it is legally allowed to close any school for cause, and its turnaround plan is straight out of the Obama school reform field guide.

Bad decision. Late last month sole arbitrator Scott Buchheit issued a decision siding with the unions, astonishingly enough, because "a wish to avoid undesirable teachers was the primary, if not exclusive, reason" for the plan. He argued the city wasn't technically closing the old schools, because they'd mostly retain the same student bodies, buildings and the like.

Mr. Bloomberg wouldn't have won Mr. Buchheit's approval even if he had razed the schools to the ground and salted the earth. The union contract says the city has the right to open new schools that "did not previously exist." But Mr. Buchheit ruled that a school cannot be "new"—even if it has a new staff that runs the joint in new ways—if it replaces an old institution, as if a public school has some permanent claim on being. This metaphysical adventure raises the question of whether New York can change any school ever.

City Hall lost another appeal on Tuesday, after State Supreme Court Judge Joan Lobis deliberated in her chambers for all of seven minutes. Mr. Bloomberg plans to appeal again, but the state's appellate courts are out of session. There are no other legal options except reinstating last year's staff, which means this fall 30,000 unlucky students will return to places with graduation rates all under 60%, and at worst 39%. At some of them the share of the student body that is "college ready" is under 1%.

Mr. Bloomberg originally tagged 33 schools for intervention, not 24. The sad truth is that many more of the city's 1,700 schools need to be turned around, but probably won't be, not when the unions exist to defend the worst teachers and most undesirable schools.

There's nothing at all wrong with NYC schools --- they're all doing a fabulous job
Wow:  97% of Elementary NYC Public Students Get A or B Grades ---
"City Schools May Get Fewer A’s," by Jennifer Medina, The New York Times, January 28, 2010 ---

Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, criticized the decision to reduce the number of schools that receive top grades.

Continued in article

What does saying the words "I do" also do to your taxes?

"10 Ways Getting Married Affects Your Taxes," by Linsey Buckholz, H&R Block, June 10, 2012 ---

Jensen Comment
Some of this is subject to change in the 2012 or 2012 tax reform legislation, but that seems miles and miles away. Using tax law as an excuse not to get married still may be a pretty good idea for some couples --- at least for a while.

Of course there are more serious reasons for not getting married ---

Senator Tom Harkin's Ethanol (Farm) Lobby and Teachers Union Lobby Frauds

The problem with the Farm Lobby is that it's become dominated by giant agribusiness and the impact of $20 billion a year of farm subsidies goes mostly to the largest corporate "farms."

The beneficiaries of the subsidies have changed as agriculture in the United States has changed. In the 1930s, about 25% of the country's population resided on the nation's 6,000,000 small farms. By 1997, 157,000 large farms accounted for 72% of farm sales, with only 2% of the U.S. population residing on farms. In 2006, the top 3 states receiving subsidies were Texas (10.4%), Iowa (9.0%), and Illinois (7.6%). The Total USDA Subsidies from farms in Iowa totaled $1,212,000,000 in 2006.[12] From 2003 to 2005 the top 1% of beneficiaries received 17% of subsidy payments.[12] In Texas, 72% of farms do not receive government subsidies. Of the close to $1.4 Billion in subsidy payments to farms in Texas, roughly 18% of the farms receive a portion of the payments.

Jensen Comment
The biggest example of Farm Lobby absurdity of requiring that 10% of every gallon of gasoline be U.S. produced corn ethanol. Corn ethanol takes more energy to produce (mostly in consumption of natural gas) than it yields, unlike Brazil's more energy-rish sugar cane ethanol. Furthermore corn ethanol does not ship well through pipelines and has to be trucked to refineries. And most importantly in drought times like these the demand for corn at ethanol producing plants drives up the price of corn even further, making it harder for farmers and ranchers and food manufacturing plants (like those that produce cereals and corn syrup) to feed livestock and people.

Senator Tom Harkin (D Iowa) recently wrote a blistering report aimed at for-profit university frauds. At the same time he's a prime mover of the corn ethanol fraud since he's in the pockets of agribusiness and agribusiness labor unions ---

As a matter of fact I'm suspicious that his blistering report about for-profit colleges was probably ghost written by teachers unions since Tom is also in the pockets of teachers unions.

Scathing Senate Report on For-Profit Universities

"Results Are In," by Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, July 30, 2012 ---

A U.S. Senate committee released an unflattering report on the for-profit college sector on Sunday, concluding a two-year investigation led by Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat. While the report is ambitious in scope, and scathingly critical on many points, it appears unlikely to lead to a substantial legislative crackdown on the industry -- at least not during this election year.

Issued by staff from the Democratic majority of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the report follows six congressional hearings, three previous reports and broad document requests. The
final result is voluminous, weighing in at 249 pages and accompanied by in-depth profiles of 30 for-profits. It questions whether federal investment through aid and loans is worthwhile in many of the examined colleges.

The investigation found that large numbers of students at for-profits fail to earn credentials, citing a 64 percent dropout rate in associate degree programs, for example. It also links those high dropout rates to the relatively small amount of money for-profits spend on instruction.

For-profits “devote tremendous amounts of resources to non-education related spending,” the report said, with the sector spending more revenue on both marketing and profit-sharing than on instruction. In 2009, the examined companies spent $4.1 billion or 22.4 percent of all revenue on marketing, advertising, recruiting and admissions staffing. Profit distributions accounted for $3.6 billion or 19.4 percent of revenue. In contrast, the companies spent $3.2 billion or 17.7 percent on instruction, according to the report.

The industry's trade group, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities,
fired back with a rebuttal, saying the report  "twists the facts to fit a narrative, proving that this is nothing more than continued political attacks." For example, the association said the sector's overall graduation rate at two-year colleges is a much higher 62 percent.

Republican staff members also contributed a dissent to the report, saying it is “indisputable that significant problems exist” at some for-profits, but that the investigation was not conducted in a bipartisan manner. They also raised doubts about the report’s accuracy, noting, for example, that the committee relied in part on testimony from the Government Accountability Office, some of which was flawed and has been revised.

The final report does include a bit of praise for the industry, noting that it is here to stay, and will continue to play a significant role in serving growing numbers of nontraditional and disadvantaged groups of students, including adults.

