Tidbits Quotations
To Accompany the September 12, 2013 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

My Free Speech Political Quotations and Commentaries Directory and Log ---

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
George S. Patton

One has to wonder if MSNBC, especially Chris Matthews, would be as supportive of the bombing of Syria if Jeb Bush was President of the USA. I think Chris Matthews would be leading the charge for impeachment.

We Have to Enter Syria’s Civil War to Find Out What’s In It
Anonymous (yeah right)

Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in the 2012 elections 65,909,451 Obama to 60,932,176 Romney votes.
Among the 48 million people of food stamps, how many voted for Mitt Romney?
The GOP will never win without gaining half the food stamp votes.

Albert Einstein Called Racism “A Disease of White People” in His Little-Known Fight for Civil Rights ---

Watch The March, the Masterful, Digitally Restored Documentary on The Great March on Washington ---

Immigration Forms --- http://www.immigrationforms.com/military-and-immigration/index.html

U.S. National Debt Clock --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/
Also see http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful andtyrannical."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

"Fraud, failure and bankruptcy pay well for CEOs," by Al Lewis, Market Watch, August 28, 2013 ---

"The New Yorker Admits Fox News is More Balanced than MSNBC," by Heather Ginsberg, August 28, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
So what's so surprising. Isn't MSNBC run by the Democratic Party?

One has to wonder if MSNBC, especially Chris Matthews, would be as supportive of the bombing of Syria if Jeb Bush was President of the USA. I think Chris Matthews would be leading the charge for impeachment.

Yellowstone County district judge Monday ordered a former Senior High teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old female student who later committed suicide to spend 30 days in jail.
"Confessed child rapist gets 30 days in jail," HotAir, August 22, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Man are we getting tough on crime in the USA

"Political Science for the Masses," by Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2013 ---

The professors behind the blog "The Monkey Cage" will this fall test how wonky they can be without turning away readers of The Washington Post. Regardless of its success there, the blog's move highlights how scholars can take their careers in unexpected directions by experimenting with scholarly communication.

The move to the Post represents the latest step in the the popular political science blog's rise. In less than six years,  "The Monkey Cage" has gone from being a disciplinary “bulletin board” to -- in the near future -- appearing alongside the likes of Chris Cillizza's “The Fix.”

John Sides, the associate professor of political science at George Washington University who spearheaded the negotiations, said he received an offer from an unnamed publication this spring. He consulted a contact at the Post for advice, which incidentally led to the newspaper voicing its own interest. After meeting with both the corporate and editorial sides of the organization -- no, the Amazon founder and recent Post buyer Jeff Bezos wasn’t present -- Sides and the four other co-authors agreed to a three-year deal.

“[The editors] reassured us that they were interested in us because of what we had been doing, not because of something that they wanted us to start doing,” Sides said. “We didn’t have to change our stripes.”

Sides announced the move last Monday, rattling the blog's unusually civilized comments section. Apart from a handful of well-wishers, the more skeptical commenters could largely be sorted into two main groups:

1) How would the move affect the blog’s content? “I think that the vast, vast majority of our content stays,” Sides said. “The only tweak that it needs is to be consistently topical and consistently lively.”

2) What about the Post’s new paywall? “That’s something we thought about a lot,” said Sides, who negotiated a one-year exception. “I don’t presume that every reader is going to follow us.”

Those concerns aside, Sides said “We would not have done this if we thought we would lose readers. That would completely defeat the purpose.” If, after three years, the Post or the professors end the partnership, he said “we always have the themonkeycage.org.”

While the professors can now call themselves paid contributors to the Post -- Sides said they will take "a share of the revenue" -- they are not describing the change of venue as a major career move. “I don't think that having 'The Monkey Cage' at the Post will change my career,” Andrew Gelman, professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University, said in an e-mail. “I'll continue doing my research and my writing.”

Yet the blog's success is another example of scholars leveraging their online presence or tech savvy to expand their role in their fields -- either inside or outside higher education -- without abandoning it.

“ 'The Monkey Cage' is just a wild success story about this,” said Daniel H. Nexon, associate professor of international relations at Georgetown University. “From a career perspective, [blogging is] obviously a new vector to greater visibility ... both within the discipline and outside the discipline -- and that opens up opportunities.”

Nexon’s career has followed a similar trajectory. After more than eight years of running the political science blog "The Duck of Minerva," Nexon recently announced he will become the next editor-in-chief of International Studies Quarterly. He said a major part of his pitch to the journal was a plan to build its online presence through social media and blog-like publications.

“In a sense, the idea for doing that ... definitely come out of my experience as an academic blogger,” Nexon said.

Nexon also pointed out that a blog’s free-flowing chain of command does not always translate to the more hierarchical world of traditional journalism -- a point that the co-authors of "The Monkey Cage"  made sure to clarify before agreeing to join the Post.

“[W]e will post directly to the blog and not have to go through an editor,” Gelman wrote. “This is crucial. A key part of blogging is its immediacy and its informality.”

Gelman contributed to "FiveThirtyEight," the seemingly clairvoyant electoral prediction blog run by the statistician Nate Silver, when it operated as a stand-alone website. Once it was published under the banner of The New York Times, Gelman said, several contributors were turned off by the newspaper’s editorial process.

“It felt frustrating writing a blog post and then waiting weeks to find out if it could run,” Gelman wrote.

As part of their deal with the Post, new blog entries will be checked for spelling errors -- a process that Sides predicts should take no more than 15 minutes. “They’re not editing us in the sense that every post has to pass through a layer of redaction,” he said.

A small price to pay, Sides said, compared to the expanded audience and the resources made available by joining the Post.

