Tidbits on February 27, 2013
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

This week I feature Set 1 of my favorite Maine photographs


More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories


Tidbits on February 27, 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

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy --- http://plato.stanford.edu/

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

Live: Watch NASA’s Coverage of Asteroid As It Buzzes By Earth ---

Inside the Psychologist's Studio Videos (interviews with prominent psychologists) ---

Listen to ‘Why I Am Not a Christian,’ Bertrand Russell’s Powerful Critique of Religion (1927) ---

Pirate Bay (controversial file sharing site) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Bay

Dogs having fun in the snow --- http://www.wimp.com/dogsledding/

Largest glacier calving --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/hC3VTgIPoGU?rel=0

John Cleese’s Eulogy for Graham Chapman: ‘Good Riddance, the Free-Loading Bastard, I Hope He Fries’ ---

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

Classics in Concert --- http://www.npr.org/series/10210144/classics-in-concert/?ps=sa

Ella Fitzgerald Sings ‘Summertime’ by George Gershwin, Berlin 1968 ---

Pianist Daniil Trifonov: Disappearing Into Chopin (full concert) ---

Classical:  Subterranean Notes, The New Baroque And A Nod To Minnesota: Music We Love Now ---

Access to more than 700,000 lyrics from around 40,000 artists/bands since 2000.---

Jazz ‘Hot’: The Rare 1938 Short Film With Jazz Legend Django Reinhardt ---

Bertolt Brecht Sings ‘Mack the Knife’ From The Threepenny Opera, 1929 ---

The History of Music Told in Seven Rapidly Illustrated Minutes ---

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 (with commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/ 

Bob Jensen's threads on nearly all types of free music selections online ---

Photographs and Art

The Creative Process of Ansel Adams Revealed in 1958 Documentary ---

Discover Ansel Adams’ 226 Photos of U.S. National Parks (and Another Side of the Legendary Photographer) ---

Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv_TVXxWe_A

PhotoSeed (Art History, Photography) --- http://photoseed.com/

Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books --- http://www.moma.org/explore/collection/lb/index

Guggenheim Museum: Louise Bourgeois --- http://www.guggenheim.org/exhibitions/exhibition_pages/bourgeois/index.html

David Lynch Talks About His 99 Favorite Photographs at Paris Photo 2012 ---

Spencer Museum of Art (University of Kansas) --- http://luna.ku.edu:8180/luna/servlet/kuvc1sma~1~1

National Galleries of Scotland --- http://www.nationalgalleries.org/education

National Galleries of Scotland: From Death to Death and Other Small Tales ---

Pacific Northwest Stream Survey (over 1,000 photographs) ---  http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/digitalcollections/pacificNWstream/

Finding Vivian Maier: New Documentary Reveals the Vision of Obscure Chicago Street Photographer ---

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

Digital Collections: Amherst College --- https://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/holdings/electexts

Amherst College: Emily Dickinson Collection --- https://acdc.amherst.edu/browse/collection/collection:ed

Emily Dickenson --- http://www.emilydickinson.org/  

On 50th Anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s Death, Hear Her Read ‘Lady Lazarus’ ---

The Short Literary Life of Sylvia Plath --- http://www.sylviaplath.de/

"Our acknowledged Queen of Sorrows"
For Sylvia Plath’s 80th Birthday, Hear Her Read ‘A Birthday Present’ --- Click Here

Paul Laurence Dunbar Digital Collection of Poetry ---  http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/

“PoemTalk” Podcast, Where Impresario Al Filreis Hosts Lively Chats on Modern Poetry ---

Access to more than 700,000 lyrics from around 40,000 artists/bands since 2000.---

Association of College & Research Libraries --- http://www.ala.org/acrl/

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 February 27, 2013

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

"Google Launches $1,299 Chromebook Pixel With 2560×1700 3:2 12.85″ Touchscreen, Core i5 CPU, 1TB Of Google Drive Storage & Optional LTE,," by Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch, February 21, 2013 --- Click Here

Google's PR Page --- Click Here
Full Specs ---

Two, read that 2, USB Ports!!!!!!
iPad owners can weep over this.

Chromebook Pixel Video --- http://www.youtube.com/user/googlechrome?v=S95J5BowMmk

"A Quick Tour of Windows 8:  An overview of the user experience design of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system," MIT's Technology Review, February 8, 2013 --- Click Here

Don't lose your kid, keys, or kangaroo ever again (at least maybe not)
"Linquet Mini Keeps You From Losing Your Stuff," by Dan Rowinski, ReadWriteWeb, February 22, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Now your spouse is another matter entirely.

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets ---

"Mind Turns Into Matter With 3D Printing Pen," by Ashlee Vance, Bloomberg Businessweek, February 20, 2013 ---

"How to troubleshoot your computer," by Eric Excobar, Tech Talker, February 20, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
If your computer has a contract with Tech Support, such as Tech Support on a college campus, look first for some simple solutions, but it's probably best to get the computer to Tech Support as soon as possible. These support services generally get better and better every year. Don't experiment with things you don't understand (like the Registry coding). And don't burden the tech savvy colleagues in your department. Your problem is really not their problem.

There Goes the Neighborhood
"U. of Colorado Is in Search of a Scholar of Conservative Thought U. of Colorado Is in Search of a Scholar of Conservative Thought," by Sydni Dunn, Chronicle of Higher Education., February 26, 2013 ---

The University of Colorado at Boulder is adding a conservative-in-residence to its liberal-leaning faculty in an attempt to broaden intellectual diversity at the state's flagship campus.

The new position, the "visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy," is being paid for entirely by private money. A total of close to $1-million will finance the job, set to begin in the fall and to be housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, for at least three years.

Some professors and students are questioning the need for the new role and have been critical of the credentials of the finalists. Although two of the three finalists have Ph.D.'s and the third has a master's, they all are better known for political activism and policy work than for scholarly pursuits.

The finalists, each of whom visited Boulder and gave public speeches on the campus this month, are Linda Chavez, chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity; Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Steven Hayward, a fellow at the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University.

The search committee is scheduled to recommend a candidate for the hire the first week of March, said Keith E. Maskus, associate dean for social sciences and head of the search committee.

The idea for the conservative appointment goes back a decade, Mr. Maskus said, and was originally conceived of as an endowed position. When it didn't get "far off the ground" in terms of support or fund-raising, he said, the project was shelved. In 2008, however, the idea was revived and reconfigured, and a group of donors decided to convert the position to a privately financed, visiting role that is off the tenure track.

The position was created, in part, to change the public's perception of the institution, Mr. Maskus said. Most of the faculty present balanced viewpoints in the classroom, he said, but the university has a longstanding history of leaning left. And, he said, having a conservative scholar will help balance the perspectives to which students are exposed.

"We've appeared in the newspaper a few times; I'm sure you can think of a few of those headlines," said Mr. Maskus, hinting at the university's controversial firing, in 2007, of Ward Churchill, an ethnic-studies professor. The decision, which the university said was based on findings of research misconduct, came after Mr. Churchill became the focus of national outrage for a provocative essay he wrote about the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, in which he compared some American victims of terrorism to Nazi bureaucrats. Breaking the Mold

Some students have reacted positively to the creation of the conservative-scholar position.

They include Zach Silverman, who is president of the College Democrats at the Boulder campus and a senior majoring in political science. A university should be a marketplace of ideas, he said, and the new visiting job promotes that mission.

"For CU, this breaks the mold of being a liberal college, a biased college," Mr. Silverman said. "It shows we are interested in all opinions, left or right."

Mr. Silverman, who is 21, said his professors try to remain neutral in the classroom but that it can be obvious, particularly in political science, which way they lean politically. In a 2008 survey that included 825 faculty members at Boulder, only 23 were registered Republicans, according to Ed Rozek, a political-science professor who conducted the survey.

Embedding a conservative viewpoint in the classroom will encourage variety, Mr. Silverman said, but only if that person is actually a scholar. "This person needs a doctorate," he said.

Mr. Maskus, the associate dean, said one of the qualities the search committee sought was a strong record of published books or articles. All of the finalists fit that criterion, he said, though to different degrees. Ms. Chavez is the only finalist without a Ph.D., for example, but she has published three books and spent more than 40 years in the political arena.

Faculty members, Mr. Maskus said, have expressed concerns both about the scholarly credentials of candidates for the position and about whether the university should be taking donations to make a faculty appointment.

A group of private donors contributed to this position, and some of them sit on the 10-person search committee for the job, Mr. Maskus said. The committee has five tenured faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences, and five "external community" members appointed by the chancellor. Mr. Maskus would not say how many of those people are donors who are supporting the new position. He also did not reveal how much money the donors who are serving on the committee collectively contributed to the project.

Mr. Maskus said he does not believe that having donors serve on the search committee and participate in hiring the scholar creates a conflict of interest. The committee is following procedures that were put in place "to avoid such conflicts," he said.

Other criticism, coming mostly from students, has questioned whether the position is necessary.

In a guest column published in a local newspaper, The Daily Camera, Matthew Aitken, a graduate student in physics, wrote that the creation of the position supports the assumption that all universities lack balance.

"Conservatism—like all other political ideologies—should be considered on its own merits, and no special position need be created for its proponents' voices to be heard," Mr. Aitken wrote. "That an esteemed institution like the University of Colorado would give credence to this specious notion of conservative victimhood is disappointing, at best." Taking a Risk

Ms. Chavez, a finalist who visited the university last week and gave a presentation titled "A Conservative Approach to Immigration Reform," said it was obvious that some students did not like the idea of the position. A number of students grilled her with questions after her speech.

"What I find fascinating is that students who disagree with me rarely actually read what I've written," she said. When students hear her point of view, she said, they realize they have some things in common. "We might differ, but our ultimate goals are the same."

Continued in article

Who's guarding the gates?
"Moving Further to the Left," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 24, 2012 ---

Academics, on average, lean to the left. A survey being released today suggests that they are moving even more in that direction.


Among full-time faculty members at four-year colleges and universities, the percentage identifying as "far left" or liberal has increased notably in the last three years, while the percentage identifying in three other political categories has declined. The data come from the University of California at Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute, which surveys faculty members nationwide every three years on a range of attitudes.


Here are the data for the new survey and the prior survey:

  2010-11 2007-8
Far left 12.4% 8.8%
Liberal 50.3% 47.0%
Middle of the road 25.4% 28.4%
Conservative 11.5% 15.2%
Far right 0.4% 0.7%


"Noam Chomsky Spells Out the Purpose of Education," by Josh Jones, Open Culture, November 2012 ---

Bob Jensen's threads about political bias in the Academy ---

February 22, 2013 reads posted by Barry Ritholtz --- http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/

My morning reads:

• Sequester FAQ: Absolutely everything you could possibly need to know (WonkBlog) see also 5 Reasons Not to Worry About the ‘Dreaded’ Sequester (Fiscal Times)
• Yardeni on Gold (Dr. Ed’s Blog)
• Hedge fund results have been poor (Brooklyn Investor); So Too Have Venture Capital Returns (AVC)
• Is This The End Of Our Low Volatility Period? (Stock Trader’s Almanac)
• Accounting Hides Risks: Four Largest Banks Are Now Almost As Big As US GDP (Jesse’s Café Américain)
• Panic-driven austerity in the Eurozone and its implications (VOX)
• Why Wasn’t There a Chinese Spring? (The Diplomat) see also Japan’s economic turmoil may provide an opening for the U.S. (Washington Post)
The End of Global Warming: How to Save the Earth in 2 Easy Steps (The Atlantic)
For Oeniphiles: Battle of the Somm (NYT) see also Somm notes (Ben Schott)
• Misguided Nostalgia for Our Paleo Past (The Chronicle)


"Pinocchio Investors: How Investors Lie to Themselves," The Washington Post, by Barry Ritholtz, The Washington Post, February 24, 2013 ---

. . .

How exactly do investors lie to themselves? Here are just 8 ways I discuss in the column:

1. You know what your investment returns are
2. You can predict the future.
3. You know how costs, fees and taxes impact your returns.
4. You can pick fund managers.
5. You understand mean reversion.
6. You have a plan.
7. You can pick stocks.
8. You are saving enough for retirement.

What are you lying to yourself about?

Jensen Question

We might also start a similar thread on the AECM about Pinocchio teachers. For example,

"If it's not in the textbook it's not important."

"Avoid going to the RateMyProfessor site for any reason other than to look up professors you don't like"

February 24, 2013 reply from David Albrecht

Pinocchio accounting teachers?

        Damn, I'm good
        I don't need to study teaching
        I know how to teach
        When students have difficulty with a test question, it is because they didn't study
        That class went well
        Students today just aren't as smart as we were x years ago.
        I teach critical thinking
        Multiple choice tests prepare students for CPA exam
        Rigorous teaching is good.
        I believe in the sanctity of the test
        If I say it they will remember it
        Students aren't qualified to evaluate either my teaching or their learning
        Banning cell phones will end student distractions
        No students are killed during my PowerPoint enabled lectures
        Good research skills go hand in hand with good teaching skills
        No one can be a good teacher if they aren't published in top accounting journals


To get an F on your term paper, cite Fox News, but CNN and MSNBC are good for an A

"A Professor vs. Fox News," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, February 15, 2015 ---

Jensen Comment
I certainly hope this instructor will not get a full-time appointment.
Some accounting are proud of the fact that they don't read the Wall Street Journal
I don't think they will give an F to a student who cites an article in the WSJ

Bob Jensen's threads on the liberal bias of the Academy ---

Reader's Digest --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reader%27s_Digest

"Reader's Digest files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Again," by Dennis Elam, Elam Blog, February 18, 2013 ---

Trivia Question
Reader's Digest magazine was founded by DeWitt Wallace (William Roy). His father was the president of a college that eventually received much of the Reader's Digest fortune of Dewitt Wallace (Roy). What is the name and location of that college?

Answer --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeWitt_Wallace .

From the IRS
Beware of Bogus IRS Emails  ---

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud reporting ---

"What’s Wrong with the Financial Services Industry?" by Barry Ritholtz, Ritholtz Blog, February 21, 2013 ---

If you hang around these parts for any length of time, you will occasionally run across a jeremiad of mine complaining about the Financial Services Industry.

I’ve been thinking about this more than usual lately. This has led to some correspondence with Helaine Olen, whose book Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry is next up in my queue. (Her appearance on the TDS yesterday is here). It is similar to the deep dive my colleague Josh Brown took in Backstage Wall Street.

My criticism is somewhat different than Helaine’s (though I am sympatico with much of her view). I break down the problems as follows:


Simplicity does not pay well: Investing should be relatively simple: Buy broad asset classes, hold them over long periods of time, rebalance periodically, get off the tracks when the locomotive is bearing down on you. The problem is its easier in theory than is reality to execute this.

Confusion is not a bug, its a feature:   Thus, the massive choice, the nonstop noise the confusing claims, all work to make this much more complex than it needs to be.

Too much money attracts the wrong kinds of people: Let’s face it, the volume of cash that passes through the Financial Services Industry is enormous. Few who enters finance does so for altruistic reasons.

Incentives are misaligned: As I’ve written previously, too many people are unwilling to get rich slowly. Hence, some of the wrong people work in finance, and some of the right people exercise bad judgment.

Too many people have a hand in your pocket:  The list of people nicking you as an investor is enormous. Insiders (CEO/CFO/Boards of Directors) transfer wealth from shareholders to themselves, with the blessing of corrupted Compensation Consultants. Active mutual funds charge way too much for sub par performance. 401(k)s are disastrous. NYSE and NASDAQ Exchanges have been paid to allow a HFT tax on every other investor. FASB and Accountants have doen an awful job, allowing corporations to mislead investors with junk balance statements. The Media’s job is to sell advertising, not provide you with intelligent advice. The Regulators have been captured.

What’s the net impact of all this on your investments ?

The Financialized US Economy: The above list reflects nearly half a century of the financialization of the broader US economy. Instead of serving industry, finance has trumped it. This led directly to the financial crisis and economic collapse of 2007-09.

Human Nature: Then there is your own behavioral issues. On top of everything else, you are governed by a brain that simply wasn’t built for this.

All of these add up to a system that is flawed, and often fails to do its job.

Continued in article

Large public accounting firms are probably not in favor of simplifying the tax code
February 17, 2013 message from Richard Sansing

This week's issue of The Economist has a special report on
off-shore finance. This article discusses the role of large
public accounting firms.


Jensen Content
Note that "simplicity does not pay well" in consulting!
I wonder to what extent large CPA firms want simplified accounting and auditing rules (to increase profits on audits) and highly complex regulations and financing alternatives (to increase profitability of consulting). Thus far in the 21st Century everything seems to becoming more complicated., which is probably why audits are not especially profitable relative to consulting.

However, unless a new regulation is put in place to rotate audit firms, auditing contributes heavily to fixed costs annually due to the tendency of clients to stick with the same auditing firms year after year. Consulting engagements come and go making them not especially reliable for paying fixed costs but making them profitable on top of the fixed costs paid for by audit engagements. Thant's my $.02.