Continued in article

"'Change.edu' and the Problem With For-Profits," by Robert M. Shireman, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2012 ---

Please note that I'm not a huge advocate of for-profit universities, and I've written a great deal about those universities operating in the gray zone of fraud. However, few readers of Senator Tom Harkins report will realize that this is really a teachers union report. Such is the devious union mouthpiece named Tom Harkin.

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

Hi Zafar,

For a time, the Japanese were buying Iowa farms, but I think this slowed down.

If you want to know the real destroyer of a family farm its the combination of the cost of machinery and the neighbors of the family farmer.

Our Iowa family farm was only 160 acres which was an average Iowa farm in 1950 and a small Iowa farm in the 21st Century.
It really does not pay to buy machinery to farm such a small "quarter section" farm. What typically happens when the old farm owners die is that the heirs want to sell the family farm, in part because all the heirs cannot live on the farm and no one heir has the cash to buy the other heirs out.
  1. The family estate farm is put up for sale.
  2. The most typical high bidder is a neighbor who desperately needs more land.
  3. Hence where there were once four families living on a section (640 acres of land) there is now one farmer on that section.
  4. When the farmer on that section of land dies, the farm is sold to a neighbor who now farms two sections of land.
  5. Hence where there were once eight families living on family farms, there is now one family farming 1,280 acres of land.
  6. It's thus a game of Pac-Man in real farming life ---


The real tragedy is not only the demise of the family farm but the externalities that went with this demise. When we had a family on every 160-acre or 80-acre (usually the Danes) farm, the surrounding farm population supported a farm town that had a grocery store, a drug store, a clothing store, a hardware store, two or more gasoline stations, a farm implement business, a car dealership, a bank, a post office, a train depot, a theater, a school, and homes were the town folk and retired farmers lived.

Now the town's buildings are boarded up and virtually all of the businesses are gone except for a gas station/convenience store. The school is a consolidated school about 20 miles away. Homes are a real steal, because there's almost no demand. My grandmother's big four-bedroom house in town is still in great shape, but it sold recently for $10,000 when the replacement cost would be closer to $200,000.

Hence I cannot say that high estate taxes on family farms will be the major cause of the demise of the family farm. High estate taxes will only add fuel to the burning up of these family farms --- literal burning up since the buildings are all demolished on the farms to clear more land for crops.

Bob Jensen


What do Google and the iPhone and Khan Academy all need?

Would you believe --- competition?

"What does Khan Academy need?" by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 23, 2012 ---

Contrary to what Zafar thinks, two of my favorite authors are  liberal writers writing for a liberal magazine (The New Yorker). I think John Cassidy's formula for success is scholarship. Malcomb Gladwell's formula is more complicated.

"Morning Advantage: The Malcolm Gladwell Formula for Success," by Paul Michelman, Harvard Business Review, July 26, 2012 --- Click Here

Malcomb Gladwell --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Gladwell

John Cassidy --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cassidy_%28journalist%29

"Should airlines hedge their bets on fuel?" by: Martin Rivers London, Flight Global, July 2012 ---

Volatile oil prices bring into focus airline strategies for protecting themselves from spiralling fuel costs and whether they can avoid taking too much of a gamble

When Delta Air Lines announced its intention to acquire an oil refinery earlier this year, the unusual move drew a mixed response from analysts. Some praised its innovation, arguing that its daily consumption of 210,000 barrels of jet fuel justified cutting out the middle man. Others questioned whether airlines should be in the business of refining crude oil.

But one thing no one disputed was the urgent need to offset fuel price volatility. According to IATA's latest forecast, Brent crude, the main European benchmark, is likely to average $110 a barrel this year - but in just six months spot prices have ricocheted wildly between $128 and $88.

For airlines that rely on stable ticket pricing to deliver profitability, such swings have brought fuel hedging firmly back into vogue during the post-2008 recovery. In its simplest form, hedging allows fuel prices to be fixed or capped for future expenditure, smoothing out unforeseen spikes in the oil price and bringing some certainty to margins.

But as Delta has experienced, this can be a double-edged sword. The airline wrote down fuel hedging losses of $155 million in the second quarter of 2012, alongside mark-to-market paper losses of $800 million for future hedges. It took the hit after West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, the main US benchmark, slumped from $110 a barrel in February to $78 in June, making spot prices much cheaper than the futures contracts Delta was locked into.

The spread between WTI and Brent reflects differing stockpiles on either side of the Atlantic, as well as variations in demand and transportation costs. Both benchmarks feed into secondary jet fuel prices - which, as of 6 July, have fallen by 10.9% year on year to an average of $117.40 a barrel, according to Platts.

Delta will not be the only carrier to record hedging losses in Q2 2012, but its results are the first worrying sign that the industry has repeated the mistakes of 2008, when airlines locked in sky-high hedges only to see Brent crash from $147 a barrel in July to $36 in December.

"There was a fear that oil prices were going to go to $200 or $300 a barrel," says Mike Corley, president of hedging consultancy Mercatus Energy Advisors. "The fear of being exposed to $200 a barrel was so great that a lot of people convinced themselves prices could not decline. Prices were rising so fast that many airlines started hedging without even really thinking about it."

Heavy toll

When oil then collapsed along with most other asset classes, the opportunity cost of hedging above $100 a barrel took a heavy toll. In the 2008/09 fiscal year, Cathay Pacific recorded mark-to-market hedging losses of HK$7.6 billion ($974 million); Air China booked 6.8 billion yuan ($994 million) in losses; and Emirates lost 1.57 billion dirham ($428 million). Even Southwest, once the pin-up for fuel hedging, lost $117 million on its Q4 positions.

These losses prompted a seismic shift in attitudes to hedging. Stalwart practitioners such as Air France-KLM, British Airways and EasyJet all scaled back their programmes, while China's risk-averse government took the extraordinary step of banning airlines from buying oil futures.

Memories of 2008 will be keenest in Asia because of the widely held perception that western banks had mis-sold hedging instruments. Little wonder, then, that Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines have all moved to reduce fuel surcharges in recent weeks - no doubt relishing their higher exposure to spot prices.

Helane Becke, analyst at Dahlman Rose and Company, says: "We expect airlines that do not hedge jet fuel to say they are managing their businesses better, because they will not report hedge losses in this declining jet fuel environment."