"Part of the way that academic blogging ends up being successful is that it reaches out to journalists and others who function as force multipliers," Sides said. "They’re the ones who link to your blog post."

Granted, blogging is not a miracle cure. But for a discipline that has long debated how it can make itself more influential, it does at least represent an option.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Apparently these political scientists are only concerned about not turning readers of The Washington Post away. They will make no effort to appeal to readers of The Wall Street Journal. Are there any conservative political scientists? I know one.

Bob Jensen's threads on blogging are at

You've got to be kidding!
"Michigan State U. Professor Is Under Fire for Denouncing Republicans in Class," by Charles Huckabee, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 5, 2013 ---

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

"Eight Thoughts After Trying the Samsung Chromebook," by Jason B. Jones, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 3, 2013 ---

"Nevada's Brothels Hurt by Online Competition, State's Weak Economy," by Alison Vekshin, Bloomberg Businessweek, September 5, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Now is probably not the best time to create a thread on how robots are displacing workers.

The Best Economies of the World --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
It's interesting to note the "biggest problem of doing business" in these top-rated economies. The Number 1 economy, Switzerland, has an "inadequately trained work force." The biggest problems in the Number 2 and 3 nations are "restrictive regulations."

Note that the top three nations are relatively small nations with very low crime rates. The larger Number 4 and Number 5 nations (Germany and the USA) suffer most from restrictive "tax regulations" that restrain economic growth.

Sweden is restrained by restrictive labor regulations. Japan is restrained by taxes.

The Netherlands and the U.K. are restrained by difficulty of raising financing.

The drag on Hong Kong is rather surprising to me.

"Teen employment hits record lows, suggesting lost generation," by Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Report, August 29, 2013 ---

For the fourth consecutive summer, teen employment has stayed anchored around record lows, prompting experts to fear that a generation of youth is likely to be economically stunted with lower earnings and opportunities in years ahead.

The trend is all the more striking given that the overall unemployment rate has steadily dropped, to 7.4 percent in August. And employers in recent months have been collectively adding almost 200,000 new jobs a month. It led to hopes that this would be the summer when teen employment improved.

In 1999, slightly more than 52 percent of teens 16 to 19 worked a summer job. By this year, that number had plunged to about 32.25 percent over June and July. It means that slightly more than three in 10 teens actually worked a summer job, out of a universe of roughly 16.8 million U.S. teens.

“We have never had anything this low in our lives. This is a Great Depression for teens, and no time in history have we encountered anything like that,” said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. “That’s why it’s such an important story.”

Summer is traditionally the peak period of employment for teens as they are off from school and get their first brush with employment and the responsibilities that come with it. Falling teen employment, however, is just as striking in the 12-month numbers over the past decade.

The picture these teen employment statistics provide looks even worse when viewed through the complex prism of race. Sum and colleagues did just that, comparing June and July 2000 and the same two months of 2013. In 2000, 61.28 percent of white teens 16 to 19 held a job, a number that fell to 39.25 percent this summer. For African-Americans, a number that was dismal in 2000, 33.91 percent of 16 to 19 year olds holding a job, fell to a staggering low of 19.25 percent this June and July.

It wasn’t terribly better for Hispanics, who saw the percentage of employed teens fall from 40.31 percent in the two-month period of 2000 to 26.7 percent in June and July 2013.

One of the more surprising findings of Sum’s research is that teens whose parents were wealthy were more likely to have a job than those whose parents had less income. Some 46 percent of white male teens whose parents earned between $100,000 and $149,000 held a job this summer, compared with just 9.1 percent of black male teens whose family income was below $20,000 and 15.2 percent for Hispanic teen males with that same low family income.

That finding is important because a plethora of research shows that teens who work do better in a wide range of social and economic indicators. The plunging teen employment rate is likely to mean trouble for this generation of young workers of all races.

“Kids that get work experience when they are 17 or 18 end up graduating from college at a higher rate,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board, which promotes job creation and teen employment in Louisville, Ky., and six surrounding counties. “There are economic returns to those young people because they get a chance to work. Almost every person you ask remembers their first job because they started to learn things from the world of work that they can’t learn in the classroom.”

The teen employment numbers are calculated from the Current Population Survey, carried out by the Census Bureau for the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. This survey of households is used in determining estimates for the size of the civilian workforce, the number of employed nationally and the unemployment rate.

Unemployment data is calculated in a different fashion, and while it tells a similar story of hardship for teens, it is not considered by researchers to be as accurate as the employment data because it underestimates the severity of the slow economy.

The weak employment numbers sometimes prompt a mistaken narrative that younger workers are just staying in college longer rather than entering the workforce, or are going on to graduate school given the impaired jobs market.

“I think there is this myth out there that there is some silver lining for young people, that they are going on to college. . . . You don’t see an increase in enrollment rates over and above the long-term trend. You can’t see a Great Recession blip,” said Heidi Scheirholz, a labor economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute, a research group. “They are not in school. There’s been a huge spike in the not-in-school, not employed. It’s just a huge missed opportunity.”

Even before the economic crisis exploded in the summer of 2008, workers ages 16 to 19 made up a declining share of the overall workforce, in part because of a decades-long climb in college enrollment, and in part because universities now place less importance on work and more on life experiences and community service.