"The High Burden of State and Federal Capital Gains Taxes," by Kyle Pomerleau, The Tax Foundation, February 20, 2013 ---

Long-term Capital Gains Rate
Rank Country/State Capital Gains Rate
1 Denmark 42.0%
2 California 33.0%
3 France 32.5%
4 Finland 32.0%
5 New York 31.4%
6 Oregon 31.0%
7 Delaware 30.4%
8 New Jersey 30.4%
9 Vermont 30.4%
10 Maryland 30.3%
11 Maine 30.1%
12 Ireland 30.0%
13 Sweden    30.0%
14 Idaho 29.7%
15 Minnesota 29.7%
16 North Carolina 29.7%
17 Iowa 29.6%
18 Hawaii 29.4%
19 District of Columbia 29.1%
20 Nebraska 29.1%
21 Connecticut 29.0%
22 West Virginia 28.9%
23 Ohio 28.7%
24 Georgia 28.6%
25 Kentucky 28.6%

Jensen Comment
It saddens me with all the focus on capital gains rates relative to what should be a more important issue --- price level adjusting long-term capital gains. I would prefer capital gains taxes at ordinary income rates after adjusting for inflation.

Arthur P. Hall, Issues in the Indexation of Capital Gains, Tax Foundation Special Report No. 47 (Apr. 1995), http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/files/docs/dafa29992e4cfa82276853f47607c84d.pdf.

Definition of Screwed:
avg mkt return ~12%, avg mutual fund ret ~9%, average investor ret ~ 2.6%. Timing, selection, and costs destroy

Finance Professor Jim Mahar

"Romancing Alpha (α), Breaking Up with Beta (β)," by Barry Ritholtz, Ritholtz, February 15, 2013 --- |

Since it is a Friday (following Valentine’s Day), I want to step back from the usual market gyrations to discuss a broader topic: The pursuit of Alpha, where it goes wrong, and the actual cost in Beta.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Wall Street’s Greek nomenclature, a quick (and oversimplified) primer: When we refer to Beta (β), we are referencing a portfolio’s correlation to its benchmark returns, both directionally and in terms of magnitude.

We use a scale of 0-1. Let’s say your benchmark is the S&P500 — it has a β = 1. Something uncorrelated does what it does regardless of what the SPX does, and its Beta is = 0. We can also use negative numbers, so a Beta of minus 1 (-1) does the exact opposite of the benchmark.

Beta measures how closely your investments perform relative to your benchmark. If you were to do nothing else but buy that benchmark index (i.e., S&P500), you will have captured Beta (for these purposes, I am ignoring volatility).

The other Greek letter we want to mention is Alpha (α). Alpha is the risk-adjusted return of active management for any investment. The goal of active management is through a combination of stock/sector selection, market timing, hedging, leverage, etc. is to beat the market. This can be described as generating Alpha.

To oversimplify: Alpha is a measure of out-performance over Beta.

Why bring this up today?

Over the past few months, I have been looking at an inordinate number of portfolios and 401(k) plans that have all done pretty poorly. I am not referring to any one quarter of even year, but rather, over the long haul. There is an inherent selection bias built into this group — well performing portfolios don’t have owners considering switching asset managers. But even accounting for that bias, a hefty increase in the sheer number of reviews leads me to wonder about just how widespread the under-performance is.

One of the things that has become so obvious to me over the past few years is how unsuccessful various players in the markets have been in their pursuit of Alpha. We know that 80% or so of mutual fund managers underperform their benchmarks each year. We have seen Morningstar studies that show of the remaining 20%, factor in fees, and that number drops to 1%.

The overall performance of the highest compensated group of managers, the 2%+20% Hedge Fund community, has been similarly awful, as they have underperformed for a decade or more.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on how brokers and security analysts are rotten to the core ---

Google shows what it’s like to use Project Glass in new video and expands preorders ---

Google Glass Part Two: Binocular Vision ---

"HelloSign: Sign Documents Directly From Gmail," by Adeline Koh, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 22, 2013 ---

"Tax Advice for the Second Obama Administration," by Paul L. Caron, SSRN, February 18, 2013 ---

Twenty-five of the nation’s leading tax academics, practitioners, journalists, and public intellectuals gathered in Malibu, California on the Friday before President Obama’s second inauguration to plead for tax reform. The papers published in this issue of the Pepperdine Law Review provide very different prescriptions for America’s tax ills. But there is a unanimous diagnosis that the country’s tax system is sick indeed. A re-elected president’s inauguration offers a particularly propitious moment to put politics aside and embark on a treatment plan. If our lawmakers are interested in healing our tax wounds, the ideas presented in these pages offer a good place to begin. They run the gamut from relatively minor procedures to total transplantation. But all would improve the health of our current tax system.

Bob Jensen's tax helpers are at

Why don't they grant an Oscar to the state with the biggest tax breaks for Hollywood film makers?

. . .

Actually, nowadays an Eva Longoria who flipped burgers would probably qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and get a check from the government rather than pay taxes. It's the movie set where she works these days that may well be getting the tax break.

With campaign season over, you're not likely to hear stars bringing up taxes at this weekend's Academy Awards show. But the tax man ought to come out and take a bow anyway. Of the nine "Best Picture" nominees in 2012, for example, five were filmed on location in states where the production company received financial incentives. ...

Such state incentives are widespread, and often substantial, but they don't do much to attract jobs. About $1.5 billion in tax credits and exemptions, grants, waived fees and other financial inducements went to the film industry in 2010, according to data analyzed by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities [State Film Subsidies: Not Much Bang For Too Many Bucks]. Politicians like to offer this largess because they get photo-ops with celebrities, but the economic payoff is minuscule. George Mason University's Adam Thierer has called this "a growing cronyism fiasco" and noted that the number of states involved skyrocketed to 45 in 2009 from five in 2002.

Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws ---

How many recent fraudsters were just horsing around?

Nothing can probably top horse breeder Rita Grundwell in Dixon Illionois
"Rita Crundwell, Ill. financial officer (Dixon, Illinois horse enthusiast) who allegedly stole $53 million, sentenced to 19.5 years in prison," by Casey Glynn, CBS News, February 14, 2013 ---

Now we have a former hot tempered NFL heavy hitter covered with Tax Court horse manure. Some of the players he hurt violently probably think this is sweet-smelling justice.

"Former NFL Tough Guy Bill Romanowski Gets Laid Out By Tax Court," by Tony Nitti, Forbes, February 20, 2013 --- Click Here

During his 16-year NFL career, former 49ers/Eagles/Broncos/Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski was no stranger to controversy. Whether he was breaking QB Kerry Collins’ jaw in a preseason game, spitting in the face of opposing wide receiver J.J. Stokes, or ending the career of a teammate with a punch to the eye during a training camp scuffle.

Romanowski had a habit of making news for all the wrong reasons; his propensity for poor decisions often overshadowing his consistently solid play.

It would appear Romanowski’s decision-making didn’t improve with retirement, because earlier today it was revealed that immediately after Romanowski stopped playing on Sundays, he got caught up in a tax shelter. As a result, the Tax Court denied $13 million worth of losses taken on the Romanowskis’ 2003 tax return from a purported horse-breeding business, holding the footballer liable for approximately $4.6 million in additional tax.

In 2003, Romanowski got hooked up with a Denver attorney who immediate began singing the praises of ClassicStar, a horse-breeding business. In short, the program involved leasing mares owned by ClassicStar, which in turn would provide boarding and care for the mares and breed the mares to stallions. Any foals produced from the breeding would belong to the Romanowskis.

In October 2003, an accountant of ClassicStar worked up an “NOL illustration,” indicating that in order to offset their taxable income from 1998 through 2002, the Romanowskis would need to generate a loss of $13,092,732 from their horse-breeding activity. Thus, it was decided that the Romanowskis would invest that amount in the program to produce foals.  (As an aside, let it be noted that basing an investment on the amount of loss necessary to wipe out previous tax liabilities, rather than a motivation for profits, will never be viewed favorably by the IRS.)

Soon after joining the program, things began to turn sour for the Romanowskis, and they were partly to blame. When they signed the mare lease agreement, the Romanowskis  had not negotiated or seen a list of the horse pairings they would receive for their breeding program. Rather, they relied on ClassicStar to pick the horse pairings they would receive.

This reliance on ClassicStar was clearly misplaced, because despite the fact that the Romanowskis were promised 68 pairings of thoroughbreds, the horses actually received were more Mr. Ed than Secretariat. In fact, only four of the 68 listed pairings were thoroughbred horses; the remaining pairings were quarter horses.

Even though over 90% of the horses on the schedule were not delivered as promised, the Romanowskis chose to continue with the program, explaining to the court that they had reached an oral agreement from ClassicStar under which it would substitute an unknown number of thoroughbred pairings in for the listed quarter horse pairings.

The Romanowskis received an income and expense summary for 2003 from ClassicStar which showed no income and total expenses of $13,092,732. The resulting loss offset their 2003 income, and net operating losses were carried back to 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002, resulting in a federal tax refund of nearly $4 million.

The IRS denied the loss in full, arguing that the Romanowskis’ horse-breeding activity was not entered into for profit and was thus governed by the hobby-loss rules of Section 183.

As a reminder, if an activity constitutes a for-profit trade or business, expenses may generally be deducted in full under Section 162. To the contrary, if an activity is not entered into for profit, it is a hobby, and expenses can only be deducted to the extent of any income generated by the activity.

To help taxpayers and the IRS decide if an activity is entered into for profit or a hobby, the regulations under Section 183 (the so-called ”hobby loss rules”), provide  nine factors, which if answered in the affirmative, are indicative of a for-profit business.

1. The manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity. Does he complete accurate books? Were records used to improve performance?

2. The expertise of the taxpayer or his advisers. Did the taxpayer study the activities business practices? Did he consult with experts?

3. The time and effort expended by the taxpayer in carrying on the activity. Does he devote much of his personal time and effort?

4. The expectation that the assets used in the activity may appreciate in value. Is the plan to generate profits through asset appreciation?

5. The success of the taxpayer in carrying on similar or dissimilar activities. Has he converted other activities from unprofitable to profitable?

6. The taxpayer’s history of income or losses with respect to the activity.  Has the taxpayer become profitable in a reasonable amount of time?

7. The amount of occasional profits. Even a single year of profits can be a strong indication that an activity is not a hobby.

8. The financial status of the taxpayer. Does the taxpayer have other income sources that are being offset by the losses of the activity?

9.  Does the activity lack elements of personal pleasure or recreation? If the activity has large personal elements it is indicative of a hobby.

In Romanowski, the Tax Court analyzed these factors and overwhelmingly concluded that the Romanowskis did not enter into the breeding arrangement with ClassicStar with the intent to make a profit. They Romanowskis kept no records; rather, they relied on ClassicStar to do everything. They neglected to fight for their bargained-for number of thoroughbreds, a clear indication, in the court’s eyes, that they were not carrying on the activity in a businesslike manner.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

"Will You Have to Pay Capital Gains Taxes on the Sale of Your Home?" by Carrie Schwab Pomerantz, Townhall, February 21, 2013 --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's tax helpers are at

Have you checked out the new Yahoo home page?

On February 20, 2013, Yahoo introduced a fresh new home page as CEO Marissa Mayer's takes Yahoo in a badly needed new direction --- 

What has been the percentage of tuition increase at AACSB schools since 2007-2008?
How much will a Stanford University versus Harvard University MBA diploma cost?

"Stanford Increases MBA Tuition," by Louis Lavelle, Bloomberg Business Week, February 13, 2013 ---

. . .

The Stanford University Board of Trustees on Feb. 11 approved a 3.9 percent tuition increase for MBA students attending the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The annual cost will rise from $57,300 to $59,534 for the incoming class in 2013-14. Current MBA students will continue to pay $57,300 under a policy allowing students to pay the same tuition rate for each of their two years of study.

With the increase, the total cost of Stanford’s two-year MBA program will near at least $200,000. For a single student living on campus, the total will be $185,530 including housing and other living expenses, books, transportation, and insurance. For a student living off campus with a spouse or partner, the same list of expenses will total $221,290. A required study trip can cost up to $4,000 more.

Madhav Rajan, a senior associate dean who heads the Stanford MBA program, noted that the cost of a Stanford MBA is partially offset by grants. “The average scholarship (free money not loans) to entering MBAs this year was $25,562 and 50 percent of students got some amount of money,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “For what it is worth, we think that’s relevant in this context.”

At Harvard Business School, current tuition is $53,500 per year, putting the total cost of a Harvard MBA at $174,400 for a single student. Tuition and fees at Wharton total $62,034, with total costs for the two-year program of $184,000.

Stanford is hardly alone is raising tuition. A recent study by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business found that MBA tuition and fees at AACSB-accredited business schools in North America and Asia-Pacific have risen by 33 percent since 2007-08, with more modest increases reported in Europe and Latin America.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
This is a better deal if you live on one raw potato a day and sleep under the stars on "The Farm." You would not want to be sleeping under the stars this time of year at Dartmouth, Yale, Harvard, or Wharton, especially Dartmouth early this morning.

Years ago when I was in Stanford's PhD program (fortunately on a free ride) one of my friends on campus was a brilliant physicist from France. He completed his examinations and dissertation in one year. His complaint before leaving was that before getting his diploma Stanford charged him for an additional two more years of tuition. Of course tuition was a pittance (something like $4,000 per year) in those years compared to the 21st Century.

Fortunately, my fellowship plus what I earned teaching a course in the Economics Department were sufficient for my room and board on campus. In those days Stanford had a big old house (called Manzanita Lodge) on campus that housed a few business students, including me. An added plus was that the old house was in the shadows of the dorms for women.

I was not as brilliant as my French friend and stayed at Stanford over five years. Those were the days my friend!

RAND Corporation: Measuring Teacher Effectiveness ---

Explore the Measuring Teacher Effectiveness Fact Sheet Series Teachers Matter: Understanding Teachers' Impact on Student Achievement

Research suggests that, among school-related factors, teachers matter most when it comes to a student's academic performance. Nonschool factors do influence student achievement, but effective teaching has the potential to help level the playing field.

Multiple Choices: Options for Measuring Teaching Effectiveness

Teaching is a complex activity that should be measured with multiple methods. Some examine teachers' practices directly, while others emphasize student outcomes. Each method has trade-offs, and no single method provides a complete picture of a teacher's effectiveness.

Tests and the Teacher: What Student Achievement Tests Do—and Don't—Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness

In addition to helping students learn reading and math, we also trust teachers to teach students to think, reason, and work cooperatively with one another. Students' scores on achievement tests tell us something—but by no means everything—about how well teachers are meeting these expectations.

Value-Added Modeling 101: Using Student Test Scores to Help Measure Teaching Effectiveness

Value-added models, or VAMs, attempt to measure a teacher's impact on student achievement apart from other factors, such as individual ability, family environment, past schooling, and the influence of peers. Value-added estimates enable relative judgments but are not absolute indicators of effectiveness.

Student Growth Percentiles 101: Using Relative Ranks in Student Test Scores to Help Measure Teaching Effectiveness

Student growth percentiles, or SGPs, provide a simple way of comparing the improvement of one teacher's students at the end of the year with the improvement of other students who started the year at the same level.

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment ---

National Security Agency:  Academia --- http://www.nsa.gov/academia/index.shtml

National Security Agency: High School Concept Development Units ---

Bob Jensen's threads on careers ---

"KRUGMAN: Sweden Has The Answers To Our Taxation Problems," by Kamelia Angelova, Business Insider, February 12, 2013 ---

The above link is a video of Paul Krugman being interviewed. He seems to be holding an earlier Sweden as having some type of taxation and welfare spending program that's an ideal without mentioning that the current Sweden and other Nordic nations are  trying to change all that by:

Either Professor Krugman is ignorant of the changes taking place in Sweden (which I doubt) or he's selectively trying to mislead his audience. He should be more careful in selectively choosing examples he promotes as ideals. This is not, in my viewpoint, the type of selectivity we want in our Academy.


Special Report in The Economist magazine that the liberal television stations and newspapers are keeping secret
"Northern lights:  The Nordic countries are reinventing their model of capitalism," by Adrian Wooldridge, The Economist, February 2, 2013, pp. 1-6 ---

THIRTY YEARS AGO Margaret Thatcher turned Britain into the world’s leading centre of “thinking the unthinkable”. Today that distinction has passed to Sweden. The streets of Stockholm are awash with the blood of sacred cows. The think-tanks are brimful of new ideas. The erstwhile champion of the “third way” is now pursuing a far more interesting brand of politics.

Sweden has reduced public spending as a proportion of GDP from 67% in 1993 to 49% today. It could soon have a smaller state than Britain. It has also cut the top marginal tax rate by 27 percentage points since 1983, to 57%, and scrapped a mare’s nest of taxes on property, gifts, wealth and inheritance. This year it is cutting the corporate-tax rate from 26.3% to 22%.

Sweden has also donned the golden straitjacket of fiscal orthodoxy with its pledge to produce a fiscal surplus over the economic cycle. Its public debt fell from 70% of GDP in 1993 to 37% in 2010, and its budget moved from an 11% deficit to a surplus of 0.3% over the same period. This allowed a country with a small, open economy to recover quickly from the financial storm of 2007-08. Sweden has also put its pension system on a sound foundation, replacing a defined-benefit system with a defined-contribution one and making automatic adjustments for longer life expectancy.

Most daringly, it has introduced a universal system of school vouchers and invited private schools to compete with public ones. Private companies also vie with each other to provide state-funded health services and care for the elderly. Anders Aslund, a Swedish economist who lives in America, hopes that Sweden is pioneering “a new conservative model”; Brian Palmer, an American anthropologist who lives in Sweden, worries that it is turning into “the United States of Swedeamerica”.

There can be no doubt that Sweden’s quiet revolution has brought about a dramatic change in its economic performance. The two decades from 1970 were a period of decline: the country was demoted from being the world’s fourth-richest in 1970 to 14th-richest in 1993, when the average Swede was poorer than the average Briton or Italian. The two decades from 1990 were a period of recovery: GDP growth between 1993 and 2010 averaged 2.7% a year and productivity 2.1% a year, compared with 1.9% and 1% respectively for the main 15 EU countries.