However, although sceptics are now singing the praises of risk aversion, out-performance in a bear market is just one side of the coin. Macroeconomic fundamentals continue to exert upward pressure on oil, which makes heavy exposure to spot prices just as risky as light exposure. "If you are not hedging, you are speculating," says Mercatus's Corley.

Fuel-consuming companies that choose not to hedge generally believe one or both of the following: that they have the ability to pass on fuel-driven inflation to customers, and/or they are confident that oil prices will fall.

Continued in article

Teaching Cases:  Hedge Accounting Scenario 1 versus Scenario 2
Two Teaching Cases Involving Southwest Airlines, Hedging, and Hedge Accounting Controversies ---

"WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER BEST ABOUT LAST SEMESTER?" by Joe Hoyle, Teaching Blog, July 27, 2012 ---

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry describing my discussion each semester with my juniors about the best book that they have ever read. In the blog, I explained that I thought education needed to be more than just conveying material. It also needs to be about helping students to broaden their horizons and become better rounded members of our society. If we are just going to teach stuff, computers can probably do that better than we can.

I got quite a number of emails about that post – most were positive although some were a bit mystified as to why I would do that in an accounting class. Heck, I would do that in any class.

So, okay, let’s take this thought a step further. What is your favorite class memory of the spring semester? I assume virtually everyone who reads this post is a teacher. What is your favorite teaching memory from the spring? (If you don’t have one, you probably need to make some serious changes.)

One of my favorite memories is of a photograph (now taped to my wall) taken with a camera phone of 8 freshmen students at the University of Richmond who are standing in front of the stage of the Virginia Opera waving at me. Why are they there? Why are they waving at me – their accounting teacher?

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
What I remember best is how cold it stayed well into June in these mountains ---

While the rest of the nation baked in heat, it's remained a relatively cool summer up here. I wouldn't think we broke any records due to high rainfall, but everything is still very green because the rains always came in the nick of time to keep our lawns and fields from going brown.

July 30, 2012 message from Dan Stone

Resources for Investigative Reporting

Outside of Europe and the AOS case study stream of research, Investigative
reporting is an under-used and under-appreciated social science method in

Here is a great website and resource set for investigative reporting in accounting:


Information about IRE: Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. is a grassroots
nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting.
IRE was formed in 1975 to create a forum in which journalists throughout the
world could help each other by sharing story ideas, newsgathering techniques
and news sources.

IRE provides members access to thousands of reporting tip sheets and other
materials through its resource center and hosts conferences and specialized
training throughout the country. Programs of IRE include the National Institute for
Computer Assisted Reporting, DocumentCloud and the Campus Coverage


Dan Stone

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

The sad state of accountancy doctoral programs ---

How Accountics Scientists Should Change: 
"Frankly, Scarlett, after I get a hit for my resume in The Accounting Review I just don't give a damn"
One more mission in what's left of my life will be to try to change this

"Teachers Unions Go to Bat for Sexual Predators:  The system to review misconduct is rigged so even abusive teachers can stay on the job," by Campbell Brown, The Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2012 ---

By resisting almost any change aimed at improving our public schools, teachers unions have become a ripe target for reformers across the ideological spectrum. Even Hollywood, famously sympathetic to organized labor, has turned on unions with the documentary "Waiting for 'Superman'" (2010) and a feature film, "Won't Back Down," to be released later this year. But perhaps most damaging to the unions' credibility is their position on sexual misconduct involving teachers and students in New York schools, which is even causing union members to begin to lose faith.

In the last five years in New York City, 97 tenured teachers or school employees have been charged by the Department of Education with sexual misconduct. Among the charges substantiated by the city's special commissioner of investigation—that is, found to have sufficient merit that an arbitrator's full examination was justified—in the 2011-12 school year:

• An assistant principal at a Brooklyn high school made explicit sexual remarks to three different girls, including asking one of them if she would perform oral sex on him.

• A teacher in Queens had a sexual relationship with a 13-year old girl and sent her inappropriate messages through email and Facebook.

If this kind of behavior were happening in any adult workplace in America, there would be zero tolerance. Yet our public school children are defenseless.

Here's why. Under current New York law, an accusation is first vetted by an independent investigator. (In New York City, that's the special commissioner of investigation; elsewhere in the state, it can be an independent law firm or the local school superintendent.) Then the case goes before an employment arbitrator. The local teachers union and school district together choose the arbitrators, who in turn are paid up to $1,400 per day. And therein lies the problem.

For many arbitrators, their livelihood depends on pleasing the unions (whether the United Federation of Teachers in New York City, or other local unions). And the unions—believing that they are helping the cause of teachers by being weak on sexual predators—prefer suspensions and fines, and not dismissal, for teachers charged with inappropriate sexual conduct. The effects of this policy are mounting.

One example: An arbitrator in 2007 found that teacher Alexis Grullon had victimized young girls with repeated hugging, "incidental though not accidental contact with one student's breast" and "sexually suggestive remarks." The teacher had denied all these charges. In the end the arbitrator found him "unrepentant," yet punished him with only a six-month suspension.

Another example from 2007: Teacher William Scharbach was found to have inappropriately touched and held young boys. "Respondent's actions at best give the appearance of impropriety and at worst suggest pedophilia," wrote the arbitrator—before giving the teacher only a reprimand. The teacher didn't deny the touching but denied that it was inappropriate.

Then there was teacher Steven Ostrin, who in 2010 was found to have asked a young girl to give him a striptease, harassed students by text, and engaged in sexual banter. The arbitrator in his case concluded that since the teacher hadn't actually solicited sex from students, the charges—all of which the teacher denied—warranted only a suspension.

Michael Loeb, a middle school teacher in the Bronx and UFT member, calls this a "horrible situation," telling me "if you keep these people in the classroom, you are demeaning our profession."

Parents I spoke with described their tremendous fear about what is happening in the classroom. Maria Elena Rivera says her 14-year-old daughter was stalked by one of her Brooklyn high school teachers (who resigned from his position before the Department of Education decided whether to send the case to arbitration). Today her daughter is in counseling, says Ms. Rivera, and doesn't trust anyone: "It so messed her up. I can't protect her."

Local media have begun to get the word out, yet the stories come and go with trifling consequences or accountability. New York City's schools chancellor and districts statewide must have the power to fire sexual predators—and the final say cannot be that of an arbitrator with incentives to lessen the punishment.