But most of this decline in youth in the workforce is thought to be the result of the severe economic crisis and its aftermath, with older workers taking the jobs of teens.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Teens can do volunteer work for free in the non-profit sector, but this does not provide money for school, cars, pregnancies, and moving out of parents' homes ---

Volunteer work for for charity seldom is the best place for job training since charities are often seeking "gofer" helpers rather than using their resources for education and training purposes only. Actual jobs and internships in the private sector are often better for job training. However, teens cannot volunteer below minimum wage for work with companies that might provide higher job skills. They might, however, be able to get unpaid internships in the nonprofit sector ---

Fact Sheet #71: Internship Program s Under The Fair Labor Standards Act
This fact sheet provides general information to help determine whether interns must be paid the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standard s Act for the services that they provide to “for-profit” private sector employers. Background The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the term “employ” very broadly as including to “suffer or permit to work.” Covered and non-exempt individuals who are “suffered or permitted” to work must be compensated under the law for the services they perform for an employer. Internships in the “for-profit” private sector will most often be viewed as employment, unless the test described below relating to trainees is met. Interns in the “for-profit” private sector who qualify as employees rather than trainees typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek.

The Test For Unpaid Interns
There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The Supreme Court has held that the term "suffer or permit to work" cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an employee of another who provides aid or instruction. This may apply to interns w ho receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria. The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program. The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:

1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;

2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;

3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;

4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;

5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and

6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages fo r the time spent in the internship. If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern. This exclusion from the definition of employment is necessarily quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad. Some of the most commonly discussed factors for “for-profit” private sector internship programs are considered below.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
In the budget squeeze since the 2008 recession, organizations are likely to offer less and less of internship training that meet the above Labor Department tests for non-compensated internships. The reason is that the above internships will drain resources for the benefit of interns without any cost savings in labor.

Thus in the USA teens face fewer and fewer jobs and internships. In Germany, however, employers are given more incentives to hire teens in apprenticeships.

"The Secret To Germany's Low Youth Unemployment," by Eric Westervelt, NPR, April 4, 2013 ---

For as long as he can remember, German teenager Robin Dittmar has been obsessed with airplanes. As a little boy, the sound of a plane overhead would send him into the backyard to peer into the sky. Toys had to have wings. Even today, Dittmar sees his car as a kind of ersatz Boeing.

"I've got the number 747 as the number plate of my car. I'm really in love with this airplane," the 18-year-old says.

Less-than-perfect school grades dashed Dittmar's dream of becoming a commercial pilot. But they were good enough to earn him a coveted apprenticeship slot with Lufthansa Technik, the technical arm of Europe's largest airline, responsible for aircraft maintenance and repair across the globe.

One-third of the way through his three-and-a-half years of training at Lufthansa technical headquarters in Hamburg, Dittmar is honing the skills required to become an aircraft mechanic — and all-but-guaranteeing himself a job.

The protracted European debt crisis and austerity measures have made career prospects for many of the continent's youth bleaker than ever. In and , nearly half of all those under age 25 are unemployed.

But as Dittmar's experience illustrates, that's not the case in Germany. In stark contrast, Germany's youth employment is the highest in Europe, with only a 7.8 percent jobless rate. At the heart of that success is a learn-on-the-job apprenticeship system that has its roots in the Middle Ages but is thriving today in Germany's modern, export-oriented economy.

On-The-Job Training

A brightly lit Lufthansa workshop in Hamburg is part of that apprenticeship system. Teenagers like Dittmar, many dressed in the company's navy blue shirts and overalls, are busy learning the basics: drilling, filing, soldering and manipulating sheet metal.

Dittmar's apprenticeship is part of Germany's well-established and successful "dual system," so-called because training is done both in-house at a company and partly at local vocational colleges.

About two-thirds of his time is spent on the job at Lufthansa — split between workshops and classrooms, and actually working on real aircraft and engines supervised by an experienced full-time mechanic, a "training buddy."

"[The training buddies] are taking the apprentice with them in their work. They are integrating them in their work and they are making real training on the job," says Hans-Peter Meinhold, Lufthansa's head of vocational training. "So it's a one-to-one situation."

For an aviation buff like Dittmar, getting to work on real machines so soon is not only a sign that his employers see potential in him, but also fuels his passion for planes.

"I could work anyplace in the world. I like the system here," the teenager says. "I know that I will be a good aircraft mechanic when I'm out of the apprenticeship, so that's very cool to know."

About 60 percent of German high school graduates travel the same path as Dittmar, choosing vocational over academic education. Throughout his training, Lufthansa pays Dittmar the equivalent of $1,000 a month, one-third of the starting wage a qualified mechanic would get. That's part of the system that some foreign visitors can't comprehend, director Meinhold says.

"I tell them [the apprentices] don't pay anything for it, they get paid by the companies. They get money for their training," Meinhold says. "'You are training them and you are paying them for that?' They can't understand this."

Once qualified, these skilled aeronautical and engine mechanics feed into a fairly robust European aviation industry, either directly at Lufthansa or at one of its subsidiaries or competitors.

For many, the potential of being hired permanently is the key attraction. Germany's industry still offers a majority of skilled workers the elusive "job for life," a long-gone legend in many other Western countries.

Meinhold believes that despite the costs, the apprentice system is an investment vital to the ongoing success of Germany's export-dependent economy by creating loyal, well-trained employees.

"It's a quite expensive way we go," he says. "The benefit we get from the system later, that's a great benefit and makes everything economical."

A Model For The Rest Of Europe?

Germany's dual system trains 1.5 million people annually. Across the board, from bakers and car mechanics to carpenters and violin-makers, about 90 percent of apprentices successfully complete their training, German government figures show. The apprenticeships vary in length, between two and three-and-a-half years. The average training "allowance" is 680 euros a month (approximately $900), and about half of the apprentices stay on in the company that trained them.

British Prime Minister David Cameron recently called for his country to emulate parts of the German system by reinvigorating British apprenticeships with higher-level training.