For most of the 20th century Sweden prided itself on offering what Marquis Childs called, in his 1936 book of that title, a “Middle Way” between capitalism and socialism. Global companies such as Volvo and Ericsson generated wealth while enlightened bureaucrats built the Folkhemmet or “People’s Home”. As the decades rolled by, the middle way veered left. The government kept growing: public spending as a share of GDP nearly doubled from 1960 to 1980 and peaked at 67% in 1993. Taxes kept rising. The Social Democrats (who ruled Sweden for 44 uninterrupted years from 1932 to 1976 and for 21 out of the 24 years from 1982 to 2006) kept squeezing business. “The era of neo-capitalism is drawing to an end,” said Olof Palme, the party’s leader, in 1974. “It is some kind of socialism that is the key to the future.”

The other Nordic countries have been moving in the same direction, if more slowly. Denmark has one of the most liberal labour markets in Europe. It also allows parents to send children to private schools at public expense and make up the difference in cost with their own money. Finland is harnessing the skills of venture capitalists and angel investors to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. Oil-rich Norway is a partial exception to this pattern, but even there the government is preparing for its post-oil future.

This is not to say that the Nordics are shredding their old model. They continue to pride themselves on the generosity of their welfare states. About 30% of their labour force works in the public sector, twice the average in the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation, a rich-country think-tank. They continue to believe in combining open economies with public investment in human capital. But the new Nordic model begins with the individual rather than the state. It begins with fiscal responsibility rather than pump-priming: all four Nordic countries have AAA ratings and debt loads significantly below the euro-zone average. It begins with choice and competition rather than paternalism and planning. The economic-freedom index of the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think-tank, shows Sweden and Finland catching up with the United States (see chart). The leftward lurch has been reversed: rather than extending the state into the market, the Nordics are extending the market into the state.

Why are the Nordic countries doing this? The obvious answer is that they have reached the limits of big government. “The welfare state we have is excellent in most ways,” says Gunnar Viby Mogensen, a Danish historian. “We only have this little problem. We can’t afford it.” The economic storms that shook all the Nordic countries in the early 1990s provided a foretaste of what would happen if they failed to get their affairs in order.

There are two less obvious reasons. The old Nordic model depended on the ability of a cadre of big companies to generate enough money to support the state, but these companies are being slimmed by global competition. The old model also depended on people’s willingness to accept direction from above, but Nordic populations are becoming more demanding.

Small is powerful

The Nordic countries have a collective population of only 26m. Finland is the only one of them that is a member of both the European Union and the euro area. Sweden is in the EU but outside the euro and has a freely floating currency. Denmark, too, is in the EU and outside the euro area but pegs its currency to the euro. Norway has remained outside the EU.

But there are compelling reasons for paying attention to these small countries on the edge of Europe. The first is that they have reached the future first. They are grappling with problems that other countries too will have to deal with in due course, such as what to do when you reach the limits of big government and how to organise society when almost all women work. And the Nordics are coming up with highly innovative solutions that reject the tired orthodoxies of left and right.

The second reason to pay attention is that the new Nordic model is proving strikingly successful. The Nordics dominate indices of competitiveness as well as of well-being. Their high scores in both types of league table mark a big change since the 1980s when welfare took precedence over competitiveness.

The Nordics do particularly well in two areas where competitiveness and welfare can reinforce each other most powerfully: innovation and social inclusion. BCG, as the Boston Consulting Group calls itself, gives all of them high scores on its e-intensity index, which measures the internet’s impact on business and society. Booz & Company, another consultancy, points out that big companies often test-market new products on Nordic consumers because of their willingness to try new things. The Nordic countries led the world in introducing the mobile network in the 1980s and the GSM standard in the 1990s. Today they are ahead in the transition to both e-government and the cashless economy. Locals boast that they pay their taxes by SMS. This correspondent gave up changing sterling into local currencies because everything from taxi rides to cups of coffee can be paid for by card.

The Nordics also have a strong record of drawing on the talents of their entire populations, with the possible exception of their immigrants. They have the world’s highest rates of social mobility: in a comparison of social mobility in eight advanced countries by Jo Blanden, Paul Gregg and Stephen Machin, of the London School of Economics, they occupied the first four places. America and Britain came last. The Nordics also have exceptionally high rates of female labour-force participation: in Denmark not far off as many women go out to work (72%) as men (79%).

Flies in the ointment

This special report will examine the way the Nordic governments are updating their version of capitalism to deal with a more difficult world. It will note that in doing so they have unleashed a huge amount of creativity and become world leaders in reform. Nordic entrepreneurs are feeling their oats in a way not seen since the early 20th century. Nordic writers and artists—and indeed Nordic chefs and game designers—are enjoying a creative renaissance.

The report will also add caveats. The growing diversity of Nordic societies is generating social tensions, most horrifically in Norway, where Anders Breivik killed 77 people in a racially motivated attack in 2011, but also on a more mundane level every day. Sweden is finding it particularly hard to integrate its large population of refugees.

The Nordic model is still a work in progress. The three forces that have obliged the Nordic countries to revamp it—limited resources, rampant globalisation and growing diversity—are gathering momentum

Continued in article

Note that on Page 5 there's also a section entitled "More for Less" devoted to Welfare Capitalism.

Jensen Comment
It appears that among the Nordics only Norway will continue to afford socialism, but this is because oil-rich Norway is a leading OPEC nation less concerned with the need for private sector growth.

There are of course serious obstacles to applying the new Nordic capitalism to the USA. Firstly, the USA is not bound by the Arctic Ocean on the north and the North Sea on the south that greatly discourages illegal immigration and narcotics. Secondly, the Nordic countries have difficult languages that are not studied to a significant degree in other nations. For example, I'm told that if you weren't raised in Finland you can never understand the language. Thirdly, there's no existing infrastructure to absorb and aid illegal immigrants in Scandinavia. Scandinavians like my grandparents, Ole, Sven, and Lena emigrated from these hard and cold countries rather than immigrating to these lands.

Scandinavians have avoided the crippling costs of building up powerful military forces and have not tried to become the police force of the world.

Scandinavians also avoided the horrors in importing millions of slaves and the centuries of social costs and degradations that followed. Nor did they have to go to war, to a serious degree, with indigenous peoples to take over the land by trickery and force.

"The Nordic model for unemployment insurance," Sober Look, January 11, 2013 ---

February 13, 2013 reply from David Johnstone

Dear Bob, even if tax rates in Sweden have come down, the top marginal rates are still very high in Sweden relative to where they are now in the US (and once were in the US) and surely that makes a very big difference to taxes collected, socially and in other ways. I just watched a program on TV here, showing how previously comfortably albeit not extremely well-off off families in the US were living in cars and barely feeding/clothing/warming themselves, and I must say that this, like the frequency of gun ownership, seems like another planet and species to life in Australia. I have not tried to think it through, or read all the arguments, but it seems to me that people who want to get rich and create businesses and wealth will still have that drive even if at the top end they pay higher tax rates (as they used to in the US). Once these rates are set much lower and spoilt people get used to them and “believe” they are “right”, then it is very hard behaviourally to go back. Similarly with letting people own guns galore.

February 14, 2013 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

It was Krugman's comparisons of the U.S. and Swedish tax rates that started this thread.

In reality it is very hard to compare many macroeconomic measures between nations because they often are not very comparable. Sweden's marginal tax rates are still relatively high because they include paying for nationalized health care and education, including college education. If we had the cost of our health care and education added to the U.S. tax revenues we would be closer to comparability. But there are other enormous problems. In the U.S. we must also add in state taxation to the Federal tax rates to make them more comparable to Sweden. In California, for example, the marginal Federal and State rates before health care costs to 50%,

At the same time, the U.S. tax rates are not comparable with Sweden because of all the tax preferences we build into the system such as tax exemptions of municipal bond interest and deductions medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of AGI, state taxes. mortgage interest, casualty losses, etc. These days there are also enormous credits reducing payments such as the earned income credit, energy credits, etc.

But if economists like Krugman still want to make these international tax rate comparisons in public interviews, I think that it is also important to discuss trends in those tax rates. The tax rates in Nordic countries have been coming down rather dramatically over the decades, and it's important to point this fact out and to examine the reasons why Nordic countries are reducing the size of their governments in favor o building up their private sectors.

Of course there are many other international measures that are not comparable such as unemployment rates, poverty rates (e.g., Gini coefficients), infant mortality, etc.

Even within a nation, statistics are often not comparable over time. For example, inflation rates in the USA used to factor in price changes in food and fuel. Now to make inflation look less severe, the U.S. government no longer includes fuel and food price changes in inflation rates. Dah!

Bob Jensen


Bob Jensen's comparisons of the American versus Denmark dreams ---

Bob Jensen's threads on why Vermont is trying to increase its unemployment rate ---

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

MOCCs --- http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/stratedgy/moocs-moccs

"MOOCs, MOCCs, and HarvardX," by Margaret Andrews, Inside Higher Ed, February 14, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs, EdX, MITx, and HarvardX ---

"How EdX Plans to Earn, and Share, Revenue From Its Free Online Courses," by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 21, 2013 ---

How can a nonprofit organization that gives away courses bring in enough revenue to at least cover its costs?

That's the dilemma facing edX, a project led by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that is bringing in a growing number of high-profile university partners to offer massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

Two other major providers of MOOCs, Coursera and Udacity, are for-profit companies. While edX has cast itself as the more contemplative, academically oriented player in the field, it remains under pressure to generate revenue.

"Even though we are a nonprofit, we have to become self-sustaining," said Anant Agarwal, president of edX. And developing MOOCs, especially ones that aspire to emulate the quality and rigor of traditional courses at top universities, is expensive. Harvard and MIT made an initial investment of $30-million each last year to start the edX effort.

Legal documents, obtained by The Chronicle from edX, shed some light on how edX plans to make money and compensate its university partners.

According to Mr. Agarwal, edX offers its university affiliates a choice of two partnership models. Both models give universities the opportunity to make money from their edX MOOCs—but only after edX gets paid.

The first, called the "university self-service model," essentially allows a participating university to use edX's platform as a free learning-management system for a course on the condition that part of any revenue generated by the course flow to edX.

The courses developed under that model will be created by "individual faculty members without course-production assistance from edX," and will be branded separately in the edX catalog as "edge" courses until they pass a quality-review process, according to a standard agreement provided to The Chronicle by edX.

Once a self-service course goes live on the edX Web site, edX will collect the first $50,000 generated by the course, or $10,000 for each recurring course. The organization and the university partner will each get 50 percent of all revenue beyond that threshold.

The second model, called the "edX-supported model," casts the organization in the role of consultant and design partner, offering "production assistance" to universities for their MOOCs. The organization charges a base rate of $250,000 for each new course, plus $50,000 for each time a course is offered for an additional term, according to the standard agreement.

Although the edX-supported model requires cash upfront, the potential returns for the university are high if a course ends up making money. As with the self-service model, edX lays claim to the first $50,000 of revenue for a new course, or $10,000 for a recurring one. But after that, the university gets 70 percent of any additional revenue.

The university partners can choose which model they want to use on a course-by-course basis, and every 12 months they have the opportunity to switch from one to the other. "If it's more in the university's interest to switch models, then edX will recommend that they do that," said Mr. Agarwal.

Both edX models offer higher shares to universities than agreements with Coursera do, but only once edX has collected its minimum payment. Coursera offers universities 6 percent to 15 percent of the gross revenue generated by each of their MOOCs on its platform, as well as 20 percent of the profits generated by the "aggregate set of courses provided by the university."

There is no minimum payment to Coursera—meaning universities are guaranteed a cut of any revenue for their MOOCs on Coursera, even if the company offers a smaller piece of the pie than edX does.

Revenue Still a Puzzle

The details of edX's financial arrangements do not answer the crucial question of how the MOOCs will make money in the first place—and, in edX's case, whether courses that do make money will make enough that universities will see a cut.

The organization is still "in start-up mode," said Mr. Agarwal. "We don't quite know what the key source of revenue will be."

Potential moneymaking strategies include deals with outside companies—such as publishers that are looking to sell their products to the many students who register for MOOCs, or employers looking to recruit the most impressive students.

"EdX will be entitled to all net profits from agreements with third parties not directly related to College/UniversityX courses," the standard agreement stipulates, "including, for example, book sales on the site, proctoring services, and any sitewide employee-recruiting services."

That is another key difference separating edX from Coursera, which counts those third-party deals as part of the revenue generated by the courses. Daphne Koller, one of Coursera's founders, said that all profits associated with a course on that platform "are shared back with the university that provided the course."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs, EdX, MITx, and HarvardX ---

"10 Top Education Companies of 2013," Center for Digital Education, February 14, 2013 ---

Fast Company issues its annual list of the most innovative companies in education. The 2013 list includes nine companies and one community college.

In its annual list of top companies, the magazine broke down the organizations that have the most impact on education. Not surprisingly, the top three slots were filled by online course providers that partner with universities. They earned their spots for disrupting traditional university course delivery methods by offering classes at no charge to students.

1. Coursera

2. Udacity

3. EdX

4. Rio Salado Community College

5. Amplify

6. GameDesk

7. Duolingo

8. InsideTrack

9. FunDza

10. ClassDojo

But while the list includes the word company, not every organization included is a company. For example, Rio Salado Community College in Arizona came in fourth.

Rio Salado designed a custom course management and student services system that helps students stay on track with their education. Through predictive analytics, the college shows professors which students could be at risk of dropping out and need more attention. It also alerts professors when a student doesn't show up to class regularly or skips an assignment. The system allows educators to recognize at-risk students early and take action to help them.

For more information about what these companies did to be on the list, check out Fast Company's story.

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at

An accounting professor's commentary in the Chronicle of Higher Education
Is it random coincidence that he wrote about the Governor of California and Nuts in separate articles on the same day?

"A Governor's Attack on Academic Freedom," by Steven Mintz (the Ethics Sage), Chronicle of Higher Education, February 18, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies ---

"Accounting for Nuts (Literally): Diamond Foods Fraud Illustrates the Danger of overly-optimistic Earnings Projections," by Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, February 18, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on Diamond Foods (including a teaching case) ---
Search on the phrase "Diamond Foods"

"Highest & Cheapest Gas Prices by Country," by Tom Randall, Bloomberg, February 13, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Must be frustrating in Norway to shell out $9.83 per gallon in one of the world's richest OPEN oil supplying nations. But then again everything that's not free from the government is priced sky high in Norway. Tourists to this land of my ancestors experience unbelievable sticker shock.

How did the jargonistic same -- used as a pronoun -- cause a crisis of presidential succession? ---

Don't equate pauses in sentences to place marks for commas
"Where Do I Use Commas?" by Mignon Fogerty, Grammar Girl, February 15, 2013 ---

"Ex Post Facto,"  by Michael W. Flynn, Legal Lad, February 16, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers ---

"Order to the Chaos of Life: Isabel Allende on Writing,"  by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, February 18, 2013 ---

Literary history is ripe with eloquent attempts to answer the ever-elusive question of why writers write. For George Orwell, it resulted from four universal motives. Joan Didion saw it as precious access to her own mind. For David Foster Wallace, it was about fun. Joy Williams found in it a gateway from the darkness to the light. For Charles Bukowski, it sprang from the soul like a rocket. In Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do (public library), which also gave us Mary Karr’s poignant answer, celebrated Chilean American author Isabel Allende offers one of the most poetic yet practical responses to the grand question.

Continued in article

Also see "Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses: 18 Rants by Mark Twain" ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers ---

Inside the Psychologist's Studio Videos (interviews with prominent psychologists) ---

"What Are Binary Numbers? Part 2," by Jason Marshall, The Math Dude, February 15, 2013 ---

Growing the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education (Babson College Survey) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs, EdX, and MITx ---

Labor Force Participation Rate --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_force_participation_rate

Declines in labor participation rates are more important than increases in unemployment rates
"Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate (CIVPART)," Economic Research from the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis, February 1, 2013 ---

"The missing $20 trillion How to stop companies and people dodging tax, in Delaware as well as Grand Cayman," The Economist, February 16-20, 2013, Page 13 ---

. . .

Dodgy of Delaware

The archetypal tax haven may be a palm-fringed island, but as our special report this week makes clear, there is nothing small about offshore finance. If you define a tax haven as a place that tries to attract non-resident funds by offering light regulation, low (or zero) taxation and secrecy, then the world has 50-60 such havens. These serve as domiciles for more than 2m companies and thousands of banks, funds and insurers. Nobody really knows how much money is stashed away: estimates vary from way below to way above $20 trillion.