Fortunately, state Sen. Stephen Saland has proposed legislation in Albany to do just this, removing arbitrators' final say while still giving teachers due process and the opportunity to appeal terminations in court. But the buck would stop with those officials in charge of our schools and tasked with protecting our kids: the chancellor in New York City, and school districts elsewhere in the state.

Mr. Saland's initiative has little chance of success without union support—which is hardly assured. "I don't understand how they think this could be a gray area," says Natalie Harrington, who teaches English at New Day Academy in the Bronx. "I worry that if the union goes to bat [against] this, it makes it seem like they will do anything to keep anyone in the classroom."

Michael Loeb still supports his union but says it "treats teachers like interchangeable widgets"—defending all teachers no matter what they have done.

The union has reached a moment of truth. With responsible legislation on the table, the right course of action is obvious. At stake is the safety of kids, the reputation of the unions, and the standing of every good and responsible teacher throughout the state.

Ms. Brown, a former news reporter and anchor at CNN and NBC, recently testified on this issue before the New York governor's Education Reform Commission.


"Why One Accreditor Deserves Some Credit. Really," by Kevin Carey, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 30, 2012 ---

It's hard to be in the accreditation business these days. The original regional accreditors were founded a long time ago, in a different world. The first associations, set up on the East Coast in the late 1800s, were basically clubs with membership criteria that limited entrance to institutions fitting the classic collegiate mold.

That voluntary, peer-based approach made sense in an era when higher education was a smaller and more private affair. But when America embarked on its great mid-20th-century expansion to mass (and increasingly, federally financed) higher education, small nonprofit accreditors with no formal governmental authority were given the keys to the federal financial-aid kingdom and asked to protect the interests of students and taxpayers alike. It is a job they weren't built for, and they are increasingly feeling the strain.

When for-profit higher-education corporations hoover up hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid while granting degrees of questionable value, their accreditors get blamed. When studies like Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa's Academically Adrift call the extent of college-student learning into question, accreditors are denounced for not enforcing academic standards. When some public institutions post graduation rates in the midteens, year after year, accreditors are charged with abetting failure.

Too often, accreditors react to criticism with a defensive crouch. So it's been gratifying to watch one regional accreditor, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, or WASC, take a different approach in recent weeks, setting an example for others to follow.

WASC oversees higher education in California, Hawaii, and the Pacific islands. In early July it rejected an application from the high-flying publicly traded company Bridgepoint Education. Although Bridgepoint's corporate headquarters are in a downtown San Diego office tower, the anchor of its fast-growing online operation, Ashford University, is in Clinton, Iowa, at the former home of Franciscan University of the Prairies.

In 2005 Bridgepoint bought Franciscan, which at the time was declining but still accredited. Franciscan was promptly renamed Ashford.

Seven years, more than 200,000 students, vast sums of taxpayer-supported financial aid, and several Congressional hearings later, Bridgepoint had apparently worn out its welcome with Franciscan's former accreditor, and decided to look for approval closer to its corporate home. But WASC turned it down, for reasons that included a paucity of faculty at Ashford and the fact that 128,000 out of 240,000 students had dropped out over the last five years. "That level of attrition," said WASC's president, Ralph A. Wolff, "is, on its face, not acceptable."

WASC did something else that day which received much less publicity but was, in the long run, probably more important: It posted its rejection letter to Bridgepoint on the Internet for the world to see.

Accreditors have historically been a secretive lot, keeping all the bad news within the insular higher-education family. That's a defensible approach for a private-membership club. But when organizations serve as de facto agents of public accountability, their methods and decisions must be publicly transparent. The other five regional accreditors should immediately follow WASC's lead.

WASC isn't reflexively opposed to for-profit colleges. Even as it turned down Bridgepoint, the accreditor approved for-profit UniversityNow's purchase of struggling nonprofit Patten University, in Oakland, Calif. Unlike Bridgepoint, UniversityNow has a low-cost tuition model and doesn't accept federal financial aid.

Additionally, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which is operated by WASC, recently warned the City College of San Francisco that it may lose its accreditation because of chronic mismanagement—a step that accreditors are usually loath to take with public institutions.

. . .

Peer review is also vulnerable to logrolling and the mutual acceptance of failure. Many public and nonprofit institutions have attrition rates worse than those at Bridgepoint. Those figures, too, are unacceptable.

But WASC has taken bold steps to make accreditation relevant and effective in a rapidly changing higher-education world. For this, it deserves applause and support. Accreditation may have begun on the East Coast, but it is the westernmost accreditor that has set a new standard that all others should follow.

Bob Jensen's threads on accreditation are at

"College Too Easy? UCLA Makes It Tougher," by Dan Barrett, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 30, 2012 ---

During a review of undergraduate programs at the University of California at Los Angeles, Judith L. Smith was struck by an uncomfortable realization: Too many majors demanded too little from students.

Some students could graduate without ever taking a senior seminar or completing a substantial research project. The result, says Ms. Smith, vice provost for undergraduate education, is that students could "be pedestrians and walk through the major."

Just as UCLA had done when it revised its general-education requirements, the university saw that it needed to reboot its upper-level undergraduate courses. The institution coalesced around the idea of capstones, which are cumulative projects that students complete near the end of college.

Capstones, an increasingly common feature of the curricular landscape, can mean different things on different campuses. They might demand that students take an advanced laboratory-science course, enroll in a seminar that requires a major research paper, design a product, create a work of art, or complete an independent study or honors thesis.

At UCLA, one of the first institutions of its size to encourage capstones for all undergraduates, each department can define what form such projects take as long as they meet common standards. Students must complete a project that requires them to use the methodological training of their discipline and integrate what they have learned across topics and fields. The projects can be done individually or in a group, culminate in a tangible product that can be archived, and should be shared, typically through a presentation.

"Since we are commanding some of the brightest minds in California," Ms. Smith says, "we really ought to demand more."

Capstones have been hailed by both pundits and academics who see them as an answer to questions about rigor that have dogged higher education. Capstones, their advocates say, can help ensure that students are engaging in substantive intellectual work and that their major adds up to something coherent.