Continued in article

"How to Stop the Drop in American Education:  Your math teacher was right: Algebra matters. Common Core standards are vital too," by Rex Tillerson (Exxon Mobil CEO), The Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2013 ---

With headlines announcing unemployment rates above 8% in some parts of the country, many people I talk to are surprised to learn that jobs by the hundreds of thousands remain vacant.

The reason for that is clear: American employers do not have enough applicants with adequate skills, especially in science, technology, engineering and math. The "STEM-related" positions that U.S. industry needs to fill are not just for biochemists, biophysicists and engineers. More and more jobs are applying cutting-edge technologies and now demand deeper knowledge of math and science in positions that most people don't think of as STEM-related, including machinists, electricians, auto techs, medical technicians, plumbers and pipefitters.

In fact, after more than 30 years working in the energy industry, and now as I work with business leaders from every sector of the American economy, I can attest that your high-school math teacher was right: Algebra matters.

These days the energy industry tests for math and science aptitude when hiring for entry-level positions. Our industry is seeking to fill positions that range from mechanics and lab support to blend and process technicians. But many applicants fail these basic tests, losing out on opportunities for good pay and good benefits.

The U.S. military is also being forced to turn away applicants because of a lack of preparation in math, science and other subjects. Each year, approximately 30% of high-school graduates who take the Armed Forces entrance exam fail the test.

Even more concerning, many of these educational shortfalls are apparent before students reach high school. According to the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Process, only 35% of eighth graders performed at grade level or above in math.

As a nation, we must unite in recognizing the mounting evidence that the U.S. is falling behind international competitors in producing students ready for 21st-century jobs. According to the most recent Program for International Assessment, U.S. students rank 14th in the world in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math—and the trend line is moving in the wrong direction.

We have an opportunity to reverse this trend but it will take setting the right priorities. That starts with establishing high standards. It means leaders from government and business, and parents, need to defend the Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted wholly or in part by dozens of states in recent years but are increasingly under attack from across the political spectrum.

These voluntary, state-driven standards are a set of expectations for the knowledge and skills that students from kindergarten to 12th grade need to master for college and career readiness. Some oppose the standards, complaining that they undermine the autonomy of teachers; others decry the standards as a takeover of local schools by big government.

The criticism is misguided. The Common Core State Standards are based on the best international research. They are built on the standards used by the most effective education systems around the world, including Singapore, Finland, Canada and the U.K. The standards are also designed to allow each state to make its own decisions regarding the curriculum, technology and lesson plans to be used in local schools.

In other words, the standards stipulate what we want all students to know and be able to do, but each state retains the explicit authority to determine how it teaches its students. The standards are a tool to help educators, not a straitjacket for them.

A major benefit of the Common Core State Standards is that they encourage students to analyze and apply critical reasoning skills to the texts they are reading and the math problems they are solving. These are the capabilities that students need as they prepare for high-skill jobs.

We need to raise expectations at every grade level so that, for instance, students who do well in math in lower grades are spurred to take algebra and more advanced math. But we need high standards to drive efforts to improve educational outcomes in every subject.

With these education standards under attack in many states where they have been adopted or are being considered, the Common Core needs support now more than ever if America is going to reverse its education decline and prepare its young people to compete in today's dynamic global economy. To abandon the standards is to endanger America's ability to create the technologies that change the world for the better.

The Common Core State Standards are the path to renewed competitiveness, and they deserve to be at the center of every state's effort to improve the education—and future—of every American child.

Mr. Tillerson is the chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. and the chairman of the Business Roundtable's Education & Workforce Committee.

"Opening Doors for Minorities in Technology," by Bill Snyder, Stanford Graduate School of Business, June 14, 2013 ---

Just one in 14 tech employees in Silicon Valley is black or Latino. CODE2040 is working to change that.

Silicon Valley thinks of itself as the cutting edge of more than just technology; it considers itself a force for social change. But in an era when the United States has elected and re-elected an African American president, only 1 in 18 leaders of technology firms are black or Latino, says Laura Weidman Powers. She is the cofounder, with her 2010 Stanford MBA classmate Tristan Walker, and executive director of CODE2040, a nonprofit group that is working to open the doors in Silicon Valley for black and Latino engineers.

In its first year, CODE2040 placed 5 fellows into paid internships at Silicon Valley companies, including Jawbone, tumblr, Rockmelt, and Circle, and expects to place 15 this summer. Before they enter the fellowship, applicants need to pass a coding exam, a phone screen, and then a matching process with CODE2040’s host companies.

Just 30, Weidman Powers already has a resume stuffed with accomplishments: degrees from Harvard (AB in psychology) and Stanford (MBA and JD) along with stints as a product development executive and web producer at two technology startups. She was a codirector of CityStep, a community service organization, while she was an undergraduate at Harvard. In 2013, she was awarded a Social Innovation Fellowship by Stanford GSB's Center for Social Innovation.

Weidman Powers talked to Bill Snyder about the startup she cofounded and the path that led to it.

What’s the significance of the name “CODE2040”?

Our country is undergoing a massive demographic shift. Census projections show that people of color will collectively be the majority in the U.S. in the year 2040. It’s important to have that shift reflected in the ranks and the leadership of innovation hubs like Silicon Valley. We hope we’ll have worked ourselves out of a job long before then.

How does the program work?

We call it a fellowship program. We bring top-performing black and Latino computer-science students to our fellowship program. We place them in an internship with a top tech company. The students get mentors, we have a speakers series, we do skill-building workshops, leadership development, and coaching.

Silicon Valley fancies itself as the cutting edge not just in technology but also socially. But women and minorities are badly underrepresented.