Not all these havens are in sunny climes; indeed not all are technically offshore. Mr Obama likes to cite Ugland House, a building in the Cayman Islands that is officially home to 18,000 companies, as the epitome of a rigged system. But Ugland House is not a patch on Delaware (population 917,092), which is home to 945,000 companies, many of which are dodgy shells. Miami is a massive offshore banking centre, offering depositors from emerging markets the sort of protection from prying eyes that their home countries can no longer get away with. The City of London, which pioneered offshore currency trading in the 1950s, still specialises in helping non-residents get around the rules. British shell companies and limited-liability partnerships regularly crop up in criminal cases. London is no better than the Cayman Islands when it comes to controls against money laundering. Other European Union countries are global hubs for a different sort of tax avoidance: companies divert profits to brass-plate subsidiaries in low-tax Luxembourg, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Reform should thus focus on rich-world financial centres as well as Caribbean islands, and should distinguish between illegal activities (laundering and outright tax evasion) and legal ones (fancy accounting to avoid tax). The best weapon against illegal activities is transparency, which boils down to collecting more information and sharing it better. Thanks in large part to America’s FATCA, small offshore centres are handing over more data to their clients’ home countries—while America remains shamefully reluctant to share information with the Latin American countries whose citizens hold deposits in Miami. That must change. Everyone could do more to crack down on the use of nominee shareholders and directors to hide the provenance of money. And they should make sure that information about the true “beneficial” owners of companies is collected, kept up-to-date and made more readily available to investigators in cases of suspected wrongdoing. There are costs to openness, but they are outweighed by the benefits of shining light on the shady corners of finance.

Want more tax? Lower the tax rate

Transparency will also help curb the more aggressive forms of corporate tax avoidance. As Starbucks’s experience has shown, companies that shift money around to minimise their tax bills endanger their reputations. The more information consumers have about such dodges, the better.

Moral pressure is not the whole answer, though: consumers get bored with campaigns, and governments should not bash companies for trying to reduce their tax bills, if they do so legally. In the end, tax systems must be reformed. Governments need to make it harder for companies to use internal (“transfer”) pricing to avoid tax. Companies should be made to book activity where it actually takes place. Several federal economies, including America, already prevent companies from exploiting the differences between states’ rules. An international agreement along those lines is needed.

Governments also need to lower corporate tax rates. Tapping companies is inefficient: firms pass the burden on to others. Better to tax directly those who ultimately pay—whether owners of capital, workers or consumers. Nor do corporate taxes raise much money: barely more than 2% of GDP (8.5% of tax revenue) in America and 2.7% in Britain. Abolishing corporate tax would create its own problems, as it would encourage rich people to turn themselves into companies. But a lower rate on a broader base, combined with vigilance by the tax authorities, would be more efficient and would probably raise more revenue: America, whose companies face one of the rich world’s highest corporate-tax rates on their worldwide income, also has some of the most energetic tax-avoiders.

These reforms would not be easy. Governments that try to lower corporate tax rates will be accused of caving in to blackmailing capitalists. Financial centres and incorporation hubs, from the City of London to Delaware, will fight any attempt to tighten their rules. But if politicians really want to tax the missing $20 trillion, that’s where they should start.

OECD report highlights ugly increase in profit-shifting trend

"OECD wants corporate tax reform to receive international attention," by Sally P. Schreiber, CGMA Magazine, February 18, 2013 ---

As G20 finance ministers began meeting in Moscow on Friday, a study the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conducted at their request found that some multinational companies pay as little as 5% in corporate taxes whereas smaller businesses pay up to 30%. The study, Addressing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, called for more international cooperation to ensure that countries’ tax laws do not favour large enterprises over smaller ones and people. 

The corporate tax systems in many countries were originally designed to prevent corporations from being subject to double taxation, but now allow many multinational companies to escape taxation completely, the OECD reported. Part of the problem stems from outdated rules that do not adequately account for the value of intellectual property or new communications technology and do not deal with the increasingly global nature of many businesses.

The report also noted that tax laws in most countries are still based on an economic model characterised by fixed assets and less cross-border economic integration. The report examines how many large corporations shift profits to low- or no-tax jurisdictions and expenses to higher-tax countries. It does not discuss optimal tax rates, leaving those decisions to the taxing jurisdictions.

“As governments and their citizens are struggling to make ends meet, it is critical that all tax payers—private and corporate—pay their fair amount of taxes and trust the international tax system is transparent,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said in a prepared statement accompanying the report. And the OECD notes that multinationals have recently become more aggressive in pursuing these strategies to lower their overall taxes.

Continued in article

"White House Delivers New Open-Access Policy That Has Activists Cheering," by Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 22. 2013 ---

The Obama administration announced on Friday a major new policy aimed at increasing public access to federally financed research. The policy, delivered in a memorandum from John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, applies to federal agencies that spend more than $100-million a year to support research and development.

In the memo, Mr. Holdren directed those agencies to develop "clear and coordinated policies" to make the results of research they support publicly available within a year of publication. The new policy also requires scientific data from unclassified, federally supported research to be made available to the public "to search, retrieve, and analyze." Affected agencies have six months to decide how to carry out the policy.

The White House's announcement emphasized the practical and economic benefits of sharing research. "Scientific research supported by the federal government catalyzes innovative breakthroughs that drive our economy," Mr. Holdren's memo stated. "The results of that research become the grist for new insights and are assets for progress in areas such as health, energy, the environment, agriculture, and national security."

The memo also nodded to scientific publishers, saying the Obama administration recognizes that publishers provide "valuable services," such as coordinating peer review, "that are essential for ensuring the high quality and integrity of many scholarly publications." The memo called it "critical that these services continue to be made available."

In a statement issued on Friday, the Association of American Publishers praised the new policy, which it said "outlines a reasonable, balanced resolution of issues around public access to research funded by federal agencies."

Tom Allen, the group's president and chief executive officer, said that, "in stark contrast to angry rhetoric and unreasonable legislation offered by some," the Office of Science and Technology Policy had chosen "a fair path that would enhance access for the public" while recognizing "the critical role publishers play" in the process.

Mr. Allen cautioned, however, that the policy's success depended on "how the agencies use their flexibility to avoid negative impacts to the successful system of scholarly communication that advances science, technology, and innovation."

'New Business Models'

It was clear that a number of federal agencies already had preparations under way for how they would observe the new policy. For instance, the National Science Foundation immediately sent out a statement affirming its commitment to the principle of public access, saying it had already established a timetable for consultation and planning. It noted that the "implementation details" were likely to vary by discipline "and that new business models for universities, libraries, publishers, and scholarly and professional societies could emerge."

Friday's announcement capped a lengthy process of consultation with various stakeholders that sought public input on access to federally financed research and data. More than 65,000 people have signed a petition on the White House's We the People Web site calling for free online access to scientific-journal articles based on taxpayer-supported research.

In a separate statement, Mr. Holdren responded directly to the petitioners. "The Obama administration agrees that citizens deserve easy access to the results of research their tax dollars have paid for," he wrote. "Your petition has been important to our discussions of this issue."

Continued in article


Jensen Comment
Don't start searching for free issues of TAR, JAR, JAE, AOS, etc. The USA has almost never deemed accounting research worthy of government funding. We may like to think of accountics science as science, but the government does not agree.

In the old days, some business schools like the ones at Carnegie-Mellon and Stanford received military research grants that allowed a few business school researchers to milk the government tit, but I've not heard about any such grants in recent years. These grants were sometimes in the areas of operations research where assorted accounting professors had some expertise.

There are government grants in health care that some accounting researchers, especially in the Harvard Business School, have participated in teams of researchers. I suspect they are continuing to do so.

At the University of Denver, my good friend and accounting professor Jim Sorensen received a number of government research grants over the years, some of which I think were human services costing research grants ---
In various ways Jim shows accounting researchers that they don't get government research grants because they don't know how to go about getting government grants --- and they don't try. Jim has always had a low-key knack for nosing out government and other funding for research. He's always been willing to try.

Years ago Jim Sorensen, Bob Swieringa, John Simmons, Bob Jensen, and Keith Shwayder were together in the DU's MBA program. Two went on for PhD degrees at Ohio State and three received PhD degrees from Stanford. Only Keith additionally ended up in prison ---

Bob Jensen's threads on how Commercial Scholarly and Academic Journals and Oligopoly Textbook Publishers Are Ripping Off Libraries, Scholars, and Students ---

The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.
Clarence Darrow --- Click Here  


Why white collar crime pays for Chief Financial Officer: 
Andy Fastow's fine for filing false Enron financial statements:  $30,000,000
Andy Fastow's stock sales benefiting from the false reports:     $33,675,004
Andy Fastow's estimated looting of Enron cash:                          $60,000,000
That averages out to winnings, after his court fines, of $10,612,500 per year for each of the six years he spent in prison.
You can read what others got at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#StockSales 
Nice work if you can get it:  Club Fed's not so bad if you earn $29,075 per day plus all the accrued interest over the past 15 years.


The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.
Clarence Darrow --- Click Here  

"CEO in fraud case needs more than seven days prison: court," by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters, February 15, 2013 ---

A former chief executive who pleaded guilty to wrongdoing in a scheme that ultimately helped drive his company into bankruptcy could have been sent to prison for 10 years. The trial judge thought seven days was fair.

Not long enough, a federal appeals court said on Friday.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Michael Peppel, the former chief executive of the audio-visual technology company MCSi Inc, must be resentenced for his 2010 guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, false certification of a financial report, and money laundering.

U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith in Cincinnati abused her discretion in sentencing Peppel to an "unreasonably low" week behind bars based almost solely on her belief that the defendant was "a remarkably good man," the appeals court said.

Prosecutors had charged Peppel in December 2006 over an alleged fraud they said had begun six years earlier, amid financial difficulties at his publicly traded, Dayton, Ohio-based company.

Peppel was accused of working with his chief financial officer to inflate results through sham transactions with a firm called Mercatum Ltd, and companies such as FedEx Corp (FDX.N) that were not implicated in wrongdoing. Prosecutors said he also sold $6.8 million of MCSi stock during this time.

By the end of 2003, MSCI was bankrupt, and a reported 1,300 people had lost their jobs.

Citing the need to punish Peppel and deter others, the government asked Beckwith at his October 2011 sentencing to impose a 97- to 121-month prison term. This was the length recommended, but not required, under federal guidelines.

But the judge said the five years since the indictment had been "punishing, literally and figuratively" for Peppel, who had begun working for an online pharmacy to support his five children. He also had a brother with multiple sclerosis.

"Michael's mistakes do not define him," Beckwith said. "I see it to be wasteful for the government to spend taxpayers' money to incarcerate someone that has the ability to create so much for this country and economy."

She also imposed a $5 million fine and the maximum three years of supervised release.

Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore, however, wrote for a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel that Beckwith was wrong to rely on "unremarkable aspects" of Peppel's life in imposing a "99.9975% reduction" to the recommended prison term.

"There is nothing to indicate that the support provided by Peppel to his family, friends, business associates, and community is in any way unique or more substantial than any other defendant who faces a custodial sentence," Moore wrote.

Beckwith was not immediately available for comment.

Ralph Kohnen, a lawyer for Peppel, on Friday said: "We expect that the judge will exercise the same common sense and fairness in imposing a similar sentence on remand."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on how White Collar Crime Pays Even if You Know You're Going to Get Caught ---

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

"Alexander Graham Bell on Originality, Plagiarism, Language, and Education," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, February 15, 2013

"Our most original compositions are composed exclusively of expressions derived from others."

When Helen Keller was accused of plagiarism after the publication of her autobiography, The Story of My Life (public library), Mark Twain sent her a note of solidarity and support, assuring her that "substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources." Shortly thereafter, Alexander Graham Bell – father of the telephone – wrote Annie Sullivan, Keller's teacher, a letter with a similar sentiment. Bell argued that it is "difficult for us to trace the origin of our expressions" and "we are all of us … unconscious plagiarists, especially in childhood" – a notion neurologist Oliver Sacks has affirmed more than a century later with his recent insights on memory and plagiarism, and one the poet Kenneth Goldsmith has institutionalized with his class on "uncreative writing."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I think in the case of students, most plagiarism investigations center around verbatim or nearly-verbatim passages without attribution. Sometimes, as in the case of dissertation research, focus may be placed upon suspected and non-cited earlier ideas and possibly mathematical proofs that are sometimes relatively easy to reformulate in slightly different ways.

The non-cited verbatim plagiarisms of other writers and composers of course are much more difficult to justify on ethical or legal grounds. So are the reformulated plagiarisms of ideas, although these are much more difficult to detect and prosecute in court.

"Plagiarism Is Not a Big Moral Deal," by Stanley Fish, The New York Times, August 9, 2010 ---

During my tenure as the dean of a college, I determined that an underperforming program should be closed. My wife asked me if I had ever set foot on the premises, and when I answered “no,” she said that I really should do that before wielding the axe.

And so I did, in the company of my senior associate dean. We toured the offices and spoke to students and staff. In the course of a conversation, one of the program’s co-directors pressed on me his latest book. I opened it to the concluding chapter, read the first two pages, and remarked to my associate dean, “This is really good.”

But on the way back to the administration building, I suddenly flashed on the pages I admired and began to suspect that the reason I liked them so much was that I had written them. And sure enough, when I got back to my office and pulled one of my books off the shelf, there the pages were, practically word for word. I telephoned the co-director, and told him that I had been looking at his book, and wanted to talk about it. He replied eagerly that he would come right over, but when he came in I pointed him to the two books — his and mine — set out next to each other with the relevant passages outlined by a marker.

He turned white and said that he and his co-author had divided the responsibilities for the book’s chapters and that he had not written (perhaps “written” should be in quotes) this one. I contacted the co-author and he wrote back to me something about graduate student researchers who had given him material that was not properly identified. I made a few half-hearted efforts to contact the book’s publisher, but I didn’t persist and I pretty much forgot about it, although the memory returns whenever I read yet another piece (like one that appeared recently in The Times) about the ubiquity of plagiarism, the failure of students to understand what it is, the suspicion that they know what it is but don’t care, and the outdatedness of notions like originality and single authorship on which the intelligibility of plagiarism as a concept depends.

Whenever it comes up plagiarism is a hot button topic and essays about it tend to be philosophically and morally inflated. But there are really only two points to make. (1) Plagiarism is a learned sin. (2) Plagiarism is not a philosophical issue.

Of course every sin is learned. Very young children do not distinguish between themselves and the world; they assume that everything belongs to them; only in time and through the conditioning of experience do they learn the distinction between mine and thine and so come to acquire the concept of stealing. The concept of plagiarism, however, is learned in more specialized contexts of practice entered into only by a few; it’s hard to get from the notion that you shouldn’t appropriate your neighbor’s car to the notion that you should not repeat his words without citing him.

The rule that you not use words that were first uttered or written by another without due attribution is less like the rule against stealing, which is at least culturally universal, than it is like the rules of golf. I choose golf because its rules are so much more severe and therefore so much odder than the rules of other sports. In baseball you can (and should) steal bases and hide the ball. In football you can (and should) fake a pass or throw your opponent to the ground. In basketball you will be praised for obstructing an opposing player’s view of the court by waving your hands in front of his face. In hockey … well let’s not go there. But in golf, if you so much as move the ball accidentally while breathing on it far away from anyone who might have seen what you did, you must immediately report yourself and incur the penalty. (Think of what would happen to the base-runner called safe at home-plate who said to the umpire, “Excuse me, sir, but although you missed it, I failed to touch third base.”)

Golf’s rules have been called arcane and it is not unusual to see play stopped while a P.G.A. official arrives with rule book in hand and pronounces in the manner of an I.R.S. official. Both fans and players are aware of how peculiar and “in-house” the rules are; knowledge of them is what links the members of a small community, and those outside the community (most people in the world) can be excused if they just don’t see what the fuss is about.

Plagiarism is like that; it’s an insider’s obsession. If you’re a professional journalist, or an academic historian, or a philosopher, or a social scientist or a scientist, the game you play for a living is underwritten by the assumed value of originality and failure properly to credit the work of others is a big and obvious no-no. But if you’re a musician or a novelist, the boundary lines are less clear (although there certainly are some) and if you’re a politician it may not occur to you, as it did not at one time to Joe Biden, that you’re doing anything wrong when you appropriate the speech of a revered statesman.

And if you’re a student, plagiarism will seem to be an annoying guild imposition without a persuasive rationale (who cares?); for students, learning the rules of plagiarism is worse than learning the irregular conjugations of a foreign language. It takes years, and while a knowledge of irregular verbs might conceivably come in handy if you travel, knowledge of what is and is not plagiarism in this or that professional practice is not something that will be of very much use to you unless you end up becoming a member of the profession yourself. It follows that students who never quite get the concept right are by and large not committing a crime; they are just failing to become acclimated to the conventions of the little insular world they have, often through no choice of their own, wandered into. It’s no big moral deal; which doesn’t mean, I hasten to add, that plagiarism shouldn’t be punished — if you’re in our house, you’ve got to play by our rules — just that what you’re punishing is a breach of disciplinary decorum, not a breach of the moral universe.

Now if plagiarism is an idea that makes sense only in the precincts of certain specialized practices and is not a normative philosophical notion, inquiries into its philosophical underpinnings are of no practical interest or import. In recent years there have been a number of assaults on the notion of originality, issuing from fields as diverse as literary theory, history, cultural studies, philosophy, anthropology, Internet studies. Single authorship, we have been told, is a recent invention of a bourgeois culture obsessed with individualism, individual rights and the myth of progress. All texts are palimpsests of earlier texts; there’s been nothing new under the sun since Plato and Aristotle and they weren’t new either; everything belongs to everybody. In earlier periods works of art were produced in workshops by teams; the master artisan may have signed them, but they were communal products. In some cultures, even contemporary ones, the imitation of standard models is valued more than work that sets out to be path-breaking. (This was one of the positions in the famous quarrel between the ancients and the moderns in England and France in the 17th and 18th centuries.)

Arguments like these (which I am reporting, not endorsing) have been so successful in academic circles that the very word “originality” often appears in quotation marks, and it has seemed to many that there is a direct path from this line of reasoning to the conclusion that plagiarism is an incoherent, even impossible, concept and that a writer or artist accused of plagiarism is being faulted for doing something that cannot be avoided. R.M. Howard makes the point succinctly “If there is no originality and no literary property, there is no basis for the notion of plagiarism” (“College English,” 1995).