About two-thirds of college seniors have done or plan to complete some sort of culminating academic experience, according to the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement. That is about 10 percentage points higher than in 2004, the first year the survey's responses were comparable with the current one. These culminating projects tend to be mainstays at small liberal-arts and baccalaureate-focused colleges instead of at research behemoths like Los Angeles where, if such requirements do exist, they are more likely to be found in professional programs like engineering.

Ms. Smith hopes that by 2019 the vast majority of programs will offer these culminating projects. Of the university's 127 majors, 58 require capstones of some or all of their students. While some public universities, such as Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, have long required capstones, UCLA is seeking to bring them to an institution of vast size and complexity.

"It's a real exemplar of a major national research university creating this combined lower-division general education and a real summative experience in the major," says Ralph A. Wolff, president of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the umbrella group of UCLA's accreditor. What the university has devised, he adds, "is a powerful framework for student engagement and learning."

But UCLA's experience also suggests that trade-offs arise when large, complex institutions seek to be flexible while applying a consistent set of standards across departments. Lopsided student-to-faculty ratios don't enable frequent contact with professors, and the sheer variety of disciplines can mean an equally wide array of cumulative experiences, all of which may be called a capstone, but which have few similarities. Creation, Not Consumption

Several departments at UCLA that have adopted capstones have taken advantage of what is often seen as an obstacle to high-quality undergraduate education—the university's robust research activity. Undergraduates in many physical- and natural-science programs work in faculty labs, which gives students firsthand experience in how scientific research is truly conducted, with its false starts, dead ends, and ambiguities.

Their experiences vary across fields, but, students and faculty say, the lab-based capstones tend to share a central virtue: They allow students to create knowledge instead of simply consume it.

Liane O. Dallalzadeh, an undergraduate neuroscience major whose research on the synaptic plasticity of mouse neurons resulted in a paper and presentations, found that creating knowledge takes a lot of time and effort. "You study for courses, obviously, but not for four to five hours" a day, she says. In the lab, she was the lone undergraduate among graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation ---

In 2002 the average grade average at UCLA was 3.28 up from 2067 in 1964.


"Execs battle skills gap (including accounting) in hiring despite high unemployment:  Execs battle skills gap in hiring despite high unemployment," by Ken Tyscic, CGMA Magazine, July 26, 2012 --- Click Here

For the past six years, VASCO Data Security has dealt with a chronic problem: It hasn’t been able to easily recruit qualified workers for its software and internet security operations in Europe. And the plight hasn’t gotten easier – even as a global economic crisis has led to high unemployment throughout the continent.

“It seems like in Brussels and in Zurich, both, we have a hard time when a spot opens up, filling it,” VASCO CFO Gary Robisch said. “A lot of times we have to settle for somebody that doesn’t exactly match the qualifications that we want.”

The economics don’t seem to make sense. High unemployment, one would presume, would make it easier to fill jobs. The 17-country euro currency bloc hit a record in May when unemployment rose to 11.1%, while the rate across the EU was 10.1%, according to Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office. US unemployment has hovered between 8.1% and 8.3% for the past six months.

Yet employers worldwide are still struggling to find workers with the skills to fill a wide variety of jobs. The situation is fuelling a human resources conundrum as employers ponder whether they should hold out and pony up for candidates with key skills or look to on-the-job training for promising candidates.

Companies report difficulty locating IT professionals, engineers, accountants and specialised workers such as tugboat captains and MRI technicians. The conundrum is particularly glaring in pockets of relative prosperity, as VASCO is learning; the unemployment rates in Belgium and Switzerland are lower than European averages. A similar scenario has emerged in the United States, where companies have been clamouring to grow after years of cuts.

“It just astounds me,” said Tom Kennedy, vice president and CFO of marine construction and environmental remediation company J.F. Brennan, which is having trouble recruiting a safety director, tugboat pilots and project manager-level engineers who are willing to travel for a company that does business in 18 US states.

“After doing this for 35 years, I’ve never seen it like this,” Kennedy said. “You could run an ad any place [in years past] and get 30 or 40 applicants. Now you get five to 10.”

The American Institute of CPAs’ Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2012 demonstrated the recruitment difficulties that management accountants are facing. Half of the 1,250 respondents said they have had difficulty filling open positions because their organisations haven’t been able to find individuals with the appropriate qualifications.

Worldwide problem

Other reports indicate a similar problem worldwide. In the PwC Global CEO survey for 2012, 43% of global respondents said that, in general, it has become more difficult to hire workers in their industry. Just 12% said it has become easier to hire. In addition, 29% of CEOs said they were unable to pursue a market opportunity because of talent constraints.

Continued in article


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Do (or should) accounting standard setters consider
"consequentialism philosophy?"
I would argue that they do, although they probably overlook a lot of externalities. For example, do they overlook how investors are using bottom line earnings in a way that is really no longer intended by standard setters who cannot and probably never will define the bottom line "net inome" that just emerges mysteriously from accounting for the balance sheet?

"Crank Philosophy,"  by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, August 1, 2012 ---

n a memorable scene from the first season of "Breaking Bad" (AMC), the protagonist sits down to do some moral bookkeeping of a fairly literal variety. He is a 50-year-old high-school chemistry teacher named Walter White. A recent trip to the doctor to check on a nagging cough has left with a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer, giving him, at most, a couple of years to live. If you’ve seen the show (and maybe even if you haven’t, since it has received extremely good press and won more awards than I feel like counting) you know that Walter has decided on a hazardous way to provide for his family after his death. He applies his lab skills to the production of crystal methamphetamine.

The stuff he “cooks” (as the term of art goes) is exceptionally pure and powerful. The connoisseurs love it. If he can turn a profit of $737,000 in the time he has left, Walt will leave a nest egg for his wife and children and die in peace. As a middle-class family man, Walt lacks any direct knowledge of the marketing side of the meth business, and would prefer to keep it that way. His connection to the underworld is a former student named Jesse Pinkman, memorable chiefly for his bad grades. But Jesse is a gangsta wannabe, as well as a meth head, and nowhere near as street-savvy as he thinks or the job requires.

And so it comes to pass that Walter find himself facing an unforeseen problem involving a well-connected figure from the meth supply chain – a fellow who goes by the street name of Krazy-8. It's a long story how he got there, but Krazy-8 ends up shackled by the neck to a pole in Jesse’s basement, and he is understandably, even homicidally, unhappy. Walt must now decide between two options: let Krazy-8 live or kill him.