I think it is the most entrepreneurial and innovative environment. But there's absolutely an under-representation, and that's what we are working to correct. The system is out of balance. Just 1 in 14 tech employees in Silicon Valley is black or Latino, just 1 in 18 is in leadership, [according to a report by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.]

Why is this still the case?

It’s a puzzle that a lot of people are trying to figure out right now. There’s been a lot of conversation around pattern matching as a contributing factor. It ends up being kind of a closed loop or a self-fulfilling prophecy when you have entrepreneurs and executives who like to invest in people that remind them of themselves and those they've seen succeed in the past. So we're trying to introduce a new pattern: Here's a new group of students that are really sharp and successful, and it makes sense to invest in them in every sense of the word.

Are you optimistic about the course of race relations in this country?

I am. I don't want to say [progress] is inevitable, in the sense that nobody has to work at it, but the number of people who care about these issues and how hard they are working makes me optimistic.

What inspired you to cofound CODE2040?

Tristan Walker and I were classmates at the business school. We met for coffee in late 2011 right after I left a job in product development at a startup. Tristan pitched his idea to convince me to be the point person in the project.

Why did you accept his pitch?

I had never seen myself as an entrepreneur, but being in Silicon Valley for the first time I was surrounded by the huge potential you see here. But at the same time I wasn't seeing the level of diversity I saw growing up in New York or working in West Philly. So I had the realization that “hey, this is something I could do.”

You’ve been around a number of nonprofits in the last 10 years. Is there something they, as a class, could do better?

I felt the nonprofits I spent time in and around in the past were too risk averse, and their income was too divorced from their programmatic activities. I'm excited to create in CODE2040 an organization that is nimble and responsive to the market, thoughtful and innovative about generating revenue, and yet still completely mission driven.

You obviously put a lot of time and effort into being a student at Stanford. What was the most important thing you took away?

The business school emphasizes that it is important to think about your personal strengths and passions as well as your professional and organizational goals. Leadership is not an end, but a means to achieving something beyond yourself. At Stanford you don't strive to be a leader, you strive to make an impact via your leadership. The emphasis on self-knowledge and intentionality, and the message that those things should not be optional or afterthoughts but are core parts of success, was really powerful for me.

What gets you up in the morning?

There's so much to do. It feels like there's so much opportunity in this space, and we have three different programmatic extensions we are evaluating right now in addition to expanding the fellowship programs. I have to get up and get it all done.

What is the best advice you've ever gotten as an entrepreneur?

The best advice or coaching I've ever gotten has been around being thoughtful about listening to other people and trusting your own judgment. People always have an opinion about what you should be doing with your time and your company, and nobody knows the whole story the way you do. I use that advice daily, hourly even.

Women are poorly represented in Silicon Valley, yet CODE2040 isn’t focused on that issue. Why not?

I like to point out that we do work with women all the time, a subset of woman — minorities. We work with other organizations that work with women. It’s not that I think one issue is more important than the other. But there aren’t many groups focused on what CODE2040 is working on, while there are a lot of amazing groups working on the underrepresentation of women in tech.

Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at

"The Cost-Effectiveness of Armored Tactical Wheeled Vehicles for Overseas U.S. Army Operations," by Chris Rohlfs and Ryan Sullivan, SSRN, June 11, 2013 ---

This study uses For Official Use Only data on U.S. military operations to evaluate the large-scale Army policies to replace relatively light Type 1 Tactical Wheeled Vehicles (TWVs) with more heavily protected Type 2 variants and later to replace Type 2s with more heavily protected Type 3s. We find that Type 2 TWVs reduced fatalities at $1.1 million to $24.6 million per life saved, with our preferred cost estimates falling below the $7.5 million cost-effectiveness threshold, and did not reduce fatalities for administrative and support units. We find that replacing Type 2 with Type 3 TWVs did not appreciably reduce fatalities and was not cost-effective.

Harvard Business Review Blog, September 10, 2013

In substituting heavily armored combat vehicles at a cost of $170,000 each for lighter, $50,000 vehicles during the 2000s, the U.S. Army reduced infantry deaths by 0.04-0.43 per month at an estimated cost per life saved that is below the $7.5 million commonly accepted "value of a statistical life," say Chris Rohlfs of Syracuse University and Ryan Sullivan of the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. However, the Army's subsequent replacement of about 9,000 of those new vehicles with even more heavily armored vehicles, costing $600,000 each, did not appreciably reduce fatalities and was not cost-effective for less-active infantry units, according to the researchers' analysis of Army data.

Jensen Comment
I'm not quite sure about how or why "$7.5 million (is) a commonly accepted 'value of a statistical life.'"

In courts of law other factors are used in valuing human life, including age where younger people are valued more highly. The value of us old has beens declines rapidly. Most infantry soldiers are relatively young (certainly compared to me).

Of course in courts of law settlements must be doubled or tripled for the so-called value of the lawyers.

"Justice Department bids to trap poor, black children in ineffective schools," Editorial Board of The Washington Post, September 1, 2013 --- Click Here

NINE OF 10 Louisiana children who receive vouchers to attend private schools are black. All are poor and, if not for the state assistance, would be consigned to low-performing or failing schools with little chance of learning the skills they will need to succeed as adults. So it’s bewildering, if not downright perverse, for the Obama administration to use the banner of civil rights to bring a misguided suit that would block these disadvantaged students from getting the better educational opportunities they are due.

The Justice Department has petitioned a U.S. District Courtto bar Louisiana from awarding vouchers for the 2014-15 school year to students in public school systems that are under federal desegregation orders, unless the vouchers are first approved by a federal judge. The government argues that allowing students to leave their public schools for vouchered private schools threatens to disrupt the desegregation of school systems. A hearing is tentatively set for Sept. 19.