That might be true or at least plausible if, in order to have a basis, plagiarism would have to stand on some philosophical ground. But the ground plagiarism stands on is more mundane and firm; it is the ground of disciplinary practices and of the histories that have conferred on those practices a strong, even undoubted (though revisable) sense of what kind of work can be appropriately done and what kind of behavior cannot be tolerated. If it is wrong to plagiarize in some context of practice, it is not because the idea of originality has been affirmed by deep philosophical reasoning, but because the ensemble of activities that take place in the practice would be unintelligible if the possibility of being original were not presupposed.

And if there should emerge a powerful philosophical argument saying there’s no such thing as originality, its emergence needn’t alter or even bother for a second a practice that can only get started if originality is assumed as a baseline. It may be (to offer another example), as I have argued elsewhere, that there’s no such thing as free speech, but if you want to have a free speech regime because you believe that it is essential to the maintenance of democracy, just forget what Stanley Fish said — after all it’s just a theoretical argument — and get down to it as lawyers and judges in fact do all the time without the benefit or hindrance of any metaphysical rap. Everyday disciplinary practices do not rest on a foundation of philosophy or theory; they rest on a foundation of themselves; no theory or philosophy can either prop them up or topple them. As long as the practice is ongoing and flourishing its conventions will command respect and allegiance and flouting them will have negative consequences.

This brings me back to the (true) story I began with. Whether there is something called originality or not, the two scholars who began their concluding chapter by reproducing two of my pages are professionally culpable. They took something from me without asking and without acknowledgment, and they profited — if only in the currency of academic reputation — from work that I had done and signed. That’s the bottom line and no fancy philosophical argument can erase it.

Jensen Comment
The really sad fact about professors who plagiarize or otherwise cheat is that their employers may be tougher on student plagiarists than on faculty plagiarists ---

"High-Profile Plagiarism Prompts Soul-Searching in German Universities," by Paul Hockenos, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 25, 2013 ---

Rarely do political scandal and academe collide so publicly as they have now, in Europe. In February, Germany's education minister stepped down after Heinrich Heine University, in Düsseldorf, revoked her doctorate because her thesis lifted passages from other sources without proper attribution.

Her departure came after scandals over plagiarized work took down a German defense minister, the president of Hungary, and a Romanian education minister. But it is the storied German university system, not politics, that has suffered the real body blows, say education experts.

The front-page news has shaken higher education in Germany, where, in addition to the two former federal ministers, several other national and local political figures have been accused of academic fraud. The incidents have left many wondering: Is there something rotten at the heart of German academe, the esteemed heir of Humboldt and Hegel?

For two centuries, the German university as envisioned by the 19th-century philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt has been the model for research institutions in Europe, the United States, and beyond. Humboldt's notions of academic freedom, the autonomy of the university, and placing scientific pursuit at the heart of higher education continue to carry weight today. But his legacy in Germany may be growing somewhat tarnished.

"The reputation of German universities is suffering, and it looks like it will suffer for some time to come," says Wolfgang E.J. Weber, director of the Institute for European Cultural History, in Augsburg, Germany, and author of a book on the history of the European university.

As a result of the scandals, he says, his historian colleagues from elsewhere in Europe no longer consider the German system to be the gold standard. Noting that the allegations of academic fraud have affected doctoral graduates in the humanities and liberal arts, Mr. Weber worries that if financing for disciplines in those areas suffers as a result, "the negative consequences could be long-term."

In Germany academic titles play a role in politics far greater than they do in the United States. Doctoral and other titles, sometimes as many as three or four, are prominently displayed on the business cards, door plaques, and letterheads of politicians. Some call it posturing—a modern-day "nobleman's title"—while others defend it as a meaningful distinction based on merit.

"In the German context, the academic title means more than just an expertise, say, in economics or law, that can be valuable to policy making or another field," says Thomas Rommel, rector of the European College of Liberal Arts of Bard, in Berlin, and author of a book about plagiarism in general. "It connotes personal achievement, an element of determination and grit to pursue a specialized topic for three years and see it through."

Whether one is impressed by the degree or not, the Ph.D. has become a facet of the German résumé that lures ambitious politicians and professionals who have no intention of entering academe. That has led to a proliferation of Ph.D.'s—roughly 25,000 a year awarded since 2000, more per capita than any other country in the world, according to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. By comparison, American universities award 50,000 doctorates a year, but in a country with a population four times as large as Germany's.

Germany's output of Ph.D. recipients probably won't slow down, but the plagiarism cases have shined a spotlight on academe's time-honored methods for supervising and awarding doctorates, especially to candidates who are not full-time academics.

"In theory," says Martin Spiewak, education editor at the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, "the professional with hands-on experience in a given field, like a politician, can through a dissertation bring something new into the world of scholarship that others can then profit from. It could be a unique, constructive link between the professional and the academic worlds."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Centuries ago Oxford was a collection of colleges rather than a university. When I lectured at Humboldt University in Berlin a few years ago, it was claimed that the idea of a university as opposed to a collection of colleges was conceived at Humboldt ---

Prior to the 20th Century the works of students became the works of their professors and were sometimes published without even giving credit to the original authors. Of course times have changed, although they perhaps changed a bit slower in Germany.

It was hard to sleep at night in my hotel because skyscrapers were being built 24/7 with lots of noise, loud radios, and men yelling loudly in Russian. Apparently Russian workers were imported to do a lot of the construction work. I thought it was ironic that the Russians destroyed Berlin and then were called back to rebuild it.

"German Education Minister Stripped of Doctorate," Inside Higher Ed, February 7, 2013 ---

A panel at Heinrich Heine University has decided to strip Germany's education minister, Annette Schavan, of her doctorate because the committee found her dissertation to be plagiarized, the Associated Press reported. Schavan denies the charges and plans to appeal. A former defense minister in Germany resigned in 2011 after revelations that he had copied portions of his doctoral thesis.

Jensen Comment
In days of old the writings of students were considered the works of their major professors who sometimes helped themselves to these works without even acknowledging the original authors. This no longer is the case in modern times.

Bob Jensen's threads on cheating ---

""Librarians Rally Behind Blogger Sued by Publisher Over Critical Comments." by Jake New, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 15, 2013 ---

"What is the Value of Ethics Education? Are Universities Successfully Teaching Ethics to Business Students?," by Accounting Professor Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, February 12, 2013 ---

. . .

This is "academic-speak" for we do not want to hold the schools accountable for ethics education. AACSB's failure to set specific goals for business ethics education speaks volumes about the political pressure from accredited schools that were brought to bear on any new standards that require specific education. Academic administrators do not want to be tied down to a specific course of action or program; they want a more "flexible" approach. The result is a meaningless standard that fails to address the critical problems that face us today in graduating business students who become tomorrow's future abusers of the capitalist system because of narcissitic behavior.

So, what should be done about the failure of business ethics education over the years to stem the rising tide of corporate fraud and wrongdoing? I believe the emphasis of business ethics education has to change from teaching philosophical reasoning methods that rarely work in practice to a more values-based approach that emphasizes ethical leadership. Ethical leadership is a must in any discipline -- accounting, finance, information systems, management and marketing. Therefore, all college instructors should buy into the need to slant their teaching methods to incorporate leadership -- ethical leadership.

Jensen Comment
Those of us that have had to deal with cheating students over the years, including those who cheated in ethics classes, discover that ethics behavior or lack thereof is very, very complicated. Unethical behavior and cheating is very situational and opportunistic. Sometimes lapses arise when there are heavy demands on time such as those demands of varsity athletics, troubled marriages, child illness, etc. Sometimes lapses arise from a follow-the-herd situation such as that recently observed among 125 students in a recent Harvard political science course.

In my opinion, most lapses in ethics do not arise from ignorance about the ethics guidelines. Therefore, teaching about it is not likely to have much incremental benefit in preventing ethics lapses at the individual level. There may be some benefit in terms of awareness and better writing of ethics guidelines. And studying what happens when violations of ethics have severe consequences may instill some fear. For example, expelling half the 125 students who were caught cheating in one political science class probably made the remaining students at Harvard University sit up and take notice that the Harvard's Student Honor Code is not toothless.

"Anton Chekhov on the 8 Qualities of Cultured People," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, January 29, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
I suspect there are not many cultured people in the world because of Criterion Number 4.

"Does Everyone Lie? Are we a Culture of Liars?" by accounting professor Steven Mintz, Ethics Sage, February 1, 2013 ---

"The Lying Culture," by J. Edward Ketz & Anthony H. Catanach Jr.,  SmartPros, February 2011 ---

"Dozens of MBA Applicants (at Penn State and UCLA) Tossed Over Plagiarism," by Louis Lavelle, Bloomberg Business Week, February 07, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Think of this as good news that the title does not state "thousands."

But it's more likely tens of thousands when extrapolated to all MBA programs.

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism ---

While ethics is being widely discussed in a lengthy thread on the ACEM, I came across this ethics controversy that should be of special interest to members of the Academy. For openers, I should mentioned that after living in both Florida and Texas that I hate snakes --- but not enough to kill them unless it's me or them.

"An Anthropologist Once Accused of Genocide Tells His Story at Last," by Tom Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 12. 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
This is a fascinating read that illustrates not only ethics controversies but the difficulties of writing about ethics conflicts.

Graduate Education in Humanities is in a Crisis
"The Humanities, Unraveled," by Michael Bérubé, The Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, February 18, 2013 ---

Let me start with the bad news. It is not even news anymore; it is simply bad. Graduate education in the humanities is in crisis. Every aspect, from the most specific details of the curriculum to the broadest questions about its purpose, is in crisis. It is a seamless garment of crisis: If you pull on any one thread, the entire thing unravels.

It is therefore exceptionally difficult to discuss any one aspect of graduate education in isolation. Questions about the function of the dissertation inevitably become questions about the future of scholarly communication; they also entail questions about attrition, time to degree, and the flood of A.B.D.'s, who make up so much of the non-tenure-track and adjunct labor force. Questions about attrition and time to degree open onto questions about the graduate curriculum and the ideal size of graduate programs. Those questions obviously have profound implications for the faculty. So one seamless garment, one complexly interwoven web of trouble.

In the humanities, when we talk about the purpose of graduate programs and the career trajectories of our graduate students, the discussion devolves almost immediately to the state of the academic job market. For what are we training Ph.D.'s in the humanities to do, other than to take academic positions? Graduate programs in the humanities have been designed precisely to replenish the ranks of the professoriate; that is why they have such a strong research component, also known as the dissertation. But leaving aside a few upticks in the academic job market in the late 1980s and late 1990s, the overall job system in the humanities has been in a state of more or less permanent distress for more than 40 years.

Since 1970 doctoral programs have been producing many more job candidates than there are jobs; and yet this is not entirely a supply-side problem, because over those 40 years, academic jobs themselves have changed radically. Of the 1.5 million people now employed in the profession of college teaching, more than one million are teaching off the tenure track, with no hope or expectation of ever winding up on the tenure track. Many of them do not have Ph.D.'s: According to the 2004 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (the last such study conducted), 65.2 percent of non-tenure-track faculty members hold the M.A. as their highest degree—57.3 percent teach in four-year institutions, 76.2 percent in two-year institutions (many holding more than one part-time position).

Clearly, something about the structure of graduate education in the humanities is broken. Or, more precisely, the system has been redesigned in such a way as to call into question the function of the doctorate as a credential for employment in higher education.

It is a dispiriting subject, to be sure. It was long ago, in 1994, that Cary Nelson, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I wrote a polemical essay for The Chronicle, "Graduate Education Is Losing Its Moral Base." We argued that many graduate programs had become little more than sources of cheap teaching labor for low-level undergraduate classes, and that some programs should be reduced in size or eliminated altogether. Many of our critics responded that we had failed to understand the "apprenticeship" model of graduate education. But we had not failed to understand that. On the contrary, we noted that in the apprenticeship model, which dates back to the days of the guilds, the apprentices got jobs.

That model was no longer relevant to the conditions of the academic job market. Our critique eventually led to a more radical critique of the system by Marc Bousquet, now a professor of English at Emory University. He argued that, for many students, the Ph.D. marked not the beginning but the effective end of a career in teaching. Bousquet is not entirely right. Many Ph.D.'s who fail to land tenure-track jobs do wind up on the non-tenure-track career path—as adjuncts or full-time untenured faculty. But his argument that the Ph.D. is actually the "waste product" of a system designed to produce cheap teaching labor was—and remains—a bracing and necessary response to colleagues who believed that the apprenticeship model was still viable.

More recently, in 2011, Anthony T. Grafton, then president of the American Historical Association, and Jim Grossman, AHA executive director, declared that henceforth nonacademic employment for history Ph.D.'s would not be considered a Plan B: "Alternative" careers should have as much legitimacy as the traditional Ph.D.-to-tenure-track trajectory. The alt-ac option, as it is widely known, has generated much debate in the humanities, but so far little sense of what the viable "alternatives" to academic employment might be. The situation is vastly different in the arts, where M.F.A. or Ph.D. holders typically expect to find employment in a far wider array of cultural institutions than humanists—orchestras, dance companies, design companies, museums, theaters, nonprofits. But of course, the cultural institutions to which degree holders in the arts aspire are often in states of distress similar to those affecting universities, albeit for different structural reasons.

So here the debate stands: We need to remake our programs from the ground up to produce teachers and researchers and something elses, but since it is not clear what those something elses might be, we haven't begun to rethink the graduate curriculum accordingly. (Anyway, we're not trained to do that! All we know how to do is to be professors!)

And since it is not clear what those something elses might be, the alt-ac discussion also tends to be conflated (reductively and mistakenly) with the DH discussion—that is, the emergence of the digital humanities, onto which, in recent years, we have deposited so many of our hopes and anxieties. Somehow we expect the digital humanities to revolutionize scholarly communication, save university presses, crowdsource peer review, and provide humanities Ph.D.'s with good jobs in libraries, institutes, nonprofits, and innovative start-ups. And the digital humanities will do all that by sometime late next week.

The revolution in scholarly communication has consequences for the future of the dissertation, as the former MLA president Sidonie Smith has been arguing for the past few years. Smith's work follows in the wake of, and extends, the 2006 report of the MLA Task Force on the Evaluation of Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion, which urged that the relevant criterion for peer-reviewed scholarship be the intellectual quality and originality of work, not the container it comes in. There is one overwhelmingly obvious implication of that argument: If we have all these new forms of scholarly communication, why are we asking our graduate students to write proto-monographs for a system that no longer supports monographs? (I am referring, of course, to the reduction or elimination of subsidies for university presses and university libraries.)

It might help to remember, though, that the alt-ac debate has a history, at least in the MLA. In 1998, then-MLA President Elaine Showalter decided to promote the idea of alternative, nonacademic careers for humanities Ph.D.'s. The backlash was intense—and it came chiefly from the MLA's Graduate Student Caucus, led by Bousquet and William Pannapacker, now an associate professor of English at Hope College, in Holland, Mich. Bousquet replied with his "waste product" theory of graduate education, and Pannapacker has since written many columns in The Chronicle urging people not to go to graduate school in the humanities at all. Both, in different ways, have come to regard the enterprise as a shell game, and both, 15 years ago, construed Showalter's call as a disingenuous suggestion that people who had trained for a decade to be humanists could suddenly switch gears and become secretaries and screenwriters.

One lesson I took away from the bitter battles of 1998 is that the people who feel most betrayed by the idea of "alternative careers" are the people closest to finishing their dissertations and going out on the academic job market. I suppose that is unsurprising. But at first, I had imagined that the most entrenched opposition would come from tradition-minded faculty and deans who regarded nonacademic careers as deeply undesirable postgraduate trajectories for humanities Ph.D.'s.

That is also the opposition imagined in Grafton and Grossman's "No More Plan B" essay, where they suggest that the problem with the rhetoric of "alternative" careers leads students to internalize the values of tradition-minded faculty who regard nonacademic careers with disdain: "We should not be surprised when students internalize our attitudes (implicit or explicit) and assume that the 'best' students will be professors and that for everyone else ... well, 'there's always public history.' Even those who happily accept jobs at secondary schools, for example, describe themselves as 'leaving the academy' or 'leaving the historical profession,'" they wrote.

Continued in article

Some Things to Ponder When Choosing Between an Accounting Versus History PhD ---

"Emory University to eliminate programs," by Laura Diamond, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 14, 2012 ---

. . .

Emory will phase out the journalism program, department of visual arts, division of educational studies and department of physical education. Students enrolled in these programs will be able to complete their degrees and tenured faculty will move to other departments.

The university will suspend admissions to Spanish and economics graduate programs so leaders there can redefine the missions, Forman said. Emory also will suspend admissions to the Institute for Liberal Arts so it can be restructured.

The changes will begin at the end of this academic year and finish by the end of the 2016-17 academic year. About 20 staff positions will be cut over the next five years, officials said.

Savings from the changes will be re-invested into existing programs and growing areas, such as neurosciences, contemporary China studies and digital and new media studies, Emory officials said.

Leaders of affected departments sent letters and emails to students.

“These changes represent very difficult choices but I am confident it will lead to a more exciting future for Emory College,” Forman said. “These were fundamental decisions about the size and scope of our mission and how we use our resources to realize our mission of providing a world-class education for our students.”

President Jim Wagner endorsed the plan, saying Forman and others had the “willingness to go back to first principles, look at each department and program afresh, and begin the process of reallocating resources for emerging needs and opportunities.”