Being the rational sort, Walt tabulates the arguments on each side.The column headed “Let him live” fills up quickly, if redundantly: “It’s the moral thing to do. Judeo-Christian principles. You are not a murderer. He may listen to reason. Post-traumatic stress. Won’t be able to live with yourself. Murder is wrong!”

Under “Kill him,” the camera reveals just one entry: “He’ll kill your entire family if you let him go.” So much for weighing the alternatives.

In his method -- and ultimately in his actions -- Walt proves to be a consequentialist, as J.C. Donhauser points out in “If Walt’s Breaking Bad, Maybe We Are Too,” one of the essays in Breaking Bad and Philosophy: Badder Living Through Chemistry (Open Court). Most viewers will have surmised as much, even if they don’t have a name for it. But there is more than one metric for judging costs and benefits, and so more than one species of consequentialist. Donhauser -- an assistant instructor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a lecturer at Buffalo State University – uses examples from other episodes to consider the options. There’s act consequentialism, for one (the realized effect of an act determine whether it is good or bad, even if the consequences are unintended or unforeseeable), which is distinct from rule consequentialism (“actions are better or worse, not in relation to their actual consequences, but in proportion to how far afield they fall from a rule that would be best for most people if everyone followed it”).

As for Walt, he belongs in the ranks of the agent-centered consequentialists, who “judge actions based on their consequences” but “also argue that the most important consequences are for the person carrying out the actions that produce those consequences.”

Each stance has its limitation – quite as much as deontology does. Deontology insists that consequences are irrelevant, since an act can be judged moral if and only if it could be universalized. Murder is immoral, then, because “if everyone did it, there’d be no one around for you to murder then! The same goes for stealing, as there’d be nothing left to steal.” So Jeffrey E. Stephenson put it, with tongue in cheek, in “Walter White’s American Vice.” Ditto for lying, since a society in which everyone lied constantly would be even more irrational than the one we live in.

Walt's list of argument for letting Krazy-8 live is not deontological by any means -- although “He may listen to reason” rests on a similar conviction that clarity and rationality are not just worthy aspirations but realizable possibilities as well. Despite his nickname and his criminal vocation, Krazy-8 is a well-spoken and seemingly pragmatic individual, with strong family ties of a sort that Walt can respect. And Walt very nearly reaches a decision on that basis.

On the other hand, not every consequence can be put in brackets while you seek the universally right thing to do. And “He’ll kill your entire family if you let him go” is a pretty good example of that. Under the circumstances, even a deontologist would probably find a way to think of murder as obligatory.

Breaking Bad and Philosophy, edited by David R. Koepsell and Robert Arp, is much like any other collection of essays in the Open Court series Popular Culture and Philosophy, of which it is volume 67. By the way, the publisher has registered “Popular Culture and Philosophy” as a trademark. Don't confuse it with The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series (37 volumes at last report) or the University of Kentucky’s line called The Philosophy of Popular Culture (23 titles, not counting updated editions).

By now, it seems as if every genre, blockbuster, videogame, superhero, hit program, or teen trend has been covered by at least one book in this niche, or will be in the foreseeable future. I picture them being produced in something akin to Walt’s methamphetamine superlab – with the important exception that Walt’s product is of famously consistent in quality. The popcult philosophy collections that I’ve sampled over the years tend to be pretty uneven, even within the same volume. The one constant is that most of the essays are clearly didactic. The implied reader for these books almost always seems to be an undergraduate, with popular culture as the candy coating on the philosophical vitamins otherwise missing from the educational diet. There is jocularity aplenty. In this volume, for example, a comparison of Breaking Bad and Augustine’s Confessions includes the information that the saint-to-be “had a rep for hooking up with the MILFs of Carthage” -- not unlike Peter Abelard, “a famous playa before his lover’s father and brother… cut off his junk and sent him packin.’”

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's summary of accounting theory is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Theory01.htm

From the Scout Report on July 27, 2012

XaoS 3.5 --- http://wmi.math.u-szeged.hu/xaos/doku.php?id=main 

To experience the world of fractals is quite a treat. This wonderful application allows visitors the opportunity to explore fractals by continuously zooming in and out around their various forms and manifestations. XaoS can display a wide range of fractal types, including Mandelbrot, Phoenix, and many more. The site includes a number of tutorials, complete with information about how the program can be used in classroom settings. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

PDF Maker --- http://pdfmakerapp.com/ 

It can be a bit onerous to create pdf files, but this helpful online tool makes this process easy. Visitors can insert their existing document online here and customize it as they see fit. The tool includes features that allows users to modify the page orientation, the margins, fonts, embedded links, and so on. It's a very helpful addition for those looking to create these files and it is compatible with all operating systems.

As the Summer Olympics begin in London, there is some well-founded
anxiety about the long-term benefits of hosting such a grand venture
Business and the Olympics: Victors and spoils

London Olympics: Are organizers not willing to pay for play?

Why The Olympics Aren't Good For Us, And How They Can Be

BBC Sport: Olympics

London 2012

Opening Ceremony of 1948 London Olympics

From the Scout Report on August 10, 2012

Spotflux --- http://launch.spotflux.com/ 

Spotflux uses the power of the cloud "to conduct millions of real-time checks for invasive tracking, advertisements, malware, and other bugs that pose a threat to your identity or your data." The application helps scan and protect users' connections from malware and other viruses, along with concealing the identity and location of users' devices. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

PhotoChron 1.17  --- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.photochron 

Perhaps you'd like to create a collection of images documenting your child's growth and development? Or maybe a time-lapse collection of plants growing in your garden? PhotoChron can make all of this possible. Visitors can use the application to assemble their photos and create a slideshow to share with friends and others. It's easy to use and there's also a FAQ area which is most useful. This version is compatible with all operating systems

As universities ready to welcome new students, some wonder about the
financial health of higher education
The college-cost calamity

After Leadership Crisis Fueled by Distance-Ed Debate, UVA will put Free
Classes Online

Why the Education Bubble Will Be Worse Than the Housing Bubble

Book Review: "The Higher Education Bubble"

Is College Over?