There’s no denying the state’s racist history of school segregation or its ugly efforts in the late 1960s and early 1970s to undermine desegregation orders by helping white children to evade racially integrated schools. These efforts included funneling public money to all-white private schools. But the situation today bears no resemblance to those terrible days. Since most of the students using vouchers are black, it is, as State Education Superintendent John White pointed out to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “a little ridiculous” to argue that the departure of mostly black students to voucher schools would make their home school systems less white. Every private school participating in the voucher program must comply with the color-blind policies of the federal desegregation court orders.

The government’s argument that “the loss of students through the voucher program reversed much of the progress made toward integration” becomes even more absurd upon examination of the cases it cited in its petition. Consider the analysis from University of Arkansas professor of education reform Jay P. Greene of a school that lost five white students through vouchers and saw a shift in racial composition from 29.6 percent white to 28.9 percent white. Another school that lost six black students and saw a change in racial composition from 30.1 percent black to 29.2 percent black. “Though the students . . . almost certainly would not have noticed a difference, the racial bean counters at the DOJ see worsening segregation,” Mr. Greene wrote on his blog.

The number that should matter to federal officials is this: Roughly 86 percent of students in the voucher program came from schools that were rated D or F. Mr. White called ironic using rules to fight racism to keep students in failing schools; we think it appalling.

Unfortunately, though, it is not a surprise from an administration that, despite its generally progressive views on school reform, has proven to be hostile — as witnessed by its petty machinations against D.C.’s voucher program — to the school choice afforded by private-school vouchers. Mr. White told us that from Day One, the five-year-old voucher program has been subject to unrelenting scrutiny and questions from federal officials. Louisiana parents are clamoring for the choice afforded by this program; the state is insisting on accountability; poor students are benefiting. The federal government should get out of the way.


"RANKED: The Most Corrupt States (in the USA), by Bob Wile, Business Insider, September 3, 2013 ---


Global Corruption


Denmark's Welfare State is On the Rocks In Spite of (or because of) High Taxes
"Scandinavia’s Weakest Nation Finds Welfare Habits Too Costly," by Peter Levring, Bloomberg, August 30, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on the American Dream Versus the Danish Dream ---

Eleven High Inflation Nations --- Click Here

"Pensions Are Still Making Ludicrous Assumptions About Future Returns," by John Mauldin, Business Insider, September 8, 2013 ---

. . .

Unrealistic Expectations

The past 10 years have seen a growing number of economists and financial analysts questioning the propriety of the methods used to forecast pension fund liabilities. This is more than an academic exercise, as the numbers you choose to base your models upon make massive differences in the projected outcomes. As we will see, those differences can run into the trillions of dollars and can mean the difference between solvency and bankruptcy of municipalities and states. The implicit assumption in many actuarial forecasts is that states and cities have no constraints on their ability to raise money. If liabilities increase, then you simply raise taxes to meet the liability. However, fiscal reality has begun to rear its head in a few cities around the country and arrived with a vengeance in Detroit this summer. It seems there actually is a limit to how much cities and states can raise.

"Aah," cities assure themselves, "we are not Detroit." And it must be admitted that Detroit truly is a basket case. But it may behoove us to remember that Spain and Italy and Portugal and Ireland and Cyprus all said "We are not Greece" prior to arriving at the point where they would lose access to the bond market without central bank assistance.

In response to growing concerns over public pension debt, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and Moody's have both proposed revisions to government reporting rules to make state and local governments acknowledge the real scope of their pension problems. (While it is possible to ignore Moody's, based on the fact that it is just one of three private rating agencies, it is impossible to ignore GASB, which is the official source of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) used by state and local governments in the United States.

Under the new GASB rules, governments will be required to use more appropriate investment targets than most public pension plans have been using, bringing them more in line with accounting rules for private-sector plans. Pension plans can continue to use current investment targets for the amounts the plans have successfully funded; but for the unfunded amounts, pension plans must use more reasonable investment forecasts, such as the yield on high-grade municipal bonds, currently running between 3 and 4 percent. From my perspective, not requiring reasonable investment forecasts on already funded accounts is still unrealistic, but the new GASB rules are a major step in the right direction, and I applaud GASB for taking a very politically difficult stance.

Moody's has also proposed new rules to require states to use more appropriate investment targets. Their new rules require pension plans to use investment targets based on the yield of high-grade, long-term corporate bonds, currently just over 4 percent. (Source:http://illinoispolicy.org/uploads/files/Pension_debt_more_than_doubles.pdf

Read more:

Bob Jensen's threads on pension accounting are at

Teaching Case
From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on September 6, 2013

Film Tax Credits Get Panned
by: Valerie Bauerlein
Aug 31, 2013
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Tax Laws, Tax Policy

SUMMARY: "More than 800 movies and television shows have been filmed in North Carolina since the 1980s, when 'Dirty Dancing' was shot along the banks of...mountain-ringed [Lake Lure]....In 2012 it paid $69 million in incentives to draw such productions as 'The Hunger Games,' and it has netted an average of $168 million in direct production spending a year over the past six years, according to the North Carolina Film Office." Yet the state legislature is considering allowing the tax benefit to sunset on January 1, 2015. Part of the reasoning is that the expenditures don't lead to long-term, high end jobs in the state, only short term economic infusion from each film and lower wage employment such as restaurants. NOTE: INSTRUCTORS MAY WANT TO DELETE THE RELATED ARTICLE INFORMATION IN ORDER TO HAVE STUDENTS RESEARCH THE QUESTIONS IN THE RELATED GROUP PROJECT.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: The article may be used to discuss state tax systems in general, tax credits, or the policy choices implemented via tax laws.