The college has shuttered programs before. Emory decided to close the dental school in 1990 and shut down the geology department in 1986.


Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies ---

A License to Steal from Foreign Students:  Would this anger the real Aristotle?
"Not What They Signed Up For?" by Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, February 18, 2013 ---

Jensen Comment
Maybe this is more of an excuse to enter the U.S. and then disappear in the crowd.

What drove the 30-year mortgage rate higher?
Sober Look, February 12, 2013

When Grade Inflation = Lawsuit Inflation
"Prof's Daughter, Attending University for Free, Sues for $1.3 Million Over C+ Grade," by Riley Yates, The Morning Call, February 12, 2013 ---

Megan Thode isn't the first Lehigh University student who was unhappy with the grade she received in a course. But she may be the first to sue to get it changed.

The C+ that Thode was given scuttled her dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor and was part of an effort to force her out of the graduate degree program she was pursuing, said her lawyer, Richard J. Orloski, whose lawsuit seeks $1.3 million in damages.

Orloski said his client is the victim of breach of contract and sexual discrimination, and a civil trial began Monday before Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano over the claims. They're nonsense, said Neil Hamburg, an attorney for Lehigh University.

"I think if your honor changed the grade, you'd be the first court in the history of jurisprudence to change an academic grade," Hamburg told Giordano.

"I've practiced law for longer than I'd like to [admit]," Giordano said, "and I've never seen something like this."

But after a day of testimony, a settlement could be in the works, after Giordano called the lawyers into his chambers late Monday and they emerged to hold private discussions with their clients. They are slated to return to court Tuesday with the trial, if it continues, expected to stretch through the week.

Thode, the daughter of Lehigh finance professor Stephen Thode, was attending the Bethlehem school tuition-free in 2009 when she received the poor mark in her fieldwork class. But instead of working to address her failings, she "lawyered up" and demanded a better grade, Hamburg said.

"She has to get through the program. She has to meet the academic standards," Hamburg said.

Thode, 27, of Nazareth, was enrolled in the College of Education in her second and final year of a master's in counseling and human services. She needed a B to take the next course of her field work requirement.

Orloski said she would have received that grade but for the zero in classroom participation that she was awarded by her teacher, Amanda Carr. Orloski charged that Carr and Nicholas Ladany — the then-director of the degree program — conspired to hold Thode back because they were unhappy that she'd complained after she and three other students were forced to find a supplemental internship partway through the semester.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
How can you have a contract for a course grade before you take the course?
When I was nearly sued over an F grade in a student cheating incident, I learned from the Trinity University attorneys that it is very, very rare for a student to actually have a grade changed by a court. The lawsuit never was filed after the attorneys on both sides had a closed-door meeting among themselves.

The reason is obvious. If the courts set precedents for grade changes virtually all students who could afford to do so would sue to change any grade lower than an A grade. This would boggle the court dockets.

This Certainly Didn't Take Long --- Wonder if it will go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court?

"Ex-Student Loses $1.3M Suit Over a C+," Inside Higher Ed, February 15, 2013 ---

A Pennsylvania judge ruled Thursday that a former student had failed to demonstrate that a professor at Lehigh University was arbitrary in an illegal way in awarding her a C+, Lehigh Valley Live reported. The judge said that he did have some questions about the grade, but that the former student had failed to show that the grade was for "anything other than purely academic reasons." The former student had sought $1.3 million, saying that the low grade blocked her from proceeding in the graduate program of her choice.

Jensen Comment
The $1.3 million sought was supposedly computed on the basis of what the difference between average earnings of a lawyer versus that of a social worker.

This is an interesting article that is more informative than previous articles
A student sues (and loses) for $1.3 Million Because of a C+ Grade
"The Curious Case of Megan Thode," by Carolyn Foster Segal, Inside Higher Ed, February 19, 2013 ---

. . .

The result has been a courtroom scene reminiscent of the trials in Catch-22, with the instructor being asked such questions as whether she practices vertical or horizontal religion and Thode’s lawyer attempting to negotiate in the final moments of the trial, claiming that “it was never about the money” and asking the judge just to go ahead and change that pesky grade.

And so Thode’s case has disrupted the educational world, just as she herself apparently disrupted the class in question. For she wasn’t completely silent in class. Her behavior -- long before her case came to court -- smacks of the desperate student’s line of secondary defenses and attacks: announcing a headache and calling for aspirin; crying; swearing, insulting the instructor -- doing everything, in effect, except what she needed to do to demonstrate her readiness for her professed career: to contribute in a meaningful way to discussions.

Her disruptive behavior in the classroom was unprofessional and uncivil. It’s also increasingly the norm in classes everywhere. Maybe that’s what we need to take away from this whole debacle -- a reminder that the classroom isn’t a soundstage for students desperately seeking unearned credit. Meanwhile, it’s clear that Thode -- tragically -- didn’t learn anything at all from her classroom experience, and as for that dream of someday being a licensed counselor, she pretty much destroyed that all by herself.

Bob Jensen's threads on Gaming for grades ---

"How to Use Windows 8? Search for It," by David Pogue, The New York Times, February 7, 2013 ---

I’m deep, deep into Windows 8. When you write a book about an operating system, you wind up rummaging around in dark corners of it that very few people ever see. You learn its quirks and virtues just as you would a person you live with.

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated some really great Windows 8 features that nobody talks about. There are plenty of bright spots like that.

(A note: I have written a how-to manual for Windows 8 for an independent publisher; it was neither commissioned by nor written in cooperation with Microsoft.)

But I’ve always been troubled by the duality of Windows 8: the fact that it has two completely different environments. One is for finger operation on touchscreens; the other is the traditional mouse/keyboard desktop. The traditional desktop runs regular Windows programs (Photoshop, Quicken, iTunes, and so on); the new touchscreen interface, which I’ll call TileWorld, requires a whole new set of full-screen, fairly simple apps.

(Several readers wrote to me to scold me for not calling it the Metro interface. Sorry, but that is not what Microsoft calls it, as we learned this summer. Nor is its name the Modern interface; that was an early, internal name Microsoft had for it. When you ask Microsoft what it’s called, the company says it should simply be called “Windows 8,” insisting that it’s not two different environments at all.)

As you may have heard, the Start menu is gone in Windows 8. Instead, you have a Start screen — the Home screen for TileWorld. If you use Windows 8, you will be spending a lot of time here.

For the longest time, this screen didn’t bother me. It’s just the Start menu, expanded so that you don’t have to burrow through all those menus. In fact, the Start screen even has groupings of tiles that correspond to the submenus of the old Start menu: Microsoft Office, Accessories and so on.

But the more I learned to do things in Windows 8, the more I wrote tutorials for doing them, the more I realized the enormous drawback of this setup: you have to search for everything.

Over and over and over again, in Microsoft’s help system, in online tutorials, and in real life, you discover that the first step when making some adjustment in Windows 8 is to search for it. Want to add or remove features? Go to the Start screen and search for features. Want to set up remote access? Go to the Start screen and search for remote. Turn on Compatibility Mode? Go to the Start screen and search for compatibility. Adjust error reporting? Go to the Start screen and search for problems. Convert text to speech? Go to the Start screen and search for speech. Use the System Restore feature? Go to the Start screen and search for restore. Set up the new File History feature? Go to the Start screen and search for file history.

And on, and on, and on.

And you know what makes it worse? There’s no way to search your entire computer at once, as the Mac or Windows 7 does. You must search for either programs, or settings, or files. You can’t search all three categories at once.

If you’re operating on a touchscreen, that means it takes an extra tap (on “Settings”) every time you search for a setting. If you have a keyboard, there’s a keystroke just for searching for Settings (Windows key+W). But that’s still one more keystroke than Windows 7 required.

Why have we gone back to typing filenames to open them? Wasn’t that the beauty of the graphical user interface — of the Mac, of Windows? That you could point and click instead of typing out commands?

Now, this is Windows, after all; there seem to be 63 ways to do anything. You don’t have to search. For the Settings example, you could, of course, go back to the desktop and open the Control Panel and burrow into it just as you did in Windows 7.

But guess what? There’s no Start menu anymore to list the Control Panel. So getting to the Control Panel takes four steps (go to desktop, open Charms menu, open Settings panel, select Control Panel). You can choose its name from the secret X menu that normal people don’t know exists (point to the lower-left corner of the screen, wait for the Start-screen thumbnail to appear, right-click). Or you can make a shortcut icon for the Control Panel and leave it on your desktop, if you can figure out how to do that.

None of those methods are as simple, obvious or quick as the old way: just listing Control Panel in the Start menu.

Yes, I know there are ways to restore the Start menu (one good one: the free Classic Shell). And you should absolutely do that; it makes Windows 8 infinitely more efficient.

Continued in article

"Polishing Your Prose How to refine your writing, word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence," by Steven M. Cahn, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 18, 2013 ---

Here is the opening of an early draft of an essay about teaching mathematics written years ago by a celebrated professor. As he himself has acknowledged, he is a less than gifted writer, and our goal is to maintain his ideas while presenting them more clearly and gracefully.

It is important to recognize the fact that every subject, given that its content is not totally reducible to some other subject area, presents a special set of pedagogic problems arising as a result of the distinctive character of their contents and their essential nature. The problems may be regarded as particularizations of the general pedagogical considerations which must be treated by any and all teachers who seek to seriously discharge his or her educational responsibilities in a highly efficacious manner.

Where to begin?

The opening construction ("It is important to recognize the fact that ...") is overwritten. Ninety-five percent of the time when you write "the fact that," you can cut "the fact." Let's do so here, and the phrase now reads: "It is important to recognize that ..."

Better, but can we cut more? How about "It is"? When "it" has no antecedent, the combination is best avoided, and here is an ideal opportunity to excise it. But why not go further? After all, these opening words merely alert us to an "important" thought. Why not eliminate the warning and simply state that thought?

The sentence now begins: "Every subject."

How about the next phrase: "given that its content is not totally reducible to some other subject area"?

First, the adverb "totally" can be cut with no damage. Either something is "reducible" or it isn't. How about "area"? Can we distinguish between a "subject" and a "subject area"? Not easily. Let's remove "area."

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
What is interesting is the question of when to take time to polish grammar and prose. Seldom is the time right when your sending a text message. Seldom is the time right when you are blogging, because spending a lot of time on the quality of writing in your blog means less time for the depth and breadth of your blog.

Obviously the time is right when you are crafting a special essay for your Website, providing writing examples for your students and peers, and preparing something to be refereed for publication.

Bob Jensen's Helpers for Writers ---

Pirate Bay (controversial file sharing site) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Bay

Watch the New Pirate Bay Documentary Free Online ---

Last Friday night, TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. Moments later, the indie documentary became freely available online, which left the film’s director, Simon Klose, grinning, not grumbling. It makes sense when you consider the premise of the filmPirate Bay is, of course, the web site that allows users to share media (music, movies, games, software) through a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol, some of it copyrighted, some of it not. And the new film, writes Wired, documents “the hectic trial of Pirate Bay administrators Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, and Peter Sunde, who were eventually convicted in a civil and criminal copyright case in Sweden in 2009 that pitted them against the government and the entertainment industry.”

TPB AFK is available on YouTube and Pirate Bay too. It’s also listed in the Documentary section of our big collection of 500 Free Movies Online.

Bob Jensen's threads on copyright law and the DMCA ---

"Federal Tax Crimes, 2013," by John A. Townsend, SSRN, February 5, 2013 ---

This is the 2013 01 edition of the Federal Tax Crimes book that I started many years ago for use in a Tax Fraud and Money Laundering course at the University of Houston Law School. With some colleagues, we substantially revised that earlier version into a separately targeted book, titled Tax Crimes published by LEXIS-NEXIS. The full title of the LEXIS-NEXIS book is John Townsend, Larry Campagna, Steve Johnson and Scott Schumacher, Tax Crimes (LEXIS-NEXIS Graduate Tax Series 2008).

This pdf text offered here is a self-published version of my original text that I have kept up since publication of the LEXIS-NEXIS book. The LEXIS-NEXIS book is more suitable for students in a classroom setting and is targeted specifically for graduate tax students. This pdf book I make available here is not suitable for students in a class setting, but is more suitable for lawyers in practice, covering far more topics and with far more detail and footnotes that may be helpful to the busy practitioner. It cannot be used fruitfully for the target audience of the LEXIS-NEXIS book.

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

"Warning! Top 10 Valentine's Day Scams [Infographic]" by  Nick Statt, ReadWriteWeb, February 12, 2013 ---

Nothing says "I love you" like falling for a fake diamond ring sale and getting your identity stolen in the process. Bitdefender, an antivirus solutions provider, has sent out an alert to online Valentine's Day gift buyers, warning of rampant scams aimed at extortion, phishing for personal information and luring unsuspecting loverbirds to malware-infected sites.

Bitdefender's Top 10 infographic (below) stresses that men are the top target of V-Day scams because they spend 75% more on gifts than women, according to CreditDonkey.com.

Among the scams to watch out for are malicious Valentine's Day cards that use blackhat SEO techniques to redirect buyers to search results that may install viruses, Valentine's Day wallpaper downloads that contain malware, and 'love calculator' and other relationship-themed apps from unofficial Android app stores that infect your devices and steal personal info.

With the astronomical number of fake profiles floating around social media, Bitdefender stressed the dangers of giveaways and information soliciting through phony social media profiles promising love.

Some of the more blatant cons can be easy to spot, such as phony flower sales and cheap limousine offers. But the last scam on Bitdefender's list should be a dead giveaway: "heart experts." Specializing in healing one's relationship wounds, these online offers sound like antivirus ads from a decade ago, but resurface every February alongside an array of these other scams.

Fraud Reporting --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm

"Is Law School Worth It?" by Adam Freedman, Legal Aid, February 22, 2013 ---

Bob Jensen's threads on careers ---

From Paul Caron's TaxProf Blog on February 20, 2013 --- http://taxprof.typepad.com/

NLJ: Update on Lawsuits Against Law Schools Over Allegedly Fraudulent Placement Data

National Law Journal:  Plaintiffs Take Law School Fraud Cases to New York's Highest Court:

The New York courts haven't been friendly to a spate of fraud class actions targeting law schools, but the attorneys behind the suits aren't throwing in the towel just yet.

They have asked the New York State Court of Appeals to review an intermediate appellate panel's December dismissal of a suit brought by nine former students who allege New York Law School inflated its postgraduate employment statistics to trick them into enrolling.

The plaintiff's legal team—led by Jesse Strauss, Frank Raimond and David Anziska—argued in a motion for leave to appeal filed on February 19 that the Court of Appeal—New York's highest court—should weigh in on the case, given that several lower court judges have cited differing grounds for dismissing nearly identical cases. The New York dismissals also are out of sync with rulings in California that have been more favorable to similar fraud suits, they argued. ...

The New York Law School case was among the first of the 15 fraud actions against law schools around the country. (Different attorneys are handling the very first case, against Thomas Jefferson School of Law.)

New York County, N.Y., Supreme Court Justice Melvin Schweitzer dismissed the New York Law School case in March 2012—the first in a set of legal roadblocks the law school litigants have faced. ...

A trial judge dismissed a nearly identical case against Albany Law School in early January, and Strauss said he was preparing an appeal. The parties were still awaiting a decision on the motion to dismiss their case against Brooklyn Law School, which Kings County, N.Y., Supreme Court Justice David Schmidt heard last August. A motion to dismiss their case against the Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law was also pending.

Similar suits have also faced an uphill climb in Illinois, where cases against DePaul University College of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law and The John Marshall Law School have been dismissed. There is likely to be a consolidated appeal in those cases, Strauss said.

Their fraud suit against the Thomas M. Cooley Law School also was dismissed, and is under appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

California has been the one bright spot for plaintiffs in law school litigation, with suits against California Western School of Law; Golden Gate University School of Law; the University of San Francisco School of Law; Southwestern Law School and Thomas Jefferson School of Law surviving initial motions to dismiss.

Jensen Comments
One of the major purposes for publicizing fraudulent placement data was for higher media rankings, especially in the US News rankings of colleges, universities, and programs. Some universities faked like Bucknell University faked the overall university admissions data. Some universities like Tulane faked MBA admissions data. And of course there were quite a few law schools that faked admissions data as well as placements data.

There were also instances of faked or highly misleading placements data.

Bob Jensen's threads on media ranking controversies ---

The losing New York Times wants to dump the losing Boston Globe

From the CFO Morning Ledger on February 21, 2013

Pension liabilities loom as NYT puts Globe on the block. The New York Times is exploring a sale of the Boston Globe, its only remaining business outside the core NYT media brand, Bloomberg reports. Times Co. tried to sell the Globe as recently as 2009, but pension liabilities got in the way. At least one bid at the time reached about $33 million in cash, but fluctuating estimates on the Boston Globe’s pension liability — ranging from $110 million to $240 million — scuttled any deal. Bidders, who would assume the full pension liability, were unclear on the total value of the pension.

Bob Jensen's threads on the sad state of pension accounting in both the public and private sectors ---

Individual Retirement Account (IRA) --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_retirement_account

There are several types of IRA:

There are two other subtypes of IRA, named Rollover IRA and Conduit IRA, that are viewed by some as obsolete under current tax law (their functions have been subsumed by the Traditional IRA); but this tax law is set to expire unless extended. However, some individuals still maintain these arrangements in order to keep track of the source of these assets. One key reason is that some qualified plans will accept rollovers from IRAs only if they are conduit/rollover IRAs.