College Costs: Find out how much college costs



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

Education Tutorials

Center for Research Libraries --- http://www.crl.edu/

British Library: Podcasts --- http://www.bl.uk/whatson/podcasts/index.html

Imagining the Internet (focus is on K-12 education) ---  http://www.elon.edu/predictions/

Yale National Initiative (K-12 teaching) --- http://teachers.yale.edu/default.php

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

The Chronicle of Higher Education Releases Its First E-Book: ‘Rebooting the Academy’ ---
The book is not free, but it does have a Kindle edition.

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science --- http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/en/index.html

Structures and Functions of Genomes --- http://www.bioedonline.org/slides/slide01.cfm?tk=33

CTE Resource Center: Nanotechnology --- http://www.cteresource.org/featured/nanotechnology.html

Nanotechnology Center for Teaching and Learning --- http://community.nsee.us/ 

National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program --- http://ncgmp.usgs.gov/

Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology --- http://tiee.esa.org/index.html

The Middle East Water Collection --- http://oregondigital.org/digcol/mewaters/

CDC Features: Data & Statistics (medicine) --- http://www.cdc.gov/features/datastatistics.html

The History of Vaccines (medicine) ---  http://www.historyofvaccines.org/

Salk Institute: Videos --- http://www.salk.edu/news/videos.html

American Dental Education Association --- http://www.adea.org/Pages/default.aspx

National League for Nursing --- http://www.nln.org/facultyprograms/teachingresources.htm

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

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Imagine Africa --- http://www.penn.museum/sites/imagineafrica/

The Rise of Residential Segregation by Income ---

CDC Features: Data & Statistics (medicine) --- http://www.cdc.gov/features/datastatistics.html

The History of Vaccines (medicine) ---  http://www.historyofvaccines.org/

Sakura: Cherry Blossoms as Living Symbols of Friendship --- http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/cherry-blossoms/Pages/default.aspx

Center for Research Libraries --- http://www.crl.edu/

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum --- http://www.jfklibrary.org/Exhibits/Interactive-Exhibits.aspx

United States Department of Transportation: Briefing Room --- http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room.html

John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center --- http://www.volpe.dot.gov/

WPA Art Inventory Project --- http://wpa.cslib.org/

WPA/TVA Archaeological Photographs --- http://diglib.lib.utk.edu/wpa/

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

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

Sakura: Cherry Blossoms as Living Symbols of Friendship --- http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/cherry-blossoms/Pages/default.aspx

Forgotten Chapters of Boston's Literary History (Feud Between Longfellow and Poe) --- http://www.bostonliteraryhistory.com/

"I shall ever be your dearest love": John Keats and Fanny Brawne http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/exhibits/keats/

Center for Research Libraries --- http://www.crl.edu/

WPA Art Inventory Project --- http://wpa.cslib.org/

WPA/TVA Archaeological Photographs --- http://diglib.lib.utk.edu/wpa/

The Daily Palette Digital Collection (Iowa Artists) ---  http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/dp/index.php

Puerto Rican Cultural Center Collection --- http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm4/index_uic_prcc.php?CISOROOT=/uic_prcc

Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line (art history) ---  http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/klimt/index.html

John Falter's Jazz Portraits --- http://nebraskahistory.org/exhibits/john_falter_jazz/index.htm

American Railroad Journal --- http://digital.library.umsystem.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?page=home;c=arj

Railroad Picture Archives --- http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

Great Smoky Mountains --- http://libguides.utk.edu/smokies

The Country Dog Gentlemen Travel to Extraordinary Worlds --- http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/multimedia/interactive_features/81

University of Tennessee Libraries-Great Smoky Mountains Regional Collection ---

West Texas Digital Archives (includes middle school curriculum materials) ---  http://wtda.alc.org/

A Really Great Video Commercial --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=player_embedded&v=341rybZ42vA

The Dingman Collection (Old Neon Signs and Ford Cars) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=6IYISQ6DVwk&vq=medium

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum --- http://www.jfklibrary.org/Exhibits/Interactive-Exhibits.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

The Dingman Collection (Old Neon Signs) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=6IYISQ6DVwk&vq=medium

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science --- http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/en/index.html

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

Music Tutorials

John Falter's Jazz Portraits --- http://nebraskahistory.org/exhibits/john_falter_jazz/in

Chicago Jazz --- http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/su/cja/jazzmaps/ctlframe.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

"GMAT Tip: That vs. Which," Bloomberg Business Week, July 18, 2012 ---

The GMAT Tip of the Week is a weekly column that includes advice on taking the Graduate Management Admission Test, which is required for admission to most business schools. Every week an instructor from a top test prep company will share suggestions for improving your GMAT score. This week’s tip comes from Brent Hanneson, creator of GMAT Prep Now, a Web site offering on-demand videos that teach GMAT skills.

In this post we’ll examine the age-old dilemma of “that” vs. “which.” For example, which of these is correct?

A) Gina enjoys television shows that have laugh tracks.

B) Gina enjoys television shows, which have laugh tracks.

Here’s what you need to know.

A clause beginning with “that” is a restrictive clause. It takes a bunch of things and restricts the topic of discussion to a certain subset of those things. We use a “that clause” when the topic of discussion is unclear up to that point.

Conversely, a clause beginning with “which” is a non-restrictive clause. It does not attempt to restrict the topic of the discussion. We use a “which clause” when the topic of discussion is clear up to that point.

The first parts of the two sentences above read, “Gina enjoys television shows.” Up to this point, is the topic of discussion clear? Is this discussion about ALL television shows, or do we wish to restrict the discussion to a certain subset of television shows?

We want to restrict the discussion to just those television shows that have laugh tracks. As such, we need to use “that” to get “Gina enjoys television shows that have laugh tracks.”

So “that” functions as a sieve to filter out unwanted elements and limit the topic of discussion. Conversely, “which” doesn’t try to limit the discussion; it’s there to add color by providing additional, non-essential information.

For example, in the sentence, “Juan visited Lima, which is the capital city of Peru,” the clause “which is the capital city of Peru” adds color by telling us a bit more about Lima.

Now, the big problem with “that” vs. “which” is that it often requires us to know something about the nouns in a sentence. As such, it is unlikely that the GMAT would ever have a question that relies solely on the ”that” vs. “which” distinction.