1. (Introductory) What incentive does North Carolina offer to filmmakers to do productions in its state? Is it a tax credit or another type of benefit? In your answer, define the term tax credit.

2. (Introductory) For what reasons is North Caroline considering letting the tax benefit program "sunset" on January 1, 2015?

3. (Advanced) What are the arguments for keeping the film industry tax benefits? How can these benefits be evaluated in a return on investment framework?

4. (Advanced) Nevada is just now beginning to offer tax incentives to the film industry. Given the widespread use of these tax policies, what is the danger of eliminating them now?

Convene students in groups with differing home states or assign different states for students to investigate. Have each find an example of a tax benefit offered to a specific industry or business entity by his/her home or assigned state. Answer the following questions for class discussion. To what industry or company was the benefit offered? For what reason did the government offer the tax benefit? Is the benefit a tax credit, a special tax rate, or is it structured in another way? Do you think the benefit offers long term benefits to the state? Explain.

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island

Connecticut Pulls Films' Tax Benefits
by Joseph De Avila
Jun 15, 2013
Page: A17

"Film Tax Credits Get Panned," by Valerie Bauerlein, The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2013 ---

North Carolina is close to dropping one of the most extensive programs for awarding tax breaks to film companies, in what would be a high-profile retreat from an arms race among states to lure Hollywood productions.

More than 800 movies and television shows have been filmed in North Carolina since the 1980s, when "Dirty Dancing" was shot along the banks of this mountain-ringed lake. The state started offering incentives in the early 2000s. In 2012, it paid $69 million in incentives to draw such productions as "The Hunger Games," and it has netted an average of $168 million in direct production spending a year over the past six years, according to the North Carolina Film Office.

The Motion Picture Association of America says the quality of the state's studios and film crews rival those found in Hollywood and New York City. The state trails only California, New York, Georgia and Louisiana in production revenue, according to the N.C. Film Office.

But the budget for the next two fiscal years approved in July by the state legislature lets the incentive program sunset on Jan. 1, 2015. Republican lawmakers, who took full control of state government this year for the first time since Reconstruction, as well as some Democrats, say North Carolina would be better off cutting taxes across the board or giving incentives to manufacturers offering long-term jobs.

North Carolina's program consists of a 25% refundable tax credit. The state first offsets the production's state tax liability, typically a small amount, and then issues the remainder of the value of the credit as a refund. Nonetheless, the state has lost some production business as Georgia and Louisiana have raised their transferable tax credits to as much as 30% of production costs—which means, critics note, that taxpayers foot 30 cents of each dollar spent.

The number of states offering incentives has declined as they cite shifting priorities or problems with individual programs or productions, according to Dama Claire, a tax expert who advises producers on where to film.

Some still see opportunity: Nevada is launching a 15% transferable tax credit starting next year.

"Is it nice and glitzy? Yeah, everybody likes 'Homeland,' " said Sen. Bob Rucho, a Republican who leads North Carolina's Senate finance committee and represents Mecklenberg County, where the popular Showtime TV series is filmed. "But is it worth spending the money on film credits? There's no evidence that it is."

"We spent $70 million on film incentives last year, and what else could we have done with that $70 million?" said Rep. Mike Hager, the GOP majority whip, who hails from Rutherford County, where "Dirty Dancing" was shot. "We could have paid more teachers, kept our teacher assistants, given raises to our highway patrol."

State Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker is lobbying Republican leaders, including her boss, Gov. Pat McCrory, to maintain at least some incentives. The program is necessary to retain the film industry, which employs 4,000 people full-time and had an economic impact of $376 million last year, she said.

But some think tanks on the right and the left argue that film-incentive programs don't offer enough bang for the buck. Most states pay a subsidy worth about 25 cents for every dollar of production expense, return on investment is hard to quantify, and the highest-paying jobs go to people out of state, says the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington.

The Motion Picture Association of America says film incentives have a multiplier effect, citing a recently commissioned study that shows North Carolina's $20 million in incentives last year for "Iron Man 3" led to $180 million in local spending, or nearly $9 for each $1 invested.

The association's senior vice president, Vans Stevenson, told state leaders in a July letter that 21st Century Fox decided to film the new television show "Salem" in Louisiana in part because of uncertainty over North Carolina's incentives, and that Paramount Pictures is reluctant to consider the state for big-budget films in its pipeline.

"The state stands to lose thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in spending planned here," Mr. Stevenson said.

About 1,500 people came to Lake Lure in mid-August for the fourth-annual "Dirty Dancing" festival, capped by a "lake leap" contest, an homage to actress Jennifer Grey's jump into Patrick Swayze's arms in the frigid lake. The film is an anchor of the county's growing and much-needed tourism industry, even 26 years after its release, said Ms. Decker, who is also from Rutherford County and commonly cites "Dirty Dancing" in her speeches on the importance of keeping the film industry.

Mr. Hager said film-related tourism hasn't helped much. "People come and spend $100 or $200, but very few end up buying a home on the lake," he said.

Continued in article



We previously said that the Indian rupee is becoming worth less than the paper it is printed on. Unfortunately, toilet paper is holding its value in dollars better than the nation's currency ---
John C. Ogg, August 28, 2013

Jensen Comment
Pennies in the USA aren't worth their copper content, and a dollar bill will soon not buy what a penny would buy in 1928.

"Time Warner Joins IBM in Health Shift for Retirees," by Spencer E. Ante, The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2013 ---

Insurance exchanges are the health-care experiment du jour. Retirees are the test case.

The latest indication: Media-company Time Warner Inc. TWC +0.16% plans to move its U.S. retirees from company-administered health plans to private exchanges, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company will allocate funds in special accounts that retirees can use to go shop for coverage, the person said.