What was formerly known as an Educational IRA is now called a Coverdell Education Savings Account.

Starting with the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), many of the restrictions of what type of funds could be rolled into an IRA and what type of plans IRA funds could be rolled into were significantly relaxed. Additional acts have further relaxed similar restrictions. Essentially, most retirement plans can be rolled into an IRA after meeting certain criteria, and most retirement plans can accept funds from an IRA. An example of an exception is a non-governmental 457 plan which cannot be rolled into anything but another non-governmental 457 plan.

The tax treatment of the above types of IRAs except for Roth IRAs are substantially similar, particularly for rules regarding distributions. SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs also have additional rules similar to those for qualified plans governing how contributions can and must be made and what employees are qualified to participate.


"Should You Contribute to a Non-Deductible IRA?" by Laura Adams, Money Girl, February 12, 2013 ---

Roth IRA --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roth_IRA

Jensen Warning
Deborah Jacobs may have overstated the case for a Roth IRA. Ordinary folks should not choose a Roth IRA without expert tax advice

Remarkably, despite warnings of future large revenue losses, Congress has put no cap on the amount that can accumulate in a Roth IRA. Still, the Yelp shares in Levchin’s Roth do raise a legal issue. Tax rules bar you from investing your IRA or Roth IRA in a business you control—such a “prohibited transaction” can render the IRA immediately taxable and ­possibly subject to penalties.
Deborah L. Jacobs (see below)

"How Facebook Billionaires Dodge Mega-Millions In Taxes," by Deborah L. Jacobs, Forbes, March 20, 2012 ---

In 2010 Max R. Levchin, chairman of social review site Yelp, sold 3.1 million shares of Yelp held in his Roth individual retirement account. Most of the $10.1 million he received was profit. But Levchin, a 36-year-old serial entrepreneur who started PayPal with ­billionaire Peter Thiel in 1998, won’t ever have to pay a penny of income tax on those gains. That’s because all earnings in a Roth IRA are tax free so long as its owner waits until age 59 1/2 to take money out.

Moreover, Securities & Exchange Commission filings show Levchin still has 3.9 million shares of Yelp, now trading near $22, in his Roth. So it appears his tax-free “retirement” kitty is worth at least $95 million—and maybe a lot more. We don’t know, for example, if Levchin’s Roth owned stock in social app company Slide, which he started in 2004 and sold to Google for $182 million in 2010. If Levchin doesn’t spend his mega-Roth in retirement, he can leave it to his kids or grandkids, who can, under current law, stretch out income-tax-free growth and withdrawals for decades.

Levchin isn’t the only tech titan who’s got a shrewd tax advisor. Buried in recent SEC filings for Facebook, Zynga and LinkedIn are other examples of legal moves the ultrarich use to shield big dollars from the ­taxman. These techniques are available to the merely well-off, too, but they produce the most dramatic savings when executed early in a hot company’s—or hot entrepreneur’s—life.

How early? Facebook billionaire cofounders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz are both 27, unmarried and have no children we know of. Yet back in 2008 they both set up grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) that we estimate will allow them to transfer a total of at least $185 million of wealth to future offspring or others, gift tax free. That compares to a supposed gift-tax exemption of just $1 million in 2008 and $5.12 million today.

Both the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats have proposed new limits on GRATs. Meanwhile, you may want to copy the social tech wizards, if you have high-growth investments to shelter.


Remarkably, despite warnings of future large revenue losses, Congress has put no cap on the amount that can accumulate in a Roth IRA. Still, the Yelp shares in Levchin’s Roth do raise a legal issue. Tax rules bar you from investing your IRA or Roth IRA in a business you control—such a “prohibited transaction” can render the IRA immediately taxable and ­possibly subject to penalties.

It’s clear that if you own a small business, your IRA or Roth IRA can’t invest in it. But what if you are chairman or CEO of a private firm with many investors and buy its shares for your Roth? SEC filings show that in 2001, while CEO of ­PayPal, tech investor Thiel bought 1.7 million shares of that company for 30 cents a share through his Roth. In 2002 eBay bought out PayPal for $19 a share—an apparent $31.5 million tax-free profit for Thiel. It also appears from a letter we discovered in a federal court case that some of Thiel’s early investment in Facebook was also through his Roth IRA. He now sits on Facebook’s board.

Is this kosher? FORBES has been told reward-seeking informants are filing claims with the IRS Whistleblower Office, flagging such transactions as improper. But IRA expert Noel Ice says it’s a gray area, with little IRS or court guidance. Buying closely held stock for an IRA is probably okay, he says, so long as the IRA’s owner doesn’t have—when all his investments are combined—voting control of that company. Levchin, Thiel and the IRS wouldn’t comment.

The lesson for ordinary folks? Put investments with the highest growth potential in your Roth. Note: If you do want to put nonpublicly traded stock in an IRA or a Roth IRA, you’ll generally need to use a special custodian who handles “self-directed” IRAs. (The big brokers, banks and mutual fund companies that hold most IRAs generally limit investments to publicly traded stock, bonds, mutual funds and bank CDs.) Levchin and Thiel have used San Francisco-based Pensco Trust Co. to hold their Roth IRAs.

The Facebook GRATs

Thanks to a 2000 Tax Court decision ­involving a member of the billionaire Walton clan, which founded Wal-Mart, it’s now possible to transfer large amounts of wealth to heirs gift tax free using a grantor retained annuity trust. The person who wants to transfer wealth (the grantor) puts shares into the ­irrevocable trust and retains the right to ­receive an annual payment back from the trust for a period of time—say, 2 to 15 years. If the grantor survives that period, any property left in the trust when the annual payments end passes to family members.

The key is this: In calculating how much value will be left at the end—and thus how big a gift the grantor is making—the IRS doesn’t look at the performance of the actual stock in the trust. Instead, it assumes the trust assets are earning a paltry government-determined interest rate. With a zeroed-out, or “Walton” GRAT, the grantor receives an annuity that leaves nothing for heirs—if assets grow only at the IRS’ lowly interest rate. If they grow faster, the excess goes to heirs gift tax free. (If assets don’t grow, the grantor is no worse off, because the annuity can be paid by returning some shares each year to the grantor.)

Continued in article


Bob Jensen's personal finance helpers ---

Case Studies in Gaming the Income Tax Laws ---

Is Apple's iWatch for real or a phony stock price "pump and dump" ploy?

"Dick Tracy Alert, The iWatch," by Accounting Professor Dennis Elam's Blog, February 12, 2013 ---

"Who's Manipulating Apple Stock With This iWatch Story?" by Dan Lyons, ReadWriteWeb, February 11, 2013 ---

That was the cry from Apple fanbloggers last month when the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had reduced component orders, a possible sign of softening demand for Apple products. That story broke nine days before Apple was to report its earnings, and sent the stock reeling downward.

But if that was the case, then who’s manipulating Apple stock now, with this sudden barrage of “leaks” about the iWatch?

Does no one else think it’s kind of remarkable that this unreleased product suddenly starts showing up in dozens of blog posts and press stories? And that these leaks happened, coincidentally, right after Apple’s stock endured a brutal slide from just above $700 in September to a low of $435 in January?

The last stock plunge took place after Apple reported disappointing earnings for the holiday quarter, and ended up treading water in the $450 range. That was Jan. 28.

Note what happens next. On Feb. 5, the Wall Street Journal reports that after taking a beating on Wall Street, Apple has been “subtly increasing some of its PR,” doing things like sending reporters “more favorable third-party reports on the company.”

In other words: Apple wanted to get the stock back up, and so its flacks were reaching out to reporters and briefing them on background, trying to convince them that things at Apple were better than what Wall Street believed.

Anatomy Of A Pump

Meanwhile, just as Apple’s flacks have started working the phones, we start to hear drumbeats about a miraculous new product. Wow! What a coincidence.

And what is this product? Why, it's an amazing, life-changing, paradigm-shifting, stolen-from-the-future gorgeously designed product, a product that you've always wanted and needed though you never thought about it before, a product that will once again put Apple ahead of everyone else: The iWatch.

Bits and pieces about Apple doing a watch have been floating around since at least last year. But suddenly, in the past few weeks, just as Apple has started briefing reporters, this story starts heating up.

It begins with things like this post on Jan. 30 by MG Siegler of TechCrunch. Siegler, who basically operates as an unpaid Apple PR guy, says he’s getting a Pebble smartwatch, and then on goes for a couple thousand words about how huge this whole smartwatch thing could be and boy does he want one and man wouldn’t a smartwatch just change everything and wow, I bet Apple and Google are looking at this space, don’t you?

Then on Feb. 5 comes this even more incredibly overlong piece by Bruce Tognazzini, a former Apple interface designer, who suddenly, for no apparent reason, feels prompted to wax on for thousands and thousands of words about all the amazing things that Apple’s iWatch (he’s already given it a name and says it “will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem”) might do.

The Story Goes Mainstream

Then, on Sunday, the drumbeats turned into something more, when two major newspapers both ran iWatch stories.

One scoop came from Jessica Lessin at the Wall Street Journal, the same reporter who wrote about Apple doing more briefings with reporters. (Weird, right?) Another scoop came from Nick Bilton at the New York Times, whose story ran online on Sunday and then had a nice big spot on the front of Monday morning’s Times business section.

A big section-front story on a Monday morning in the New York Times! What fortuitous timing! You’d almost think it had been planned. Bilton’s story cited as sources “people familiar with the company’s explorations, who spoke on condition that they not be named because they are not allowed to publicly discuss unannounced products.” Wonder who that could be?

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates are at

"Does Khan Academy help learners? A proposal," by Robert Talbert, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 11, 2013 --- Click Here

Jensen Comment
The Chronicle's Robert Talbert has always be skeptical about the value added of Khan Academy to learning. He's now proposing a formal and convoluted testing scheme to measure the learning benefits on a sample of 300 students.

My first reaction is to think of the types of the tens of thousands of students in high school or college that are viewing the Khan Academy video tutorials for free. These students tend to be the most in need of help, most often those who are dumbfounded by mathematics We would not expect a high learning success rate among say half of those students, so it would not be surprising if formal statistical tests pointed to lack of success among a large proportion of students, many of whom probably did not concentrate intently on the tutorials or even finish the tutorials.

But what about the others who did benefit from the videos? If almost half really benefited greatly by overcoming their fears of learning math and incremental mastering of the tutorial topics the Khan Academy would be an amazing success story. As long as we can point to thousands who claim to have been helped and return to view other modules, then this alone is success enough.

As far as competency testing, there are far easier test designs. One would be before (pre) and after (post) tests for sampled students completing tutorials. The samples must be random, however, since its possible that students who are being paid to participate in the testing cheated on pretests in order to bias the testing outcomes.

A survey approach to studying this problem would be to survey instructors who are integrating Khan Academy videos into their courses. What are their opinions regarding the value of the KA tutorials in their courses?

Sometimes anecdotal evidence is better than absurd and complex statistical designs that require 90% of the students to show great learning benefits to conclude that the Khan Academy is a worthwhile endeavor.

February 12, 2013 reply from Steve Covello

Let's take a broader look at the what is meant by "help". In Dr. Brenda Dervin's Sense-Making Methodology, she portrays a model of human cognitive movement in time and space, with "stopping points" at intervals where "one's sense runs out". Given the infinite possibilities for one's sense to run out at any point in the process of solving a problem (or a stream of problems), it is impossible that any one solution framed as "help" could account for the global population of needs. So let's take KA off the hook as a total solution for anything.

Dervin's model describes how a resource or information produces a "help", or a state that permits someone to either understand their situation better or to continue forward in their cognitive movement. Here is a list of "helps" (Dervin, 2006) that complete the statement, "Because of this resource, I ..." : 

Got the picture/ideas
Got directions
Got hows, methods
Got connected
Got support
Got human togetherness
Got centered
Got started, motivated
Kept going, made progress
Journeying got easier
Got control
Reached goals
Got resources
Got rest, relaxation, escape
Got/felt pleasure

So, if we judge KA and ask whether it "helps", you have to account for the nature of typical stopping points (users' entry points, or rationale for seeking resources) and the character of the "help" that users obtained from it. It is conceivable that even though KA is unidimensional in its design and execution, it is still useful for a large population of users **if they say it helps them either understand their situation better or to continue move forward.**

If we are to research KA's value to education, I propose that we determine in what ways users find it useful, per Dervin's user-based criteria.

The Cult of Statistical Significance

Bob Jensen's threads on the Khan Academy are at

Affirmative Action Taken to an Extreme
"Should Law Reviews Take Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation of Authors Into Account When Selecting Articles?" by Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, December 17, 2013 ---

Woman is a Serial Accounting Fraudster in Colorado
"Fort Collins accountant allegedly stole more than $300,000 from local companies," by Jessica Maher, The Denver Post, February 11, 2013 ---

A Fort Collins woman faces numerous felony charges after being indicted by a Weld County grand jury for allegedly stealing more than $300,000 while working for Windsor-based companies.

Jennifer Choury, 41, is accused of orchestrating a number of financial schemes, including making unauthorized cash withdrawals on company accounts and pocketing cash from the sale of a company limousine.

According to the indictment, Choury worked at different times as a financial controller for the Water Valley Land Co. and the director of finance and office manager for Trollco Inc. Both real estate development companies are based out of Windsor and are owned by Martin Lind, whose companies also include Vima Partners LLC and Pelican Lakes LLC. Choury's duties also reportedly extended to these other companies.

Choury is alleged to have made at least 63 unauthorized withdrawals from Water Valley Land Co. and Trollco Inc. bank accounts between February 2008 and April 2012.

The indictment, filed in 19th Judicial District Court last week, alleges that Choury would send email requests to the bank that copied to her employer, Lind. She would then allegedly use her access to Lind's email account to create false authorizations under his name and then delete any evidence of the emails from the employer's account. She's alleged to have done this using a different account 51 times between July 2009 and May 2012 and an additional three times using other accounts from 2010 to 2012.

In total, the indictment alleges the theft of at least $257,567 and as much as $308,950 among the various company accounts.

Choury also allegedly defrauded Lind through the sale of a 2000 Ford Excursion limousine. According to court documents, Choury was instructed to deposit $8,500 from the sale of the vehicle into a company account but it never showed up in the bank.

Another scheme alleged in the indictment is that Choury forged six checks totaling $18,500 on Lind's personal checking account, laundered the checks by depositing them into the account of Havoc Girls Lacrosse and writing herself checks on the Havoc Girls Lacrosse account. Choury was treasurer for the nonprofit organization, which is based in Fort Collins.

Choury has been charged with seven counts of identity theft, a class 4 felony; six counts of money launder, transfer/conceal, a class 3 felony; six counts of forgery, check/commercial instrument, a class 5 felony; three counts of theft, $1,000-$2,000, a class 3 felony; and one count of computer crime theft, $20,000 or more, a class 3 felony.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
The article does not say what she spent her loot on, but I don't think it was an addiction to hair salons.


"CPA convicted for role in $40 million Ponzi scheme," WCNC.com, February 11, 2013 ---

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- An accountant has been convicted for his role in a $40 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors in North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio.

A federal jury in Charlotte convicted Jonathan D. Davey of Newark, Ohio, on four counts of investment fraud conspiracy and tax evasion. Prosecutors say Davey administered several hedge funds in the Black Diamond Ponzi scheme, soliciting more than $11 million from victims in the case.

The 48-year-old accountant, who was convicted Friday, is the 11th defendant convicted in the 2007 fraud, which prosecutors say deprived about 400 victims of more than $40 million. Prosecutors say Davey used a shell company in Belize to funnel money toward construction of his mansion in Ohio.

Davey faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

Bob Jensen's threads on Ponzi frauds ---

Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

February 15, 2013 message from Jagdish Gangolly

Those interested in databases and datamining might be interested in the recent book Mining Massive Databases by A. Rajaraman, J. Leskovec, and Jeff Ullman (Cambridge University Press). A downloadable version of the book is available at
Also available is the excellent book on databases, Foundations of Databases by S. Abiteboul, R. Hull, and V. Vianu (Addison-Wesley) is available at
http://wiki.epfl.ch/provenance2011/documents/foundations of databases-abiteboul-1995.pdf


Moving to the cloud: Unexpected costs and implementation challenges
"Cloud adoption brings unexpected costs, KPMG survey says," by Jeff Drew, CGMA Magazine, February 5, 2013 ---

Office in the Cloud
"Microsoft Office 2013 Officially Released," by David Ringstrom, AccountingWeb, February 1, 2013 ---

"Microsoft's Office 2013 Is Software for the Cloud," by Ashlee Vance and Dina Bass, Bloomberg Business Week, January 29, 2013 ---

When Microsoft (MSFT) said it would buy Yammer for $1.2 billion last June, many in Silicon Valley scoffed that the deal was a costly disaster in the making. Microsoft wanted to join forces with a hip maker of social networking tools for businesses that delivers its product as an evolving Web service. The culture clash was expected to result in Yammer’s employees being overburdened with bureaucracy. The prediction was they would flee in droves. “We were quite concerned about this coming together of two worlds,” says Adam Pisoni, Yammer’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

As the companies worked to close the deal, Pisoni flew to Microsoft’s Redmond (Wash.) headquarters to seek reassurance from Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer and Kurt DelBene, head of the Office business. Pisoni was taken aback by what he found: Microsoft had spent the last couple of years revamping its engineering teams’ processes to be more like Web startups. “We have to remember our roots and go back to building what’s good for the consumer,” Pisoni says Ballmer told him.