Consider these two sentences:

A) My favorite painting is the Mona Lisa, which hangs in the Louvre.

B) My favorite painting is the Mona Lisa that hangs in the Louvre.

Which one is correct?

Well, it depends.

If there is only one painting in the world titled the Mona Lisa, then sentence A is correct, since the clause “which hangs in the Louvre” tells us a bit more about this one, unique painting.


Bob Jensen's helpers for writers ---

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

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

July 26, 2012

July 27, 2012

June 28, 2012

June 30, 2012

July 31, 2012

August 1, 2012

August 2, 2012

August 3, 2012

 August 8, 2012
  • Asthma Drug Helps Kids Avoid Sleep Apnea Surgery?
  • Obesity Paradox: Thin Not in for Type 2 Diabetes?
  • Blood Pressure Drugs and Lip Cancer: A Link?
  • Walking for Exercise: Americans Making Strides
  • Cholesterol Levels Have Gone Down in Kids, Teens
  • Few U.S. Kids Using Correct Car Safety Restraints
  • Hoarders' Brains Overwhelmed by Decisions
  • Drug May Slow Memory Loss in Early Alzheimer's
  • 8 Tons of Kids' Lunch Wraps Recalled Over Listeria
  • Fainting May Run in the Family 
  • August 9, 2012

    August 10, 2012


    American Dental Education Association --- http://www.adea.org/Pages/default.aspx

    National League for Nursing --- http://www.nln.org/facultyprograms/teachingresources.htm

    The History of Vaccines (medicine) ---  http://www.historyofvaccines.org/

    CDC Features: Data & Statistics (medicine) --- http://www.cdc.gov/features/datastatistics.html

    Forwarded by Auntie Bev

    A Not-So-Great Video Commercial
    Automation Gone Bad (for all dog lovers)

    Monty Python's Black Knight ---

    IT'S SO DRY IN Ohio that the Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling, the Methodists are using wet-wipes, the Presbyterians are giving rain checks, and the Catholics are praying for the wine to turn back into water!

    Forwarded by Auntie Bev

    These great questions and answers are from the days when Hollywood Squares' game show
    responses were spontaneous, not scripted, as they are now!
     Even if you've seen these before, enjoy again and have a good laugh!
    Q. Paul, what is a good reason for pounding meat?
    A. Paul Lynde: Loneliness!
    (The audience laughed so long and so hard it took up almost 15 minutes of the show!)

    Q. Do female frogs croak?
    A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

    Q. If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be
    A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

    Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years...
    A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.

    Q. You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?
    A.. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.

    Q. According to Cosmopolitan, if you meet a stranger at a party and youthink that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he's married?
    A.. Rose Marie: No wait until morning.

    Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?
    A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency..

    Q. What are 'Do It,' 'I Can Help,' and 'I Can't Get Enough'?
    A. George Gobel: I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.

    Q. As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking?
    A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I'll give you a gesture you'll never forget.

    Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?
    A. Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

    Q.. Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?
    A.. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries.

    Q. In bowling, what's a perfect score?
    A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

    Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?
    A. Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I'm always safe in the bedroom.

    Q. Can boys join the Camp Fire Girls?
    A.. Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

    Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do?
    A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?

    Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
    A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark..

    Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?
    A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.

    Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?
    A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

    Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?
    A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

    Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?
    A. Charley Weaver: His feet.

    Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?
    A. Paul Lynde: Point and laugh



    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/

    Online Distance Education Training and Education --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm
    For-Profit Universities Operating in the Gray Zone of Fraud  (College, Inc.) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#ForProfitFraud

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

    The Cult of Statistical Significance: How Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives ---

    How Accountics Scientists Should Change: 
    "Frankly, Scarlett, after I get a hit for my resume in The Accounting Review I just don't give a damn"
    One more mission in what's left of my life will be to try to change this

    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.

    Accounting  and Taxation News Sites ---


    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://listserv.aaahq.org/cgi-bin/wa.exe?HOME
    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.

    Over the years the AECM has become the worldwide forum for accounting educators on all issues of accountancy and accounting education, including debates on accounting standards, managerial accounting, careers, fraud, forensic accounting, auditing, doctoral programs, and critical debates on academic (accountics) research, publication, replication, and validity testing.


    CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/  (Closed Down)
    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
    FEI's Financial Reporting Blog
    Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, March 2008 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/mar2008/smart_stops.htm

    Find news highlights from the SEC, FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board on this financial reporting blog from Financial Executives International. The site, updated daily, compiles regulatory news, rulings and statements, comment letters on standards, and hot topics from the Web’s largest business and accounting publications and organizations. Look for continuing coverage of SOX requirements, fair value reporting and the Alternative Minimum Tax, plus emerging issues such as the subprime mortgage crisis, international convergence, and rules for tax return preparers.
    The CAlCPA Tax Listserv

    September 4, 2008 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@bonackers.com]
    Scott has been a long-time contributor to the AECM listserv (he's a techie as well as a practicing CPA)

    I found another listserve that is exceptional -

    CalCPA maintains http://groups.yahoo.com/taxtalk/  and they let almost anyone join it.
    Jim Counts, CPA is moderator.

    There are several highly capable people that make frequent answers to tax questions posted there, and the answers are often in depth.


    Scott forwarded the following message from Jim Counts

    Yes you may mention info on your listserve about TaxTalk. As part of what you say please say [... any CPA or attorney or a member of the Calif Society of CPAs may join. It is possible to join without having a free Yahoo account but then they will not have access to the files and other items posted.

    Once signed in on their Yahoo account go to http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/TaxTalk/ and I believe in top right corner is Join Group. Click on it and answer the few questions and in the comment box say you are a CPA or attorney, whichever you are and I will get the request to join.

    Be aware that we run on the average 30 or move emails per day. I encourage people to set up a folder for just the emails from this listserve and then via a rule or filter send them to that folder instead of having them be in your inbox. Thus you can read them when you want and it will not fill up the inbox when you are looking for client emails etc.

    We currently have about 830 CPAs and attorneys nationwide but mainly in California.... ]

    Please encourage your members to join our listserve.

    If any questions let me know.

    Jim Counts CPA.CITP CTFA
    Hemet, CA
    Moderator TaxTalk





    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

    Bob Jensen's Threads ---

    More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

    All my online pictures --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/PictureHistory/


    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