The news comes as International Business Machines Corp. IBM -0.61% also plans to move about 110,000 of its own retirees off its company-sponsored health plan to a Medicare insurance exchange.

President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul calls for such exchanges, which will go live next month, and employers are looking at similar, privately administered exchanges as an alternative to offering their own health plans.

Yet while these efforts are just ramping up—and creating a good deal of anxiety in the process—hundreds of thousands of retirees are already using exchanges to pick Medicare plans, and many more are likely to do so in the months ahead as companies look for ways to fix their health-care costs by moving to the "defined contribution" model they adopted for pensions years ago.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Some medical providers currently turn away Medicare patients due to reimbursement caps. However, many corporate plans for retirees were Medicare supplements such that those retirees probably were unable to access medical providers like top surgeons who turn away Medicare patients. What will hurt worse is that some of the best Medicare supplement insurance companies are dropping out of the Obamacare exchanges. This results in less insurance pricing competition. In most cases retirees can only choose the exchange options endorsed by the company in order to maintain the company's contributions.

Bob Jensen's threads on post-retirement benefits accounting are at
The huge problem is that companies (as well as non-profit organizations) often underestimate the present value of post-retirement obligations.

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

"IRS sets Penalties for Not Getting Healthcare Insurance Under ACA," SmartPros, August 27, 2013 ---

Under the so-called individual mandate, beginning Jan. 14, the charge for not obtaining health insurance will be $95 or 1 percent of household income, whichever is larger, The Hill reported. The penalty will increase to $695 per person, or 2.5 percent of household income, in 2016, the Washington publication said. There will be a cost-of-living formula for future years.

Not everyone without insurance would be hit with the penalty, which the IRS calls a "shared responsibility payment," The Hill said. People who qualify for Medicaid coverage but reside in states that aren't taking part in the law's expanded Medicaid will be exempt, as will those who are temporarily uninsured while between jobs, those opposed to having insurance coverage for religious reasons or members of Indian tribes.

"Today's rules ensure that millions more Americans will be able to get quality health care coverage at an affordable price, that provides health security for their families and bans discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions once and for all," a Treasury Department representative said in a statement received by The Hill.

Supporters say the mandatory participation is necessary to make the system sustainable, while detractors oppose being forced to participate.

Jensen Comment
I read somewhere, can't remember where, that the IRS does not have the resources nor the intent early on to enforce nonpayment of the penalty.  Please do not consider my dim recall of this as fact. It would seem that eventually somebody somewhere must enforce these penalties or the entire "individual mandate" will fall apart. It is possible for the IRS to garnish wages --- that process is effective but also expensive enforcement given the difficulty of tracking people who jump from job to job to job and/or work more than one job. It would seem that the non-insurance penalty is so low that many low income workers will simply opt to pay the penalty --- which of course leaves them without health insurance and risks of becoming burdens on hospital emergency rooms.

How Some Companies are Dealing With the Affordable Healthcare Act

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on September 4, 2013

A new approach to health-care benefits is gaining momentum ahead of the Affordable Care Act rollout. A growing number of employers plans to give workers a fixed sum of money and let them choose a plan from an online marketplace, the WSJ’s Anna Wilde Matthews reports.

More health-industry players are launching such private exchanges, which are separate from the government-operated marketplaces being created in each state. And insurers are creating their own versions. Aetna plans to launch a “proprietary” marketplace model next year. WellPoint already has one, and UnitedHealth Group‘s Optum health-services arm owns an exchange operator.

Sears Holdings and Darden Restaurants adopted this approach last year. The idea has been gaining the most traction among small and midsize employers, but interest is growing among companies of all sizes, Matthews writes. Bob Evans Farms, which owns about 560 restaurants and has about 34,000 employees including part-timers, will start directing workers to an exchange from Xerox's Buck unit that’s set to launch next January.

From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on August 22, 2013

Health-care law fuels part-time hiring
U.S. businesses are hiring, but three out of four of the nearly one million hires this year are part-time and many of the jobs are low-paid, writes Reuters’s Lucia Mutikani.
Executives at several staffing firms told Reuters that the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health-care coverage, was a frequently cited factor in requests for part-time workers. A memo that leaked out from retailer Forever 21 last week showed it was reducing a number of full-time staff to positions where they will work no more than 29.5 hours a week, just under the law’s threshold. “They have put some of the full-time positions on hold and are hiring part-time employees so they won’t have to pay out the benefits,” said Client Staffing Solutions’ Darin Hovendick. “There is so much uncertainty. It’s really tough to design a budget when you don’t know the final cost involved.”

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

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

Bob Jensen's Tidbits Archives ---

Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

Summary of Major Accounting Scandals --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accounting_scandals

Bob Jensen's threads on such scandals:

Bob Jensen's threads on audit firm litigation and negligence ---

Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---

Enron --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm

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

American History of Fraud --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudAmericanHistory.htm

Bob Jensen's fraud conclusions ---

Bob Jensen's threads on auditor professionalism and independence are at

Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at


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

·     With a Rejoinder from the 2010 Senior Editor of The Accounting Review (TAR), Steven J. Kachelmeier

·     With Replies in Appendix 4 to Professor Kachemeier by Professors Jagdish Gangolly and Paul Williams

·     With Added Conjectures in Appendix 1 as to Why the Profession of Accountancy Ignores TAR

·     With Suggestions in Appendix 2 for Incorporating Accounting Research into Undergraduate Accounting Courses

Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave  --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TheoryTAR.htm
By Bob Jensen

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 ---

Bob Jensen's economic crisis messaging http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

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

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