On Jan. 29, Microsoft began selling this new image of the company to the public with the release of Office 2013. This version, the first major overhaul of the franchise in three years, is Office for the cloud. The applications—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and others—have a much cleaner design, work with touch interfaces, and can save files directly to SkyDrive, Microsoft’s online storage service. Users can run Office as an app and share files across PCs, Macs, Windows tablets, and Windows phones, and they can tap into an online-only version of Office on almost any device. In the coming months, Office will be linked with Yammer’s service, which looks similar to Facebook (FB), so users can open documents and presentations and work on projects together.

In an interview, Ballmer stresses that Office 2013 should be viewed as a service. Microsoft will add features to the software as they’re developed, instead of going years between updates. Microsoft will also sell Office to consumers on a subscription basis: $100 per year will get a family five licenses for Office, 20 gigabytes of storage on SkyDrive, and 60 minutes of free calls per month on Skype, which Microsoft acquired in 2011. “It embraces the notion of social,” Ballmer says. “You stay connected and share information with the people you care about.”

While Microsoft was working to get Office right, its nimbler rivals charged forward. Dropbox recently passed the 100 million-user mark, making it one of the leading services for storing and sharing files across devices. Another cloud application, Box, has gained popularity with corporations that want to store and edit internal files and collaborate with other companies on projects. And Google (GOOG) sells low-cost rivals to Office products, including Quickoffice, an application that can run on iPads.

Last year, Microsoft’s business software division generated $24 billion, about one-third of Microsoft’s $73.7 billion revenue. It’s the company’s biggest, most profitable division and accounts for a handful of Microsoft’s fastest-growing products. Ballmer refers to Dropbox as “a fine little startup,” adding, “you have to remember that 100 million users sounds like a pretty small number to me.”

Microsoft plans to update Office every three months with features intended to keep the product’s 1 billion users happy. Its software engineers have moved from upgrading their test version of Office every month to working on a new copy of the software every day. The company has invested in automated systems that can spot errors in code and help engineers keep programming at pace. “It’s turned all our engineering systems on their head,” says Jeff Teper, a Microsoft vice president.

Yammer was mined for some data-analytics techniques, including algorithms to figure out which features were favored by testers of early versions of Office 2013. Yammer has been sending teams to Microsoft to teach engineers how to test new tools and designs and then measure precisely how they change users’ behavior. “It forces you to build software that is good for the user,” says Pisoni. Microsoft and Yammer are building toward a day when most business files are Web-connected and interactive. “Is every Office document a website? It’s possible,” says Ballmer.

Continued in article


"Office 2013: Where Are All The Apps?" by  Mark Hachman, ReadWriteWeb, February 4, 2013 ---

Tariff --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tariffs

Types of tariff:


"Canada-U.S. price gap report calls for import tax cut:  No definitive reason seen for Canada-U.S. price differences," y Laura Payton, CBC News, February 6, 2013 ---

Senators who studied why Canadians pay more than Americans for many products are calling on the government to review the taxes on imported goods.

Consumers may see that happen: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty echoed the senators' concern about tariffs before they even tabled the report.

Members of the national finance committee spent more than a year hearing from 53 experts, including consumer groups, manufacturers and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, as they studied why Canadian prices differ from American when the dollar is close to equal. The committee's final report says it "cannot offer an explanation as definitive as it would have liked."

The committee says factors influencing price include transportation costs, the relative size of the Canadian market — and tariffs, or taxes on imports.

The report recommends:

A "comprehensive review of Canadian tariffs … with the objective of reducing the price discrepancies for certain products between Canada and the United States." Looking at increasing value of how much can be shipped in Canada tax- and duty-free. Continuing to integrate safety Canadian standards with those in the U.S. Having Heritage Minister James Moore study the costs and benefits of reducing a 10 per cent mark-up that Canadian-exclusive distributors can add to U.S. list prices of American books.

The report says there are 8,192 tariff categories in Canada and that each category has 18 tariff treatments.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
Of course this does not mean that the U.S. does not have costly import tariffs with such barriers on highly efficient sugar cane ethanol (mostly from Brazil) to bolster the totally losing and inefficient domestic corn ethanol production of  the required10% of every gallon of gas purchased at the pump.

History of Tariffs in the USA --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tariffs_in_United_States_history


"The Inside Story of Diageo's Stunning Carbon Achievement ," by Andrew Winston, Harvard Business Review Blog, February 20, 2013 --- Click Here

From the Scout Report on February 8, 2013

TwitrCovers ---  http://www.twitrcovers.com/ 

If you're new to Twitter you may be looking for a compelling new image to enhance your public profile. TwitrCovers is a fine way to search for such an image, and it contains hundreds of images for general use. Visitors can scroll through the homepage to get started, or they can use the Categories tab. The sections here include abstract, animals, movies, and nature. These images are compatible with computers running all operating systems.

Zeen --- http://zeen.com/ 

If you have never thought about (or heard of) creating a "zeen," now might be the perfect time. A zeen is a portable, bite-sized piece of content designed to help individuals tell a story via words, images, and videos. Visitors can get a primer of how they work via the Learn More tab, and it's easy to get started. Each zeen can be shared via a variety of social media, including Facebook and Twitter. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

After more than 500 years, King Richard III's remains are located

DNA Confirms Bones Are King Richard III's

Richard III's remains identified, but was he really Shakespeare's villain?

The Humiliation of Richard III

Richard III: Shakespearean actors rake over the remains

Richard III

Richard III Society

From the Scout Report on February 15, 2013

TwinDocs --- https://www.twindocs.com/EN/ 

TwinDocs is a novel way to upload documents to a personal storage device quickly. Visitors need to sign up for a free account and then they can get started. The TwinDocs application gives users the ability to access any document remotely from technology such as an iPhone, iPad, or Android device. The free version of TwinDocs gives users 1GB of storage and the ability to store 25 documents a month. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

ProfessorWord --- http://www.professorword.com/ 

If you want to learn new words quickly, you can take a look at Professor Word. This bookmarklet gives users the ability to learn these words while surfing the Internet. The application can be customized to help users study for the SAT or ACT, learn English, or to just improve their vocabulary. ProfessorWord recognizes over 5,000 SAT and ACT vocabulary words, so it is a powerful tool. This version is compatible with all operating systems.

In a shifting media landscape, is it possible to get accurate
information on who is watching television?

Counting Couch Potatoes

How do television ratings work?

FTC to take longer review of Nielsen-Arbitron merger

Nielsen: Television Measurement

Top 10 TV Ratings

TV's 10 highest-rated World Series games


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

Education Tutorials

Growing the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education (Babson College Survey) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on MOOCs, EdX, and MITx ---

National Security Agency:  Academia --- http://www.nsa.gov/academia/index.shtml

National Security Agency: High School Concept Development Units ---

Computer Science Teachers Association --- http://csta.acm.org/Resources/sub/HighlightedResources.html

TechCrunch --- http://techcrunch.com/

Techmeme --- http://www.techmeme.com/

ReadWriteWeb --- http://readhttp://readwrite.com/

Social Science Research Network (SSRN) --- http://www.ssrn.com/

RAND Corporation: Measuring Teacher Effectiveness ---

Wellesley College Digital Scholarship and Archive --- http://repository.wellesley.edu/

The Rise of the University of Phoenix --- http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/tomorrows-college/phoenix/

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

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

BBC Science in Action: Podcasts & Downloads --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/scia

Association of College & Research Libraries --- http://www.ala.org/acrl/

NASA: Astrophysics Science Division --- http://science.gsfc.nasa.gov/sed/

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology --- http://www.ice.mpg.de/ext/

Environmental Health Risk Assessment --- http://serc.carleton.edu/research_education/healthrisk/index.html

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

Inside Science (Science News) --- http://www.insidescience.org/

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

National League for Nursing: Faculty Toolkits --- http://www.nln.org/facultyprograms/facultytoolkits.htm

American Association of Colleges of Nursing --- http://www.aacn.nche.edu/index.htm

Ocean Tracks (of marine mammals) --- http://www.oceantracks.csiro.au/

Teachers' Place: Monterey Bay Aquarium --- http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/lc/teachers_place/

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Podcast, Videos & Web Cams --- http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/efc/cam_menu.aspx?c=dd 

Oregon Institute of Marine Biology Slides & Photographs --- http://oregondigital.org/digcol/oimb/

Pacific Northwest Stream Survey (over 1,000 photographs) ---  http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/digitalcollections/pacificNWstream/

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife --- http://www.dfw.state.or.us/

Largest glacier calving --- http://www.youtube.com/embed/hC3VTgIPoGU?rel=0

Beaked Whale Identification Guide --- http://vertebrates.si.edu/mammals/beaked_whales/pages/main_menu.htm

American Cetacean Society (ocean animals) --- http://www.acsonline.org

National Science Foundation: The Secret Lives of Wild Animals ---

MetroBoston DataCommon --- http://metrobostondatacommon.org/

Ancient Observatories: Chaco Canyon --- http://www.exploratorium.edu/chaco/

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

The Economist: World in 2013 (Annual summary of world economics trends from The Economist magazine) ---

Infinity of Nations (Aboriginal, Indian, Native American) ---  http://nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/infinityofnations/culturequest/

Aboriginal Documentary Heritage --- http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/aboriginal-heritage/index-e.html

Inside the Psychologist's Studio Videos (interviews with prominent psychologists) ---

Critical Postmodern Theory ---

Mike Kearl's great social theory site
Go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory02.htm#Kearl

Great Minds in Management:  The Process of Theory Development ---

Association of College & Research Libraries --- http://www.ala.org/acrl/

Inside Science (Science News) --- http://www.insidescience.org/

Eagleton Poll Archive (political polling history) ---  http://eagleton.libraries.rutgers.edu/

MetroBoston DataCommon http://metrobostondatacommon.org/

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

Association of College & Research Libraries --- http://www.ala.org/acrl/

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

Math Tutorials

Kepler: The Volume of a Wine Barre ---

Eagleton Poll Archive (political polling history) ---  http://eagleton.libraries.rutgers.edu/

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

History Tutorials

PhotoSeed (Art History, Photography) --- http://photoseed.com/

Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books --- http://www.moma.org/explore/collection/lb/index

Guggenheim Museum: Louise Bourgeois --- http://www.guggenheim.org/exhibitions/exhibition_pages/bourgeois/index.html

AmericanRadioWorks: Power and Smoke: A Nation Built on Coal --- http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/coal/

Infinity of Nations (Aboriginal, Indian, Native American) ---  http://nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/infinityofnations/culturequest/

Aboriginal Documentary Heritage --- http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/aboriginal-heritage/index-e.html

The Allure of the Automobile (museum) http://www.high.org/main.taf?p=3,1,1,17,1

American Experience: Henry Ford --- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/henryford/

The Creative Process of Ansel Adams Revealed in 1958 Documentary ---

Discover Ansel Adams’ 226 Photos of U.S. National Parks (and Another Side of the Legendary Photographer) ---

Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv_TVXxWe_A

The Henry Ford Museum --- http://www.hfmgv.org/

Digital Collections: Amherst College --- https://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/holdings/electexts

Amherst College: Emily Dickinson Collection --- https://acdc.amherst.edu/browse/collection/collection:ed

Emily Dickenson --- http://www.emilydickinson.org/

The History of Music Told in Seven Rapidly Illustrated Minutes ---

Automobile in American Life and Society --- http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/

WHO: Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 [traffic, automobiles] --- http://www.who.int/roadsafety/decade_of_action/en/index.html

International Road Federation: Publications --- http://www.irfnet.org/publication.php?id=7&title=IRF Bulletin

Automobile in American Life and Society --- http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/

Pacific Northwest Stream Survey (over 1,000 photographs) ---  http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/digitalcollections/pacificNWstream/

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife --- http://www.dfw.state.or.us/

The Rise of the University of Phoenix --- http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/tomorrows-college/phoenix/

Eagleton Poll Archive (political polling history) ---  http://eagleton.libraries.rutgers.edu/

Spencer Museum of Art (University of Kansas) --- http://luna.ku.edu:8180/luna/servlet/kuvc1sma~1~1

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  

Q&A (biographies of current people making things happen) --- http://www.q-and-a.org/

National Galleries of Scotland --- http://www.nationalgalleries.org/education

National Galleries of Scotland: From Death to Death and Other Small Tales ---

Association of College & Research Libraries --- http://www.ala.org/acrl/

Finding Vivian Maier: New Documentary Reveals the Vision of Obscure Chicago Street Photographer ---

Ancient Observatories: Chaco Canyon --- http://www.exploratorium.edu/chaco/

Government Maps of Chicago in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s --- 

The Art Institute of Chicago: Education: Online Resources [Quick Time] http://www.artic.edu/aic/visitor_info/podcasts/video/education_videos/

Chicago Public Art Group --- http://www.cpag.net/

Lincoln Park Architectural Photographs --- http://digicol.lib.depaul.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/lpnc1

Building Inside/Studio Gang (Chicago Architecture) --- http://extras.artic.edu/studiogang

Lincoln Park Neighborhood Collection (Chicago) --- http://digicol.lib.depaul.edu/cdm/search/collection/lpnc6

Picture Chicago --- http://images.library.uiuc.edu/projects/chicago/index.asp

Without Bounds or Limits: An Online Exhibition of the Plan of Chicago ---

City of Chicago Landmarks --- http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/landmarksweb/web/home.htm


From the Scout Report on February 8, 2013

After more than 500 years, King Richard III's remains are located

DNA Confirms Bones Are King Richard III's

Richard III's remains identified, but was he really Shakespeare's villain?

The Humiliation of Richard III

Richard III: Shakespearean actors rake over the remains

Richard III

Richard III Society


Language Tutorials

"Are languages important for accountants?" by Mark P. Holtzman, Accountinator Blog, February 21, 2013 ---

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

Music Tutorials

Jazz ‘Hot’: The Rare 1938 Short Film With Jazz Legend Django Reinhardt ---

The Howard W. and Nancy A. Wildin Sheet Music Collection --- http://digital.gonzaga.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15486coll3

Access to more than 700,000 lyrics from around 40,000 artists/bands since 2000.---

Classics in Concert --- http://www.npr.org/series/10210144/classics-in-concert/?ps=sa

The History of Music Told in Seven Rapidly Illustrated Minutes ---

Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's threads on music performances ---

Writing Tutorials

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

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

February 12, 2013

February 13, 2013

February 14, 2013

  • Household Chemicals Linked to Arthritis in Women
  • Five Keys to Keep Your Valentine's Heart
  • Little-Known Virus Sends Many Kids to Hospital
  • Deep Brain Stimulation May Ease Early Parkinson's
  • Synthetic Marijuana Linked to Kidney Damage
  • Treating Trauma in Children: No Long-Term Benefit
  • New SARS-Like Virus May Have Spread Between People
  • State of the Union Addresses Medicare, Gun Control
  • Calcium Supplements May Raise Women's Heart Risk
  • February 15, 2013

    February 16, 2013

  • Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Foster Farms Chicken
  • More Americans Successfully Managing Diabetes
  • Watchdog Group Calls for Sugared Soda Regulation
  • Five Keys to Keep Your Valentine's Heart
  • Use of Morning-After Pill on the Rise: CDC
  • Alcohol Blamed for 1 in Every 30 Cancer Deaths
  • Household Chemicals Linked to Arthritis in Women
  • FDA Approves 'Bionic Eye' for Rare Vision Disorder
  • Four Loko Must List Alcohol Content on Can: FTC
  • Lucky Dogs Get Shot at Diabetes Cure

    February 18, 2013

    Feb 19, 2013

    February 20, 2013

    February 21, 2013

    February 22, 2013

    February 23, 2013

    February 25, 2013

    February 26, 2013



    How robots could replace doctors
    From the CFO Morning Ledger on February 22, 2013

     Health-care costs represent about one-sixth of America’s GDP — placing an ever-larger strain on paychecks, corporate profits, and government resources. Figuring out how to meet the population’s medical needs without bankrupting the country has become the central economic-policy challenge of our time, but as Jonathan Cohn writes in the March issue of the Atlantic, some tech enthusiasts think they can succeed where others have failed. In their vision of “Health 2.0,” you might wear a bracelet that monitors your blood pressure, or a pedometer that logs movement. These devices would then dump data directly into an electronic medical record. And you wouldn’t have one doctor, but a team of professionals, available at all hours and armed with technology to guide and assist them as they made decisions. There’s plenty of skepticism about the quality of care such a system would offer, but it’s already being tested to some extent in other parts of the world. “In Brazil and India, machines are already starting to do primary care, because there’s no labor to do it,” says Robert Kocher, a partner at Venrock, a venture-capital firm that invests in emerging technologies.

    Just Say No to High-Dose Calcium Pills ---

    Healthy Lifestyle --- http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/HealthyLivingIndex/HealthyLivingIndex

    Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols --- http://iom.edu/Activities/Nutrition/NutritionSymbols.aspx

    USDA: Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion --- http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/

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

    National League for Nursing: Faculty Toolkits --- http://www.nln.org/facultyprograms/facultytoolkits.htm

    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute --- http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/indexpro.htm

    The Human Heart: An Online Exploration from The Franklin Institute --- http://www.fi.edu/learn/heart/index.html

    Should You Take Testosterone To Get Fit? ---

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


    Michael Davis (comedy juggler) at Ford's Theater ---

    John Cleese’s Eulogy for Graham Chapman: ‘Good Riddance, the Free-Loading Bastard, I Hope He Fries’ ---

    Leno Turns Obama-Clinton 60 Minutes Segment Into Cialis Commercial ---

    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